By Mabel Plaskett
One of the most colorful characters living on the coast in early days was a man by the name of George Ames. Riding down the coast from his home in Santa Cruz in the early 1860’s he started working for Jim Prewitt as a hired hand.
He was only 14 years old at this time, but could do the work of a man around the ranch and was a good horseman. In fact, he was always one of the cowboys at round up time and was often sent out on the range to see that all was well with the herd, often pulling a cow out of a mud hole in wet weather or helping out with a difficult birth. Even at this early age George was an all-around rand hand and after Prewitt left he worked for the Mansfield and Plaskett families the rest of his life.
George was honest and trustworthy and could be depended on to see that all the stock were fed and watered so no one ever worried on that score as long as “Old George”, as he was called, was around.
HE SAVED his money and although his wages were never more than $30 a month he accumulated a small fortune during his life time.
George was tall and sat straight in his saddle and always carried a .38 Colt revolver in a saddle holster. At one time he came upon an eagle attacking a small calf and promptly drew his gun and killed the bird.
Once a year, as long as his mother lived, George made the long trip to Santa Cruz to visit her.
HE LOVED horses and always owned a good saddle horse which he kept groomed carefully. He spent most of his spare time brushing and currying his horse. One of his favorite mounts was an iron grey he named “Old Flippet.” He wore spurs with long clanking chains and you knew “Old George was coming before he came in sight.
George filed on a piece of land on the north fork of Willow Creek. This is still known as the “George Place.” It lies just below the “Sheep Camp” on Plaskett Ridge. Sheep Camp got its name when William Plinkerton of Pleyto brought a band of sheep in and grazed them there on a dry year.
George sold his land to the Plaskett Brothers and continued working as a hired hand. One time Jasper Mansfield asked him how he would rather be paid, at the regular wage of $30 a month or a dollar a day for each day he worked. George chose the latter and it rained so much that month he got only 10 working days in so he decided to go back to $30 a month.
GEORGE NEVER looked at a woman and once on a rare visit to San Francisco when some of the boys tricked him into a “dance hall” he nearly tore the place apart getting out of there.
In his later years George had thick white hair, keen blue eyes and was constantly grumbling about one thing or another. This was only a habit as he was a generous hearted, kindly person. He lived his last years at the James Plaskett ranch near Jolon and was working for Lawson Plaskett when he died in 1931 and he lies buried in the King City Cemetery.
A lasting tribute should be paid to these trusty men who, through hard times and good, served the boss to the best of their ability. True bunk house heroes no longer known in this mechanized age of scientific farming.
Mabel Sans Plaskett was born in Coralitas near Ben Lomond in the Santa Cruz Mountain area of California. Her father Edward Robert Sans ran a saw mill near Pacific Valley, along the Nacimiento – Ferguson road to the coast at Highway One. It was there she met Edward Abbott Plaskett, her husband. Mabel wrote about the coast and the pioneers of the 19th and 20th Centuries.