Joshua Morgan, of Hemet, is not alone. A group of San Jacinto residents endured life without birth certificates more than a half century ago. Morgan, who is 26, says the doctor who delivered him at a Northern California birthing center never filed the paperwork for a birth certificate to be issued, which created a variety of problems.
Beverly Gardner, who is part of the historic Lamb family, said the same thing happened to her. Gardner's great-grandfather Elijah Lamb homesteaded Lamb Canyon, which drops between Beaumont and San Jacinto, in the 19th century and ran a stagecoach between the towns. She was born on the Poorman Ranch in San Jacinto 70 years ago. In those days, it was common for San Jacinto Valley residents to be born at home. Her father, James Lamb, was ranch foreman.
Around the time she was in eighth grade, Gardner, like many San Jacinto Valley teens, wanted to work in the thriving apricot industry. She needed a work permit but couldn't get one because of her lack of a birth certificate.
She said about a dozen classmates were in the same predicament. "When I turned 13, all us kids went to get work permits," she said. "You made good money in the apricot sheds."
Gardner said it took about three years of persistent work by her parents to obtain a certificate that said she was born. She said they used anything they could find, from school records to notes written in Bibles, to prove her birth. She said a physician delivering babies in San Jacinto Valley homes in 1937 must have been in a forgetful phase of his career.
Lamb Canyon Treasure?
Gardner moved from the area after graduating from San Jacinto High School in 1955 and returned four years ago. She is a tax preparer and an enthusiastic member of the Hemet Sunrise Rotary Club.
Gardner is a member of one of the most colorful historical families in the region. Her older sister, Mary Flake, for instance, wanted to fly so badly as a kid that she hung out at a landing strip between Hemet and San Jacinto. She washed planes in exchange for flying lessons and soloed on her 16th birthday.
Their grandfather, Edgar Lamb, continued the family tradition of running a stagecoach over the steep, rugged road through Lamb Canyon.
Tales about Lamb adventures have been told from generation to generation and may be a lively mixture of fact and creative storytelling. Their homestead site still can be spotted today where trees stand on the east side of Highway 79, a little downhill from the entrance to the Lamb Canyon Landfill.
The homestead, which was sold for the construction of the road through the canyon, is the setting for marvelous stories, particularly about Gardner's colorful great uncle, Frank Lamb. He was said to have lived in caves on the property, abstained from baths and rode a bicycle to Anza to tend sheep.
Legend has it that he was a miserly sort who buried precious coins near the homestead. "Everyone was looking for the coins he got on a merchant's ship when he went around the world," she said. She said her relatives never found the coins. She thinks they may have been discovered and taken by hikers.
Who knows? Maybe the Treasure of Lamb Canyon waits to be found.
Reach Bob Pratte at 951-763-3452, bpratte@PE.com or 474 W. Esplanade Ave., San Jacinto, CA 92583.
From The Daily Pilot
Published Wednesday, July 23, 2008 12:11 AM PDT
After three years and $500,000, project commemorating Newport Beach’s founding centennial unveiled.
By Daniel Tedford
Creating the Newport Beach centennial legacy monument at McFadden Square was no easy feat.
The three-year, approximately $500,000-project was first produced in clay by sculptor Hank Kaminsky. From there, 29 casts were taken. When it was all said and done, the memorial had 2,000 pounds of bronze poured into it.
Newport Beach community members got their first glimpse of the McFadden Square Centennial Legacy Project Monday morning — a sea-green sphere with pictures of Newport Beach’s history carved all over it; on the ground around the sculpture is a timeline of significant events in the city’s history — a testament to its stature over the last 100 years.
And, as the community and city wanted, the memorial is like a mirror for those who have helped create the city and call it their home.
“It puts it all in perspective,” said Barbara Roy, a Newport Beach resident since 1965.
The depictions on the “pearl from the sea,” as Kaminsky calls it, were taken from old photographs of the city, he said. Pictures of John Wayne, Fashion Island, Newport Harbor, Crystal Cove — and, yes, even Newport Bay’s black swan mascot Rupert — grace the sphere’s shell. Fittingly, the structure stands on the spot regarded to be the birthplace of the city.
In 1888, as the timeline reads, McFadden’s Wharf was completed and helped jump-start the area on its way to being incorporated in 1906. At the unveiling ceremony, three generations of McFaddens were represented, totaling more than a dozen family members.
“I really feel strongly about McFadden Square being the historical heart and soul of the city,” Newport Beach Councilman Michael Henn said. “It’s great to have a monument there.”
It took about 750 donors to get the money needed to build the monument, and the names of those donors and business sponsors encircle it. As community members continue to donate, more names will be added.
“It’s an exciting thing to have some of the most important events and places in Newport Beach here,” said Bernie Svalstad, president of Newport Financial and the master of ceremonies at the unveiling. “It is a wonderful thing that people can look at forever. This is where Newport Beach started.”
Those interested in donating and getting their names at McFadden Square can apply prior to Aug. 11. The final names will be written in stone the week of Aug. 18. Call (949) 717-3870 or go to www.city.newport-beach.ca.us.