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As It Was: Vesta Ranous Terwilliger’s Father Repairs Stages

Vesta Ranous Terwilliger was born in 1861 in Yreka, Calif., the daughter of Francis M. Ranous and Mary H. Hood.  Her father became a carpenter and builder and moved with his wife to Yreka in 1856 with his mother’s family.

Ranous, the third of eight children, wrote about watching her father repair coaches for the California and Oregon Stage Co., also known as the C & O Stage Co.  The conveyances, known as Concord stages, were made by hand, and he would make the wheels by carving wooden spokes with a knife and then chiseling out the hubs.  A Mr. Ringer did the leatherwork while a Mr. Swan painted and a Mr. Niebers “ironed” the coaches with steel springs and other necessary metal parts.

Ranous attended the Little Shasta School and studied court reporting under her uncle, Edward E. Hood.  She married Andrew D. Terwilliger, settled in Little Shasta Valley, and raised three sons.  In 1898, the family moved to Montague [MAHN-tuh-guew] and purchased a flour mill.

In 1916, the family moved to San Francisco where the two younger sons studied dentistry at the University of California.

Source: “Vesta Ranous Terwilliger.” Siskiyou Pioneer, The, vol. 2, no. No 2, 1952, p. 37.

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.