Friday, November 17, 2017

The Watchmen of Locke

During my research into Locke's truly captivating past, I have been able to identify at least two of Locke's watchmen. The first on record was of course, George Carlton. Not only was he listed as "Watchman" for the "Town of Locke" on the census records, he was also noted as the constable in both voting registries and in several newspaper articles of the time. George Carlton was living in Locke as early as 1916, which is when the town was being built up and officially recognized as a town with its very own post office. The post master was Clay Locke, heir to the Locke ranch, and grandson of George W. Locke, the man for which the town of Locke was named.

Carlton came from English/German born parents, so the idea of using the term "Watchman" would not have been a new one, especially if his father was from England. The "Watchman" or "Constable" from his father's time period went hand in hand.  The Dictionary defines a watchman as " a person who keeps guard over a building at night, to protect it from fire, vandals, or thieves." It also means "a person who guards or patrols the streets at night."

 According to the's website going even as far back as the mid 1700's in England, many times towns allowed Acts to be passed that "often included provision for paid watchmen or constables to patrol towns at night," because of lack of policemen to watch over every area. Even the name "Constable" is a British term that was not often used in the U.S., even back in 1916. By 1930, George Carlton was still in Locke but now listed as Assistant Post Master. He eventually left at some point during 1930 because his death is listed in Los Angeles County by December of that year.

Besides George Carlton, there was only one other watchman I could find during my research into this subject. The other person's name was Hoy Key (sometimes also mentioned as Boy Key) and he was the Bok-Bok man of Locke. Hoy Key was born sometime around 1892, and when he immigrated to the U.S. is unknown. What we do know is that he eventually found his way to Locke, and made it his lifelong home.

How that term "Bok Bok" came about I am unsure, but some have speculated because of the sound he made while hitting a wooden box that he carried while walking the streets at night. He was keeping an eye out for fires, and the clicking sound he made on the hour every hour while he was working his nightly watch gave residents reassurance that their homes were safe.

According to the Sacramento Delta Historical Society's newsletter from June of 1985, Hoy Key passed away the spring of 1984, at the age of 92. It said he had been the Bok Bok man for many years until retiring in 1954. Perhaps he took over when George Carlton left?

Hoy Key remained in Locke the rest of his life until he passed away, and it was mentioned that during the creation of the Dai Loy Museum, he assisted with the curators and volunteers in setting up the gambling tables in the museum (along with Joe Chow and Ping Lee) to  make sure everything was set up authentically for the exhibit.

Over the years I have read several internet sites mention the "Legend of the Bok-Bok Man" as if he was some sort of scary spirit haunting Locke. That is not only ridiculous but very disrespectful in my opinion. This man must have really loved Locke to remain there all those years, and I am sure he was proud of the time he spent working as the night watchman for Locke, keeping the town safe from fires. We should honor both men's legacies for the work they did, and in no way disrespect their roles, downplay or attach fabricated lore to them, because they were real people with real lives, and they deserve that much, if not more.

Let us always remember the night watchmen of Locke, George Carlton and Hoy Key.

(Copyright 2017- J'aime Rubio,

Thursday, November 16, 2017

1920 Census Summarized

1920 Census

In 1920, Locke was still included on the Georgiana Township Census records. It was still a small town and so Ryde, Walnut Grove and Locke as well as Isleton were recorded in the census. There are 36 pages for that particular census, however, based on the names listed on the 1920 voting registry listing residents for Locke I was able to cross reference them along with other names of residents I recognized to narrow down the number of pages in the census that reflect Locke. By using that method of research the residents of Locke can be found between pages 18-23 on that particular census.

Right now I am in the process of making a database of all the residents listed in the 1920, 1930 and 1940 census' for Locke. Once I am done I will be making all this information available. Until then, this is a summarized blog post giving you an idea of the make up of Locke during 1920.

According to the stats on the census, there were:

179- Chinese living in Locke in 1920 (this included listed Chinese-Americans and Chinese Immigrants)

115- Caucasians living in Locke in 1920 (this included Americans (born within the U.S.) as well as European Immigrants from: Germany, Portugal, Holland, Switzerland, Scotland, and Russia.

29- Japanese living in Locke in 1920.

