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PLUMAS-SIERRA

HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION

 

HISTORY OF

PLUMAS-SIERRA

 

BY

J. R. DALY

1940

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page i.

 

FOREWORD

 

      The following pages contain material of historical interest taken from the notes of the secretary of the Plumas-Sierra Historical Association for the year 1940. They are presented with the hope that the reader will find pleasure and information in them. By no means complete, they are results of the informal discussions which take place during the meetings and as yet there has been no attempt at an exhaustive study of any of the material. Some of the information may be found in the Farris and Smith History of Lassen Plumas and Sierra Counties, but much of it is original. While we have tried to include only material that can be verified, it is perfectly possible that errors have occurred. The secretary is deeply grateful to those members who have spent much time finding and substantiating material for this report.

      Sierra Valley comprises the greater part of the record. It lies in the eastern edges of Plumas and Sierra Counties and is divided from east to west by the county line with a little more than half in Plumas county. To the east and north is Long Valley, once a part of Nevada Territory, but now mostly in Lassen County. In may all be readily located on any automobile map of northern California.

 

Page ii.

 

PLUMAS SIERRA HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION.

 

      The Plumas Sierra Historical Association is the outgrowth of the desire for more information concerning the history of those parts of Plumas and Sierra counties lying on the escarpment of the Sierra, to the east of the mining country. Much has been written about Downieville, county seat of Sierra County and the Feather River of Plumas County during the early days, but very little has been recorded about the early settlers and events on the eastern borders of those two counties. In February 1940, at the suggestion of Mr. J. R. Daly, then teacher of history and now Principal of the Portola High School, a meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Ted Belmont in Vinton and the Plumas-Sierra Historical Association was formed. Mr. Daly was elected chairman and Mrs. Humphrey secretary. Later, after the drawing up of the by-laws, they, with five other officers, were elected to serve for the first year. The club year begins in April and the by-laws call for a minimum of four meetings a year. During its first season, five meetings and a field trip to Johnsville, an old mining town, were held. In addition to holding its meetings the club hopes to be able to make an annual report of its findings.

 

 

OFFICERS.

 

President, Mr. J. R. Daly

 

Vice President, Mrs. T. R. Belmont

 

Secretary, Mrs. M. B. Humphrey

 

 

 

DIRECTORS.

 

Mrs. J. R. Daly

Mr. C. G. Church

 

Mrs. Helen Palmer

Mrs. R. F. Ramelli

 

 

 

MEMBERS.

 

Tita Burt

Thomas Dorithy

Mrs. Maude Fulcher

Mr. and Mrs. Fred Guidici

R. F. Ramelli

Mrs. Phil Ede

 

Mrs. Bernice Norris

Mrs. Martha Hagen

Mrs. E. J. Goble

Miss Marguerite Geney

Mr. John Church

 

 

 

 

Page 1.

 

GENERAL HISTORY OF THIS REGION

 

      The discovery of Sierra Valley, once called Beckwourth’s valley, is generally credited to Jim Beckwourth, early guide, who operated a trading post in the north west corner of the valley where the middle fork of the Feather River begins its travels through the mountains. He also acted as a guide bringing emigrants over the pass on the eastern edge of the valley. The pass, the lowest through the Sierra, now bears his name and is used by the Western Pacific Railroad, and the Feather River Highway. Where the original Beckwouth cabin stood seems to be unknown though no doubt, it was somewhere in the vicinity of the one now standing on the Guido Ramelli ranch near the town of Beckwourth. This is the third cabin he built and is on a small knoll surrounded by ranch buildings. For many years it was used as a dairy house. Beckwourth, according to various stories, claimed the entire north portion of the valley from Beckwourth Peak to Adams Peak. When settlers began to take up the land, he resented their encroachments and called to object at the homestead of Abraham Ede, who had taken up land on the south side of the Buttes. He was unfortunate in his choice of victim, however, since he himself was greeted and driven off by a shotgun in the hands of the determined wife of the rancher. Apparently his claims were on a par with his other stories for when he left his property, it was taken over by a man named Kirby, and his holdings were by no means as vast as he pretended. This property formed the nucleus of the ranch now owned by Guido Ramelli.

      There is a story of visitors to Sierra Valley before Beckwourth. They came from Downieville over the mountains one thousand strong, and were led by Stoddard who was taking them on what turned out to be a wild goose chase for a lake whose sands were gold. In the course of their travels, which took place in 1850, they crossed to what is now Last Chance Creek which flows into the north east corner of Sierra Valley. Here they camped and gave Stoddard his last chance to produce the lake or be hanged. He escaped during the night, but the expedition served to give the creek its name. It was later to be known as Frenchmen’s Creek from the Saltior brothers who were mining there, one branch still bearing the name and still later as Adams Creek and Bobo Creek, obviously from the ranchers who settled along its banks.

      In its earliest days Sierra Valley attracted men who thought there might be mining as in the mountains to the west, but the gold was not to be found. Those who settled were farmers, teamsters, and merchants, all attracted to California by the gold rush. Freight teams traveled from the Sacramento Valley to Virginia City and while much of the Traffic was through Placerville, Sierra Valley also felt its influence on account of the mining towns of the Yuba and Feather Rivers.

      Before the days of the Yuba pass road the freight teams crossed the mountain by way of the Hennessey Pass which parted from the present Yuba Pass highway between Goodyear’s Bar and Forest.

 

Page 2.

 

It passed Webber Lake, went down the Dog Valley grade, into Verdi, and then on to Truckee meadows. It was joined by the roads from Sierraville via Lemmon Canyon and Loyalton via Lewis Canyon near Serdino Valley. When the travel over the mountains was at its heaviest, it is said they kept over one hundred head of horses at the top of Dog Valley grade. This road was very steep in places and the Sierra Valley teamsters soon showed a preference for the route taken now over Beckwourth Pass and through Long Valley to Reno.

      There was a great deal of travel between Truckee and the south end of Sierra Valley in those days, supporting two toll roads. The Sierraville-Truckee road was owned by John Fag, grandfather of Mrs. Jennie Huntley of Loyalton. The Loyalton-Truckee road was owned and built by the Christie brothers. When the Yuba Pass was opened in the seventies, it joined Sierra Valley with the mining towns of Grass Valley, Nevada City, Downieville and Sierra City.

      The original road west across the Valley began at the Beckwourth pass as it does now, but about six miles west of the pass veered toward the north and served the ranches along the hill behind the buttes. Passing on through the mountains its logical outlet was Oroville but owing to the high pass over Bucks ranch, west of Quincy, it was closed in the winter. Marysville by this time was one of the more important towns of the state and it was to the interest of everyone to have a direct route through the mountains. In 1867, some Indian Valley merchants engaged Arthur W. Keddie to make a survey for such a road.

