William Francis Hardenbrook
Mary Catherine Conly
1852 -1940
1862 -1946

William Francis Hardenbrook was born April 20, 1852, in Hardington, Knox Co., Ohio. He came to California and on to Shasta Co., in 1873, as a stage driver on the Old Oregon Trail.

Mary Catherine Conly was born Feb. 11, 1862, Friday the 13th, in Alviso, Santa Clara Co., California. Mary came to Shasta Co., to live with her half-sister, Martha Nelson Greenwood Gregory, after the death of their mother in 1874.

Frank and Mary were married March 13, 1878, at Martha's Home on the Dunnigan Place on Upper Stillwater, by James McCormick, Justice of the Peace.

Eight children were born to Frank and Mary:
Ida Alberta b. 1879
Abbie Mae b. 1881 d. 1942
Lora Edith b. 1883
Arthur Warren b. 1885
Francis Wilbur b. 1888
Clyde Vere b. 1895 d. 1942
Beryl Naomi b. 1897
Donna Bell Beatrice b. 1899

All the children were born at the Stillwater homeplace with the exception of Ida, who was born at Copper City.

Although Frank worked as a stage driver, he was a farmer at heart. After their marriage, he bought forty acres at the upper end of the north fork of Stillwater from Augustus Bass. He worked long, arduous hours cultivating the rich granite soil and directing the life giving water into ditches, guiding every trickle of water into reservoirs. There were three gardens, two to three acres in size, where not a weed was allowed to grow: Ten acres of fruit trees and about five acres of grapes for the table and wine making. Frank continued to work for the "Bass Place" stage stop for the next five years during which time Black Bart held up the stage on Bass Hill. As his farm flourished he homesteaded additional land and quit the stage stop. He invested in a team of horses and wagon which he stocked with produce, fruit, meat, cider and wine. He then drove to Kennett one day, leaving about midnight or as soon as they could get the wagon loaded, returning late at night. His next trip would be to Herault, on the Pit River where there was a smelter. Then on to Bully Hill and Copper City, mining towns on the Pit and Squaw Creek, building up a lucrative business. After their first house that Frank built burned, a new one was built where they lived the remainder of their lives.

Frank was a silent man who was complimented by his volatile and bird-like wife, "Aunt Kate", as she was known. Along with her many household duties, Aunt Kate was the mid-wife for the area and few babies, white or Indian, were born without her helping hand.

A. W. Hardenbrook, the eldest son, married Margaret Hunt of Millville, and they had a cattle ranch south of the home place. The other children lived in various parts of the country, San Francisco, Portland, and Tuscon. William died August 29, 1940. Mary died April 16, 1946. Both are buried in the Redding Cemetery.

Source: Shasta Historical Society

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