This is the story and genealogy of two pioneering families who stopped their westward movement in South Lake County, California. One family would be instrumental in the development of a new town, Middletown, while the other family started a resort on Cobb Mountain that still exists to this day. A marriage between one member from each family took place and today many of their descendants still live in South Lake County, CA.


This is the story of the Reads and the Stricklers





Joseph Lilburn Read 
Born: 29 July 1837 in Scott County, Kentucky
Son of Samuel READ and Elizabeth Cassandra Leach 
Brother of John Jefferson Read, Ebenezer B Read, Samuel Thomas Read, William Edwards Read and Elizabeth Casandrea Read 
Husband of Margaret Cummingham Davis — married 31 October 1861 in Big Valley, Lake County, California 
Died 23 July 1927 in Middletown, Lake County, California

When the family settled in California he went to work with pick and shovel, at placer mining, and did well, and he also took advantage of the pay schools in the neighborhood, attending a few weeks each winter until he was grown. He first came to Lake county in the fall of 1860, and spent the winter. Then he went back to Eldorado County, but came again to Lake County in 1861 in which year he married Margaret Davis, of Big Valley, near Kelseyville. They settled in Dixon, Solano County, where Mr. Read farmed until 1874, since which year he has been a resident of Middletown which town had been started in 1871.


Buying a ranch two miles northeast of the town, he operated it for four years. His grandson, Donald A. Read described it in 1984 as such: “The first place that they resided in was located two miles northeast of Middletown on what is known as the Bar-X Ranch today. The house was located on a knoll, by the right side of the old road. Remnants of the rock fence, he built can still be seen from the highway when going over the hill into Coyote Valley.”


In 1877, John Good, Sr., and J. L. Read became engaged in hay baling and threshing of grain. Joseph Read went to San Leandro where he purchased material for the baler and constructed it.


The Grandson continues:

“The grain which he harvested was taken to the flour mill known then as the Stoddard Mill. As a footnote about the mill, it was one of the oldest in Lake County. Started as a sawmill by Madison Harbin who sold the water rights and building to Jessup and Stevens, who made it into a flour mill and sold it to Heyser and Corothers who then sold it to Stoddard. In 1885 it burnt down and Andrew Rocca purchased it and rebuilt the mill and in 1887 sold it to the McKinleys.


image001.jpgIt was a day’s journey from J. L. Read’s home to the flour mill, crossing St. Helena Creek at the foot of Young Street where a wooden bridge was constructed. In 1878 he delivered 1350 lbs. of wheat and obtained 695 lbs. of graham and 600 lbs. of white flour, five lbs. to the 100 being directed to loss.”


The Middletown Independent was established in 1886 by P. B. Graham and J. L. Read. Read bought Graham's interest in 1889 and later in the same year sold a half interest to W. C. Pentecost. In 1895 Read again acquired full control, placed T. A. Read as editor until 1899, and then Warren E. Read until 1904, when the paper was sold to J- D. Kuykendall. The latter conducted it one year and sold it back to J. L. Read, Warren Read again becoming editor. On October 11, 1906, the paper passed to A. O. Stanley, who published it up to January 1, 1911, when he leased it to his son, "Mort" Stanley. The Independent was Republican in politics up to 1906, and independent since.



The History of Lake and Mendocino Counties:


“For forty years Joseph L. Read has been one of the vital forces in the life of Middletown, Lake County, where his efficient cooperation in the progress of the community has gained him a place among its foremost citizens. He has filled the office of postmaster, which he still holds, for over a quarter of a century, and in that position and as founder and publisher of the Middletown Independent, the first newspaper of the town, he has been one of its best known and most influential residents. Mr. Read has lived in California since the early 1850s, and in his younger years went through the varied experiences of pioneer times. Familiar with the history and development of this region through actual participation in its events, and thoroughly public spirited in his attitude toward the working out of the best interests of Lake County he is a true Californian, and his part in the opening and advancement of his adopted state and community has been highly creditable.”