      Of Scotch birth, Keddie came to California from Canada via Panama in 1863. He came to Plumas county in 1864 and made his home there until his death in 1933. He was closely associated with the early history of Plumas county. He did much of the early surveying in the county, laying out every township in the county and the Forest Service is still using his notes made in the seventies. Always accurate, he prided himself on the care with which he prepared his reports. The story is told by a man who actually saw the event of how Keddie walked right to the spot where he had stooped and dug away the earth, revealing the marker. A letter in spite of having been written in pencil and having passed through a fire. The town of Keddie, near Quincy, on the Western Pacific is named for him.

      Keddie’s report of his survey was due March 31, 1867. The following is a quotation from his diary, now in possession of his daughter, Helen Keddie Palmer, of Portola. Feb. 13, 1867. “I left Greenville on an exploring expedition down the north fork and up the middle fork of the Feather River to find a good location for a wagon road for Bolinger and Chambers.” And from a letter of the same time to his hinese. “Our job is to explore the north fork to Oroville, then go up the middle fork past Nelson point as far as Beckwourth Pass. I have to report as to which is the best route for a winter road. If the north fork is best, the Indian Valley people will get out of the mountains by coming down to the Junction of Spanish and Indian Creeks, then down

 

Page 3.

 

The river to Oroville. If the Middle fork is best they will have to go to Quincy and Nelson Point and then down the river, though the two points that the road must connect, are Oroville and Beckwourth Pass.” In his report he advised the north fork route condemning the middle fork as impassible. He was the first white man to make the trip on either fork and reported strenuous climbing up the mountain side to circumvent some obstacle before they could follow the river bed again. He mentioned also how very warm it was down in the canyon even with snow on the mountains above. His estimate of the cost of the road was $150,000, but his survey was not used until the Western Pacific built its line through the mountains. It was followed closely then and later when the Feather River Highway was built at the cost of millions and finished in 1937.

      There are several towns in Sierra Valley and even some ghost towns in the northwestern corner in Beckwourth, which while named for the famous story teller, was apparently not a part of his cabin and appears to have been located at one time still further east. It boasted a hotel, school, churches, a hinese temple, and a chapter of the Grange. For many years the name was misspelled “Beckwith,” a mistake made in the Post Office Department in Washington and due perhaps to the confusion of the name with that of Lieutenant Beckwith, a cavalry officer, who was active in early days in Honey Lake Valley. The proper spelling was restored in 1932.

      Chilcoot, nearest to the Beckwourth Pass on the east side of the valley was even closer in the early days and bore the name of Summit. Three landmarks remain to remind us of the early settlers. On the site of the old town is a store building, a store built in 1864, and owned first by a man named Wilkinson. To the north is the old cemetery. Just over the pass and directly over the site of the home of Judge Bronson. The house was standing at the time the Summit store was built. Earlier than the store, was a hotel, Summit House, run by C. T. Adams and first heard of in 1859. The post office with the name of Summit came in 1861 although Summit House was given as an address before that. In 1897 Summit lost its Post Office, but was able to regain it in 1899. In the meantime the name had been taken by another town and the name Chilcoot was chosen from three suggested by the Post Office Department, on account of the Alaska gold excitement. Somewhere there has been mention made of an Odd Fellows Lodge in Summit, but that has not been discussed any further. The Summit school was located two or three miles west of town closer to the school going population.

      When the Western Pacific was built, the south of the tunnel opened right beside the old town of Chilcoot but naturally into a cut and they placed their station about 11/2 miles to the west.

In due time the town followed and then moved again in 1936 to its present location with the building of the present highway.

      Vinton, two miles west of Chilcoot came into being as a town in 1896 when the Peterson brothers rebuilt the old Sierra Mohawk station into a store. Until that time it had been only

 

Page 4.

 

A railroad station and section. The origin of the name is obscure. The town was destroyed by fire three times, but was always rebuilt and managed to support a hotel and bar as well as stores and Post Office which was established in 1897.

      Between Vinton and Chilcoot, is the site of one of Sierra Valley’s ghost towns. Rag Town, consisting of at least a bar, was located near the Western Pacific spur track.

      Sattley, in the southwest corner of the valley where the present Yuba Pass highway reaches the valley floor, was originally called Church’s Corners because of the Church family, three brothers and the father, who settled there. There is an old story about a young man who was trying to persuade his hinese to join him in what she feared was a very wild and wooley west. As a last resort he told her there was nothing to worry about, that there were three Church’s within a mile, and on that basis she came west and married him. Isaac S. Church, after nine years in California returned to his home in Vermont in 1859, and the following year persuaded his parents, two brothers, Abraham and Ezra, Jr. and a sister Mary to return with him to California. The father took up 160 acres of land and engaged in farming and cattle raising, while Isaac ran a public house in Church’s Corner during the 60’s. The sister later married F. M. Rowland who was one of the pioneers of Long Valley. A Post Office was finally established at Church’s Corners in 1890. Ezra Church Jr. was the first Post-master and the Post Office which was given his mother’s maiden name of Sattley. Frank Church, born in 1861, was the first white boy born in Sierra Valley.

      Sierraville, about four miles southeast of Sattley, is located where the Sierra-Truckee highway enters the Valley. It too was settled in the earlier days of Sierra Valley, but retains the look of other times more than the other towns. At first just a trading post, it soon grew up into a good sized town. William Arms who later took up a ranch at the north end of the valley, was among the first in Sierraville. He came there about 1858 to operate a branch of the clothing store he owned in partnership with George Stacy of Downieville. Later he took as a partner, Joseph Ensco and the store they kept was the only one of its kind in the valley. About 1859, the Post Office was established with Arms as the first Post-master. He was also express agent. When it came time for the town people to choose a name they suggested Armsville but Arms modestly suggested Sierraville which was adopted.

      Sierraville was the scene of some very fine fairs in the eighties. The fairgrounds were about one mile west of town, and boasted a race track where some of the horses raised in the valley showed their ability. The town also had a school, a Grange, and an I. O. O. F. Lodge. The Mountain Vale Lodge, No. 140, and the I. O. O. F. was founded August 30, 1867 in Sierraville and built its hall the same year. Among charter members were H. K. Lemmon.

      Loyalton was originally known as Smith’s nook. There are two stories of how it got its name. One that it came from a group of men of the Smith mining Company who decided to settle there to farm—The other story is that the name came from Jason Smith who later married the daughter of Dr. Doome. The name still

 

Page 5.

