Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Letter to Mr. W.N. Forker, 1893.
Newhall, California

Letter dated Dec. 15, 1893, from Los Angeles County School Superintendent W.W. Seaman to W.N. Forker of Newhall.

The meaning of this letter is unclear. Forker lived at the northeast corner of 9th and Chestnut streets. According to family historian Christine Forker MacBean (March 2006), "William Nelson Forker was born in Pennsylvania and married Doclyciana Soto, (who descended from) one of the first families of Alta California. Forker was the first oil commissioner of Kern County. His parents were John Lee Forker and Rebecca Jane Reid and he was one of six children."

MacBean (granddaughter of Forker's brother) adds: "William Nelson Forker was born Nov 9, 1854, in Clarion County, Penn. The surname Forker before being changed prior to 1800 records was Farquhar (Scottish). He died Oct 3 1916. He is buried in the Union Cemetery, Bakersfield, Calif. His wife was Docliciana Fermina Soto. They married in the Plaza Roman Catholic Church April 28, 1886. This being her religion. There were four children: Alma Lenora, Wilfred Milton, Benjamin Leslie and Ysabel Hermina. The last three children were born in Newhall, Calif. William Nelson Forker left Pennsylvania about the same time as several cousins whose descendants today are found in Long Beach, Calif., as are the descendants of William."

There is a reference in Salinas County from the week of July 7, 1887, to an (unnamed) daughter being born at Santa Rita to the (unnamed) wife of W.H. Forker of Newhall; it's handwritten, "W.N." is easily mistaken for "W.H.".

Seaman had been the public school principal in Santa Monica before becoming the county schools chief; while Seaman was principal in 1884, Santa Monica started offering high school classes (which he taught). Campton, referenced in the letter, would be George Campton, Newhall's general merchant, who was also its postmaster, an insurance agent and a few other things after serving as Henry M. Newhall's first superintendent of the Rancho San Francisco back in 1875-76. As it turns out, W.N. Forker and George Camptom were related by marriage, as Campton was married to Doclyciana Soto's older sister Gregoria. "Mining" could actually refer to petroleum mining; oil production was rampant in 1893 in nearby Pico Canyon, which was part of the San Fernando Petroleum Mining District.

Text of the letter follows:

Los Angeles, Cal., December 15, 1893.

Mr. W.H. Forker
    Newhall, Cal.

Dear Sir:—
    Your letter of the 9th is at hand. Also the certified copy of By-Laws of Mining District. The latter, however, was not dated; that is, the certificate of Mr. Campton, or yourself as Notary, was properly dated; but there is nothing to indicate when the By-Laws were adopted.
    Referring to the record to be made this year under the new law, can you supply me with the proper form? Let me hear from you.
    I will send check of $4 from Banner Company in a day or two, or bring it when I come to Newhall.
    Yours very truly,
(Dictated) /s/ W.W. Seaman


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