Miguel Blanco

The Old Spanish Trail had become increasingly used as a pack mule trail between New Mexico and California, and with this traffic came the opportunity for those to take advantage of the distance and desperate nature of the land.

Crowder (Coyote) Canyon in the Cajon Pass north of San Bernardino
Hundreds and sometimes even thousands of stolen horses from the ranchos would burst through Coyote Canyon beginning their ‘journey of death’ across the Mojave.

California horses were beautiful creatures, and the mules were taller and stronger than those in New Mexico and they were easy to steal.  The rolling hills and plains presented clear paths to the  Cajon where numerous hidden canyons and washes were available to slip into and prepare for the furious run across the desert. Horses would be stolen in herds from many different ranchos at once. Hundreds of horses, even thousands could be commandeered and driven by just a few experienced thieves.

Narrows, Crowder Cyn., Cajon Pass

Chief Walkara, ‘Hawk of the Mountains’ and the greatest horse thief in all of history along with his band of renegade Chaguanosos , and notables such as Jim Beckwourth and Pegleg Smith would work together in this illegal trade. During one raid they were said to have coordinated the theft of 3,000-5,000 horses, driving them to Fort Bridger to trade for more horses to run to New Mexico to trade again. Horses would fall from exhaustion every mile and the local bands of Paiute would feast on the remains.

The rich ranchos of southern California.

In 1843 Michael White was granted one league of land at the mouth of the Cajon Pass called Rancho Muscupiabe. At a point overlooking the trails leading into and away from the canyon he was expected to thwart the raiders and horse thieves that were plaguing the Southern California ranchos. In theory it was a good plan but in practice it did not work so well.

Devore, ca.
From the piedmont between Devil and Cable canyons, Miguel Blanco could keep an eye out for the horse thieves entering the Cajon.

He built his home of logs and earth and constructed corrals for his stock. However, the location between Cable and Devil Canyon only served as a closer and more convenient target for the Indian thieves. His family was with him, but after six weeks until it became too dangerous. He left after nine months without any livestock and in debt.

The Old Spanish Trail went down this slope to behind Miguel Blanco’s rough-hewn homestead. Indians would watch from this forest for Miguel to leave and they would slip down and steal everything that could be stolen.

Miguel sold his property, however, Miguel had misread the grant, letting the rancho go for much less than it was worth. The land described on the grant was roughly 5 times larger than Miguel thought.  Blanco brought a suit but lost.

Muscupiabe Rancho, Michael White, Miguel Blanco
Muscupiabe Rancho

As the late 1840s and 1850s rolled by wagon roads were being developed in the canyon minimizing the effectiveness of the maze of box canyons being used to cover the escape of desperadoes on horseback. With California becoming a state frontiersmen such as Beckwourth and Peg Leg Smith would not steal from fellow Americans. Horse-thieving under U.S. law had become a crime where before it was just stealing horses from Mexicans. That was only serious if caught in the act. Americans would never extradite them. For the most part, that was the end of the horse stealing raids.

Mormon Rocks


The Mormon Rocks, also known as the Rock Candy Mountains, are a series of distinctive sandstone outcrops in the Cajon Pass, a mountain pass in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California. The Cajon Pass is a critical transportation corridor connecting the Los Angeles Basin with the Mojave Desert and beyond.

Here are some key points about Mormon Rocks and their significance:

  1. Location: The Mormon Rocks are within the Cajon Pass, traversed by Interstate 15 and several major railroad lines. The rocks are easily visible from the highway, making them a notable geological feature.
  2. Geological Formation: The rocks are sedimentary sandstone and formed through tectonic and erosional processes over millions of years. The distinctive red and white banded appearance is due to iron oxide (hematite) and other minerals.
  3. Cultural Significance: The Mormon Rocks have cultural and historical significance. The area is named after a group of Mormon pioneers who passed through the Cajon Pass in the mid-19th century during their westward migration. The rocks are a prominent landmark in the pass and have been featured in various forms of media.
  4. Recreational Opportunities: The area around Mormon Rocks provides outdoor activities and recreation opportunities. There are trails and viewpoints where visitors can appreciate the geological formations and enjoy scenic views of the surrounding landscape.
  5. Conservation: The Mormon Rocks are part of the San Bernardino National Forest, and efforts are made to preserve and protect the natural and cultural resources in the area.
  6. Railroad Transportation: The Cajon Pass is a crucial route for road and rail traffic. The presence of the rocks adds to the landscape’s visual appeal and has made the pass a notable location for train enthusiasts who enjoy watching trains navigate the steep grades of the pass.