3 - Hindu, East Indians living in Locke in 1920.

To recap, there was a total of:

55% Chinese living in Locke as reported in the 1920 Census 
as well as 45% Non-Chinese residents living in Locke, too.

As always, this is further proof that shows the Locke was comprised of many different groups of people from its beginnings, and was not "Exclusively built by, for and lived in soley by Chinese" as many people will try to have you believe. Look, I have absolutely nothing against the Chinese people of Locke, in fact, I love everyone who lived there and contributed their culture and heritage to this unique little town. Everyone! I just do not like that a lot of  the history of Locke has been forgotten or purposely omitted. I believe that all of Locke's history should be remembered, from the Chinese to the Caucasian residents, the Japanese, the Hindu, the Italians, Portuguese and even the Russians who lived out on Locke Slough (out back behind Locke; near Snodgrass Slough), which was still considered part of Locke and was part of the Locke family estate. These people deserve to be remembered, too. And this town deserves to acknowledge ALL the former residents of this beautiful Delta hideaway.

(Copyright 2017- J'aime Rubio,

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Sad Suicide In Locke

View of the Sacramento River (near Walnut Grove/Locke)

On Sunday, September 11, 1921, fishermen on the Sacramento River near Locke discovered the body of Toi So Hoy, 45, resident of Locke. Upon arriving, Deputy Sheriff's Cook and Johnson started an investigation into the cause of death as well as establishing the identity of the man.  According to the Sacramento Union Newspaper, "The discovery of the body and its condition led the authorities to believe the Chinese had been slain. The throat had been slit and there was every evidence of a crime. Officials declared yesterday, however, that it was a case of suicide, as they learned the Chinese had long been in ill health and had threatened self destruction repeatedly."

As it turned out he was suffering with an advanced case of tuberculosis and had been ill for some time. It was determined that Hoy cut his throat and then flung himself into the river.

There are no records that I could find of that mention if he was buried at a cemetery or not. So as far as we know, this newspaper mention of his death is the only record we have that he existed.  Let us remember Mr. Toi So Hoy, and the painful and very tragic way he died.

(Copyright, 2017- J'aime Rubio - )

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

1926 Voting Registry Reveals Even More History

On this blog so far I have shown the names of registered voters living in Locke going as far back as 1916-1918, 1920-1922 and now I have the list from 1926, and trust me folks, I am far from being done here! I am going to keep digging and keep posting all the documentation that is out there, so the world can know the all encompassing history of Locke. Not just the history that others want to present to you. The world deserves to know all of it.

According to the 1926 Voting Registry which was noted as "Precinct 89 of Assembly District 15" the registered voters living in Locke were as follows:

  1. Charlie Adams, Laborer 
  2. Fred Bard, Merchant
  3. Kai Chan, Rancher
  4. Lin D. Chan, Merchant
  5. Chin King, Merchant
  6. Gan M. Chow, Merchant
  7. Kam Chun, Merchant
  8. Mrs. Helen Clarke, Hotel Keeper
  9. Edward J. Danfrath, Foreman
  10. Ernest Everly, Clerk
  11. Herbert Fox, Ranch Hand
  12. Dai B. Gan, Merchant
  13. Frank R. Gomes, Jr., Laborer 
  14. Chester S. Heath, Ranch Hand
  15. Cleveland Hill, Carpenter
  16. Mrs. Daisy Jones, Housewife
  17. Edward H. Jones, Bridge Tender
  18. Lee Bing, Merchant
  19. Mrs. Dorothy E. Lewis, Waitress
  20. Miss June B. Moore, Singer
  21. Alfred L. Muller, Warehouse Manager
  22. Mrs. Pinkie I. Muller, Housewife
  23. Mrs. Betty Parkison, Housewife
  24. Clement G. Parkison, Merchant
  25. Guy Read, Clerk
  26. Max J. Reese, Laborer
  27. Samuel W. Sanfillipo, Clerk
  28. William Schaak, Laborer
  29. James T. Slater, Mechanic
  30. Henry B. Starr, Barber

What I gather from this list is some pretty interesting people. For instance, we have a singer, a hotel keeper, a barber,  and many more people, including several couples who were living there in Locke, who were not Chinese. Again, this is more proof that Locke was a town full of diversity from its beginnings, with both Chinese & Caucasian, as well as many others. In this list we even see an Italian and Portuguese man registered as a voter/resident as well. 