 

Clings to the creek which flows through the town but the town changed its name during the Civil War when the entire population responded to a war subscription. In the early sixties, there appeared in Loyalton, a Dr. Doome, who seems to have been the guiding spirit of the town. He was doctor, minister, hotel keeper, and bar tender. He acquired land which he later sold as the town grew and much of the town was built on land previously owned by Dr. Doome. He sponsored organizing and building the first school and was the first Post-master. Loyalton too had its Lodges among them; the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs. The White Pine Lodge, No. 175 was founded in 1904. Among its charter members were: E. J. Brodner, Alex Lovell, H. A. Turner, V. D. Rouley, Charles H. Langdon and C. G. Church. The Buena Vallis Rebekah Lodge was founded the following year and had among its charter members: W. G. Rowley, A. M. Lovell, W. D. Coates, Olive G. Thompson, Hilda M. Fish, Minnie Stark, Olivette Rowley, and Maude F. Coates.

      Loyalton for some time has been associated with the lumber industry. Around 1901 it had a population of three thousand. There were five saw mills at that time, the Roberts Lumber Co., Norton Brothers, Fay Brothers, Reno Mill Co., White Pine Lumber Mill, and four box factories. Al Schrooder had a small box factory at the north end of town. His father in the early days drove stages from Virginia City to Marysville. The Boca and Boca came into Loyalton in 1901 and a golden spike was driven with fitting ceremonies at about the spot where the box factory is now.

      Early Sierra Valley was taken up at first by castornors, many of whom in turn sold out to Swiss immigrants. Both found the country fitted to dairying and grazing. Much cheese and butter was produced in the early days, the butter going first in tubs to Marysville and Virginia City and later wrapped as a fancier product to Reno and other towns. The cattle raised in the valley were driven through the mountains and marketed as far away as Grass Valley and Marysville. The mountain valleys are natural meadows, a fact appreciated by the early cattlemen. The story is told of a man named Poor who started from Oregon in the spring and followed the grass through the mountains with 1,000 head of cattle, until he arrived with them, fat, in Sacramento in the fall.

      Fine horses were raised in Sierra Valley. Joseph Dyson bred race horses and traces of his private track still remain on the ranch he used to own. Dr. Webber, for whom Webber Lake is named, also had a horse ranch, now owned by C. G. Church, on which he raised first class horses for both stage use and driving. Webber is famous for his Webber pills, his own concoction which he prescribed for everything. Some of the stage drivers took up land to raise and pasture their own horses and later turned to ranching. Sierra Valley ranchers also raised purebred cattle and pigs.

      The fine native grass made excellent hay and many a rancher received a good part of his income from the hay he sold. In the early days it was hand mown and bailed in 100 pound bales to be taken to the mines. Isaac Church carried hay by mule to Mohawk Valley and up over Haskell’s Peak which seems to have been one of the earliest trails into Sierra Valley. They used to camp

 

Page 6.

 

In Willow Glen, owned by Dave Jones, to prepare for the trip over the mountains because they were sheltered there from the wind.

      Since the nineties and perhaps earlier there has been lumbering in Sierra Valley. The mountains surrounding the valley, are covered with timber and have supported several mills. The Rees Mill and that of Hartwell Turner were among the earliest in Sierra County. James Turner, son of Hartwell, built a mill in Sierra County, in 1902 three miles north of Sattley in partnership with his two brothers. This, the Sunset Lumber Co., was a steam mill with a capacity of 35,000 feet daily. Their lumber was taken to Loyalton by freight team and from there shipped by railroad. They sold the mill in 1906, but Turner bought it back again in 1912, in partnership with two cousins. This venture failed when Tonopah and Goldfield closed and left them with a large quantity of undelivered lumber on their hands. In 1917 Turner and Jorgensen bought an old mill above Loyalton and moved it three miles southwest of Portola. Jorgensen sold out and was replaced as a partner by F. P. Meyers. This company was known as the Beckwourth Peak Lumber Co., and ran until 1928 when the timber was all cut.

      In Plumas County, Horton has a mill in Clover Valley. It was flourishing in the nineties and was later moved to Loyalton. There was also a mill in Last Chance above Chilcoot which was opened about 1900 and another run by a man named Smith in Dinwiddie canyon, sometime before the turn of the century.

      The country was taken up in what was apparently a much wetter period than now and there are stories of driving sleighs across country without regard for fences, and taking several days to go a few miles. Of course, the most famous is the winter of 1889-1890. There were ten feet of snow on the level in Sierra Valley and twenty five feet of snow on the Yuba Pass, which was not opened until July 4th, of that year. There was a snow slide to the river, filling it 200 to 300 feet deep with snow. It took three houses and killed three people. That winter a Chinaman froze to death in La Porte and they had to dig through thirty-five fee of snow to bury him. The snow was forty two feet deep in the streets of the town. In April of 1890, two Sierra Valley ranchers, Frank Humphrey and C. G. Church, drove cattle from Sierraville to Johnsville by the regular route through Mohawk Valley.

      They found fifteen feet of snow in the streets of the town, and drove their cattle right over the roofs of the buildings to the slaughter house below town. The snow was tunneled under from house to house with steps leading down from the top of the snow. When one of the steers tumbled through into the alley below, he had to be killed so he could be removed. It was quite customary in the old days in those mountain towns, if any one died during the winter, to make no attempt to bury him until spring.

      Sierra Valley and the mountains to the west were apparently not the home of the Indians. They came each fall to hunt as their arrowheads in the mountains around Johnsville show, and they came to Sierra Valley each year to hunt rabbits, the skins of which they tanned and used for robes. As late as the eighties they were coming to the Island district to camp. There were Indian raids and battles in the adjoining Long Valley and Honey Lake Valley

 

Page 7.

 

But apparently none in Sierra Valley though there has been some mention made of an old wooden fort which existed in Sierra Valley.

      Long Valley, Nevada Territory which was used as a route to Truckee meadows was more of a farming country than it is now. Several wet winters eroded the creek bank until it no longer spreads out. On the upper part of the creek, near Purdy, close to the Nevada State line, is a ranch taken up by Dave Evans. It was at his place on the old stage road that a hold up of the Central Pacific at Verdi was plotted. The lower part, near Doyle, is still a ranching section. The present Rowland ranch was bought in 1885 by F. M. Rowland from Bob Ross. It was Albert Ross who built the mansion on the Constantio Ranch and a man named Butters who built the Chapel there. The Rhodes Place now owned by Rowland was taken up by Alvero Evans.

 

EARLY SIERRA VALLEY FAMILIES.

 

      The story of when some of the earlier families came to Sierra Valley is slowly beginning to take shape but is far from complete.

      Jeanette Howk, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Corel Howk, was the first white girl born in Sierra Valley. Her family were the first to live at Campbell’s Hot Springs and they took up a homestead in 1870.

      In 1852, the four Ede brothers came to Johnsville to the mines but turned later to farming in Sierra Valley. Abraham Ede took up a ranch just south of the buttes. Hampton Ede settled on the Island farm in the center of the valley. Stephen Ede took up what is now the M. Guidici ranch back of Chilcoot and later moved to Truckee Meadows. Walter Ede took up what is now the M. S. Humphrey ranch, north of Vinton, after buying out a squatter named Thompson.