Whether you are interested in geology, history, or simply enjoying scenic landscapes, the Mormon Rocks in the Cajon Pass offer a unique and visually striking destination. If you plan to visit, be sure to follow any posted regulations and respect the natural environment.

Cajon Pass in Southern California


The Cajon Pass is a significant geographical feature located in Southern California, United States. It is a mountain pass in the San Bernardino Mountains, part of the Transverse Ranges in Southern California. The pass is approximately 60 miles (97 kilometers) east of Los Angeles and is a crucial transportation corridor in the region. Here are some key points about the Cajon Pass:

Geographical Location: The Cajon Pass is in San Bernardino County, California. It is part of Interstate 15, which connects the cities of San Bernardino and Victorville in the south to the High Desert region and beyond to Las Vegas, Nevada, in the north.

Transportation: The pass is a critical route linking the densely populated Los Angeles metropolitan area with the desert and the southwestern United States. It serves as a major route for both passenger and freight transportation. Numerous vehicles and freight trains pass through the Cajon Pass daily.

Elevation: The Cajon Pass rises to an elevation of approximately 3,800 feet (1,160 meters) above sea level. This elevation change is significant, and it makes the pass an important point in the regional geography.

Natural Scenery: The Cajon Pass offers stunning natural scenery with its rugged terrain, including rocky cliffs and slopes. It is a popular spot for hiking and outdoor activities, providing beautiful views of the surrounding landscapes.

Historical Significance: The pass has historical significance as it was used by Native American tribes, Spanish explorers, and early settlers. In the mid-19th century, it became a vital transportation route for wagon trains during the California Gold Rush.

Climate: The climate in the Cajon Pass can vary significantly with the seasons. It can experience hot summers and cold winters, and snowfall is common during winter, impacting transportation through the pass.

Wildlife: The region surrounding the Cajon Pass is home to various wildlife, including desert bighorn sheep, often seen in the area.

Infrastructure: To facilitate transportation through the pass, major highways and rail lines traverse it. These include Interstate 15, California State Route 138, and numerous rail lines used for freight transportation.

Geological Activity: The Cajon Pass is located in an area with geological activity, including the presence of the San Andreas Fault. Earthquakes are a potential natural hazard in this region.

Recreational Opportunities: Besides its transportation importance, the Cajon Pass offers recreational opportunities, including hiking, rock climbing, and wildlife viewing for outdoor enthusiasts.

Overall, the Cajon Pass plays a significant role in the transportation infrastructure of Southern California, linking the metropolitan areas to the High Desert and beyond while also providing a natural setting for outdoor activities and appreciation of the region’s unique geography.


The history of the Cajon Pass is rich and significant, with a timeline that spans many centuries. Here is an overview of the historical events and developments related to the Cajon Pass:

Indigenous Peoples: Long before European settlers arrived in the region, the Cajon Pass was inhabited by indigenous peoples, including the Serrano and Tongva tribes. These Native American groups used the pass as a natural corridor for trade and travel.

Spanish Exploration: In the late 18th century, Spanish explorers, including Father Francisco Garces and Juan Bautista de Anza, passed through the Cajon Pass during their expeditions into California. The Spanish established a presence in California, and the pass was an important part of their transportation network.

Early American Settlement: As California transitioned from Spanish to Mexican rule and eventually became part of the United States, pioneers and settlers used the Cajon Pass as they headed westward during the westward expansion period of the 19th century. It was a crucial route for wagon trains and the Butterfield Overland Mail Stagecoach Line, facilitating westward migration.

California Gold Rush: The discovery of gold in California in 1848 led to a rush of people seeking their fortunes. Many gold seekers, known as “forty-niners,” passed through the Cajon Pass on their way to the goldfields in Northern California.

Railroad Development: The construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad in the 1860s further solidified the importance of the Cajon Pass. The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway, in particular, played a significant role in developing rail infrastructure through the pass, greatly facilitating trade and transportation in the region.

Modern Transportation: In the 20th century, the pass evolved as a transportation hub. The development of modern highways, including U.S. Route 66 and later Interstate 15, made the pass a vital link in the national highway system. It also became a major corridor for freight transportation.

