The Founding of Happy Camp after Blackburns’ Ferry

Sunday Morning for the Miners

Harry Wells had History of Siskiyou County published in 1881. It tells how Happy Camp left Klamath County and became part of Siskiyou County which was provided for March 28, 1874, but contingent on a vote. It wasn’t to be easily accomplished,until finally there was a meeting of commissioners to divide up the valuation, debts and cash on hand of the respective counties August 14, 1876.

in the spring of 1851 a Ferry on the Klamath River, five miles below the mouth of the Trinity, was established. The proprietors were Gwin R. Tompkins and Charles McDermit, and they placed it in charge of Blackburn, before they went off prospecting in Oregon. They left Blackburn and his wife with a shanty by the Klamath River. James Sloan, Mr. Janalshan and Mr. Bender assisting, had a tent on the other side of an open air kitchen and dining room.

They talked differently in those days, and Harry Wells tells how “One day, Mrs. Blackburn, a noble woman of the brave pioneer class that have been led by love to follow the footsteps of their idol into the very heart of the wilderness, noticed that the stock of bullets had become exhausted. She immediately molded a large quantity, and by this prudent act and her afterward heroic conduct saving the lives of herself and her husband that self-same night.“

In the night the three assistants were killed in the tent, but the last gave a cry of warning. Alerting, Blackburn and his wife who were able to fight off the attackers.
In the morning, A. E. Raynes, William Young and William Little came on the other side of the River looking for ammunition for occupants of a cabin where they had stayed overnight. The first body that they found, when turned over, turned out to be Mr. Blackburns’ father whom he had not seen for ten years, but was coming from Trinidad to see him. The three men left the Blackburns’ there and went to Trinidad to raise ten men to come and help them.

On the way back, above the Lagoon, these thirteen men came upon canoes with Redwood Creek Indians and had a battle before the Indians withdrew. They then came upon Bald Hill Rancheria and were going to attack, but the occupants had “departed to more peaceful scenes.“

At the mouth of the Trinity River, Durkee’s ferry, they believed the large Rancheria of Klamath River Indians who they believed had attacked Blackburn’s place, but they’d been warmed of the attack and only a few of the 300 occupants were still there, so the party disbanded and went their several ways. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that the owners in Oregon went to examine the site. The place was deserted and left in “ruin and desolation” so they left off pursuing and got back to prospecting up the Klamath River.

Then Harry Wells tells about the founding of Happy Camp and the Fight at Lowden’s Ferry
To Quote Wells, “The founders of Happy Camp, late in July 1851 were Charles McDermit, Abisha Swain, Gwin R. Tompkins, Charles D. Moore, Thomas J. Roach, L. H. Murch, J.H. Stinchfield, Mr. Cochrane, Jeremiah Martin, William Bagley, Daniel McDougall, Jack McDougall, William McMahon and James Carr. They built a cabin which they used as a store-house, and Cochrane remained there to look after the property and mules, while the others scattered along the river mining. Sundays, all met at the cabin.”

With the prospects looking good, around the campfire, the men decided to name the camp, Happy Camp! Happy Camp has endured for 167 years! Many places were abandoned, as prospectors went to where the rumors of gold strikes sounded promising, but Happy Camp is still here.

It had previously been named Murder’s Bar from two prospectors, William Mosier and (Mr) McGee (or by some given as Mr. Reaves) deaths, but a short time before. Therefore, miners were afraid to trust the occupants of the Rancheria upriver a bit. The injunction to keep away from the cabin was not heeded and the sad events at Lowdens Ferry followed. Sadly, conflict, and vengeance were prominent in the early days, bringing death and vigilanteism. It has taken time and the healing of many wounds, to have the community work together in unity, but Happy Camp is a happy place, and the neighbors work together as willing volunteer, buidling a log high school (1933) a Fire Hall and Grange, and the former Clinic on Parkway. when we work together amazing things area accomplished!!

Note:Redick McKee mentions the camp on November 8, 1851 as “Mr. Roache’s Happy Camp at the place called Murderer’s Bar.” Before that, the Karuk name for the site previously there was Akuknihraanhirak. Much later, H. C. Chester, who interviewed Jack Titus about 1883 states that Titus claimed he named the town when his friend, James Camp declared, This is the happiest Day of my life” when he arrived here but this was a decade later.

Mardi gras dinner gathering…

Masks and beads and bangles for Mardi Gras in Happy “

Saturday there was a Mardi gras gathering in Happy Camp. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors decided to close our Happy Camp Airport due to lack of maintenance and user fee income. They have applied to the State of California for abandonment of our Happy Camp Airport as well as the Butte Valley Airport.

This did not set will with some of the Happy Camp Community. Katherine Dagastino is the Executive Director of Hope for Happy Camp, a new nonprofit organization in Happy Camp. She invited the community to the Mardi Gras Dinner Party and Silent Auction Saturday. Jeff Ellison and Francine Banzali, were serving the red beans and rice with andouille sausage, salad as well as beverages and desserts for purchase. There is usually nothing so effective to getting a gathering than serving food!! Wonder why that is.!!

