Graniteville, California

A historic mining town in the Sierra Nevada mountains

Picnic at Bowman Lake – 1897

lake bowman_1897As told by Barry Kyle: This photo was taken in 1897 at  Bowman Lake which is 5 miles outside of Graniteville.  Most of the people in the picture died in 1920 from Scarlet Fever. My 22 year old grandmother, Annie McLean Kyle,  is in the photo (in the middle).

She wrote the following a poem based on that afternoon at Bowman Lake. It’s written on butcher paper. She started it in 1919 and added lines over the years. Pretty good for someone who came to California in a covered wagon and little education.

Way up in the high Sierras
Among the snow clad hills
stands a little village,
that is know as Graniteville.

High up among the timbers
in the country God made to mine
The little town was settle
In the days of Forty Nine

Like a flower it grew and blossomed
While mining was at its heights
But it gradually faded and wasted away
till now it is mostly out of sight.

The folks who dwelled in this hamlet
loved it tenderly and well
But the outspread hand of ambition
Led them other places as well.

Some of them tarried, some of them married
Some of them lived alone
But in the summer of 1920
They all went back “up Home.”

Twas a very merry gathering
When all these dear ones met
And they talked and laughed of the good times
And hope for better ones yet.

They planned a trip that would take them afar
up to Old Bowman’s lake
So they gathered the crowd and started out
Just for old time’s sake.

T’was on a Tuesday when they left
the woods still seemed the same
they traveled on until they stopped
at the spot called Camp Remain.

To stay at such a place as this
would surely be a treat
for who was there but our dear old friends
Albert and “Dutchie Pete.”

They greeted us with outstretched arms
and told us to help ourselves
to whatever we found that was floating around
on bench or chair or shelf.

There were seven of us who motored up
in young Buck Kyle’s machine
The time passed by quite pleasantly
while Buck and Rose did Queen.

Reg and Merv went trotting off
for many fish to find
while Alt and Eva came poking along
following far behind

And there was Jen with her hearty laugh
and great desire for fishing
one little fish was all she caught
but still she kept on wishing.

Each evening we sat by the campfire to chat
and our neighbors came up from the Cove
Mr.Sullivan spoke and pleasantly told
Of how Bob became “King of Coconut Grove.”

Three days have passed, our friends have gone
How fast the time did fly
But never the less, we enjoyed ourselves,
So…Alt and Pete…”Goodbye.”

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