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As It Was: Boy Accompanies Family to California, Carves Out Future

Born in Massachusetts in 1844, the son of Samuel and Diadamia Boyes, Charles Bassett Boyes was 17 years old when he came West by covered wagon with his mother and other family members.

His father, who was already homesteading in the Willamette Valley, arranged in 1861 for his family to join him.

Charles set out on the Oregon Trail with his mother; his sister, Mrs. Maria Boyes Soulé and husband, Stephen; and two children, George, age 2, and one-month-old Stella.  Others with them were George Gilbert, Mary Davis, and a brother-in-law of Charles’ sister, Andrew, and his wife.

Their trek west stalled at the Platte River when Charles’ sister became ill with dysentery.  They made a bed for her in one of the wagons, discarding many family treasures to make room for her.

Near the present-day Burney Falls, they were met by soldiers from Fort Crook who accompanied them to the Shasta Valley.  Charles continued to Oregon to join his father.  The two returned in 1863 to homestead in Shasta Valley, where the family became one of the area’s most prominent pioneers.

Source: Haight, Gladys. “Charles Bassett Boyes...” Siskiyou Pioneer, Vol. 2 No. 2. 1952. pp. 41-43.

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.