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UGMM 2023 Newsletter

Updated: Jan 4

UGMM 2023 Newsletter
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Season’s Greetings from Alleghany!

We hope that this year’s newsletter finds you and yours doing well. After a relatively cool summer, we are having a beautiful extended fall season. As of Thanksgiving Day, my tomato plants were still alive. The first hard frost got them that night.

Once again, museum directors Wayne Babros and Chris Smith opened the doors for the 2023 season (Memorial Day through Labor Day).

This is a huge commitment, and everyone should thank them. Visitation to Alleghany is sparse. It takes a lot of grit to keep the doors open.

I (Rae Bell) am back to handling the administrative tasks for the museum. When you see the words “museum staff” in this newsletter, that is me. 😊


Memberships and sponsorships are being tracked on an annual basis. All except for lifetime members need to renew for 2024. Lifetime members: please consider making a tax-deductible contribution in any amount. Contact your income tax professional for details.

We hope that you will continue to support this tiny endeavor that is having a big impact over the long-term.

The museum is dedicated to preserving the history of our area: Alleghany, Forest City and Pike City. Mining history is of special interest, but all historical documents are welcomed and often cherished.


\New website

Early this year a long-time museum supporter (who wishes to remain anonymous) offered to fund a specific project for the museum. He asked what was most needed and our ten-year-old website came to mind.

The new website is hosted on the wix platform which should relieve museum staff from having to keep up with the constantly changing technology of website design.

We are most excited about the “LIBRARY” page where we have the following categories: Newsletters, Geology, Mines, People, Towns and Photos.

Sponsors are listed on the bottom of the home page. The “subscription” sign-up is for people who aren’t already on our mailing list.

The $5,000 donation to build the site was more than sufficient. The remainder of the funds will be used to pay for ongoing website hosting and to pay museum staff to continue adding new content to the site.

The new URL is but the old URL still works.



Merle Bradbury’s Memory Book

Museum supporter Jane Proctor has deep roots in Alleghany. She is related to the Bennetts, Nihills, and Bradburys. Thankfully she is dedicated to preserving her family history and has donated items of local interest to the museum. One item of special interest is the memory book of her 3rd cousin Merle Bradbury.

Merle Eva Marguerite Bradbury was the only child of Thomas and Lizetta (Nihill) Bradbury. Merle was born on September 9, 1895 in a house that her Grandfather Captain John Bradbury built in 1876.

Merle’s married name was Myers. She had no children and died in Nevada City in 1988.

Both of Merle’s parents were also born in Alleghany, making her a full second generation Alleghanian. Merle’s mother Lizetta was born in what was known as “Cumberland” at the north end of town (Mammoth Springs Road area). Her father Thomas was the youngest of seven children, he would have been 12 years old when his father, a successful merchant, built the house where Merle was born. Tom is famous for having located the Sixteen to One Lode Claim (hardrock mine) in 1896. It was located not far from the back of the family home.

Merle Brandbury

The Bradbury Home in Alleghany

Memory books are a tradition from the late 1800s/early 1900s. Like signing a yearbook now, the memory book was intended to be looked at in one’s later life, to remember old friends.

The entries provide a glimpse of who lived in Alleghany during Merle’s youth. The entire memory book can be seen online at click on the LIBRARY link at the top of the page. Under category PEOPLE


Rae Bell Arbogast of Alleghany is now writing a weekly article for the Mountain Messenger titled: Southwest Sierra: Historical Accounts & Personal Stories. The info. above about Merle was recently featured in “Southwest”. Phone the Mountain “Mess” at 530-289-3262 or email for subscription information. Please subscribe and support California’s oldest weekly paper. UGMM supports The Messenger and it supports UGMM.

From The Mountain Democrat: 1891

Forest City Items


Sleighing Party Caught In Blizzard

On Saturday afternoon, Dec. 26th, a party of Forest City friends went to Alleghany to attend a social dance. The company left Forest City about 6, the roads being in good condition and the sleighing excellent. After the dance which broke up about 12 o’clock, several of the party decided to return to their homes over the ridge, and about half past one o’clock in the morning the following named left the hotel in Alleghany: Watson Bayles, driver, Judge W.N. Hooper (who had been in attendance at a Masonic meeting at Alleghany,) J.A. McDougal, Clarence Hooper, Roy Hooper, Miss Jessie Hilgerman, Misses Nellie and Ada Bovee of Minnesota [Flat near Chips Flat] who were visiting at the Hooper House, Miss Fessler and Miss Carrie Hooper.

By this time in the morning the weather was stormy, rain having been falling for several hours, and the roads had been rendered heavy for a sleigh, if not absolutely unsafe. About a mile from Alleghany, and when nearly to the top of the ridge, one of the singletrees broke after which it was found to be utterly impossible to make any headway, so it was resolved that the driver should go to Forest City with the horses and send back relief to the castaways in the sleigh. On account of the wretched condition of the roads, Mr. Bayles did not reach Forest City for three hours after he left the party in the sleigh. Being so completely exhausted that he could not himself return, he awakened F.H. Campbell and T. Davis who immediately left with a four-horse sleigh to bring in those left behind.

