by Judy Bushy
The County Museum in Yreka has had beautiful wedding apparel on display and the Outdoor Museum grand Re-opening recently. What a pleasant surprise at the Museum last week! While I stopped by to pick up some information for a friend doing research, they asked whether it was the book I’d come for. Not having received the letter in the mail, or e-mail yet, hadn’t realized the book was ready. The Siskiyou Pioneer. Each year for the past seventy or so years, the Siskiyou County Historical Society has put out an annual book about the history of some area of the county This year is “Grenada: The first 100 years from 1916 – 2016.”
The first part included previously unpublished articles from the research files of the Siskiyou County Historical Society as well as articles submitted by local authors. Then there are selections scanned from the 1959 Siskiyou Pioneer, a photo gallery, advertisement and information on the Society and museum volunteers and memorials. I’m so glad that they also include an index so I’m able to locate a photo of freight teams in Happy Camp on page 73, the information that a trail spur (railroad) east off the main line was put in to serve a business called the Happy Camp Lumber Company with plans for a mill and planer. The other account was when the first airplanes to land in Siskiyou County came from Los Angeles on the way to Seattle June 8, 1919. Mr. Harlow got them to land in a field south of Grenada. This caused quite a stir and people came all over the county, and “came by wagon and buggy from as far as Sawyers Bar and Happy Camp , taking three days for the journey each way. “
The fascinating thing about looking in to the past history is that for every new interesting information you find, it seems that it opens up more questions. Don’t know if Happy Camp Lumber came to be, but since it was 81.6 miles from Happy Camp and it would take 1 hour and 43 minutes to get there, I wonder if it was a Happy Camp business, or just made use of the name. Perhaps someone can tell us who remembers Happy Camp Lumber Company from 60 years ago.
We are doing research on the characters in the book “Dear Mad’m. In the story, Stella W. Patterson moves to a rustic miner’s cabin down on the Klamath River when she is 80, which would be 1946, this provides our time frame. Dear Mad’m was published as a magazine serial after her death in December 23, 1955 and the book came out in first American printing that spring, followed by international versions and numerous reprinting. Stella’s story is kept alive now by the paperback book published by Barbara Brown of Naturegraph Publishers in Happy Camp.
Stella left us the memory of her friends and neighbors who lived the simple life deep within the Klamath River valley west of Happy Camp. The world outside doesn’t know “Dear Sir” as Fred Mesner, who took his stepfather’s name of Crooks, “Up n Up” as Clarence “Sy”Jensen, and the mystery of his wife “Nora” in the story , who may have been Laura, continues. “Millicent” as a young girl Arlene Oates who became Mrs. Lee W. Joslin. It is fun to know the characters that Stella shared with us. Come to the Dear Mad’m Symposium at the Yreka Siskiyou County Historical Society October 15th at 12:30 to learn more about the history of this celebrity that lived a quiet life along the Klamath River seventy years ago and still brings fans to see the site these days!!
Her garden was an important part of her life in the cabin on the Klamath River, and she may have just ordered groceries out of Happy Camp, but she poured over European nursery offerings for her garden! Gardening is just as important to many of the residents of the Klamath River area where we live. There is also a Community Garden that is north of the Happy Camp Union Elementary School and community volunteers are being requested. They need tommato cages, fertilizer and lots of stuff, not the least of which is volunteers to weed and spend time helping the garden with their green thumbs! Give Lisa Bousfield a message or call and she can direct your assistance to the proper channels.