A man by the name of Benjamin Swasey was among the first settlers of this flourishing mining community. He was a native of New Hampshire and he arrived in Shasta County in 1849. After his arrival, the Lower Springs mining district formed its boundaries in the area. Some people made their fortune while others weren't as lucky, yet these miners kept locating new placer mines in this mining district. During the summer months, the Lower Springs mining district became dry diggings with the lack of rain, and water resources were unavailable for miners to use in their placer mines at that time.
In 1853, Benjamin Swasey filed a land claim at Shasta, for one hundred and sixty acres of land at Lower Springs, and then he erected a house on this property for him to live in. He also erected two additional buildings at Lower Springs for his businesses. Swasey became the proprietor of the Swasey hotel and the Swasey mercantile store. The hotel included a large barn and a corral with a natural spring of water. Hay and barley were also stocked in the hotel's barn. His business prospered as Swasey advertised in the Shasta Courier newspaper from Shasta.
Aside from the businesses owned by Benjamin Swasey, this community also included a boarding house called the Virginia House and a blacksmith shop which was owned and operated by Henry Jones. Jones was a native of Ohio, and he was married to his wife, Emily. There was at least one son produced during this union which they named James Jones. At a later date, Henry Jones changed his profession to become a gunsmith.
In the fall of 1854, a brand new trading post was established at Lower Springs by J.D. Dunlap & Company, and they began advertising their general merchandise store in the local media. Two months later, in December of that year, the first rain eventually fell, and miners had an abundance of water to use. The miners started washing their placer mines and they were making one hundred dollars per day by rocker at that time.
The construction of the Clear Creek Ditch, sometimes referred to as the Clear Creek Canal, began in December of 1853. Local miners raised the money to back this large project to convey the water of Clear Creek into the nearby dry diggings of Briggsville, Horsetown, Lower Springs, Muletown, Shasta and Whiskeytown. The ditch connected with a large reservoir which was built as a major part of this project.
Local miners celebrated the ditches completion on November 24, 1855. The length of this ditch measured at sixty miles. The reservoir at Middletown covered fifteen acres to a depth of eight feet. Immediately, the water from this ditch began conveying water into the Lower Springs mining district at Salt Creek. The miners at Lower Springs now had an abundance of water to use in their mining claims.
Two years later, on February 19, 1859, the Shasta Courier newspaper heralded the following article:
1850 U.S. Census
Killed By Indians - The Sacramento Transcript newspaper of Sacramento, April 17, 1851
From The Interior - The Sacramento Daily Union newspaper of Sacramento, May 31, 1852
Lower Springs - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, March 12, 1853
Diggings About Lower Springs - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, April 2, 1853
The Lower Springs Road - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, May 7, 1853
The Ball At Lower Springs- The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, January 21, 1854
J.D. Dunlap & Co. - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, October 21, 1854
Lower Springs - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, December 23, 1854
A Serious Difficulty - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, January 13, 1855
Convention of Shasta County Miners Relative to the Chinese Question - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, January 20, 1855
Clear Creek Ditch - The Sacramento Daily Union newspaper of Sacramento, October 29, 1855
Clear Creek Ditch Finished! - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, November 24, 1855
Swasey’s Hotel advertisement - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, July 11, 1857
Slanderous - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, February 19, 1859
1860 U.S. Census
Supervisor - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, November 19, 1864
Quartz - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, November 26, 1864
A Sweet Discovery - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, March 4, 1865
Shot - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, March 18, 1865
Still Another Mill - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, September 9, 1865
New Discovery - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, January 6, 1866
1866 California Voters Registration
1870 U.S. Census
1880 U.S. Census
California Journal of Mines and Geology, Volume 10 1890, page 632.
Benjamin Swasey Dies At Home In Oakland - The San Francisco Call newspaper of San Francisco, September 20, 1912
My Playhouse Was A Concord Coach, an anthology of newspaper clippings and documents relating to those who made California history during the years 1822-1888, by Mae Hélène Bacon Boggs. Published by Howell-North Press ©1942
Shasta County, California A History by Rosena Giles, published by Biobooks, ©1949.
Lower Springs by Mabel Frisbie - The Covered Wagon, 1957, published by Shasta Historical Society.
In the Shadow of the Mountain A Short History of Shasta County, California, by Edward Petersen ©1965
Gage-Carter Family Stories, Compiled for Lloyd D. Carter, edited by M. Walsh © October 1990 929.2 Gage/Carter in Shasta Historical Society library