Published in Happy Camp News on April 1, 2001.

Origin of the name of Happy Camp

Writen in Happy Camp on June 11th, 1947
By H.C. Chester

About 1882 or 3 I asked Jack Titus who was a partner with James and Hile Camp in the first store opened at Happy Camp, how Happy Camp got its name.

Titus told me he had a small store at the mouth of Titus about fourteen miles below Happy Camp. He said: James and Hile Camp came over the mountains to his store from Eureka. They asked him if there was any level ground up the river where they could open up a business.

Titus told them there was a place about 14 miles up the river at the mouth of a large stream that emptied into Klamath; that there was a very large Indian Village on the banks of this stream and plenty of vacant land to build on. The three of them went up to this large stream and pitched a small tent.

James Camp immediately took in the opportunities that were presented to them, and declared, "This is the happiest day of my life."

Titus said: "Then we shall call this particular spot 'Happy Camp'." They also named the stream "Indian Creek" because there were so many Indians living there.

The three of them made and burned brick, put up a brick building which stands here to-day.

Truly Yours,
H.C. Chester
Happy Camp, Calif.

The original, handwritten copy of this letter is in the archives of the Siskiyou County Historical Society, in Yreka.

Happy Camp historian Judy Bushy believes this version of the naming of Happy Camp is wrong because the Camp brothers were not in the original group of miners who came here. She wrote a letter to the editor about this, but unfortunately over the years it has been misplaced. We may have to wait for her book to be published to find out the true history of the naming of Happy Camp.


Related Websites
Happy Camp History






Two energetic, enterprising young women from the East Coast, sent to the remote Klamath River Valley to live with the Karuks, produced this fascinating record of life in our valley in 1908-09.



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A reviewer on Amazon wrote: "I first purchased this book while on a vacation trip exactly 14 years ago (1989); since then I've tried to read it at least once a year. I laugh my way through the book, and the author's courage & zest for life continues to inspire me! I only hope I am able to always view life with the same gusto & joy she had, trials & tribulations notwithstanding. She was quite a remarkable woman."



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