Poem/ the High School Built of Logs by Bill Gates (’37)

We are grateful to Bill Gates ‘37
author of this poem for sharing it!

Where the Indian met the Klamath, and the Klamath flowed to the sea,
Through the canyons and the chasms full of magic mystery
Where old Preston towered o’er Baldy an Baldy towered o’re Cade
And Cade looked down on a little town in a lovely little glade.
There in the summer sunshine and in the winter fogs
Was the most wonderful of high schools, entirely built of logs.

Still the Klamath meets the Indian where the float is flecked with foam
And the salmon and the steelhead search the shallows for a home
Still the pines and fir and cedars cast their cooing, soothing shade
On the hamlet queer and the high school dear in that lovely little glade.
Now I am old and far removed and my reverting memory fogs
Built I still return affection for my high school built of logs.

For Information on the Log Memorial Building that was built with community effort in 1933 see another post

Old Redwood Log Canoe

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).


From “Before The White Man Came”
by Charles S Graves c1934

Composed by Sarah Barney and sung by
Sarah and Mae Barney during the ceremony
of dedication of Happy Camp High School.

Down in a valley
In Happy Camp,
In our log High School
A tribute by all;

Willing hands lended
Lumber was bought,
Logs brought from mountains
To our School lot.

Community Spirit
Labor and toil
Community Spirit
For our High School.

Indian Creek murmurs
Down ‘neath the bank,
Whispering a message
As it goes by.

We’re proud of our High School
Our vision came true,
That we had pictured
From years before.

It’s through our efforts
Burdens and trials,
That our log High School
Stands here today.

Community Spirit
Labor and Toil
Community Spirit
Made our High School.

Editor’s Note: See more information on the Log Memorial High School in Happy Camp and how it was built on the Community page.

Early photo of little log high school & students.

Log Haven in the Hills

by Leon L. Loofbourow
We have all read of the original John Wesley runing three times around the Charter House school quadrangle each morning to build up his weak body. But haven you heard of one John Wesley who won the 462 mile marathon race from San Francisco’s City Hall to Grants Pass Oregon?
In 1927 the Redwood Empire Association, as its advertising feature, planned an Indian Marathon Race over the Redwood Highway. Of eleven entrants, two boys from our work on the Klamath River won first and second places! John Wesley Southard received first award for completing the race in less than a week–as I remember it, in six days, twentythree hours and sixteen minutes.
This particular John Wesley story begins a century ago when the California gold rush, like the Kingdom of Heaven gathered all kinds. He sought his fortune far down the Klamath River. I have never heard how much “dust” he acquired. But he married an Indian woman and when the placers played out, unlike many of the miners, he stayed by his family on the Klamath. Their oldest son was named Lee in loyalty to the great Christian captain of the Confederacy, Robert E. Lee.
I was guest one night in the Lee Southard home. (We were to try our luck for bear next day.) At family prayers my host brought out his Bible and old Moody and Sankey song books. I thought I would try out the family knowledge of the Scriptures, so suggested that we repeat together instead of reading. All went well with the group through Psalm 23. Some of the circle were uncertain on Psalm 1. But Mr. Southard and I kept going until I thougth it wise to call our Bible marathon a tie, and we prayed. But it made me realize that ‘Forty -Niner John Wesley did not leave his faith in Louisiana–he had “taught it diligently” to his son.
The Lee Southards named their first born, John Wesley, for his grandfather. In the Redwood Empire Marathon the newspapers thought they must have “heap big Injun” names for the runners, so a waiting world was informed that MAD BULL won the race. But Mad Bull was only the way the papers featured John Wesley Southard, son of School District Trustee–Church School Superintendent Lee Southard, grandson of ‘Forty-Niner John Wesley Southard.
Months later I heard that a younger brother of John’s had died and wrote to the family. I quote from Lee Southard’s answer:
“We have one consolation, that those who die without the law shall be judged without the law, and Gorham was a good boy and never harmed anyhone. But he never had chance of a religious training further than his mother and I had taught him. Should you ever get back up this way I wish you to preach his funeral.
The next summer the log church in Happy Camp was built, its nearest meetinghouse neighbor being 75 miles away. The first service in it was the memorial for this boy who “never had the chance of a religious training further than what his mother and I taught him.”

