Moose Buckle
Big Pine in the early 1900s

All photo cards on this page courtesy of Rich McCutchan archives unless otherwise noted.
The photographs of early residents are from two personal scrapbooks of Big Pine residents which Rich recently acquired.

 Main Street Big Pine Circa 1900
 Main Street

Main Street Big Pine Circa 1900
big pine 


 Some of the residents of Big Pine, circa 1910.
 Early Residents

 Top row (L to R): Frank Inman, Bertha Chrysler Inman, Great Aunt Libly Hamilton (Grandma's sister), Grandpa Chrysler, Grandma Chrysler, Aunt Clara Mitchell, Aunt Alice Robinson, Bob Roginson, Ester Tate (Mother), Thomas Tate (father), Mary Smith with Fay Smith on her lap, Bud Smith (with flag)

 Bottom row (L to R): Howard Smith (with hat), Eloa Tate, Dorothy Inman with Clarice Tate in front of her (with curls), Robert Smith with Enid Robinson in front of him, Bessa Robinson, Dot Robinson (Wilson), Gerte (Mitchell) Smith, Alvina Smith (young girl on Aunt Clara's lap), George Mitchell, Bertha Mitchell, Mark Mitchell, Robert Smith (Gertie's son)

 Front row (L to R): (Middle of picture) Frank Mitchell, Bernice Mitchell, Mildred Mitchell

Leo LeGoy of Reno, Nevada writes


What a surprise!

In looking at the presentation "Big Pine in the early 1900s", I found a picture of a large family. It was so
small on your page I really did not look at it too much. I did, however, read the caption. Surprise, among the names listed was that of my mother. The picture was headed with "Some of the residents of Big Pine, circa 1910".

Your notation of circa 1910 must be close to correct as my mother (Enid Robinson) appears to be about 12 years old. She was born in 1898 which would fit closely, I'm sure.

Among she and two of her sisters: Bessa Robinson and Dot (Willson) Robinson are both my grandparents: H. H. Bob Robinson and my great grandparents Joseph Freeman Chrysler and wife Jane. It is the first picture I
have ever seen of my great grandparents.

Most of the names of these in the picture I have heard and some I knew but some I cannot make the connection. I know I am related to all of them but I do not know all the abc's.

I am Leo Robert LeGoy and am 79 years old. I live in Reno, Nevada

Do you have any other pictures or stories about the Robinsons, Mitchells, Smiths or Tates?

Thanks for helping me put these people together.


(July 2004)

"The First High Horse Trip"[pdf]
by Anita Day Hubbard


Glimpses of Big Pine residents

 Edith & Russel
Aunt Edith and Russell(dog)

 Water Flume
Big Pine flume iced over in the winter.

Bartels & Smith 
Henry Bartels (top) and Robert Smith

Chicken Farm
Chicken farming in Big Pine.

Geroge Crocker
George Crocker

Early Resident 
Jake Miller in Rossie's butcher shop.


"Paiute Life"[pdf]
by Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins


Cowboys, Packers and Pioneers

 Joe Valdez
Joe Valdez

Valdez Family 
Johnny Valdez and family

May Crowell 
May Crowell Smith

Marnee Durgin writes:

I just wanted to thank you for running such an awesome website on Owens Valley History. I am a student at Cal State Long Beach working on my teaching degree and had to give a presentation on the plight of the Valley residents as a result of the Aqueduct being built. The information and pictures you provided were invaluable! Needless to say, I received an A+ on my presentation and everyone was impressed. My husband and I own some property in Cartago and the Owens Valley has always interested me.

On a side note, while searching your website, I believe I found a possible long lost ancestor! May Crowell Smith was featured in your Early Big Pine section and she is the spitting image of my father's side of the family. I showed the picture to my mother and she looked May's name up in our family book. There is a May Crowell in our book who's lifetime fits the time frame given in your site. We are curious as to where you got the picture of her from. If you have that information, would it be possible for you to forward it to us so we can continue our family history research? I know my mother would be eternally grateful to you if you have any information on May or her family that could help us out.

Thank you again for making such a wonderful resource available. I hope to hear from you soon.


Marnee Durgin
May 2004

 Pete Gardner
Pete Garner packing up.

Pete & Guest
Pete Garner with guest.