      In the 1850’s Abraham Adams, and his wife Mary, took up 160 acres in Adams Neck before the land was surveyed. The widow Mary paid for this in Marysville in 1866. C. T. Adams took up more land in the same year and in 1868, bought the original 160. In 1874, C. T. Adams and his wife, Victoria, sold the land to B. F. Bobo, who later sold it to Alex Guidici Sr.

      Bobo first lived on what is now the R. F. Ramilli ranch near Vinton where he was in partnership with Bringham. Ross Bringham is said to have built the house on that ranch in 1861.

      The Mickey family came from Iowa and took up the land in the center of the valley just north of the county line. The Schroedor family came to Loyalton about 1881. They lived near Lombardi Point. One source says that W. A. Schroeder was driving an eight horse team hauling hay to Virginia City at the age of fourteen. Later he drove a passenger stage from Reno to the old Summit house.

      George Humphrey, who later took up a ranch near Sattley, was in 1865, driving a six horse stage from Sattley to Virginia City

 

Page 8.

 

By way of Chilcoot.

 

SIERRA VALLEY WATER CO.

 

      The founders of the Sierra Valley water co. held their first meeting in the office of A. S. Nichols in Sierraville, July 27, 1913. There were present: A. S. Nichols, W. E. Miller, F. E. Humphrey, John McNair, and James McNair, who were the incorporators, subscribers, and only stockholders. Their purpose was to augment the natural flow of the creek flowing through Sierraville and into the Feather River by bringing water from the Little Truckee River by means of the old Himes Burns ditch. It was not until 1922 that any beside the original stockholders purchased any stock but at the present time there are about twenty stockholders. The Fred Blinnen Co., which figured in the acquisition of the water rights was at the time operating old Frank Lemmon ranch.

      The ditch used by the company is very old. It was surveyed and built by Alf Himes who saw the possibility of bringing the water from the Little Truckee, which is the outlet of Webber and Independent Lakes, into Sierra Valley. He was in the midst of surveying when either a joker or a rival changed his instruments and he had surveyed nearly a mile uphill before he discovered the error.

 

GRANGE HISTORY IN SIERRA VALLEY.

 

To May 10, 1940.

 

      With the magic like growth of the Grange movement which swept the country in the early seventies, came the organization of the California State Grange on July 15, 1873.

      In two years the movement covered the State of California with an organization unparalleled in the State’s history.

      On June 5, 1874, J. M. Hamilton, Master of California State Grange, organized Alfalfa Grange #1, at Reno, Washoe County, Nevada, with A. J. Hutch as Master. Through the efforts of Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Hatch, thirteen Granges soon covered the northern or bulk of the agricultural section of Nevada.

      On April 24, 1875, Mr. Hatch organized Plumas Grange #246 at “Sierra Valley (Reno,

Nevada) Plumas County,” with A. J. Spoon as Master over twenty nine Charter members.

      Authoritive sources show that this Grange prospered beyond the average attainment usually reached by similar organizations until 1889 when the records seem to cease and the organization came to an abrupt end from some unknown or unrecorded cause.

 

Page 9.

 

      Its good work and influence greatly raised the standards of the pioneer ranchers in Sierra Valley and its many benefits were felt long after it ceased to exist.

      The first Grange Fair under its auspices was held at Beckwourth in 1880 and grew to be an outstanding annual event and to proportions which would do credit to much more favorably situated organizations of our later times when educational, transportation and communication facilities had reached a modern standard.

      The last written record of the Fair is an award of merit to E. J. Goble of Vinton, then a schoolboy, for an exhibit of a map of North America displayed at the Grange Fair in 1889. There is some indication that the fairs continued for another year or two in reduced form.

      There is evidence that another Grange, Sierra Valley Grange #257 was organized at Sierraville several years after the organization of Plumas Grange but little is known of its work and it seems to have ceased at about the same time as Plumas Grange.

      Several short items that Wm. Arms and Mr. Hamlin held the office of Master following Mr. Spoon.

      With this background, Sierra Valley Grange #466 came into being on November 31, 1931 on one of the most bitterly cold nights recorded in this section. The organization was under the direction of State Deputy E. S. Waterman and took place in the “Old Hall” at Vinton which was then serving as a warehouse and housed the new Grange until the completion of the Grange Hall in 1934.

      Twenty-five patrons received the rites that night and Robert C. Mercer was selected as Master, which post he held for two years. Until his able management the foundation was laid upon which was built one of the finest and most powerful Granges in the country. The succeeding Masters: Philip Ede, Fred P. Guidici and George Ramelli, the present incumbent, have carried on the work under the same high standards as laid down in the beginning.

      By 1935 Sierra Valley Grange had grown to the position of the largest Grange in the State of California, which position it held through 1936 and 1937, the honor in 1938 going to Orland and being regained Sierra Valley in 1939 with a membership of 275 members.

      On the evening of October 3, 1935, the California State Grange held its first meeting ever held outside the convention hall, in the hall of Sierra Valley Grange. Sierra Valley Grange gained this honor by almost instantaneously furnishing its quota of members to take the sixth degree in honor of the National Grange’s visit to California that fall. The full sixth degree rites were concerned at Vinton.

      On October 5, 1932, a building fund was started with an initial $25.00, which grew rapidly through a series of dances and other activities until it was sufficiently large by 1934, to start construction of a Grange owned hall. Ground for this was broken early in October 1934 and under the leadership of Master Philip

 

Page 10.

 

Ede was rapidly completed and formally dedicated by State Master George Sahlmeyer on the evening of December 5, 1934.

      The construction work was done by labor donated by the members under the supervision of Frank Gottardi, a non-member who had been hired to supervise the work.

      The new hall, 36 x 96 feet with a 36 x 24 kitchen and dining room stand as a monument to what can be accomplished by unity and co-operation.

      On September 27, 1936, the last of the mortgage was paid off in a fitting ceremony which goes down in history as one of the outstanding events in the history and progress of Plumas County.

      In co-operation with the sister Grange, Indian Valley Grange of Taylorsville and Feather River Grange of Quincy and through the combination Plumas-Sierra Pomona Grange #18, the Grange has established itself as the most powerful organization and stabilizing factor in Plumas County.

      The re-organization of the tax structure in Plumas County during the early 1930’s was largely attributable to the Grange work. This work alone was an accomplishment seldom attained by any organization and placed Plumas County’s tax structure in an enviable position.

      The construction of the Vinton-Loyalton highway owes much to the initiative movement and support of Sierra Valley Grange.

