John Richard Felch was born in Spring Valley, Minnesota, in 1859 to Richard Carey and Elizabeth Lucinda Hopkins Felch. His mother was a school teacher. In the 1870s, the Felch family traveled to Montana, where John received some education. From Montana the Felch family arrived in Fall River Valley, Shasta County in 1889.
In 1889 the John Richard Felch married Lettitia Jane Joiner (Spaulding). Lettitia was a native of Truxton, MO, and the daughter of Benjamin Nichols and Elizabeth James Itson Joiner. Lettitia was formerly married to DeForest Wells Spaulding, this couple first came to Shasta County in 1874 and were early settlers of Fall River Valley. She had about six children from her first marriage.
About this time John Richard Felch worked in a sawmill it is noted in the book A History of Shasta County, California by Shasta County Book Commission that John walked "seventy-five miles to Redding to file for a homestead where the Pitt Three [powerhouse] is located [on the Pit River]. John found that the land was owned by the Indians. So he filed for a homestead at the end of Bird Flat Road. He homesteaded that. This residence was the old Levi Lindsey place."
To the union of John Richard and Lettitia Jane Joiner (Spaulding-Felch) there were three children born. One of them was a Shasta County historian and Author Mrs. Bertha Lucetty Felch (Stevenson-Maynard). She was a teacher, like her grandmother, and was the published author of poems too, who wrote the book "Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow." She married into two other pioneer families of our county.
John Richard Felch died on May 22, 1923, and was buried a day later in the Burney Cemetery. Not to far from his grave is the grave of Samuel Burney who the town of Burney and Burney Falls is named for. After the death of her second husband, in 1928 she broke her arm, which made headlines and was taken to the St. Caroline Hospital. Lettitia (Spaulding-Felch) died in January of 1936, at Hat Creek in eastern Shasta County at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Emma Wilcox. Burial took place at the Burney Cemetery. Descendants from her first union to DeForest Wells Spaulding, and descendants from her second union to John Richard Felch, still live in present day Shasta County.
Contributed by Jeremy M. Tuggle
A History of Shasta County by Shasta County Book Commission
Resource "Rooted In Shasta County" by Jeremy M. Tuggle published by Preserving Memories in 2003, 2nd Edition 2004.
The Searchlight, Thursday, January 30, 1936. Obituary of Lettitia Jane Joiner (Spaulding-Felch).