Roundup: December 14, 2022

WLAC Los Angeles Corral 12.14.22 RoundUp Flyer



Roundup Synopsis

Will be posted once the next Branding Iron is Published!


Photos from the Roundup

Roundup: August 10 2022




Roundup Synopsis

Taken From Branding Iron 307 Summer 2022. 

In August, the Westerners welcomed Jillian Moore to the Corral. The Wyoming native, and Ph.D. candidate in English at Duquesne University, spoke of subjects related to her forthcoming dissertation. Her talk, entitled “Selling the Image of ‘The West’: Frontier Economies,” challenged us to take stock of what we enjoy about the American West, to ponder the reasons for our interest, and to take care to be appreciative of the history and culture of its Native inhabitants, rather than appropriative. Speaking on such topics in front of a body founded almost solely on appreciation of the West posed some danger, but Ms. Moore rather deftly navigated those choppy waters to enlighten where others may have admonished. If we were to distill the thesis of her discussion into a single phrase, perhaps the most apt would be, “Give credit where credit is due.”
Perhaps the most impactful section of the presentation featured a historic, Blackfoot-made capote, juxtaposed against a modern, Native-”inspired” coat from the Pendleton company. Ms. Moore highlighted the specific elements of the historic garment, illustrating its connection to a specific time, place, and ethnic group. No such specificity was present in the Pendleton coat, as it was simply a mishmash of Native-like designs in a stereotypically Southwestern color scheme. This comparison served to drive home the point that we should be wary of objects and ideas formed from disparate bits of the art and history of marginalized groups, like America’s indigenous communities, and forcing them through a cultural meat-grinder to arrive at something more readily digestible to consumers unfamiliar with the originals.
In the question-and-answer section following the main presentation, Ms. Moore reiterated that the intention of efforts to mitigate this type of co-option is not to demonize those who occasionally stray from appreciation into appropriation (“Let he who is without sin,” etc.), but rather to properly attribute artifacts and ideas to the cultures that bore them. Most scholars would never use a source in their research without citing it. The same thinking could be applied to consumers in the context of the art and artifacts of our indigenous neighbors. It is possible, and likely preferable, to spend our money on goods made by the people whose culture such products represent. Or, at the very least, we can give credit where credit is due.
— Alan Griffin


Speaker Jillian Moore and Sheriff Pete Fries

Roundup: March 9, 2022

March 2022 Roundup Flyer



Roundup Synopsis

Taken From Branding Iron 306 Spring 2022. 

In March, the Corral was treated to a talk by Nick Curry. Assuming the style of a fireside chat, Mr. Curry expounded on his research about a historic Angeleno of much importance, if little current recognition, Dan Murphy. Murphy was an early investor in the local economy and, along with men like Edward L. Doheny, helped shape the area into what it is today. In fact, Dan Murphy picked up with oil drilling in the area where Doheny left off, and became fabulously wealthy as a result. The foundation that resulted from the dissemination of his wealth has done much for education and the preservation of local history in Los Angeles.

Dan Murphy was born in 1858 in Pennsylvania, and came to Los Angeles by way of a family homestead in Kansas, which he shared with his parents and seven siblings. Murphy eventually moved out West and immediately formed an affinity for the railroad, working on a spur line that ran down to San Diego. Before long, he met Frank Monaghan, and the two had plans to bridge the Colorado River. Doing just that, they drew the attention of Charlie Crawford who tasked them with building a general store near the new bridge. In so doing, they founded the town of Needles in 1883.

The two men were known for their honesty, a rare commodity in the railroad business, and successfully ran the store until 1911. During their time in Needles, they founded a bank. This led them to invest in a number of mining and oil drilling operations throughout the region. Key to Dan Murphy’s future success was his purchase, sight-unseen, of land which would become the Brea Canyon Oil Company. The well, which continues to produce today, eventually left Murphy in possession of a fantastic mansion and a fortune of $200 million by the time of his death in 1939.

Having no children, Murphy entrusted his fortune to his niece Bernardine. Enter the Catholic church and the Los Angeles diocese. The Murphy family had been closely connected to the church for decades, so much so that Dan had once donated $1 million to the Pope in one lump sum. During her time in Rome, Bernardine, now the executor of the Murphy fortune, was wooed by an Italian prince. Los Angeles churchmen grew concerned that if Bernardine were to marry this man, then she, along with her fortune, would move to Rome and leave the Los Angeles diocese in the lurch. So, the church hatched a plan. A dissatisfied priest was found, released from his vows, and wed to Bernardine. Thus the Murphy fortune remained in Los Angeles. Now known as the Dan Murphy Foundation, it provides more money to Catholic causes today than even the Doheny Foundation.

The Dan Murphy Foundation was crucial to the formation of the archives put together by Westerners Living Legend Msgr. Francis Weber. That archive was, in turn, essential in gathering the information used for the most recent book about Dan Murphy entitled Ice and Oil, by Joseph Francis Ryan, reviewed in Branding Iron 303.
— Alan Griffin


Photos from the Roundup