December 12, 1953 by George Wright
I believe it was about the time the California and Oregon Railroad came through, about 1887, when a little village or town started to grow on the banks of Cottonwood Creek, along the new railroad. The town was called Cottonwood, a namesake of Cottonwood Creek. A few years later the people of the new town wanted a Post Office and at that time the name was changed to Hornbrook. A new name was necessary because there was another town in California with the name of Cottonwood. The new name was given after David M. Horn, who had a stock ranch at the mouth of Cottonwood Creek not far from the town.
Years later the California and Oregon Railroad became the Southern Pacific. The railroad had a depot, a round-house and a switch-yard, and in the 1900's and later, Hornbrook was a busy little railroad town.
At the south end of town was Dr. Plimmell's office. A blacksmith shop was also at the south end of town and did business there for many years. Near the doctor's office Mr. and Mrs. Griesner had a drugstore. North of the drugstore was a saloon and back of the saloon was a two-story building where dances and other social events were held. North of the saloon came the open place with walnut trees, a band stand and a hitching rack, which was, as a rule, well occupied with horses and buggies. North of the open place was a large two-story brick building which contained a saloon, a hotel, and a large merchandise store.
The brick building and store was owned by Thomas Jones, and later became the T. Jones Company. On the north side of the store was the road that crossed Cottonwood Creek on a bridge and entered the town from the west. On the corner of the next block to the north was a meat shop and barber shop. This building also had an upper floor which was used for Lodge meetings. Next was a restaurant, a saloon and a rooming house, and then Waldon Brothers Dry Goods Store. Farther north was the D.C. Earhart Hardware Store, which also contained the Post Office and Telephone Exchange. On the north end of the town in later years there was a wholesale liquor house, which later became a restaurant operated by Dad Clark. East of the railroad tracks was Bert Newton's Livery Stable, which burned in later years. To the west across Cottonwood Creek was J.C. Jacquette's Livery Stable, which I believe, also burned. The Hornbrook Garage was later built at the same place.
The T. Jones Company Store, both inside and outside, looks about the same as it did when I was a little sprout. The scales are the same ones and in the same place. I remember when we boys went to Hornbrook with our father, and he would weigh us on the scales. The heating stove is a different one, but it is in the same place. When I was young and gay I often rode horseback to Hornbrook, and in the winter time the heat from the big stove felt very good. I often spent a lot of time standing around the stove. There were usually some old timers sitting around the stove, and I liked very much to hear them tell of their adventures in the old days. The Civil War veterans would tell of their soldiering experiences. Stockmen and old buckaroos would tell of their bronc-busting days, and there were gold miners there too, telling about the lands of gold and plenty in the wilderness.
A few of the old timers who I remember around Hornbrook and Henley include Sal Shattuck, a cattle and horse man near Henley, and one of the first white men to settle there. Fred Fredenburg lived at Henley, and also Anthony Niles lived there, and was the Justice of the Peace for many years. John O'Neil had a cattle ranch there also. George Day operated the Hotel in the Thomas Jones building, and served as Constable. Thomas Jones was the founder of the T. Jones Company. There was an old timer who lived in the mountains and hauled wood to town with a wagon and team of oxen. Once in a while I would see Oscar Terrill in town from his little ranch on Hutton Creek. Henry Moore had a little ranch near Hornbrook.
The men who I remember that served as Constable from about 1905 include George Day, Joe Clawson, Tillman King, George Hoxie, and Everett Elmore, who is Constable at the present time.
The doctors who practiced medicine in Hornbrook include Dr. Plimell, Dr. E.N. Richardson, and Dr. Ward.
The blacksmith shop was located at the south end of town and was a busy place. The blacksmiths who operated the shop at different times included Giberson and Dyer, Joe Giberson, Grant McHenry and Archie Elmore. I believe that Archie Elmore was the last to operate the shop.
Some of the cattlemen in the Hornbrook area in the early days were Ruf Grieve, Manuel Crobelle, Senior, who had a ranch on Hutton Creek, and David M. Horn, at the mouth of Cottonwood Creek, who also served as Supervisor of Siskiyou County.
Dad Miller had a homestead on the east fork of Hutton Creek and hauled wood to Hornbrook in a little wagon and a small team of black mares.
A few of the ranch hands I remember were Fred White, Hugh Dozier, who worked for John O'Neil for several years, Firm Anderson, who worked for D. Marshall Horn for many years, and Jack Scholtz, who worked around in different places.
George Howard had a dry goods store for a while. He was a candidate for the Sheriff of Siskiyou County, but lost. He ran a stage route from Hornbrook to Happy Camp.
Tom Coppin was in business in Hornbrook for many years with a saloon and dry goods store.
Nick Buckner was around Hornbrook and Henley for many years, and owned property in Henley, where he lived.
Charles Tod Jacobs was a bartender in the saloon in the T. Jones building, and other bartenders in the saloon were Don Drake and Tom Ashball.
There was gold in the mountains west of Hornbrook, and many people made prospecting and mining their business.
Some of the early settlers told me that an Indian Village was located where Hornbrook now is. It is no wonder that the Indians lived there, because there were plenty of deer nearby, and Cottonwood Creek was alive with fish.
Along Cottonwood Creek south of Hornbrook there used to be a hobo camp, where the weary travelers from the freight trains would cook their mulligan stews.
Thirty or more years ago most of the north part of the business places burned, and have never been replaced. The concrete walls of the building where the butcher shop, barber shop and Lodge Hall were are standing, and weeds grow between the walls.
The Indian and his bow and arrow was pushed away from the banks of Cottonwood Creek to make room for the white man with his rush and noise and foolish ways. The pioneers, the clickety-clack of the horses' hooves, the chuckle of wagon wheels and the jingle of tug chains have given way to the automobile with its bright paint and shining chrome, and its speed and hum.