Margaret Cummingham Davis of the Kelseyville area, Lake County, CA was born 30 Jun 1844 in Chili Twp., Hancock Co., IL she was the Daughter of William Barnes Davis and Elizabeth Jane (Worrell) Davis. She was the sister of George W. Davis, Hannah E. Davis, Johanna Stephens Davis and Zilpha Jane Davis. She Died 11 Feb 1923 in Middletown Lake Co. California. She was the mother of 12 children 6 who survived to be adults. In 1878, diphtheria came to the vicinity of Middletown and claimed the lives of three children and two more were lost in 1883,


Susan Lincoln Read (aka Susie Fickes) Born 25 Aug 1862 in Silveyville, Solano Co. California Died 29 Mar 1936 in Middletown Lake Co. CA

John Grant Read Born 1869

Johanna Elizabeth (Anna) Read Born abt 1870/5

Thomas Albert Read (aka Bert Read) Born 1874

Warren Edwards Read Born 1884

Ralph Huel Read Born 1891


Susan Lincoln Read (aka Susie Fickes) became the wife of George Adam Fickes, who was a carpenter and builder. Susie Fickes lived in Lake County, California in 1910. She was the head of the household's wife, 48 years old, and identified as white. Susie was born in California around 1862. Her father was born in Kentucky, and her mother was born in Illinois. In 1910, Susie was married to George A. Fickes, and they had two children named George A. and Linburn.


John Grant Read b 1869 became a street car conductor in San Francisco and was there during the big earthquake. John lived in San Francisco County, California in 1910. He was a boarder of the household, 41 years old, and identified as white. John was born in California around 1869. In 1910, John was not married.


Johanna Elizabeth (Anna) Read b. abt 1873 became the wife of Wm D. Kidd - Anna Kidd lived in Butte County, California in 1900. She was the head of the household's wife, 26 years old, and identified as white. Her father was born in Kentucky, and her mother was born in Illinois. In 1900, Anna was married to Wm D. Kidd, and they had one child named Wm D born  1898. In 1901 Anna and Wm had another child Anna F born 1901. By 1910 she has been widowed and married August J. Lhuillier. Anna Lhuillier lived in Lake County, California in 1910. She was the head of the household's wife, 40 years old, and identified as white. Anna was born in California around 1870. Her father was born in Kentucky, and her mother was born in Illinois. 1920 Census Record Saint Helena, Napa County, California Anna Lhuillier lived in Napa County, California in 1920. She was the head of the household's wife, 45 years old, and identified as white. Anna was born in Kansas around 1875. Her father was born in Kentucky, and her mother was born in New York. In 1920, Anna was married to August J. Lhuillier, and they had one child named Anna F. Kidd. She could read and write. During their time in Middletown, Lhuillier, a farmer, worked for Lilly Langtry. Anna perished in a forest fire near Cloverdale, CA (Anna never gave the same information about places of birth or dates however history proves she is the same person.)


Thomas Albert Read (aka Bert Read) born January 1, 1872, at Manchester, Mendocino County, Cal. He was but two years old when his parents settled at Middletown, where he grew up and received his education, attending public school. For twelve years he was connected with the Middletown Independent, during the last four years of that period as co-proprietor with his father, having bought out the interest of Joseph Pentecost. For seven years after that he was clerk in Piner's store in Middletown, until he became manager of the store at the Great Western quick silver mine, three and a half miles from town, continuing to hold that position until the mine closed down, in September, 1909. He has since been in business for himself, having bought the drug store at Middletown, which he is conducting very successfully. Mr. Read is one of the trusted officials of his locality, being supervisor of the First District of Lake County, to which position he was elected in November, 1912. Like his father he is a staunch Republican, and he has been active in the councils of his party, having served as member of the county central committee. He is a Mason, holding membership in the lodge at Middletown, and in that connection, as well as in his business and official associations, holds the respect of all his fellows. In 1897 Mr. Read married Miss Nellie Fraser, daughter of Dr. Fraser, then of Middletown, now residing at Point Richmond, Cal. Four children have been born to them, Lena, Lillie, Alice and Donald. The family has a comfortable home at Middletown.


Warren Edwards Read b.1884 lived in Lake County, California in 1900. He was the head of the household's son, 16 years old, and identified as white. Warren was born in California. His father was born in Kentucky, and his mother was born in Missouri. Their names were Joseph L. Read and Margaret C. Read. In 1900, Warren was not married. He had one sibling named Ralph H. In 1899, Warren took over as Editor of the newspaper until 1904 and then again from 1905 until October 1906 by 1910 he was living in Lakeport as the head of the household, 25 years old, and identified as white. Warren was born in California around 1885. Warren was married to Maude M. (Fraser) Read who was the sister of Nellie (Fraser) Read, wife of Thomas A., and they had two children named Elizabeth L. and Barbara E. - Warren E, followed the newspaper business and became the editor of the Amador Dispatch.


