Anna and Norman Ross

A letter from Anna (Loomis) Ross and Norman Ross to J. Shelton Gordon, May 3, 1971. Anna was the youngest daughter of Lester and Grace Loomis. The letter contains a brief history of Anna's life, including recollections of her early days on the Loomis Ranch homestead.

She provides an interesting personal perspective, although some of her recollections are not entirely accurate. Captain Loomis began his homestead of 77 acres in 1913. His land patent was not the last one issued in the Angeles National Forest; the document was signed by Woodrow Wilson on June 17, 1919. (See the Homestead Documents section.)

Shelton and Viola Gordon were well known in the Antelope Valley area. They moved to Palmdale from Pasadena about 1945, and built their home in the Ana Verde Hills. During 1971 and 1972, they collected letters from 89 Antelope Valley pioneer families, and compiled them into two volumes of "Incredible Tales".

This letter is part of the J. Shelton Gordon collection of historic letters on the history of the Antelope Valley. The entire collection, containing some 60 stories, can be viewed at the link below:

Site address:
May 3, 1971
Dear Shelton:

    Being a native of California and a resident of Antelope Valley for over fifty-four years I would like to tell you a little about our coming here.

    In 1911, my father, Capt. L.G. Loomis homesteaded 88 acres of land in the Angeles National Forest, called Alder Creek, later known as the Loomis Ranch. This was the last homestead issued in the National Forest. It was signed by President Harding.

    My mother, dad, two sisters and their husbands moved in to Alder Creek. There were four little ones to care for. It was not easy as everything we had was taken in by mule and burro pack train. We lived in tents until a large log cabin was built. This was near a good stream of water.

   After we had been there a while lightening struck a pine above the house. Several rangers came in from the front by horse back. That was when I met Norman Ross a ranger in the Westfork. We were married in 1914. We could not see a future in the service then so he found a job with the Sterling Borax Co. in Tick Canyon. We felt we had moved to the land of nowhere but we learned to like it. We shopped in Saugus or Newhall. If we needed a Doctor or Dentist it was either Lancaster or San Fernando.

   The Davenport road goes over where many of the homes were. It is a great place for bottle collectors and rock hounds.

   Eight years later we were transfered to Death Valley. We were sorry to leave Lang.

    It took us two days to get to Ryan. This was on Black Mountain overlooking Death Valley. What a beautiful place it is'

    By this time we had two children, Betty and Norman, Jr. We thought we were going to a place where it was always hot and flat country. What a surprise when we found we were to be on the side of a mountain and to find all of the inside toilets were frozen when we arrived there in January. We took trips all over the valley in an old Dodge...and all bad roads but what fun'

    Our shopping was done by mail or Death Valley Junction, sometimes Las Vegas. The Doctor came to camp once a week.

   The school house still stands in Ryan. We ran out of children so to keep the school for the three that were there, a teacher, Eva Walter, with three girls, was hired. The girls (Laddie, Margaret and Gladys) later went to Antelope Valley High School. Margaret is now teaching in Boron.

    In 1928 we were transfered to Amargo, which is now Boron. This was the Pacific Coast Borax Co. It is now U.S. Borax and Chemical Co.

    The children and I stayed at Long Beach while our house was being built. It has since been moved to Palmdale.

    A mining camp is a wonderful place to live.

    While living in Boron we passed this spot Circle C. when going to Los Angeles or the mountains. We never thought of living here as it was rather a desolate place then.

    Boron has changed from a very small county to a large one.

    My mother bought 1 1/2 acres in the Circle C area in 1963. She moved there after you built her home. We liked her home and the location so we bought 1 1/4 acres next door. You built our home also. Remember? Our place overlooks Palmdale and Lancaster.

    In 1965 it was time to retire and start a new life. We did not want to leave, but we are able to grow trees and flowers, something we have never had until we came to Palmdale.

    We hope we will have many years here around all of the wonderful friends we have made. Sincerely

Anna and Norman Ross