Natural Hazards: The Cajon Pass is located in a seismically active region, and it has been affected by earthquakes throughout its history. Notably, the 1812 San Juan Capistrano Earthquake created a landslide in the pass, altering its geography.

Natural Beauty: Beyond its historical significance, the Cajon Pass has always been appreciated for its natural beauty and scenic vistas. Outdoor enthusiasts and hikers have enjoyed the pass’s rugged terrain and unique landscapes.

Cultural Significance: Over the years, the Cajon Pass has been featured in literature, music, and popular culture. It is often mentioned in songs and stories about Route 66 and the American West.

Today, the Cajon Pass remains a vital transportation link in Southern California, serving as a critical route for passenger and freight traffic. Its historical and cultural importance, as well as its stunning natural beauty, continue to make it a noteworthy part of the region’s heritage.


The geology of the Cajon Pass is a fascinating aspect of its natural history, and it plays a significant role in shaping the landscape and geological features of the region. The pass is located within the San Andreas Fault zone, which is one of the most well-known and active fault systems in California. Here are some key geological aspects of the Cajon Pass:

San Andreas Fault: The Cajon Pass is situated along the San Andreas Fault, which is a transform fault that marks the boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. This fault system is responsible for the movement of tectonic plates and is associated with earthquakes in the region.

Fault Activity: The San Andreas Fault is known for its potential to produce significant seismic events. The movement of the Pacific Plate and North American Plate along the fault can result in earthquakes, and the Cajon Pass area is considered seismically active. This fault activity has influenced the landscape in the region over geological time.

Formation of the Pass: The Cajon Pass itself is a result of tectonic activity along the San Andreas Fault. Over millions of years, the fault has caused uplift and displacement, creating a gap or pass in the San Bernardino Mountains. This geological process has allowed for the formation of the pass as a natural transportation corridor.

Rocks and Geology: The geology of the Cajon Pass includes a variety of rock types, including sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks. The mountains surrounding the pass are composed of various types of bedrock, including schist, gneiss, and granite, which have been uplifted and exposed due to tectonic forces.

Topography: The pass features rugged terrain, steep slopes, and cliffs, which are the result of geological processes such as faulting, erosion, and uplift. These geological features create the distinctive landscape of the pass.

Erosion: Over time, erosion, primarily driven by wind and water, has shaped the topography of the Cajon Pass. It has also exposed rock formations and created canyons and valleys in the area.

Waterways: The pass has been influenced by the flow of water, with several small streams and washes running through it. These waterways have played a role in shaping the pass and the surrounding landscape.

Geological Study: The Cajon Pass is of interest to geologists and seismologists who study the San Andreas Fault and its activity. Understanding the geology of the pass and its fault systems is important for assessing earthquake hazards in the region.

The geological features and the presence of the San Andreas Fault make the Cajon Pass an area of both scientific interest and potential geological hazard. The ongoing study of its geology contributes to our understanding of the complex tectonic processes at work in Southern California and helps with earthquake preparedness and mitigation efforts in the region.

Railroad History

The history of railroads in the Cajon Pass is closely intertwined with the broader history of railroad development in the American West. The construction and operation of railroads through the Cajon Pass played a pivotal role in the economic growth and expansion of Southern California and the United States. Here’s an overview of the railroad history in the Cajon Pass:

Early Railroad Development: The first railroad to traverse the Cajon Pass was the California Southern Railroad, which was a subsidiary of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway (AT&SF). Construction of this railroad began in the 1880s, with the goal of connecting San Diego with Barstow and the transcontinental rail network. The California Southern Railroad was the first to establish a rail link through the pass.

Competition and Expansion: Other railroads, including the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific, also sought to establish a presence in Southern California. This led to competition and further expansion of rail lines in the region, making the Cajon Pass a vital corridor for the movement of goods and people.

Completion of the Santa Fe Line: The AT&SF completed its line through the Cajon Pass in 1885, providing a direct route from Chicago to the Pacific Coast. This line played a significant role in the development of Southern California and the growth of cities like San Bernardino and Los Angeles.

Rise of San Bernardino: The city of San Bernardino, located at the western end of the Cajon Pass, became a major railroad hub and grew in importance as a transportation center. The city’s rail yards and facilities played a crucial role in the movement of goods and the transfer of passengers.

