Gopher Pied Piper of Edgemoor Now Bids Fair to Distance All Other Competitors in the County

Friday Morning, February 11, 1927

Who is the champion gopher trapper of the county?  Two Escondido ranchers started something when they put in a claim for the title, announcing that they had trapped about 250 together.

Then came Gilbert Shamrak of Ramona who clipped 538 gopher tails in 1926 and figured that number sufficient to rest all other claims of big catches of that year.

But, now, comes information to Escondido, birthplace of the gopher trapping contest, of the original Pied Piper of gopherdon.  His name is Henry McPherson.  His home is at the Edgemoor Farm in Santee.  According to news from his home, he is at present in the county hospital suffering from a slight stroke of paralysis.  However, he is expected to improve sufficiently within a few days to resume his occupation of catching rodents in this neighborhood.

McPherson is 61 years old.   He has been at the farm since January 1924, and during that time is reported to have caught and been paid for nearly 5000 gophers.  This is only an estimate, however, as the clerk of the farm, H.A.Vance, did not look up the records, but he did go through the files for the last year.  McPherson caught and was paid for 2000 gophers.  The county pays a bounty of 5 cents for each gopher tail.

DAILY CATCHES

McPherson keeps his daily catches until he has them in lots of 50 or 100 and then sends them to county officials.  Chester Gunn, superintendent, counts the tails and vouches for the number and the supervisors accept his figures.

There is no doubt about the 2000 caught during 1926, as the records show it and the tails are all tied up in the tobacco sacks and kept in the office at the farm.

McPherson is so badly crippled by paralysis that he has no use of his right hand and can walk only with difficulty.  However, by the use of his left hand and his teeth, he manages to set his traps.  He uses the ordinary spring traps and set them so skillfully that the gophers find it necessary to crawl over them to get in and out of their burrows.  He keeps from two to three dozen traps in use at all times and reaps a harvest of from a dozen to 20 gophers tails each day.

During March and May, last year, he did a comparatively light business, sending in for county bounty only 100 tails each of those months.  The rest of the year, his average was about 200 a month.

PROUD OF RECORD

McPherson is proud of his achievements in this line of work and thinks that if it were not for his work the county farm might have been overrun with the pests.  He keeps tab on the number of animals of each sex he captures and is fond of estimating the number there would have been there had he not killed so many.  His crop of prospective gophers, considering their breeding capacity, runs in to the millions and he thinks of himself as having saved the farm from a devastating plague.

The trapper places his earnings into a fund which he is acquiring to pay his funeral and burial expenses.  He has a decided aversion to being buried in a potter’s field, it is said, and is making provisions against that contingency.  He now has more than $200 in the fund.

Already McPherson has succeeded in besting the most aspirants of the county for gopher-trapping honors.  However, that is what H.R. Greaves of this valley thought when he announced he had caught 102 during 1926.  There is still a possibility that other trappers will put in their bid for the rodent extermination crown.

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Welcome Members!

Renewing Members

The Greg & Sissy Geisinger Family

Beth Harris

Sandra Huber

Elana Levens-Craig

Tricia Luke

The Robert & Patrice Steward Family

Ron Thiele

Alan Thompson

John Pumphrey

 

New Members

Petal Visions Design & Events  (Maria Costa-Fink) –  Event Planner

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It’s Membership Time!!!!!!

The Santee Historical Society explores Santee’s past to enrich our present and inspire our future. We connect people to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing Santee’s history. Family histories, events, newspaper articles, books, and photographs are being organized, filed and scanned for future research projects. We are a private, 501(c)3 membership organization located at 9200 Magnolia Ave in the green and white barn.

Museum Hours
Tuesday 10 am to 12 Noon
(Closed 2nd Tuesday of each month )
3rd Saturday 10 am to 2 pm.

(619) 449-2024
Email – TheSanteeHistoricalSociety@gmail.com
Facebook – The Santee Historical Society
Webpage – SanteeHistoricalSociety.org

You can join the Santee Historical Society by credit card –  click here.

or

For a printable version of our membership application – click here.

Please fill it out, and mail the completed form with your check to:

Santee Historical Society – Attn: Membership –

P.O. Box 710636 – Santee, CA 92072

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Do you like the Show American Pickers? They are Coming our Way!!!!

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Let us introduce you to our Business Member – Industrial Grinds Coffee

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See you there!

