William Wesley Brown (known as Wes), born January 19, 1853, was the third son of John and Nancy Williams Brown. He was born in Forest Grove, Oregon. He lived the first fifteen years of his life in Crescent City, then, moved with his parents to Cottonwood.

Hannah Belle Pickett was born in Illinois February 23, 1861. Her mother died shortly after her birth and her father died when she was thirteen. She and her eighteen-year-old brother, Hosea came to Shasta County with their uncle, Benjamin Hosea Pickett. His ranch was next to the Brown place and Ben's only child, Candace, married Elias, the oldest Brown boy. Wesley wooed and won Hannah Belle. They were married at the Tremont Hotel in Red Bluff on January 31, 1879.

Their first home was a large ranch near Ball's Ferry; they lived there until the ranch was flooded about 1883. Two of their daughters was born there:
Bertha b. Nov. 15, 1879 d. Dec. 31, 1967 m. Herbert W. Day
Ora Almedia b. Aug. 26, 1881 d. Nov. 30, 1934 m. Foster Opdyke

A flood had washed away everything but the house which was chained to a tree so the family moved to Crystal Lake in Burney Valley. Houses were built for John and Nancy, and for Wes's increasing family:
Ella Myrtle b. Dec. 4, 1889 d. Feb. 9, 1894 spinal meningitis
Hosea Wesley b. Apr. 15, 1895 d. Nov. 14, 1970 m. Nora Mae Thompson

A milk house, with a water wheel was built at the base of Rock Creek Falls which form the lake. The water wheel was used to churn the butter and wash the whey out of the butter. Molded butter was stored in firkins (barrels) covered with straw behind the falls. Sixty cows were handmilked twice a day; the cream was skimmed for butter and the skimmed milk fed to the hogs. When they killed hogs, it took three days: Hannah Belle made head-cheese, liverwurst, lard and tons of sausage while Wesley put the bacon to smoke and the hams in to pickle before smoking them.

The family sold some of their produce in Redding, which was a two-day trip each way. The incline was so steep that a log drag was fastened to the wagon so it wouldn't get out of control and run over the horses. On these trips to Redding, they bought the household necessities which they could not grow on their farm--sugar, flour, boots or shoes and fabric for dresses.

Land around Crystal Lake Ranch was purchased and homesteaded until the ranch covered more than two square miles. In 1893, Wes became owner of the Burney Valley Hotel. Then, in 1902, he and Frank inherited the ranch; they ran it in partnership until. 1909 when they sold to Frank Baum. Wes and Hannah took over management of the Rising River Inn until their son-in-law and daughter, Herbert and Bertha Day bought it. Wes and Hannah continued to live there until Days sold the Hotel in July of 1936.

Wes and Hannah Belle spent their winters with their son Hosea in Ukiah and the summers with their grandson Edwin and Frances Day on Hat Creek. They celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary in 1939 and Hannah Belle died at the home of her grandson March 1942. Wesley moved with his daughter Bertha Day and grandson Edwin E. Day to Keating Valley, Ore.
He died there May 24, 1947.

Source: Shasta Historical Society - May 1997

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