Robert Louis Stevenson and the Goat Ranchers of Carmel Valley

Copyright © 2017 by Lindy Perez

Presentation by Lindy Perez at the Stevenson House, Monterey, CA, August 26, 2017

I assume many of you are curious about the past and would like to investigate and solve historical mysteries. That curiosity is what led me here today. As a docent at Stevenson House who had read a great deal about the famous Scottish author, I was bothered by the inconsistencies and dubious claims regarding the two men who rescued Stevenson near their goat ranch. So I went on a quest for “the truth” and this is what I found.

For those who aren’t familiar with the back story, here’s how it goes: One hundred thirty-eight years ago this month, Robert Louis Stevenson arrived in Monterey after a three week journey by ship across the Atlantic and by train from New York to California. Then just ten days after arriving in Monterey, he set out on a camping trip into Carmel Valley and almost never returned.

Three years earlier and newly graduated from Edinburgh University, Stevenson and his bohemian buddies descended on a charming village outside Paris. At the same time, Fanny Osbourne, an American ten years his senior and married, and her two children, ages 7 and 17, were also staying there. She had been studying art in Paris as a break from her unfaithful husband when her youngest child died. She was in a vulnerable state.

Fanny and Louis spent time together in France and fell in love. After two years, Fanny and the children (daughter Isobel or Belle and son Lloyd) returned to the San Francisco Bay area to rejoin her husband, Sam Osbourne. Louis (as he was called) moped around for a year in Europe, lovesick for Fanny, hoping she was working on a divorce. In the summer of 1879, Louis received a cable from her; we don’t know what it said, but it was enough to spur him into action. Without informing his parents, Stevenson traveled alone to Monterey, where Fanny, her two children, and sister Nellie from their home in Indiana were staying in an old adobe on Alvarado Street known as Casa Bonifacio.

It seems his welcome from Fanny was not what he hoped. Try to imagine how Louis appeared to her: sickly, thin, and weary from his travels; his skin was covered with a red rash, and his clothes and hair were shabby and none-too-clean. Fanny was having intermittent visits and discussions with Sam and seemed uncomfortable being seen with Louis due to town gossip. She did not have an answer for him about her divorce and may have expressed doubt that she would get one. Criticism from her family in Indiana and concerns about financial security likely played into her ambivalence.

Louis was encouraged to spend time with Belle’s friend, Joe Strong, an artist living in Monterey. Joe was just a few years younger than Louis and a celebrity in Monterey at this time. During the previous three years, his friend, the artist Jules Tavernier (who once lodged and painted in the Stevenson House) had received most of the attention from town folks who would drop by his Alvarado St. studio to view his paintings. When Tavernier left Monterey to return to San Francisco, Joe took his place as the “resident artist.” Joe Strong’s progressing art career was frequently covered in the local newspaper. Fanny was unaware that Belle and Joe had secretly married in Pacific Grove three weeks before Louis arrived.

Understanding the awkward situation with Fanny, Joe Strong supported Louis during his early days in Monterey. He invited Louis to accompany him to Carmel Valley on horseback. They stopped at the farm house of Edward Berwick whom Strong knew as a fellow bohemian, a philosopher of sorts who gathered with artists at local watering holes in Monterey. Berwick was an active citizen of Monterey for decades. A well-educated immigrant from London, he adopted Monterey as his home and took up experimental farming. He supplied the Hotel Del Monte with his famous pears and other homegrown fruit. In addition, he was an avid letter writer, corresponding with editors of 165 newspapers across the country. Topics of his letters in the Monterey papers ranged from water sanitation to international peace. He was a frequent Chautauqua lecturer. Berwick was the closet neighbor to the goat ranchers in Carmel Valley. During this visit to his farm, Stevenson and Berwick discussed literature, as well as the Bancroft History which Stevenson had purchased in New York. Later, Edward Berwick wrote down his impression of Stevenson:  ….tall and slight with the fresh delicate complexion often seen in consumptives, his  appearance gave one an impression of fragility. He described himself as a ‘slinger of ink’ and took much interest in the old capital of the Pacific, which then was much more  picturesque than now.

Joe and Louis continued on their way but returned to the Berwick farm after dark “weary and worn”, according to Berwick. They slept on straw in the barn, probably because Mrs. Berwick did not want Stevenson’s rash-covered limbs touching her bedding.

