The life and times of William B. Smith (1859-1917)

Author: Jeremy Tuggle – Education and Community Engagement Manager – Shasta Historical Society

William B. Smith was born to Gottlieb George Kaylor Smith and Elizabeth Jane (Lamberson) Smith, at Eagle Creek (now Ono) on May 10, 1859, and during the following year the Smith’s settled their family at Horsetown. He was the fourth of ten children born to his parents. William was educated at the Eagle Creek schoolhouse in Eagle Creek.


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William grew up to be a life-long miner. He also married Elizabeth Rester at Igo on March 12, 1890, the bride was the daughter of John Rester, and his wife Annie. Their wedding was performed by the Reverend William S. Kidder. To this union there were eight children born to them:

1. Anna Smith

2. Esther May Smith

3. Louisa Bella Smith

4. Gladys Smith

5. Willie B. Smith

6. Earl Douglas Smith

7. Ruth Elizabeth Smith

8. Howard Smith

Above: William B. Smith pans for gold along a rocky creek in the Sunny Hill mining district. From the collection of Jeremy Tuggle.

William and his wife Elizabeth purchased a residence at Sunny Hill, a few miles from the town of Ono. This is where most of his mining was done in the boundaries of the Sunny Hill mining district of Shasta County. He was a family man and he was a mining partner of Valentine Doll, who was also his brother-in-law and married to William’s sister, Harriett.

By December of 1897, William B. Smith and Valentine Doll issued advertising Proof Of Labor notices in the local media for the Manzanita and Honeycomb Quartz Mines in the Sunny Hill mining district. There is a real estate transfer in April of 1898, stating the following:

“W.B. Smith and Elizabeth Smith to V. Doll and Hattie E. Doll, F. Barlow. H.A. Root and D.E. Alexander – Bond for deed $3,800 Honcycomb Mine, extension of Honeycomb Mine with mill right, ditch, and water right at Jerusalem Creek, Sec. T.30 N., R., 8., W., also two placer claims included.”

SEE: Exploring Shasta County History with Jeremy Tuggle:

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Bella Vista: A lumber town

Simeon Fisher Southern and the Hazel Creek area

Exploring the rich history of McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park

Nathan A. Townsend: The man behind the historic Townsend Flat Ditch

The historic Princess Ditch Trail; a modern hiking trail with an Adit quartz mine

Kimball Plains: Exploring the history of a former western Shasta County settlement

William died on November 27, 1917, at Sunny Hill due to an illness of the stomach. There was no doctor present at the time of his death so the coroner was called in from Redding to perform a coroner’s investigation on his body. William B. Smith is buried at the Redding Cemetery (now Redding Memorial Park) next to his son Willie B. Smith.

William’s wife Elizabeth (Rester) Smith survived her husband by six years. She died on October 14, 1923, she is buried in the same cemetery as her husband.

Note: Gottlieb George Kaylor Smith and Elizabeth Jane (Lamberson) Smith are the author’s great-great-great-great maternal grandparents, and William B. Smith is my great-great-great maternal uncle. I descend through his sister Harriett Emma (Smith) Doll.

Above: the headstone of William B. Smith at the Redding Memorial Park, in Redding. This photograph was taken by Jeremy Tuggle on January 10, 2021.


  • 1860 U.S. Census
  • 1870 U.S. Census
  • 1880 U.S. Census
  • Married – The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, March 22, 1890
  • Proof Of Labor – The Daily Free Press newspaper of Redding, December 1, 1897
  • Bond For A Deed – The Daily Free Press newspaper of Redding, April 16, 1898
  • Proof Of Labor – Honeycomb and Manzanita Quartz mines dated December 27, 1899
  • 1900 U.S. Census
  • Proof Of Labor – Honeycomb and Manzanita Quartz mines dated January 8, 1901
  • The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, August 30, 1908
  • 1910 U.S. Census
  • William B. Smith Dies At Sunny Hill – The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, November 28, 1917
  • Resident Of Ono, Shasta County, Dies – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, November 29, 1917
  • 1920 U.S. Census
  • Calvin Jefferson Smith, Mining Man written by Thelma Phillips Smith, The 1986 Covered Wagon, published annually by Shasta Historical Society, pages 42-45.
  • Valentine Doll written by Jeremy M. Tuggle, The 2011 Covered Wagon, published annually by Shasta Historical Society, pages 43-49.
  • SP-037.1 Smith, Gottlieb George Kaylor, Pioneer Plaque File available at the Shasta Historical Society.

Meet the writer: Jeremy M. Tuggle
Education and Community Engagement Manager – Shasta Historical Society

Jeremy M. Tuggle, born in Redding, is a descendant of 11 pioneer families who settled Shasta County between 1849-1889. Jeremy attended Shasta College and is the author of two published books, Rooted in Shasta County (2003), and A Journey Through Time: Ono and the Bald Hills (2008), as well as various articles on local history.

In 2017 Mr. Tuggle was awarded a Community Service Award, a prestigious national award for community service in historic preservation, by the Major Pierson B. Reading Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Jeremy is a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of California, and an Eagle Scout.

Tuggle has been employed at the Shasta Historical Society since November of 2009.   In his present role as Education & Community Engagement Manager, Jeremy conducts research for the historical society’s programs and events, contributes to the Society’s social media presence, and ensures the highest quality guest and patron experience at our programs and community events.

Mr. Tuggle enjoys sharing his knowledge of local history and events, and is available to community organizations to present programs about Shasta County history.  

This article sponsored by:

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With breaking news articles, videos, podcasts, opinion pieces and more, Law Enforcement News Network has all the latest news and information related to law enforcement issues across the nation.

Contact the editor:

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.

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