... about Middletown
We have little early history about Middle-
town, but there are some interesting clues here to work with.
No. 25, the Lake County House, is easy to recognize; some oldsters still remember it as Herrick's Hotel. In 1890, it was owned by John McGreer, who had traded the historic Stone House and its surrounding 960 acres to Charles Marsh Young for the hotel in. Young and/or his sons apparently still owned the Pioneer Livery on the other side of Main Street.
It is fairly certain that one of the general stores was owned by C.M. Young's eldest sons, Wirt and Baxter (and later by Young himself), so it seems feasible it would have been the one facing Young's Lake County House.
David Lobree owned one of the first general stores in the fledgling town, reportedly next door to a saloon. An 1894 daily journal from the general store of Burmeister & Lewis is in the collection of the Stone House Historical Society.
Known blacksmith shops were the pioneer shops of James Parish, William Good and, perhaps a bit later, Kemp & Tocher, but we do not know the locations.
Comparing the 1880 U. S. Census and
to this 1890 plat map may offer some insights into our ancestors.
The 1880 census in Middletown starts off with the residence of Richard Williams, owner/operator of Harbin Hot Springs, his wife Annie and their three children, followed by 14 “servants,” two Chinese cooks and 35 “boarders” – some of whom may also have been employees.
Residence number 2 is that of Allen Palmer, a stage driver, along with his wife Annie, and three children.
House number 9 is that of laundrywoman N. G. Dye, age 39, once known as Nancy McGreer, and her children Hugh and Susan Davey, ages 19 and 12, and Thomas, Nannie and May Dye, ages 6, 4 and 2. Four older children had moved on.
Residence number 17 is the boarding house at the Great Western Mine, under the charge of Mary Driscoll, brought in from Shasta County for that role by mine superintendent Andrew Rocca, her husband, Timothy, her nephew Michael, who serves as waiter, and cook Charley Denver. Guests include Andrew Rocca, his new wife Mary Ruby; the teacher who replaced her, R. D. Reed; and eight mine workers.
Dallas Poston and his wife Mary, who would years later lease the Stone House from Charles Young, and their five children occupy No. 21, still on the Great Western property. Poston is listed as a butcher. Nine more residences house mine workers and their families. Then comes a listing of 186 Chinese employees in several residences, one headed by Jim Bacon.
Following names still familiar in Middletown — Parriott and Quesenberry — a group of four Chinese laborers occupy house number 56, between — if census policies then were the same as later decades — the Henry Stockford and John Capps farms.
Then comes the family of W. J. and Anastasia Armstrong, who sold the northern half of Middletown to Berry and Armstrong before there was a town — we can assume their retained land would now be bounded on the south by Wardlaw Street.
At number 62, Isabella Bradford is listed as a hotel keeper, sharing space with six sons and two daughters, next to the home of W. G. Cannon, a name long recognized among Middletown pioneer families, his wife and six children.
Drawn from the original Sanford map for Lake County Places and Postal History by Erving R. Feltman