When we last checked in with Mr. Johnson, he was about three miles from Graniteville, California.

When he reached that town, he made an arrangement with a local couple to camp on their property, paying them with fresh milk from his cow, as he’d done previously. He also went to the post office to get directions to the home of a Mr. Sherwood, who was a miner in the area. Before he’d even left Massachusetts for California a couple of years earlier, Mr. Johnson had been asked by that man’s sister (a fellow resident of Webster, Mass.) to give him her greetings. The lady’s brother (Mr. Sherwood) had moved west before she was born, but she’d been corresponding with him for years.

This is where we pick up Mr. Johnson’s story again:

“On the morning of the 16th [of August 1882] I was up as usual, feeding the cattle, milking the cow, greasing the wagon, doing this and that, looking here and there, and I came to the conclusion that Graniteville was a smart, lively, business town. It has a hotel, two stores, livery stable, two saloons, two blacksmith shops, a market, and many houses.

“When the right time came I carried in the milk, presenting it to the lady. She looked at it and said, ‘You must have a good cow that gave such a quantity and good at that. Our breakfast will soon be ready, come in and take breakfast with us; make yourself at home as long as you are here.’ The bell rang, I went in and the lady gave me a seat at the table and was my waiter.

“I remarked to her that I was going west about three miles, to the canyon in search of a man named Sherwood, and asked would my outfit be safe with them. ‘I will keep a lookout myself, I think they will not be disturbed; how long would you be gone?’ queried the lady. ‘I hope to return by noon, and I think I will.’

“I started for the canyon, taking the road for the creek and finding the trail as directed, crossing the creek on towards the cabin. Going up to the cabin door I knocked and listened, but did not hear anything; knocked again, listened and heard a noise inside. I gave a louder knock, when a voice answered, ‘Who is there?’ ‘No one who will harm you,’ I answered, ‘I want to see Mr. Sherwood, is he not at home?’

“‘He is not, he is up at the mines.’ ‘Where is the mine?’ ‘Up in the canyon.’ ‘My home is in the far East and I am on my way back to Webster, Mass. I have come a long distance to see Mr. Sherwood, and I don’t want to go away without seeing him. I have a message from his sister, whom he never saw, that lives in the town I come from. Now dare you open the door?’ ‘Yes, when I hear the name of Webster.’

“The person came and opened the door and said, ‘You [are] from Webster?’ ‘I am, and know those whom neither you nor your husband ever saw. Mr. and Mrs. B___, by me send their most sincere love to you and yours; this is why I was anxious to see you.’

“She sounded a horn, and soon after a young man came in, to whom she said: ‘Go up the canyon and tell your father a man wishes to see him.’ It was not long before a man came to the cabin, when the woman said, ‘This man came to the door and knocked three times before I dared to open it. Had he not said he was from Webster, Mass., and had a message from Mr. and Mrs. B___, I should not have dared to let him in.’ ‘You are from Webster, Mass.?’ ‘I am, sir.’ ‘You know my brother and sister, B___?’ ‘I do.’ ‘When did you leave Massachusetts?’ ‘In April 1880.’ ‘How long have you been in California?’ ‘Two years, I arrived at Eureka on the 28th of May, 1880, and have been there ever since that time.’ ‘You are on your way back to [Massachusetts]?’ ‘I am.’ ‘I think you do not like California by returning so soon, is that so?'”

… Check back in tomorrow to read Mr. Johnson’s emphatic response to this question.