I’ve lived on the coastside for many years and have always wondered who that Frenchman was, to get the creek is named after him… ?
I really enjoy your Half Moon Bay Memories & El Granada Observer… enjoyed your newspaper articles back when, and of course your books. Thank you!
Ellen is referring to Frenchman’s Creek, a name filled with mystery. But here’s what I found out about its provenance:
According to Place Names of San Mateo County by Dr. Alan K. Brown here’s the origin of Frenchman’s Creek :
Frenchman’s Creek (Coast Highway 1 1/2 miles north of Half Moon Bay.) In a record of 1862 (SMWL 1:89) the field on the south side of the creek is called the potrero de los franceses (Frenchman’s Field). Arroyo del Frances in a Spanish record orf 1878 (SML 2:18) sounds like a retranslation from the English: Frenchman’s gulch is the name in an 1862 record (SMRA 6-4).
In 1842 a bunch of “French” (i.e., Canadian) horses thieves were captured hereabouts on the Vasquez ranch; no other possible reason for the name is known.
I like the horse thieves story the best—-or, maybe it’s time to find a new reason for why Frenchman’s Creek is named, well, Frenchman’s Creek.