Ralph Huel Read b.1891 followed his father's footsteps and became Postmaster of the Middletown office. By 1920 He was the head of the household, 28 years old, and identified as white. By 1920, Ralph was married to Nellie (Spiers) Read. Nellie was born in California around 1897. Her father was born in Kentucky, and her mother was born in New York. One parent was named Cornelia Spiers. In 1930 Nellie and Ralph H. Read were still living in Middletown, Lake County.



It is pronounced “Gwen-nok



On August 8, 1845 the last Mexican Governor of California, Pio Pico, awarded a land grant located in northern California to George Rock and that Grant was called GUENOC and according to the State of California it encompassed 21,220.03 acres.


California would not become a state until 1850. However, the Grant encompassed the land in California that would become Napa County within the new State of California, and was called Coyote Valley.


By 1849 gold would be discovered at Sutter’s Fort in California and the movement west would begin with earnest.


In 1850 California became a State and Guenoc was in Napa County but Lake County was founded in 1861 and the new county would encompass the Land Grant that included Coyote Valley.


During these early years there was activity in this area and a new village was started in Coyote Valley and they named it  Guenoc. Herrick & Getz had a store there in 1860, the first store in the southern end of the county, but moved it the same year to Lower Lake. Strader & Clark started a store there in 1866, and O. Armstrong had a saloon there soon afterward. An Odd Fellows' hall was built, but was moved to Middletown in 1871. The founding of the latter town, nearer the quicksilver mines and at the junction of two roads killed Guenoc. 


The first house was built at Middletown in the fall of 1870 by J. H. Berry, who conducted a hotel therein. O. Armstrong started a saloon in the same year. C. M. Young bought a half-interest in the town site in 1871. D. Lobree started the first store in 1872. The town developed and prospered in the days of extensive quicksilver mining in that section. It was then, as now, connected by stages with Calistoga, Lower Lake and Lakeport. A brewery was established in 1875 by Munz & Scott, which continued under varying management until recent years.


The Great Western Quicksilver Mine had been located in 1850, but little development was made until 1872, when E. Green and Hiram Taft operated it. The mine reached the height of its development about 1895, operated by Andrew Rocca, who employed 250 men and was equipped with modern machinery. The Mirabel mine was another large producer.


The mines were mostly south of Middletown and they employed several hundred miners and other laborers. The miners had their favorite places to go to let off a little steam and have a drink of grog. I suppose some had their faces rearranged on occasion as well.



In a book written by Helen Rocca Goss titled; "The California White Cap Murders” she writes:

image006.jpg"In the year of 1890, at the roadside saloon known as 'Campers Retreat', that evening, business was anything but brisk due to the social event of the year. Everyone in the neighborhood had gone to Middletown, which left the saloon that was usually noisy and crowded silent and empty. There were only three people in the retreat, the proprietor, J. W. Riche, his wife and their bartender, Fred Bennett. To while away the hours Mrs. Riche and Bennett decided to play a few games of cards, while Mr. Riche settled himself as onlooker. About nine o'clock the front door was flung open and a masked man entered the room.


For a split second Riche thought it was some person taking advantage of everybody being away to the ball to come after the money. But in the next instant at least five or six more masked men jumped in after him, with rifles, shotguns, pistols             and so on. Riche thinking he recognized one of the men, then believed the whole thing a joke or a pre-Halloween prank, and he playfully slapped the man on the cheek as he laughingly said "You Can't Scare Me". The bullet that immediately whizzed past his head convinced him that there was no joke about it. Mrs. Riche's reaction had been to rush up to one of the men and pull the mask off his face. Riche grabbed his wife and tried to get in front to protect her, but one of the men pushed her down and there came a volley of shots. Riche made an effort to help his wife, as he did he could see that she had been shot several times, in the chest and side."


The White Cap’s ring leaders were W. R. McGuire and C. E. Blackburn. McGuire was shot and killed in the confusion on the fateful night and Blackburn was sentenced to twenty five years in San Quentin for his part.  Three others found guilty were B. F. Staley (20 years), Charles Osgood (12 years) and Robert Cradwick (20 years). Four other members of the “White Caps” had charges dismissed for turning states evidence.  Those recipients were Charles Evans, A.E. Bichard, J. Archer and Henry Arkarro.  Charges were dropped against defendants Martin and Lund.



