Friday, December 2, 2016

Shasta Historical Society is now open on Saturday's

Tomorrow kicks off our holiday season which means we will reopen on Saturdays from December 3rd thru the 17th from 10 a.m., to 4 p.m., to give you extra time to shop for that special gift, and do any research you might need to complete.

Friday, October 21, 2016

SNAPSHOT IN TIME: A Touring Car In Shasta


This snapshot in time edition features a touring car parked in front of the (old) Shasta County Courthouse ruins in Shasta with an unidentified man standing in the doorway of the building. This photograph was taken by renown photographer, Chester Mullen, circa 1915.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

GOLD & LORE: A Lucrative Producer of Gold and Silver: The Chicago Quartz Mine

The Chicago Quartz mine was originally a placer mine when New York natives Noah S. Batcheler and his younger brother Joseph B. Batcheler were out prospecting in western Shasta County and located it on May 2, 1866. At this location, Noah discovered a series of three quartz bearing gold ledges which he dubbed the “Chicago Series.” Immediately the Batcheler siblings incorporated the Chicago Company which owned and operated the Chicago mine and began extracting gold from one of the three ledges. Why was the name Chicago rendered? No one really knows why, however, his discovery sparked a boom in the area and a new community formed approximately three miles northwest of Piety Hill, named South Fork.

With the discovery the similarly named mining district began to burgeon with success though not everyone liked the name of the district. The Shasta Courier newspaper offered the following opinion on May 12, 1866, “We suggest that the name be changed to “Eclectic,” which would at least have merit of originality.” The suggested name was a nod to the second placer mine located in the area, called the Eclectic mine by M.H. Peck. Yet the name South Fork stuck to the area. Both placer mines contended with one another and the local media frenzied over the rivalry.

On, May 30, 1866 the Shasta Courier reported the following: “The Chicago, South Fork, has been stripped over a thousand feet. For that distance the ledge shows the same as when first opened. It is a fixed fact and undoubted success – the Chicago is.” In July of that year the Chicago Company delivered about fifteen hundred pounds of rock to San Francisco where it was shipped overseas to Swansea, Wales for reduction.The rocks were assayed and the lowest value being $125 per ton of rock and the highest at $654.25. Reports indicate the rock could not be crushed at the stamp mill due to other base metals and it had to be smelted.

The placer mine also changed ownership as the Shasta Courier reported the following on March 9, 1867: “SALE OF THE CHICAGO MINE – We understand that Mr. Walsh has effected a sale of the Chicago claim to parties in San Francisco for $35,000, the first installment of which amount has already been paid. It is understood that the purchasers will take full possession at once, and proceed to more fully develop it. The sale of this mine will enhance the value of others in the district, and quicken the enterprise of quartz mining throughout the county.”

By April 20, 1867, the new owners of the Chicago Company employed twenty men to enhance the mine by driving two tunnels on the property. The former placer mine was now a solid quartz mining operation with each tunnel driven seventy-five feet into the hillside and one shaft into the surface of the earth. These were the only adits on the property. A solid piece of rock containing mixed minerals was extracted from the mine and it weighed an impressive 450 fifty pounds. The Chicago Quartz mine was now a rich producer of silver with eight tons of silver ore stored away on the property. According to a county report by W. Burling Tucker in 1923 the mine yielded $100,000 worth of ore between 1866 and 1881. The main shaft on the property was dug to about 180 feet below the surface of the earth and the initial assays of gold from that shaft were assayed at $200 per ton during those years.

During 1867 a new quartz mining settlement called Chicago was settled by miners. Its name was derived from the nearby Chicago mine. The Batcheler siblings lived in the settlement at that time as voter registration records indicate. Noah was listed as a farmer at age forty-eight and Joseph was listed as working as a district recorder, aged of thirty-two. In 1868, the settlement being of a large enough population to establish the Chicago Election Precinct.

Above: a group of miners standing in front of the Chicago Quartz Mine. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.

