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Barry Schrader
Columnist

 

I currently have columns running in 3 newspapers;

  • Tri-Valley Herald : Looking Back
  • Valley Times : Do You Remember?
  • The Independent : Do You Remember?

The Articles appear in the Herald and Independent on Thursdays,
and the Times on Sundays.

They will also be found on this page each week as well.

 

If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

Archive Page

Grizzly Adams trapped bears in Corral Hollow

By Barry Schrader.................................March 24, 2005

The saga of Grizzly Adams has been immortalized in books and even a TV series using his name. The real Grizzly Adams was a bonafide "Mountain Man" and was also known as the "Wild Yankee." He spent time in the eastern end of the Livermore Valley, known as Corral Hollow, in 1855 and again in 1856.
Thanks to local historian Ann Homan, who directed me to the book "Carrel of Corral Hollow" by Earle Williams, I found more details of his stays in this area, in addition to what I had learned from the book "The Legend of Grizzly Adams" by Richard Dillon.
Adams operated a wildlife museum called the Mountaineer Museum in San Francisco, but made hunting expeditions as far as Yosemite to collect specimens as well as trap bears, which he also exhibited in San Francisco, plus selling others to zoos around the country.
In 1855 Adams first visited the Zink House at Corral Hollow, an inn owned by Edward Carrell and Horatio Wright. They provided provisions for his hunting expedition. Adams was accompanied by his two favorite pet Grizzlies-Lady Washington and Ben Franklin--plus his greyhound dog named Rambler. Adams found this an ideal hunting area due to the plentiful deer, antelope, elk, panthers, and the big bears.
Adams and a helper built bear traps in different canyons of Corral Hollow, constructed of heavy native logs, five by ten feet and about four feet high. Each was fitted with a trap door with a "double deadfall" trigger of Adams' invention. The traps were baited with fresh meat of game they had killed, or sometimes even honey and a sugar-based concoction that would lure the bears. These "cages" were pinned together with hardwood pegs and also pinned to the ground. Apparently they were effective, as the books report he captured several bears using that method. One location was described as Devil's Den which was a half mile north of Tesla (a later coal mining town) in a deep ravine.
Adams dressed in a coat and pantaloons of buckskin, fringed at the edges. On his head was a cap of deerskin ornamented with a foxtail, while on his feet he wore buckskin moccasins. The outfit was made for him by Indian friends. He carried a rifle and a hunting knife. These were the weapons of choice he used in hunting grizzlies, sometimes at close range with the knife. The books also reported he visited the Robert Livermore rancho more than once.
His museum in San Francisco was eventually bought out by P.T. Barnum, who also used Adams and his animals in his traveling circus. The end came for Adams at age 48 in 1860 due to complications from old injuries he had suffered while fighting bears. He had succumbed while at the home of his wife and daughter in Neponset, Mass. and was buried in Charlton, Mass. far from his beloved grizzlies back in San Francisco.
In 1882 the Livermore press reported that a grizzly had been killed at Cresta Blanca out Arroyo Road, the last of the big bears found in this valley.

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Instead of a history mystery this week, I am seeking a young girl's full name. In 1994 a third grader at Sunset School in Livermore wrote a thank you note to Tilli Calhoun who had brought the Livermore Heritage Guild's Historymobile (an RV turned into a museum on wheels) to the school for a lesson in local history. The girl signed her letter Lindsey B. Now Ann Homan would like to use that letter in her upcoming history book, but needs the girl's permission. Can anyone help us find her?

The columnist can be reached via email at :

Historian2sbcglobal.net

or by snailmail at:

Barry Schrader
PO Box 446
Livermore, CA. 94551

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