      The organization and construction of the Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric lines in 1938 owed much to the loyalty and stability of the Grange. When others lost faith and courage the Grange stood firm and it is very doubtful if the project would have succeeded but for the Grange support.

 

RAILROADS OF SIERRA VALLEY.

 

      Sierra Valley is now served by the Western Pacific Railroad which began building its line through the valley in 1907. The first passenger train went through in 1910. At one time after the road was built, the Chilcoot tunnel caved in and it was necessary to build a track over the top of the hill. This took nine days and it took two months to repair the tunnel. The valley was also served by the Sierra, Mohawk, the Boca and Loyalton, and the N. C. O. Railroads.

      The Sierra Mohawk was a narrow gauge road connecting at Plumas Junction in Long Valley with the N. C. O. and running to Blairsdon in its most prosperous time. Though not completed, it operated for a short time in the eighties and then in 1893. A year or so later the track was torn up. It more or less paralleled the W. P. tracks from Chilcoot through Beckwourth and a good deal of the old road bed is still visible. The track ran over the top of the

 

Page 11.

 

Beckwourth pass and around the hill on the south side of the pass, Plumas Junction, which was originally just west of the present highway crossing, of Long Valley creek and connected a stage line to take passengers from the N. C. O. to Sierra Valley was moved south on the creek to a point which would connect with the Sierra Mohawk when it reached the bottom of its grade. The railroad was built by hand with hinese labor. It passed through a heavy snow belt and the story is told that it took one month to complete the round trip from Plumas to Mohawk one hard winter.

      The N. C. O. from Reno to Lake-view Oregon was also a narrow gauge. It came up from Reno following very nearly the present Western Pacific tracks for the first five miles and then went due north so that instead of crossing the Peavine Summit, it went around the mountain range on the east side of Alkali Lake and entered that little valley from the north east. At that point the line continued west crossing the low hill dividing the lake and Long Valley and followed Long Valley Creek to Doyle then across the end of Honey Lake and north to Oregon. The old road bed may be seen at almost any point along its path. In the early days, the N. C. O. connected with stages at Plumas Junction and later with the Sierra Mohawk. While both were narrow gauge lines, they never switched cars but transferred the loads. Another station of interest to Sierra Valley is that of Chat of which nothing remains. It stood on a spot on the west side of Long Valley Creek a little to the north east of an observer standing where the present highway crosses Beckwourth Pass. There is a spring there and a small fenced enclosure. As late as 1916 Sierra Valley cattle were shipped to Reno from Chat. The town of Doyle, also a stop for the N. C. O. was in its earliest days that what is now the Hall ranch.

      The Boca and Loyalton came first from Boca on the Central Pacific to the Lewis Mill in the mountains, south of Loyalton. It entered Loyalton in 1901 and was later extended to Beckwourth and then a mile or so further west. The Western Pacific bought it out in 1907.

 

SCHOOLS OF SIERRA VALLEY.

 

      This report is from that prepared by Mrs. R. F. Ramelli for one of our meetings. Her material was obtained partly from people who attended the schools, partly from letters written her by the teachers themselves, and partly from the records of the department of education in Quincy. There is an element of doubt as to the accuracy of some of the dates which may be explained in several ways. Many of the teachers tried to hold two schools at once on account of the shortage of the terms and at times substituted for each other. The dates from the office of the school superintendent are the dates that the warrants were cashed not issued and adds to the confusion since sometimes they were held a year or more before being cashed. While the first date that can be considered authentic is 1872 it is the first date to be found in the Plumas county records and there may have been schools organized before that time. The first school in Plumas County, was in

 

Page 12.

 

Elizabethtown in 1854 and the first school building to be built was that of the Pioneer school district near Quincy. It is not definite so far as this group has discovered which was the first school in Sierra Valley.

      On the Plumas county side of Sierra Valley the school district are: Beckwourth, Butte, Hot Springs, Fox Springs Island and Summit.

      The Beckwourth school is found in the records in 1872. It was originally located across the present highway from the airport but burned and was rebuilt in its present location. Among the early teachers in that district were: Miss F. R. Cole 1872, Miss Ella Chandler 1875, W. S. Church 1876, S. H. Clapp 1877, Miss Ida House 1897.

      The Butte school was organized in 1898 and the school built by William Arms, Anton Leffranchini, and A. E. Bulson. The Arms children had been attending the Beckwourth school and the Leffranchini’s the Summit school up until that time. Ed Anderson, later state supervisor of education in Nevada, was the first teacher. Others were: Hattie Hinds, Flora Otis Cate, Holmes Goodwin, Frances Kirby, Sadie McKutcheon and Miss Carter. The school laps-about 1904 and was reorganized in 1922 with Miss McGilivray as teacher. She taught until 1927 when the district again lapsed.

      The Hot Springs school which is now closed, is also found in the county records. The following were among the early teachers: Mary Campbell 1872, A. E. Campbell 1875, Lizzie Dunforth 1877, Maggie Williams 1879. There was at one time a post office named Kettle near the Hot Springs schools.

      Fox Springs on the present Vinton-Loyalton highway and about midway between the two towns was opened in 1902. It closed about twelve years later, the school house moved to the A. C. Datta ranch and no trace is left of it.

      The Island school is now temporarily closed but is one of the earlier schools. Among its teachers were: Amelia Campbell 1873, Clara Chandler 1875, Frankie Barton 1875, A. E. Campbell 1876, Martha Loring 1877, Lizzie Danforth 1877, May Marble 1879, Jessie Wing Stiner 1879-83, Alice Turner 1880-81, Abbie Singler (Later Mrs. Smith of Humbut) 1887-89.

      The Summit school was originally a little east of the Greig and Ramelli ranch and was moved to its present location in 1894. The first teacher in the Plumas county records was Miss Mary Street in 1872. She later became Mrs. William Arms. It was during her term as teacher that people in the district complained because it was said she walked the floor and crocheted while she taught. Two bachelors on the school board, Mr. Arms and Meade Turner went one afternoon to investigate the charge. She readily admitted that she had crocheted some sixty yards of edging during school hours  and that if they thought she had defrauded the school district, she would gladly give them the edging as representatives of the district. As the story goes, Mr. Arms got not only the edging, but the teacher as well.

      Although there is no proof at present one source says that there was a Summit school as early as 1869 and that the first

 

Page 13.

 

Teacher was Josie Alexander, later Mrs. A. J. Spoon. She was followed in 1872 by Miss Street, Abbie Loring, Mattie Loring, Dora Cantrel, Frankie Barton, M. Root, Miss Haskill, Alice Turner (1874), Jessie Stiner, Mrs. Coleman, Bessie Burge, Flora Burge, and May Turner. The last two may have taught in the school after it was moved to its present location as they seem to have been there late in the nineties.

