Eureka >> Author Marvin Shepherd presents “A Scottish Syndicate in the Redwoods” at the Humboldt County Historical Society program meeting on Saturday, January 3 at 1 p.m., in the first-floor conference room of the Humboldt County Library, 1313 Third Street, Eureka. Admission is free and everyone is invited.
Marvin Shepherd, author of “The Sea Captain’s Odyssey” the extremely well received and first-ever biography of Captain H. H. Buhne, has written another groundbreaking book, “A Scottish Syndicate in the Redwoods.” For the first time, the surprising tale of three Humboldt pioneers and a daring land fraud scheme is being told in full.
In 1882, Charles King, David Evans, and Joseph Russ developed a plan to acquire over 50,000 acres of redwood timberlands on the North Coast, and to sell them to a Scottish syndicate. The plan involved hundreds of entrymen, post-dated land entry forms, and amenable government land office employees, all managed from a back-room office in Gorham Barnum’s Saloon in Eureka.
The four men also developed a second plan to create a monopoly in the manufacture of redwood lumber by purchasing the assets of four lumber companies and becoming the largest manufacturer of redwood lumber in the world, to be known as the California Redwood Company. The notoriety of the first plan became attached to the second and was partially responsible for the failure of the attempted monopoly in only nineteen months.
Shepherd vividly details the process for acquiring the redwood timberlands and the attitudes of the entrymen as well as the lumbermen that prevailed in that pioneering era. He addresses land laws, the funding limits of the government land office, and the limited oversight that was provided for passing government lands into private hands. He also describes the attempted bribery of two government investigators and the intimidation of entrymen when they attempted to become government witnesses.
Join Marvin Shepherd for this surprising and compelling tale, revealed in detail for the first time. He will sign copies of his book, which will be available for purchase. For more information please contact the Humboldt County Historical Society at 445-4342, or visit http://www.humboldthistory.org/