Hisstory of Nomenus

The Origins of NOMENUS Inc. and the Wolf Creek Radical Faerie Sanctuary – An Interpretive Chronology

The Origins of NOMENUS Inc. and the Wolf Creek Radical Faerie Sanctuary – An Interpretive Chronology
by Daniel Frontino Elash

[DRAFT Date: 10/04/2014]

1968: CRO(W) Research Organization/CRO(W) Farm founded near Veneta, Oregon, west of Eugene. Crow was intended as a ‘total immersion community in a rural environment,’ and included both monogamous couples and a polyamorous subcommunity as well. I’m not sure this is relevant, except as a suggestion of the origins of George Jalbert’s and Assunta Femia’s later, assumed names.1 At any rate, the hippy-era, back-to-the-land movement was on. [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI-h51hAsEA ]

June 28, 1969: The Stonewall Rebellion. [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots ]

1970: Carl Wittman writes “A Gay Manifesto,” [ http://library.gayhomeland.org/0006/EN/A_Gay_Manifesto.htm ] in which he declares that “San Francisco is a refugee camp for homosexuals,” and expresses the desirability that “[to] be a free territory, we must govern ourselves, set up our own institutions, defend ourselves, and use our won energies to improve our lives. The emergence of gay liberation communes, and out own paper is a good start. The talk about gay liberation coffee shop/dance hall should be acted upon. Rural retreats, political action offices, food cooperatives, a free school, unalienating bars and after hours places – they must be developed if we are to have even the shadow of a free territory.”

1971: By several accounts,2 Carl Wittman was personally canvasing people in Portland gay bars to live with him in intentional lesbian and gay community in Golden, Oregon, [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden,_Oregon ] an abandoned gold mining town near Wolf Creek. Carl lived there with his aunt Elizabeth, building her a house in order to entice her to retire and move to Oregon, where she did indeed come out as a lesbian and played a large role in founding Cabbage Lane and other southern Oregon wimmin’s lands.3

Anyway, Carl found Richard (Landon) Corbin, who brought several friends down to Golden. Corbin was the driving force behind the purchase of an 80-acre parcel of land near Wittman’s cabin, a place that came to be known as Cabbage Lane.4

1972: Both men and women begin building structures on the 80-acre parcel at Golden.5 The land deed was held in the name of several individuals, for lack of any legally-recognized, collective structure by which to do so. Conditions were primitive.

1974: The departure of Bob, and arrival of Zarod (Francis Romanski) precipitates the splitting of the land into two sections: the 60 front acres become women’s-only “Cabbage Lane,” and the back 20 acres becomes men’s-only “Lilac Ridge.”6 “Womanspirit” magazine begins publication at Golden at the time.7

May 6, 1976: George Jalbert, a/k/a/ Chenille Crow, buys an 80-acre parcel of land across the I-5 from Golden, at Wolf Creek, and moves onto it just in time to begin production of RFD #8.8 RFD numbers 8 through 16 were produced at this place,9 originally known as Creekland.10

1978: RFD production moves to North Carolina, and the gay men’s community in the Wolf Creek area consolidates at Creekland, which becomes known as Magdalen Farm.11

1979: House at Magdalen Farm firebombed; Josephine County Sheriff’s Office fails to investigate main leads.12

1980: John Burnside, Harry Hay, Don Kilhefner, Pat Gourley, and Mitch Walker publish “A Call for a Gay Community Land Trust” in the Summer 1980 issue of RFD.13 Oregon Women’s Land Trust is specifically cited as a model for such a community land trust.14 They proceed to envision an organizational structure consisting of a gathering circle, a residents circle, and a trustees circle, not so unlike how NOMENUS administers the Wolf Creek Sanctuary now.15

1984: The “Fairy Land Trust” reports in the Fall 1984 issue of RFD that they are the now-legally incorporated product of the Gay Vision Circle, they are raising money, and they are considering applying for tax exemption as a legally-recognized church.16 They report the Board of Directors as consisting of Cass Brayton, Will Roscoe, Lin Mazlo, Bradley Rose, Harry Hay, David Thomas, Mica Kindman, and John Burnside. The name NOMENUS is chosen.17

