Editor's Note: Newmark wrote his reminiscences about his adventures with Cyrus Lyon roughly 60 years after they took place.
Newmark says this happened in 1856. Trouble is, he says he stopped at Gordon's Station (four miles southeast of Elizabeth Lake) on the return trip, and the
best information tells us Gordon's Station wasn't built before 1859.
During the summer [of 1856], I had occasion to go to Fort Tejón to see George C. Alexander, a customer, and I again asked Sam Meyer if he would accompany me. Such a proposition was always agreeable to Sam; and, having procured horses, we started, the distance being about one hundred and fifteen miles.
We left Los Angeles early one afternoon, and made our first step at Lyons's [sic] Station, where we put up for the night. One of the brothers, after whom the place was named, prepared supper. Having to draw some thick blackstrap from a keg, he used a pitcher to catch the treacle; and as the liquid ran very slowly, our sociable host sat down to talk a bit, and soon forgot all about what he had started to do. The molasses, however, although it ran pretty slowly, ran steadily, and finally, like the mush in the fairy-tale of the enchanted bowl, overflowed the top of the receptacle and spread itself over the dirt floor. When Lyons had finished his chat, he saw, to his intense chagrin, a new job upon his hands, and one likely to busy him for some time.
Departing the next morning at five o'clock we met Cy Lyons [sic], who had come to Los Angeles in 1849 and was then engaged with his brother Sanford in raising sheep in that neighborhood. Cy was on horseback and had two pack animals, loaded with provisions. "Hello, boys! where are you bound?" he asked; and when we told him that we were on our way to Fort Tejón, he said that he was also going there, and volunteered to save us forty miles by guiding us over the trail. Such a shortening of our journey appealed to us as a good prospect, and we fell in behind the mounted guide.
It was one of those red-hot summer days characteristic of that region and season, and in a couple of hours we began to get very thirsty. Noticing this, Cy told us that no water would be found until we got to the Rancho de la Liebre, and that we could not possibly reach there until evening. Having no bota de agua handy, I took an onion from Lyons's pack and ate it, and that afforded me some relief; but Sam, whose decisions were always as lasting as the fragrance of that aromatic bulb, would not try the experiment. To make a long story short, when we at last reached the ranch, Sam, completely fagged out, and unable to alight from his horse, toppled off into our arms. The chewing of the onion had refreshed me to some extent, but just the same the day's journey proved one of the most miserable experiences through which I have ever passed.
The night was so hot at the ranch that we decided to sleep outdoors in one of the wagons; and being worn out with the day's exposure and fatigue, we soon fell asleep. The soundness of our slumbers did not prevent us from hearing, in the middle of the night, a snarling bear, scratching in the immediate neighborhood. A bear generally means business; and you may depend upon it that neither Sam, myself nor even Cy were very long in bundling out of the wagon and making a dash for the more protecting house. Early next morning, we recommenced our journey toward Fort Tejón, and reached there without any further adventures worth relating.
Coming back, we stopped for the night at Gordon's Station, and the next day rode fully seventy miles not so inconsiderable an accomplishment, perhaps, for those not accustomed to regular saddle exercise.
A few months later, I met Cy on the street. "Harris," said he, "do you know that once, on that hot day going to Fort Tejón, we were within three hundred feet of a fine, cool spring?" "Then why in the devil," I retorted, "didn't you take us to it?" To which Cy, with a chuckle, answered: "Well, I just wanted to see what would happen to you!"
1. Sam Meyer was Newmark's closest friend and a fellow Mason.
2. A type of molasses.
3. A syrup.
4. The neighborhood that would later be known as Newhall.
5. Purchased by Beale the year before; part of the 270,000 acres that comprise the present-day Tejon Ranch.
6. Typically a type of boot, but here Newmark seems to mean a canteen.
7. Here Newmark inserts his own footnote, saying, "Now reached by the Ridge Route."
8. See Major Gordon's Station.