Saturday, January 25, 2014

Holy Crapitola ~ A Five Day Project Turns into Five Weeks ~ Dec 9, 2013 to Jan 17, 2014

Our bathroom's been on the to do list for the 27 years we've owned the house. What started out as a pretty straight forward project to replace the old tub with a walk in shower and update a few things turned into the Remodel from Hell. 

Surprise #1 - Two of the walls in the bathroom are inch thick, exterior stucco, painted the same color as the exterior of the house when we bought it in 1988. We always thought the place might have been a cabin at one time, wish the walls could talk! Removing these sections created quite the grit cloud, which, no matter the precautions, escaped the confines of the project. A deep cleaning of the house was a no brainer once the project was completed. 

Surprise #2 ~ Though recycle and re-purpose were not yet words in the common man's dictionary when the house was built in 1953, it appears the concept was alive and well judging from the construction of the shower. Can you spell jigsaw puzzle?
Surprise #3 ~ The plumbing inspector showed up Wednesday the 11th and had our crew remove a 4' x 4' section of floor to expose the tangle of plumbing he suspected was there. We discovered that when the new sewer line was put in (before we purchased the house) they simply put wood flooring over the old, open sewer pipe which was still connected to septic. Yikes!

Plumbers had to be called (installers aren't plumbers which seems ironic since ReBath specializes in bathroom remodels) and they would be there Tuesday (12/17) to get plumbing up to code. Next Week?  We've been without a shower since the 9th and a toilet since the 11th. Fortunately we have our little trailer (the outhouse on wheels) parked out front and we've been able to stay at a cottage owned by the parents of one of our neighbors.

The plumbers pondered a solution and came up with a winner. The inspector signed off on the 18th and the washer, dishwasher, sink, shower and vanity were connected to the new sewer line. Our Medusa has been tamed and the crew finished the project on Saturday the 21st, our 27th Anniversary. Whoopee we can sleep at home. 

Surprise #4 ~ The entire plumbing system backs up Sunday morning after two showers and two flushes. WTF! Monday morning we call the a honey wagon and get the septic pumped (it was time anyway) but that doesn't solve the problem. Razzafratz! Rod spent over an hour on his belly in the ice plant with a hose and hand cranked snake before a large chunk of something indescribable dropped into the septic tank with a splash. Houston we're up and running again. The painters came on January 13th. 

Though the project went over budget and was total pain the ass, now that it's over, it was worth it. No matter how much homework and planning you do you're going to find something else that needs to be dealt with. 

"Before you do any remodeling, you should check out the existing market for another home. If you don't do it before you remodel, there's going to be at least one moment during the remodel when you do...and you're going to find that you can't afford to move anyway. So part of the process becomes coming clear about liking where you live." Paul Winans

Monday, January 20, 2014

Tombstone Series ~ Are You There Moriarty? Part II

Wanting to know what lead to the infamous showdown with Judge Barnes, I dug a little deeper and found the rest of the story. Stanley was a merchant in many guises and for a few years he ran auction and commission houses at 506 and 508 Allen Street. 

Allen Street ~ Left to Right
Tombstone Prospector, Auction Houses, 
Nobles Hotel, 
Schieffelin Hall (stand alone building)
Courtesy Tombstone Archives

Always active in community affairs he was elected a city councilman for the Fourth Ward in 1886. On November 19, 1886 he was appointed to the committees on finance, printing, gas, fire, water, and public buildings.

City Council Minutes 1886
Courtesy Tombstone Archives

"Bagg, in cahoots with Judge James Reilly, Martin Costello, Andy Ritter, and Joseph Pascholy were upset with the Tombstone newspaper, the Tombstone Epitaph. On a dare he decided to rival the Epitaph, thus the origin of the Tombstone Prospector, in 1887." (1)
"The Prospector was conceived to offset what some powerful Tombstonans suspected were sinister forces at work behind the editorial masthead of the Tombstone Epitaph. The Prospector was established March 7, 1887 as an independent daily paper. Feeling the need for a more combative approach, Bagg, who viewed the Epitaph as little more than a mouthpiece of a Cochise County ring centered around the courthouse, took over as editor and sole owner of the Prospector in 1889." (2)
"The Prospector's mission was to combat the powerful group which ruled the roost at the courthouse.  Combat duty was turned over to editor Jimmy Nash, who did what Bagg called a "poor job." So Bagg stepped in to give the county ring a real fight. A showdown ensued when both papers submitted bids for what Bagg later called "the velvet of the business at the time" ~ the printing contract for the Cochise County government.  

