The Sadness of Death on the Mountain

Written by Ken Fisher

Originally published in the ECHO 4/1990

It is sad to hear of two Kings Mountain old-timers having passed on recently: Everett Farwell and vic Brock. Anyone who has been on this Mountain for long was touched by them. Our hearts extend sympathy to their widows, Alberta Brock and Marge Farwell, shown here together in a 1968 Redwood City Tribune shot. Ev Farwell, of course, ran the Rhododendron nursery that we drive past almost daily. Brock both ran the Kings Mountain Inn ,(which burned down in the late 1960s), at the junction of Skyline and Tunitas Creek Road, and started Skywood Realty in Skylonda, which he originally ran out of his restaurant.

Known simply as “Brock’s” to locals, I remember his hamburgers in the 1950s. I suspect older folks will remember “Brock’s” for its bar and view. Wine was forty cents a glass. His New York Steak was $4.55. And the coastal view was priceless. Both Ev and Vic were characters-direct, honest, at times seemingly gruff, and yet at other times visibly both generous and humorous. When you walk into the Firehouse, recall that Ev did the landscaping. Ardyth and I interviewed and videotaped Brock last summer, he had a dry wit to the end. They will be missed. This picture not only brought back memories of the Pine Needles, which operated into the 1970s, but also of how much women like Alberta and Marge contributed their effort and love to the Mountain. Bless you.

Another Mountain women had less chance to contribute, but her love was given and received no less. I thought I would share her family’s grief with you. Star Hill Road is named after Matthew McKelvy (Mc) Starr, who led its construction in the 1860s. Starr came west from Ohio by Covered Wagon with his wife Loviah and their daughter Carrie. They settled on the south end of what is today Star Hill Road, about where Native Sons Road forks southwest. Starr Hill Road originally ran south all the way through to San Gregorio and was the main through road to connect Redwood City, then the County’s second largest city, with Pescadero, then the County’s fourth largest town. (Half Moon Bay was the County’s largest city back then.) Known at times as “The Redwood City and San Gregorio Turnpike”, Star(r) Hill Road was the stage route to the coast from our County’s lumbering port decades before what today is the La Honda route was ever created. When Starr Hill Road dropped the second “R” is unknown.

The Starrs had two more children, Julia and Frank. On April 13, 1868, 123 years ago this month, Loviah Starr died. She is buried in Redwood City’s Union Cemetery, along Woodside Road, just west of EI Camino, where her descendants still contribute to the maintenance of her grave and headstone. The following letter was written on April 16, 1868 to “Mc” Starr’s family back in Ohio. It speaks for itself.

Dear Father and Sisters

I seat myself to write you the saddest letter you have ever received from me. The three children and myself are all of my family this lonesome night.

Loviah is no more. Her body is in the grave and the spirit with God who gave it. You have lost a daughter and sister. I, a wife, the sharer of my joys and sorrows. She died Monday the 13th at one o'clock. She had been failing very fast for five or six days and

Sunday evening suffered considerable. She called me about daylight and I saw she would be over her sorrows and pains soon. She had a fainting spell about 7 o’clock which lasted until eleven. She then revived and soon commenced to talk, saying a word at a time which lasted until noon.

Some of her advice was to you. That you must not mourn for her, that she was ready and willing to go. She had a good deal to say about little Frank and how much she was attached to him. I called Frank, took her hand and laid it on his little head. She then felt of his face (O how she loved that boy). She then said a few words to the girls.

The clock struck twelve. She asked what time it was. Mr. Fay said twelve. She said for them to go and get some dinner.

She only spoke a few words afterwards and just after one she breather her last, and her spirit returned to God. She had her senses until the end. Mr. Fay and Wife, Mary Durham, and Calvin Ashley and Maria were here. She was buried yesterday at Redwood City on Mr. S. Snider's lot. There was a very large number of persons here as I had a sermon delivered at the house at 9 o'clock by a Methodist minister by the name of Jones. About one half of the number then went with us to Redwood City, 12 miles distant.

We came back as far as Woodside and stayed overnight with S. D. Ashley and Whort Taylor, and got home at noon today.

I cannot write anymore now, as I don't feel much like writing, and you will get a chance to see some letters that will be written to Dan and Jan giving more particulars, for it is lonesome here all alone tonight.

The Children are asleep.

Your Son and Brother,