Ora Evans Head Remembered

Ora Evans Head was born to Nathan D. and Edith Gordon Evans on February 2, 1894. The place of her birth on the old Evans Ranch on the east side of the Klamath Rover near China Creek. They were among the first pioneers in the area, then farmers, and later merchants.

She lived some of her early years on that same ranch along with two sisters, Maude and Pearl, and a brother, Neil. They were hard years, filled with chores and few of the niceties of today. Some winters were long and the food scarce. She loved cabbage which still tasted good to the end.

In order to attend school, Ora traveled by horseback or by horse and buggy to a country school located at Grider Creek near Seiad. There she first met Guy Head, whom she later married.

She had spoken of coming with her father into Happy Camp to buy the staples for the winter. It meant an overnight trip by buggy and crossing the river on the ferry at the Gordon Ranch. When her family moved into Happy Camp to establish and operate a general store, life changed and became much easier in many respects. Ora began attending school in Happy Camp and continued attending this school from then on.

She often spoke of the Chinese mining people, their town within this town, with its center near the present Pence home. The Chinese treated her kindly, much as they would treat one of their own children. From the Chinese people she learned stoic patience, acceptance of life’s cares, and love of Chinese ginger candy which stayed with her for the rest of her life.

Because her mother was so very ambitious for her children’s further education, she established a boarding hotel while Nate carried on the store business. After graduation from elementary school, Ora attended Teacher’s Normal School at Chico, California. She graduated from that school in 1915. She taught at the Horse Creek Country School with twelve kids for two terms before entering into her 47 year marriage commitment to Guy Thomas Head on the eve of Christmas of the year 1917. They were married in Yreka, California.

Ora and Guy began their married life in Happy Camp, but moved several times to accommodate the varied occupations of Guy Head. One of Guy’s first jobs was that of a stage driver and mail carrier. He handled a four horse team on the route from Happy Camp to Yreka. The road was made of dirt and many times the mountain roads were quite perilous as it traversed along the river and over the mountain. The round trip took about ten days. Humbug Mountain near Yreka was the steepest and the toughest to cross. He spoke of many mishaps—getting through mud, fording creeks, meeting schedules and overnighting at Hamburg, Horse Creek and other spots where fresh horses were kept. Ora mentioned only in passing what a hard trip it was to go into Yreka for doctors, on business or to move. They were of tough pioneer background and took life as it was without complaints.

Before their marriage, Guy Head had tried the logging occupation. Soon after they were wed, he moved his bride to a logging camp on the mountain near Fort Jones, where she lived in a tent. It was a hard life for them. Their first child, a son was born in Fort Jones in 1918. Two seasons passed there, washing clothes by hand and struggling to keep up. The logger’s life then took them to the pine forests of Chiloquin, Oregon, where he logged with his teams of fine horses for Ewana Box of Klamath Falls. They stayed in that line of work eight more years and three more babies were born. There were two daughters, one of them quite tiny, and another son burn to them. They purchased a house of Klamath Falls, and intended to make it their way of life for the future but a crushed leg injury in 1929 created a change in their intentions.

The death of her father, Nate Evans, in 1925, put the Evans General Store under the management of Oras sister, Pearl and her husband Arthur Attebery. Pearl died on October 7. 1929, making it necessary for Ora and Guy to return to Happy Camp. This move changed their lives again. They formed a business partnership with Ora’s brother-in-law, Arthur Attebery. The Evan’s Mercantile, a general store in Happy Camp was founded in 1930.

The young couple, with firm desire for a better way of life for their family of four children and security for themselves, tackled the new business with great vigor. It was the beginning of a great deal of work to become the fulfillment of a dream. Their natural gifts, honesty, strength, perseverance, and pure stubbornness made the business grow and thrive. They went through fires, floods, depression and a world war. They were parted from their two sons to the Army and a son-in-law to the Navy during the duration of the war. It gradually became a three store complex. A ranch on Indian Creek allowed them to get back to horses, cattle and ranching. Her life in the store was a satisfaction as well as a constant struggle.

