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Frank Herrick’s Family

Jun 10, 2019   //   by wvanbusk   //   Redwood Victorian  //  Comments Off on Frank Herrick’s Family

This home was built for Frank Herrick, a surveyor by trade and an investor in land, timber and oil. His father and mother were well known in Humboldt County in the early settlement days:

rufusHis father, Rufus F. Herrick, was a cheese maker, judge and soldier who arrived in Humboldt Bay in 1859 with his wife. First Lieutenant Herrick was mustered to Fort Humboldt with the 1st Battalion Mountaineers Company D to help round up the natives and move them to reservations in Smith River. He and his wife, a “blood sister” of the Wiyot, protected some natives from attacks by settlers in Mad River where there were several killings. In May 1861, Rufus F. Herrick took a man named Little John and his wife Blanch and indentured them for ten years. They moved from Mad River to Eureka in 1872. Peter, their two year old son, was kept and remained with the Herrick family for twenty-three years. Peter was set free in 1884 at age twenty-five. Read more about Rufus.

marthaHis mother, Mrs. Martha J. Herrick, was a member of  the Native Daughters of the Golden West and many other social Parlor groups, collector of native relics, writer, teacher, mother of three children and expert on native behavior.  In 1893, she was a resident of Swauger’s Station on the Eel River delta who wanted to change the town’s name.  Martha consulted a Wiyot elder.  A joke was played on Mrs. Herrick. The elder told her that it was hó wiwItak, actually called it katawólo ‘t. This does not translate as “beautiful place at the end of the river,” but rather “Let’s have intercourse!” She interpreted the last part of the phrase as Loleta. Which she suggested to the residents of the town, which they accepted. Read more about Martha.

His younger brother, George, was a banker, accountant, and farmer in the Loleta area where the Honorable Captain Rufus Herrick had acquired bottom land for a dairy near Table Bluff. Leasing of parts of the Herrick Ranch provided a good source of income for many years to the family.

Frank and his wife Emma had three children, Ralph, Frank Leslie and Gladys. Ralph worked as a transport driver at a used car dealer, became a firefighter in the 1920’s and became chief engineer of Eureka Fire, later he became Chief of the Loleta Fire Department and a rancher on the Herrick place.  Frank Jr. first became a surveyor like his dad and later trained as a physician and surgeon and worked a a medical examiner in Oakland. Gladys married a McMillan of Oakland, who was a Free Mason and banker.