The Roots of High Rock Began With Cornelius Daly
Our great-grandfather, Cornelius Daly, and his brother John, left Charleville, a small town in County Cork, Ireland, sailed to America, crossed the country and arrived in San Francisco in 1892. They worked as clerks in a Dry Goods store in San Francisco, and in 1895, headed north to Eureka, California to start Daly Bros. Department Store, which was run by the family for the next 100 years.
Shortly after founding Daly Bros., Cornelius went back to Charleville and married Anne Murphy (“Mimi”) and shortly after that, his brother John returned to Charleville to marry Anne’s sister, Eileen. So the Daly brothers married the Murphy sisters and in 1905, they built homes next to each other in Eureka. The families met every night after dinner to walk together around the block.
In the early 1920s, the two families bought a small resort, with a main house, a cook and staff house, cabins, a dance hall, and a barn with stables. The property was 350 acres filled with redwood trees and bordered by the Eel River. The resort was called Englewood, where the Daly family children, grandchildren and great grandchildren shared each summer for 80 years. The Daly Memorial Grove, on the Avenue of the Giants, now marks the original entrance to our “Ranch,” Englewood.
The most joyous day of the year for our family was the day, each summer, we packed the car, including the dog, and headed north on Highway 101 through Ukiah, Willits, Garberville and finally to the Redcrest off ramp and through the gate into the“Ranch.” The saddest day of the year was always two months later when we repacked the car, and dog, and hopped in the car to go home.
Our family spent two months every summer with our grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and cousins, lots of cousins. We all gathered at a place we called Englewood, near the small town of Redcrest, on the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt County.
On a typical day during the summer, we might get up early, walk down the Fire Trail, and fish for trout in the Eel River. After breakfast we would often play tennis with our grandfather, our mom, or our cousins. Usually, in the afternoon, we would hop in the car and drive a mile or so down the Avenue of the Giants, and hike down to a bend in the Eel River called High Rock. There we would dive off the High Rock cliff, and swim to the island in the middle of the Eel River, where we would lie in the sand of the two bowls we called the Sugar and Salt bowls.
In the late afternoon, we would head back to Englewood to play with our cousins in the pool while the adults played bridge. Our whole family learned to swim at a very young age, because as soon as a cousin was able to swim one complete lap, the parents took all our cousins to Minnie’s Market in Redcrest and bought everyone a popsicle.
Some days, if we were really lucky, in the afternoon, our Mom or Dad would saddle up the horses, and we would ride out to the Old Orchard or on special occasions we would ride over the mountain and visit with Old Man Curliss. A few times we rode up the banks of the Eel River a couple of miles to Laramie, the Murphy family ranch. In the evening our family, the Mathewsons (our grandmother was Catherine Daly Mathewson), and the Charles Daly family would meet at the Charles Daly’s barbecue for dinner, always including corn on the cob, picked that day in Pepperwood. After dinner, we would sit around the fire circle, as on occasion, other John and Jack Daly, Biord and Falk cousins joined us, telling stories and singing. It was glorious, sometimes four generations sitting together looking up at dark skies, brilliant stars, and surrounded by Redwood trees.