The World of Jack London
Latch string is always on the outside
“Who will reap what I have sown here in this almighty sweet land? You and I will be forgotten. Others will come and go; these, too, shall pass, as you and I shall pass, and others take their places, each telling his love, as I tell you, that life is sweet.”
– Jack London
Jack and Charmian's Gravesite
Click photo to view enlarged picture
Jack London's Grave Site
Jack London once remarked to his wife Charmian and his sister Eliza:
"If I should beat you to it, I wouldn't mind if you laid my ashes on the knoll where the *Greenlaw children are buried. And roll over me a red boulder from the ruins of the Big House."
(Settlers Cooper and Greenlaw on what is called the Hill Ranch left two of their dead, 'Little Lillie' and 'Little David,' who rest to-day inside a tiny square of hand-hewn palings)
Jack, Charmian, Eliza and Possum
Jack London Charmian Eliza Shepard

On November 26th, 1916, in a silent ceremony, his ashes were placed in a small copper urn wreathed with primroses, Charmian London placed her husband's ashes on the chosen knoll. A huge boulder, rejected because of its size by the builders of Wolf House, was rolled over the grave.

About six months after Jack's death, little Possum, the dog they bought in Baltimore in 1912 before sailing on the Dirigo, was found drowned in the WolfHouse reflection pool and he was buried near the same rock.

September 29, 1939 Eliza, Jack's faithful stepsister and ranch superintendent dies in Jack's room at the cottage; victim of a second heart attack at the age of 71; her ashes are spread on the little knoll near Jack's grave.

After Charmian passed away on January 14, 1955, at the age of 84, she was cremated and her ashes were placed under the same boulder in a separate container. She left word that this not be made public but, by mistake, the information was put in a State Park pamphlet and is no longer a secret.


“Jack London's death caused great sorrow among his colleagues and friends. Most prestigious newspapers written in English, including the British Times, published articles on London.

Obituaries on the great writer's death appeared in French and British publications, as well as in Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Russia. As I found out later, there was not one newspaper in the United States that did not somehow respond to London's death. Over 100 different newspapers and magazines published articles about Jack London. "The most alive of all people has died," wrote the San Francisco Bulletin. "A man of thousands of lives," said People Magazine. "There is no death for people like him," pronounced a woman's magazine, Every Woman. "He came from the working class," proudly noted the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. "London's success was built by hard labor," mentioned the San Francisco Examiner. "Socialists will always remember Jack London," claimed the Oakland Tribune.

The California Writers' Club gave a highly favorable comment on the talent and personal qualities of the writer. The famous magazine Nation gave an analysis of Jack London's achievements as the author of Martin Eden, which assured a special place for him in American literary heritage. The Current Opinion magazine published an article entitled: "The Great Contribution of Jack London to American Literature." "Jack London---titanic," stated the American magazine, Dial, "he is honored in Russia as a mighty prophet." Yes, in the far-away land of Russia, the news of the death of the famous American writer came not only through the major newspapers of Petersburg and Moscow, but also through the publications in Kishinev, Astrakhan, Rostov-on-the Don, Odessa, Tyflis. He was well-known and loved there. The tragic news of his death was painful to London's fans all over the world.”

Source: In the Steps of Jack London by Vil Bykov

Comments by those who knew him

"No writer, unless it were Mark Twain, ever had a more romantic life than Jack London. The untimely death of this most popular of American fictionists has profoundly shocked a world that expected him to live and work for many years longer."

(Ernest J. Hopkins in the San Francisco Bulletin, December 2, 1916).

"His greatness will surge triumphantly above race and time. His genius was 'so flaming, so passionate, and so sincere' that it would overwhelm the limits of prejudice and nationality."

– George Sterling (Poet and Jack's best friend). ( Read Farewell poem )

"He will be missed around here, all right, for he was mighty good to us, and there never was a man who came here who went away hungry."

(A workman on the ranch).

"No matter what he said or did, his ever present kindness held you. He could say the rashest and brashest things, hurt your feelings and make you like it . . . because there was no personal sting. He was one of the most lovable characters of his age."

(Ed Morrell, ex-convict and personal friend).

"In the very last talk we ever had together, the evening of November 21, 1916, he was all afire with enthusiasm over his social creation . . . and was giving orders for the selection of a site for a school house on the ranch, a store, a post-office. . . . Have any of you thought what is to become of the great thing he has started up here? Have any of you wondered what it would mean to me, who understood, to let his long dream of the land here, lapse, for want of the means to carry it on?...But I am begging you now, with all of my heart, not to let the world forget that he laid his hand upon the hills of California with the biggest writing of all his writing and imagination and wisdom. . . . Just don't let it all who listen and read and run, forget Jack London's biggest dream."

– Charmian Kittredge London
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