Back in Monterey, Stevenson found Fanny still noncommittal. Sam had visited Fanny the day of his outing with Joe Strong, and she was planning to leave for Oakland soon. Discouraged and despondent, Louis decided to go camping on his own. From his early days, he would travel when his spirits were low. A year before, he had travelled with a donkey in the mountains of France. Camping would take him away from the damp air along the coast and restore his health; he could save money on lodging and give Fanny space.

His letters give us clues to his state of mind at the time: Sept 9, 1879 to Baxter: my news is nil. I know nothing. I go out camping, that is all I know… and now say good-bye to you, having had the itch and a broken heart.” To Colvin: I have little to say, all is in the wind, things might turn well or might not.

Louis packed basic supplies for camping, rented two horses and a wagon and headed for Carmel Valley. He stopped to rest at the Berwick farm. Berwick advised him to leave the wagon and one horse behind and helped re-pack the one horse with necessary provisions. Stevenson then headed for the river. For a few days, he rode during the day, then rested, did some writing, ate and fell asleep under the stars. He rode further into the canyon until he encountered the wet fog and night chill. The gusts of wind blew right through his blankets; he began to cough, sweat and shiver. There is no doubt this was one of the lowest points of his life.

Here is how he described his predicament in a letter to his friend Edmund Gosse:    I was pretty nearly slain: my spirit lay down and kicked for three days…….Two nights I lay under a tree in a sort of stupor, doing nothing but fetch water for myself and horse, light a fire and make coffee, and all night awake hearing the goat bells ringing and the tree-frogs singing, when each new noise was enough to set me mad. Then the bear hunter came round, pronounced me “real sick”, and ordered me up to the ranche.

This bear hunter was Anson Smith, the older of the two goat ranchers. Some writers say that the young daughters of the other rancher, Jonathan Wright, were the first to find him, practically unconscious beside San Clemente Creek. He was half-carried up the hill to a cabin and eased into a rough bed upstairs and smothered with goose grease. He ran a fever and could not walk for days. There he lay in bed nearly naked with flies crawling all over him while the ranchers and an Indian named Tom busied themselves with work at the ranch. According to the story, Louis made himself useful by tutoring the Wright girls and shared stories at night with the ranchers. After several weeks, he regained his strength and returned to Monterey.

This is the narrative that has been written by Stevenson’s biographers. I was okay with the slight variations until the introduction of the goat ranchers. For reasons I do not understand, the identities of the two men — Jonathan Wright and Anson Smith—- have been merged or transposed. Both were wrongly labeled as retired sea captains — almost everyone referred to them as sea captains — and family members were misidentified.  Perhaps the ranchers were insignificant when the Stevenson story was first told, but to me, these details mattered. I wanted to clarify who was who. As it turns out, the truth is far more interesting.   Bear in mind, I am an amateur researcher. Everything I discovered was found by sleuthing here in the Stevenson House, in local archive libraries, on the internet, and in books. I did not travel to the Bancroft Library at Berkeley or State Archives in Sacramento. I stayed close to home and am grateful for the help from Dennis Copeland of Monterey City Library and Lisa Masengale with State Parks.

To unravel the “truth” about the goat ranchers, we need to turn to another letter of Stevenson written from his bed at the ranch:

September 24, 1879 – To Sidney Colvin (friend in London)

Here is another curious start in my life. I am living at an angora goat ranch in the Coast Line Mountains, eighteen miles from Monterey. I was camping out, but got so sick that two rancheros took me in and tended me. One is an old bear hunter, seventy-two years old, and a captain from the Mexican war; the other a pilgrim and one who was out with the bear flag and under Fremont when California was taken by the States. They are both true frontiersmen and most kind and pleasant. Cap’ Smith, the bear hunter, is my physician and I obey him like an oracle…..I teach the ranche children reading in the morning, for the mother is from home sick.

Louis accurately described Anson Smith, who was born in 1807 – making him 72 years old in 1879. Imagine ranching in such a remote area at that age. Unfortunately, we have only a few images of Anson Smith of poor quality. He was the bear-hunter as well as the killer of a 325 pound mountain lion that April, the largest ever shot in the county, according to the Californian newspaper. Among other responsibilities, Smith’s role was to guard the ranch by keeping the lions away from the goats and the grizzlies away from the bee hives which produced honey. The two ranchers built a stockade and baited it with strychnine-poisoned honey. When the bears became ill from the poison, Smith shot them. One visitor saw seventeen grizzly skulls stored in a shed. While his partner made trips into Monterey to see people and take care of business, Smith was the one who kept watch over the ranch. He was the one, according to Stevenson, who nursed him, the one Stevenson most trusted and revered.

