James Estep Sr.
Rebecca McDowell
1819 -1898
1827 -1900

James Estep, Sr., was born Nov. 26, 1819, in Tennessee, parents unknown. James had one sister, name unknown, who lived and died in Indiana. Their ancestors came from England. The first Estep to emigrate to America was John Estep. At 18 years of age. John sailed from Bristol to Jamestown aboard a ship named the "Ark".

After James grew to manhood, he left Tennessee and traveled north to Indiana, then on to Agency, Iowa, where he met Rebecca McDowell. Rebecca, daughter of John and Deste Herrin, was born Feb. 18, 1827. Rebecca had one brother, Adin Gainey McDowell, born Dec. 12, 1817, Kentucky, who married Sarah Ellen Davis, also born in Kentucky. Rebecca's grandfather, Isaac Herrin, served in the Revolution as a Wagon Master.

James and Rebecca were married Jan. 9, 1849, in Agency, Iowa. Eight children were born to them:
Alfred b. 1850 Agency, Iowa
Deste J. b. 1853 Oregon
Mary b. 1855 Oregon
Marion b. 1857 Oregon
Sarah b. 1859 Dexter, Oregon
Rosella b. 1864 Dexter, Oregon
Lilly b. 1866 Oregon
James G. b. 1869 Burgettville, CA

Rebecca's brother, Adin McDowell, drove oxen over the Oregon Trail to Oregon City and reported back great opportunities in the west. In 1854, James, Rebecca, and Alfred, then 4 years old, drove their oxen west on the Oregon Trail to Dexter, Oregon, where they established their home and James built a sawmill on Lost Creek. A creek east of Dexter in the Willamette forest was named for James and the name "Estep Creek" is on all Geological Survey Maps.

After 14 years in Oregon, the family together with Adin McDowell, moved to the Fall River Valley where James built the first hotel in Burgettville (now Glenburn). Here the Estep's eighth child, James G., was born. In later years James G. would serve as both District Attorney and Superior Court Judge of Shasta County. He died of pneumonia in 1918, James sold the hotel to Joshua Selvester in 1869 and moved to Red Bluff, buying the old Union Hotel which he operated until 1872 when he moved back to Fall River Mills where he lived until his death in 1898. Old clippings tell us that his funeral procession was a mile long with grieving friends in surreys and buggies along the route. Rebecca's death date is 1900. Both are buried in the Pine Grove Cemetery, McArthur, California.

Adin Gainey McDowell, Rebecca's brother, named the Big Valley area "Big Valley", in
1869 he started the town of Adin and operated a store there.

Source: Shasta Historical Society

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