Hettie Elizabeth Webb was born August 15, 1869, at a place called the
Red Barn, near Wheatland, California. When she was three years old, her
parents, James Allen and Elizabeth McCormick Webb, moved the family to
the Bald Hills in Shasta County. She learned all the usual 'women's work'
on a ranch and herded turkeys on horseback when she wasn't attending
school at Gas Point.
Willie and Hettie probably met at some large community affair--a dance, a house-raising or at church. They were married February 15, 1885 by Willie's uncle, the Reverend W.S. Kidder.
The couple had six children:
|James William "Jim"||b. July 15, 1886||m. Violet Nelson|
|Hettie Olive "Ollie"||b. January 6, 1889||m. Dave Miller|
|George Leonard||b. March 6, 1891||m. Esther Smith|
|Nora May||b. October 31, 1893||m. C. R. "Doc" Graves|
|Cora Ellen||b. August 19, 1895||m. Rolla Graves|
|Bessie Emelin||b. July 2, 1899||m. D. V. McWhirk|
Willie acquired about twenty acres of land on Cottonwood Creek and built a home. He farmed and did a little mining to supplement his income. They enjoyed living there, but the doctor advised another location because of Willie's asthma; the family moved to the former church parsonage at Ono.
When Willie took a job as water distributor and ditch tender for the Happy Valley Water Company, the family again moved to the "company ranch" about three miles northwest of Ono where Willie and Hettie lived until they moved to Redding in 1922.
Hettie had a reputation as a water witch and neighbors often asked her to douse for wellsites. This probably didn't enhance the family income because a profit motive usually hinders that kind of talent.
Willie played the violin and Hettie played the accordion; they raised much of their own food and milked five cows, which meant milk and cottage cheese as well as fruit, vegetables and lots of cranberry beans. After years of being virtually self-sustaining, they moved into Redding in 1922.
Willie enjoyed the easier life for only eight years; he died January 24, 1930. Hettie lived to celebrate her one hundredth birthday and enjoy her twenty grandchildren, some great grandchildren and a few great-greats before her death on May 17, 1970. Both are buried in the Ono Cemetery.
Source: Shasta Historical Society - November 1995