Anson Smith was born in New York State but grew up in the small town of Canton, Missouri. In 1846, at age 39, practically middle-aged, he enlisted in the Mounted Missouri Volunteers, served as an Orderly Sargent and was later promoted to Captain. (a-ha….that’s where the title Captain comes from!) After 9 months fighting in the Mexican American war, he resigned from the military in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I next located him in the 1850 Census residing in Sutter County, California with an odd assortment of single men who listed their occupation as mining. That same year, his name showed up in Monterey on a petition, then on the ledger of a general store, and finally in 1854, Anson Smith purchased some law books. This said to me that Smith was an educated man. Starting in 1855, A. Smith is listed in the Monterey Sentinel, both as the Agent for Wells Fargo Express and as Justice of the Peace with an office on Alvarado Street. That June, he wrote an open letter to the newspaper and under his name was the designation “Acting Coroner.”   One could move up a career ladder rather quickly in Monterey in the 1850’s.

This letter is the only evidence I found of the “voice” of Anson Smith. The writer seeks to quell rumors about a murder near the Salinas River. Smith had been called to the scene to investigate the shooting and talk to witnesses. He concluded that the man posing as a Sheriff from Contra Costa County was the perpetrator. Smith then issued a warrant for this man’s arrest.   Apparently, Smith was acting-Sheriff as well as acting- Coroner.

Later that year was the ambush and murder of Isaac Wall, Custom House official, former speaker of the State Assembly, and lawyer for William Roach of the infamous Roach-Belcher feud, a well-known episode in the history of Monterey but way too complicated to explain here. What is relevant is that the suspected murderer of Isaac Wall was the outlaw Anastacio Garcia. Charles Layton, the first lighthouse keeper at Point Pinos, the oldest lighthouse built on the west coast, joined the posse to capture Garcia out of loyalty to Isaac Wall who was his superior. There was a gun battle, Layton was shot and later died of his wounds. Now what does this have to do with Anson Smith?

Charlotte Layton, the widow of Charles and mother of four young children, was subsequently installed as the lighthouse keeper in her husband’s place. In 1859, Anson Smith became the assistant lighthouse keeper at Point Pinos. Charlotte had re-married a George Harris, tavern keeper in Monterey (later the proprietor of the Washington Hotel). The 1860 Census lists the occupants of the lighthouse: Charlotte, George, four children ages 4 to 16, and Anson Smith, age 50, assistant lighthouse keeper. He held this position for at least 2 years.

As you know, Monterey in the 1850’s was an unstable place given to vigilante justice. Anson Smith apparently wanted to escape the chaos and violence. His position at the lighthouse was his first step towards a calm, domestic life. However, Smith remained an involved citizen of Monterey. In local newspapers during the 1860’s, we find that he was appointed County Inspector for the 1864 Presidential Election when Lincoln was re-elected and in 1866 was a signer of a letter to the U.S. Lighthouse Board protesting the removal of Point Pinos Lighthouse. Did you know we almost lost our lighthouse?

My next sighting of Smith showed up in the 1868 pole list when he was registered as a farmer residing on a ranch in Carmel Valley and living with Jonathan Wright. In the years that followed, Anson Smith not only became a partner with Wright, but also became part of his family. When Wright re-married in 1871 and had three daughters in the next six years, Anson was like a grandfather to Dollie, Sarah and Ruth. Just as he chose to live with Charlotte Layton and her children in the lighthouse, Anson Smith settled in with a family, not his own, but one that may have felt like his own. In the 1880 Census, both Smith and Wright no longer gave their occupation as “farmers” but “apiarists.” Furthermore, this is the first Census that included each resident’s marital status. For the first time I could see that Anson Smith was a widower. Looking through the County records, I found no evidence that Smith had married or fathered children in Monterey, so I assume his wife died in Missouri. Perhaps it was her death that led to his enlistment in the army in his late thirties. Yet Anson Smith apparently was a family man and liked children.

