Thursday, October 3, 2019

From Shingle Camp to Shingletown

Above: an early photograph of Shingletown. From the collection of Jeremy Tuggle.

Shingletown was first called Shingle Camp, it was established in 1848 as a tent community, and its name derives from the first production of shingles and shakes in Shasta County. Due to the abundance of sugar pine and cedar trees the lumber was easily placed into production. There are numerous creeks which flow through and around the settlement. One of them is Ash Creek which retains its name from the numerous Ash Trees growing along its channel, and because of the ash like soil at the mouth of the creek. (Brand Spring is the head of Ash Creek, which receives its name from Harriett Brand who sold her property along the headwaters of Ash Creek to the Northern California Power Company in 1899.)

Another creek is Baldwin Creek which retains its name after an early pioneer settler named James H. Baldwin who camped on its channel in the early 1850s. Local historian, Myrtle McNamar relates in her book "Way Back When", that Battle Creek was formerly called Nozi Creek (Nosa), due to a small Indian tribe of the same name that formerly lived on this channel near Bloody Island. In 1845 the name was changed to Battle Creek after a battle occurred there between the European-Americans and the local Indians. The small Indian tribe was killed during the battle.

Other notable creeks are: Bear Creek which was named after the numerous grizzlies, black and cinnamon bear dens in the pioneer days that covered this creek. Lack Creek, a tributary to Bear Creek, named for an early pioneer settler by the name of DeMarcus F. Lack who resided on its channel, and Millseat Creek, a tributary of Battle Creek, retains its name after the first sawmill in the area. The mill sat upon this channel. It also supplied the McCumber sawmill and later the Klotz sawmill with water. Shingle Creek is another channel which retains its name after the first production of shingle and shakes in the area.

The first settler of Shingle Camp was an European-American by the name of Charles B. Ogburn who settled on the plateau in a tent in 1848. Additional men followed suit due to the abundance of lumber the area offered. However, his time spent upon the ridge was cut short as he traveled back home to Forsyth County, North Carolina. He later returned to the area with a younger sibling by the name of John W. Ogburn sometime between 1852 and 1853. Charles eventually returned to his former home and he resided there until his death in 1873. John W. Ogburn stayed in Shasta County, married and raised a large family in the area.

During the year 1850, two men named James M. King and Thomas Asbury arrived and settled at Shingle Camp. Together they continued the production of shingles and shakes at that place along Shingle Creek. Some historians credit them with being the first to produce them. Two years after their arrival, the Nobles Emigrant Trail passed through Shingle Camp. This trail was the most popular route traveled by the early pioneers as they ventured into Shasta County heading west from distant places. The route which was named for William H. Noble and discovered by him remained active until the 1860s.

Pioneer resident Abraham Cunningham was quoted as saying “…a forest primeval consisting of the greatest stand of pine and sugar pine the world has ever known stood from Manton to Whitmore and from Inwood to the base of the High Sierras.

This area become the nucleus of the lumber industry for many years. Sawmills existed elsewhere in Shasta County, but it was this area and along the Shingletown Ridge that boomed. The lumber industry began in 1844 at Balls Ferry, and it was the second industry created in this county.

Pictured: L-R: Pioneers Abraham Cunningham and his wife Samantha Cunningham. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.

Records indicate that the first sawmill erected in the area was the McCumber sawmill which was built by a millwright with the surname of Wiemer and owned by George W. McCumber. It was located beside Mill Creek. The second sawmill followed in 1853, it was a lumberman by the name of Jim Dry who claimed ownership of a sawmill at Sugar Pine Gulch near Shingletown.

He hired two millwrights, John W. Dinsmore and Mariman Ferrel, to build a water-powered mill like its predecessor, which he named the Dry Mill, after himself and perhaps as an ironic nod to its power source. Construction was completed in 1853 and a 100-foot long flume towered above the mill pouring water into a 90-foot over-shot water wheel. Ferrel is the authors’ paternal great-great-great-great uncle.

In order to power the water wheel a ditch was dug from Shingle Creek to convey water from the creek to the mill, about a half-mile distance.