November – December 1986 : [NB: for sake of concision, all footnotes to this item consolidated in one at the end.] Magdalen Farm at Wolf Creek, Oregon makes itself available for sale to NOMENUS. George Jalbert, a/k/a Chenille Crow, lay dying, the land had only two other permanent residents living on it, and there was desire to retain it as faggot space instead of losing it though inheritance or tax laws upon George’s death. A deal was reached of about $50,000 for the land, including assumption of land payments, paying off back taxes, a stipend to George for travel and other end-of-life purposes. Assunta Femia, Sister Species of Crow, [this is where the Crow Farm speculation comes in] was the caretaking resident on the land, and though George was willing to leave the land to Assunta, Assunta was unable to securely own land because of a prior felony conviction for destruction of draft records. A side agreement was reached, in which NOMENUS agreed to accept Assunta’s ongoing residency on the land, and Assunta would in exchange help with expenses, but was unwilling to pay rent on the house she’d rebuilt by hand after the firebombing in 1979. The transaction was agreed upon and completed by the end of the year, at least in part to accomplish it before the imminent death of George.
The NOMENUS Minutes of 11/4/1986 enumerate the meeting thusly: “PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION: SALE OF MAGDALEN FARM AT WOLF CREEK, OREGON. This extraordinary meeting was called at the request of Jamal, speaking on behalf of the fairy commune from the sanctuary at Wolf Creek, Oregon. This circle being (at present) Martin Zero, Ray Graetz, Steven DiVerde, Assunta Femia (the land steward and only current resident), George Jalbert, the owner of record of the property, and Jamal. Other interested parties include Jonathan Schwartz, George’s current housemate and current heir to the land (along with Assunta), and Carol Rich, George’s close friend and nurse, who is also executrix of his will.”18

[see also: “You Chose So Well, My Dear” by Harry Hay [NOMENEWS #4, ca. Nov. 1986, p. 4-5] , and “Gays, Fairies, Wolf Creek: A History to Be Proud Of” by Assunta Femia [NOMENEWS #5, Aug. 1987, p. 17-18], both in my file #3.]

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Research Thanks: The research upon which this presentation is based has been made possible by the generous assistance and cooperation of: UO Special Collections, Eugene Oregon, especially Linda Long, James Fox, and Stephanie; Eucalyptus and Arbustus at Breitenbush SGRF, summer 2014; Barbara Bernstein; Leo Starfucker Sunshine; Danny Nicoletta; and Ismoon Maria Hunter-Morton and GLAPN. Meme “Matty” Banditasterisk has been particularly generous with financial and research assistance.

1James J. Kopp, “Eden Within Eden: Oregon’s Utopian Heritage,” ISBN 9780870714245, p. 141-143, 227, for a brief history on CRO Farm. See also Timothy Miller, “The ’60s Communes: Hippies and Beyond,” ISBN 0815628110, p. 137, which also claims CRO Farm was founded in 1966.
2UO Special Collection 266 – “SO CLAP!” – Series: Cabbage Lane – Box 11 – esp. Folder 10: Writings, Nelly [my Folder #31], hereafter referred to as “according to Nelly.”
3UO Special Collection 266 – “SO CLAP!” – Series: Cabbage Lane – Box 11 – Folder 24: Writings, Elizabeth Freeman (Betty) [my Folder #26], hereafter referred to as “according to Elizabeth.”
4According to Nelly.
5According to Nelly.
6According to Nelly.
7According to Elizabeth.
8See RFD #8, Summer 1976, p. 40; see also “Golden Conversations,” same issue p. 4-12 [my folder #13]. See also Len Richardson, “Wolf Creek Daze: A Rendition,” RFD #35, Summer 1983, p. 11-12.
9See RFD #16, Summer 1978, p. 7, 44 [my file #19].
10RFD 8, p. 40, where Len [Richardson] enumerates: “Landon, Samuel, and Sean from the ridge, George from the Creek land, Len and Michael from California, Carl, Jerry, Ed, Jim, and many more helped put this summer issue of RFD together.”
11See Assunta Femia, “Gays, Fairies, Wolf Creek: A History to Be Proud Of,” NOMENEWS #5, August 1987, p. 17-18 [my file #3].
12See [my file #3]; “Firebomb investigation raises questions” by Foster Church, Oregonian, 7/22/1979, p. A1.
13RFD #24, Summer 1980, p. 37-38 [my file #20].
14Ibid., p. 37.
15Don, Sai, John, Harry, David, Mitch, and Pat, “Vision Circle Land Trust – A Report for RFD,” RFD Fall/Winter 1980, p. 88 [my file #21].
16Fairy Land Trust Fairy, “Fairy Land Trust,” in RFD #40, Fall 1984, p. 49 [my file #24]. See also [my file #10, “NOMENUS Founding Docs, from UO Special Collections.]
17Ibid.
18NOMENUS Minutes, UO Special Collections, NOMENUS Inc. Collection #421, 11/4/1986; 11/9/1986; 11/16/1986; 12/14/1986; and synposes of notes, “Dec. 1986 – Feb. 1987” and “December 1, 1986, through February 22, 1987” [my file #11].

Edited by dfelash on Oct 4, 2014 12:17 pm