Yours, Mine, and Ours

Myths draw us in with their colorful stories and characters. The ones that tell of lost treasures are even more compelling, because we love to think we could discover them, whether or not we actively pursue such dreams. The legend of the Lost Peg Leg Mine is commemorated by California Registered Historical Landmark No. 750 in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. …

Desert Hot Springs’ ‘Classification’

A little more than a half-mile west of Cabot’s Pueblo Museum lies another property bearing the Desert Hot Springs pioneer’s name. Twelve years ago this month, Cabot Yerxa Elementary School opened for K-5 education. As someone who enjoyed imparting lessons, Cabot surely would be pleased not only with having a school named for him, but also with the museum’s commitment …

Branching Out

Many people who have read or heard about Cabot Yerxa are aware that his first name derives from the maiden name of his mother, Nellie — a distant relative of Boston’s prominent Cabots. The Yerxa surname is less well recognized. The following information on the family tree comes to us from research by Cabot’s Pueblo Museum’s History Committee. Paulus Jurcksen …

Cat on an Indian Pueblo Roof

A lover of creatures great and small, Cabot Yerxa found companionship and enjoyment in the burros, snakes, lizards, and tortoises with whom he shared his property. He also had a more common pet — a situation that arose from happenstance. It was in 1953 that Cabot heard a weak cry and spotted a tiny black kitten, which retreated into a …

Petal Power

May typically brings the peak of wildflower season. But Mother Nature makes no guarantees, perhaps because she delights in surprises. Cabot Yerxa noted as much in his newspaper column in 1957. We hope to enjoy some of the sights — and fragrances — he describes before the calendar moves on to June. The following excerpts come from the museum’s book …

Food for Thought

In 1886, when Cabot Yerxa was 3 years old, his parents, Fred and Nellie, moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, from the Dakota Territory (the Dakotas were not admitted to the Union until 1889). Fred Yerxa joined two older brothers in opening and operating grocery stores for some 15 years after that. Ads and newspaper articles around the turn of the century …

Leaving Space to Believe

Given his connection to nature and his extensive exposure to other cultures, including time living among Native Americans in Alaska and the desert, it’s no surprise that Cabot Yerxa developed an open mind about spirituality and “alternate” systems of belief. He explored automatic writing (a method of “turning off” the conscious mind while the hand writes) and was a follower …

When Harry Met the Desert

In last week’s newsletter, we recounted some of Bob Forester’s memories of spending time, as a young boy, with Cabot Yerxa. What we held back for this week was his recollection that Cabot sometimes read to him from a monthly publication by another self-proclaimed desert rat. Harry Oliver was an Oscar-nominated art director in Hollywood, architect of everything from an …

Past Matters

While much of what we know about Cabot Yerxa comes from his own writings and newspaper/magazine articles, we also are fortunate to have reminiscences from people who knew him. Members of the pueblo museum’s history committee spent years conducting research, including interviews and correspondence, to formulate a more comprehensive profile of Cabot. One of their contacts was Bob Forester, who …

Sleeping With a Happy Heart

March 5, marked 56 years from Cabot Yerxa’s death at the age of 81 from a heart attack due to arteriosclerotic heart disease. An obituary newspaper article in 1965 reported that more than 400 people attended a funeral service — conducted by Desert Hot Springs’ American Legion post and Masonic Club — at Eighth Street Community Center. Cabot’s cremated remains …