The first source that I have located during my research which uses the name Shingletown but spelled as Shingle Town was written by John A. Driebelbis in a lengthy article about the Nobles Emigrant Trail which was printed in the Shasta Courier newspaper in November of 1853. Driebelbis also mentions that the Jack Hill ranch was located at Deer Flat. This supports the fact that by this date the name Shingle Camp was no longer used by its residents. Driebelbis wasn’t a resident of the community, but he did reside in Shasta County, however, he was a traveler who had been over the route four different times and knew the route well. He also wrote down notes during each journey over this pass.

By 1854, a general merchandise store was erected by John Freeland at Shingletown. This store was in the center of the community. All kinds of trade and sales were conducted here, and business was successful. Then on, September 2, 1854, the Shasta Courier newspaper heralded the following account about the McCumber sawmill;

Joyous Tidings - Let the bachelors of this region rejoice, for behold we bring them glad and joyous tidings. Among the emigrants now stopping temporarily on the Noble route, thirty or forty from this place (Shasta), as well as among those who have not yet reached that point, there are a goodly number of beautiful and marriageable young ladies. Indeed we hear that the tones of the “light guitar” struck by fairy-like fingers, and strains of the richest melody, warbled forth from fairy-like throaths in loving words pronounced by fair-like lips, every night by the “pale moonlight”, awake the echoes of the brave old forests where the emigrants are now sojourning. It may be slightly foreign to the subject to remark in this connection, that we have some idea of making a trip out to McCumber’s sawmill, on the Noble route, in the course of a few days. We go, we would have it understood, for the sole purpose of seeing how the land lies- and making examination of its adaptability to “stock-raising”.” (SIC)

Another column printed the same day as the above article states:

The Emigration - We are informed that a very large number of emigrants, just arrived from the plains, are now stopping in the vicinity of McCumber’s Mill and Jack Hill’s Ranch. They have a great quantity of stock with them, which, owing to the abundance of grass on the Noble route, are in fine condition. Several gentleman just returned from the Humboldt, and who went out for the purpose of purchasing cattle, say that the emigrants refuse to sell at anything like reasonable prices, generally asking higher figures than the animals will command in this valley.” (SIC)

Without a doubt, the bachelors of the area were delighted about this emigrant party’s arrival due to the women. One surprising discovery which was made by George W. McCumber in the Shingletown area relates to a vein of coal. The following column was written by the Shasta Courier newspaper on February 10, 1855;

Coal Mine. - Mr. McCumber informs us that he is about making to thoroughly prospect a vein of coal, which he has discovered in the immediate vicinity of the Emigrant Road, and near the McCumber Saw Mill. The vein has already been traced a distance of several miles, the mineral thus far rising above the surface of the earth. In this distance the vein is cut in two by a ravine, discovering the fact it is immense size. None of the coal except that from exposed portions of the vein, has yet been tested. Hence we are not prepared at present to express an opinion as to its quality. The vein is thought to be between four and six feet deep, by twenty-five and thirty wide.” (SIC)

Time away from the McCumber sawmill allowed McCumber to prospect this new discovery further and work the coal mining site. Eventually, the hype around this coal mine died out. After this period, the McCumber sawmill continued its operation under different owners until 1896 when the McCumber sawmill was relocated to Viola and became part of the Vilas sawmill operation owned by Marcellus B. Vilas. After he took control of the sawmill, he sold it to the Red River Lumbering Company.

Prior to 1855 the Dry Mill was sold in various transactions but in 1855 William Hyde of Shasta acquired it. Hyde eventually sold it to a man by the name of Hobson and Hobson sold to William Worth Smith. Smith operated the property until 1858 when he sold it to Millville resident, George C. Woodall. After acquiring the Dry Mill in 1867, a brand-new corporation called the Dry Mill Company was established in Shingletown. The Dry Mill Company continued production of lumber and in 1870 a lumberman named Rudolph Klotz and his partner Sylvanus Leach purchased the Dry Mill from the Dry Mill Company.

Klotz and Leach also erected a new sawmill on the north branch of Battle Creek at Shingletown near Emigrant Road. This mill was a steam-powered mill and they called it the Eureka Mill; Sylvanus Leach having formerly been a resident of Eureka. The history of the Dry Mill, as described in Myrtle McNamar’s book, "Way Back When", is that the machinery was transferred from the Dry Mill to the Eureka Mill when it was erected and the Dry Mill became inactive thereafter, but my research suggests otherwise.

