Richard Henry Feeny proprietor of the Feeny Hotel, French Gulch, is a California Forty-niner. He has passed many years of pioneer life on this coast, and has seen the wonderful transformation which has taken place in this State since the first grand rush was made for the new El Dorado. A brief sketch of his life is as follows:
Mr. Feeny was born in West Meath, Ireland, in 1822, the son of Richard and Mary (Hadlet) Feeny, both natives of Ireland. He is the only survivor of a family of thirteen children, five of whom grew to maturity. He received his education in the Emerald Isle, and was there employed in the drug business for two years. That work, however, was not congenial to his taste, and he emigrated to New York in April, 1840. At that place he worked in a brickyard for nine years, until the gold excitement broke out in California. He sailed from New York in the Sarah and Eliza, February 14, 1849, and arrived in California September 17. When he landed in San Francisco that city was a town of cloth, -- as he says, ďa town of rag houses.Ē Mr. Feeny went to Sacramento and from there to Weaver Creek, where he worked and made eight dollars per day. In the spring of 1850 he went to Coloma, remaining at that place about a month. In seven and a half daysí work he took out $1,040 with a rocker. Then he went to Sacramento and paid $140 for a horse, on which he traveled to the Middle Yuba. There he worked three years and saved $5,000. He made much more money than that, but, like other miners, he spent it freely. Next he went to the South mines, and afterward returned to his claim. On the 5th of September he and his brother went to election at Orleans Flat. While there some of their friends got into a row. His brother, while trying to extricate his friend, was stabbed and died. Mr. Feeny made every effort to find and bring to justice his brotherís murderer, but he escaped. After that our subject went to Siskiyou County, and purchased an interest in a toll-road, and kept it for sixteen years. During that time he bought the whole road. In 1885 he came to French Gulch, and built the Feeny Hotel and his own residence, at a cost of $12,000.
In 1875 Mr. Feeny married Miss Sarah J. Dalley, a native of Ireland. To them three children have been born, two in Trinity County and one in Shasta. Their names are Mary Elizabeth, Thomas Henry and Arlieta. Mr. Feeny is a stanch Democrat, but often votes for the best man regardless of party. As a citizen he is highly respected by all. He has experienced much of the ups and downs of a minerís life, and at this writing (1890) is interested in quartz mining.
Source: Memorial & Biographical History of Northern
California, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1891