Charles N. Kingsbury, a resident of Igo, began operating the Chicago Quartz mine during the 1870’s. A fifteen stamp mill was erected at the south fork of Clear Creek and a milling process began but the new owner, ignoring the earlier reduction reports, began crushing ore at the new mill. After undergoing a pan-amalgamation process amalgamators discovered that the concentration was imperfect due to a chemical reaction with other base metals in the ore. The process was abandoned and the owners were forced to reship their ore to Swansea.

Though some accounts claim that the Chicago Quartz mine closed in 1876 due to litigation, other reports like the one above from Tucker and the following report from Phillip A. Lydon in 1973, claim that the mine operated until the 1890’s when it was left dormant. During 1900 the mining property was explored with very little work occurring and dormancy continued. In June of 1904 a plat map of the Chicago Quartz mine was issued to its owner, a woman named Anna B. Slater. Additional mines included in the Chicago Quartz mine property are the following: the Richmond mine, the Madison mine, the Cold Spring mine, the Silver Falls mine, the Pillchunck Consolidated mine, and the Union Company’s mine.

The Richmond and Madison mines were in production prior to 1900. County reports confirm that the Richmond mine had three shallow shafts, which were known as the Wright shafts, and these shafts were assayed and valued at 400 ounces a ton. Miners working the Madison mine extracted deposits from the well-known Chicago-Madison vein. This impressive vein ran in a drift of 12 inches to two feet wide, and the gold from this vein assayed at $26.00 per ton. The ore from the Chicago-Madison vein was now being shipped to the Mammoth Copper Mining Company’s smelter at Kennett instead of Swansea.

In 1920 the Chicago Quartz mine was purchased by F.M. Archer, and new developments took place on the mining property. The following year, a lucrative silver strike was made and the dormancy ended and production was reinstated. Archer and his miners continued to lower the shaft at the Chicago mine. In 1922 an additional bond was made on the mine and exploration of the property continued. The mine became inactive with brief periods of mining under different leases until 1954. Work on the property continued in 1961 as a new road to the mine was cut and graded. It has been idle since. The Chicago Quartz mine is also known as the Chicago Consolidated Mine and the Chicago-Silver Falls mine.

(This article was written by Jeremy M. Tuggle.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

SNAPSHOT IN TIME: Intersection of California & Oregon Streets, circa 1890.

This circa 1890 image of Redding captures an intriguing view at the intersection of California & Yuba Streets. An open space is visible with a rocky waterway and several buildings in the background. The buildings belong to D. Breslauer, the Miller and Eaton Drug Store, the Paragon Hotel, and the City Drug Store. A lonely tree appears in the middle of a lot and that lot is now the present site of the Lorenz Hotel.

SHS 1950.189.1b

Thursday, June 30, 2016

GOLD & LORE: The Reverend William S. Kidder (1834-1911)

The following is a brief biography of a great Shasta County pioneer.

The Reverend William Samuel Kidder was born on November 15, 1834 to John Kidder and Mary Ann (Payne) Kidder in Charing, Kent County, England. He is my paternal great-great-great grandfather and he was eight years old when his family emigrated from England to the United States in 1842. They settled at Pittsfield, Otsego County, New York. At the age of twenty-four William leaving his family, departed Pittsfield and ventured west to California. He eventually settled at French Gulch in 1858. In 1859 a school opened in Whiskeytown and he was hired as the teacher; this is where Kidder became affiliated with the Whiskey Creek Baptist Church. Kidder was ordained as a Baptist minister in Sacramento on September 9, 1860.

On August 2, 1861, Kidder was appointed Post Master at French Gulch. Between 1863 and 1873 (with the exception of his Civil War service) he was employed as a miner by the Washington Quartz Mining Company at the Washington mine in French Gulch, part of the French Gulch mining district. The Washington mine was the first gold mine in Shasta County having been located in 1852, by pioneers John Souter and John Syme. Syme was the superintendent at the mine when Kidder was employed there.

Kidder enlisted into the United States Army on November 10, 1864 from Marysville where he served as a soldier in the Civil War with Company I., of the Seventh California Infantry, fighting for the Union army. During the war, William’s unit was directed to Arizona where they were ordered to protect military forts. He was honorably discharged in March of 1866 at Presidia and eventually returned to French Gulch.

