Jay and Jean McMullen
exact settling of Lone Redwood Ranch isn't clear. The settler, John
McGill Laughlin, Sr., our great grandfather, crossed the plains three
times. The first trip was in 1849. His first wife died in childbirth
on the crossing. The child lived a year, into 1850, and is buried in
Shiloh Cemetery here. A second crossing of the plains resulted in remarrying
in 1853 and led to a third crossing with the second wife and an older
brother, James, their mother and a sister, who took up land also along
the Mark West Creek in 1854.
brothers were interested in diversity of farming: cattle sheep, horses,
alfalfa, hay, pasture, grain, twenty acres of various orchard and fifteen
acres of various grapes (including zinfandel which is probably the clonestock
of our present zins.) No hops are mentioned in the 1889 "Pen Pictures"
sketches of Sonoma County.
McGill Laughlin, Jr., our grandfather, inherited property on his fathers'
death in 1893. Hops must have replaced alfalfa along the creek about
this time. Some upland areas were planted with 8X8 head pruned grapes.
Hops were expensive to grow and attracted mildew. After prohibition,
orchards took over--prunes especially and some pears were planted in
or about 1920. The 20's were spent before good payoff began, but too
late for grandfather to enjoy it. Our grandmother did enjoy the security
of good harvest until her death in 1962.
mother Evelyn Laughlin McMullen, took out the aging prunes and eventually
the pears and little by little replaced them with a variety of grapes.
The ranch location along Mark West Creek is a fog pocket. As time goes
on we learn that the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varietals grow here especially
well. Edges and spots of land, particularly along the creek, are set
aside for wildlife. It is our mother's stated intention and is ours
that the ranch be maintained as best as possible to continue and upgrade