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Lake County Record Bee
Clear Lake Observer*American
Saturday, September 15, 2001


The Young Family - Pioneers in Lake County

California was settled by adventuresome people looking for fertile land, timber and an opportunity for a new and better life. They endured such hardships enroute, unthinkable today how they managed with so little. Some found their way over more mountains to Lake County, which was known as Napa County for the first wave of settlers.

Pioneer families took up land around Kelseyville. One early family seeking the new lands arrived at this site in 1874, and they were The William G. Young family. This village had some very interesting arrivals. Children growing up went on to outstanding careers. Among them were two of the Young children, Roy and Arthur.

W.G. Young traveled about before looking westward. He was born on a farm near Mansfield, Ohio in 1834. After completing his education and working on farms, he traveled to southern Illinois in 1857. There he taught school, clerked in a general store and back again to farming. Always ready for adventure, in 1850 he went to Pike's Peak during a brief gold rush.

Returning to Illinois in August of 1861 he joined the Union Army. While on the Civil War battlefield about a year later, he was wounded by a musket ball while fighting near the town of Behnont, Missouri. He continued on the battlefields for some months until discharged due to the old wound.

Following a brief stay in Ohio, William returned to Illinois to clerical work. He purchased a store and by now had a wife, Miss Alice Tuthill. The wedding took place in October 1868. Looking to the West, the couple sold everything and left Illinois in 1873, arriving in Lake County in 1874.

Mr. Young opened a General Merchandise Store. This he sold in 1880. A booklet was published in 1885 about Kelseyville and surrounding area. This is a portion describing the Young property: "One of the finest residences in Kelseyville is the property of W.G. Young, Esq., The name: 'Mountain View' was given this home, from the fine view of Uncle Sam Mountain, which it commands. It is situated on the corner of Third and Gard streets. The residence is surrounded by a fine lawn, numerous evergreen trees and shrubs. Mr. young also owns about 400 acres in fruit, 20 in French prunes, and the remainder, various fruit trees. The large acreage was for sheep, cattle, and some domestic animals. The hone is a large two-story structure, built in about '81 or '82. Well furnished with all that contributes to the enjoyment of a home. The home is supplied by a wind mill and water raised by wind power. Two creeks pass through the property and a number of springs."

Mr. Young's brother, Warner Young came west before him. En route he wrote a poem sent to a sister who lived in their old hometown, relating the struggles to survive in 1851. The poem is entitled "How We Suffered on the Plains." It was printed in the May 1979 issue, page 11 of the Pomo Bulletin, put out by the Lake County Historical Society.

It is not a very attractive story, as it deals with people enroute west, dying of cholera, the misery, lack of food, etc. Uncle Warner was a survivor, and he came to California and took up residence in Yuba City.

The youngest child of five, Roy Osmond, was born at the family home, Sept. 28, 1885. He grew up enjoying the outdoor life, swimming, camping and hunting in the mountains. He was educated in the Lake County schools, including the Professor Overhouse Academy in Lakeport. Roy's brother, Arthur, enjoyed the outdoors, too, giving them close companionship. William G. Young died in 1896 at the age of 62. So with the passing of Mr. Young, it left the younger children without a father. Fortunately, a friend Mr. Fred Merrit, who was employed by the county, assisted the family in managing their property and taking the boys on camping trips.

When Roy was 18, and prior to his move to San Francisco, he and his brother Arthur went on a hunting trip with Mr. Merrit. In appreciation of these trips, Roy, who was interested in photography at an early age, put an album together with story and photos of the trip. He added an inscription, "To Fred H. Merrit from R.O. Young, in memory of our trip of 1903." This album was handed down to Mr. Merrit's grandson, Merrit Fraser, at a later date.

In San Francisco, Roy began to work in a new department that was in the process of begin designed, and was hired as Attache of the Juvenile Court. He was one of the first Probation Officers. Besides North Beach, his work was centered in Chinatown where he was closely associated with the Humanitarian Miss C. Cameron, head of the Chinese Christian Presbyterian House. Years later, upon his retirement, Miss Cameron stated, "Mr. Young had a strong and lasting influence and was held with the greatest respect and esteem by the youth he worked with and his peers alike." During his long career of 34 years in San Francisco, he visited often to Lake County and purchased 20 acres planted to walnuts in Big Valley.

