140 Years for Happy Camp Post Office & Scott Valley Bank

Skip Davis, Linda Kufner at Anniversary

Photos by Dan Bushy

Wednesday was a big celebration in Happy Camp. Both the Happy Camp Post office and the Happy Camp Branch of the Scott Valley Bank were celebrating 150-year anniversaries.

Did you see the man in bowler hat and old-fashioned banker attire? It was the Scott Valley Bank founder, A. B. Carlock. One hundred and fifty years ago that financial institution began and is still serving our Siskiyou County residents today. The Scott Valley bank has been in Happy Camp for forty-one years also! Just ask one of the old timers about the bank robbery where the robbers escaped a few years ago.

The celebration was held at the Happy Camp Post office on Davis Road next to the New 49’ers building. There was canopy protection from the rain and many residents of the area stopped by for delicious hamburgers.

Back when Henry Doolittle was appointed postmaster in March 19, 1858 Happy Camp was in Del Norte County. (The boundaries were redrawn to put us in Siskiyou County in 1889) Recent postmasters Lucinda Sturdevant (4/01/2006) Pauline Attebery (officially 6/12/1971) Jay Clark (2/17/1996) who enlivened parades as a long-legged Uncle Sam, and Linda Kufner (12/19/95) were present to celebrate the 150th anniversary.

The Post Office and bank have given many years of service to this community on the Klamath River corridor. Makes us feel as if we have some ties with civilization out there!

Henry Doolittle, A Happy Camp Pioneer

By Linda Martin

Richard Ramsey, the great-grandson of Happy Camp pioneer, Henry Doolittle, signed the guestbook of the Happy Camp History website this last week and solved one of our long-standing mysteries for us. He told us where Henry Doolittle went when he left Happy Camp in the early 1870’s!

To this day, Henry Doolittle is one of the best-known gold-rush era Happy Camp settlers. There’s a street named Doolittle in the center of town and there’s Doolittle Creek Road a few miles north, off Indian Creek Road too. At one time he and his brothers, Alfonso and Albert, owned most of Happy Camp.

Henry Doolittle sold the lot the Camp Mercantile Store sits on to James and Heil Camp and John Titus in the late 1850’s. He served as postmaster from 1858 to 1860 and from 1864 to 1870, and as Justice of the Peace from 1866 to 1870. He sold his vast properties and extensive business interests in 1872 and left town. Thanks to Richard Ramsey, we now know he moved north to Washington state with his second wife and two children.

Origin of the name of Happy Camp

There are several versions of the story of how Happy Camp got its name. This is one of them.

Origin of the name of Happy Camp
Writen in Happy Camp on June 11th, 1947
By H.C. Chester

About 1882 or 3 I asked Jack Titus who was a partner with James and Hile Camp in the first store opened at Happy Camp, how Happy Camp got its name.

Titus told me he had a small store at the mouth of Titus about fourteen miles below Happy Camp. He said: James and Hile Camp came over the mountains to his store from Eureka. They asked him if there was any level ground up the river where they could open up a business.

Titus told them there was a place about 14 miles up the river at the mouth of a large stream that emptied into Klamath; that there was a very large Indian Village on the banks of this stream and plenty of vacant land to build on. The three of them went up to this large stream and pitched a small tent.

James Camp immediately took in the opportunities that were presented to them, and declared, “This is the happiest day of my life.”

Titus said: “Then we shall call this particular spot ‘Happy Camp’.” They also named the stream “Indian Creek” because there were so many Indians living there.

The three of them made and burned brick, put up a brick building which stands here to-day.

Truly Yours,
H.C. Chester
Happy Camp, Calif.

The original, handwritten copy of this letter is in the archives of the Siskiyou County Historical Society, in Yreka.

Happy Camp historian Judy Bushy believes this version of the naming of Happy Camp is wrong because the Camp brothers were not in the original group of miners who came here. She wrote a letter to the editor about this, but unfortunately over the years it has been misplaced. We may have to wait for her book to be published to find out the true history of the naming of Happy Camp.

Related Websites
Happy Camp History