Regina Alberta Chatham was born June 18, 1914 in Bella Vista to John William and Olive Meyer Chatham. John and Olive were born and raised in Shasta County. They had nine children, most of whom resided in Shasta County. John's birth in 1876, just a decade after the Civil War, and Olive's birth in 1881 testify to the contribution that the Chatham family has made to the growth and development of the county over the last one hundred plus years. Regina was raised in Bella Vista.
She attended the Old Oregon Trail and Millville schools. She tells stories about riding her horse Babe to school when she was going to school in Millville. Regina went to Shasta Union High School and graduated in 1932.
She married Rudolph Errol Wright on January 19, 1931 in Grants Pass,
had two children:
Regina and Rudolph were divorced. Regina married Orvil Swarts June 6, 1935. Ray and Myrna took the name Swarts at this time. Orvil and Regina had two more children:
Orvil and Regina bought a house at 2055 Placer Street. They paid $1,200 for the house in 1945. Their children grew up in this house and Regina still lives there.
Regina worked 41 years as a ticket agent for the Greyhound Bus Lines. When she started working for Greyhound she was a luggage checker. The luggage was stowed on the top of the bus. She had to throw the luggage up to the top of the bus. This was during World War II and many women were doing the work that men usually did. Later she worked as the ticket agent. Passengers were often stranded because of a missed connection and had to stay overnight in Redding. If a passenger did not have the money for food and a place to stay, they would often end up at the Swarts' house for dinner and lodging.
Regina took part in her husband Orvil's political career; he was a City Councilman and Mayor of Redding. Regina has always been active in the community and is a member of The Daughters of the Golden West, the Methodist Church, White Shrine and the Redding Garden Club.
Regina's life has been busy caring for her family, working and taking part in community activities. She has taken an active role in the lives of her children and grandchildren. She has taken her children and grandchildren on climbs to the top of Mt. Lassen. Several times she took groups of Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls to climb Mt Lassen. For over 50 years the family went to Modoc County camping and hunting. Regina always planned and prepared for these trips. She would take the children and grandchildren on walks in the woods, teaching them the names of plants and trees.
Regina has remained an avid sports woman. In Oct. 2003, at the age of 89, Regina, son Orvil D. and daughter-in-law Myra camped and hunted in Modoc County for 11 days. At the age of 90, she continues to go deer hunting.
Source: Shasta Historical Society