      Warrants for a school in Clover Valley also appear in the Plumas county records for the seventies. The first name mentioned is R. Bagley in 1874 followed by Maggie McIndoe in 1875, S. S. Boynton 1876, and C. A. Pease 1877.

      On the Sierra county side of the valley were the following districts: Clare, Long Point, Rocky Point, Sierraville, Alpine, Loyalton, Pine Creek, and Antelope.

      Rocky point was one of the earlier schools. It appears in Plumas county records in 1872 but whether because it was mistakenly believed to be in Plumas county or whether the counties supported it jointly is not indicated. No trace now remains of the school but it was on the west side of the valley in what is now a grove of small pine trees just inside the Sierra County line. The first teacher was Mary Campbell, mother of R. C. Mercer. Some of the others were: H. C. Hall 1872, J. N. Mead 1875, and Stevenson 1877. Josephine Humphrey 1897 was the last teacher and the building was later moved to the Freeman ranch. At one time there was an attendance of fifty two.

      The Antelope school was taught by the following: Miss Eunice Street (Mrs. Hanlin) 1872-73, and later, Eddie Matthews, Obie Church, Miss Marble (Mrs. Chandler), Miss Hardy (Mrs. Nerr), and Mrs. Pessely.

      The Sierraville school was one of the earliest. One of its teachers was Mr. Lemmon the Botantist for whom Lemmon Canyon was named. It was he who presented a neighbor woman with a new kind of seed which sprouted in about a week and filled her home with tiny grasshoppers.

      The Pine Creek school was about two miles out of Loyalton to the south east.

      The Loyalton school history is sketchy as yet. At one time school was held in what is now the Catholic Church. Miss Mary Street was one of the early teachers, probably prior to 1872, and Mattie Loring taught there in 1875-76-77. In 1908 the Sierra Valley Joint Union High School District was formed with the main school in Loyalton and branch in Sierraville. On its first board of trustees were: George West, Herbert Huntley, John Peterson, Alec Guidici Sr., and one other to whom we offer our apologies for omitting their names.

 

Page 14.

 

ELIZABETHTOWN AND QUINCY.

 

      Elizabethtown of which nothing remains, was the first county seat of Plumas County. Quincy came into existence through the efforts of H. J. Bradley owner of the American ranch and one of the three commissioners who organized Plumas County. Owing to his influence the seat of justice was placed by statute at the hotel on his ranch. With this as a nucleus, he laid out a town calling it Quincy after his home city in Illinois and induced the people to vote for Quincy as the County seat. The oldest building in Quincy is the Masonic Hall, which was moved from Elizabethtown in 1855. The lower floor was used at first as a schoolroom. The town hall was erected by Billy Houck in 1862 and used for a town hall in 1877 fifteen years later. The Methodist Episcopal church was built in 1877. Several homes still standing were constructed of lumber brought from abandoned houses in Elizabethtown.

      Quincy was one of the stations of the Whiting and Co. Dog Express which in the early days brought the mail over the snowy mountains. The dogs, Newfoundlands and St. Bernards, were driven tandem, four to a team, and pulled loads often weighing over 600 pounds. Passengers express and mail were all transported from 1858 until 1865 when the horse snow shoe was invented.

 

LETTERS IN THE QUINCY COLLECTION.

 

      The following consists of the addresses, addressees and senders of letters now in the possession of Mrs. Fred Guidici of Chilcoot, California. They were found in the house on what was originally the Adams ranch and shed an interesting light on events of the times.

      1856    Four letters addressed to Benjamin F. Bobo of Marysville from New Albany, Ohio and Columbus, Ohio. They refer to the political situations, James Buchanan, John Breckenridge, political meetings, (Democrats, Fremonters and Republicans) and a parade representing the 31 states. Mention is made of the length of time for letters to reach east from west. (Sept. 27 to Nov, 1)

      One envelope addressed to Eureka by Everts Wilson and Co. Daily Express.

J.                   Five letters to Bobo, Marysville. Refer to a visitor from the west to the east with gold.

      One letter from a friend, Israel H. Bobo of Columbus, Ohio, wants news of Eureka mining.

      July 13, 1857    Gold bullion deposit slip (over $300) to San Francisco.

 

Page 15.

 

J.                 Two letters to Bobo.

      One to Marysville adding at Eureka Quarts Mills.

      One to Gibsonville Sierra Co., says: “In care of John Coulter Esq. bound for California.”

      His father writes him that he is pleased he did not go to Oregon for Frazer River gold.

      1859    Seven letters. They are addressed to Marysville or Gibsonville but several have “to be forwarded to Eureka lines.” One has “Jameson Eureka and Mammoth Mills.” The letters mention the Gila River gold rush, Kansas, Nebraska, and Arizona territories, and the Pikes Peak gold fever. One is addressed to Israel B. Carpenter, a miner.

      May 29, 1859    Notice of meeting of the Buckeye Gold mining company, signed by N. Travis.

      1860    Six letters, one carried west by Mr. Coulter.

      One to Dick Williams, Eureka Mills from L. J. Wilson at Buckeye Cabin. Others addressed to Gibsonville. Politics from Ohio about Stephen A. Douglad, “The Little Giant.”

J.                     Fourteen letters and slips.

      From I. Pardee, Jackson’s Cabin. News of Bobo’s tunnel. Addressed to Mr. B. F. Bobo Sierra Valley, Bringhams Ranch. From J. C. Hall, Wisconsin Cabin. Mining information and wishes to buy out Bobo. Address same as above. From C. F. Glicke, Tennessee Ranch, Yuba County. From G. F. Glicke to Mr. Ross, about a horse. Addressed to Gibsonville “Care of any express running to Jameson City.

      The express seems to be Langton’s (Carson City) Pioneer Express, and ran through Sierra Valley.

      July 6, 1861     Addressed to B. F. Bobo, Clover Ranch, Beckwourth Valley, from L. J. Wilson, Smith’s Ranch.

      August 8, 1961      From Israel M. Bobo, Columbus Ohio, to John Coulter, Eureka Lake, Plumas County, California. Wishes he were in Eureka again since 1856. Wants news on mining and houses for families. Tells of war conditions.

      October 1, 1861     Bill of sale for horses by M. T. Gisborn.

      October 25, 1861    From Edward Connolly, San Francisco, States he had been working at Virginia City and Sacramento fair with horses.

      November 1, 1861    From American Valley, a man wants Bobo as a millright for a quartz mill. Write to Quincy or Springers Hotel, Indian Valley.

 

Page 16.

 

      December 2, 1861  From L. J. Wilson, Smith’s Ranch. Wants his money due him to be sent to Smith to forward to Whiskey diggings.

      December 19, 1861    From Summit House by H. Edo. A receipt for $6.50 due Bringham Bobo.

