Gibson Museum highlights family contributions to local history
A monthly program honoring local families who have contributed to the community for generations will highlight exhibits throughout the coming year at Gibson Museum & Cultural Center in Middletown.
At its kickoff reception Friday, January 4, from 4 to 6 pm at the museum, and throughout the month of January, the Comstock family will be recognized. The public is invited to the reception. The family will be on hand to welcome visitors.
Comstock family roots in Lake, Sonoma and Napa counties date to 1841. Solid settlement in Lake County came in 1943 when newly-wedded Hilliard and Annette Comstock settled in Middletown.
Hill Comstock became manager of the sprawling 3,000-acre ranch then owned by Mary Bowcher.
The land itself has a long history. Bowcher, a widowed socialite from the Bay Area whose family held part of the land that became San Francisco’s Union Square, purchased some of the South Lake County acreage and herds of livestock owned by Lancelot Gamble, whose grandfather had founded Proctor & Gamble. He had acquired it as a portion of the lands owned by John Lawley of Lawley Toll Road fame. Before the immigrants arrived, the property had been the home of the largest native village in the area.
Comstock’s expertise with the livestock was acknowledged by Mrs. Bowcher, who bequeathed her ranch to him upon her death in 1966. Hill’s two daughters, Judy and Lisa, and son Jim were born at the ranch.
All of them garnered prizes as participants in Middletown Days parades.
After serving in Vietnam, Jim Comstock married his high school sweetheart Colleen Perkins. They moved to the ranch after Hill Comstock’s death in 1978, and raised their four children there.
Jim made ranching secondary to his job as manager of Hardester’s Corner Market.
He served on the board of the Middletown Unified School District for 18 years. In 2008 he was elected to the first of two terms on the Lake County Board of Supervisors, representing District 1. Middletown’s Community Park, senior center and new library were constructed during his tenure.
Displays of photos and artifacts detailing the Comstock history have been loaned by the family and can be viewed at Gibson Museum Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between noon and 4 pm.
It's not too late to make an end-of-year donation
You will receive our Thank You letter
which will serve as a receipt for tax filing