A large group of people in the woods with a tent behind them

Gordon-Dilling Family Camping Trip, 1923-1925. Left top, standing: Jennie Dilling, Ella (Gordon) Luiz, Margaret Dilling. Seated: Frank Gordon, Annie (Dilling) Gordon, Juanita Luiz, Frank Dilling, Mamie Gordon, Thelma Dilling, Susie (Gordon) Walbridge, Frances Walbridge, Malcolm Luiz, Archie Gordon, Agnes Dilling, Clara Dilling.  Sitting in front of tent: Chester Walbridge. (Emery Escola, Emery Escola Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

January 2, 1919 – Five-year-old Malcolm Luiz narrowly escaped drowning in the Caspar pond. Had it not been for the quick actions of John Daniels who plunged in after him, Malcolm would probably have been lost.

Malcolm was the only son of Charles Luiz and the former Miss Ella Gordon, a daughter of one of the pioneer families of the Mendocino Coast. Charles was the proprietor of The Toggery, a clothing shop on Mendocino’s Main Street, and Ella assisted the lady customers of his store. Charles was the son of Antone F. Luiz, who had owned and operated the Lisbon Hotel on Ukiah Street until 1906.

Malcolm and his older sister, Juanita, had accompanied their father and grandfather to Caspar that afternoon. While Charles attended a business meeting, the children and their grandfather watched from the bridge as a trainload of logs was shot into the pond. When Mr. Luiz’s attention was momentarily distracted, Malcolm crawled through the bridge railing on the mill side of the pond and got out onto the logs.

A splash alerted Mr. Luiz, and he saw the little chap going under. Mill pond worker John Daniels happened to be nearby. He saw the little fellow disappear, rushed to the spot, jumped in after him, and got him out.

The Beacon reported that it had been a close call. “A bunch of logs were on their way through from the east side of the pond and would have passed over the spot had the rescue been delayed but a few minutes. The little fellow was hurriedly brought to town and suffered no ill effects from his cold bath.”

Walking Tours of Historic Mendocino – Join our expert docents for a stroll and lively commentary. You’ll pass by early pioneer homes, historic meeting places, and buildings that make up the the Mendocino Historic District.