Parkfield Then and Now Pt. 2

1854 finds William, Charles, and Edwin Imus living in Santa Cruz, California and for reasons known only to the Imus brothers the life of a beach boy or fisherman was getting old and they all agreed that it was “time for a change.” The three boys agreed that their future was waiting for them about 150 miles South, in the Cholame Valley of South Eastern Monterey County. Not wanting anymore sand in their shoes, the 3 boys saddled up their horses and loaded all their belongs onto a packhorse and headed East over the Pacheco Pass, then southward down the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. The trip must have taken a couple of weeks to reach Jacalitos Canyon. Then heading West climbing toward Mustang Saddle elevation 3500 feet and their lying before them in all it’s splendor was the beautiful Cholame Valley. To get to modern day Parkfield they descend 2000 feet to what was then a summer Yokut Indian village as there was year around water in the Little Cholame creek and thousands of Valley Oaks with their annual autumn crop of Acorns, a necessary part of the Yokut Indians diet. Maybe because Parkfield was already spoken for and reason known only to the Imus boys this was not their promised land. So they journeyed on following the Big Cholame Creek another 5 miles to the North and found a fertile plot of land to raise their cattle and horses and gave it the name of Imusdale.
The Imus boys were left pretty much to themselves except for a few San Miguel Mission Indians that brought cattle into the Cholame Valley to graze for awhile and then to move on. So the boys, for the most part, were left to their solitary lives that suited them just fine. 1862 Abraham Lincoln was our president and was committed to ending slavery and not allowing the United States of America to dissolve, was fully engaged with the Great American Civil War. But part of Lincoln ‘s domestic program was to sign The Homestead Act into law. This act granted to the applicant, 160 acres of land if he worked the land for 5 years and built a place to live. This Homestead Act would encourage the settling of the West and was this Act that started the Homestead era in The Cholame Valley. A Mr. Wm. Murley thought to be the first settler after the Imus boys to file the first Homestead claim in the valley.
It’s hard to believe but on February 28, 1874, 20 years after their arrival, five parcels of land belonging to the Imus brothers were sold at public auction for delinquent taxes by the Monterey County sheriff for the sum total of $508.28. This amount became the purchase price for 1529 acres and was sold to Mr. Francis Dowd. Doing the math you get $.33 cents per acre!! This sale of their land holdings must have not set to well and with the end of open range when Barbed Wire was introduced into the Valley by a neighbor, was the last straw. 1876  finds Charles and Edwin Imus 2 of the 3 brothers gathering their Devon cattle horses and belongings for the second time and this time they drive their herd to Camp Willows, Arizona.

(End of part 2)

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