Welcome to Stonyford!

Stonyford is a ranching community in Northern California's Colusa County. Beautifully sited in a mountain plateau approximately 1200 feet above sea level, it provides entry to the adjoining East Park Reservoir and Mendocino National Forest. It is home to the annual Stonyford PRCA Rodeo and Stonyford Museum. To read more about Stonyford, its history, and photographs, click on the About heading.

(This site is sponsored by Roy Stewart.)

Stonyford Museum is Open Again

by Roy Stewart

The Stonyford Museum has reopened to visitors on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month from February through October, and the 4th Sunday only during November, December, and January. The staff continues to accept and process donations, create new exhibits, and watch over its local treasures. One of these treasures is a highly readable “novelized” memoir about a young girl’s hardscrabble life along the Continental Divide in northern New Mexico during the Great Depression. The girl, Etta Rose Knox, grew to become an accomplished writer and scrapbooking artist who moved to Stonyford in her late fifties, to live with her son on his hilltop ranch. The life she lived in New Mexico, during her late teens and early twenties, was so traumatic that she felt it had to be written down to get it out of her system. Her daughter, Marinell, an artist, urged her to write a book in which she would provide illustrations. Marinell’s husband, a publishing professional, helped with the organization and publication, and her two children and daughter-in-law modeled for her oil-painted canvasses.

I can identify with Etta’s need to “write it down.” I, too, felt that same need after reading her haunting memoir of unrelenting poverty and privation with a husband who often treated her as chattel—treatment that was foretold when they first married. In the early pages of her story, she wrote:

Aubrey, her husband, said “I want a young wife, a young country girl. Then I can train her the way I want. ‘I hoped he was joking,’” thought Etta. In thirteen years of marriage with multiple hardships and episodes of near starvation, she found that he wasn’t joking. Etta chose to “novelize” her story because, she writes in her Preface: “A chronicle of events in documentary style would not have told the whole story. The hardship of scratching for physical survival in a remote wasteland is only half the story. The other half deals with emotional survival. It deals with improvised pleasure, pride, and perseverance and with the goals and dreams that hold together a fragile marriage in the face of suffering and despair.” “All of the occurrences in the book are true,” she says, “They are my own recollections of life on a New Mexico homestead. The characters are real people, and the names have not been changed.”

The book was self-published in 1984 and its survival into 2020 is a curious story of its own. Etta died in 1999, and the remaining five hundred, or so, copies of the book and its original artwork were carefully packed away in a barn on her son’s ranch. When her son died in 2015, Etta’s books and art were discovered and passed on to Marinell, who had recently bought her own ranch property, a mile or so west of her brother’s. Marinell coordinated with Joyce Bond, the Stonyford Museum’s then director, to arrange a showing and telling of the book’s history. This event was held on April 16, 2016, and described in this article:

Marinell donated the books, which are packaged in their original, shrink-wrapped state, to the museum for sale. These are the only copies of the book that are available for purchase, and they can only be purchased from the Stonyford Museum, for the low cost of $10. If you can’t make it to the museum, you can arrange to have the book mailed to you at a cost of $15, by using the Contact link, at the top of the page.

The museum can be shown in private by arrangement, and the book can be purchased. Call Joyce at 530-963-3141 to arrange a private showing.

History of the East Park Dam and Reservoir

A new section has been added to the East Park Reservoir section (see tab at bottom right) that provides a detailed history of the reservoir and dam.

Stony Creek Horsemen's Assoc. & Rodeo History Book

Roy Stewart and Joyce Bond have written a book of history on the Stony Creek Horsemen's Association that encapsulates the history that Joyce has amassed over 34 years and ties it together with flowing text. The book tells the history of the founding and incorporation of the association with biographical sketches of founders Mutt Sullivan, Charlie Butler, and Lawrence "Sharky" Moore. It tells how the association recovered from the disastrous fire in 1960 and rebuilt and greatly improved the arena and rodeo grounds. And most important, the book presents information from rodeo programs from 1955 to 2017, which includes the names of Contestants and Events over these 64 years. The book is an 8-1/2 x 11, soft-cover book with a color cover. Click here for a detailed description of the book.

Books can also purchased by contacting Roy Stewart at admin@stonycreekhorsemen.org. 

Coming Events

Books can also purchased by contacting Roy Stewart at admin@stonycreekhorsemen.org. 

The book has been supplemented to include the 2018 & 19 rodeos. Go here for more information.