Next, let’s discover the truth about Jonathan Wright. No, he was not a sea captain either!   He was born in West Virginia in 1821 and grew up in La Porte, Indiana. In 1846 at age 25, he joined the wave of pioneers going west. According to his own report, Jonathan Wright and William Richardson drove the first wagon train over the Missouri-Salt Lake route to California.  In October of that year, Wright arrived at Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento, enlisted under Major John C. Fremont and served in the Mexican War. (This was some months after the Bear Flag rebellion, so Wright had embellished his personal history as reflected in Stevenson’s letter to Sidney Colvin.) For six months, Jonathan Wright followed the army to San Francisco, Monterey, and onto southern California. He was discharged as a private (not a Captain) on April 12, 1847 in San Gabriel from the Second Battalion California Mounted Riflemen. He found work in the redwood timber industry in Napa until gold was discovered and then tried his luck at mining. By 1859, he had settled in Monterey where we found him – of all places – working at Point Pinos Lighthouse in the mid-1860’s as the assistant lighthouse keeper! Charlotte Layton had been replaced by Andrew Wasson as head lighthouse keeper.

Now this is some coincidence given what happened in 1879. Not yet mentioned is the fact that Robert Louis Stevenson descended from a line of famous lighthouse engineers in Scotland. His grandfather, father, and uncle designed and built the lighthouses that surround the British Isles to this day, and he had been expected to follow in their footsteps. Despite earning a degree in law, not engineering, and then becoming a writer, Stevenson had spent considerable time with his father visiting lighthouses and learning the technology. Can you imagine the conversations the three men, ages 28, 58 and 72 – must have had at the ranch once they discovered their shared lighthouse experience? Perhaps the lighthouse had something to do with how Smith and Wright met. Later during his stay in Monterey, Stevenson visited Point Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove and wrote about the lighthouse keeper in his essay The Old Pacific Capital.

To illustrate my point that the two goat ranchers were often confused, the sign posted in Point Pinos lighthouse museum in 2011 when I began my research had the name of Jonathan Wright as assistant lighthouse keeper from 1859-1861, the dates when Anson Smith had the position. Smith was not mentioned at all. Happily, when I visited Point Pinos this summer, I noticed the sign had been replaced giving both Anson Smith and Jonathan Wright their due.

In the 1868 pole list, Wright registered as a “whale man” which corroborates his story that he worked 5 years in the whaling industry. This fact still doesn’t make him a sea captain. We know from the Census, he was living with Anson Smith in Carmel Valley by 1870. An interesting item appeared in the Weekly Herald in August 1874 announcing that Wright and Smith had discovered a quicksilver mine and were organizing a company which they named Chamisal Quicksilver Mining Co. This is the first and last mention of their mining venture. However, it is clear the two men had teamed up and were farming deep in a valley surrounded by mountains. Like many other new Californians, the men were forced to be squatters since government surveying of the land in California took years to complete. Finally, in 1877 Jonathan Wright purchased 178 acres for a total of $222.50. The Pre-emption Claim was issued by the U.S. Land Office in San Francisco.   On the form, Wright stated that he and his family had resided there since 1868……. “I have thereon a dwelling house, barn, shop, dairy house, fencing, orchard and vineyard.” Most of the land was used for grazing. He then registered a quit-claim deed awarding Anson Smith an undivided half interest. They owned the place 50-50.

One year after Stevenson’s stay at the ranch, an editorial appeared in the Monterey Californian:

As an evidence of what two determined men can do towards making a home for themselves, we cite the case of Messrs, Jonathan Wright and Anson Smith. Thirteen years ago, these two men went out into the mountains just beyond Laurelles ranch, pre-empted a claim of 178 acres of tillable land in a small valley, and went to work. Their total capital was not exceeding $50. They cut down redwood trees, made them a house, and commenced hunting wild bees which they would hive and bring home. Ever since that time, the product of their bees has kept them in provisions. This year’s crop of honey, which they recently sold, amounted to over 600 gallons. They made improvements all the time, having now a very neat and comfortable dwelling house, large barn, commodious bee-sheds and goat-sheds, their land all fenced securely and well-tilled every year, a fine orchard bearing all kinds of the most choice fruits in the market. Three years ago they bought about a hundred head of goats, the natural increase of which now amounts to over one thousand head, and the lions have killed several too. They have, by their own exertions, hewn a comfortable home out of an uninviting mountain fastness and the redwood forest, where want is a stranger and contentment is a permanent guest. These gentlemen are both well advanced in years, time having given them the winter’s coat of whitening on head and beard; but they are hale and hearty, stronger today than many of our town gentlemen of middle-age. If energy and pluck can do this in a mountain fastness, what could our young men do in available and fertile valleys? And yet hardy men will stand around and tell you they have no show. Pshaw! We are ill of such nonsense!

