Prince Aaggie of Berylwood, Holstein-Friesian registration No. 367062. 2x3-inch print; photograph by Blackmore of Los Angeles.
Prince Aaggie (cq) was the prize bull of August Rübel, then-owner of Billiwhack Dairy, aka Billiwhack Ranch, at 2275 Aliso Canyon Road, Santa Paula, and later owner of Rancho Camulos.
Prince Aaggie was born Oct. 20, 1920, at Berylwood Stock Farm in the Ventura County town of Hueneme and registered to A.W. Morris & Sons Corp. He was sired by Sir Aaggie De Kol Acme (185724); the dam was Aralia De Kol Mead 2nd (326061).
August Rübel arrived in Ventura County in 1922 and either bought or established Billiwhack Dairy. He purchased Prince Aaggie around the same time. As a young bull, Prince Aaggie won several prizes at regional stock fairs.
According to family tradition, when the bull died a short time later, Rübel lost the farm but retained enough money to purchase Rancho Camulos, which was in a distressed condition and thus was affordable. However, Prince Aaggie sired calves that were born at least as late as December 1925, possibly later. (The gestation period is ~285 days, or just over 9 months).
In any event, about 1925, Rübel did transition from farming in Santa Paula to ranching in the Piru area.
Considerably later, the legend of the Billiwhack Monster was born. It persisted into the 1960s. Santa Paulans claimed that a humanoid half-man, half-goat creature terrorized the community from the vicinity of the old dairy. Some locals disingenuously pinned the menace on August Rübel, imagining that he secretly worked for the U.S. government’s wartime intelligence service (OSS) and conducted experiments in an underground laboratory beneath the dairy to produce a race of super-soldiers. Supposedly the monster was an experiment gone wrong.
By all standard accounts, Rübel was a dairyman and rancher who drove an ambulance in both world wars and died while trying to save others in North Africa in 1943.
According to Triem & Stone (1996) — and to his two surviving daughters in 2013, Shirley Rübel Lorenz and Nathalie (Rübel) Trefzger —
August A. Rübel was a New Yorker born in Switzerland while his parents were traveling there. (Despite the umlauts, he didn't speak German, according to his daughters.)
He grew up on the East Coast and served with the
American Field Service during World War I, driving an ambulance in France from the fall of 1917 until 1919.
Rübel attended Harvard University and came to Ventura County in 1922,
first living in Aliso Canyon near Santa Paula where he and his bride, the former Mary Colgate McIsaac, ran a dairy called Billiwhack (pronounced Billy Whack).
According to family tradition, after their prize bull died, the dairy went broke and
they purchased Rancho Camulos (pronounced kə-MOO-lōs) from the heirs of Ygnacio del Valle in about 1924.
They moved to the property in 1925 and raised five children there.
The AFS ambulance service was reactivated in 1939. American volunteers drove ambulances in France, North Africa, the Middle East, Italy, Germany, India and Burma,
carrying more than 700,000 casualties by the end of World War II. August returned to the AFS in 1942 and was killed in Tunisia on April 28, 1943,
when the ambulance he was driving hit a German land mine.
He is buried in an American military cemetery in Carthage, now a suburb of Tunis. (After the war, in 1947, AFS transitioned into a student exchange program.)
Mary Rübel married Edwin Burger in 1946, who continued as the resident manager of Rancho Camulos after Mary's death in 1968.
Subsequently the ranch has been managed by descendants of August and Mary Rübel.
The Rübel family continues to own the ranch. In fact, only two families — the Del Valles and the Rübels — have owned Rancho Camulos since 1839, when it was granted by Gov. Juan B. Alvarado
to Mexican Lt. Antonio del Valle as part of the Rancho San Francisco.
Today it makes a lovely setting for a wedding. The historic buildings are operated by the 501c3 nonprofit Rancho Camulos Museum, and they're open for tours on weekend afternoons.
Rancho Camulos is located located just 10 miles west of Interstate 5 on scenic Highway 126. For more information visit RanchoCamulos.org.