The Shively blog written on July 23, 2011 featured William Beaser Shively And Wife, Caroline Gould, In Humboldt County, California. The following newspaper article extracted from The Humboldt Times, Thursday, February 11, 1965, Page 15, Column 1 mentions the Shively families in the history.
By Andrew Genzoli
RIO DELL HAS A HISTORY -- On February 16, voters of Rio Dell will make history, when they decide for or against incorporation. A large, busy community, Rio Dell is outgrowing a "hand-to-mouth" existence, and now looks to a dignified permanency.
Rio Dell has a good historical background. Our correspondent, Evelyn McCormick proves this, as she becomes today's "guest columnist".
Rio Dell's Settlers
By Evelyn McCormick
Many changes have taken place in Eagle Prairie since the first which man walked through the gateway in the redwoods in 1850. Prior to that date Indians had walked over its vast meadows and wooded sidehills. After 115 years, its residents have asked for the privilege of voting on incorporation for the proposed city of Rio Dell.
Eagle Prairie came to be known as Rio Del (one "l"). Bordering the Scotia-Rio Dell Bridge, the Italian community was known as Wildwood. Another community of residents between the Blue Slide area and Rio Del was the Bellevue District. During the 1940's all the communities were united, and officially adopted the name of Rio Dell (two "lls").
The first while travelers knew the flat acreage circled by the Eel River as Eagle Prairie. Reddick McKee of the United States Indian Agency came through in 1850. He wrote in his Washington, D. C., Journal that no one resided on Eagle Prairie at that time. McKee was the first to try to open an overland trail from Santa Rosa to the north.
This fertile prairie was described to be an area of humid atmosphere bounded by the Eel River on the north, south and east and only by Indian trails to the west. Explorers to this area came via Grizzly Bluff to Blue Slide.
On July 16, 1853, W. B. Shively of Chico, and his brother, James, claimed 160 acres of land in Eagle Prairie. The claim was made at "eight and one-half o'clock" in the Humboldt County Recorder's office. Lewis K. Wood was recorder. Witnesses to the claim were John L. Young and Thomas Bell. It is recorded in Book A, Page 331.
Shively immediately built a log cabin behind what was later to become Rio Dell House, the site of the old Moore Hotel. The hotel was built in the 1870's.
The new land owner cultivated and sowed the land with oats, barley and potatoes, the latter being the favorite crop of farmers in the Eel River Valley.
The late Mrs. Pearl Corning Croco of Bellview was the granddaughter of W. B. Shively. Shively's wife was Carrie Gould Winemiller (a widow with two sons). She was the daughter of John Bean Gould, an early settler.
In 1856 a man named Kelsey arrived on the prairie. He proposed exploring and marking a wagon road to the Russian River. His companion was Seth Kinman, a well-known Humboldt historical character.
They left Eagle Prairie following the southwest side of the river until passing Colonel Washington Monument on Monument Peak in the Bear River Mountains, southwest of Mount Pierce. Virgin timber and other obstacles in their path compelled them to give up their plans.
W. J. Sweasey and his party arrived in Eagle Prairie in 1856. They reported the prairie settlement was the first white settlement they had encountered since leaving Healdsburg. They had used an overland rail to the present site of Fort Seward.
At Fort Seward they built a raft of redwood logs and ferried down the river, fording shallow places several times until arriving at Eagle Prairie. The wagons carried on the raft were the first ones to come to Humboldt County on the south.
In 1860 Indians caused some trouble to the settlers. They were moved to Hoopa that same year. Shively, who helped to round up the Indians, adopted two of their children and raised them to adulthood. The Wiyot (Weott) Tribe's territory terminated on the southern border of the prairie. Local mountains separated these Indians from the less-cultured Indians to the south.
Between 1862 and 1864, the Indians drifted back to this area. According to Ferndale Enterprise of September 17, 1864, the Shively family was burned out by Indians who set fire to their grain fields.
W. B. Shively's daughter, Abbie, was reported to be the first white child born on the prairie. A son, Dan, was born to the couple in 1867. In 1868 the Shively family moved to Bluff Prairie (now Shively, named in the early settler's honor).
A deed dated November 5, 1864, shows that James A. Harris settled in Eagle Prairie. His wife was Abbie Gould, a sister of Mrs. W. B. Shively.
By 1865 the Indian situation had improved and a wagon road welcomed settlers to the area. A William Duckett from Michigan was an Eagle Prairie farmer at this time.
During the 1860's and 1870's the area began to grow. By 1873, Azel A. Fuller of Massachusetts owned 320 acres on the prairie. An Oregon settler, Archibald Crisman, also owned 320 acres here. A Humboldt Times, dated January 22, 1876, told of Crisman's developing a vein of coal in the bluffs opposite the lower part of Eagle Prairie. The vein was reported as of long quantity and questionable quality. Max Crisman (a grandson of Crisman) resides in Belleview today.
Hiram W. Dean filed for 160 acres of government land on the south end of Eagle Prairie, later called the Wildwood Tract. Rio Dell's Dean Creek was named for him. His original house (two story) later called the Old Brown House and more recently called the Storybook House, still stand on Orchard Road.
The era of Lorenzo D. Painter began in 1879 when he began building the city of "Rio Del", later changed to "Rio Dell".
Whether or not Rio Dell steps into a new era, that of an incorporated city, will be decided by the voters at next Tuesday's election, it still has a good chapter of Humboldt history.