Jacks Valley Water Trough - Lassen County, CA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NW_history_buff
N 40° 29.498 W 120° 33.409
10T E 707055 N 4485193
Quick Description: This E Clampus Vitus historical marker sits just off Hwy 139 in Lassen County, CA and claims the nearby watering trough as the only one of its kind in northeastern California.
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 7/7/2014 7:34:48 PM
Waymark Code: WMM2D5
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Manville Possum
Views: 3

Long Description:
If you're driving too fast south along Hwy 139 in Lassen County, you'll miss this E Clampus Vitus historical marker. It's much more noticeable on the west side of the road traveling north. The rock monument contains a bronze plaque that reads:

JACKS VALLEY

NAMED FOR JOHN "COYOTE JACK" WRIGHT WHO LEFT HERE IN 1869. BY 1880, FIVE WAGON ROADS CONVERGED HERE WHICH RESULTED IN VARIOUS ESTABLISHMENTS OVER THE YEARS INCLUDING A STAGE STATION, SALOON, SAWMILL, DANCEHALL, LOGGING CAMP, AND AGRICULTURAL INSPECTION STATION. THIS WATER TROUGH, BUILT IN 1913 FOR THE BENEFIT OF TRAVELLERS, IS THE ONLY ONE OF ITS KIND IN NORTHEASTERN CALIFORNIA.

DEDICATED JULY 9, 1983
BY
E CLAMPUS VITUS
NEVER SWEATS CHAPTER 1863

CALIFORNIA REGISTERED POINT OF
HISTORIC INTEREST NO. LAS-002.

The watering trough is in pretty good shape for being over 100 years old. I don't know if it currently functions since we stopped here during the dead of winter in December.

We quickly looked around the vicinity and could not find any remnants of prior civilization here, although they might exist through further digging around the area.

I also located an online article from ancestry.com by a Tim I. Purdy, who elaborates on the history behind this marker and it reads:

On May 13, 1983 the California State Historic Resources Commission approved the application of the Neversweats Chapter #1863 E. Clampus Vitus for a new historic landmark in Lassen County. The landmark is that of Jacks Valley. Jacks Valley is located ten miles north of Susanville on Highway 139 and its one remaining landmark is familiar to many local residents; that being a cement water trough. The water trough has been in service for weary travelers of this route for seventy years. (built in 1913) The cement water trough was built as a joint venture between prominent Willow Creek Valley rancher, Thomas Hill and the County of Lassen. A unique feature is that the water is piped from a spring located 900 yards distant.

Jacks Valley has had an interesting past since it was first settled by Thomas Pearson in 1864. Pearson never lived long enough to see any development there, for he perished in a snowstorm on New Year's Day 1865 while returning home from Honey Lake Valley. Though Pearson's unfortunate demise was a another man's opportunity. In 1865 John C. Wright took possession of Pearson's claim. Though Wright's residence was a brief four years, his legacy remains. Wright was well known locally as 'Coyote Jack' and it is from that the small valley there is called Jacks Valley.

The discovery of the mines at Hayden Hill and the settlement of the northern sectors of Lassen County and also that of Modoc County brought a number of emigrants passing through Jacks Valley by the 1870s. An important road network was consolidated into a mile stretch there. By 1880 five major wagon roads converged there, leading to Belfast, Hayden Hill, Alturas via Horse Lake and varied locations to Honey Lake Valley.

After Wright's departure, numerous individuals settled on his claim, though none ever remained long enough to make a legal claim. During the developing stages of the road network, this place seemed promosing for an entreprenuer to locate.

In 1875 V. R. Barnhart sold his lucrative Chinatown properties in Susanville and came to Jacks Valley. Barnhart established a stage station there, but failed to make a success of it. Four years after Barnhart's embarkment of operations, Frank Fluery took possession of the abandoned claim. Fluery, who was referred as the 'Frenchman', transformed the stage station into a saloon. Fluery's watering hole became quite popular during the 1880s. One observer noted: "For ten cents Fluery will give you enough to make you happy, to cause you to forget all your trials, troubles and tribulations for a time." Fluery sold out to Albert J. Conklin in 1889 and Conklin continued the saloon operation for a few years. Conklin, however it better known, left for a different development at that place.

During 1906-1907 Lassen County and the State of California experienced a major lumber shortage. (Note: It was that crisis that the citrus growers established the Fruit Growers Supply Co.--sorry can't escape that topic!) This created in part by the demand for lumber in the mining towns of Nevada, the reconstruction of the San Francisco Bay area after the great earthquake of 1906; and the construction of the Western Pacific Railroad. These matters prompted Conklin to build and operate a sawmill in the spring of 1907. Conklin's mill had a daily capacity of 15,000 board feet. The mill furnished the needs of the southern portion of Willow Creek Valley and adjacent areas, for Hurlburt's were operating a sawmill in the northwest region of Willow Creek.

In 1920 Conklin retired from active operation and sold out to W.J. Johnson. Johnson operated the mill for approximately three years until selling out to the Red River Lumber Company, who dismantled the mill. It appeared logging operations of the area had met its fate. Then in August 1926 a major brush and forest fire ravaged the area, encompassing some 20,000 acres. The following year the Red River Lumber Company established Camp 70 at the old Conklin millsite to salvage the fire killed timber. Camp 70 existed for only one year and was a truck logging camp consisting of sixty men.

There are also two other notable events at Jacks Valley to occur. Sometime in the mid 1920s area residents renovated the old Conklin house into a dance hall. Dances were held there on a regular basis until 1932. During 1932-33 an Agricultural Inspection Station was located next to the water trough. This was due to the fact Honey Lake Valley had been battling an alfalfa weevil infestation since the mid 1920s, which finally required a quarantine of the region for two years.

Tim


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