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As It Was: Hiram Leonard Niles Raises Shasta County Draft Horses

Emigrating from Iowa with his family by covered wagon in 1859, Hiram Leonard Niles lived in Boise, Idaho, and Sonoma County, Calif., before marrying and settling down in Shasta County.

The family lived on the father’s homestead in Boise before moving to Sonoma in 1870.  About that time a younger brother was shot and killed in a saloon, after being called a “Blue-bellied Yankee.”

In 1879, Niles married Isabell Fine, the sister of his brother’s wife.  Niles was 29 and she was 18.  Isabell was born in Tulare County in 1861; her family had moved to California after the Civil War.

Niles and Isabell moved to Shasta County, where they had five children.  He raised draft horses and drove freight wagons to Old Shasta, Yreka, and Fall River Mills.  He also helped build Shasta County roads with the Diestlehorst family.  Isabell gardened, cooked, cared for her family, crocheted, tatted, knitted, and made lace. When Niles retired from training draft horses, his son Oscar took over.

Niles died in 1928 and Isabell in 1949.  They are buried in the Redding Cemetery.


Source: “Hiram Leonard Niles.” Shasta County Biographies. , Shasta Historical Society, Feb. 2000, www.cagenweb.com/shasta/bios/nileshiram.html. Accessed 18 Aug. 2017.

Gail Fiorini-Jenner is a writer and teacher. Her first novel "Across the Sweet Grass Hills", won the 2002 WILLA Literary Award. She co-authored four histories with Arcadia Publishing: Western Siskiyou County: Gold & Dreams, Images of the State of Jefferson, The State of Jefferson: Then & Now, which placed in the 2008 Next Generation Awards for Nonfiction and Postcards from the State of Jefferson.