Monday, December 14, 2015

Big Wheels/High Wheels

Big Wheels/High Wheels

From Roots of Motive Power Website and the Hansen Wheel and Wagon Shop:

From the Wood & Sheldon Rainbow Mill, McCloud? 1910

            Prior to the 1870's, logging was performed by the grueling process of dragging logs from the woods with bull teams. In 1875, Silas Overpak of Manistee, Michigan, introduced a wheeled device from which logs could be suspended, making the work of bulls or horses greatly easier in moving logs to mills or landings. Overpak's Michigan Big Wheels won an award at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, and logging was changed forever.
            The Michigan Big Wheels was produced with wooden wheels in heights of 9, 9-1/2 and 10 feet, and sold for $250 plus $50 shipping by rail. It was copied by as many as 25 other manufacturers, and while popular for level or modestly sloped terrain, it didn't work well on the steep forests of the west since it had no brakes.
            John Webb, Sr., of Redding Iron Works in Redding, California, took Overpak's design and came up with a means for using the logs themselves as a brake. Webb applied a slip tongue instead of the standard fixed tongue, which was a vast improvement. The slip tongue moved back and used a cam mechanism that raised the logs 10 to 12 inches off the ground when the wheels were moving uphill or on level ground, but moved forward when descending slopes, thus lowering the logs which acted as a brake.

            Thus was born the Redding High Wheels, with wooden wheels up to 12 feet in diameter, weighing in at 3600 pounds, and selling for $350. (The wheels built in the east were called Big Wheels, while those produced in the west were referred to as High Wheels.) The wheel track was 7-1/2 feet, and the tongue length was 30 feet.
            The Redding High Wheels typically used two teams of horses on hills and with large logs, but could get by with two horses on level ground or when pulling small logs. Because of Webb's braking system, the Redding wheels could work on slopes up to 20 percent, whereas the Overpak patent was limited to slopes on only 10 percent.
            Redding Iron Works added a cast iron hub in 1915 which could be unbolted to permit the easy replacement of broken spokes. In the late 1800's, Daniel Best created the steam traction engine, which in subsequent years would often be used in place of horses to pull the Redding High Wheels. The C. L Best Gas Traction Company built the first track-layer in 1913, and merged with the Holt Tractor Company in 1925 creating Caterpillar, Inc.
            All this activity changed the way the high wheels were used, but the end came into view in 1927 when the Red River Lumber Company of Westwood, California, experimented with an all-metal logging arch constructed of railroad rail and utilizing Athey track-laying wheels. Although the Redding High Wheels was produced until 1932, by 1930 almost all logging shows were using the new steel logging arches.

Logging arch in the Siskiyou County Outdoor Museum   Spotted the small blue logging arch in Montague, CA Dec. 2015, so they are still in use
Additonal historic photos:

Logging operation near Alhomah in 1908
Caption on photo back: "Considerably less clumsy than the Best Steam Traction engine was the reliable Perry Log Cart.  Shortly after the McCloud Lumber Company took over from Friday George, the horses and wheels returned to various sections of the woods on the southern slopes of Mt. Shasta.

1914 or 1915, possibly in McCloud


 For more information about Big Wheels/High Wheels, check the links below:

From the Michigan State University website:

From the Black Diamond, Washington website:

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Callahan Catholic Church

The Callahan Catholic Church


         In the early 1850’s there were no churches in the Callahan-Sawyers Bar area, so the good fathers or “traveling missionaries” as they were called, came into the area to perform their necessary services to the outlying areas.  Two such missionaries were Father Thomas Cody and Father James Cassian.  They would make the long and sometimes hazardous journey by mule over Etna Mountain and stop for a rest at the Mathias Callahan ranch.  It was here that the first Catholic mass in Callahan was offered.
            About this same time a young girl, along with her family, came to the area.  Miss Mary Lowe, being a very religious young lady, saw the need for a church.  She went around to all the miners and collected enough money from them to build a church.  She also managed to persuade Mr. Masterson to donate the lumber and Mr. Michael Fay to haul it to the site.
            In 1858 the Callahan Catholic Church was completed and the first mass was offered by Father Croke.   On July 4th of that year, Father Florian Schwenninger performed the first baptism, and on February 13, 1866, Miss Lowe became Mrs. John McBride and moved to the McBride Ranch near Etna.  As a farewell celebration to his ministry in Siskiyou County, Father O’Kane had a great high mass on December 25, 1873, in the Little Mission Church.  He was a rather flamboyant character and his mass was not soon forgotten by the local townfolk.  When there wasn’t enough money in the collection, the priest would let the people know it.  One time after the collection was taken up, the priest said, “What? No gold?!”  A man held up his hand, “I put some gold in there, Father.”  “Pat, where’s the gold?”  Pat seemed to shrink right down.  He got to searching his pocket and came up with two and a half pieces of gold.  He said, “Jesus, Father, she must have slipped through me fingers.”

