Stonebreaker House HomesteadBy: Anthony M. Belli
An early settler to beautiful El Dorado County was Herman L. Bryant. In 1864, Herman homesteaded timberland at Stonebreaker Grade, east of Sly Park along the Mormon Emigrant Trail. After four years at Stonebreaker, Herman returned to his hometown of Great Valley New York. He married Charlotte L. Spencer and later returned to California by wagon train, bringing with him all his household belongings. At the same time, his wife, Charlotte, sailed to San Francisco accompanied by Herman's mother and sister. The women then traveled by stage to join Herman at their new home at Stonebreaker.
The Bryants erected a saw mill that developed into a highly profitable business, and some years later produced adobe bricks; many of which were used to build permanent structures in Placerville and surrounding communities. The Bryant family home and corral, also known as the "Stonebreaker house", was built adjacent to the emigrant road, and here many a weary traveler took a hot meal prepared by Mrs. Bryant. In time, the Bryant homestead became a central hub for commerce in the Sly Park area.
The Stonebreaker Ranch Today
In 1987, Chris and Diane Kingsley purchased the old "Stonebreaker House" homestead and developed the property into their ranch. Because of its remote location, even today, there are no power lines or phone lines. Little has changed since the Bryants first homesteaded here. However, the saw mill is still operating and has produced the lumber to restore all of the buildings on the ranch.
The Kingsleys are restoring the original house and way station, right down to the roofing shingles, with lumber milled on site; much the way Bryant himself built the house and way station over a century ago.
Edited by Stephanie Bishop, IS Dept.Belli: PERSONAL INTERVIEWS: With the Kingsley Family, 1999 - 2000