Sarah, Pete Garner and Gwen

Unknown Big Pine resident

Unknown Big Pine resident

Unknown Big Pine residents


"The High Sierra: the Journey Ends"[pdf]
by Willie Chalfant


big pine
Crossing Big Pine Creek - 1925
big pine
Pine Creek Pack Station - 1925

chicken ranch
Eaton Chicken Ranch in Big Pine, CA
(Photo courtesy of Hal Eaton)

owens river poultry company
Owens River Poultry Company - south of Big Pine, CA - 1910
(Photo courtesy of Hal Eaton)
eaton ranch
Eaton Chicken Ranch in Big Pine, CA
(Photo courtesy of Hal Eaton)



Photos courtesy of UC Riverside Library Archives

big pine residents
The family of John Black (seated); wife Rose seated; children Rosalind and J. D. behind their parents. Inscription on top of photograph: "The Black Family." Names of persons in photograph inscribed on bottom of photograph by J. D. Black: "Father Rosalind Mother Jack." Title supplied by cataloger.
A French-Canadian immigrant from Montreal, Canada, John Black came to Virginia City, Nevada, circa 1880-1885, to work in the mines. Here he met his wife Rose Carroll (1861-1940), whom he married at unknown date. The couple made their home in the California mining town of Bodie, where he had some kind of business partnership, perhaps mining, with a John McAlpin. In 1886 Rose and John Black moved to Bishop, of the Owens Valley. Two years later John Black bought “Jack Barton’s Saloon.” He either renamed the saloon “Black’s,” or else opened a store with that name, while continuing to run the saloon. In 1902, he bought a saloon in Big Pine and would move there in 1908. From the late 1890s until his death in 1923, it is known that he had mining interests in Mono County and the Chrysopolis, California area. Voter registration lists from Big Pine in 1922 record his occupation as miner. John and Rose Black were the parents of Rosalind and J. D. Black. John Black was 58 years of age at his death. Wife Rose is listed as a registered voter in Big Pine in 1922 and 1926; her occupation recorded as housewife. By 1928 Rose Black is absent from voter lists. Their two children were Rosalind and J. D. (John David). Rosalind grew up in Big Pine, although her parents had her attend high school in San Diego. By 1921, Rosalind Black was operating a women’s and children’s clothing store in Big Pine called the “Style Shop.” Inyo County voter registration lists from 1922 record that she was a Republican and that Rosalind’s occupation was indeed merchant. In the mid 1920s, she married Delber Shaw (1887-1972), who worked in the Watterson brothers’ bank in Big Pine. She continued to run her shop. By 1952, Rosalind and her husband had left Big Pine. Rosalind Black Shaw died in Los Angeles County in 1969, perhaps in Lakewood, California, where her only child, Peggy Shaw Zimmerman, resided. J. D. Black (1893-1960), also known as Jack, was a resident of both Big Pine and Bishop, California, during his lifetime. He operated stores in both towns and had some mining interests. He was a leader in the fight of Big Pine for reparations from the City of Los Angeles during the Owens Valley Water Controversy, of the 1920s. His wife was Sophie Louise Black (1895-1989), nee Staudinger; the couple had three daughters.

(Loyola Marymount Archives)

bishop residents
Back of building, probably the hotel and bar of Tom Callow, in Big Pine, California. Wooden barrels with discarded tin cans to left of porch. Inscription on back of photograph: "Top Row Mrs. Callow, Tom Callow, Bridget, and the cook. Bottom Row Ed, Peachey, and Austin Ober, Porte Jack and Nettie." Printed on heavy board. Title supplied by cataloger.
Tom Callow operated a hotel and bar in Big Pine, California, in the early part of the twentieth century. Voter registration lists from Inyo County record an Edwin H. Ober as a game warden in Big Pine, California, in 1922, and in 1926 his profession is given as "fish culture." A Mrs. Peachey Ober, undoubtedly his wife, is listed as a housewife. She is still cited as living in Big Pine in 1928, but her husband is no longer found on the voter rolls. Austin Ober is recorded as a voting resident in Big Pine in 1922 but disappears after that; his occupation was clerk. He may have died in Orange County in 1957. Biographical information on the other persons in the photograph is lacking, although "the cook" appears to be Chinese, and "Porte Jack" and "Nettie" are undoubtedly Paiutes, the resident Native Americans in the Owens Valley.

(Loyola Marymount Archives)

big pine residents
Trout fishing party in Owens Valley - circa 1900

(Loyola Marymount Archives)


One Packer's High Sierra Experience  

Vintage Eastern High Sierra Brochures  

Cerro Gordo  

More, Early Big Pine


 Early Bishop Residents


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This page was last updated on 25 January 2017