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Patterson Ranch, Willow Creek

June 5, 2011

Thank you to Margaret Wooden and the China Flat Museum for permission to reprint this excerpt from “History of the Patterson Ranch on Patterson Road” from the Winter 2003 Newsletter of the Willow Creek China Flat Museum Newsletter.
by Margaret Wooden.

John Douglas entered this beautiful natural bowl before his marriage in 1886 to Miss Nancy Kidd and by 1895 he is assessed for about 160 acres which comprised the Sugar Bowl Ranch. Mr. James Kidd (Nancy’s father) had settled on a ranch, closer to Willow Creek, on the east side of the river about 1865 after his land in the Hoopa Valley had been purchased by the U.S. Government upon the formation of the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation. The property Mr. Kidd and his family settled on is now known as the Bussell Ranch on Patterson Road. The Douglas family lived at Sugar Bowl for several years until they purchased property from John Brett and built a new home.
Blue Lake Advocate, Sept. 26, 1903
….recently purchased the Brett Ranch near Willow Creek and is now building a new house thereon. The roof will be covered with corrugated iron, which is the safest covering from fires. As soon as the house is complete, Mr. Douglas will move with his family from their other place at sugar bowl as the new place is much closer to the Willow Creek School which his children will attend.
(This property covered most of the land that is on both sides of the lane at the junction of Patterson Road and Horse Linto Road)
In 1932 Mr. Douglas sold his ranch to James B. Patterson who owned a small place at Hawkins Bar. Douglas built a new home on the property, his wife, Nancy Kidd, had homesteaded before her marriage to Douglas. This 160 acres was contiguous to her father’s place. In those days, when a child became twenty-one years old, they were able to homestead their separate property which would thus enlarge the original parent’s homestead. (This acreage is now known as the Shore property.)
Blue Lake Advocate, August 29, 1925.
A Civil war vet who for about forty years made his home near Willow Creek on the Trinity River answered the last call at his home there on August 20. Deceased had been in ill health for some moths past and his demise was not unexpected.
John Douglas was a native of New York and had he lived until October 10, 1935 he would have been seventy-eight years. When a small boy, he moved with his folds to the northwest, residing in the state of Wisconsin, many years previous to coming to California. To mourn his loss, he leaves a wife, one daughter, Miss Alice Douglas and one son, Robert Douglas, all of Willow Creek and two brothers, James and Abner of Blue Lake, He was buried in the family cemetery.
(This family cemetery is still an active cemetery and is in the vicinity of Arrowhead Estates. Doug Shore is the last descendant of the Douglas family. His mother was Miss Alice Douglas)
James B Patterson was a grandson of Azel S. Patterson of Sonoma County. Azel Patterson had a brother, Moses Patterson, who was an early day miner of the New River District. The 1900 New River Census lists:
• Moses Patterson, age 78 widowed, born New York with a boarder Sylvester Scott.
• James H Patterson, age 44 married, born California, father (Azel born New York, occupation farmer.
• James B. Patterson, age 17, born California
• Fred H. age 16, born California.
This census shows that James B. Patterson, who later purchased the Douglas Ranch in Willow Creek, would have been well acquainted with New River and the people. As the main pack trail went up Hawkins Creek toward the New River section this census shows that James B was also acquainted with the Hawkins Bar area for he probably traveled this trail extensively going and coming for supplies. Remember, Hawkins Bar in the day before the road was built up the Trinity River before World War I was on the side now occupied by Trinity Village and surrounding area. The section we now call Hawkins Bar was then called Pony Bar.
James B. probably mined with his Uncle Moses and father, James H. on New River before going to work for Jere Smith who owned the property now occupied by Trinity Village and later James B purchased a parcel of land between Jere Smith and the Irving family Ranch which is up ahq3kins Creek.
Blue River Advocate 1909
Mr. and Mrs. James B. Patterson, newly married arrived by steamer Wednesday from San Francisco and stopped a short time at Blue Lake on their way to their future home at Hawkins Bar in the western part of Trinity where the groom has a ranch of several hundred acres.
Mrs. Patterson was once the wife of ex-judge Augustus Belcher of San Francisco. She was well known here where she has made her home for some years with Mr. and Mrs. A. Brizard of Arcata. She is also quite well known in San Francisco and Los Angeles and has traveled extensively, having studies music in Europe. Her abilities in the literary line have given her prominence on this coast. It is said that for one story she wrote recently she received $700.
To those who have known her well, her second marriage was a surprise. Mrs. Patterson visited the Trinity section last year, but no on thought a romance was in progress.
There was nothing like a hint left by Mr. Patterson when he went to Los Angeles about three weeks ago. The happy Couple will make their home at Hawkins Bar.