Engineering Challenges: Constructing and maintaining rail lines through the rugged terrain of the Cajon Pass presented numerous engineering challenges. Building tunnels, bridges, and track beds on steep slopes and rocky terrain required significant effort and ingenuity.

Modernization and Electrification: In the early 20th century, the AT&SF began electrifying its lines through the pass to improve efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of steam locomotives. The electrification of rail lines in the region was a pioneering effort in the United States.

Decline of Passenger Rail: With the rise of automobiles and highways in the mid-20th century, passenger rail service declined. However, freight traffic through the Cajon Pass remained robust and continues to be a critical part of the nation’s transportation network.

Modern Rail Transportation: Today, the Cajon Pass remains a key transportation corridor for freight rail, with multiple rail lines running through it. The BNSF Railway (successor to the AT&SF) and Union Pacific are among the major railroads operating in the pass.

The history of railroads in the Cajon Pass reflects the broader history of American westward expansion and the role of railroads in opening up new territories, fostering economic growth, and shaping the development of cities and regions. The legacy of the railroads in the Cajon Pass continues to be felt in the transportation and economic networks of Southern California and the United States.

Historic Trails and Highways

The Cajon Pass has been historically significant as a transportation corridor. It has been traversed by several historic trails and highways that played crucial roles in the westward expansion of the United States and the development of Southern California. Here are some of the notable historic trails and highways that passed through or near the Cajon Pass:

Old Spanish Trail: The Old Spanish Trail was a historic trade route that connected Santa Fe, New Mexico, to California. It passed through the Cajon Pass, making it an important part of the trail network that facilitated trade between the Spanish colonies of the Southwest and California during the early 19th century.

Mojave Road: The Mojave Road, also known as the Old Government Road, was a 19th-century wagon route that crossed the Mojave Desert. It passed through the Cajon Pass and served as an important east-west transportation route for settlers, traders, and the U.S. military.

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail: The Mormon Pioneer Trail followed the path of Mormon pioneers who journeyed from the Midwest to the Salt Lake Valley in Utah during the mid-19th century. This trail intersected with the Mojave Road, which passed through the Cajon Pass, as Mormons traveled to California for trade and other purposes.

Santa Fe Trail: While the primary route of the Santa Fe Trail led to Santa Fe, New Mexico, it had several branches and alternative paths. The route connecting California to the Santa Fe Trail passed through the Cajon Pass and the San Bernardino Valley.

California Trail: The California Trail was a major emigrant trail used during the California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century. Many gold seekers and settlers traveling to California passed through the Cajon Pass on their way to the goldfields in Northern California.

National Old Trails Road: The National Old Trails Road was a transcontinental highway that passed through the Cajon Pass. It was established in the early 20th century and played a role in developing the American highway system.

U.S. Route 66: U.S. Route 66, often referred to as the “Main Street of America,” was a historic highway that connected Chicago to Los Angeles. It passed through the Cajon Pass, and its association with the pass contributed to the highway’s iconic status.

Interstate 15: Modern Interstate 15, which runs through the Cajon Pass, connects Southern California to Las Vegas and points north. It has become a vital part of the national highway system, carrying passenger and freight traffic.

These historic trails and highways were instrumental in opening up the American West, facilitating trade, settlement, and travel, and connecting various regions of the United States. The Cajon Pass’s strategic location as a natural transportation corridor made it a pivotal point on many of these routes, and its historical significance remains evident in the region’s cultural and transportation heritage.

Cajon Pass Geography

The Cajon Pass is a geological and geographical feature located in Southern California, United States. It is a mountain pass in the San Bernardino Mountains, which are part of the Transverse Ranges. The pass is situated approximately 60 miles (97 kilometers) east of Los Angeles and serves as a vital transportation corridor in the region. Here are some key aspects of the geography of the Cajon Pass:

Elevation: The Cajon Pass rises to an elevation of approximately 3,800 feet (1,160 meters) above sea level. This elevation change is significant, and it makes the pass a crucial point in the geography of the region. The pass transitions between the lowland areas to the west and the High Desert region to the east.

Location: The Cajon Pass is located in San Bernardino County, California, and it provides a natural passage through the San Bernardino Mountains, which are part of the larger Transverse Ranges mountain system.

