Personal Histories

Bob Wills History

Alton and Dyerville

A person could walk, run, or ride on the back road to Alton. Sandy Prairie Road was still mostly intact, but it was soon ravaged by the mighty Eel. There was one short expanse immediately north of Alton, maybe rock-chucking distance, where the road dipped down onto the gravel bar. It was an excellent location for the sunbathers to tan themselves and to begin their first skin cancers.

Mount St. Joseph's College at Rohnerville, 1871.

California Department of Forestry (CDF) fire suppression crew, 1942, in Dyerville, also called North Fork.

Dyerville was a small settlement where the north and south forks of the Eel River unite and become the Eel River. There was a gift shop, a few homes and a huge two-story auto repair garage, which in 1942, was living quarters for two California Department of Forestry fire suppression crews. The river had not clearly began, in earnest, its wanton destructive pilgrimage on its way to the ocean. In only a few short years all of the land and the community became a huge gravel bar. That was my first summer working for the CDF. Only a couple of years later, Ross Dunwoody,  an Associate Ranger, inquired of me, "Wills, are you sixteen again this year?" Perhaps that was my introduction to, "you are being watched." What Child Labor Laws were in existence, were put on hold for the duration. All of the personnel at the CDF were the very best of people, especially the ranger, William Syler.


In retrospect, I assume that Mr. Hardwicke, the elementary school teacher, would absolutely go into orbit if he was cognizant of how, after sixty-two years, I still haven't acquired proper skills in talking and writing.

NEXT Yeager Creek Logging Camp




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