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Today in MendoHistory: 1.2.1919- Quick Thinking Saves Five-Year-Old From Drowning in a Pond


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: Gordon-Dilling Family Camping Trip, 1923-1925. Left top, standing: Jennie Dilling, Ella (Gordon) Luiz, Margaret Dilling. Seated: Frank Gordon, Annie (Dilling) Gordon, Juanita Luiz, Frank Dilling, Mamie Gordon, Thelma Dilling, Susie (Gordon) Walbridge, Frances Walbridge, Malcolm Luiz, Archie Gordon, Agnes Dilling, Clara Dilling. Sitting in front of tent: Chester Walbridge. (Emery Escola, Emery Escola Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

On this day in Mendocino history…

January 2, 1919 – Five-year-old Malcolm Luiz narrowly escaped drowning in the Caspar pond. Had it not been for the quick actions of John Daniels who plunged in after him, Malcolm would probably have been lost.

Malcolm was the only son of Charles Luiz and the former Miss Ella Gordon, a daughter of one of the pioneer families of the Mendocino Coast. Charles was the proprietor of The Toggery, a clothing shop on Mendocino’s Main Street, and Ella assisted the lady customers of his store. Charles was the son of Antone F. Luiz, who had owned and operated the Lisbon Hotel on Ukiah Street until 1906.

Malcolm and his older sister, Juanita, had accompanied their father and grandfather to Caspar that afternoon. While Charles attended a business meeting, the children and their grandfather watched from the bridge as a trainload of logs was shot into the pond. When Mr. Luiz’s attention was momentarily distracted, Malcolm crawled through the bridge railing on the mill side of the pond and got out onto the logs.

A splash alerted Mr. Luiz, and he saw the little chap going under. Mill pond worker John Daniels happened to be nearby. He saw Malcolm disappear, rushed to the spot, jumped in after him, and got him out.

The Beacon reported that it had been a close call. “A bunch of logs were on their way through from the east side of the pond and would have passed over the spot had the rescue been delayed but a few minutes. The little fellow was hurriedly brought to town and suffered no ill effects from his cold bath.”

𝘞𝘢𝘭𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘛𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘏𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘤 𝘔𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘯𝘰 – 𝘑𝘰𝘪𝘯 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘵 𝘥𝘰𝘤𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘭𝘭 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘺. 𝘠𝘰𝘶’𝘭𝘭 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘴 𝘣𝘺 𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘺 𝘱𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘳 𝘩𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘴, 𝘩𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘤 𝘮𝘦𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘶𝘪𝘭𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘶𝘱 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘔𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘯𝘰 𝘏𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘤 𝘋𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘵.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
Picking Brains—Baring Bones—Playing it By Ear: I'm a reporter in Mendocino County and the Founder of MendoFever.

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