GERLE CREEK SUMMER HOME TRACT ASSOCIATION

USFS Summer Home Tract Since 1957-An Association Since 1961

 

GERLE CREEK

For the curious people, Gerle Creek and Gerle Creek Summer Home Tract are  located on the Georgetown Divide in the Eldorado National Forest, El Dorado County, California in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains. 

Who was Gerle and how did the creek receive its name?

Summer range location for the Gerle Brothers, early emigrants and farmers on Gerle Creek, 2 miles West of Wentworth Springs (USGS Map of 1895) on the Georgetown/Wentworth Springs/Rubicon Springs/Lake Tahoe road, next to Gerle Creek. Their ranch property butted up against the Jacobson Ranch  property on the West side of the section, also on Gerle Creek.  One of three Gerle brothers  who came to California in 1851,Christopher C. Gerle was born in Sweden in 1833, marrying his wife, Mary Clausen in El Dorado County in 1865. Mary was daughter to Paul and Mary Clausen, both emigrating from  England to Coloma. Her father Paul was born in 1806 while her mother was born in 1815, both in England. Her father Paul was a boot maker. Christopher C. Gerle and his wife, Mary initially had two boys, Peter C. Gerle, born 1869 and dying in 1871 and a second boy, Charles Gerle, born 1870 and died in 1871. Both are buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Coloma with their two uncles, Charles W. Gerle and Christopher Cyrus Gerle. Christopher C. Gerle and his wife Mary later moved to Plymouth, in Amador County, California, having a third son George and three girls, Mary, Charlotte and Maggie. Charles W. Gerle was the oldest brother, born in Sweden in 1823 and dying March 4, 1907, while Charles Cyrus Gerle was born in Sweden in 1831, but died in Coloma in 1875. Charles W. Gerle lived in Coloma with  Minnie Johnson, who was previously married to an Englishman and had two boys Juan Johnson and Charles W. Johnson  in Sweden, with a third child George M. Johnson, born in Coloma in 1878. The Gerle Brothers used their Sierra ranch on  Gerle Creek (Gurley; Lawyer's Cow Camp; & Wagner Bros.) to raise hogs  and cattle during the Summer months, hauling the pork products over the Sierra's on the Georgetown/Wentworth Springs/Rubicon Springs/Lake Tahoe Road to sell in Virginia City, Nevada. The Gerle Brothers were long time neighbors in the Sierras during the Summers with Murray Camp folks just a mile North of their ranch on the way to Bennett's Ranch in the McKinstry Lake area, as well as the Jacobsons, Francis, Wentworths, Dellars and Jerretts. By 1880, Christopher C. Gerle and his family had moved on to Plymouth in Amador County. Gerle family sources indicate that he may have lost his share of the Gerle properties in El Dorado County in a poker game to his brother, Charles W. Gerle in Carson City. According to the Georgetown Gazette, reprinted in the Mountain Democrat of Sept 16, 1916, the Gerle Brothers bought their ranch property (Gerles/ Wagner Brothers/Lawyers Cow Camp) on Gerle Creek from the Indians in the early sixties(1860s). In 1889, the California Water and Mining Company purchased Charles W. Gerle's  property and had the land surveyed. The survey reported that the property was swampland and overflow lands which made it the property of the State of California. In 1895, CM Fitzgerald, the superintendent of the California Water and Mining company, was granted a patent to the 440 acres of property in section 36 of  T.13N, R. 14E.. He then deeded it to his company and who in turn deeded to each of the other companies who have taken ownership since. The earliest maps including Bowman's 1874 Map of the whole Georgetown Divide show their  ranch and the creek identified with Gerle misspelled  and written as it sounded; "Gurley." Gerle's Ranch became a very important way stop on the road to Lake Tahoe from Georgetown in the "Sixties", remaining so well into the 20th Century after the ranch property was sold off in 1889 to the California Water Company.  The Wagner Brothers eventually purchased this property and have retained ownership among their family, Wagner and Veer Kamp, of the majority of Gerle Meadow around the old ranch house to this day.

In the early part of the 20th Century, Archie and Irma Lawyer leased Gurley's Ranch from the Wagner's about the same time they actually purchased Uncle Tom's Cabin, at which point it became known as "Lawyer's Cow Camp" after 1920(Errington 2000). Reviewing the original Eldorado National Forest Map of 1916 shows this old ranch still listed as "Gerles." Later, the historic ranch was returned to the Wagners, who referred to it as Wagner Bros., Wagners and or Wagner's Cow Camp. The 1950 Forest Service map clearly shows the ranch listed as Wagner's but in later years returned the name to Lawyers when in fact the ranch was never owned by Lawyers and long since not leased anymore.

The US Forest Service acquired 80 acres of section 34 of Township 14N, R14E, of the original Gerle Ranch property May 3, 1920.

The Gerle Brothers lived on their ranch in Uniontown-Coloma  during the rest of the year when not using their high sierra ranch on Gerle Creek