Both papers bid on the contract: it was awarded to The Epitaph even though Bagg's bid was much lower. Denied the velvet, Bagg sued the county, only to lose the case before District Judge W.H. Barnes. Unwilling to let the matter rest, Bagg's Prospector attacked the decision in print ~ the move that landed him back before Judge Barnes on a contempt charge. 

In 1891, Bagg solved the rivalry problem by purchasing The Epitaph. He returned it to weekly status and a Sunday review publication.  Having been the butt of Epitaph commentary, none of it too complimentary, bagging The Epitaph must have been sweet for the five-foot tall furniture store owner and son of the founder of the Detroit Tribune." (3)

He ran the Prospector until 1895. During that period of time he was involved in all things social, political and economic in Cochise County and the Territory. He became widely known, well liked, and was respected by friends and foes. In the early 1880's he was appointed to the Territorial Prison Commission and by 1893 he was chairman. 

(1) Cochise County Stalwarts Lynn R. Bailey, (2) Those Old Yellow Dog Days, Frontier Journalism in Arizona 1859-1912 William H. Lyon (3) Fred Schoemehl editor, National Edition of the Tombstone Epitaph

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tombstone Series ~ Are You There Moriarty? July 1, 1961

Though I'm a California girl, some of the roots of my family tree are firmly planted in Tombstone history starting in the 1880's. In January, 1984 my Mom sent me a newspaper clipping about my great grandfather, Stanley Chipman Bagg. The column, called The Lighter Side, was written by Kearney Egerton, a former cartoonist and writer for The Arizona Republic. His tales of Tombstone and the state's history made him an Arizona institution.

SC Bagg, editor of the Tombstone Prospector, let fly with both barrels at Judge W.H. Barnes of the federal district court for one of his decisions. Barnes slapped a $500 fine, for contempt, on him. "I have enough money to pay the fine" Bagg said, "but I refuse to pay the fine as a matter of principle!" Barnes had him thrown into the Cochise County Jail. Bagg was there several weeks, editing the Prospector from behind bars and receiving a steady stream of visitors. He became an embarrassment to the authorities and they told him he could go. He refused. The sheriff had to throw him out of the cold and stony and lock the door behind him. Years passed. Judge Barnes, then in retirement from the bench, was ordered to jail for contempt by Judge R.E. Sloan. As he approached the jail doors he fainted, and was carried to his cells by friends. He collapsed on the narrow bed, but arose when a jail attaché appeared with a telegram. "Aha" he exclaimed, "People far away have heard of this outrageous miscarriage of justice!" He opened the telegram "Are you there, Moriarty? S.C. Bagg"

Mom's letter said the story had been taken out of context from Walter Noble Burns' book Tombstone. In our copy my great grandmother, Charlotte Winchester Bagg, penciled a note in the chapter Red Lights and Altar Candles that S.C was only in jail for one day. Further research turned up several other versions of the story from including one in our archives from James M. Barney published in The Sheriff Magazine in 1952. 

In the Fall of 2012, we headed up to Butte County for a couple of days to visit my Aunt Betty. She sent me home with a treasure trove of historic papers and remembrances from my grandfather, John Sherman Bagg, Stanley's son. Here is his version of the story. 

S.C. Bagg may well be one of these gentlemen 
but we haven't been able to confirm to date.

July 01, 1961

We didn't have County Judges in the 1880's but District Judges and District Attorneys. These came from Tucson to hold Court in Tombstone at regular intervals.

Judge Barnes was a District Judge and he delivered a ruling that had the community boiling over. Dad took issue with it in his newspaper, the Tombstone Prospector, criticizing the ruling editorially and in a humorous vein. Judge Barnes hauled him into court and fined him $300 or 300 days in jail for contempt. Dad said he'd take the jail sentence, thereby putting pressure on Judge Barnes.