J.                 17 letters and notes.

      March 5, 1862    From L. J. Wilson, Original House, San Francisco to B. F. Bobo addressed to Downieville, Sierra County. “Please forward by Langton’s Express to Beckwourth’s Pass Sierra Valley.”

      April 28, 1862    From Gisborn, Carson City. Langton’s Express envelope used and stamped  “Langton’s Carson City Pioneer Express.”

      May 1862    From J. L. Wilson, Marysville, to “Ben Bobo, Beckswourth’s Valley, California.

      May 6, 1862    From J. D. Mitchell, Virginia City, to James Newton.

      May 8, 1862    To Bobo and Bringham Beckwith’s Pass by Langton’s Express from H. P. Russell, Carson City, regarding a horse.

      May 27    From L. J. Wilson, Whiskey diggings Mining and Horse news.

      July 1    From a brother in Columbus, Ohio, war news etc. Stamped Sierra Valley, California. July 25

      July 15    From L. J. Wilson, Whiskey Diggings, to Bobo Sierra Valley via Downieville.

      July 25     To Bringham and Bobo from William Arms store ordering one or two hundred pounds of good tobacco.

      August 6    From R. D. Williams, Kanawha Ranch.

      August 13    Bills of sale for horses.

      October 13    From his father. Ohio with war news. “Addressed to Beckwourth’s Pass via Downieville, California.”

      December 1    From B. Wilson, Ohio, To Sierra Valley, Plumas County, California.

      December 28    From Sam Crim, San Francisco, $1,000 to be forwarded by Wells Fargo and Co. Express. Addressed to Sierra Valley, California.

      December 29    From Ohio, “addressed to Sierra Valley P. O. Plumas County, California.

      January 3   Bill from Long Valley, Nevada Territory, Wright and White to Bringham and Bobo, Adams Neck for Potatoes.

 

Page 17.

 

      February 11   From Thomas Coble, Smiths Neck, about Smith’s Neck mill, addressed to Sierra Valley.

      May 6, 1863    From J. M. Woodward, Quincy.

      June 1, 1863   Addressed to Bringham and Bobo Adams Pass, Mention made of Church’s ranch across mountains from Downieville.

      July 5   From R. D. Williams, Boise Mines, Idaho Territory, Mentions battle at Richmond, value of gold.

      October 30    Summons to appear for Jury duty in Quincy.

      December 15, 1863    From Dick Williams, Boise Mines, Idaho Territory. References to Lincoln Davis, Snake River diggings and Salt Lake. Also prices and mines.

      January 12, 1864    From Ed Connolly S. F. about harness.

      February 10    From Ohio to Sierra Valley P. O.

      March 7    Bills of sale for horses from Bobo to Bringham.

      March 9    From Isaac Boggs attorney at Law, Unionville Humboldt Co. Nevada Territory, to E. F. Derr, Beckwourth’s Pass at the Summit Store. Regarding Moonlight Lodge and North Star Co. Wells Fargo stamped envelope stamped as such at Unionville and by Langton’s Marysville Express.

      March 15   Newspaper clippings on timber act.

      April 10    From L. J. Wilson, Humboldt City to Sierra Valley.

      July 11    From M. C. Ellis Marysville concerning cattle thieves. Add to Bobo and Bringham Summit store.

      July 27    From Ohio addressed Sierra Valley.

      August 24    From Lone Star hotel Dick Williams, Boise Basin, Idaho Territory. Concerning Indians on Green River fighting emigrants.

      October 25    From Lyman Brown silver city Lyon Co. Nevada Territory. Wants to winter stock in valley stamped Sierra Valley, Calif.

      October 31    From Israel Bobb, Ohio, to Sierra Valley Summit House.

      April 24, 1865     From Ohio with last of war news. Includes a recipe for bachelors to make good biscuits. Summit P. O. Plumas Co.

      May 8    From Harlem, Ohio, to Angus Bobo.

      May 1    To B. or Angus Bobo, Summit P. O.

 

Page 18.

 

      June 13    From R. D. Williams, Umatila River, Oregon. Walla Walla, Washington Territory, Running Hotel.

      July 10    From L. J. Wilson, Humboldt City.

      July 11    Addressed to Summit.

      July 8    Addressed to Summit.

      October 15    From R. Alford, American Valley, about oats.

      November 10    Summit P. O.

      November 24    From R. D. Williams, Walla Walla Washington Territory to Sierra Valley P. O.

      November 30   B. Wilson, New York.

      March 9    From B. Wilson, N. Y. Summit.

      January 11    L. J. Wilson, Humboldt City, Nevada.

      May 20, 1867    Willow Bank, Nova Scotia to son, Arthur Christie of Sierra Valley.

      December 10, 1871    W. Marsh, Findley’s Lake to Summit.

      January 14, 1872    To Bobo Summit P. O. from C. T. Adams, New Castle.

      January 24    From C. T. Adams to William S. Clark Summit P. O.

      October 30    Wells Fargo envelope from Virginia City to W. S. Clark, Summit Sierra Valley, California.

      May 11, 1873    From Brother Angus New York. He had heard of trouble with piutes in I and Susan Valleys and savage tribes of North. News of his patented machine to measure cloth and carpet, Summit.

July 20   Add Summit.

 

Page 19.

 

EARLY DAY PORTOLA.

 

      To the average person of today, history is a matter of a series of dates and wars and famous men. Few people realize that it is oftentimes not necessary to go beyond the bounds of one’s own community to find a story ever written. Through the kindness of Mr. E. I. Lane, who has supplied a wealth of information unknown to any but the oldest residents of Portola, we have been able to compile this history of the early days of our community.

      If we could go back just thirty years to the spring of 1905, the present site of Portola would be found to be little more than a tract of tree-covered land which was practically uninhabited. The Boca and Loyalton Railroad had been extended across the Sierra Valley from Loyalton and had been brought down the canyon this far, because of the large amount of timber which was found in this vicinity. At the same time the newly formed Western Pacific Railroad was searching for a means to bring into this part of the country the vast amount of supplies which were necessary for the construction of their projected line to Salt Lake City.

      It was this desire to transport their building materials here, therefore, which led the Western Pacific to purchase the Boca and Loyalton Railroad in the early part of 1905. The new line made it possible to ship supplies over the Southern Pacific to Boca, and then to bring them in from there over the “B & L” to the present site of what is now Portola.

      The end of the year 1905 saw our town still merely a logging camp. In that year the rails had been extended from near what is now the freight depot to the familiar sawdust pile in the canyon just to the left of the ski hill. The tracks had circled around in front of our high school grounds.