A year later on December 5, 1867, William Kidder was married to Mary Elizabeth McFarlin (1849-1938) by the Reverend S.N. Newkirk, in a double wedding ceremony with the bride’s sister, Martha Ann McFarlin, marrying Thomas Burton Smith at Eagle Creek (now Ono). It was Kidder who performed the Smith wedding that day. Mary was one of ten children born to George McFarlin and Martha Yelland (Miller) McFarlin, pioneers of Shasta County, who arrived at Texas Springs with their family in 1860 from District 24, Grant County, Wisconsin. They are my paternal great-great-great-great grandparents.

L-R: The Reverend William S. Kidder and his wife Mary E. (McFarlin) Kidder. From the collection of Jeremy M. Tuggle.

At the age of 35, William appears on the 1870 U.S. Census, living in French Gulch and working as a miner. His wife was listed at age 20, as a common house wife, and in the interim one child was added to the household. During the 1880s, Kidder petitioned for a homestead in the Eagle Creek area. The petition was granted and the family moved from French Gulch to Eagle Creek. This is where he began to farm, but he continued preaching and mining to support his family. The Reverend William S. Kidder was elected as the Shasta County Assessor in 1880 and he served through 1886.

In 1883, the people of Eagle Creek were getting tired of traveling five miles to the town of Igo to receive their mail. The residents met and submitted a petition for a new post office to the Postal Service headquarters at Washington D.C. The names that were offered on the petition were Eaglesville, Eagle Creek and Orofino (meaning fine gold in Spanish). The names Eaglesville and Eagle Creek were turned down by officials in Washington D.C., because they conflicted with names used elsewhere in California. The name Orofino was also rejected because there was a town in Siskiyou County with that name.

The petition was granted for a post office, however, the local residents were furious about the objections as new name would first have to be selected and approved in order to establish a post office. Local residents asked the Reverend William Samuel Kidder to suggest a name for this burgeoning farming and mining area. Kidder suggested the name Ono, he picked the name from the bible in Neahmiah 6:2 "as we meet together on the plains of Ono." The name Ono derives from a town in Jerusalem, formerly called Ono, now known as Auna. On April 16, 1883, a post office was established by the United States Postal Service called Ono. William appointed his brother-in-law William Miller McFarlin, to be the first Post Master of Ono.

Kidder founded numerous churches in northern California including the First Baptist Church of Red Bluff in 1860 and the First Baptist Church of Redding in 1887, becoming the first pastor at both churches. Kidder enjoyed God’s calling and traveled to different Baptist churches and schools in the area to preach the word of God. He preached at places with names like Copper City, Excelsior, Bald Hills, Gas Point, Kimball Plains, Pickney, Aiken Gulch, Watson Gulch, Millville and Eagle Creek (Ono). He performed many marriages throughout his lifetime. The Fellowship Hall of the First Baptist Church in Redding, was dedicated as Kidder Hall in April of 2007 in memory of Kidder by church officials.

In 1887, Kidder purchased the Tellurium Restaurant on Market Street in Redding. This restaurant was open at all hours of the day and it offered a good table setting at twenty-five cents a meal. Eventually moving his restaurant into a building on the corner of Market and Butte Streets in Redding, owned by John O. Welsh. On November 4, 1890, Thomas B. Smith was elected as Shasta County assessor and he appointed his brother-in-law, the Reverend Kidder to be his deputy assessor, a position in which Kidder had previous experience. Kidder acted as one of his deputy assessors until 1894.

The Reverend William S. Kidder died on March 16, 1911 at his home in Ono. He was 76 years old. The Reverend William S. Kidder and his wife had a total of eight children, which included seven daughters and one son. All of his children were educated at the Ono Schoolhouse. The pioneer Baptist minister was labeled as the “the most respected man in western Shasta County” by the Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, at the time of his death. There is simply not enough room to name all of Reverend Kidder’s accomplishments and achievements during his lifetime. Local historians, and his descendants, continue to chronicle his life story which can be found in numerous periodicals and books at the Shasta Historical Society and the Redding Library. His wife Mary Elizabeth (McFarlin) Kidder survived him and died in Redding on January 9, 1938. She was 88 years old. Both of them are buried at the Ono Cemetery in Ono. Many of their descendants still live in Shasta County, and like me, they are proud of their pioneer heritage.