The Shasta Courier reported four years after the Dry Mill supposedly had become inactive that Leach had continued operating the Dry Mill under his ownership; Klotz had apparently sold his interest to a man by the name of Duncan. Klotz and Leach continued operating the Eureka Mill together though. Leach became my great-great-great uncle by marriage due to him marrying Cora Bell Tuggle, a daughter of William H. Tuggle and Melinda (Ferrel) Tuggle on May 28, 1874 in Shingletown. In July of 1874 most of the lumber at the Dry Mill was being cut by timberman using sash saws to fell sugar pine trees instead of the usual cedar trees. The lumberyard of the Dry Mill was kept full and Leach and Duncan sold lumber for $11 per M. Likely the Dry Mill had not ceased operation but relied on man-power to produce lumber after the mechanical equipment was transferred to the Eureka Mill.

At the Eureka Mill Klotz and Leach employed fifty men and they were able to achieve the same operational capacity as the Defiance Mill and the Moscow Mill, producing around 90,000 feet of lumber per day. Sylvanus Leach and Rudolph Klotz sold the Eureka Mill to the Sierra Flume and Lumber Company and in May of 1877 the Sierra Flume and Lumber Company constructed a small flume from the Eureka Mill, merging it with a larger flume in the area. When the new addition was completed lumber from this sawmill was shipped down the flume south towards Red Bluff. Lumber from the Eureka Mill sold for prices between $12 and $30 per M. The Eureka Mill was one of the largest sawmills in the Shingletown area and included a company store and a telegraph office on its property.

The Dry Mill was one of the oldest sawmills in the Shingletown area before it entered a long period of dormancy and inactivity. It became an abandoned sawmill but in 1900 the Dry Mill was still standing.  In 1916 the Dry Mill collapsed. By 1950 only the remnants of the 90-foot water wheel remained on the property, as described in Myrtle McNamar’s publication, "Way Back When". McNamar visited the site of the Eureka Mill in 1896 and noted only the foundation of the building and the log drive still existed.

While Shingletown was booming and becoming popular with lumberman, a new sawmill was built in 1856 by Rudolph Klotz who erected a water-powered mill on the outskirts of Shingletown, at the present site of Nora Lake and it was a successful sawmill. Additional sawmills would be erected in the area complete with boarding houses for their crew, and company stores on sawmill sites. Later, some sawmills were operated by horsepower.

A large part of the Nobles Emigrant Trail in Shasta County was declared by the Board of Supervisors which led from the original site of the McCumber sawmill leading out of Shasta County to Honey Lake in Lassen County and to the state line as a public highway by them on May 4, 1857. Improvements to the emigrant road were made by John A. Driebelbis, that year. Also, other resources claim that the Sierra Township was established in 1861, but that is incorrect, as I found listings of township officers being elected in September of 1857 which was printed by the Republican newspaper of Shasta. It claimed that S.D. Baker and G.W. McCumber were elected as Justices of the Peace and F. Strong and S. Parks were elected as Constables of that township, this township might predate 1857 as well. Future township officers would be elected for the area as its population grew.

Above: Pioneer Lewis Thomas exercised his squatting rights by filing this deed on January 1, 1866 at Marysville in Yuba County but the property was located in Shingletown just off the Nobels Emigrant Trail at the head of Ash Creek. Later, he sold the property to William H. Tuggle and Melinda (Ferrel) Tuggle. From the collection of Jeremy Tuggle.

Above: Shingletown appears on the 1884 Map of Shasta County. The property of  William H. Tuggle at the head of Ash Creek (now Brand Spring) is shown near the new Thomas place and Baldwin properties. This photograph was taken by Jeremy Tuggle.

Then in, 1862, my paternal great-great-great grandparents, William Harvey Tuggle and Melinda (Ferrel) Tuggle brought their family west over the Nobles Emigrant Trail from Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa. Their first night in the area spent at Mountain Home which was a lodging place in the Shingletown area. They had four children born to them between 1851 and 1860. Four more children were born to them between 1863 and 1871, after their arrival in California.