In 1886 when Anson Smith was 78 years old, he sold his half interest in the ranch and bought several lots in New Monterey. Then in 1889, the Salinas Weekly printed the news of his death in Canton, Missouri. He had left Monterey in feeble health because he wished to die and be buried at his childhood home. Anson Smith, the modest one, Army Captain, dispenser of justice, killer of grizzlies and mountain lions, master apiarist, and caretaker of the sick and the young, was gone.

Jonathan Wright continued working the ranch for another dozen years. Bradley Sargent, neighboring rancher, became the new owner of the property, which eventually became part of the Rancho San Carlos Preserve. Wright also bought a lot in New Monterey and built a house at 511 Pine Street where he lived with his wife. In the 1900 Census, Wright identified his occupation as “Capitalist,” a telling label for the times.

Now I want to tell you about the family of Jonathan Wright. His first marriage was to Lucy (or Luly) Brown whom he married in Sacramento in 1849. They had two daughters; Lucy died after 5 years of marriage. While it is unclear who cared for the young girls after their mother’s death, we know they stayed in touch with their father, sometimes lived with him and visited him at the ranch. In 1871, at age 50, Jonathan married again, this time to a young widow with one daughter. Her name was Elizabeth Masters Claudie, and her daughter was Millie. They met when “Lizzie”, as she was called, came to stay with her sister Sarah Masters Lambert who was married to Captain Thomas Lambert. Here is our sea captain: Lambert spent most of his working life as captain of a whaling vessel. Perhaps Jonathan Wright worked for him in the 1860’s. The Lamberts were caretakers of the Custom House and lived there. Mrs. Lambert first ran a shell and curio store located in the triangle where Alvarado and Calle Principal intersected. Later, she managed the lumber and planing business purchased by her husband, operated the saw mill and could turn out ornamental corners for door frames that fit perfectly. It was she who planted the large cypress trees near the Custom House and boarded up the balconies as seen in some old photographs The Herald reported that every time Captain Lambert went away, his wife would board up a portion of the porch to make another room. Wright’s step-daughter Millie lived with the Lamberts at the Custom House with the Lambert children.

The brothers-in-law, Jonathan Wright and Thomas Lambert, were close associates in civic affairs. They established the first Masonic Lodge in Monterey and served as officers. They were active in the Republican Party; Wright was chosen as a delegate to the 1880 Republican Convention. The two helped organize the 1896 semi-centennial anniversary of Sloat’s Landing and were active in the association to erect the Sloat Monument.

Jonathan Wright was a proud veteran of the Mexican War and in 1908 was personally recognized by John Fremont’s grandson as the last survivor of Fremont’s Battalion. A year later, Wright died at his home in New Monterey at the age of 88. His obituary was titled “Death of a Pioneer”; he and his wife are buried in the Monterey City Cemetery near the Lamberts. During his lifetime, the name of Jonathan Wright was frequently mentioned in the local newspapers. In an 1893 Biographical History of the Central Coast Counties, “Captain Wright” was described as “bluff and pleasant, enjoying tales of adventure through which he has passed.” By this, we assume there may have been some bravado and exaggeration in his colorful stories, but there is no doubt he was a proud patriot and hard worker, seizing whatever opportunities came his way and succeeded in having a fascinating and productive life. At the turn of the century, the title “Captain” was a title of respect.

Finally, I want to introduce Jonathan Wright’s four daughters living in Monterey. His step-daughter Millie would have been 11 years old in 1879, lived with the Lamberts at the Custom House, and attended school at Colton Hall. She remembered seeing Stevenson walking along the beach. Millie came to Monterey from Ohio at the age of three months with her mother, just after her father died, travelling by mule-back across the Isthmus of Panama (similar to how Fanny Osbourne Stevenson and little Isobel several years before had arrived in California). Her married name was Millie Birks; she worked as a telephone operator and was interested in preserving local history.