Scott White was the sheriff. Dad edited the paper from the front office of the jail, receiving proofs and sending out copy. Then when the jail closed and dad was supposed to be locked up for the night, he and Scott White would slip out the back way to a nice meal with Mrs. White in their home next door and Dad would bed down in the spare room. After three days, the town dignitaries still indignant and siding with dad, collected $300, got a team and surrey and took him out for home.

Judge R.E. Sloan (later to be Governor Sloan) succeeded Judge Barnes and when he made his first visit to Tombstone Dad met him at Benson and rode the "Burro Train" to Fairbanks, where they boarded the old six horse Modoc stage for Tombstone (8 miles). On this trip Dad sold himself to Judge Sloan as his Clerk of Court. This was the beginning of a very fine friendship and I remember the Judge at our dinner table on several occasions.

Years later former Judge Barnes was handling a case before Judge Sloan in Tucson. He didn't like Judge Sloan's attitude and got sassy. The judge admonished him, but he kept at it until finally Judge Barnes overstepped himself and Judge Sloan gave him "$300 or 300 days". He told the sheriff to take him into custody and motioned for District Attorney Francis J. Heney (more on him in another post) to come to the bench and whispered to him to "Go out and wire Bagg". Dad got the wire and immediately wired Judge Barnes in care of the Sheriff at County Jail "Are you there Moriarty?" Walter Noble Burns, in his Tombstone makes quite a story of this but misses some of the more pungent details.

Years later I was in the bar of the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles at a table where I was called to met some of the men in the party. I met a Barnes, "Any relation to Judge Barnes of Tucson?" Barnes "I am his son" "Are you by any chance related to Stanley C. Bagg of Tombstone?" Dad "I am his son"

We glared at one another, about to explode into a knock down and drag out, when the humor of it struck us and amid laughter and a couple of big scotch highballs, we buried the Barnes-Bagg feud. "Are you there Moriarty" however still persists in the record books. My most active part in this episode was visits to the jail to feast on the cakes and candy and other donations that were brought in by the "Loyal Legion"

Good Hunting, John Sherman Bagg, Mining Engineer

My research mentors, Nancy Sosa from the Tombstone Archives and Margo Metegrano from, taught me to not believe everything I read and keep digging for the truth. There is something to be said for the thrill of the chase.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A New Year's Rewind ~ Jan 01, 2014

Rod and I once owned a part interest in 40 acres on the old Navarro Ranch in Cazadero. The property was burned over in the Creighton Ridge fire in August 1978 and when one of the original partners decided to sell out Rod bought his share. He was living on the land in a teepee when I met him at the Fort Ross Volunteer Fire Department Picnic May 1981 (Actually the teepee had just blown of the ridge in a major storm so he was camped out in the main house of the old Ranch). The cabin was built in 1982. 

 Cabin ~ Circa 1982

We used to go up quite a bit when no one lived there full time, but things changed over the decades. In 2007 two of us sold our shares and moved on. Partner George headed for Campo to be near his grandkids and we focused time on our place in Sebastopol and travelling.

Fast forward to 2014. We hadn't been up to the land in almost 7 years. George has been up from Campo so we decided to head up there to visit with our old partner Todd and his family today: daughter Megan, husband Joe and their three kids. A lot has changed and nothing has changed. It was a step back in time and a chance to catch up. An informal pot luck in 70 degree sunshine set the stage.

Cabin ~ Circa 2014
There have been many improvements made over the years: additional windows and interior walls in the cabin and solar power. The garden below the cabin flourishes with raised beds for vegetables, fruit trees, and flowers.
There is a new outhouse.
The "bath room" now includes a tub

Garfield is resident rodent wrangler 

 No words necessary

The little cabin that George built is now a guest house with indoor plumbing and a view down the canyon. We've been invited to come stay anytime. It is so supremely quiet up there: miles of trails to hike and a glorious place to do some stargazing. Looking forward to spending time up there again.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Thursday Discovery ~ Jan 02, 2014

"Who are we hiding? What part of us is lost in the truth of who we hope to be rather than stand in the truth of who we truly are?"
Wise words indeed from SoulfulStuff
Fractured Truth Rock Formation Earthtones Surreal Inspirational Matted Fine Art Photography Home Office Decor
Fractured Truth Rock