Entrepeneur John Durwood Weast and his contributions to Shasta County
John Durwood Weast was born to Jacob Gordon Weast and Elizabeth (Reasson) Weast on January 1, 1859, at Palmyra, Fluvanna County, Virginia. At the age of one year old in 1860, John was living with his parents at Rochelle, in Madison County, Virginia. His father was a miller by trade. He was the youngest child in their household at that time, and an older sister by the name of Sarah was living with them at the age of three.
In 1870, the Weast family was living in Rapidan, Madison County, Virginia, which recorded John at the age of eleven years old. His parents kept having additional children as well. John became well-educated throughout his adolescence, and at the age of twenty-one years old he was living with his parents and siblings in Palmyra, Fluvanna County, Virginia, in 1880. This is where he was employed as a miller.
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John was first married to Emma John King about 1881, a native of Fluvanna County, Virginia, and the daughter of Pleasant James King and Mary (Thomas) King. To this union the following children were born to John Durwood Weast and Emma John (King) Weast:
1. Mary Myrtle Weast (1882-1909) married Floyd M. Tyler
2 . Ruby Elizabeth Weast (1885-1981) married Henry U. Rush
3. James Gordon Weast (1888-1963) married Lillian M. Watson
4. Lutie Hazel Weast (1893-1977) married Charles M. Tucker
5. Frank P. Weast (1895-1958) married Juanita M. Arbogast
Above: a young John Durwood Weast. From the collection of Jeremy Tuggle
Sometime between 1896 and 1898, John and Emma were separated and divorced; however, a search for their marriage license yielded no results or any documentation of their divorce. In 1898, John Durwood Weast enlisted into military service serving his country during the Spanish-American War as a private in Unit 3 Virginia Infantry, Company B., at the age of thirty-nine. Two years later, John was living in the Francisco District, of Buckingham County, Virginia, where he became the hired hand of a man by the surname of Baldwin. Weast was working as Baldwin’s farm laborer at that time. The 1900 U.S. Census indicates that he was single. No children were recorded for him and it fails to record him as being divorced, separated, or widowed.
As for Emma, she was residing with her children in the Court House Precinct, of Albemarle County, Virginia, where she is recorded as being widowed and the mother of five living children. However, John Durwood Weast was alive and well living in Buckingham County, Virginia, as it is detailed in the above record.
ARRIVAL IN SHASTA COUNTY
After divorcing his first wife, Weast departed Buckingham County, Virginia, venturing west to California leaving his kids behind with their mother, because he wanted to live near his brothers who were already residing in Redding. John Durwood Weast arrived in Redding during March of 1902, and the March 22, 1902, edition of the Daily Free Press newspaper, of Redding, exclaimed the following about him:
“J.D. Weast, eldest brother of the Weast brothers of this city, is here extolling the virtues of an insect exterminator. Mr. Weast is a resident of the old state of Virginia.” (SIC)
Above: a J.D. Weast Stables receipt for the account of Jacobson Grocery Company, of Redding, dated May 31, 1917. From the collection of Jeremy Tuggle.
John eventually purchased some property at Copper City, which is where he settled. Copper City was a thriving mining town that featured an U.S. Post Office called Ydalpom. Copper City was situated on Squaw Creek (now under the Squaw Creek arm of Shasta Lake) and the town was in the boundaries of the Pittsburg mining district, of Shasta County. Weast was employed as a teamster for a local mining company in the area.
The 1910 City of Redding Telephone Directory for Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama and Trinity Counties records him as working at Merrill’s Livery Stable at Redding. Merrill’s Livery Stable was owned and operated by Abbott Merrill, a former mayor of Redding. By the time the 1910 U.S. Census was enumerated in April, of that year, it recorded Weast at the age of fifty-one years old living in east Redding and being the head of his household.
Weast was living with his son James and a boarder named William M. Reidy, at that time, who was employed as hostler at a local livery stable. Eventually, Weast established his own livery stable called J.D. Weast Stables on the corner of Pine and Yuba Streets in downtown Redding.
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Three years later, Weast married a second time to Creosa Alma Doll, a daughter of Shasta County pioneers Valentine Doll and Harriett Emma (Smith) Doll, of Ono, on February 23, 1913, in Redding. This was Creosa’s first marriage, and she is this author’s maternal great-great-aunt.
Then on, June 16, 1915, the Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, heralded the following article:
“Weast Is Awarded Knob Mail Contract
(Special To The Union)
Redding, (Shasta Co.,), June 15 – Leslie Alward has resigned the mail contract to Knob and Washington has awarded the contract, one of the most important in the state to John D. Weast, well known liveryman, who will take up the work Monday morning. Under the provisions of his contract Weast will get $4,095 a year for handling 600 pounds of mail daily to Knob. All over 600 pounds he will get $1.45 a hundred: 40 cents a hundred to Ono and 25 cents a hundred to Igo. Alward’s contract called for $8,400 a year with $200 a hundred over 600 pounds.“
Above: one of the trucks belonging to the J.D. Weast Trucking Company, in Redding, is loaded with 14,000 pounds of bridge girders [steel], to be hauled to the La Grange mine near Weaverville in Trinity County. John D. Weast had a contract to haul supplies and additional materials for the La Grange Mining Company. The men in the photograph are employees of Weast., their names are unknown. Circa 1918. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.
