William Samuel Kidder
William Samuel Kidder
was born in Charing, Kent County, England on November 15, 1835, to John
and Mary Ann (Payne) Kidder. His father was a properous business man who
advertised as a tea, coffee, and spice merchant. William was one of nine
children born to John and Mary Ann (Payne) Kidder.
The Kidder family
emigrated to America in 1842, the family settled in a small farming community
called Pittsfield, about two or three miles from Morris, New York situated
in the southern half of New York state. This is where William Kidder first
heard the gospel preached in a little Baptist Church. At a later age he
was received into the fellowship of the Morris Baptist Church.
The news of the
Gold Rush excited William in his early teens, there was much excitement
throughout the East about the discovery of gold in California. At the age
of twenty-four, in the year 1858, his dream came true. William took a boat
from New York to Panama. There he disembarked and took the passage in a
stagecoach for the west coast. Upon arrival on the west coast, William
took passage on a boat waiting to transport the passengers to San Francisco.
The adventure was safely made.
River boats ran
from the Golden Gate to Sacramento and from the Sacramento Valley to the
Shasta Goldfields. He soon found out that the gold did not grow on tree
or that the roads were paved in gold.
at the town of Piety Hill, situated in Western Shasta. Upon his arrival
he immediately began associating with the baptists churches which had been
organanized. He also took an interest in mining too.
In 1859, William
Kidder was teaching at the Whiskeytown Schoolhouse. While there, William
united with the Whiskeytown Creek Baptist Church. The name of the church
was later changed to the Mt. Shasta Baptist Church. During these flush
times, William was living at French Gulch.
In 1860, William
S. Kidder was ordained as a baptist minister. He was the most traveled
and prominent preacher of his time in Shasta County. It was soon after
this that William assisted in the organization of the First Baptist Church
of Red Bluff, Tehama County, and on September 25, 1860, William became
the first pastor.
On November 3,
1860, the Richland Baptist Church was organized at Eagle Creek (now Ono)
in Shasta County by the Reverends F. Spencer and William S. Kidder. Kidder
was associated with it as pastor. The name of this church was later changed
to the Eagle Creek Baptist Church.
The Reverend Kidder
was a patriotic man. While living at French Gulch he volunteered for service
in the Union Army in Company I of the Seventeenth Regiment of California
Volunteers. On November 10, 1864, he was inducted into the Army at the
San Francisco Presidio. William Kidder was a member of the E.F. Winslow
Post, G.A.R., of Redding. He was honorably discharged from the Army on
March 31, 1866.
Samuel Kidder was married Mary Elizabeth McFarlin on December 5, 1867 in
a double wedding ceremony with Mary's sister who was being wed to Thomas
Burton Smith. Both brides were daughters of pioneers George and Martha
Yelland Miller McFarlin.
established their first home in French Gulch, where William was teaching
school. He also served a stint as Postmaster for French Gulch. The family
later moved to the settlement of Eagle Creek in Western Shasta where he
was chosen pastor of the Eagle Creek Baptist Church in 1868.
It was Reverend
W.S. Kidder who suggested the name of Ono in 1883, when the settlement
of Eagle Creek wanted a post office. It was accepted and the settlement
was now a town named Ono. The place name of Ono is mentioned five times
in the Old Testament. It was a plain, also a town near Jerusalem, now known
as Auna. "Let Us meet together on the plains of Ono" (Nehemiah 6:2)
brother-in-law William McFarlin became the first post master of Ono. Reverend
Kidder by this time was teaching Sunday School and the Ono Schoolhouse.
was elected as Shasta County Assessor from 1881 to 1882. William was elected
by a large margin of votes. Kidder appointed his wifes brother-in-law Thomas
B. Smith as his deputy with Benjamin Swasey, another pioneer.
In the 1880s Reverend
William S. Kidder founded the First Baptist Church of Redding, then located
on the north east corner of Court and Placer Streets. He became their first
pastor. This church is now located on Eureka Way in Redding.
Kidder is certanily one of the most important figures in Shasta County
history. He died on March 16, 1911 due to a heart attack. William was dubbed
as "The most respected man of Western Shasta", at the time of his death.
He was a pioneer, teacher, civil war soldier, preacher, farmer and miner.
and his wife had seven children. Six girls and one boy. All the girls married
and their descendants still live here in Shasta County.
Contributed by Jeremy M. Tuggle
Resource "Rooted In Shasta County" by Jeremy M. Tuggle
published by Preserving Memories in 2003, 2nd Edition 2004.