(This article was written by Jeremy M. Tuggle.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

GOLD & LORE: Kennett Was Once A Thriving City, Competing With Redding For Prominence.

It must have been exciting times when the California and Oregon Railroad, a division of the Central Pacific Railroad, stopped construction of its tracks at Poverty Flats in 1872 and formed the new town of Redding. Redding gained prominence and grew rapidly because of the railroad.

As the end-of-the-line, Redding was very fortuitous in its role in the development of our county for 10 years until the railroad resumed construction and laid its tracks north of Redding through the Sacramento River Canyon.

In 1884, the railroad established the town of Kennett at Squaw Creek, north of Redding. The town was named for the financier, Squire Kennett. Kennett soon became a center of mining and smelting. The railroad brought many new residents to the town of Kennett, which grew rapidly. It wasn't long before the town had a school, a post office in 1886, the a hospital, lodging with the Golinsky Hotel, a fire station, a calaboose, three newspapers and an opera house supported by a population of just over 5,000 residents.

Kennett was soon competing with Redding for prominence and became incorporated in 1911. Kennett also became home to the famous Diamond Bar Saloon, which was owned and operated by Victor E. 'Slim' Warrens, a native of Missouri. The name of the Diamond Bar Saloon was derived from the proprietor's passion for diamonds.

Like Warrens, numerous other people from around the country came and settled at Kennett. Folks like Charles Butters in 1885, a native of Massachusetts, who worked as an engineer and he began buying large amounts of Kennett property, some of which he subdivided and sold. This area was later referred to as the 'Butters Addition.' Another well-known subdivision at Kennett was 'Smelter Street.'

During this same period of time, two nearby towns, Little Italy and Bernhard, were created and 'unofficially' annexed into Kennett, using their Post Office to send and receive mail. Little Italy was located on the main road to the Mammoth mine and the children of its communities attended classes at the Kennett schoolhouse, located on School Street.

Little Italy was named for its large Italian population and had a hotel that included a restaurant. The hotel was called the Mt. Shasta Hotel and it was owned and operated by Antonio Carratini, a native of Uruguay.

Above: the Southern Pacific Railroad Depot at Kennett, California in 1909. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.

The town of Bernhard was established by Bernhard Golinsky, a native of Germany who named the town for himself. It was located near Squaw Creek on the road past the Mammoth Hospital in Kennett. His family owned the Golinsky Hotel and Bernhard Golinsky served as postmaster of Kennett for a short time.

Between 1880 and 1890, the Mammoth mine was discovered in the Backbone Mining District by local prospector George Graves. Some reports indicate a man named Frazier discovered it, as well. In 1904, the nearby Mammoth mine was purchased by a group of people who formed the Mammoth Copper Mining Co. at Kennett. Their parent company was the U.S. Smelting, Refining and Mining Co., which would eventually build an immense smelter at the mouth of Little Backbone Creek. Other mines in the area were purchased by the company, as well.

In 1907, the smelter was erected and it prospered until 1919, when it closed. A year later, it reopened. But then it shut down again. The mine closed the same year as the smelter did, and the Mammoth smelter was eventually dismantled. The mine was reopened for a brief period of mining in 1937 and then it became inactive.

Kennett was unincorporated in 1930 and lost its post office in 1942. The Kennett Post Office closed due to the construction of Shasta Dam, between 1938-1945. The impact the dam had on the city was catastrophic. While Kennett was dependent on mining, the city of Redding had a broader basis of commerce, and Redding surpassed Kennett. Kennett now lies underneath the water of Lake Shasta, just north of Shasta Dam.

(This article was written by Jeremy M. Tuggle.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

SNAPSHOT IN TIME: The Miller Mill.

Snapshot In Time:

This 1943 image captures logging trucks with lumber on them at the Miller Mill. Pictured L-R: Carlton D. Stevenson (1915-1990), Lucielle Miller, and Loren Kern. The Miller Mill was located on Ponderosa Way in Whitmore. Stevenson worked the trim saws at the mill. This mill was owned by Elbert Miller.