  Until 1821 Etna, Callahan and Sawyers Bar were included in the Yreka Parish and were on the “visit” list of the traveling missionaries.  In April of that year Father O’Sullivan became the first pastor of Fort Jones and continued to offer mass to the smaller communities.  However, as the trails turned into roads and travel became easier, people began to go to Fort Jones for regular mass.  Only on special occasions did people return to the little mission in Callahan.  Priests from Yreka said the masses in Callahan until 1921 when Fort Jones was made a parish and then priests from Fort Jones took over saying the masses for the faithful.

            In 1952 the Eschscholtzia Parlor 112 (Etna) of the Native Daughters of the Golden West erected a marker in front of the church.  The stone used to make the marker was brought from the south fork of the Scott River.  The marker says, “Church of Saints John & Paul, Callahan, Siskiyou
Co. California, erected about 1858.  Father James Croke, a missionary priest held first services here.  First Catholic Church in Scott Valley.  Dedicated by Eschscholtzia Parlor, No. 112 N.D.G.W. 1952.”
            The last mass at the Callahan Catholic Church was celebrated in 1971 by Father Anthony Gurnell.  In 1974 the church building was put up for bid and was sold to Steve Farrington who had plans to tear it down.
            This little church building in the Outdoor Museum is a replica of the original  Callahan Catholic Church, also known as Saints John and Paul Catholic Church.  The altar, railing, window frames, doors and main ceiling beams are the only original parts of the church remaining.  These materials were donated by Stephen Farrington to the Historical Society.  The Knights of Columbus, Siskiyou Council 2454, erected the church here in 1979.  It is about 2/3 the size of the original.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Davis Log Cabin

The Davis Log Cabin
Henry and Henrietta Davis in front of cabin, 1860's

          The cabin was constructed in 1856 and occupied until 1870, when a larger farmhouse was constructed by Henry Levi Davis.  In 1852 Henry came across the plains from Ohio to California in search of gold.  By 1853 his attentions shifted to ranching and he filed on a homestead in Little Shasta Valley.  The ranch is still in the family today (as of 2015).  This cabin is constructed of pine that was shaped with an adze.  The corners are constructed using the half-dovetail notch for strength and for shedding water.
            Henry married a neighbor, Henrietta Deter, in August of 1861.  They were to have their first four children born while living in the cabin.  After moving into the ranch house, three more children were born to the couple.
            A side note:  in later years the cabin was used for storage in the room to the right of the door and the room to the left was used as a bunk house for men hired to help on the ranch during the haying season.  It was used for this purpose until it was donated to the Historical Society by Orlo and Charlotte Davis in 1975.  It is a Point of Interest, Reg. # SIS-002.

A peek inside the cabin at the Outdoor Museum

The Davis Ranch, Little Shasta Valley, 1854-2004
From notes submitted by Betty Davis Carrier and Helen William Easton

