Giant oaks and surprising country women
Mountain Tales: First-hand stories of life in Tehachapi
December 7, 2019
On Sunday, May 10, 1863, we got some breakfast at a house not far off in this miserable spot and then pushed on about 18 miles until we struck fine grass and good water and camped about noon. We crossed the ridge to Tehachapi (on your map Tah-ee-chay-pah) Pass. From the ridge we had a wide view out on the desert. The Tehachapi Valley is a pretty basin five or six miles long, entirely surrounded by high mountains and lies over four thousand feet above the sea. It is covered with good pasturage and several settlers have located there.
We camped under some magnificent oaks; the one over our heads was over six feet in diameter, with a most magnificent head. We had tea, sugar, two tin cups to make our tea in, crackers and jerked beef. We made our dinner and supper on this. Strange as it seemed to us, there had been a religious service in the valley that day. A Methodist South preacher was visiting a settler and held "meeting" that day in a house, and all of the half-dozen families of the valley turned out. The settlers are "Pike" (Missouri men), and it was delicious to see the women dip snuff.
– William H. Brewer