Transportation Corridor: The pass is a critical transportation corridor, facilitating the movement of both passengers and goods. It is part of Interstate 15, which connects the cities of San Bernardino and Victorville in the south to the High Desert region and Las Vegas, Nevada, in the north. Several major highways and rail lines traverse the pass, making it a key component of the region’s transportation infrastructure.

Rugged Terrain: The Cajon Pass is known for its rugged terrain, including steep slopes, rocky cliffs, and canyons. The geology of the pass is influenced by the presence of the San Andreas Fault, which has caused the uplift and displacement of rocks in the area.

Natural Scenery: The pass offers stunning natural scenery, with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The rugged topography and diverse plant life in the region make it a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and nature lovers.

Climate: The climate in the Cajon Pass can vary significantly with the seasons. It experiences hot summers and cold winters, and snowfall is not uncommon during the winter months. The geography of the pass, with its elevation changes, can lead to variations in weather conditions.

Waterways: The pass is intersected by various small streams and watercourses that drain into the Mojave River. These waterways have played a role in shaping the geography of the pass over time.

Wildlife: The region surrounding the Cajon Pass is home to various wildlife, including desert bighorn sheep, often seen in the area.

The Cajon Pass’s unique geography, with its elevation change, rugged terrain, and proximity to the San Andreas Fault, has made it a focal point for transportation and a picturesque destination for those seeking to explore the natural beauty of the San Bernardino Mountains and the surrounding areas in Southern California.

Natural Scenery

The natural scenery around the Cajon Pass is known for its rugged beauty, diverse landscapes, and stunning vistas. This region in Southern California offers a range of natural features and outdoor recreational opportunities. Here are some of the key elements of the natural scenery in and around the Cajon Pass:

Rugged Mountains: The Cajon Pass is surrounded by the San Bernardino Mountains, a rugged and picturesque range of mountains. These mountains consist of various types of bedrock, including schist, gneiss, and granite, which geological forces have shaped over time.

Rocky Cliffs and Slopes: The pass is characterized by rocky cliffs and steep slopes that have been shaped by erosion and tectonic activity. These geological features provide a dramatic backdrop for the pass.

Canyons and Gorges: The region features numerous canyons and gorges, which are often formed by the flow of water. These canyons add to the diversity of the landscape and provide opportunities for exploration and hiking.

Desert Flora: As you move farther east from the pass, you’ll enter the High Desert region of Southern California, characterized by a unique desert ecosystem. Joshua trees, yuccas, creosote bushes, and other desert plants are common in this area.

Mountain Flora: At higher elevations in the San Bernardino Mountains, you’ll find a different array of plant life, including coniferous trees such as pine and fir, as well as a variety of wildflowers that bloom in the spring.

Wildlife: The region is home to diverse wildlife, including desert bighorn sheep, coyotes, bobcats, and numerous bird species. The San Bernardino Mountains and the surrounding High Desert provide habitats for various animal species.

Geological Formations: The presence of the San Andreas Fault and the associated geological activity in the region has led to unique geological formations. These formations include fault lines, exposed rock layers, and uplifted terrain, which interest geologists and nature enthusiasts.

Panoramic Views: The Cajon Pass offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Whether you’re driving along the highways or hiking in the area, you’ll have opportunities to enjoy breathtaking vistas of the San Bernardino Mountains and the High Desert.

Outdoor Activities: The diverse natural scenery in the region provides opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing, birdwatching, and wildlife photography. The pass is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Seasonal Changes: The scenery in the Cajon Pass changes with the seasons. Spring brings wildflower blooms, while the winter months can see snow on the mountains. Each season offers a unique and beautiful perspective on the landscape.

The natural scenery in and around the Cajon Pass is a testament to the diverse and dynamic landscapes found in Southern California. It offers various outdoor experiences for those who appreciate the beauty of the region’s geography and the opportunity to explore its natural wonders.

Other Keenbrook Settlers

by Alice Hall

This portion of an 1875 Los Angeles and Independence Railway map shows John Brown’s Toll Road from Martin’s Ranch (Glen Helen) to Fears House, the upper tollgate. The lower toll gate (Blue Cut) was eventually moved to Faurot House, later called Bear Flat Ranch and Cozy Dell. The site of the Vincent house is now the San Bernardino Water Company property and the Glen House is Keenbrook. Rebecca Fears, daughter of the upper tollgate keeper, married Jerry Vincent.