In 19312 with the founding fathers of the town, Ora and Guy contributed to the building of the only log high school in California. It began to rise during the depression with donated skills and with very little funds. It was almost completed in 1933 when their oldest son was among the first 32 students to attend the opening session. Her other kids attended as they were ready. That high school was an important milestone in the progress of Happy Camp and a lasting gift to the children of our town. It remains in use today for various community purposes and there are plans to use it in the future as a library or museum.

In 1948, the partnership between Ora Head, her husband, Guy Head and Arthur Attebery was dissolved. Arthur retired to his new home on Indian Creek, but the business continued with the help of two sons upon their return from the Navy, until 1956, when the elder son left the business and went into lumber in Happy Camp.

Guy T. was killed by a train-pickup crash in Montague as he was heading home with a load of grain for the store on November 17, 1964. Ora carried on the business with the help of her youngest son, Guy Gilbert, selling out to him in 1977. By now the ranch on Indian Creek had been sold. She retired to her small house on Buckhorn Road and was attended by her faithful friends and ladies from the Happy Camp Bible Church. Her church has been a solace and her source of strength. She considered it her privilege to serve, and it was one of her joys of this life. She had been a constant member in her teenage years. She encouraged and contributed much to the building of the log cabin church was built in 1928. It carries on without her now, but had claimed her as their oldest member at the time of her departure. When there was no preacher, she conducted the Sunday School on her own. Lena Grant Swearingen came to help after the war. The two of them kept the church going through many years as others came to help for a time and frequently moved on after few years.

After a fall from a chair in her home in 1982, causing a broken hip and after many complications, she was moved to Eldorado Convalescent Home in Placerville, California in 1986 to be near her eldest daughter, Celia Wayland of that city. Ora’s son, Guy Gilbert Head died in 1988 while she was still living with her daughter.

Her life spanned from the horse and buggy days to the travel of jets and even rockets to the moon; from the lonely isolation of reading by candle light to television, computers and crowded cities. If you had told her so long ago when she was on her father’s ranch that she would see so many changes and wonders of man, she would not have thought it possible. She lived each day the best way she could, with God’s help and with good humor. None of her life was easy, but it was a busy and productive life among the people and town she loved.

She left behind one son, Edward E. Head of Happy Camp, Two daughters, Celia Wayland of Placerville and Ruth de Couz of San Jose, California., Eight grandsons, two granddaughters, five great-grandsons and six great-granddaughters were the other descendants still living.

Ora Evans Head died peacefully at the age of 95(soon to be 96) in Placerville, California, on Tuesday January 23, 1990. She was laid to rest beside her partner and only love, Guy Thomas Head. With her passing goes out one of the last pioneers who helped to shape out country into the great country that it is. Her life in Happy Camp will be remembered with thoughtful praise and heartfelt thanks.

Three Natives Along the Klamath!


Ray Stores, the man who killed the lion, is holding the heard: Rudolph Blockwell is twisting the lion’s tail. Ray has killed many of these big cats and by so doing has saved the lives of many deer, as it is estimated that a lion will kill one deer a week.

The building pctured here is that of the old (American House Hotel) Cuddihy place and is now owned by Mr. & Mrs. Baker. It looks the same as it did over fifty years ago on my first visit to Happy Camp. It was then that I first met Martin Cuddihy. I arrived there tired and footsore, hungry and thirsty after a long walk over a steep pack trail. There were no roads to Happy Camp at that time, now was it in Siskiyou County but was a part of Del Norte County. Martin Cuddihy tried to persuade me to have a small drop of liquor, and he did not have to try very hard. He then offered me food and shelter for as long as I cared to stay. He told me that he set the best table of any hotel in Northern California and in that respect I soon found that he was telling the truth. I also found that Martin never refused food to a hungry man, even though he knew that he would never receive any money.

Martin Cuddihy crossed the Great Divide many years ago. They have missed him in Happy Camp, and we all know that His “eternal lot as been cast with those who know no sorrow and can feel no pain” And so9 long as I* live I will remember Martin Cuddihy as one of the finest among those fine old timers.

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