ERNEST M. INNES
††††††††††† Ernest M. Innes is well known as the proprietor of the Sierra Buttes Inn, in Sierra County, one of the old hostelries of this section of the state, having been built sixty years ago, in the heart of the high Sierras.† The lofty Sierra buttes are near-by.† It is a picturesque and beautiful location.† Sierra City, in which place the Inn is located, is an old gold mining town.† During its palmy days it had about twenty-five hundred inhabitants, but its present population is about five hundred.† Mr. Innes is the principal owner of the place, including the water rights and waterpower, as well as of a neighboring town.† He was born in Melbourne, Australia, August 19, 1880, and is a son of William and Emma (Richards) Innes.† The father, who was born in Fifeshire, Scotland, learned the carpenter trade in his native land and became a building contractor.† He did a great deal of building in Johannesburg and Kimberley, South Africa, and after locating in Melbourne erected many theaters, large halls, stock exchanges and clubs.† He died in Melbourne, at the age of seventy-eight years.† His wife was a native of Melbourne, and was of English stock, the family having originated in Somersetshire.† She is still living, at the age of nearly eighty years.
††††††††††† Ernest M. Innes is the fifth in order of birth of the nine children born to this worthy couple, and all are living.† All of the sons, five in number, learned trades, and Ernest M. was apprenticed to the plumbing trade, under Robert Nairn, of Nairn, Scotland.† After his five-year apprenticeship, he worked as a journeyman plumber for various contractors, including Mr. Nairn.† Later he decided to come to California and embarked on the Sonoma at Melbourne.† The vessel was still in the harbor when news came of the great earthquake and fire in San Francisco, and Mr. Innes deferred his voyage until later.† He landed at San Francisco on December 22, 1906, and at once went to work in his trade, which he followed there for about six months.† He then started in business as a plumbing contractor, which work engaged his attention until 1910.† One of his patrons, Paul Buckley, owner of the Kane & Buckley mine (the old Phoenix mine), came to him during a lull in the building business, and hired him to go to the mine and work on the machinery, plumbing and other equipment. Mr. Innes liked Sierra City so well that he decided to locate here, and he continued to work in the mine as a mechanic from that time until 1917.† On May 17th of that year he enlisted in the medical department of the Eighth Division and was assigned to service in the surgeon-generalís office in Washington, D. C., where his duties were mostly administrative.† He received his honorable discharge in Washington on January 6, 1920, in order to accept a position in the administrative department of the treasury department at the national capital.† He went into the service as a sergeant and was finally discharged with the rank of hospital sergeant.† He still holds a commission as a lieutenant in the Medical Enlisted Reserve.† His discharge was from the public health service of the treasury department and was dated March 22, 1922.† On leaving the government service, Mr. Innes returned to Sierra City and bought the Sierra Buttes Inn.† He also bought a two-hundred-acre farm in Sierra City and is financially interested in the old Keystone gold mine in partnership with James Davis, of Grass Valley.† He is also the owner of the I. O. O. F. building and the Service Garage and is the principal owner of thirteen other pieces of property, including the farm referred to.
††††††††††† On December 15, 1913, in Alameda, California, Mr. Innes was united in marriage to Miss Frances Cook, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Cook, of Sierra City.† To this union was born a daughter, Jean, who graduated from the Fremont high school in Oakland, in December, 1930.
††††††††††† Mr. Innes was raised in the United Grand Lodge of Masons, at Victoria, Australia, on December 22, 1905, and is a member of Harmony Lodge, No. 164, F. & A. M., of which he was master for six years.† This is one of the earliest Masonic lodges in California, having been erected in 1862, and its original records are still intact.† Mr. Innes has attained the fourteenth degree in Masonry.† He was a delegate to the Masonic grand lodge which met in San Francisco on October 14, 1930.† He is also a member of the Elks in Washington, D. C.† He was made an American citizen at Camp Fremont in 1918, and has since given his political support to the Republican Party.† He is a member of the Republican county central committee and is now serving as justice of the peace in Butte Township.† He is a man of sound judgment and unquestioned integrity, is prominent and influential in his section of the county, and is uniformly respected by all who know him.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: Wooldridge, J.W.Major History of Sacramento Valley California, Vol. 3 Pages 381-383. Pioneer Historical Publishing Co. Chicago 1931.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.