In the foothills of Madera County on Road 600, two dozen members of the Grub Gulch Chapter 41-49 of E Clampus Vitus, otherwise known as Clampers, gathered to dedicate another historical monument. The Clampers were joined Saturday morning by area residents and history buffs to honor miner, blacksmith and homesteader John H. Shay.
The early pioneer built a home and named it Canary Cottage and also owned a popular blacksmith shop. According to the inscription on the monument Shay arrived in the Madera County foothills at the turn of the 20th century from San Francisco to mine for gold. When his efforts at mining failed he homesteaded the land and built his shop to start his blacksmith business.
When President Theodore Roosevelt traveled through the area on his way to Yosemite, Shay saluted him with volleys of rifle fire from his front porch. Shay returned to San Francisco in the early 1920s and the property was purchased by Evert Hinshaw Company who operated a company named Standard High Sierra Saddle Tours. In 1928, the land was purchased by the Elam family. Their descendants still occupy the house and are ranching to this day.
The monument, placed just north of the site of the gold mining town of Grub Gulch, was designed and constructed by members of the Grub Gulch Chapter with the help of Clamper and local stonemason Bruce Tressider. According to Grub Gulch Chapter historian Steve Varner, the stone for the face of the monument is indigenous to the area and some of the stone is actually from gold mines sprinkled throughout the foothills...