Archiver > NEWSPAPER-ABSTRACTS > 2001-04 > 0986322884

From: "Inez" <>
Subject: [News] Red Bluff Daily News
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001 11:34:44 -0700

Red Buff Daily News
Red Bluff, Tehama County, California
January 31, 2001
By......Carolyn Barber, Daily News Correspondent

Lyonsville? Where on earth is that? Those community members who have
lived in Tehama County for less than 30 years may not have heard of the
little village of Lyonsville nestled in the trees about 40 miles east of Red
Bluff. To get the full effect of the early-day community which thrived in
Lyonsville, one would need to take the old-fashioned way of getting to that

When traveling from Red Bluff via Hogsback Road and Belle Mill Road, you
eventually reach the Lyonsville Mill where the hub of employment and
activity for the residents, which included a significant number of Chinese

The Chinese workers wanted to be paid in coin rather than checks. On
one occasion a stage driver was carrying the Chinese payroll and mail to
Lyonsville and while enroute was stopped by a masked man. The robber fired
a shot, then stampeded the horses up the hill, carrying the coach and driver
to saftey. Another dangerous incident occurred on the road to Lyonsville in
1924; a Mr. HERMASON was killed when he tried to apprehend bank robbers who
had been suspected of robbing the Band of Tehama County in Red Bluff. The
men fatally shot Mr. HERMASON and stole his car. The rocky Hogsback Road
was not adaptable to their increased speed and the outlaws were captured
near Lyonsville by Coyle TURNER and Dobie BAKERVILLE.

The Bell Mill lumber operation employed many of the people in
Lyonsville, including the Chinese laborers mentioned earlier. Transporting
the lumber from the lumber camps was a challenge; a flume was constructed
and was overseen by flume tenders, one of whom was Eli MOULTON. The flume
was often referred to as Ellsworth's Folly, for C.F. ELLSWORTH, and was
completed in 1872. The flume not only served as a mode of transportation,
but supplied water for the early settlers to use during the evening hours.
There is some evidence that disputes over the use of this water was a
recurring issue.

There are records of families moving their belongings to the valley
below by securing their furniture to boards and floating them down the
flume. On several occasions ill, injured or dead persons were transported
down the flume on board type rafts. A well-known story of one such
transport is that of a Chinese grader who was injured at Lyonsville one
summer and pronounced dead by the company doctor. There was a Chinese
cemetery in the area, however, it was determined that this man should be
transported to Red Bluff via the flume. a woodsman, Pearl EDWARDS, was
chosen to build the flume raft and to accompany the body to the valley. the
first half of the journey down the flume was uneventful, but the second half
of the trip was different. During the moonlight ride, the dead man suddenly
came to life and remained in a semi-conscious state for the rest of the
trip. It would have been interesting to see the surprised look on the face
of Mr. EDWARDS. Records show that the injured Chinese worker was released
to his fellow countrymen on Rio Street in Red Bluff.

Stories abound in relationship to the adventures experienced on the
flume and on the old road from Lyonsville to Red Bluff. Another story was
that of the FATCH family childern who often had races. Half of the children
would ride the flume rafts and the other half raced them down the road on
horseback. When the racers arrived at their destination, they would ride
double back to the top and the opposite siblings would board the flume rafts
to take another run down the flume, which was reported to expedite travel up
to 50 miles per hour. There are no recorded injuries as a result of this
dangerous racing.

According to previously chronicled information about the Lyonsville,
Paynes Creek and Antelope Valley regions, the area of Lyonsville, situated a
few miles from Paynes Creek, hosted boarding houses, saloons and general
supply stores. Social life was not lacking as dances are pictorially
documented with a large one being held in the 1890s with the NANNEY Family
orchestra providing the music for the occasion.

The Lyonsville Belle Mill Cemetery was established in 1862 and still
stands behind fenced and gated perimeters. The mountain cemetery contains
head stones of many of the early day residents with both white and Indian
settlers buried beneath the trees. The graves include several infants and
young children. Reading such markers makes one curious at to the early
demise of the youngsters. Whether due to lack of modern medical care or to
the hardships of the early days, we are only able to speculate.

Located not far from the Belle Mille Cemetery is the TURNER ranch, about
14 miles from Paynes Creek. It is one of the oldest ranches in the area.

It is said that its history goes back to the 1850s. It was said that
local Indians had used the lower meadow "Rosebud Flat" as a meeting place.

Gary STANDISH TURNER acquired the ranch in 1872. One of the original
TURNER daughters, Alice, married a millwright who was working in the area.
His name was John "Jack" TURNER. the couple remained on the ranch and had
six children. Coyle TURNER was one of the children. He married a
schoolteacher, Nancy WILKINSON, in 1920 and five children were born: Helen,
Janet, Nancy, Jack and Scott, who still lives in the Red Bluff area.

A picture from the book "Tehama Treasures" shown Lee MYERS standing next
to an old logging team of eight horses as he drives them through the
Lyonsville area. In the day in which we live, we stand in awe to look at
such a team traveling an area where modern day 4X4's would be the expected
form of transportation.

Butte School was located to the east of where the Belle Mille and Plum
Creek roads meet. Several families located homes close to the school. the
school and residence were located near to the present Christmas Tree Farm.
I suspect that the house referred to as the "shake house" got its name from
the early day production of shakes at one of the mills in Lyonsville. The
ground that once hosted the Belle Mill and the Champion Mill is a present
day wood lot. When I visited this spot and gazed at the land. I used my
imagination to envision what it looked like during the existence of the

As I perused the books at the Tehame County Library, I was thankful to
those early-day pioneers who wrote bits and pieces of the local history. We
who follow can vicariously experience the toil of our predecessors in
developing the lands and economy of Tehama County. It was quite a surprise
to find the record of a family relative of my own listed in the book "We Are
Not Forgotten: by Hobart MOULTON. The R.R. SWANSON Telephone Company
Central, which was located in Antelope in the early days and ran line 1-wire
with a ground to not only Antelope Valley, but also to Paynes Creek and
Manton. The telephone company was owned by J.T. SWANSON and Leslie SWANSON.
Leslie was married to Faye HACKER who was my aunt. Mrs. J.T. SWANSON was
the switch-board operator. In later years, when the telephone company was
disbanded, I remember going to my aunts and grandmother's houses in Antelope
and playing operator with the remnants of the telephone equipment.

This article is ment to be a motivator for the reading of all the
already written epistles of Tehama County which can be found in the Tehama
County Library shelves. Combined with interviews with several historians in
our area, my curiosity and desire to read and write more history has been
most certainly awakened. In addition to the books previously mentioned, I
would suggest the reading of "Early Day Sheep Drives From Tehama County",
"Chinese In Tehama County", and "Fire Mountain" for more details of past

One of the persons I had the privilege of interviewing was Beverly OGLE
of Paynes Creek. She is the author of "Whisper of the Maidu." As we spoke
of the Lyonsville history I had read, the stories came alive and the people
became profoundly real to me. Mrs. OGLE is currently working on more
writings about the pioneers and residents of the Mill Creek area. She has
been active in preserving the culture of her tribe and was involved in the
process of returning Ishi to the land of his heritage. For those of us who
have read books on Ishi and are interested in Indian heritage, we will want
to watch for Mrs. OGLE's article which will be published in a future edition
of Smithsonian magazine. The Lyonsville area had many Indian residents who
contributed to the development of the essential history of the area.

Submitted by
Inez Moyle

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