James B. Patterson raised cattle and ranged them on the summer on the mountain at the head of Hawkins Creek and surrounding section. He purchased cattle in the Hyampom and Hayfork regions and drove them over Underwood Mountain to his Hawkins Creek ranch with local men and then, with their help, drove the gathered herd to the railroad at Blue Lake to be sold to butchers in Eureka and Arcata.
It was during this time period that this couple spent time in the Old Denny area. It is not known whether they worked there or were visitors. As all the trail traffic went up Hawkins Creek this couple would have had the opportunity to make many acquaintances with the folks that lived in the Denny Mountains and were most likely invited to visit the miners and their families in that section of Trinity county. It is not known whether James B.”s father James H was still in the New River area.
Mrs. Patterson (Stella Walthall Belcher) was born in Oakland in 1866 and educated at Mills College. She married Judge Augustus Belcher who liked to come to western Trinity County and have James Patterson guide him on hunting expeditions. The Brizard Family owned a ranch at Hawkins Bar and it is there that Stella Belcher most likely became acquainted with the Brizard family whose home base was at Arcata where their main store was located. Another story relates her experiences as a music teacher in Eureka at the Eureka Academy and Business College which was established by a Mr. Phelps who had been a teacher at various schools in the Ferndale area. The Academy burned possibly in 1892 or 1893. Whatever the case may be Stella Walthall Belcher met and married James B Patterson in 1907 and settled in at being a farmer’s wife at Hawkins Bar.
James Patterson was always involved in some type of work besides the cattle business to maintain his home place. He purchased cattle and drove them to Blue Lake. He purchased a water powered sawmill and installed it on Cedar Creek after taking a contract from the Carona del Oro Mine to saw lumber for a flume that was to bring water to the mine. In 1915 he took a contract with Trinity County for $1800 to clear a six mile right of way for the new wagon road which was being constructed from Salyer to Burnt Ranch. He also, during hunting season, in the fall, would guide hunting parties into the mountains set them up in camp and go back to get them in a week or so.
After purchasing the Douglas Ranch, in 1921 at Willow Creek, James and Stella moved there and he established the Circle P brand for his stock.
Blue Lake Advocate, November 2-, 1936
James B Patterson of the Willow Creek section went bear hunting on Trinity Summit. He had his bear dogs with him which treed three bears which he killed and sent them to Alameda for the Elks Lodge. Mr. Patterson has supplied the Alameda Lodge of Elks with bear for Thanksgiving and Christmas for a number of years back.
During these years at Willow Creek, James and Stella adopted two children, Ralph and Thelma. If Stella’s birthdate is correct, she was eighty years old when she wrote Dear Madam. That means she was gone from Willow Creek by 1946 and went to her mining claim on the Klamath River near Happy Camp.
James B. Patterson continued living on his ranch at the end of Patterson Road. He continued buying and selling cattle and hogs, driving his cattle to Patterson Meadow during the summer months where he built a log cabin. Unfortunately, the cabin burned down a few years ago during the Megram Fire. He also sold several home sites off his ranch. He would take hunting parties to the Patterson Meadow region and return them to his ranch when they were through. He was also well known for his barbecuing ability and the special sauce he applied to the meat while cooking. He dug a larg3 pit at his ranch and would cook the meat and deliver it wherever the feed was being held. In 1953 he barbecued for the Fourth of July celebration at Hoopa and served about three hundred. In 1954 he put on a fundraising barbecue for the new medical center to be built east of Willow Creek. This celebration included the barbecue and dance and groundbreaking ceremonies. The feed was held at Gambi’s open air tables and the dance on the open-air dance platform. If there was no snow, and he could make the trip to Patterson Meadow, James would harvest silver tip Christmas trees. If he could not get that far up the mountain he would cut Douglas fir trees taking them to friends in Eureka and Arcata. He and Ranger Ws Hotelling did this for several years.
In September 1956 James B. Patterson died. He was a well known rancher, hunting guide and barbecue chef. He was survived by his son and daughter and was laid to rest in the Willow Creek Cemetery.
It is always interesting to follow in the footsteps of some of out early day pioneers as they struggled to open land for their farms or mines. The Sugar Bowl ranch is still a beautiful place as one gazes down from Highway 96. The Patterson Ranch has been divided into many home sites and now has a vineyard which will continue the agriculture manner for which is was originally intended. The house that John Douglas built on the one hundred and sixty acres Nancy Kidd homesteaded is still occupied. Doug Shore’s place is also on this original homestead. The remaining open ground is used for garden spots and most of this acreage is producing timber which is also a valuable asset to the property.
Doug Shore
Susie Van Kirk
Susie Baker Fountain Pagers
Dear Madam, by Stella Walthall Patterson
Arcata Union Sept 28, 1956
Humboldt County Historical Society.