(J'aime Rubio, Copyright 2017--

Monday, November 13, 2017

1920's Voting Registries Show Diverse List of Residents in Locke

According to the 1920-1922 Voting Registry for Precinct 63 of Assembly District 15, the registered voters living in the town of Locke are as follows:

1. Fred Bard, Clerk,  Locke  (Republican)
2. John Barnholdt, Sea Faring, Locke  (Republican)
3. Matilda Barnholdt, Housewife, Locke (Republican)
4. Lau Bow, Butcher, Locke  (Republican)
5. Lee Bing, Merchant, Locke  (Republican)
6. George Blue, Laborer, Locke (Republican)
7. Fred Brown, Fisherman, Locke (Republican)
8. Edward A. Callopy, Agent, Locke (Republican)
9. George Carleton, Constable, Locke (Republican)
10.  Chon Chong, Laborer, Locke (Republican)
11.  Gan Moon Chow, Merchant,  Locke (Republican)
12.  Walter E. Davis, Chauffeur, Locke  (Republican)
13.  Cheun Duck, Laborer, Locke  (Republican)
14. Albert S. Fong, Butcher, Locke  (Republican)
15. Cleveland Hill, Carpenter, Locke  (Republican)
16.  Chan S. Hing, Farmer, Locke  (Republican)
17. Chung Hoy, Farmer, Locke  (Republican)
18. James E. Hunter, Wharfinger, Locke  (Republican)
19. William E. Islip, Clerk, Locke  (Republican)
20. Frederick C. Jacob, Superintendent, Locke (Republican)
21. Chun Kam, Merchant, Locke (Republican)
22. Chin King, Merchant, Locke (Republican)
23. Nate Kinkead, Bartender, Locke  (Democrat)
24. Pong Lum, Laborer, Locke (Republican)
25. Martin L. Malley, Laborer, Locke (Democrat)
26. Charles E. Mehner, Clerk, Locke (Republican)
27. Albert E. Munsey, Laborer, Locke (Republican)
28. Ray J. Osborn, Mariner, Locke (Republican)
29. Davis Owyang, Farmer, Locke (Republican)
30. Joseph R. Pimental, Superintendent, Locke (Republican)
31. Julia R. Pimental, Housewife, Locke (Republican)
32. Francis P. Riley, Drayman, Locke (Republican)
33. Mary B. Sato, Domestic, Locke (Republican)
34. William J. Shearer, Laborer, Locke (Republican)
35. Margaret M. Thatcher, Laborer, Locke (Democrat)
36. Chun Tin, Laborer, Locke (Republican)
37. William E. Turner, Bridge Tender, Locke (Republican)
38. Edna D. Walthall, Housewife, Locke (Democrat)
39. William H. Walthall, Foreman,  Locke (Democrat)
40. Ong Yip, Laundry, Locke (Republican)
41. Tong Yong, Farmer, Locke (Republican)
42. Wong Fin Yuen, Bookkeeper, Locke (Republican)

So as you can see, to recap, there were:

62% Caucasian Registered Voters living in Locke &
38% Chinese Registered Voters*** living in Locke, proving that even in its early years, Locke was a small but diverse town.

      ***It is also good to remember that in order to be listed as a registered voter 
      you had to prove citizenship. Thus each and every one of these people listed had to provide documentation showing they were citizens (whether the documentation they provided was real or not). This is an important factor to remember because if you could vote, you could buy land or own businesses because the Alien Land Law of 1913 did not bar citizens from owning property, only aliens. So if you had papers saying you were a Citizen, that law did not apply to you. Just an FYI. 

    Copyright 2017- J'aime Rubio 
    Sources: California 1920-1922 Voting Registries, Public Records.  

1910 Census Shows Georgiana Township Was Incredible Mix of Cultures!

I have pondered for several years now, trying to figure out how many people fled to Locke after the Walnut Grove fire in 1915. No one has given a set number of people, but over the years there have been outrageous claims that there were hundreds of displaced Chinese that moved to Locke after the fire. This simply isn't possible, and I will explain why.

