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OLD WOMAN  SPRINGS RANCH

October 10th, 2004

Morongo Basin Historical Society

The Billy Holcomb Chapter 1069 of the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus (ECV),
with cooperation of the
Morongo Basin Historical Society, erected a historical monument
(# 114, since 1969) at the Old Woman Springs Ranch on Highway 247 in Lucerne Valley over the weekend of October 8, 9, and 10th, 2004. This was a fun filled weekend for their members, called "Clampers" or "Redshirts" and a few Poor Blind Candidates (PBCs). Over 400 Clampers gathered for
the occasion and the 35th Anniversary Clampout of the Billy Holcomb Chapter of ECV.
A public dedication of the monument took place on Sunday, October 10 at 10:30 in the morning. 
Our thanks go out to the Pioneertown Posse for adding a little of the Old West to the festivities!!
Shortly afterwards, the MBHS conducted a public tour of the ranch for those in attendance.
This was a rare opportunity to see the ranch not normally open to the public. 

The historical monument/plaque itself reads as follows:

THIS AREA OF LUCERNE VALLEY BECAME KNOWN AS OLD WOMAN SPRINGS WHEN A GOVERNMENT SURVEY PARTY DISCOVERED A NUMBER OF INDIAN WOMEN CAMPING HERE IN 1856. THE ORIGINAL WATER SOURCE, NOW CALLED COTTONWOOD SPRINGS, IS DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF YOU.  IN 1907 CATTLEMAN ALBERT “SWARTY” SWARTHOUT HOMESTEADED OLD WOMAN SPRINGS RANCH FOR USE AS WINTER PASTURE. HE AND PARTNER CHARLIE MARTIN, CATTLE RUSTLER AND LATER CHIEF OF POLICE IN SAN BERNARDINO, PURCHASED HEART BAR RANCH, SOUTH OF BIG BEAR, FOR SUMMER RANGE. BY 1918 BOTH HAD SOLD OUT. IN 1921 SWARTHOUT AGAIN BOUGHT INTO THE HEART BAR, THIS TIME WITH SAN BERNARDINO BUSINESSMAN J. DALE GENTRY. THEIR CATTLE WERE DRIVEN TO HEART BAR RANCH VIA RATTLESNAKE CANYON IN THE SPRING, RETURNING TO OLD WOMAN SPRINGS RANCH IN THE FALL. IN 1938 THEY HAD A FALLING OUT. LITIGATION LASTED UNTIL 1947, WHEN SWARTHOUT WAS AWARDED HEART BAR RANCH AND GENTRY RECEIVED OLD WOMAN SPRINGS RANCH. “SWARTY” LIVED OUT THE REST OF HIS LIFE AT HEART BAR, DYING IN 1963 AT AGE 91. HISTORIC OLD WOMAN SPRINGS RANCH REMAINS PRIVATE PROPERTY TO THIS DAY. IT CONSISTS OF OVER 400 ACRES OF DEEDED LAND WITH WATER AND GRAZING RIGHTS TO ANOTHER 1600 ACRES. PLAQUE DEDICATED OCTOBER 10, 2004 BY THE BILLY HOLCOMB CHAPTER OF THE ANCIENT AND HONORABLE ORDER OF E CLAMPUS VITUS, IN COOPERATION WITH THE OLD WOMAN SPRINGS RANCH AND THE MORONGO BASIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY.


C
lick on image to enlarge:

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Clamper Redshirts

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Noble Grand Humbug Mansel Hutsell & "Jeanette Allison" (Raelene Lewis)

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Ranch Caretaker
Bob Humphrey

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Bert & Donna Barber (OWSR owners) / Mynard & Marilyn Swarthout (Grandson of Albert Swarthout)

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Bert, Donna & Bob

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Mansel & Tom Granger

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"Hawk" (Lloyd Noel) on "Dusty"

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Martha Coutant, author of "Heart Bar Ranch"

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"Maggie Mae" (Carol Kester), Dale Noel,
& Raelene Lewis 

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Just some of the crowd

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Still in the forms after
the cement is poured 

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Posse members, Clampers & MBHS members John Ziagos ("Lone Arrow")
on "Hudson" & Lloyd Noel ("Hawk") by the ranch pond.  

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Cement truck just finished unloading into the monument frame

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Mynard, Marilyn, Martha & Ruth Long (all seated) enjoying the festivities

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Clampers & MBHS members Mansel, Gary Bancroft & Tom 

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"Raven Feather" (Dale Noel)

 

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Marilyn/Mynard Swarthout & Martha Coutant at "The Grotto"

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Local  residents enjoying the tour