            Henry Levi Davis, born in Tiffin, Ohio in 1832, came to California across country in 1852, arriving in Yreka in August of that year.  After trying his hand at mining in the Humbug area and doing carpenter work in Yreka, he decided that farming in Little Shasta Valley was to his advantage.  Later in his life he often told his grandchildren about his first crop of grain. He said it wasn’t doing very well because there were so many grasshoppers that year.  One day he discovered the grain field had been set afire.  Upon investigating, he found a family of Indians out in the burned field picking up the roasted grasshoppers for food.  Because the grain crop was such a poor one, and because he was friendly with the Indians, he did nothing about.  In 1854 Jesse F. Davis, Henry’s brother, arrived in Yreka; together they homesteaded 280 acres in sections 4, 5 and 8.  They had a temporary cabin by the spring near the present Williams Ranch, farming off and on until 1856, when Henry built the cabin at the present ranch site and moved there permanently.  Jesse later built a cabin by Davis Gulch.  Nothing remains of that cabin, but every year to this day, hop vines return to remind us of an earlier habitation.  In 1860 Henry returned to Ohio to purchase horses and stock for his ranch, returning the same year with his friend, Edward Coonrod, who helped drive the livestock.  The trip was very difficult because forage was scarce and the Indian tribes were more hostile.
            On August 29, 1861 Henry married Henrietta Deter, daughter of David Deter, born in Wayne County, Ohio, December 6, 1843.  They were married in the parlor of the Yreka Union Hotel in Yreka by Judge A. M. Rosborough.  Henrietta crossed the plains in 1860 with her father and three brothers, settling on David’s ranch located a mile to the west of the Davis Ranch.  Henry and Henrietta settled into the log cabin that is now located in the Siskiyou County Historical Society’s Outdoor Museum.  Their first four children were born in this cabin:  Mary Jane (Davis) -b. Feb. 4, 1863, d. 1915; Hattie (Williams) - b. June 6, 1865, d. 1939; Emma (Kennedy) -b. Oct. 17, 1867, d. 1953; Nettie (Davis) - b. Oct. 7, 1869, d. Oct. 24, 1870.  In early 1872 the family moved into the present ranch house, where three more children were born: Isaac Shriver Davis - b. April 17, 1872, d. 1950; Henry Levi Davis, Jr. - b. Sept. 14, 1874, d. 1908; Dr. Fred Jay Davis - b. June 16, 1883, d. 1965.
            Henry first raised sheep on his ranch, then in the 1880’s he purchased a purebred herd of eight Holstein cows and one bull shipped from the east to Ashland, Oregon. 
Cow and Cabin on Davis Ranch, 1930's
They were driven over the Siskiyou Mountains on foot, requiring several days of slow travel.  At this time he also raised horses.  Through the years Henry acquired more neighboring land and two mountain ranches on Ball Mountain – First Creek and Horsethief Meadows, making cattle ranching the main pursuit of the ranch.
            Besides being a good farmer, Henry Live Davis was an influential citizen of Little Shasta, Montague and the community, and was a very good businessman.  He was interested in the development of the new town of Montague, resulting in acquiring or having built, a number of properties there, including the Mitchell and Opera Saloons and the Montague Hotel.  He was one of the first presidents of the Montague Bank, and later a bank director.
            Henry Levi, Jr., remained on the ranch to run it with his father after Isaac had married and moved to Butte Valley, and then to Merrill, Oregon.  Tragically Henry Jr. died of appendicitis in1908 at the age of 34 years.  Henry Sr. stayed at the ranch until 1911 when he retired to Montague, passing on in 1915. 