Home on the River

April 5, 2011

By Dave Lambert
Imagine if you will, a green carpet of tall trees extending inland from the Pacific Coast to the Seiad Valley. Scattered here and there are natural meadows and lush grasslands where herds of elk and deer graze peacefully. This pristine wilderness abounded with wildlife of many kinds, Grizzlies, cougar, wolves, wolverine., lynx, black bear and many others co-existed here.

Winding through this paradise is an emerald green river of volcanic origin, which is teeming with life. Salmon, sturgeon, steelhead, eel’s shad and suckers all ascend this powerful waterway to spawn and replenish their species. Eagles, ospreys, ducks, otters and mink all proliferated along it shores. This is the river Klamath!

Originating in eastern Oregon, it flows south into upper and lower Klamath Lakes where the Klamath Tribe lives, whom the river is named after. It then flows southwest for several hundred miles where it merges with the Trinity River. From there it swings due west and continues on to tend the long, winding journey by emptying in to the Pacific Ocean.
The native peoples who called this paradise home had lived in harmony with nature for hundreds of years. They had never heard a loud, unnatural sound, such as a gunshot, the ruble of a jet passing overhead or the roar of a combustible engine. Pollution as we know it was unknown.

Life was not exactly effortless but all necessities could be secured without undue hardship. It seemed to them that the Great Spirit had smiled upon this land of the river called Klamath.

There is some evidence of foreigners cohabiting with Indians long before the coming of the miners. It is known that trappers and traders were here by the turn of the 18th century because of the abundant beaver, mink, muskrat, bobcat and many other fur bearing animals. When this fur trade was at its peak this was the disputed territory of several fur trading companies. In 1850, when gold was discovered in the ancient alluvial gravel deposits along the river, life quickly changed for all the inhabitants of the area. With the gold seekers came progress and the inevitable taming of the area. The U.S, Government was eager to add the freshly mined gold to its treasury and the miners no time to exploiting to the extreme. Claims were staked on every patch of high bar and gravel deposit that could be found. There were the natural flats and benches along the stream bank that just so happened to be where the village sites were also located. The rich layer of topsoil was the first to get washed down through the sluice boxes. This was followed by the gold bearing gravel and boulders and eventually to bedrock where the much hoped for giant nuggets would be found.

