Squirrel or a lamp post?

Or Camp Grant?

That title was about as random as I could make it for a reason–and blog visitor Skippy is helping to make my point.

No one could identify Fort Grand or the Hausels. Maybe (though I’m not claiming we know for sure) that is because this is CAMP GRANT and the HANSELLS (Skippy’s very plausable theory).

I’ve lectured on this type of thing before but it has been a while.   Please, everyone, mark your photos clearly.  Then scan ’em if you haven’t. Print ’em if all you have are electronic copies.  Both are vulnerable. 

And if you have cool old photos and want to share, email them to me  at historyaddicts@gmail.com  and I’ll post them here. We’d love to see them.

The following came from Skippy.  Thanks Skip !

Here’s my guess about this picture:
It’s not Fort Grand, but Camp Grant near Dyerville on the Eel River.  It’s an easy misnomer to make.  Camp Grant was a military camp under the jurisdiction of Fort Humboldt.  Perhaps Fort and Camp were used interchangeably or confused altogether, and also Grand vs. Grant, too.  When I first saw the picture, this was the location I had immediately in my mind.

Perhaps it’s not the Hausel family pictured here, but the pioneering Hansell family:  Amos Hansell and his two sons (who the woman is, however, is curious.  Amos’ first wife died in 1859.  He married again, to his son’s mother-in-law, Caroline Conrad Guthrie, late in age and around 1892.  Caroline had had 4 previous husbands and ten children by the time she was 42.  She married Amos at age 63.  Amos would have been 67 years old at the time of this picture if taken around 1891-2; his sons, Amos and Harry, would have been 34 and 41.  The ages and subjects– and Caroline–  match up depending when the photo was taken).
Amos Hansell was a postmaster at Camp Grant.  He established a commercial nursery business with his two sons around 1868-72 that operated for decades.  Amos was “well known throughout his part of Humboldt county, and his orchard is one of the finest in the vicinity.”  In the picture, our presumed Amos is holding a melon and surrounded by many well kept apple and fruit trees.
They were renowned and productive nurserymen and orchardists; clearing 30 acres for their many varieties of apple trees (and also growing peaches, pears, cherries, tomatoes, and walnuts).  Amos’ father, a skilled carpenter and joiner, built their house at Camp Grant.  The residence was described as “exquisite, attractive, and in harmony with its surroundings.”
Judging from the pictured location and terrain, apple and fruit trees, the nice residence, well-made fences, subjects, and most likely a prominent and prosperous business warranting an early photograph, this is my best and well-speculated guess.  The rough ages of the subjects seem to correlate.  The Hansell Family at Camp Grant, and not the Hausel family at Fort Grand, appears to be a more likely possibility making sense– but I can’t prove this and it may be mistaken.  Old handwriting, dim memory, and a faulty transcription on a photograph can sometimes lead to these name anomalies, as you know.  From what I can determine, we have no record of either Fort Grand or a Hausel family in Humboldt County.
More on the Amos Hansell family and Camp Grant can be found on the web.  There’s some information on Amos and his family:
Curious to note on that last link:  Amos’ son, Harry Guthrie Hansell, was born in 1886.  The link says, “He (Harry) apparently had a yearning for knowledge and somehow managed to not only gain enough education but also money to attend the University of California at Berkley where he earned his teaching degree. His main interest was history. He returned home to teach the Native Americans at the Humboldt Indian School in the Arcata area.”
I’ve never heard of the Humboldt Indian School.  Have you? (No.  anyone else????)
Perhaps other readers will have more to say about this most intriguing picture mystery!


21 Responses to Squirrel or a lamp post?

  1. olmanriver says:

    First, it is great to have you back at the blog Lynette, we missed you!
    Second, good work Skippy. I had gone onto the !921 Belcher map and seen a Hansell timber holding across the river from Camp Grant but didn’t have the confidence to guess. Your thorough work nailed it! Good sleuthing.

    • Lynette M says:

      Hey River,
      Nice to see you here.
      Yes, I’ve settled into my new home and have my books/research with me again.
      Also feel… anyway, just time to get back into history.
      I hope all is well with you.