            A few years prior to his death, Henry Sr. was ill and needed medical treatment. Henrietta accompanied her husband on the train from Montague to San Francisco, where he was admitted to the hospital.  This hospital used coal oil lamps for some light, but then attached candles to each wooden headboard of the patients’ beds.  One night while Henry was lying in his hospital bed, the candle caught his wooden bed afire.  Henrietta started to scream, “Fire!”  However, Henry, being the very modest and proper man that he always was, firmly told her, “I will not get out of this bed until someone brings me my pants!”  As the story goes, he stayed there with his bed burning while Henrietta frantically got some pants for him to put on.  After his recovery, they returned to their home in Montague for a time.
            In 1906, Henry became ill a second time, and he again traveled to San Francisco and was put into the hospital.  He was a patient in that hospital when the great earthquake of 1906 hit San Francisco.  The whole city was a havoc of destruction, confusion and fire for days.  Henry and the other patients were moved to the Golden Gate Park, where they were laid out on the grass.  While he was there he watched the city burn.
            Between 1911 and 1915 the ranch was leased by two grandsons, Ernest and Allen Williams, sons of Hattie Davis Williams, but since it was the wish of Henry that the Davis name remain on the ranch, the eldest son, Isaac, took over the ranch in 1916.  Isaac had married Aldee Coonrod, daughter of Edward and Eliza on November 24, 1897.  They homesteaded in Sams Valley near Dorris, California, and then established a ranch in Merrill, Oregon in 1899.  Their eldest child, Henrietta, was born in Sams Valley in 1898.  Their second child, Edward Orlo (aka Orlo)was born at home in Merrill on February 25, 1900, and Anna was born in 1905.  In 1916 Isaac and family moved back to the home ranch, where another son, Henry, was born November 13, 1916.  Orlo, 16 years old when the move was made, was in charge of getting the livestock to the home ranch from Merrill.  Isaac and Orlo increased the tillable, irrigated acreage of the ranch in 1920 by purchasing part of the neighboring John Kegg ranch.  In 1929 Orlo married Charlotte Osteriech, daughter of Emil and Ida  Osteriech of Doty, Washington.  They had a daughter, Betty Joan, born December 18, 1932.  Orlo did all the farming and ranching at that time as Isaac had had a back injury that incapacitated him in the 1920’s.  In 1950 Isaac passed away and Orlo, Charlotte and Aldee continued a partnership until 1970 when Aldee passed away.  Orlo was the sole owner until he felt he wanted to retire, selling the ranch to his daughter, Betty Davis Carrier and her husband, Jim Carrier (b. in Oil City, Pennsylvania, May 26, 1929).  They were married November 3, 1962.  Jim pursued a career as a forester for the U. S. Forest Service for 27 hears.
            Orlo Davis passed away in 1990 at the age of 90.  He spent 74 years on the Davis Ranch improving production of his cow-calf operation, running 250 head of top quality animals.  He was named Siskiyou Cattleman of the Year in 1971.  He semi-retired at the age of 78, but continued an active interest in the ranch until his death on August 3, 1990.
            Jim and Betty Carrier and sons John, (b. Feb. 27, 1967) and Mark (b. December 28, 1968) moved back to the ranch in June of 1983.  They totally remodeled the original ranch house that was built in 1871-72.  Jim was working for the U.S. F.S. on the Klamath National Forest at the time, and gradually started a small herd of cows.  He retired from the Forest Service at the end of 1986, and continued to raise cows and hay until 1994 when he decided to retire from ranching.  The Carriers have now leased the acreage to the Brice Martin family, neighboring ranchers.  When Orlo died in 1990, Charlotte remained on the ranch until 1992, when she moved to Yreka to be closer to her social activities.  She was contented to spend her days in Yreka until early 2002, when she was no longer able to care for herself.  She spent her last 10 months in the Grenada Inn, passing away on January 14, 2003.  Jim and Betty continue to live on the ranch and enjoy their retirement.  The boys plan to return someday when their careers slow down.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Denny Bar Stores

