Jan. 12, 1876 – Nov. 22, 1916
John Griffith Chaney (Jack London) was born in San Francisco, raised in Oakland. At 14, he quit school to escape poverty and seek adventure. In SF Bay, he was an oyster pirate, worked for the gov’t fish patrols, then went to Japan as a sailor and saw much of the US as a Hobo riding freight trains. He entered UC Berkeley but quit after a year to search for riches in the Klondike Gold Rush. Returning broke, he decided to earn a living as a writer. He began writing sonnets, ballads, anecdotes and adventure stories. His first book, “The Son of the Wolf: Tales of the Far North” (1900) gained a wide audience, writing some 50 books, many short stories and articles in the next 17 years. London was considered a living symbol of rugged individualism whose success was due to mental ability and vitality. He oversaw the construction of his sailing ship, the “Snark”, Wolf House near Glen Ellen and his farm, Beauty Ranch. Intending to sail around the world, he made it to Australia, but returned due to ill health. His health declined rapidly in his last few years and he died after a brief coma. His ashes were laid to rest on a knoll overlooking the Valley of the Moon near Wolf House. His second wife, Charmain died in 1955 and was laid to rest next to Jack.
FRANK C. REILLY
Dec. 31, 1894 – Nov. 5, 1981
Frank C. Reilly was born in Forbestown, CA. Before becoming an innkeeper, he was the foreman of the Feather Fork Mine near La Porte, CA. Frank, wife Lucille and her Mother Marie Sandberg were La Porte to most people from the late 1930’s to the mid–1960’s. In the 30’s they (along with Marie’s first husband Lucien Amy) extended their warm hospitality to all comers, first at the La Porte Hotel and later at Reilly’s Saloon and Café. The café was originally Burrel-Buckley barn lot circa 1860, then Jumbo Merian’s Grocery & Gas Station from 1930-1945. Purchased by Frank C. Reilly in 1945 it was operated by him from 1945-1965. Frank, Lucille and “Mom” were always ready to welcome you with hot food and drinks and companionship. In 1973, Frank was the first Humbug of Frank C. Reilly 5978, E Clampus Vitus and one of the very few that was still alive with a chapter bearing his name. Frank C. Reilly 5978, E Clampus Vitus owns and operates the Frank C. Reilly Museum in La Porte dedicated to local history and the gold mining era.
Old Timers Museum Sold
Unfortunately, the building housing the Old Timers Museum in Murphy’s has been sold. The Museum is no more, the artifacts are being returned to donors and/or placed in safe storage. The Wall Of Comparative Ovations remains intact and is part of the Historic structure which must be preserved as a California Historic Site. The future of an ECV museum is uncertain at this time.