      • olmanriver says:

        Good for you Lynette.
        Since we have a Hansell thread going, I will add an undated newspaper mention from the RFD(?). Mrs. Auden Paine (nee Louise Read) of South Fork writes…. “my father, F.L. Read, was Amos Hansell’s hired man in 1910, and later purchased the Camp Grant Ranch from Mr. Hansell’s widow. Daddy has told us many stories about his association with Mr. Hansell, and I remember the one about the bugs and the 900 unshaded tomato plants. This last year we had 1,400 in the same field and sold nine tons of fine tomatoes. My Dad planted both the Jonathan and Gravenstein orchards in 1910 for Mr. Hansell.
        However, the recent flood has written a sad sequel to the story. The magnificent old Pennsylvania Black Walnut tree still stands, but the ranch is now covered with silt ranging from a depth of nine feet at the upper end to four feet further down the valley…
        The county road crew did a good job of geting the road passable, but the result is a dry canal between huge rolls of silt. We are hopeful after debris removal, leveling and seeding, the ranch will again produce the kind of crops you have frequently mentioned as being raised in the upper valleys of the Eel river…”

        My guess is that she is referring to the flood of ’55. She wrote in response to a Feb 13 article in the RFD about Phillipsville and Camp Grant that must have contained the tomato story she refers to.
        What’s the RFD?

        • olmanriver says:

          Doh. Audron Paine was her name, not Audon. excuse me.

        • Lynette M says:

          Ok, I am really thinking that I need to set up a family/genealogy site/subsite.
          Hansell might be the first family I post….

          • Diane Hitchcock-Owens says:

            It would be nice to have a Hansell genealogy website. I am also a descendant of Amos Hansell and feel fairly confident he is a descendant of Peter Hansell who immigrated to Pennsylvania. Amos’ brothers were Lewis and William Evans Hansell. William Evans Hansell died in SF. I found this among my grandfather’s papers, Harry Guthrie Hansell.

            • Lynette M says:

              It really isn’t that hard to set up an independent website/blog. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to do it but you could likely find tutorials and just set up something like this blog-I’m using WordPress. It is free and pretty simple to update.

              • robhitchcock@netzero.com says:

                Lynette! Your blog has really taken off the pictures and articles are interesting! Just a footnote, my daughter and her boyfriend went up to your country and camped, looking for family footprints, I guess. He proposed to her up there and she accepted. Rob Hitchcock1772 Hannah CircleSimi Valley, CA 93063h (805) 583-3674c (805) 501-6281 This e-mail contains confidential and/or privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution and/or the taking of any action based upon reliance on the contents of this transmission without previous permission from the originator is strictly forbidden. If you have received this message in error please notify the sender by return e-mail and delete it from your system.

  2. Sara says:

    Thanks so much for sharing that, Skippy!

  3. skippy says:

    Thank you, Olmanriver and Sara. Lynette makes it fun. Who doesn’t like a mystery?

    Amos Hansell was a very prominent fellow in Humboldt history. As a master carpenter, he came to Humboldt County in 1851 to build the Picayune mill, the first sawmill in Humboldt County. He served previously in the Mexican War, and was involved in the Democratic Party around 1858, as reported in Humboldt and Sacramento newspapers.

    From 1862-3 he served as Captain of the Eureka Rifles and the militia roster shows many prominent citizens serving with him at the time. You may recognize many of the names.

    Amos’ biography reports he “was a friend of Colonel Pratt of old Fort Humboldt, and erected several of the buildings at the fort. He built a number of residences and mills. He served as deputy sheriff for two terms, and was justice of the peace for many years. He was well informed on all points of law and jurisprudence and could easily have gained admittance to the bar.”

    As a renowned orchardist and nurseryman, Amos receiving many awards and prizes noted in agricultural journals for the fruits he grew at Camp Grant. His ranch was “located on the left bank of the Eel river, opposite Camp Grant,—about two miles above Dyerville, and is of a rich, sandy loam, sub-irrigated, and is very productive… In 1872 both the brothers (his sons Amos Jr. and Harry) came down to Camp Grant, to join their father, who had just taken a homestead near that point… There is now on this place, where Mr. Hansell makes his home, a black walnut tree with a spread of ninety feet, and a diameter of three feet and three inches. Here the father and two sons continued to do a flourishing nursery business, until the father retired, in the early ’90s, and removed to Rohnerville, where he continued to reside until the time of his death.