Dollie and Sarah Wright were the two daughters at the ranch during Stevenson’s stay, ages 5 and 7 so they likely remembered their experience with RLS but would have been influenced by adult accounts. Years later, the girls recalled they had nicknamed him “Mr. Spindle Legs.”   The youngest daughter Ruth had no first-hand knowledge of Stevenson. The three married and raised their families in the Monterey area. After Wright’s death, his daughters would stand-in for him at local celebrations, such as the annual commemoration of the Sloat Landing.

In the largest and most familiar photograph of the Wright family at the ranch, Smith is included but wrongly identified as the father of one or more of the girls. The two well-dressed women were probably Wright’s adult daughters from Sacramento.

Others had noticed errors in the goat ranch information, including a granddaughter of Jonathan Wright by the name of Laura Harlan. In 1983, a representative of the Colton Hall Museum interviewed Mrs. Harlan, age 82; her mother Dollie had died 60 years earlier. She wanted to correct the record about the goat ranchers and Stevenson. She claimed it was Capt. Smith or possibly her grandfather who found Stevenson down by the creek, not the girls. Also she wanted it known that her mother Dollie did not talk about Stevenson; he was not a famous person at the time; no one in Monterey knew about his writing. If asked, Dollie would simply describe Stevenson as sick and dirty with sores on his skin. He was thought to be contagious so the girls were not allowed near him. At the end of the interview, she recommended Anne Fisher’s book written in 1946 as more accurate than recent accounts of the goat ranch episode. In 1997, Laura Harlan, age 96, donated an audio recording of the goat bells from the Wright ranch to the Carmel Valley Historical Association. This granddaughter of Jonathan Wright lived to 102 years old.

It is very likely that Wright and Smith didn’t talk about meeting Robert Louis Stevenson – they were not from the literary circle of Berwick and his friends.  The first mention I found of Stevenson in the Monterey newspaper (despite the fact he had worked for the paper and written articles during his time in Monterey) was in August 1886 when he returned to the United States:

His Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published 22 weeks ago with 1000 copies selling each week. Mr. Stevenson is well-known in Monterey and is a brother-in-law of  Mrs. Adulfo Sanchez.

This, of course, refers to Nellie, youngest sister of Fanny, who married Adulfo Sanchez, proprietor of the Bohemia Saloon on Alvarado St. Their only son, Louis Sanchez, went to school at Colton Hall with Millie, Dollie, Sarah and Ruth.  

Which brings me to the last item of my talk: a letter I found at the Mayo Hayes O’Donnell Library. It was written on August 25, 1960 and is an invitation to a reunion of former students of the Colton Hall Public School. The list was compiled by two of the classmates, Louis Sanchez, Nellie’s son and Stevenson’s nephew, and Josephine Simoneau Fussell, the daughter of Jules Simoneau, owner of the French Bohemian restaurant where Stevenson had his meals. The two became lifelong friends. Colton Hall students had last attended the school in 1894. There were 125 names on the list; 66 attended the reunion. Among them were Louis and Josephine, of course, and Millie Birks, step-daughter of Jonathan Wright. Sadly, Dollie, Sarah and Ruth had all passed away by 1960. Millie would have been 92 years old. Josephine Simoneau Fussell was 83. Both women still lived in Monterey and kept the history of Monterey and Stevenson’s famous visit alive. Louis Sanchez, a youngster at age 76, lived in Oakland but kept in contact with Josephine over the years as did his cousin Belle.

These three among others preserved the memory of Stevenson’s time in Monterey. Along with his friendship with Jules Simoneau, the most popular local story about Stevenson was that of the goat ranchers who found him lying unconscious by the San Clemente Creek and carried the sick, dispirited young man to their ranch house, and brought him back to health. Because of their efforts, Robert Louis Stevenson lived to marry Fanny, write classic literature, and travel the seas.

The goat ranchers, Anson Smith and Jonathan Wright, were mentioned (correctly and incorrectly) in feature articles in the Monterey newspapers throughout the 1940’s to 1990’s. And now, they are the subject of a talk in 2017 — not because of their military service, mining, logging or whaling endeavors, not because they assisted at Point Pinos lighthouse, or because they farmed and ranched, raised goats and bees, produced honey and fruit, killed grizzlies and mountain lions, not even because they were brave frontiersmen and civic-minded patriots; instead they are remembered today because they stopped their work to help a stranger, and that stranger happened to be Robert Louis Stevenson.

Copyright © 2017 by Lindy Perez