Let’s see if I can itemize some of the other Keenbrook settlers besides the Glenns and the Keens.

William Gould Bailey, a printer by trade, raised bees in Bailey Canyon high above Verdemont around 1866. When fire destroyed his enterprise, he moved to Keenbrook and started a poultry farm. He was one of the co-purchasers with the Keens. Shortly after his marriage to Cinderella, he was called back to San Francisco to claim his son from a previous alliance, Hervey, whose mother had just died. William had been working in San Francisco with Waterman.

May Schultz and her sister Kate were housekeepers for the railroad, and Hervey Bailey married May.

Hervey Bailey homesteaded the Keenbrook place, and when his natural son, Ray, died, he deeded his property to the boy he’d raised, May’s son, Frank Schultz. Future generations of Baileys didn’t appreciate that Hervey Bailey had been overlooked. Frank married Hilda Wharton, who lived on what is now known as Ruddell Hill (Joe Camp’s place) with her mother and two sisters before they moved across Cajon Creek to the Obst place that became known as Freedom Acres when Anna Mills owned it. Hervey’s son was Raymond Gould.

Hilda Wharton Schultz became our trusted caretaker who managed our livestock when we had to be away from home.

Most of the photos I’ve been posting came from Ray Bailey, the grandson of Londa Bailey, whose husband was the Keenbrook station master between 1911 and 1918. Londa’s sister, Stella Ehwegen, was married to the Cajon station master, who previously served at the Summit Valley station. The two couples visited each other frequently, and both women were avid photographers. Ray Bailey inherited their photographs and graciously shared copies with me when he lived in Muscoy. Ray wanted the photos to have more public exposure, so here it is. More are available in the Cajon Pass book from Arcadia Publishing—from ArcadiaPublishing.com or most large bookstores.

Ben and Kathleen Verbryck also owned land in the Keenbrook area, and they donated land to the USFS to construct the first fire lookout platform in the Pass and the SB National Forest. Steam locomotives often started fires.

Gilbert Stuveling was another prominent landowner north of Keenbrook in the Clear Springs District when the land was assessed at $10 an acre. J.M. Herndon owned over 900 acres in the area.

Land boundaries in the pass have been fairly fluid through the years. Devore used to extend to Glen Helen and even beyond. Keenbrook used to include land on the east side of the creek like Mathews place and Freedom Acres.

Blue Cut

by Alice Hall

I had a request for information on Casa Maria, so here is a photo from 2007 along with what little I know. This cute little A-frame building was a popular café, The A-Frame Eatery, at Blue Cut when Highway 66 was in its prime. The A-Frame had other owners and was often used as a rental after it became Gem Pines, owned by Gerry and Glenda Bayless of Gem Ranch across the 66. Now it is an adorable worship center called Casa Maria.

Nearby was the Blue Cut Garage and a restaurant owned by the Hickmans since 1929. They moved their business to the 395 cutoff in 1950 when they heard about the freeway plans. Tom Shepherd purchased it, but Bob and Julie Gauthier converted the restaurant into a residence and have lived there for over 40 years.

The second photo is of the rock retaining walls along Rt. 66 at Blue Cut, which gets its name from the Pelona Schist in the hills that shows color when cut during construction. The walls were designed by B.A. Switzer and built by Olie Dahl to keep motorists from going off Rt. 66.

Coyote (Crowder) Canyon

There are numerous names of features within the story of the Cajon Canyon complex; Mormon Rocks, Lost Lake, Lone Pine Canyon, and more. There is one canyon, however, the most popular variation of the Old Spanish Trail as it entered southern California was known as Coyote Canyon.

In the early 1840s, Englishman Michael White and William Workman were partners in a store in New Mexico. White sold his part of the business and came west to live on one hundred acres his wife purchased from the Catholic Church. On this property near Mission San Gabriel, Michael White established a home. Indian raids were discouraging, but Mr. White worked on and ultimately succeeded in raising cattle. His herd grew and he looked for range land. Mr. White and two other men made an agreement to help each other raise cattle in the valley northwest of San Bernardino.

The Story of Coyote Canyon

It was near the mouth of the Cajon Canyon where he built his camp. However, the ‘partners’ failed to show up leaving Miguel to his own defense if there were an attack.

