I was in the full house at the State Theater when Josh Turner was at Red Bluff last week. It was a great show. Years ago I had seen and heard him at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville sing “Long Black Train” when I attended the Cattle Industry Convention in Opryland. Previously, he had been the master of ceremonies for the opening session of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; American National CattleWomen and Cattlemen’s Beef Council meetings.
Red Bluff’s Chad Bushnell was opening act and had just returned from Nashville. Chad was a member of the California High School Rodeo in District 1 when he was in high school competing in the roping events.
Before the show, we had dinner at Ramos Grille in the Palomino Hall, and several others had an early morning meal before the wonderful music.
This is from the 1991 Tehama County Memoir, a publication of the Tehama County Genealogical and Historical Society. My grandmother, Laura Stiles, authored the letter, and my mother, Anne Willard McNabb, wrote this preface.
Stagecoach in 1888 from Susanville to Oakland by Laura Stiles.
A letter written in 1888 on a stationery in the Oroville Hotel by a student at Mills College, who was making the stagecoach journey on the Humboldt-Humbug road from Susanville to Oroville.
Laura Stiles was the second daughter of Lyman C. Stiles, a cattle breeder from Lassen County. An undergraduate student at Mills College, she made the annual trip to college.
During the night stop at the Oroville Hotel, Laura recounts the stagecoach ride and the visit with friends on the way.
After graduating, Laura returned to Lassen County to teach at a one-room school in Mountain Meadows, northeast of Westwood. Among his students was
Addie (Thompson) Stroing, the mother of our Society President, Lillian (Stroing) Richmond.
Laura met and married in 1902 Hillman Willard, a shepherd from Tehama and Lassen County. They have taken up permanent residence on the family sheep estate in the Antelope Valley near Red Bluff. Their children were Hilda, Lyman (my father) and Hillman C. Willard (the father of Charles, Kirk and Kay.)
Dear Mom: Oroville, California. July 30, 1888
I arrived on the scene at two hours and concluded that I would not go to Marysville as it would be so difficult to travel alone at night.
If you are wasting sympathy on me, don’t because I’m taking advantage of Oroville anyway, I don’t think today is hotter than some days we have at home. Funny for everyone except me who is in a sheer dress trying to imagine that they are very hot.
There seem to be a lot of sick here for three rooms I can hear them in, talk to the sick in this hall, and there aren’t more than fourteen rooms – maybe that’s the coolest part of it. ‘hotel however.
I’m from Magalia or Dog Town with a friend of Kate Day’s and she’s as sweet as she can be; we didn’t stop for dinner and she imposed part of her lunch on me, and she promised to pick me up at six and show me the old house of Mrs. Day and Oroville in general.
She talked about playing the piano while Kate sang and played the guitar; she said Kate was the best guitar player and one of the best singers in Oroville.
I shouldn’t have left Humbug so early, but it takes a while to get to Oakland from there. I had to stay all night in Inskip and here. We left Humbug at three in the afternoon and got to Inskip at half past nine and we had a driver who had crossed the road once before and that was seven years ago. We had a man on stage who knew the road and he and another passenger got out and lit matches in front so he could see where to drive. The reason we were late, they drove a team from Prattsville and a horse was lame and they both gave up, and we took a little walk.
I didn’t think the pilot would bring the team there. The passengers thought Mr. Sherman should be prosecuted.
I would have liked you to come with me because the ride was just lovely, because the scenery was awe-inspiring, but you would have just been shaking.
Mrs. Miller says she’s never seen me so good, having so many colors. She kept telling me that I was just the image of health.
Some of you better go down this winter for a while because it would be dreadful not to see you for a year.
Maggie Maxwell doesn’t go for a while because her mother hadn’t prepared her. She went to find a seamstress. She said if she had known I was going she might have prepared it sooner. Her seamstress has not yet come.
I have finished my paper, so must close, Love everyone at home. Written soon. Your beloved daughter, Laura
Laura’s great-granddaughter Linda last week flew with Kevin from Red Bluff, Tehama County, to see the damage from the Greenville fire in Plumas County, then north to Susanville and Eagle Lake in Lassen County, landing at Adin Ranch in Modoc County. Four counties covered in one hour and forty-five minutes, 133 years later.
Don’t forget The Best Bucking Yard Sale next Friday and Saturday, October 8-9 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at 981 1st St., Red Bluff. This is a fundraiser for the Red Rock Monument at the Red Bluff Round-Up Museum.
Jean Barton has been writing his column in the Daily News since the early 1990s. She can be reached by email at [email protected]