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EATON, Alice Rue

EATON, Alice Rue

Female 1884 - 1967  (83 years)

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  • Name EATON, Alice Rue 
    Born 10 Jan 1884  Red Bluff, Tehama, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Died 12 Jun 1967  Brentwood, Contra Costa, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I325  Parker/Collis Genealogy
    Last Modified 26 Mar 2009 

    Father EATON, George Washington,   b. Aug 1840, Missouri, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Oct 1920, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 80 years) 
    Mother HOLLAND, Louisa Matilda,   b. 20 Mar 1846, Petersburg, Menard, Illinois, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Mar 1929, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years) 
    Married 1865  Red Bluff, Tehama, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Family ID F218  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family GRIGSBY, Byron Lindsay,   b. 2 Mar 1872, Brentwood, Contra Costa, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Jun 1959, Brentwood, Contra Costa, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years) 
    Married 25 Aug 1905  Methodist Church, Red Bluff, Tehama, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. GRIGSBY, Virginia Holland,   b. 11 Jan 1914, Oakland, Alameda, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 May 1992, , Contra Costa, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 78 years)
    Family ID F217  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsDied - 12 Jun 1967 - Brentwood, Contra Costa, California, United States Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Alice Rue Eaton Grigsby & Virginia.jpg
    Alice Rue Eaton Grigsby & Virginia.jpg

  • Notes 
    • "BACKFIRE- Old Ranch Out West" Written by Alice Rue Eaton Grigsby
      The old rustic ranch house, with its pleasant porches, overlooked a winding creek which was fringed with Pussy Willows and overhanging cottonwoods. During the winter months, this stream became a small river. We stood at the windows and watched the wild rush of turbulent waters. Driftwood, washed out fences, and flood gates, rode the crest of the waves. When the storm subsided, our river was again a winding brook, and during the summer months, it was merely a depression in the bottomland. In the occasional ponds of water beneath the cottonwood trees, the cattle stood knee deep, chewed their cuds and with their tails, switched away the flies.

      This house was situated in the midst of a two thousand acre tract. Pleasant valleys and rolling foothills, which submerged into the rugged Coast Range Mountains, made this area beautiful. My brother, Charles, and I spent a wonderful childhood on this old ranch. It was a playground of abrupt hills and verdant valleys, which in springtime was colorful with wildflowers.

      Beneath the drooping branches of the massive oaks, the sheep and cattle sought refuge from the summer's hot sun. The pleasant valleys were encircled with rugged foothills which were heavily wooded with scrub oak, manzanita and red holly bushes, Giant digger pines silhouetted against a blue sky, crowned the hilltops, and when the wind blew strong, they sent their music reverberating in valleys below.

      This land was paradise for a flaxen haired boy and a freckled faced girl, who found unbounded happiness with their good saddle horses as they daily traversed this area.

      We tramped through the woods, where we often found a spring of crystal water, from which a gurgling stream dashed down the hillside. Growing in profusion were beautiful wildflowers. In the shadows of the rocks grew the lacey Maidenhair ferns. On the hilltops we gathered armfuls of Indian Paint Brush. Often, we caught a glimpse of a bright yellow Gopher Snake making a hasty retreat.

      A brook is always the home of creeping things. Our Mother constantly warned us to beware of the rattlesnake. He generally sounds his baneful warning with his wriggling tail, raised head, glittering eyes and hissing tongue. He throws himself into an instant coil with the even rapidity of an electric device. All animals know instinctively the danger of combat with him, and the sound of his rattles fills them with fear and terror for many are his victims in the densely wooded areas and around the deep water holes during the warm summer season. This land held many joys and also heart breaking tragedies in our lives.

      Mount Shasta stands at the north of this valley; magnificent in her grandeur, rising to the height of 14,380 feet. She has been chiseled by wind and storm until she stands clear and white against the blue sky, like a mighty pyramid. The building of the Shasta dam placed her name before the world, as the giver of that elixir of life; water.

      Looking east from the old ranch, we could plainly see Mount Lassen, which stands like a battle scarred warrior. She became famous on 19 May 1914, when she sent her rocks and lava pouring over the surrounding country; becoming the only active volcano in the United States. She is visited by many tourists during the pleasant summer and fall months. Impressive canyons, primeval forests and alpine lakes, add to the beauty of Lassen Park.

      It was Indian Summer in the California foothills. Autumn had turned the land into crimson and gold. The hills and valleys were veiled with a blue atmospheric mist, which at times almost obliterated the world around us. The fertile valleys were covered with a heavy growth of sunburned grass, which crackled in the afternoon breeze, as it stood like and abundant harvest awaiting the reaper; for the harvest of the earth was ripe. The dangerous days of autumn had arrived when all western ranchers were keenly alert for any trace of smoke to appear on the horizon.

