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 Ora Evans Head

Ora Evans Head

Happy Camp, Siskiyou County, California, USA
Death 23 Jan 1990 (aged 95)
Placerville, El Dorado County, California, USA
Burial Happy Camp, Siskiyou County, California, USA
Memorial ID 100008005 · View Source
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Eulogy: Ora Evans Head (1894-1990)

Ora Evans Head was born on February 2, 1894, on the old Evans Ranch on the east side of the Klamath River near China Creek, to Edith Gordon Evans and Nathan D Evans. They were pioneers in the area, then farmers, and later merchants in Happy Camp.

She lived some of her early years on that same ranch, along with two sisters, Maud and Pearl, and a brother, Neil, all three long deceased. They were hard years filled with chores and few of the niceties of today. Some winters were long and food scarce, even yet cabbage tasted good to her.

To attend grammar school she rode horseback or went by horse and buggy to a country school located at Grider Creek near Seiad. There she first knew Guy Head, whom she later married.

She has spoken of coming with her father into Happy Camp to buy the staples for winter. It meant an overnight trip by buggy and crossing the river on the ferry at the Gordon Ranch. Any mishaps were taken in stride.

When her family moved into Happy Camp to establish and operate a general store, life changed and became easier. She then attended school in Happy Camp. She often spoke of the Chinese mining people and their town within this town, with its center near the Pence home property. The Chinese treated her kindly, as their own children were treated. From them she learned her stoic patience, acceptance of life's cares, and the love of Chinese ginger candy, which stayed with her to the end.

Her mother, ambitious for her children's welfare and further education, established the Cudahy Hotel while Nate carried on in the store business.

After graduating from elementary school she then attended Teacher's Normal School at Chico, California. She graduated from that school in 1915. She taught at Horse Creek Country School, with twelve kids, for two school terms before entering her 47-year marriage commitment to Guy Thomas Head on the eve of Christmas of 1917. They were married in Yreka, California.

They began their married life in Happy Camp, but moved several times to accommodate the varied occupations of Guy Head. One of the first jobs was that of stage driver and mail carrier. He handled a four-horse team on the route from Happy Camp to Yreka. It went over muddy mountain roads and along the perilous river road. The round trip took ten days. Humbug Mountain, near Yreka, was the steepest and the toughest to cross. He spoke of schedules and over-nighting at Hamburg, Horse Creek and other spots where fresh horses were kept. These efforts taught discipline and took strength. Ora mentioned, only in passing, what a hard trip it was to go into Yreka for doctors, on business, or to move. There were of a tough pioneer background and took life as it was, without complaint.

Before their marriage, Guy Head had tried the logging occupation. Soon after they wed, he moved his bride to a logging camp on a mountain near Fort Jones where she lived in a tent. It was a hard life and their first child, a son, was born in Fort Jones in 1918. Two seasons passed there, washing by hand and struggling to keep up.

The logger's life then took them to the pine forest of Chiliquin, Oregon, where he logged with his team of fine horses for Ewana Box of Klamath Falls. They stayed in that line of work for eight more years while three more babies came for her, a daughter, a son, and a tiny daughter. They purchased a house in Klamath Falls and intended to make it their way of life, but a crushed leg injury in 1929 changed their intentions.

The death of her father, Nate Evans in 1925 put the Evans General Store into the management of Ora's sister, Pearl, and her husband Arthur Attebery. Pearl's death on October 7. 1929 made it necessary for Ora and Guy to return to Happy Camp. This move changed their lives again. They formed a business partnership with her dead sister's husband, the late Arthur Attebery, and the Evans Merchantile, a general store in Happy Camp, was founded in 1930.

The young couple, with a firm desire for a better way of life for their family of four children, and security for themselves, tackled the new business with vigor. It was the beginning of an evasive dream. Their natural gifts of honesty, affability, strength, perseverance and stubborness made the business grow and thrive through the teenage years of their kids, through fire, three floods, a depression, and a world war, when they parted with two sons for the duration and gave a son-in-law to the Navy, to help make this country great.