Besides miners many others were drawn to Lake County and the area. Robert Louis Stevenson and his new wife Fanny were squatting at an old quicksilver mine on Mt. St. Helena called the Silverado and in 1888 the famous British stage actress Lilly Langtry and her lover Freddie Gebhard bought land east of Middletown and called it Langtry Farms. Mrs. Langtry owned the land until 1906.








(1.)* SHUBAEL REED was born September 27, 1729 in Willington, Tolland County, Connecticut. He married Mary Taylor of Ashford, Windham County, Connecticut who was born November 28, 1733. She gave him a son Samuel Reed on April 8, 1761. Mary died July 10, 1767. Shubael died September 22, 1790 in Tolland County, Connecticut.


(2.)* SAMUEL REED, son of Shubael and Mary Reed, married Jane Gant. In 1801 they were living in Delaware where their daughter Sara was born. By September 5, 1804 they were in Turkey Foot, Scott County, Kentucky, settling in Kentucky about the same time as Daniel Boone here too is where their son (3.) Ebenezer was born.


(3.)* SAMUEL READ son of Samuel and Jane was born November 12, 1809 in Scott County, Kentucky, he married Elizabeth Cassandra Leach who gave Samuel his first son (4.) John Jefferson Read born March 3, 1831 in Scott County, Kentucky, his next son (4.) James A. born 1832 d. 1852 crossing the plains  (4.) JOSEPH LILBURN READ Born 29 Jul 1837 in Scott County, Kentucky married Margaret Cummingham Davis 31 Oct 1861 in Big Valley, Lake Co., California. The spirit of the pioneer was in (3.)* SAMUEL’S blood and he moved in 1838 to Howard County, Mo., but soon afterward went to Sullivan County, that state, where he bought land and was interested in farming until 1852. (4.) Ebenezer B Read was born on June 12, 1840 in Sullivan County, Missouri he died 16 Jul 1925 in Cloverdale, Sonoma, California Three more children were born in Missouri. (4.) Samuel Thomas Read Born 14 Aug 1842  Died 6 Mar 1870 in Orland, Glenn, California. (4.)* WILLIAM EDWARDS READ born in 1845 and the last child (4.) Elizabeth Casandrea Read was born November 27, 1848. Meantime, however, (3.)* SAMUEL had crossed the plains with oxen in 1849, coming to California, where he engaged in mining for gold at Mariposa two years. Returning to Missouri, via Panama, he again came to California in the year 1852, and again crossed the plains with ox-teams, this time bringing his family, consisting of wife and six children. Three other children had died in infancy. (4.) JOSEPH L. READ, who was fifteen years old at the time, recalls the trip very distinctly. The party was not bothered seriously by the Indians, but cholera had broken out on the trail, and there were daily deaths and graves all along the way. Many, discouraged, turned back. (3.)* SAMUEL READ was the only one of their party to have an attack of cholera, but was saved by prompt medical attention. Arriving at Diamond Spring Eldorado County, Cal., all the men and boys went to work immediately in the mines, and the surviving members of the family are all residents of the state now. (3.)* Samuel Read’s spouse, Elizabeth Leach, was a native of Kentucky, but member of an old Maryland family; her mother was born in Baltimore, likely of German origin. Of the ten children born to (3.) Mr. and Mrs. Read three died in infancy, the others being: (4.) John J., now a resident of Shasta County (he is an invalid); (4.) James A., who was twenty years old at the time of his death, on the plains, in 1852; (4.) Joseph L.; (4.) Ebenezer, who is a farmer, residing at Orland, Glenn County; (4.) Samuel Thomas Read Born 14 Aug 1842  Died 6 Mar 1870 in Orland, Glenn, California. (4.)* WILLIAM EDWARDS, who is a general clerk in the post office at San Francisco, where he has been employed for more than twenty years; and (4.) Elizabeth, wife of H. L. Burmeister a retired farmer, living in Santa Rosa.


(4.)* WILLIAM EDWARDS READ was born Feb. 4, 1845 in Sullivan County, Mo. He served in the Civil War with the Boynton Prairie Army, having enlisted in June of 1864 with the 6th California Infantry Regiment 


The only recorded engagements of the 6th Regiment occurred with the detachment sent to the Humboldt Military District in 1864, near Boynton's Prairie May 6 (Company "C") near the end of the Bald Hills War.