    That large black walnut tree mentioned above was still alive in 1975, as noted by the Times-Standard’s Andrew Genzoli.

    Whether or not this picture is of the Hansell family remains to be seen. It’s a good guess. We might know more if we could see the original photograph notation, place the photograph’s location, or if Hansell ancestors could positively identify the subjects. If this is true, then this photograph of Amos Hansell and his family would be a very rare picture of a famous Humboldt pioneer. And it could be the only one known to exist.

    As a militia member, justice of the peace, and deputy sheriff with ties to both Eureka, Fort Humboldt, and Camp Grant, Amos Hansell was aware of the 1860 Indian Island Massacre and Humboldt’s Indian wars. Did he know of Lucy’s murder, and of the notorious James Brown, as well?

    Mr. Wes Keat (and also Joe George) photographed the Hansell grave marker at Eureka’s Myrtle Grove Memorial cemetery.

  4. Robert J. Hitchcock says:

    It’s a picture (from L to R) of Harry Fox Hansell, next is his son, then his son Harry Guthrie Hansell (for sure! my maternal grandfather), then Amos Hansell (father of Harry Fox and grandfather of Harry Guthrie) and Amos’s wife Caroline Conrad Guthrie. She is not related to these “Harry’s” as she married Amos when he was 67 and but who was also the mother-in-law of another of Amos’s son’s …also a Harry! Confusing? Well, thanks for the additional info!!!! (I have much more family history of the Hansell family from Camp Grant – Ferndale area if interested let me know. My Granddad, Harry Guthrie was one of my favorites! He was a an educator and principal of a junior High school in San Francisco. He loved kids and that is why we have such dfond memories of him when my sisters and I were young.

    • Lynette M says:

      Thanks so much for this !

      • Robert J. Hitchcock says:

        Sure…I can provide you what I have. Some of the pictures are a little crusty, but I treasure them! I have an extensive family history of both my mother and father’s family and have collected many items over the years. My sister, Diane Hitchcock-Owens also has done a lot of family history and I see her website was noted in the blog.

        Give me a chance to get some digital photos and I’ll e-mail them to you…

  5. Robert J. Hitchcock says:

    Oooops! Her name is Caroline Conrad Hansell… not Guthrie!

  6. Robert J. Hitchcock says:

    RE: “I’ve never heard of the Humboldt Indian School. Have you? (No. anyone else????)”

    I have pictures of my Grandad (Harry Guthrie Hansell) teaching the Hoopa Indian children up there. They gave him woven baskets and papooses made of vines and thin pieces of wood. There ‘s a picture of my mother in the papoose frame as a child. I also have a picture of the children in front of a hoisted American flag…less states back then so the stars are pretty big!

    • Lynette M says:

      If you are willing, could you email me some of your photos? I can post them on here with whatever info you’re willing to share.
      I’m sure lots of folks would love to see them.
      If you are willing, scan and email to historyaddicts@gmail.com

      I also have a scanner and we could always work out a time that works for you for me to scan them.
      If interested, let me know.

  7. Robert J. Hitchcock says:

    Did you receive the pictures?

  8. Robert J. Hitchcock says:

    I don’t have much history on Amos’s son Amos Jr. Are there any records that you have come across concerning him? I believe that Harry Fox sold his interest in the family business to his brother and then he moved to Hayward, where our story continues. But I don’t know what happened to Amos Jr other than he married Francis (Whitaker) Randle, b. Hazelton, Ill., the daughter of William and Menah (Hurlston) Whitaker of Kentucky. She was the widow of George Randle, Frances was orphaned at a young age and raised by an aunt in Grant County, Wisconsin.

  9. Ed Short says:

    Hello everyone

    My name is Ed Short. My GGGrandfather was a Lewis Hansell (Amos brother).

    Lewis stayed in Pennsylvania while Amos and another brother William Evans Hansell left for CA in the early 1850’s or so,

    I see several distant cousins on this blog so I just wanted to say hello.

    Great pic!


    • Ed! Got some family history you want to share? I am curious about GGGrandfather Amos’s family back east as he is my earliest ancestor I have info on. My e-mail address is robhitchcock@netzero.com if you want to share. I have a lot on the family of Amos that I would be willing to share as well. Let me know! –
      Rob Hitchcock

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