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This Day in MendoHistory: June 2, 1885- ‘First Known White Settler’ Files Claim to Mendocino Bay’s North Bank

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In collaboration with Mendocino’s Kelley House Museum, MendoFever will be publishing their “This Day in Mendocino History” Facebook posts. The Kelley House Museum works hard to document and curate Mendocino County’s rich history and can be visited in the seaside town of Mendocino.

Photo: Jerome B. Ford and Captain David Lansing standing by William Kasten’s cabin. (Carleton E. Watkins (photographer), Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

On this day in Mendocino history…

June 2, 1855 – William Kasten, the first known white settler of Mendocino, filed claim to the north bank of Mendocino Bay. Kasten filed a preemption to the land naming it, “Port of Good Hope.” His claim began at the Point, went east one-half mile, one-half mile north, west to the ocean, and south along the shoreline back to the Point.

Reportedly, Kasten was the lone survivor of a ship wrecked off the Mendocino coast in 1850. When Jerome Ford came up the coast looking for salvage from the shipwrecked “Frolic,” Kasten was already living in a cabin on a bluff overlooking Mendocino Bay. Ford bought this cabin from Kasten in exchange for lumber to build another house on a site near the present-day intersection of Kasten and Albion Streets, a house later known as the Heeser House.

According to a memoir by J. B. Ford’s daughter, Catherine Ford Rea, “Beyond this place [Ford’s House] toward the mill was a large field for pasture for our animals. We had several cows there and in that enclosure behind the barn was an old log cabin where my father and Capt. Lansing lived when they first went up there. I suppose it may have been the cabin Mr. Kasten put up. We youngsters used to go there to play before it began to fall down.”

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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