Company C: Mustered in, October 20, 1863. Left Benicia Barracks February 15, 1864, and arrived at Fort Humboldt, Cal., February 17, 1864. Same day ordered to scout after Indians. Returned to Arcata, February 27, 1864. March 1, 1864, ordered to Camp at Boynton's Prairie. Scout from Boynton's Prairie, March–July 8, 1864 Company on scout from this camp until July 8, 1864. Skirmish near Boynton's Prairie May 6. Company C was ordered to Camp Jaqua arriving July 8, 1864. Scout from Camp Jaqua, July 10 to October 30, 1864. Forty Indians killed and captured on scout from Camp Jaqua. October 10, 1864, the company left Camp Jaqua for Fort Humboldt, arrived October 11, 1864. May 8, 1865, left Fort Humboldt for Camp Lincoln, and arrived May 10, 1865. Distance marched by the company during eight months' active campaigning against the Indians amounted to nearly two thousand miles. The company was on duty at Camp Lincoln, Humboldt County, until it was ordered to the Presidio, San Francisco, for finally muster out December 15, 1865.


(4.)* WILLIAM married EMILY A. HOPKINS who was born March 11, 1847 in Kane County, Illinois. She died in 1874 in Jackson, California, at the early age of 27 years. She gave WILLIAM one son; (5.)* FRANK GARDNER READ born 1870 in Newville, Colusa County, CA. 


At some point (4.) WILLIAM EDWARDS READ became a minister and was appointed preacher to the Mt. Zion church in Colusa on September 22, 1876. Also in 1876 he married JOHANNA DAVIS born 1856 IL


The 1880 census has the family living in Orland, Colusa Co. CA


The records of the "History of Napa and Lake County (page 149) shows that the Rev. Read was appointed as Missionary of the American Sunday School Union for the Northern District of California in July, 1880.


At a point in 1880 the family moved to Red Bluff where they lived until their house was destroyed by fire on January 25, 1881.


His house having been destroyed in Red Bluff he joined his family in Lake County, CA in May, 1881 where he began organizing Sunday Schools, supplying Sunday Schools with literature etc.


On March 12, 1883 a son, Emerson Worrell Read, was born in Round Valley, Mendocino County, California


In May 1884, he was appointed the minister of the Methodist Church in Middletown.


On July 8, 1884, he had the honor of a visit from General Bidwell to Middletown.


Three children came to him through his second marriage; MABEL, EMERSON & WILLIAM . All four of his children spent their early years in Middletown. Then the family moved to San Francisco where Mr. Read preached in several of the churches there. “His granddaughter, Mrs. Dale Strickler of Middletown recalls hearing him preach many times in San Francisco where she lived as a young lady.” (quote from Middletown Times Star, 1970, by: Reverend James Haggart)


(4.) WILLIAM READ lived in Precinct 12 San Francisco city Ward 35, San Francisco County, California in 1900.

By 1910 (4.) WILLIAM READ and JOHANNA lived in San Francisco County, Assembly District 33, California where one child was still living with them named (5.) William G. (4.) WILLIAM EDWARDS READ was a zealous member of the Odd Fellows Lodge. He was the State Grand Master of the Orangemen for the year 1915.


(4.)* WILLIAM EDWARDS connection to Middletown was his older brother (4.) JOSEPH LILBURN READ who had settled near Middletown in 1874.



(4.)* WILLIAM EDWARDS READ b. Feb. 4, 1845 in Sullivan County, Mo - m. EMILY A. HOPKINS b. Mar. 11, 1847 in Kane County, Illinois d.1874 Jackson, CA age-27yrs.


          (5.)* FRANK GARDNER READ --b. Apr.1870 Newville, Colusa County, CA-1890 m. Mildred A. Roddy b. abt 1873 Michigan. FRANK is listed in census for Orland, CA in 1880


                    (6.)* ETHEL ELIZABETH READ –b. May 1892 CA --Ethel E. Read - 1900 Census Record - Keswick                                     Township, Shasta County, California, m. November 1909 Robert Dale Strickler b. March 1889 CA


                              (7.) ROBERT G. b. – 1915

                              (7.)* ETHEL E. b. - 1917

                              (7.) MYRTLE M. b. - 1920

                              (7.) ELTON R. b. - 1923

                    (6.) RAYMOND G READ –b. 1895 – California in 1910 census lived in San Francisco Assembly District 33, San                        Francisco, California

                    (6.) DELBERT W. READ –b. ~1898 in California 12 years old in the 1910 U.S. Census San                                                            Francisco      Assembly District 33, San Francisco County, California

          (5.) STEPHEN OLIVER READ –b. –d.

2nd marriage

In 1876 (4.) WILLIAM E. married JOANNA S. DAVIS b.1856 IL of Red Bluff and they lived in Red Bluff until their house was destroyed by fire on Jan 25, 1881.


          (5.) MABEL b. 1880 Red Bluff, Tehama Co., CA

          (5.) EMERSON b. 1883 Middletown, Lake Co., CA

          (5.) WILLIAM G. 1885 Middletown, Lake Co., CA



FRANK G. READ 400.jpg(5.)* FRANK GARDNER READ lived in Colusa County, California in 1880. He was the head of the household's son, 10 years old, and identified as white. Frank G. was born in California. His father and mother were (4.) William E. Read and Johanna Read. His occupation was "at school". Frank Read lived in Shasta County, California in 1900 He was the head of the household by then, 30 years old. In 1900, (5.) Frank was married to Millie Read, and they had three children named (6.) Ethel, (6.) Raymond, and (6.) Delbert. By 1910 the census shows (5.) Frank G., Mildred (Millie), Raymond and Delbert living at San Francisco Assembly District 33, San Francisco County, California, Ethel E. had moved on. In 1900 (4.)* WILLIAM EDWARDS READ was living in San Francisco but his brother (4.) JOSEPH LILBURN READ was living in Middletown, Lake County, CA



(6.)* ETHEL ELIZABETH READ –b. May 1892 Ethel Read lived in Shasta County, California in 1900. She was the head of the household's daughter, 8 years old, and identified as white. Her father was born in California, and her mother was born in Michigan. Their names were Frank G. Read and Millie Read. In 1900, ETHEL had two siblings named Raymond and Delbert. ETHEL E. READ lived with her family in San Francisco during the great earthquake of 1906, she was not quite 14 years of age. She and her family fled the city and crossed the bay and watched the city burn.











david lena dale strickler.jpg


David and Lena Strickler traveled from Iowa to California by covered wagon stopping off in Colorado where Maud was born in 1883. On 20 August 1890 the family was in San Diego, CA where they had bought property. On August 2, 1895 David and Lena purchased 159 acres in Kern County, CA several miles north of San Diego. The dry conditions in southern California must have made farming difficult. So within a few years David made another property deal, and by 1900 acquired land in Lake County in northern California. The family packed up their belongings in two covered wagons and headed north with the oldest son Ned driving one of the teams for the two week trek.


One can imagine what Lena must have thought as she began the last leg of their journey in Lake County, climbing from the low lands around Middletown, up the ridges of Cobb Mountain on the twists and turns of the stage road, until they arrived at the summit with the big meadow, the cold mountain springs, and the tall pines. It must have seemed like heaven compared to the furnace that southern California had been. Soon she had named the place Whispering Pines for the afternoon breezes that swayed the tall trees, and their wandering seemed over.


Some of David and Lena's children stayed in Lake County as adults, Carl and Dale were both listed as those who registered in Lake County for the draft during World War I. The 1920 census shows the household of "Dave", Lena their son Carl, and his wife Emma (actually her name was Grace, but the family called her Bobbie), and their children Donald and Margaret. Later among the eighth grade graduates of Cobb School are Jean Strickler (1929), Don Strickler (1932), Margaret Strickler (1933), and Ruth Strickler (1939).


Dale didn’t live at home with his parents at Whispering Pines as he was seeking his future down on the valley floor in Middletown.


*DAVID STRICKLER b. July 1851 Fayette County Pennsylvania d. 1929 Whispering Pines Lake County California, USA

SELENA "LENA" PATTERSON (MCGINNIS) b. 12 September 1860, Creston, Iowa, d. 1926, Whispering Pines, California.

MARRIED: 1 November 1877 Creston, Iowa


          Jacob L.  b. 1879, Iowa – died as an infant

          William Nedson "Ned" b. 28 November 1881, Des Moines, Iowa, d. 23 January 1964 San Francisco, Ca.

          Rebecca Maud b. 26 January 1883 in Colorado, d. 9 March 1966, married 1st Appleton, lived in the San Francisco

         "Bee Hive" which was the family nickname for her large home which she sectioned into small apartments

          David Roy b. April 1884 in California. said to have died as a young man after moving to Arizona, but a Roy Strickler     died in San Diego on 14 Feb. 1953

          Lena Pearl b. 13 June 1886, Ca., d. 14 March 1971, Sonoma, Ca., married Cyrus Ersatus "Tom" Doughty, and

          lived in Sebastopol, California

          *Robert Dale b. 22 March 1888, Ca. d. 11 Jan. 1974, Calistoga, Napa County, Ca., resident of Middletown.

