Thomas Rios was a native
of Santiago, Chile born about 1834. Not much is known of his early life
until arrived in California in 1850. Rios ventured to Salmon Creek, Siskiyou
County, in 1851, with a mining partner from Illinois.
At that time Siskiyou
County did not exist, as that county was formed in 1852. In the winter
of 1851, the two miners were snowed in at that location. All they had to
live on was a sack of flour, which they paid $8.00 for, and the meat of
mules. Luck was on their side and they survived the horrible three months.
The two miners were
able to hike out of the Salmon Creek Diggings during Spring, taking with
them $3,000 in gold dust. The two went separate ways, Rios traveled to
the area of Eagle Creek, which became Ono in 1883. He mined at Eagle Creek
for awhile and ventured on to better diggings.
During these years he
married and had a son who they named Salvadore. It is not known what happen
in the previous years with his first wife, evidently they split up. In
the early 1870s, Thomas Rios returned to Eagle Creek to settle.
At Eagle Creek he kept
a comfortable home. He mined and tried farming. In the beginning of 1874,
Rios owned a mining claim at Sunny Hill, located in the Bald Hills of Western
Shasta. This is where Rios made another good fortune by taking out nuggets
weighing $175.00, and several others in the shape of pieces weighing from
$10.00 to $30.00, all year.
Thomas Rios at the age
of forty-four married Elizabeth Jane Smith on January 24, 1877 at Eagle
Creek. She was also age forty-four, and a native of Pennsylvania. Elizabeth
was a widow with ten children, and she was a daughter of John and Susanah
Elizabeth arrived in
Shasta County from Pennsylvania about 1870, with her first husband Gottlieb
(George) Kaylor Schmidt, a native of Germany. They resided at Eagle Creek,
and the surname Schmidt was Americanized to Smith. Her first husband returned
to Pennsylvania, and was killed; Gottlieb was a farmer at Eagle Creek.
In August of 1883, his
son Salvadore Rios was murdered on the Klamath River, while mining, the
two murderes were captured and sent to state prison. A few weeks prior
to this Salvadoreâ€™s aunt and cousin were burned to death at Red
Bluff, Tehama County. It was difficult times for Thomas Rios.
After this occurred
Thomas settled down to farming on his property at Eagle Creek. He owned
several fine vineyards; he died at Ono on September 17, 1909, due to a
heart attack while cooking. He is buried in the Ono Cemetery; an error
on his gravestone gives his surname as Rias, which is wrong.
Elizabeth Rios out lived
her husband nine more years residing at their residence. She died in November
of 1918 at the home of her daughter Mrs. Dayton H. Hubbard at Igo on South
Fork. She lies buried next to her second husband Thomas at the Ono Cemetery.
Descendants of Elizabeth Jane Lamberson (Smith-Rios) still live in present
day Shasta County.
Contributed by Jeremy M. Tuggle
Resource "Rooted In Shasta County" by Jeremy M. Tuggle
published by Preserving Memories in 2003, 2nd Edition 2004.
The Shasta Courier, Saturday, March 7, 1874; The
Shasta Courier, August 25, 1883. Death of Salvadore Rios.
The Shasta Courier, Saturday, April 4, 1891.