They eventually continued into Shasta the next day. William H. Tuggle was a teamster and farmer. The Tuggle family first purchased property in Tehama County during the 1860s and lived there until 1870. The Tuggle family relocated to Shingletown after William H. Tuggle and his wife Melinda (Ferrel) Tuggle purchased the Charles Baker place on Battle Creek, seven miles east of Shingletown in the spring of 1870. They enhanced the property by erecting a house and barn. Yet, their house and barn were burned down in a wildfire in October of 1870. The family lost most of their personal heirlooms they brought across with them on their journey west in 1862, at that time. Very few items survived the fire.

After the fire the Tuggle property at that location became abandoned until 1880 when John Daily moved onto the property and made improvements to it. The first of two Tuggle properties along Ash Creek were sold to William H. Tuggle and Melinda (Ferrel) Tuggle on April 24, 1872, when they purchased the Lewis Thomas property. They lived here until December 12, 1883 when they sold the place to E.H. Ward and G.R. Marlen. During the interim of the eleven years spent on the above property they erected a large two-story house made of the finest lumber, a barn, and a milk house. They also planted an apple orchard. This property was located east of the Dry Mill.

The Tuggle family's second property was on lower Ash Creek. Both properties appear on the official 1884 map of Shasta County, which was approved by the Shasta County Board of Supervisors on October 6, 1884. However, his surname is found as Taggle and Tuggle on this map. Deeds to the properties both show that William H. Tuggle and Melinda (Ferrel) Tuggle owned them. The surname was never corrected on the official Shasta County map. After selling out to E.H. Ward and G.R. Marlen, William H. Tuggle and Melinda (Ferrel) Tuggle purchased the John E. Krooks property five miles east of Shingletown at the mouth of Millseat Creek in 1884 and they remained there.

Above: on the lower left hand corner along Ash Creek is the William H. Tuggle property on lower Ash Creek. The surname is misspelled as Taggle. From the 1884 Map of Shasta County. This photograph taken by Jeremy Tuggle.

In 1871, John Freeland sold his establishment to John McCarley, who enhanced the building and store with new features. This building was now a two-story wooden structure and it contained twelve rooms. McCarley also became a business partner with Albert Smith and together they established the McCarley and Smith General Merchandise, Trading Post and Hotel. Their enterprise flourished with success. In addition, McCarley and Smith sold dry goods, groceries, boots, shoes, clothing, wines, liquors and cigars. Freight of all kind were freighted in-and-out of Shingletown on a weekly basis. Years later in 1905, it was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and enlarged, almost on the same property as the original building. Shingletown also featured a saloon which got rowdy at times, and a community barn complete with hay and grain, but it lacked a livery stable.

During the interim years of 1860 and 1890, James M. King continued making shingles and shakes in the area but most of his profits from the lumber went towards new equipment and the building of a blacksmith shop he had constructed. Also, money was placed into blacksmithing after his building was erected. He conducted the blacksmith shop with his two sons Jesse King and Atticus King in this bustling community until the 1890s. This building was a two-story structure. The first floor was used as a blacksmith shop while the second story was used as a dance hall. James M. King also became a property owner at Shingletown and sold off additional properties at later dates.

Another popular location for dancing was at the residence of John W. Ogburn inside the Ogburn family barn. Music was often rendered by live bands or solo musicians at both places. It was a community affair but some of the regular attendees at the Ogburn barn were the Tuggle family, Williamson sisters, Klotz family, McClain family, Lack family, Boots family, Aldridge family, and the Thatcher sisters. George G. Tuggle a son of William H. Tuggle and Melinda (Ferrel) Tuggle recalled this from memory in Myrtle McNamar's book, "Way Back When".

When Shingletown resident Rudolph Klotz ran for the state Assembly in 1873 the name of the township was changed from the Sierra Township to the Shingletown township. Shingletown casted votes for Klotz in the tally of sixty-nine, and a tally of ten for his opponent Isaacs. When the news was confirmed in October of 1873, that Klotz won the election to the Assembly the community gathered together and celebrated by firing off anvils, Henry rifles, revolvers, and by cheering their new Assemblyman. After the celebration was over the locals formed a procession and marched to Klotz’s residence and congratulated him about his win. At Klotz’s residence he invited the locals to come inside his home and he hosted them as they continued celebrating with wine and refreshments that night.

Then on, November 22, 1873, fire destroyed the Klotz’s Door and Sash Factory, which was owned by Rudolph Klotz. Two millwrights by the surname of Ware & Lang erected this building for Klotz in 1869. Since that time, it was under the supervision of Lang who was acting as superintendent of the place. The fire that destroyed the property which ignited from a coal oil lamp, was used for the purpose of keeping the glue hot for the use of putting chairs together. Two of Klotz’s employees had just refilled the coal oil lamp. Klotz’s sawmill building situated near the factory and connected by railways together with the immense stacks of lumber was saved by the opposite direction that the wind was blowing. Or else it would have been destroyed by fire as well. Rudolph Klotz estimated the loss close to $30,000 in damages.

Another important date in the history of Shingletown is June 24, 1874, when the community was approved for a post office which was established by the postal service headquarters in Washington D.C., it was John McCarley who was appointed by them as the very first postmaster of the Shingletown post office. Now the residents were able to send and receive mail. McCarley’s store housed the first post office.

Above: the Klotz Mill Schoolhouse was located near the Klotz’s Door and Sash Factory, circa 1890. It was established on May 10, 1872. Additional nearby schoolhouses were the following: Bear Creek School, Inwood School at Inwood, Sierra School, Mountain Home School, Thatcher Mill School on Bear Creek, and the Sheridan School on Shingle Creek. Of course they all operated at different times. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.

The Shingletown hotel kept a successful business until 1923, when Benjamin F. Loomis purchased the hostelry, at that time Loomis relocated the building to Viola. At Viola the name of this impressive building was renamed as the Viola Resort. It was then destroyed by fire in 1953.  Shingletown is now a quiet community nestled in the hills below Mount Lassen. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, it had an estimate of 2,283 people living in the town.

Above: a photograph of Shingletown with the Shingletown hotel on the right. This is the building that Benjamin F. Loomis purchased and relocated to Viola. From the collection of Jeremy Tuggle.

With an escalating population comes new businesses, even though they come and go. A local historical society was established in 1961 under the name of the Mt. Lassen Historical Society to preserve and collect the history of the Shingletown area. During 1991 the name of this Society was changed to the Shingletown Historical Society and in 2015 a grand celebration was held for the opening of their new museum located at 33187 State Hwy 44 Unit C. If you are passing through the area take some time to explore this museum, and some of the preserved historic sites Shingletown has to offer.

Above: the Billy Smith saw mill on Camp Creek, a small tributary of the north fork of Bear Creek in the Shingletown area. Date unknown. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.

Above: is the Shingletown Resort. The date of this photograph is unknown. A Signal Gasoline sign is visible on the right side of the photograph. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.


Shasta County Election Returns - The Republican newspaper of Shasta, September 12, 1857

Wagon Road Meeting - The Republican newspaper of Shasta, May 9, 1857

Board of Supervisors - The Republican newspaper of Shasta, May 9, 1857

Improvement of the Honey Lake - The Republican newspaper of Shasta, May 30, 1857

Emigrant Road Meeting - The Republican newspaper of Shasta, June 6, 1857

More Fire - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, October 29, 1870

The Destruction of Klotz’s Door and Sash Factory – The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, December 6, 1873

EASTERN SHASTA COUNTY – The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, July 25, 1874

Deed Book 12, Page 106 – William H. Tuggle and Wife to E.H. Ward and G.R. Marlen, dated December 12, 1883

Fined – The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, August 22, 1874

Official Vote of Shasta County – The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, September 20, 1873

Jubilee – The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, October 4, 1873

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

Our Storied Landmarks - Shasta County, California, written and published by May H. Southern ©1942

Shasta County, California A History by Rosena Giles, published by Biobooks, ©1949.

School Districts of Shasta County 1853-1955 compiled by Veronica Satorius 

In the Shadow of the Mountain A Short History of Shasta County, California, by Edward Petersen ©1965

Place Names of Shasta County by Gertrude Steger, published by La Siesta Press, ©1966

U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971

CHIPS & SAWDUST - ©1978 by Beulah Johnson, published by Shasta Historical Society.

Where The 'Ell Is Shingletown? The Shingletown Story By Marion V. Allen ©1979 Printed by Press Room Inc., Redding, California, Pages 81.

Birth Of the Shasta County lumber industry - by Jeremy M. Tuggle - Record Searchlight newspaper of Redding, January 13, 2017

Selected Sawmills of the Shingletown Area - by Jeremy M. Tuggle - Record Searchlight newspaper of Redding, February 4, 2017

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