LATER LIFE EVENTS
In April of 1925, The Searchlight newspaper of Redding reported that, “the railroad commission has granted to John D. Weast of Redding a franchise to operate an automobile passenger, express and freight service between Redding and Pit No. 4, and also between Montgomery Creek and Mud Springs. Weast already has a franchise for a line from Redding through Ingot, Montgomery Creek, Burney and Fall River Mills to Bieber. The franchise just granted authorizes him to operate a branch from his line between Montgomery Creek and Pit No. 4., which is near Big Bend on the Pit. Pit No. 4., will be a busy camp before the year ends. In fact it already has become a little settlement.“
Then, in July of that year, Weast was in the process of having a brand-new state of the art building erected in replace of his old building at the corner of Pine and Yuba Streets in downtown Redding for his company, J.D. Weast Trucking (formerly J.D. Weast Stables). A local newspaper mentioned that its size was:
“100×140 feet, is being built of brick and glass and will be one of the finest structures of its kind in this part of the state. When it is completed it will have cost Weast at least $30,000.”
However, it caused Weast a major dilemma as he was trying to decide to keep the building for a garage for his business or to turn it into a union stage depot for Redding which was being requested of him to do so by local citizens and staging companies at that time. He eventually kept this building to be used for his garage.
An interesting note is that his ex-wife, Emma, was living in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1929, and she still claimed that she was the widowed wife of J.D. Weast. She must have known that John was alive since their son James lived with him in Shasta County in 1910. Once again, John D. Weast was alive and well residing in northern California, and happily married to Creosa.
Then, on September 11, 1938, John’s first wife Emma John (King) Weast died at the age of seventy-eight years old at Swiss Village, Albemarle County, Virginia. Her death certificate claimed she was divorced from John Durwood Weast. The informant named on the death certificate was their daughter, Lutie (Weast) Tucker.
John Durwood Weast became an active member of the International Order Of Odd Fellows, Reading Lodge No. 271, at Redding, and he continued living with his wife Creosa at 1314 Oregon Street where he died on June 28, 1948, at the age of eighty-nine. After his death, Creosa married a second time to an O. Brown, and she died in Redding on September 25, 1965.
Above: L-R: an elderly John Durwood Weast standing on crutches and wearing a hat, while his second wife, Creosa Alma (Doll) Weast, stands beside him holding a toy doll in front of their Oregon Street residence in Redding. From the collection of Jeremy Tuggle
The headstone of John Durwood Weast (1859-1948), at Redding Memorial Park, in Redding. This photo was taken by Jeremy Tuggle on December 7, 2021.
The headstone of Creosa Alma (Doll) Weast-Brown (1882-1965), at Redding Memorial Park, in Redding. This photograph was taken by Jeremy Tuggle on December 7, 2021.
- 1860 U.S. Census
- 1870 U.S. Census
- 1880 U.S. Census
- 1900 U.S. Census
- The Daily Free Press newspaper of Redding, January 8, 1902
- The Daily Free Press newspaper of Redding, March 22, 1902
- California, U.S., Voter Registrations, 1900-1968 for John Durwood Weast
- 1910 U.S. Census
- The 1910 City of Redding Telephone Directory for Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama and Trinity Counties
- The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, February 8, 1912
- Weast-Doll – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, February 28, 1913
- Redding-Knob Mail Contracted Awarded – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, June 1, 1915
- Weast Is Awarded Knob Mail Contract – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, June 16, 1915
- Redding Business Men Raise $1,000 – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, July 15, 1916
- Shasta Board Grants Auto Stage Permits – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, July 14, 1918
- 1920 U.S. Census
- Charlottesville, Virginia, City Directory, 1929, available online through Ancestry.com
Franchise Granted To John D. Weast – The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, April 14, 1925
- Redding To Have A Union Stage Depot – The Courier-Free Press newspaper, July 31, 1925
- 1930 U.S. Census
- 40 Dogs Die By Poisoning At Redding – The Colusa Herald newspaper of Colusa, April 9, 1931
- The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, February 22, 1932
- Death Certificate for Emma John (King) Weast dated, September 12, 1938, Albemarle County, Virginia available on Ancestry.com.
- 1940 U.S. Census
- John D. Weast Passes At 89 – The Redding-Record Searchlight and the Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, June 28, 1948
- Services Set For John D. Weast – The Redding-Record Searchlight and the Courier Free Press newspaper of Redding, June 29, 1948
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.
Contact the editor: [email protected]
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.