Chinese miners began arriving and as they had previous experience at mining were very successful in procuring the gold they had come

The Redwood Canoe

March 26, 2011

by Charles S. Graves
from Before the White man Came c1934

The redwood canoe as made by the Indians of the lower Klamath is the most artistic of all the caoes used by the different tribes, and is made in this manner:

They select a log of suitable size and split it in half. They then take one half and trim it down, top and bottom un til they get it in proper shape. They then hew out the inside until they have it on an equal thickness. then they cut out the seat, leaving two cleats to brace the feet afainst when rowing or when using the paddle. The paddle is used for rowing, they do not use oars. A hole is made in each corner of the canoe, through which a haxel withe is put around the end of the canoe and drawn very tight. Thius prevents the canoe from splitting should it strike a rock.
In operating the canoe, the Indians believe that it should have a heart, otherwise it would be a dead boat. So he leaves a round knob about three inches across a short distance back from the bow and so long as the heart is there he feels safe, knowing that the canoe is alive.
The canoe pictured here is the property of the author (Charles S. Graves).

Bigfoot Byway Dedication Speech – April, 1, 2001

Happy Camp will be 150 years old in July
April 1, 2001 by Debbie Wilkinson
This speech was given at the opening ceremony for the Bigfoot Scenic Byway on April 1, 2001
Hello. For those who do not know me, I am Debbie Wilkinson, President of the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce. We wish to welcome you to today’s celebration. After a couple of short speeches we will have a ceremonial ribbon cutting to dedicate and officially open the Happy Camp end of the Bigfoot Scenic Byway. The ribbon cutting will be followed by a parade, food, fun and games. We will have balloon shaving; an egg toss and an egg carry race, as well as music by Happy Camp’s own Genuine Draft band. So stay around for the fun.
Today will mark the beginning of a summer of celebration, for this July will mark 150 years since the first group of miners stopped at the mouth of Indian Creek, approximately ½ mile from here, and found more than enough gold to stay on. In the years following, our little town has fluctuated in both prosperity and population. We have seen boom and bust, flood and firestorms, and we have survived it all.
Though Happy Camp has survived a great many trials and world changes in its first century and a half, the face of our home has changed little where it matters most: the heart and soul of our town, the people who have chosen to make it their home. Let’s give ourselves a hand — we deserve it for despite those who would say otherwise, we have survived and we will continue to survive.¦ I fully expect that in another 150 years yet another generation will gather here in Happy Camp to celebrate Happy Camp’s 300th anniversary. There will be new faces and new names, but we will still be here, in our little valley, with new stories that tell the world –We have survived.
As I said, today will kick off a summer of celebration. The festivities will continue in July with our first Annual River Run Bike Rally, which will be held at the River Park on the 6th, 7th and 8th. The summer will end with Happy Camp’s Annual Bigfoot Jamboree on Labor Day weekend. Anybody or group who wishes to participate in either event should contact the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce or the Happy Camp Coordinating Council. As always, new faces and new ideas are always welcomed.
Today is about history, and Bigfoot has been with us from the first. Along with mining tales and the other stories that have added color to our history, this legendary creature has helped to shape our image. Here with a short history of Bigfoot is a man that everybody knows, Karuk Tribal Council Vice-Chairman and Chamber of Commerce Past President, Harvey Shinar. Harvey€¦
[At this point, Harvey Shinar gave his speech about Bigfoot legends and the inspiration for the Bigfoot Scenic Byway. –Ed.]
Thank You, Harvey.
Today is also about the blending of modern travel with that history. Today’s family often chooses to forgo the joys of the destination resorts such as Disney Land, in favor of trips into the wilds of America. This interest prompted different levels of government to institute several scenic byway programs. The State of Jefferson Scenic Byway and The newly designated Bigfoot Scenic Byway are both part of the US forest Service’s programs. Here to tell us some more is the Klamath National Forest Supervisor, Peg Boland, Peg¦
[Peg Boland spoke about the development and completion of the Bigfoot Scenic Byway. –ed.]
Thank You Peg
Today’s Celebration is not just happening here in Happy Camp. In a couple of minutes, at 1:00 sharp, in Orleans, in Hoopa and here in Happy Camp this Red Ribbon will be cut. This ribbon cutting will not only celebrate our newest Scenic Byway, but will also celebrate a new beginning for our river communities: The beginning of a new, river long, collaboration of communities and governments. Separate, our voices are small, together we can move mountains. Together we can be a power to reckon with.
Now for the event of the day: Perhaps Mike can give us a drum roll as we prepare to cut the ribbon.
[At this point, we turned our attention to the red ribbon held across Highway 96 in front of the bank’s parking lot. –ed.]