Through many heartaches and problems of learning a business, it gradually became a three-store complex, with a ranch on Indian Creek for him to get back to horses, cattle and the good earth. Her life in the store was a satisfaction as well as a constant struggle.

In 1931, with the founding fathers of the town, she and her mate contributed to and helped guide the building of the only log high school in California. It began to rise during the depression, with donated skills and little or no state help, no matching funds. It was almost completed in 1933 when their oldest son was among the first 32 students to attend that opening session. Her other kids attending as they were ready. That high school was an important milepost in the progress of Happy Camp and a lasting gift to the children of our town. It remains in use today.

In 1948 the partnership between Ora and Guy Head and Arthur Attebery was dissolved. Arthur retired to his new home on Indian Creek, but the business continued with the help of their two sons, upon their return from the Navy, until 1956 when the elder son left the business and went into lumber manufacturing in Happy Camp.

Her beloved partner and helpmate, Guy T., was killed in a train/pickup crash in Montague as he headed home with a load of grain for the store, on November 17, 1964. She carried on to guide the business with the help of her youngest son, Guy Gilbert, selling out to him in 1977.

Her time for rest had come. By now the ranch on Indian Creek had been sold. She retired to her small house on Buckhorn Rd, and was attended by her faithful friends and ladies of the Bible Church. Her church has been a solace and her source of strength. She considered it her privilege to serve, and it was one of her joys of this life. She had been a constant member from her teenage years. She encouraged and contributed much to the building of the log cabin church built in 1928. It carries on without her now, but claims her as its oldest member. When there was no preacher sometimes during the war, she conducted the Sunday School on her own. Lena came to help after the war. They kept it going.

After a fall from a chair in her home in 1982, causing a broken hip and many complications later, she was moved to the El Dorado Convalescent Home in Placerville, California in 1986, to be near her eldest daughter, Celia Wayland of that city.

Her life has spanned time from the horse and buggy to the travel of jets and rockets to the moon, from the lonely isolation of reading by candle light to television, computers and crowded cities. If you had told her, so long ago when she was on her father's ranch, that she would see so many changes and wonders of man, she would not have thought it possible. She lived each day the best way she could, with God's help and with good humor. None of her life was easy, but it was a busy and productive life, among the people she loved, in the town she loved.

She leaves behind one son, Edward E. Head of Happy Camp; her other son Guy Gilbert preceded her in death in 1988; two daughters, Celia Wayland of Placerville and Ruth deCoux of San Jose, California; eight grandsons; two granddaughters; five great grandsons and six gread granddaughters.

Ora Evans Head died peacefully at the age of 95 -- soon to be 06 -- in Placerville, California on Tuesday, January 23, 1990. She will be laid to rest beside her old partner and her only love.

With her passing goes one of the last of the pioneers who helped shape our country into the great country that it is. Her life in our town will be remembered with thoughtful praise and heartfelt thanks.

She left this little poem in her Bible. She used it as a place marker. It seems fitting to share it, for it was the way she lived.

This I know

"I know not where tomorrow's road may point my pilgrim way;

I may not taste its joy or cares nor see beyond today,

But this I know, My Father plans the path I cannot see;

He knows each turn, each hill, each dale, and he will walk with me.

I know not if my way be bright or dark with storm and rain;

I know not what it holds for me, of pleasure or of pain,

But this I know -- my Saviour's love prepares my path each day,

And held within His Mighty Hand, I need not fear the way.

I know not what the future holds, nor what life's evening brings,

But with the glad salute of Faith, I hail it's opening wings;

For this I know, in God the Lord, shall all my needs be met:

I'll trust tomorrow to His Love, who has not failed me yet."

(The Author's name was worn away)

Family Members





  • Maintained by: Vicki Hittson
  • Originally Created by: C Bangsund
  • Added: 1 Nov 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 100008005
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ora Evans Head (2 Feb 1894–23 Jan 1990), