Women of the Rancho

By Marion Dale Pokriots
Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce, 1995 Membership & Community Profile

For thousands of years, Indian maidens gathered their acorns under magnificent tan bark oaks which grew in the Valley. They ground their meal with mortars, which were abandoned along sparkling, trout-filled streams. When the Spanish-speaking people found this enchanting Valley tucked into the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, they gave the newly discovered paradise a name - the Rancho San Agustin.

The Mexican authorities granted the Rancho to a Russian, who brought his Spanish wife to their 4,437-acre primeval domain. Candida Castro de Bolcoffs children explored and gambled where Nob Hill stands today. Her sisters, Jacinta and Maria de los Angeles Castro, afforded companionship while they resided with the Bolcoffs on the Rancho San Agustin.

When the Bolcoffs and Jacinta moved to the Mission Santa Cruz, Maria and her new husband, Joseph Majors, made the Rancho their home. Maria, an expert horsewoman and herbalist, happily recalled that " ... we were married, and my father gave us all the land of Scotts Valley, and the horses and cattle and houses that were there, and we had many happy years there and many children, too."

In 1852, Majors sold the Rancho to Hiram Scott, who brought family members from Maine to settle on his vast estate. Nancy Parcher Scott, Hirams step-mother, Anna Barker Scott, wife of Hirams brother, Ed, and the lovely, well-educated Agnes Cummings Scott, Hirams wife, were the first American pioneer women in the Valley.

After moving to the silver mines of Alpine County, Hiram and Agnes sold their 1,100 acre stock ranch (Borland area) to the Erringtons. Grace Errington was a schoolteacher from London when she married Joseph Errington. Joseph brought Grace to California and they soon established the first dairy in Scotts Valley. Joseph died a short time later leaving Grace with two small children and a large dairy. She remarried Achilles Hicks and they continued to operate their Scotts Valley dairy until the early 1900s.

During the 1860's, more families were settled along the fern-banked streams of the Rancho. Amy Dickens, Marie Wagner, Sarah Hendricks and Sarah Waite moved to the sparsely populated Valley. The Hendricks ranch became the stage stop for travelers going "over the hill."

Sarah Shaw Hendricks
Sarah Paine Waite
Sarah Waite and her husband, James, had already pioneered such budding metropolises as Chicago, Los Angeles and San Bernadino. In 1849, the Waites arrived at San Gabriel. Sarah set up housekeeping at El Molino Viejo (now the California Historical Societys southern headquarters) while James published the Los Angeles Star and served as postmaster of the Village of Los Angeles. They farmed in San Bernadino for several years before finally settling on a beautiful, wooded ranch off Granite Creek Road.

The western portion of the Rancho was sold to the Lockes in 1869. Mary Locke, a well-educated Vermonter, wrote for various publications. The Lockes eventually established the beautiful Springvale Dairy, and Mary was kept busy writing articles for the Pacific Rural Press for many years.

When Mary Locke passed away in 1881, her daughter, Finette, a student at Berkeley, returned to the ranch. Nettie followed in her mothers literary footsteps and became the Scotts Valley correspondent for the Santa Cruz Surf. Under the sobriquet "Wake Robin," Finette preserved the early history of the community through her many columns.

Upon moving to the area, Alice Hinton Hunsucker resided in a charming, old-fashioned house on picturesque Glen Canyon Road. Alices home became the centerpiece for several movies. Two versions of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm were shot on the Hunsucker ranch.

The daughters of Dr. Charles Anderson were well-known women in the Valley. Seddie, who had taught at the Young Ladies Seminary in Benicia, purchased property on Bean Creek and established a summer camp at Hepsidam (close to Mount Hermon). Her sister, Carrie, who had studied painting under the eminent plein-air artist, William Keith, married Elmon Daniels. The Daniels made their home on Bean Creek Road near the Roudon-Smith Winery.

Up on Mt. Roberta, the elite of San Francisco and Berkeley came to relax in the fresh mountain air. Edith Davis, daughter of Unitarian minister Thomas Starr King, owned property off Canham Road. Her good friend, Sada Cornwall and her husband Pierre, who was president of the California Light Company, owned many wooded acres nearby.

In later years, film director Alfred Hitchcock made the Cornwall property his country estate. Mary Robb and her husband, Colonel Thomas P. Robb, held court at their Sea View Villa on the summit of Mt. Roberta during the late 1880s.

Ellen Thomson and Edith Gushee Harington were long-time residents of the Valley. The Thomsons 400- acre Edgewood Farm was located on the west side of Scotts Valley Drive. The Harington Dairy, which was on Glenwood Drive, was inherited by Edith from her grandmother, Anna Scott.

Eva Frapwell - Thomson-Frapwell House, S.V. (1892) During the early 1900s, Eva Frapwell was the reigning hostess of the community. The Frapwell brothers bought both the Hicks and Thomsons ranches and Eva raised her family in the Thomsons enormous three-story Victorian. Evas parties for young people are remembered with delight to this day by old- timers.

The beauty of the Rancho attracted Marion Hollins, a former U.S. Womens Golf Champion, at the time she was developing her Pasatiempo Golf and Country Club near Santa Cruz. Marion purchased part of the Errington ranch and built her living quarters and polo stables on property east of Carbonera Creek. The eminent architect William Wurster designed the buildings and Marions Vine Hill Farm became one of the most beautiful spots in Santa Cruz County.

Marion Hollins on her Vine Hill Farm in Scotts Valley (1930's) Lola Beall Graham, Scotts Valley Poet and Wildlife Photographer
In 1928, Lola Beall Graham moved from Idaho to Scotts Valley. The Grahams farmed and sold peat removed from the property they had bought from the Lockes. While Lola raised their five children, she found the time to write prize-winning poetry. After the children were grown, she became a wildlife photographer, and many of her photos have been published in national wildlife magazines.

"Mrs. Scotts Valley" and "Citizen of the Year" were titles bestowed on Agnes Lewis for countless hours of service she gave to the community. Active in getting Scotts Valley incorporated, she was also instrumental in organizing the Scotts Valley County Water District, the Citys property owners association, the historical society and the music association. She served as president of many civic organizations and was involved in producing the Scotts Valley Calvacade, an annual outdoor historical extravaganza.

In recent years, Barbara Kahn-Langer (Leichter), Gina Koshland and Peggie Lopez have given their time and talents to the community while serving on the city council and as mayors of the City.

Over the years, Scotts Valley has benefited from the tireless efforts of the women in the community who have made lasting contributions toward the Valleys development.


Scotts Valley Historical Society Civic Center Drive; Scotts Valley, CA 95066