The Story of Happy Camp

January 26, 2011

by Judy Bushy

Happy Camp is located at the top of California in Siskiyou County deep in the heart of the Klamath National Forest and on the banks of the Klamath River at the confluence of Indian and Elk Creeks.

Karuk woman on Happy Camp mural

Karuk woman on Happy Camp mural

The people of the Karuk Tribe, meaning “upriver” people, have lived here since before history. In July 1851 a group of prospectors arrived from downriver, prospecting as they came and made camp here. They named the camp “Happy Camp” and that became the name of the town that grew up here. Many other sites of gold discovery became ghost towns, but Happy Camp endured.

Miner on Happy Camp mural

Miner on mural by Diane Hokanson

Miners at Thompson Creek area saw a large, ape-like creature which scared the Chinese miners, so that they wouldn’t go back to work for days. Today modern “Bigfoot” teams camp out and look for the legendary creature with modern technology. If no large apes are found, they’ve at least had a great time camping in the forest.

When mining declined, the lumber industry became the chief occupation. The Klamath National Forest, Happy Camp District, was founded here in 1905. Happy Camp was well known as the Steelhead Capital of the world! Fishing and hunting as well as the natural beauty brought visitors, and when the road was completed in 1928 travel became easier

Happy Camp built theLog High School

state of Jefferson roadstop

State of Jefferson Roadstop 1941

The State of Jefferson Scenic Byway is a memorial to a movement to carve a new state from Oregon and California. Due to the lack of state maintenance of roads and services, a movement to secede from California and Oregon and become the” State of Jefferson” was begun in the 1940’s.This “revolt” was every Thursday but ceased December 7, 1941 with Pearl Harbor when we rejoined our “united” country to help win a war. Mines from the area provided needed resources and the roads were improved to bring them out for the war effort.

When the last large lumber mill, Stone Forest Mill, closed in 1995, the community diversified in small business and recreation opportunities. Visitors and new residents come to escape the congestion of the city for the natural peace of the country life. The government of the Karuk Tribe remains here and provides a great deal of help to all the people of the area. Panning for gold, rafting or kayaking down the Klamath, hiking, biking, backpacking or camping draw many visitors each summer. Viewing wildlife, rock hounding, especially for Happy Camp jade, and a vast array of outdoor family recreation are available. The community is surrounded by wilderness areas: Red Buttes to the east, Siskiyou to the west, Marble Mountains to the south, and Kalmiopsis wilderness by the Oregon Caves to the North in Oregon.

Volunteers from many service and social organizations have a big impact on the community. Hometown festivals, like the Bigfoot Jamboree each Labor Day weekend, provide parades, fun, food and celebrate community values. It’s a friendly little town!

Come and visit, we’d be glad to have you!

Bolan Lake

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Indian Creek

Indian Creek, downstream from the Eddy.

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Happy Camp River Access Buck

A buck at the Happy Camp River Access.

Elk Creek Bridge

The Elk Creek Bridge.

Klamath River

Downriver, about four miles.