Miguel Blanco

One morning Mr. White woke up to find his cattle missing–the culprits most likely were ‘Chaguanosos.’ The Chaguanosos were a band of Indians exiled and cast away from all, the worst of the worst, cast from their own tribes, notorious and deadly in their own right. These men would steal anything and everything and kill anyone that attempted to stop them. These renegades committed many of the raids on the animals of the ranchos. There was Chief Coyote who was known in the area to be cunning, and violent and leading a band of these heartless men.

During the dark of night, the Chief and his thieves drove away over 400 head of Mr. White’s herd. Michael White was alone save for a seventeen-year-old Indian boy. Together, they rode off to attempt to halt the theft. They needed to keep the band of thieves from leaving the Cajon Canyon and entering the Mojave Desert–they had to head them off at the pass.

Crowder (Coyote) Canyon – Initially named ‘Coyote’ canyon, for the horse thief, Chief Coyote who was killed within the narrow canyon walls by protector of the Cajon Pass, Miguel Blanco,

Mr. White and the Indian boy rode up the canyon, circled around, and came in between the outlaws and the top of the pass. The thieves were unaware as they were greedily feasting on a horse they had killed.

Mr. White thought to stampede the herd back down through the narrows trapping the Chaguanosos from escape.

Michael drew the attention of Chief Coyote. The renegade charged him. Michael aimed and fired. The shot knocked the Chief off of his horse. He fell into the brush. Dead. The gunshot startled the cattle and they stampeded over the camp and back down the canyon surprising those in the camp. There was a gunfight. White would fire his gun and one by one the Chaguanosos fell dead in the canyon. The boy reloaded the extra gun and kept Michael White fighting. Several of the renegades escaped in the dust and confusion.

A possible site of Campo de la Puente (Camp on the bridge)

The stolen animals were rounded up and returned to the glen at the mouth of the Cajon canyon.

Calling the canyon ‘Coyote Canyon’ wasn’t in honor of a great chief. It was simply a ravine where a bad guy was killed. That is how the canyon became known as Coyote Canyon.

However, the story doesn’t end there- The Governor of California heard of this heroic episode and found that Mr. White had no land but desired to. So, Michael White became naturalized as Miguel Blanco, a citizen of Mexico, and received a grant for 32,000 acres (50 square miles) of land northwest of the Lugo Rancho San Bernardino. With this land situated on a high point of the bajada that runs the southwestern base of the San Bernardino mountains, he was to guard and defend the southern California ranchos from further raids from horsethieves.

Of course, the story doesn’t really end there, either- This is the beginning of the story of Miguel Blanco and the Rancho Muscupiabe.


(c)W.Feller – 2022

Just California

Augustin S. Macdonald, comp.
A Collection of Verse by California Poets. 1914.

Camp Cajon
Camp Cajon Dedication

By John S. McGroarty

’TWIXT the seas and the deserts,
’Twixt the wastes and the waves,
Between the sands of buried lands
And the ocean’s coral caves,
It lies not East nor West,
But like a scroll unfurled,
Where the hand of God hath hung it,
Down the middle of the world.

It lies where God hath spread it,
In the gladness of his eyes,
Like a flame of jeweled tapestry
Beneath His shining skies,
With the green of woven meadows,
And the hills in golden chains,
The light of leaping rivers,
And the flash of poppied plains.

Days rise that gleam in glory,
Days die with sunset’s breeze,
While from Cathay that was of old
Sail countless argosies;
Morns break again in splendor
O’er the giant, new-born West,
But of all the lands God fashioned,
’Tis this land is the best.

Sun and dews that kiss it,
Balmy winds that blow,
The stars in clustered diadems
Upon its peaks of snow;
The mighty mountains o’er it,
Below, the white seas swirled—
Just California stretching down
The middle of the world.

Camp Cajon
Camp Cajon Dedication

The Overland Trail

Camp Cajon
Camp Cajon Dedication

by J.C. Davis

An alkali flats

Over the sagebrush desert gray,
Through alkali patches pale,
It stretches away and away and away –
The weary overland trail.

Where they who followed have smoothed the path
For the track of the iron horse
Between the rocks and around the hills
It threads its sinuous course.

And ever the wagon tracks diverge,
Like strands of a parted skein;
And anon the old trail straightens out
And gathers them again.

Eagle Butte

When bison fleeing the red man’s chase
Stampeded the toiling train.
And dust clouds rose as thundering herds
Swept over the rolling plain.