On the way they found Roy Hooper lying on the snow in a semi-conscious state, he having attempted to walk to town to obtain assistance, fearing the driver had been unable to get through and had become exhausted and unable to proceed. Clarence Hooper also left the party and succeeded in getting to town in an almost helpless condition after two hours and a half battling with the snow and storm. Campbell and Davis reached the party about half past nine-o’clock. [next morning!]

Before the rescue party reached the scene of the breakdown, a second party which left Alleghany about seven o’clock, had found the unfortunates and had immediately set to work to revive those who were unconscious and to relieve the sufferings of the rest.

The second sleigh was driven by ? Miller, and contained the following named: T. Edwards and wife, N. Hooper, Miss Zetta Heintzen, Miss Florence Fessler, and Miss Mac Meroux of Downieville. The first thought was to build a fire, but no dry material could be found in the vicinity. Miss Zetta Heintzen, realizing the imperative necessity for immediate warmth, tore off her underskirts and used it for kindling and by this means a rousing fire was soon started and everything that could be was done for the sufferers. When the rescuing sleigh arrived, they were transferred to it and brought to town in an apparently dying condition. Jessie Hilgerman was cared for at her home and Miss Nellie Bovee was carried in an unconscious condition to the Hooper House and was cared for by Mrs. Hooper and Rev. V.M. Mason who did all in their power to save the girl’s life. After an hour’s work they were rewarded by signs of returning animation. Judge Hooper was put to bed and nursed by his wife and soon felt much relieved. By evening the parties were considered out of danger and we hope no serious results may come from this terrible night’s exposure.


The above article was donated by longtime museum supporter Lynne Bajuk. She is related by marriage to “T. Edwards” of Forest City, one of the occupants of the second sleigh. She recently donated photos (including this one below). Thank you, Lynne!

Union Blue Mine east of Alleghany Sept. 12, 1907.

Tom Edwards, supervisor on right.

Tom died in 1913 of Miner's Lung Disease.

Excerpt from Sept. 9, 1907 Daily Union

Afternoon Sports

There was no dearth of sports during the afternoon and the dinner hour had arrived before the entire program was concluded. The double-hand drilling contest commenced at 1 o’clock and lasted an hour.

Four teams were entered and each drilled for fifteen minutes. The contest was a pretty one and all through the boosters cheered their favorites on. The rock was exceptionally hard flint granite, making arduous work for the drillers. Murdock Morrison and Otto Rohrig put down a hole of twenty-two inches.

Thomas and James O’Neill, Allison Ranch born and raised young miners, who came to Alleghany from Grass Valley, were next and made twenty-three inches. Frank McLaughlin and Ike Ostrom of Alleghany drilled twenty and one quarter inches. Andy Fitzerald and Mike Coughlin were the last to drill and their hole measured eighteen inches.

The O’Neill brothers were declared the winners and given the $50 purse. The judges were E.S. Brindle, L.M. Cortez and Stephen Walsh. Considerable money changed hands on the contest. End of excerpt

Sept. 9, 1907 Tightner Mine Band Alleghany.

Mine owner HL Johnson is 3rd from rt back row.

The entire 1907 article along with pictures can be found in the people section of this library.

Admission Day Parade Main Street Alleghany 1907

It is easier than ever to preserve and share your family history thanks to cell phones!

Cell phone cameras have improved drastically over the years. While I was working on this newsletter, long-time museum supporter and family historian Wayne Brooks contributed over 40 photos and other priceless historical documentation to the museum! After photographing the documents on his kitchen table, Wayne emailed them directly from his cell phone.

If you have historical photos or documents related to our local area, please consider doing the same! The following barely scratches the surface of Wayne’s recent contribution. Thank you Wayne! We look forward to sharing more in the future.

Wayne has deep family roots in Forest City where his mother Fern Margaret Davies was born on May 17, 1918. His maternal grandfather Llewellyn (“Winkie”) Davies was an immigrant from North Wales, England. His maternal grandmother was Catherine “Mable” Kuhfeld.

Mable (Kuhfeld) Davies was one of six children. She had three sisters Martha, Mildred and Florence and two brothers, Charles and Lester.

Tragically their mother Margaret passed away in 1906 at the age of 35, leaving Federick William Kuhfeld Jr. widowed with seven children. The four girls were sent to boarding schools, and it is assumed the two sons remained with their father. [Later found out that all five older kids went to an orphanage in San Francisco. See Fred Kuhfeld's notebook shared under "People" in the library section of this website.]

Mable attended a boarding school in San Francisco. The family still has the receipts from the monthly boarding school payments. [see note above]

Long-time Alleghany postmaster Rachel (Wiley) Kuhfeld, born in Forest City in 1908 was married to Mable’s brother Lester.

The Kuhfeld Sisters Left to Right: Mildred born 1897,

Catherine “Mable” born 1893 and Martha “Faye” born 1895

Provided Courtesy of Mable’s grandson Wayne Brooks

Order your 2024 calendar by following the link above.

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