      My brother, Charles, dashed through the house (screaming), "Forest Fire", then he was soon galloping off toward the western rim of the ranch on his beautiful saddle horse, Gray Bess. His faithful dog, Cappy, was following in the dust of the horses heels; ready and willing to follow his master to the end of the world. Looking into the distance, we saw angry volumes of black smoke, curling up from behind pine crested hills and rolling off into gray sky. Each moment it was coming closer, slashing its way through the forest with devastating fury, roaring through the crowns of the trees and sending pine cones rolling down the hillsides, leaving ribbons of fire, as it raced on its way; driving all forest animals before it and devouring the unfortunate which failed to escape.

      The atmosphere was heavy with the odor of the burning woods. All pasture and grazing land, upon which droves of sheep and cattle were dependent for winter food, was being swept away. The bonds of friendship and loyalty were strong between the frontier ranchers. When adversity befell them, they remained staunch and true. They borrowed, loaned and gave without reluctance. It was their code of existence.

      After the first glimpse of smoke appeared in the skies, men began arriving at the old Eaton ranch from within a twenty five mile radius. They immediately made a back fir line around the old home and buildings.

      My sister, Leah, taught school far away from home but was spending a few days with us. We supplied the fire fighters with wet sacks to beat out the flames in their effort to save the valleys. We placed two large tubs in the back of my car and filled them with burlap sacks and water. Driving between the house and the backfiring line we passed through the canyon approaching the house. The hills were burning on both sides of us. The roar was so terrific, I could not hear the sound of my engine. I turned to my sister saying, "My engine has stopped!" Still, my car kept going and carried us through the narrow road. The horror of being stalled in the midst of the fire, turned my blood cold. When we emerged from the canyon, I could hear my old Super Six Hudson ticking away. My foot pressed the accelerator to the floor and we traveled safely through the walls of fire, which had left the hills bare and black. The skeletons of the pines were standing like death sentinels, guarding the old mutilated canyon.

      Our little mother was bravely doing her bit. She baked pans of hot biscuits, kept a huge pot of coffee on the stove, opened jars of pears preserves and pickled peaches. The old dining table became a banquet board where the fire fighters came in relays to refresh and replenish their strength. They were sterling men who gave freely their friendship and loyalty. I shall always appreciate them.

      There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Prov. 18:24

      Several hours had passed. The smoke disappeared from the skies and the fire was brought under control. A beautiful gray saddle horse without a rider galloped into the barnyard. She was seared and burned over her entire body. Her mane, tail and fetlocks were entirely gone. Her hoofs were black. The barn door was opened for her, and she dashed into her stall. The scorched saddle and blanket was removed, and she was attended in every possible way. She was almost unmanageable from the ordeal through which she had passed.

      Anxiety and fear held everyone speechless. Where was Charles? The tired men broke up into groups and hastily started out in different directions in search of him. They found him wandering aimlessly in the hills, trying to reach home. His face and hands were badly burned and he was as black as a colored man, although in life he was the fair English type; an athlete with a wonderful body. He was rushed to the Sisters Hospital in Red Bluff, where he remained for many weeks. His hands and face were solidly bandaged and all food had to be taken through a glass tube. He carried pitted scars on his face as long as he lived.

      His dog, Cappy, was lost in the crackling hell, and was never found. His beautiful saddle mare, Gray Bess, never recovered. Each hoof became infected and one by one, dropped off. Her suffering was intense and her life had to be mercifully ended.

      Charles was never again the superb physique and happy personality he had previously been. There was a break in his life. He soon followed our Father and Mother into the invisible land.

      Today the United States Aviation Fire Patrol make their daily trips over this area; ever watchful of this frontier area where herds of sheep and bands of cattle graze in peaceful contentment. The isolated ranchers look up into the blue sky and know that Uncle Sam is standing by when the dreaded forest fire goes to work. To all men of the Air Patrol, we are greatly indebted.

      It is comforting to know that when Charles closed the door upon this world and walked into the invisible, awaiting was his beautiful gray saddle mare, Gray Bess, with flicking ears, arched neck and champing bit. As he swung into the saddle and galloped into the distance, a sleek black mongrel dog was following in the dust of the horses heels.

      AU Revoir, Charles!

  • Sources 
    1. [S44] International Genealogical index, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
      Louisa Matilda Holland; Female; Birth: 21 MAR 1846; Spouse: George Washington Eaton; Marriage: 1860 Red Bluff, Tehama, California
      Record submitted after 1991 by a member of the LDS Church.
      Search performed using PAF Insight on 20 Apr 2006