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Why do we need family photographs at the museum?

Images have power. As a form of language, visual data influences the way we create social meaning and share cultural knowledge. Seeing and then interpreting what we see is critical to our understanding the world from a particular lens or worldview.

Additionally, images have an ability to communicate beyond the power or necessity of words. It is true that a picture can be worth a thousand words, particularly in contemporary cultures that are visually driven. Images offer “thick descriptions” of people, events, places, and particular moments in time. It’s why social media is so popular and instrumental in present-day cultures.

Images also offer first-person perspectives on historical events that help us see and understand from different points of view. Photographs allow us to immerse ourselves in the histories and moments caught in a camSantee School marblesera’s lens.

Photographs can be objects or works of art. They can be a form of archival texts that document time, or windows into different cultures and worlds from our past. I like to think that photographs can bear witness. They provide visual evidence of a culture as a testament to our nation’s history.

It is for us to capture images of our times to preserve them for future generations. Fortunately with the availability access to social media and cloud storage today’s youth and those to come can enjoy these photos and many others that were once “lost”.

A photograph is actually an object in many ways. Just as museums are most interested in collecting original three-dimensional artifacts, we collect original photographs, negatives, digital negatives, or digital scans from negatives, depending on why and how the photo will be shared with the public. Antique and vintage photos and negatives are different from the contemporary images that sometimes come to us as digital negativ15432-1 Santee - Santee School - 1903es from the photographer.

In addition to being an object, though, images are also archival documents. So we’d want to collect images as original archival material as well. As a museum operating in the 21st century, we recognize that the original might also include digital files from digital cameras or high-resolution scans of negatives, which helps to stabilize images.

Our job is to share history and preserve American legacies, and sharing and preserving the work of photographers who have documented our nation’s culture and history is part of that.

The provenance and personal stories behind certain images, as well as the donors’ reasons for wanting to donate, are incredibly moving. People support our vision by helping to build the museum through donating family treasures has real value to us. Our collection is like a family album of sorts, with thousands of different branches in the family tree, and each one is significant to telling a broader story. Our donors become an important part of a  history, and the sense that the museum is working with a community of people as part of a family aligns with our mission.

Parts of this article are from – Aaron Bryant, NMAAHC’s curator

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James Ogden Miner

SHS Newsletter 7-15 lo res_Page_6

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Come one! Come all!

love songs of ww2 event

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Do you have “Bats in Your Belfry”?

Bats-In-The-Belfry

Just a little language history…

Do you know where the phrase “Bats in the Belfry” came from? The meaning of the word is “Crazy or eccentric”. Bats are, of course, the erratically flying mammals and ‘belfries’ are bell towers, sometimes found at the top of churches. ‘Bats in the belfry’ refers to someone who acts as though he has bats careering around his topmost part, that is, his head.

Although this phrase sounds like it came from Jolly Ole’ England, it does in fact originate in the USA and is not especially old. All the early citations are from American authors and date from the start of the 20th century; for example, this piece from the Ohio newspaper The Newark Daily Advocate, October 1900:

“To his hundreds of friends and acquaintances in Newark, these purile [sic] and senseless attacks on Hon. John W. Cassingham are akin to the vaporings of the fellow with a large flock of bats in his belfry.”

Ambrose Bierce, also American, used the term in a piece for Cosmopolitan Magazine, in July 1907, describing it as a new curiosity:

“He was especially charmed with the phrase ‘bats in the belfry’, and would indubitably substitute it for ‘possessed of a devil’, the Scriptural diagnosis of insanity.”

The use of ‘bats’ and ‘batty’ to denote odd behavior originated around the same time as ‘bats in the belfry’ and the terms are clearly related. Again, the first authors to use the words are American:

1903 A. L. Kleberg – Slang Fables from Afar: “She … acted so queer … that he decided she was Batty.

1919 Fannie Hurst – Humoresque: “ ‘Are you bats?’ she said.

There have been several attempts over the years to associate the term ‘batty’ with various people called Batty or Battie, notably the 18th century physician William Battie. He was a governor of the Bethlem Hospital, a.k.a. Bedlam, and physician to St Luke’s Hospital for Lunaticks, where he wrote A Treatise on Madness. Despite those illustrious credentials, it was bats rather than Battie that caused scatterbrained people to be called ‘batty’.

Do you know anyone who has Bats In their Bellfry?

BatsinBelfrey

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