The purpose of the benefit was to Save the Happy Camp Airport, providing the committee with funds to begin the process of legalities and Federal Aviation Administration requirements, such as the airport being too short for commercial planes, which would pay the fees to use the airport for coming in. There is also no lighting for evening use. Those who have been researching the issues causing this action mentioned that some trees may need to come down in adjoining properties, weeds and the runway maintenance issues. The Federal Aviation Administration of the United States is a national authority with powers to regulate all aspects of civil aviation

Wendy Beth Buchanan said that in a town full of loggers, it shouldn’t cost us $150,000 to get some trees trimmed. Many residents use firewood and could use the wood as well as being experienced loggers. There was a signup sheet for community members to help remedy some of the problems such as removing sprawling shrubbery and overgrown trees too near the runway. The runway itself may need a total resurfacing which may cost at least $150,000.

The information which Katherine printed out mentioned that our community has few ways of accessing the outside world. In major calamities, when roads may be closed by flood or fire, Katherine feels the airport serves as the only link to help citizens in need. It is true that when Greyback Road to Oregon is closed due to impassable snow, and there is flooding of the Creeks and Klamath River over Highways, or fire, smoke, mud and rock slides, when traffic may be diverted, it can be difficult getting out of town by driving on Highway 96. . If you wish to volunteer to help in the labor of making the Airport more welcoming or to donate to the expenses give Katherine a call at 901-679-6192

We have great appreciated the helicopters from Mercy Flights who can come to take injured or ill patients to medical treatment. During the infamous, 1964 flood the Red Cross brought in food and necessities by helicopter as well

When Larry Wright lived at the airport he mowed lawns and had a campsite available.It was always fun to see the fishing enthusiasts fly in and come down past our cabin to fish in the Klamath! Of coursE, Lairy Dobbins ran a shuttle service up to the airport to the Dunaway House, which tells you it was long ago.

Letter and photos from the President to Happy Camp,,,,

DennisDay’s letter from the President

Dennis Day of Happy Camp stopped by to share the letter that he received from President Trump. He also received a photograph of President Trump and Vice President Pence in the Oval office. The letter was addressed as well to the W O L F, Web of Life Foundation, Dennis’ philosophical philosophy which can be seen on his website.

Dennis is back in Happy Camp after some months away visiting the further south areas of the country. When he was here before, he was the planner and builder of the large Dreamatcher at the end of Davis Road.

Top Dog Fishing is Sunday, February 18th (River Conditions permitting)

Mario Gomez, Ironhead guide on the Klamath River

Hope that the weather is great for the Greatest Fishing contest on the Mid-Klamath River, the Top Dog Fishing Derby!

All Fishing fans are invited to join the fun and the competition and earn bragging rights, glory and dollars as well. They split the money collected with the winners and a fun for youth and baseball in Somes Bar. That event is planned for February 18th if the weather and river conditions permit. If the weather and river conditions do not permit, Sunday Feb 25th or March 4th will be the 1st and 2nd back up possibilities.

The Top Dog Fishing Derby begins with check in at the Salmon River Outpost 7:30 to 9:30 on the morning of the event, no earlier.

The Checkout deadline is 5:30 at the Salmon River Outpost. There is a $100 per boat entry fee with one to three per boat. Those who fish from the bank only pay $50 per person. Prizes are based on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd length of the fish. The contestants must have a digital camera and tape measure to record catches along with assigned card which must be included in the fish picture. The competitors must follow all regular fish and game regulations, drift boats only, no motors.

Freedom will Ring with Love!

Red, brown, yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight!

Did you enjoy your day off yesterday?? What does one do for Martin Luther King Jr. Day? We remember what the person whose birthday we are celebrating stood for, and in the case of King, died for!

Dr. King is probably, to my recall, the only Christian Pastor that is honored with a National Holiday in the United States, and in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, on August 28th, 1963, he reminded his audience of the Emancipation Proclamation of Lincoln.

“But he also said, “But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro (sic)is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…

“Today, we have a nation where African Americans have attained vast material prosperity, as president of the United States, another candidate for president who is a world reknown surgeon, and leaders in many areas besides the political. This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.” And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!…From every mountainside, let freedom ring. When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Billy Graham had gone to Dr. King a decade earlier when their was unrest and protests in the streets. Billy often said, “God does not look on the outside appearances, He looks on the heart” so how to reach red, yellow, black, brown, and white. We all have the same heart underneath and have the same Creator. Dr. King advised Billy about the segregation of the Crusade meetings that he held and thousands came, and sat next to each other, for the first time in many of the areas. King also said that he would continue to work “in the streets, and maybe die there,” as came true April 4, 1968.

Happy Camp is a rural, almost frontier, area with about 980 to 1,190 population or 96.4 persons per square mile, Of that population 62.9% is white, 23.4% is Native American, 6.5 Hispanic, 4.3% are of Asian descent and 0.4% are African American ethnicity. Other things that divide us, unfortunately. What we all need to strive for is love, togetherness and unity. Only working together can we achieve what we all want for our community. Meet a stranger today, welcome someone new, and greet all you meet with a welcoming smile!! When we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

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