Was Thompson Creek known as Nolton?
by Judy Bushy
Recently there was an inquiry about the Nolton name at Thompson Creek. I wish that we could talk to Violet Anderson! Violet wrote to me telling about her memories of Thompson Creek.
She particularly was telling how the Chinese workers digging ditches for John Wood up Thompson Creek saw a large hairy man digging and eating roots. They were really scared. and refused to return to work! After awhile they convince them that a gorilla had fallen off a circus train and got them back to work. The story was well known in the area in the early 1900’s according to Violet Anderson.
Someone has presented the theory that they were familiar with the Abominable Snowman stories and even though the beast had been quietly digging roots, they wanted a few days off. However, most accounts had no doubt that they were really frightened. The China Flat Museum downriver has a skull of the Abdominal Snowman in their newer Bigfoot section of the museum.
They were paid by the foot of dirt they moved, so they got back digging the Seattle Ditch Job. I thought Ben Shinar was involved with the stage there but Violets account say Ben and his boys were the ones involved in the ditch built in 1895 that carried water to Menetta Bee Mine. There aren’t many old timers, like Violet, here to tell us more about the “good old days.” We miss them!
She recounted how the first settlers of Thompson creek were all killed between the late 1850’s-60’s except Mr Thompson who hid in caves between forks of Thomson Creek. ,. He wasn’t to escape later after he had built another cabin,
Later, some men found a rusty gold pan with heavy gold and nearby a pouch with nuggets.
As time went on there was a store, and boarding house and Nolton Post office run by Clara Wood. It was a stage stop.. There was a large barn for horses and mules, put together with wood pegs. Clara’s husband John had a sawmill up Thompson Creek in 1867.to what is called Mill Creek and floated umber down the ditch.
Violet wrote about Kate Fehley in the Klamath River #2 issue of the Siskiyou Pioneer. Kate’s proper name was Catherine Augusta Wood born 1875 to John and Clara Wood. They had eleven children but three died in childhood. John and Clara homesteaded at Thompson Creek in 1879 where they lived the rest of their lives. When Kate was born, John was Sheriff of Happy Camp.
Those who didn’t want them there brought a gift of a squirrel that had been poisoned as the whole family became ill after eating it. In fact July 5, 1869 Margaret Ellen died and then John Walter.
There were lots of girls to help Clara but help was needed to help her father at the sawmill and so Kate had to step up to help. Kate could shoot as well as her brothers and loved music and her violin playing was appreciated at local dances.
When the Wood home burned tin 1905 the only thing saved was pump organ. It was precous because it came around the Horn for Clara.
When she was 17 Kate married Robert E. Wood., who a friend of the family, not related. They had two children Edward and Emma but divorced.
She later married Elmer Fehley, miner from Oregon. For awhile they moved down river to Orleans to work at Big Bar mine. Elmer Jr. and Edith Goldie were born there.
Kate passed away September 7th, 1970 on her 95th birthday at Beverly Manor. Kate was buried in Fort Goff Cemetery with her Father John, Mother Clara, brothers sisters husband Elmer and her children. William Wood had donated the land for the Fort Goff Cemetery in the late 1860’s.