The Denny Bar Store

Selections From the 1956 “Siskiyou Pioneer,” story by Karl V. and David C. Denny.  Pioneer Entrepreneur of Scott Valley, and the 1991 “Siskiyou Pioneer,” story by Jim Denny.  The Story of Denny Bar Company in Gazelle.
Denny Bar Store building in Gazelle in 2015

            Albert Hendricks Denny (A. H.) was born in New Providence, New Jersey in 1835.  Times were hard, and in an effort to improve their lot the family moved to Wisconsin in 1843 when A. H. Denny was eight years old.
                  Albert and his older brother, Edgar, wanted to go to California for gold, so to make it possible, their mother sold the family silverware to finance their trip.  With this money they bought a yoke of oxen, one milk-cow, a light spring wagon, provisions and a gun.  Only $1.50 was left over.
                  They left in May 1852, from Waukesha County Wisconsin with another family, all bound for California.  This method of traveling with oxen was soon too slow for the Dennys, so they traded their oxen and cow for horses and moved along faster in the part of the trip which seemed safe, and when it was unsafe they joined up with oxen trains again.
                  When the boys arrived at Salt Lake City, they were broke and out of food.  The Mormons were haying, so they worked for them at $1.50 per day.  They traded their wagon for a pack animal and went on horseback from there.  Upon their arrival at the Humboldt River in Nevada they saw an outfit from Scott Valley, California by the name of Hurd and Lytle who were picking up worn out cattle and horses from the emigrants, resting them up and taking them to Scott Valley.   The boys joined Hurd and Lytle on the trip to Scott Valley by driving the herd and standing guard two hours at night.
                  After reaching Rushing Springs in Modoc County, the company fell in with Captain Ben Wright who took them through the Modoc country, arriving in Yreka October 28, 1852, just six months after leaving their home in Wisconsin.
                  With winter coming the boys were advised to go to Deadwood to mine.  They went there with no tools, not knowing how to mine, and with winter coming.    It looked tough, however, William Davidson of Fort Jones had a store and butcher shop in Deadwood and sold them beef on credit.
                  In the spring of 1853 the boys came down to Fort Jones and worked on the Davidson Ranch to pay their meat bill by making nails.  By the fall they had mined or earned enough money to buy enough flour to last through the winter. 
                  The Denny boys mined for three years, then Albert bought a few cows and began to sell milk to miners on the South Fork of the Scot River.  Around 1860, Albert and Edgar Denny bought a ranch in Noyes Valley where they farmed.  They would load up hay and the next morning start with four horses hitched to their hay wagon before daylight, come down six miles to the crossing of Scott River going to Trinity County, go up from Scott Mountain six miles, and unload the hay on the mountain top.  The hay was for oxen used to haul a sled to keep the road open in the winter for the California-Oregon Stage Line.
                  In 1857 the boys bought a ranch on Wildcat Creek, and in 1858 they brought their parents (Amasa and Sally), sister Jennie and brothers Tom and Joe out to the Scott Valley. 
                  While the older boys were farming, the rest of the family had gone into business in Callahan’s Ranch, owning the Callahan’s Ranch Hotel from about 1863 to 1873. 
Denny Bar Store in Callahan, date unknown
Albert Denny came into the mercantile business around 1866 staying with it until his death in 1907.
                  Denny Brothers Stores were originally run by the three brothers – Tom, Joe and Albert.  Stores were in South Fork and Callahan’s, with Albert running the South Fork store and Tom and Joe running the Callahan’s branch.
                  Of interest to note – A. H. Denny qualified as a Justice of the Peace in 1873, the same year that he moved to Callahan’s Ranch and took over that store.  He also was the agent for Wells Fargo.
                  Abe Bar was a boy of sixteen when Albert Denny put him to work in his Callahan’s Ranch store.  He taught him the mercantile business.  The combination of A. H. Denny as head of the company and Abe Bar as general manager was never changed until Albert’s death in 1907.  Under this set-up the Denny Bar Company formed the first chain store in northern California, with nine branches at various times – at Callahan’s, Etna, Fort Jones, Greenview, New River, Gazelle, Yreka, Montague and Cecilville.
                  It was to the branch store in Gazelle
Store in Gazelle
that the forwarding of all of the freight business to their other stores was handled.  In the very heavy winter of 1889-90 the railroad was blockaded for several weeks and the manager of their Gazelle store raised the prices of everything from flour to sugar and other necessities, which riled the people around Gazelle.  A. H. Denny heard of this, came to Gazelle, had him put the prices down and refunded to everyone he could locate who had bought at the inflated prices, which made good feeling again.
                  Three of the Denny Bar Store buildings are still standing.  The Gazelle Denny Bar store stands in the little town of Gazelle along the old Stage Road, the store in Etna that most recently held a drug store, and one in the town of Callahan (formerly Callahan’s Ranch).  It is made of green granite from a local quarry.
                  The Board of Directors of the Denny Bar Company decided in 1928 they could no longer make a profit out of their stores because of mail order competition, so they decided to liquidate.  The last of the Denny Bar stores in Gazelle was put up for sale, but there were no takers at the time.  After several rounds of negotiations the buildings and contents were finally sold in 1936.  The building continued to function as a store until November 1972.
                  The old style general merchandise store that had worked so well in the development of the west was disappearing from the scene.  A safe from the Denny Bar Store was donated to the Siskiyou County Historical Society by Jim Carter and his sister Jeannie Reid, and it resides in the Denny Bar Store building in the Siskiyou County Historical Society’s Outdoor Museum.
                  Much has been written about the Denny Bar Company and its several incarnations.  This information can be found in the Siskiyou County Historical Society’s research library housed in the Siskiyou County Museum.  Information can also be found at the Genealogy Society of Siskiyou County, the public library and Yreka Preservation.

Denny Bar building in Etna in 2015

Store building housed a drug store, closed in 2014

Callahan Denny Bar building in 2015

The Wells Fargo Office was housed in the store building

Fort Jones Denny Bar Store building

Denny Bar Company Store on the right in Fort Jones

Sunday, April 12, 2015

 The Spring School Building

The Spring School building was in use from 1890-1949 and was located 13 miles southwest of Dorris on the Sam's Neck Road at the foot of School House Hill.  In 1899 Mary M. McCraig was the teacher, and school was attended for six months by ten pupils.  The school house was donated by the Butte Valley Unified School District and brought to the Outdoor Museum in 1977.  It is a typical example of a one-room school house that once dominated the country.

The following information and black/white photos are from the Siskiyou County School History page linked from the website of the Siskiyou County Office of Education  (go to "Departments" and then to the "Instructional Media Center" page).  Information about other schools and districts mentioned in the article below can be found on the Siskiyou County School History webpage cited above.  The photo in color shows the school as it sits in the Outdoor Museum.  Visitors can enter the school to see how the interior might have looked when the school was being used.

Spring School as it is seen in the Outdoor Museum.  The book cited above, "History of Schools in Siskiyou County," was researched and written by Stan Balfrey in 1974.  Copies of the book can be found in the Siskiyou County Historical Society's Research Library currently housed in the Siskiyou County Museum building in Yreka, California.