April 28, 1915
by Elsie Lenton Corwin

Two years had rapidly gone by since the Loomises had begun to pioneer in Alder Creek Canyon. They had finished their new home and moved into it in October 1915 [sic - the
correct year is 1913]
. All the building materials, all the furniture, heavy iron stoves and as Mother Loomis says "Even the kids" all had been laboriously packed down the steep mountain trails on the backs of horses and burros. Some came from Acton over Mt. Roundtop, the rest over the Wilson trail down from Chilao.

During these two years the married daughters Hazel, and her husband Orval Thomas, and Ruth and her husband, Todd Viets and three grandchildren Ruth’s two girls and Lester Thomas, had all lived on the place with their parents at least part of the time. They made one big happy, but also busy family. All together they helped plan and build the home which is now our lodge, as well as barns, the sawmill and arrastra. They had a1l helped to clear the land and plant the trees and gardens and take care of the stock as well as work on the mines.

By 1914, Hazel and Orval had moved out so that Orval could get work. However Ruth and her family were still there. Then one day Ruth had good news to tell the family, for she knew she was expecting another baby in the spring. So as winter approached, they made plans to take Ruth out in the early spring on horseback so that she could go to Los Angeles, fifty miles away, so that she could have fine care and a good doctor when her baby was born.

Then winter came and it rained and snowed and snowed some more. It was a very, very cold winter. Snow lay four to six feet deep in the drifts. All winter long Captain Loomis and Todd worked on the trail over the mountain that was to make it possible for Ruth to get out to the city in time for the birth of her baby. But, just as fast as they cleared the trails, treacherous even for animals and completely unsafe for a mother soon expecting a new baby, to ride on horseback.

In February, Todd plunged through snow over the hills twentysix miles to Acton to find work, coming back to see Ruth when he could. Times were hard that year. But, the animals still dared not try the trail. .

And still storms raged into March and finally it became too late for Ruth to risk riding over the hill as her baby was due in April. So what could they do? No hospitals or experienced doctors nearer than Los Angeles and absolutely no way to get there! But, the Captain and his wife, Grace, better known as Mother Loomis, had never shirked a hard job and they were both full of good common sense, knowledge and the courage to use these attributes. The Captain had been trained for any emergency while he had been on the police force. So, as did people in old pioneer days, when the time came the Captain just became the Doctor and the Grandma became an efficient nurse! Probably lots of Indian babies had been born nearby because, according to the old timers, the upper forks of Alder Creek had been favorite camping grounds of the Mojave Indians. Many Indian utensils, such as metate, pestles and arrow heads were found in great quantities to prove this.

But this beautiful baby girl that was born to Ruth, on April 28, with her father for doctor and her mother for nurse was the very first white child born in these mountains. Officially she was named Rose Luella as you see on the sun dial, however Mother Loomis called her “Peg of my Heart" when she was born and Peggy she always was and still is.

This birth on his homestead was an event that Captain Loomis thought should be recorded permanently for all to remember. So, he built the sun dial that stands in front of the lodge. It was even set up very scientificully by engineers to be as accurate as possible. Sun dials, you know, are only really absolutely accurate one day a year for the sun is at a different angle in relation to the earth in each season of the year.

In the cement the Captain placed the tiny impression of his new granddaughter's hand and foot to commemorate the great birth event. And now, long after, when the Captain can no longer see the sun dial and Peggy is herself the mother of four children, the sun dial still stands for you campers to try and tell the time of day by the shadow cast on it's face. It can not help but remind you of those historical pioneer days of this camp site. Real pioneers were these courageous people!

[Source: The True Loomis Stories by Elsie Lenton Corwin, Wandalee Thompson Collection (2006.38.1)]

[Note: I am told that the sundial in this story is no longer at the Ranch. It was removed and is now in the possession of Loomis family descendants.]