First, you have to go back as far as you can with primary sources, and then comb over those sources to give yourself an idea of how things were there, back then. Guessing is not an option, and speculating isn't any better. No, the only way we can have an accurate estimate is by doing the actual math and then we can form our opinions.

Before we get to that, let me tell you something, the Delta region in Sacramento is one of the most beautiful areas in California (In my humble opinion). There was also a huge need for workers in the area, whether it was building levee's, working on farms, in factories or on the railroad lines. It is no wonder then why so many people from all over the world flocked to this one particular little place known as the Georgiana Township.

The Georgiana Township was established on August 14, 1854. Prior to that, the area was considered within the boundaries of the Sutter Township. It consists of the Sacramento Islands, including the "southern portion of Sutter Island, almost all of Grand Island, all of Andrus, Tyler, Twitchell, Brannan, Sherman and Wood islands. There are about 110 miles of levee in the township." -- An Illustrated History of Sacramento County, Winfield J. Davis.

So the areas of Courtland, Walnut Grove, Isleton, Grand Island, Ryde and the area we know today as Locke, were considered to be within the Georgiana Township. In fact, the Georgiana Township goes all the way up to the southern part of the Franklin Township, which is pretty far north east.This is very important to remember, because by counting all the people listed on the 1910 census for this township, you get an idea of just how diverse this area along the Delta was.

According to Census records of 1910, there were:

338 Caucasians living in the Georgiana Township of those 338; 127 consisted of European immigrants. The rest of the 211 were American Citizens of all states within the U.S. (Caucasian). The European immigrants consisted of: 53 Portuguese, 22 Italians, 9 Germans, 5 Danes, 5 Dutch, 10 English, 14 Swedish, 1 Irish, 1 Welsh, 1 Polish, 1 Yiddish, 2 Russian, 2 Norwegian, 1 Scottish, and 1 Spanish.

There were also 337 Chinese living in the township as well as 335 Japanese, too. The other residents consisted of: 20 - East Indian (Hindu), 1- Puerto Rican, and 1-Mexican.

This information, especially in regards to the population of Chinese in this area, is vital to give us an idea of how many people might have moved to Locke after the Walnut Grove fire in 1915. Now remember, this amount of people is not the people in Walnut Grove, but is a total of all the people within the entire township that covered many hundreds of square miles, so that covers an even larger area in the region.

So now you have an idea of how many people lived in the Delta area of the Georgiana Township just before the fire in Walnut Grove that displaced many Chinese and Japanese. And now we know that there were not hundreds of people who came to Locke, but perhaps only a fraction of that amount. We also see how diverse the area was at the time, with people from all over the country and all over the world, all working near one another in such a beautiful region.

As time goes on I will be posting even more documentation I have found in my research on Locke's history to provide the public with real facts, and real history.

(Copyright 2017 - J'aime Rubio

United States Census, California, Sacramento, Georgiana Township, 1910.
Illustrated History of Sacramento County, Winfield J. Davis.

New Locke Barber Shop Business Card Found!

Here is a photo of an interesting little piece of history found at an antique shop in Stockton back on August 6, 2016. Take a look at this old business card. 

According to my research, a haircut in the 1920's and 1930's was anywhere between .40 and .50 cents...and by the 1950's it was about $1.42. Given this information, I am guessing that this business "New Locke Barber Shop" operated around the mid to late 1920's in Locke, California. 

This only further proves, as I have stated many times in my various blogs, that Locke was not exclusively inhabited by Chinese, but was a mix of Chinese, Caucasian, Japanese and other European immigrants from its very start.

By the way, the little arrows pointing to the part that says "Two White Barbers" was done by the antique shop owner, who encased the card in plexiglass. He was adamant that Locke was not solely Chinese either, and made it very clear that was why he put the arrows below the card to show proof.

According to Locke resident and business owner, Martha Esch, Al Adami started the "New Locke Cafe" in 1934, which was later changed to Al's Place aka Al the Wops, so that name "New Locke" must have meant something for the residents at that time period. 

(Copyright 2016-2017, J'aime Rubio,

Photo by J'aime Rubio (copyright 2016)