          Buried Middletown Cemetery

          Howard Carl b. 20 January 1892, d. 28 Dec. 1971, buried Glenbrook-Cobb Cemetery, Lake County; created and ran        the Whispering Pines Resort on part of the family's extensive property

          Ida Grace b. 7 February 1895, d. 30 August 1987 San. Fran., married three times, the 3rd to Clarence Sheiring.

File1179-120.jpg*ROBERT DALE STRICKLER (b. 22 March 1888, maybe Colorado, maybe California or someplace in-between, d. 11 Jan. 1974, Calistoga, Napa County, CA)


Dale, after moving to Lake County, spent the rest of his life in the Middletown area and everyone knew him as “DALE”. The family story is that Dale was working on a ranch north of Middletown for a prominent family and in the summer, relatives of the Middletown Reads from San Francisco would visit the ranch. One of those who visited was J. L. Read’s nephew Frank Gardner Read’s teenage daughter *ETHEL ELIZABETH READ. Ethel said she would ride the Wells Fargo stagecoach to Middletown. At the ranch a tall handsome ranch hand caught Ethel’s eye and at some point some sparking must have happened and the two were married in November, 1909. The marriage of Dale and Ethel combined two pioneer families of the area, the Reads of Middletown and the Stricklers of Whispering Pines. To this day there are still several descendants of the Reads and Stricklers living in the Middletown, Cobb area. Some of those are my wife, Sylvia (Irwin) Wink’s family, Sylvia is the granddaughter of Ethel (Read) and Dale Strickler and the daughter of Ethel “Betty” (Strickler) Irwin.


File1185-300.jpgETHEL ELIZABETH AND ROBERT DALE STRICKLER were an asset to the community. Although their families appeared to be well off Grandma Ethel told of having to live under the McKinely bridge one summer.


It seemed to come natural to the Stricklers to be able to live in the wilderness and enjoy the challenge of survival living off the land, however, I’m not so sure about the city girl Ethel.


In his early years Dale would haul freight from Calistoga to Middletown, he would also cut and haul fire wood for Adams Springs.


The Anderson mine’s quicksilver deposits were first noted along the creek prior to 1917 but it was not until 1929 that any exploration or development was done. E. N. Schwartz, of Lakeport, came across the outcrop in the creek bed a short distance below the resort at the springs where he proceeded to sink a small prospect hole, and recovered a few flasks in but operations were not continued. Operation was resumed by Schwartz in 1932, and continued through the following year. The mine remained idle from 1934 to 1937, at which time it was acquired by Dale Strickler. Strickler operated through the summer and fall of 1937, and through 1938 in a locality about a quarter of a mile south and at a higher level than Schwartz's original discovery. He developed an ore body with two adits in the side of the hill, and treated his ore in a D retort.


Dale and his family lived at and were long time caretakers of the McNear family’s property, Oakmont, that is located alongside state highway 175 just east of the Anderson Springs entrance. Today the property is called Blossom Springs.


After the children were raised Dale and Ethel also lived at and grew a vineyard of Zinfandel grapes at the south end of Santa Clara Ave. in Middletown. Dale said Charles Krug bought his grapes every year.


Dale was a Mason and taught the newest Masons what they needed to know. Ethel also belonged to the ladies fraternal organizations.


For several years Dale was also a rural mail carrier.


Dale and Ethel would raise 4 children in Middletown who would all attend and graduate from Middletown’s schools. By 1952 Dale and Ethel had resolved themselves to living “in town” and bought a home next door to their daughter “Betty” where they lived until they died. But just because they were town folks didn’t mean they gave up their pioneering ways and a pot of beans and venison was available.



(7.) ROBERT GEORGE “Bob” STRICKLER was born March 27, 1915 and died September 13, 1995 he was 80 years old. He married Velma “Meda” (Hope) Strickler August 22, 1938 who was born September 19, 1919 and died February 15, 1998 at the age of 78. They had two children Virginia Louise "Ginny Lou" born September 11, 1939 and Lilburn Bruce Strickler born June 25, 1945. Bob and Meda spent the better part of their lives living in Potter Valley, CA where they raised their children. Bob worked for the telephone company until he retired. Bob and Meda were laid to rest in the Potter Valley Cemetery.


