J. B. STILES
One of the best known citizens of Redding is J. B. Stiles, who, in spite of a serious physical handicap, is successfully conducting a magazine and news stand and cigar store, in which line he has gained a large patronage among the best people of the community, by whom he is greatly esteemed. Mr. Stiles was born in North Carolina on the 11th of March, 1890, and is a son of J. D. and Ella E. (Bates) Stiles. His father, a veteran of the Civil war, is still living at Franklin, North Carolina, having as his companion John Bates, who also is an old war veteran. Mr. and Mrs. Stiles became the parents of twelve children, all of whom are living, three of them residing on the old home place, while the others are scattered over the country.
J. B. Stiles received his education in grade schools of North Carolina, after which he found employment in cotton mills at Anderson, South Carolina. He worked there until 1909, when he went to the state of Washington, and from there to British Columbia, where he worked in logging camps for the Great Northern Railroad and the Puget Sound Railroad. He was so unfortunate as to have his leg broken and was in a hospital for three months. On his recovery he took a position with a logging firm as high climber among the big trees, running a duplex loader. The term “high climber” in logging parlance means the man who goes up the tall trees and cuts off their tops. He became an expert at that difficult and dangerous work and earned as high as fourteen dollars a day at it. In 1921 Mr. Stiles came to California and went to work for the Diamond Match Company at Stirling City, near Chico. There he met with a serious accident, being hit by a snapped cable, which broke his back. He was confined to hospitals for two years and eight months, the first two years of which were spent in a San Francisco hospital. Upon recovering sufficiently to be able to leave the hospital, he used a wheelchair, which has since been his only means of locomotion. He established his present magazine and cigar stand at that time and has built up a substantial business, which affords him a nice living. Upon receipt of the news of his mother’s death, despite his condition, he took his three children to North Carolina for a visit.
In 1914, at Mount Vernon, Washington, Mr. Stiles was united in marriage to Miss Edna McKay and they became the parents of three children, namely: Norine, who is in high school at Redding; Grant J., fourteen years of age, also in school, and Mitchell, at home. Mr. Stiles takes a keen interest in public affairs, but maintains an independent attitude as a voter. He is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. Hunting and fishing were always his favorite sports and he is a dead shot with the revolver. During his active years bear and deer were his favorite game. He has traveled over most of the United States and Canada, is a well read man and an interesting talker, and throughout the range of his acquaintance is popular and well liked.
Transcribed by Marie Hassard 29 April 2010.
© 2010 Marie Hassard.