      The contract for building this section of the Western Pacific line was awarded to the Baxter, Straw, and Storrs Construction Company. As the first workers began to arrive in preparation for the unloading of supplies from the “B & L”, it was found necessary to begin construction of a few buildings which would serve as living quarters and offices. In this regard it is interesting to note that the first real building here was the property which now occupies the space between the office of the Portola Jeweler and the old Portola garage. The next place to be constructed was a building down near the present freight depot in which a number of construction engineers lived. A building which stood on the site of the present Liberty Club was next, and it was followed shortly by what is now the “California House.”

      It must be remembered, however, that there was still no thought of the name of “Portola.” When the construction Company established headquarters here it was the natural thing to apply the name of “Headquarters” to the tiny settlement, and this was actually the town’s first name. Between 1906 and 1908, though, no less than four different names were applied to the community. “Headquarters” shortly afterward gave way to “Mormon,” and then at the suggestion of the Western Pacific which was still in the process of construction, the

 

Page 20.

 

Town was named “Imola.”

      Still there were a number of residents who were casting about for a permanent name which might also be adopted by the Post Office Department in order to establish a post office here. The name “Reposa” seemed the request to the Postal officials that Reposa be accepted. Shortly afterward, however, a notice was received which said that Reposa had been rejected because it was too similar to the word “Repressa” which was the term applied to the Post office which was maintained at Folsom prison.

      It was on receiving this rejection that Mr. Lane wrote to Mr. V. G. Boguo, chief engineer of the Western Pacific in San Francisco, and asked him for any suggestions he might have. It happened that just at that time Mr. Bogue’s daughter, Miss Virgilia Bogue, was Queen of the Portola festival in San Francisco, and she suggested to her father that the new railroad town be called Portola. The name soon proved to be a popular one, and with its acceptance by the Post Office Department the settlement of “Headquarters,” “Mormon,” “Imola,” and “Reposa,” officially became Portola. It is interesting to note, also, that the present station of Virgilia which is a railroad stop on the way to Oroville was named in honor of the same young lady who suggested the name for our community.

      It is not only in the history of the beginning of the town, however, in which one finds interest. The actual development of Portola is filled with items which bring back memories to its oldest residents. For instance, the original townsite was laid out in 1909 by the Reno Mill and Lumber Company, and it was this organization which planned and named the streets of Portola. A year later the Roberts Lumber Company established here, and in their attempt to lay out a different townsite which would take the place of that established by the rival company, the street in front of what is now the Durham Hotel was named Main Street in hopes that the business section of the town would build up there.

      Another item of interest was our first “water system.” It was back in 1908 when Mr. A. L. Davis, who is still a resident of Portola, began the delivery of barrels of water which he hauled by sled from the little creek which now flows by the blacksmith shop of the City garage. The regular water system was actually begun in 1910. Mr. Lane was working on what is now the water reservoir and stood up on the stump of an old tree to watch the train go by.

      And so our story might go on and on. The fact that at one time Portola was served by three different railroads is unknown except to the old timers of the town. The Western Pacific, the Boca and Loyalton, and The Nevada, California, and Oregon Railroads all had stations here at one time. Many will be interested to know that the home now occupied by the Manfred Olsens was constructed originally down near the freight depot by a group of Japanese carpenters for Mr. J. T. Williams, who then was division engineer of the Western Pacific. Mr. Williams provided the lumber and told the carpenters the type of house he wanted, but the carpenters proceeded to built the typical Japanese style of roof which the house still has today. Only the oldest residents, too, remember the time that lots were sold in “West Portola” on the big hill which lies just across the

 

Page 21.

 

River from what is now the railroad roundhouse. At one time there were three large homes on top of the hill, but the difficulty of a water supply caused them to be moved.

      The history of our schools in Portola also goes back to early times. In 1909 the first grammar school was established in the house which is now the James Harris home on the north side of the river. We are told that it was a typical “little red school house” in every sense of the word, because the house at that time was painted a bright red. In 1911 our old grammar school was constructed, and classes were started in the building which in 1936 gave way to our new grammar school. There was, however, an ever-increasing demand for a high school in the community, and after a long struggle on the part of those who sought to have one established here, a high school was finally organized in September, 1921. For the first four years of its existence all the classes of the Portola High School were held in the grade school building, but on November 20, 1925, the school officially moved into the new building which occupied the same site that our present high school does. Just four months later, however, the entire school building burned to the ground, and the high school classes were once more carried on in the grade school, while most of the grammar school pupils attended school in the new annex of the Community Church. Such was the state of affairs until October, 1926, when the high school was finally moved into the first unit of our present buildings.

      Thus we might trace the history of Portola right down to the present time. Its history has been one of steady growth and permanent development, until today Portola stands as one of the best known communities of the Feather River Wonderland. The story of its growth once again illustrates that one need not search beyond the bounds of his immediate vicinity to find a really interesting history.

 

J. R. Daly

 

 

Page 23.

 

JOHNSVILLE 1887

 

LANDOWNER'S MAP

 

1.    John Thomas

 

2.    James Menzies

 

3.    Mrs. Jenkins

 

4.    George F. Woodward

 

5.    Jno. Nevill

 

6.    Pasetta Bros.

 

7.    O. B. Dolley

 

8.    Willoughby Bros.

 

9.    Ben L. Jones

 

10.  Peter Lorenzo

 

11.  W. R. Thomas

 

12.  O. B. Dolley

 

13.  A. Fravega

 

14.  Pasetta Bros.

 

15.  Louis Grendona

 

16.  Ben L. Jones

 

17.  Chas. Bogie

 

18.  Enoch Stephens

 

19.  Frank Tucker

 

20.  H. Dony

 

21.  Harry Dunn

 

22.  L. Ciptriotta

 

23.  O. B. Dolley

 

24.  Jos. F. Backer

 

25.  Henry Dunn

 

26.  Frank Meffley

 

27.  George Maxwell

 

28.  Robert Penman

 

29.  Antone Bezano

 

30.  H. Houghton

 

31.  Sol Babb

 

32.  George Hicks

 

33.  George E. Cook

 

34.  O. B. Dolley

 

35.  John Roberts

 

36.  W. C. Roberts

 

37.  Mrs. Kerr

 

38.  Peter Lorenzo

 

39.  A. Grazier

 

40.  A. Grazier

 

41.  John Daly

 

42.  M. Antonovich

 

43.  Jos. F. Backer

 

44.  Willoughby

 

45.  Nevill and Vanzini

 

46. Nevill and Vanzini

 

47.  Duncan Robertson

 

48.  Nevill and Vanzini

 

49.  Antone Curtis

 

50.  Stephen Soracco

 

51.  H. Houghton

 

52.  A. Grazier

 

53.  W. Liddecoat

 

54.  John Willoughby

 

55.  Jono Ceighton

 

56. F. F. Vanzini

 

57.  O. B. Dolley

 

58.  O. B. Dolley

 

 

 

Transcribed by: Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.

Proofread by Betty Vickroy.


© 2008 Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.

 

 

 

 

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