YOKOHL
A HISTORY OF ITS PEOPLE
AND THEIR CULTURE
By Scott Barker
YOKOHL is a fun read for history and and non- history buffs alike. Covering documented historical facts, YOKOHL tells of pioneer drama and humor, yet Yokohl Valley's history is not complete. This small Sierra foothill valley is on the verge of adding another chapter to California history.
Author Scott Barker


Derasties "Rat" Weisner
was the sidekick of Ben Harris, the Biggest Liar of the Sierras; Wiley Hinds, a former slave, owned a large valley ranch; Fred Gill built a cattle empire; Richard Thew was a ship captain; grizzled Johnny Wirt discovered gold, while the Carlson siblings found a "lost" mine; Peter Stewart faced a four-foot wall of water; desperado, Triburcio Vasquez had a hideout in the valley; and Lillie Daly was a particularly bad driver. These are a few of Yokohl Valley's colorful characters. Their peaceful community had a hidden past with a lynching, mysterious markers and murder.

FORWARD

Tucked away in the foothills of the mighty Sierra Nevada just east of Exeter and Lindsay, lies a small valley rich in beauty and history. Surrounded by hills that change from a golden brown in the summer to a lush green in the spring, this place called Yokohl Valley has been special to many people for perhaps thousands of years. It is a place that our family has visited often in search of the perfect spring wildflowers ... a search that was always successful and gave us lasting memories of nature at its best.

This special place will soon become the focus of considerable attention. Plans are being prepared for Yokohl Ranch, a J. G. Boswell Co. planned community that when completed will contain as many as 10,000 homes and up to 40,000 people. The plan is already attracting interest, and the Yokohl Valley is about to be the center of much debate.

Fortunately for all of us, Yokohl, A History of Its People and Their Culture has arrived. Scott Barker first talked to me about his Yokohl book several years ago and I was excited. Noone that I was aware of had ever written a comprehensive history of this hidden little valley, although parts of the Yokohl history have been penned by noted historians Joe Doctor and Frank Latta. With all the pending development conversation, Scott's timing couldn't have been better.

In the course of Scott's research, he talked to scores of people, perused many publications and did extensive site visits. The result is a well-referenced history about a place oftentimes forgotten in Tulare County history. I am pleased his work is finished and grateful that someone of his caliber chose to do it. His story-telling style makes it easy to read.

Yokohl will not only fill a historical void in Tulare County history, it is likely to become the sourcebook on Yokohl as the debate over the valley's future gets more intense. As the famous historian, David McCullough said, "History is a guide to navigate in perilous time. History is who we are and why we are the way we are."

Terry L. Ommen
May, 2009
Visalia History Blogspot

 
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