As a kid I never got paid anything but “Room ‘n Board”, but when I started high school during the
summer months my grandmother paid me 1 dollar a day.  After graduating from high school I started
working for the CN&W RR.  They had me being a baggage boy for the passenger trains, keep the boiler
fired up in the office (when the gauge gets to this high, then stop shoveling coal, and when it gets to
this low, start shoveling coal…gads), then moved on to being a “Number Grabber”, thence onto the
top Interchange Clerk.  I saw the transition from Steam Engines to the Diesel locomotives…

It was the SP RR calendars, which motivated me to move to California.  I started College taking
Mineralogy and Geology.  In the mineralogy course the professor graded us during field trips.  That was
my first time camping out in the desert near Joshua Tree Park.  I remember well sleeping in the desert for
the first time with the sounds of the winds gliding through the old ghost town there…

Soon after I got drafted, so I enlisted in the US Army and am a cold war veteran. Then I took a job in Los
Angeles working in aerospace, ITT Gilfillan, but even after all of those years I never forgot that camping
trip out in the desert.  I worked my way through their inspection program to final inspector, thence on to
Quality Assurance.  It was in that office that I met up with my boss, O.W. Parker.  He was a full-blooded
Cherokee Indian.  He invited me to take a trip to Death Valley for a 3-day weekend in 1968.  We took
along Honda Trail 90’s and made over 100 miles off and on the roads then.  It seems that when you go
to Death Valley or the Panamint Valley, well you get “hooked big time” by the grandeur and quietness
of the area…

My brother, Edward, bought into a beer and wine bar down in Torrance, CA and asked me if I wanted
half-ownership.  This was during the early 70’s that we organized a trip to Death Valley and posted a
sign to see if anyone would sign up.  Well, some 35 to 40 people signed up, so off we went to Death
Valley proper.  Then some of us found the Indian Ranch, located out in the Panamint Valley…

We became full time residents of Indian Ranch in 1979, but had been going there since 1971.  At this
time I was working for a Hospital in Van Nuys, and became the Chief Engineer there.  With the stress of
my job, it was so nice to head on out to the Indian Ranch, where there were no phones, no radios, no
beepers, no stress, and again, the peace and quietness of the desert…

In the late 1989 I became a part owner of the Ghost Town of Ballarat, CA out in the Panamint Valley.  
Quit the Ballarat Owners Group in 1995, bought a home here in Ridgecrest, CA. and retired here in
1998.  Married twice; the second time to a wonderful wife by the name of Jenny.  No kids, but I did
help raise five stepdaughters.
Patrick H. Hannan…aka Packrat
both well into there 80’s and I never recognized this fact, as they both were born in the 1860’s.  My,
looking back now what a history they could have told me if I had only known better.  The grain was
thrashed in a Bell City Thrashing machine, driven by belt from a Massey Harris Tractor…
I was born May, 1935 in Green Bay,
WI.  My father had a homestead farm
in the township of Askeaton, WI, and
that’s where I was raised for 4 years.  
Remember well my father using a
team of horses to work the land as he
used to let me ride on them.  However
Dad lost the farm during the great
depression of those years…

We moved to De Pere, WI and lived
there through WWII.  I worked on my
grandmother’s farm since I was a
small boy.  Back in those days
everyone worked no matter your
age.  I shocked barley and oats as a
kid there.  Then I “pitched” bundles
with two old-timers, Tim and John,