A small cabin was on the property. In 1927 he married his lovely legal secretary, Ethyl affectionately called 'Detty' Billiers Brown. They had a very happy 52 years together.

During his long and illustrious career, it was estimated 95 percent of the boys and girls who went through Juvenile Hall, turned out highly satisfactory citizens due to his influence. Upon his retirement in 1951 as Chief of the San Francisco Probation Department at the Youth Guidance Center, he returned to Kelseyville, farming again and enjoyed a successful second career as a photographer. The couple also traveled extensively.

He was also active in a club he started before retiring, The Roy Young Bow and Arrow Club. The action was held on a corner of Bell Hill Road about seven and a half miles from Kelseyville. He followed his brother Arthur in hunting with a bow and arrow. The club disbanded in the late '50s. Roy was a life long member of the Presbyterian Church in Kelseyville. Upon his death, April 10, 1979 at age 93, he was buried in the Kelseyville Cemetery next to his father. His widow later married Ray Rowe, a long time Lake County resident. She passed away in 1984, at age 93, and is in the Young family's plot.

Arthur, also left Lake County to continue as a concert violinist with a symphony orchestra in the Bay Area. There, Arthur met Dr. Saxon Pope, head of Surgery at, U.C. Hospital, who also enjoyed the out-of doors.

Dr. Pope came from a life on the Western frontier during the '80s and '90s, living among Army Forts of the day, among the Indians, spending much of his growing up hunting and fishing. sharing a mutual interest in the bow and arrow, Pope and Young spent time camping and fishing.

They made their bows and their equipment. They became so skilled that they hunted in Alaska, and onto Greenland on an expedition with Captain Bartlett on a schooner, where they took a walrus and a polar bear with bow and arrow.

In 1919, Pope and Young were sent to Yellowstone Park to return with grizzly specimen for the California Academy of Science Museum of the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. They returned with a 1,000-pound bear taken by the bow and arrow of Art Young, the biggest animal taken by any method in Wyoming to this date. They later did some hunting in Africa.

The last remaining member of his tribe, Ishi, was found in Lassen County and brought to the U.C. Hospital where Dr. Pope was his doctor and became his friend. In 1915, Ishi accompanied Dr. Pope, Art Young and several more people to Ishi's former hunting grounds in Lassen County to learn and improve their skills from this remarkable man. He taught them what trees and wood, etc. to use for the bow, types of arrows, and habits of animals.

The years passed; World War I came and went. The '20s brought sadness. Dr Pope died of pneumonia and some years later Art Young succumbed to an infected appendix. They left behind the skills passed onto young people they taught in a club formed some years prior to their passing.

They left behind also, a record in bow and arrow hunting taking large animals that has never changed. Their measurements are used as a gauge today for game taken by bow and arrow. They were so skilled in taking game, Field and Stream, an outdoor magazine, which celebrated their 100th anniversary in June 1995, published stories of their hunting trips.

In this magazine are photos and copies for four stamps that represent the greatest outdoor sportsmen of all times: Teddy Roosevelt, Zane Grey, Saxton Pope and Art Young, and A.J. McClane. There is the "Boone and Crockett" standard for rifle and "Pope and Young" measurements for Bow and Arrow to enter the record books of today.

Roy Young had one brother who remained single; one married and had a son, Dr. Charles H. Young, DDS of Burlingame. His sister, a very successful musician, played the piano for many events throughout the years, but never married.

Their family home was sold in 1915 to George and Corabelle Piner, who were very famous in the opera world, and who retired to this home about 15 years after purchasing the property. The home had a barn, which the Piners removed before adding four more rooms and porches.

This concludes the story of one of Lake County's pioneer families and the story of two sons with two very different careers.

written by: Ruby E. Glebe
(transcribed by Joanna Loops, 2003)

Young Family Home