These deep-worn ruts that divide the bank
At this dry arroyo’s brink
Still tell of the awful, maddening thirst
Of the beasts that rushed to drink.


Rushed down to drink, too oft, alas,
To find but a bed of dust,
Or, here and there, a sunken pool
White with alkali crust.

And many a rock was an ambuscade
That sheltered a skulking foe;
And wild shrieks echoed the Indian yell,
While men and women and children fell
And arrows flew like snow.

Unnamed graves

And smoking heaps in the dawn-light gray
Unfolded the tragic tale
Of the wagon camp that was sacked and burned
On the winding, windswept trail.

And many a ghastly heap of bones,
Bleached white by the sun and wind,
Is the final record of man or beast
That faltered and fell behind.

Who runs may read, as he speeds along,
Its record of blood and tears;
May see dim specters wan and worn,
The ghosts of the vanished years.

My heartbeats quicken, the trail grows dim,
My eyes are blind with tears
As | think with pity and pain and pride
Of those daring pioneers.

And in fancy I see, as my palace winged
Flies over the iron rail
The long, slow-creeping, wagon train
That traveled the overland trail.

Out Where the West Begins

Camp Cajon
Camp Cajon Dedication

by Arthur Chapman, (1917)

Out where the handclasp’s a little stronger,
Out where the smile dwells a little longer,
That’s where the West begins;
Out where the sun is a little brighter,
Where the snows that fall are a trifle whiter,
Where the bonds of home are a wee bit tighter,
That’s where the West begins.

Out where the skies are a trifle bluer,
Out where the friendship’s a little truer,
That’s where the West begins;
Out where a fresher breeze is blowing,
Where there’s laughter in every streamlet flowing,
Where there’s more of reaping and less of sowing,
That’s where the West begins.

Out where the world is in the making,
Where fewer hearts in despair are aching,
That’s where the West begins.
Where there’s more of singing and less of sighing,
Where there’s more of giving and less of buying,
And a man makes a friend without half trying—
That’s where the West begins.

Camp Cajon
The Dedication of Camp Cajon

The Flag

Camp Cajon
Camp Cajon Dedication

(Read by Judge Rex B. Goodcell at the dedication of Camp Cajon July 4, 1919, and by William M. Bristol at the dedication of Live Oak Park by the Chamber of Commerce of northern San Diego County, July 17, 1920.)

The Flag by Charles L. Frazer

Hats off, ye men! Now lift the flag on high:
Break out its folds and let them proudly fly
As from its staff on this our natal day
There floats the banner none may take away.

Its streaming lines, its starry field of blue
Are caught by winds that long have known
them true:
And rising, falling, with exquisite grace,
They kiss each other in a fond embrace.

Flag of our own, we give thee to the breeze:
Thrice hail on land, thrice hail on bounding
On armored deck, o’er valley, peak and crag.
Wave on, and on, our own beloved flag!

Thrice-hallowed flag, one moment thou shalt be
Half-masted for those Sons of Liberty
Who, over seas or on the swelling flood
Have re-baptized thee with a nation’s blood.

Our hero dead! No matter how they fell.
In camp, at sea> on crimson fields of hell;
They gave their all our pledged faith to keep,
Tis ours to pay them homage as they sleep.

Courtesy Austin Daily Herald

Peace to their ashes; let us write each name
In fadeless glory on the roll of fame:
And unborn freemen shall their valor tell
Soldier, and sailor, fare, O fare thee well!
* * * *

Flag of the free, beloved on land and main.
May treason never thy escutcheon stain;
Defeat—the battle lost—were better far
Than that dishonor dim one single star.

Aye, better that thy stars forever set;
And God, and men» and angles thee forget.
Than that thy name should ever used be
To bind one shackle on humanity.

But thou, O flag, shalt not thine honor yield!
Not by one thread, or star upon thy shield
I Through calm and storm undaunted shalt
thou ride.
And all thy deathless principles abide.

Courtesy Santa Fe New Mexican

O, Thou Who boldest in Thy guilding hand
‘ The veiled future of this mighty land.
Keep Thou our flag, and may it ever be
Triumphant in the cause of liberty!

Then fly, proud flag, from thine exalted
Shine on. ye stars, by God’s eternal grace!
With faith undimmed we dedicate anew
Ourselves to thee—the Red, the White, the