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The History Mystery #60

A local resident brought this sign in to the Sierra Historic Sights Association (SHSA) recently. It was given to him by a neighbor who had since died.

The neighbor had told him that he found it in a forest in 1945. The donor had no idea where in the forest his neighbor found it.

The SHSA would like to identify the source of this sign. It very much sounds like a something that Clifford Corlieu might have written and placed at his own mine. The verse reads like this:

He carved his mark upon these slopes
His diggings and his mines
Left imprints of his dreams
His life and his hopes
*(And his times)

Two pieces of the sign are missing. In the upper right-hand corner of the sign are the letters “WAIN.” Above the rhyme is the date 1922. As far as we know, that year is not significant in Corlieu’s life. Nevertheless, Corlieu’s poetry did, at times, speak of lonely miners and prospectors.


Ode to an Unknown Miner
By Roger Mitchell
Sierra Historic Sites Association
December 1, 2017


Follow-up to History Mystery #59

We thank everyone who posted. We got this comment from Connie Popelish:

“I think the shortest (youngest?) boy in the front row may be Jim Geddes. In a Geddes family photo from about that same time, it looks like this boy could be Jim Geddes.

“In a 1965 interview with Jim Geddes he says “they built the school over there where Blaine Thrornberg’s house is.” He also says there were about ten children in the school where he went, and he remembered two teachers, “Miss Paysin was quite tall, Miss Farrington, short.”

“The teacher on the right, back row, may be Miss Farrington. And he says he went to school with Joe Kinsman, so perhaps one of the Native American boys in the photo is Joe Kinsman (that would be son or grandson of Joe Kinsman who settled at Kinsman Flat). He explains that there was no Indian Mission school then. Jim Geddes had lots of sisters, so some of the girls may be Geddes, too.”

One comment

  1. The sign is a grave marker for Daniel McSwain, 8/13/1861 – 5/30/1922. Mr. McSwain operated a mine within the Sierra National Forest. He passed away in 1922, and was buried at the mine site. After the original sign was taken from the grave site, the Forest Service posted a replica sign, to mark the grave, that included the same poem. The sign that was brought in to the SHSA is probably Daniel McSwain’s original grave marker.

    Marie Mogge
    Heritage Resources
    Sierra National Forest, Bass Lake Ranger District

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