(7.)* ETHEL ELIZABETH “Betty” Irwin was born on March 26, 1917 San Francisco, CA and died on November 29, 2000 at the age of 83. Betty spent her entire life in Middletown, Lake County, California.  She married John Irwin March 1935 and became a homemaker raising four children and partnering with her husband John. Early on John and Betty owned and operated the Union gas station on the corner of Young and Calistoga St across from today’s Cowpoke Café but by 1943 they had gone into partnership with Reed and Marion Hardester also of Middletown. In April 1943 together they bought the Herrick Company and that fall they bought the Rood grocery store. Reed and John partnered for 23 years building what was considered to be the best business in Lake County. What they started is known today as Hardester’s Market and is still owned and operated by Reed and Marion’s family. John Daniel Irwin was born on February 4, 1913 and died on March 1, 1987 at the age of 74. John and Betty were married 52 years. John and Betty’s children: John D. Jr. born January 12, 1937 lives in Woodland, CA, Judy Irwin Cunningham born October 1939 died December 25, 1957, *Sylvia Jean Irwin Wink born January 2, 1948 lives in Hidden Valley Lake, CA, Millie Ann Irwin Hammes born February 19, 1957 lives in Hidden Valley Lake, CA.


(7.) Myrtle Dale “Myrt” Giblin was born on September 17, 1919 and died on May 12, 2009 at the age of 89. Myrtle last resided in Mount Shasta, Siskiyou County, California. Myrtle Dale aka “Moo” or “Myrt” grew up in Middletown, CA with her siblings and moved to Santa Rosa after high school. In Santa Rosa, Myrtle met Henry Giblin and they were married when he got back from serving in WWII, in 1947. Henry enlisted at the age of 23 on July 08, 1941. Myrtle and Henry had one child, a daughter, Dale Elizabeth, born April 14, 1949. Myrtle worked as a beautician for a few years, then at the Exchange Bank. She worked for SRJC Bookstore for many years, retiring in 1968. She loved her home on King Street that she had shared with Henry and daughter Dale Elizabeth aka Liz, in Santa Rosa and lived there for 53 years. In 2007 she moved to Mount Shasta to be near her daughter, Dale Elizabeth and her family. Henry J. Giblin was born February 16, 1918 died on July 21, 1985 at the age of 67.


(7.) Elton R. “Honk” Strickler was born on December 13, 1922 and died on August 8, 2001 at the age of 78. The story in the family was that Elton got his nickname “Honk” because he cried all the time. As the youngest of four he probably had good reason. Elton last resided in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California. He was born and raised in Middletown, CA with his siblings. Honk was a World War II Veteran and survived five major battles. He received the Good Conduct Medal and European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal. He enlisted at the age of 20 on January 30, 1943. On July 4, 1947 he married Ellen M. Badger born August 10, 1926. They lived in Angels Camp, CA for 23 years he working for Cal Trans. Upon retirement, they moved to Santa Rosa and he resided there for 16 years. Honk was preceded in death by Ellen who died March 23, 1995 at 68 years. On 24 Oct 1996 Honk married Betty Dill. Honk was a Mason. Honk and Ellen adopted and raised three children, Patty Marshall, Garnet Shinn and Melanie Wilson.






Dale Hauling Freight


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                            Ethel, Dale, Bob & Betty                                                  Dale, Bob & Betty



Back row l to r: Henry Giblin, Dale, Honk, John Irwin, Bob

2nd row l to r: Myrt and Liz, Ethel, Ellen Strickler, Betty, Meda Strickler, Johnny Irwin w/ Bruce Strickler

Frt. Row l to r: Judy Irwin, Sylvia Irwin & Virginia Strickler


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This cream and sugar set belonged to Frank G. and Millie Read



The inscription reads: Mr. & Mrs. F. G. Read


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Xmas. ‘08


Today we call it the ‘White House”


Other families

The Case of the Missing Ancestor – The Huston Family


Harriet (Mandrell) Huston & the Mandrell Sisters


This is the history and genealogy page of John and Margaret (Stites) Wyne 1595 – 1951


The Casper Wink Family 1692





Compiled by: Bill Wink – January 2017



History of Lake and Mendocino Counties 1914 Aurelius O. Carpenter and Percy H. Millberry

History of Lake and Napa Counties 1881

Middletown Times Star article about W. E. Read by James Haggart

Pomo Bulletin February 1984 by: Donald A. Read.





findagrave.com - Steven Showers






Ukiah Daily Journal




Family members




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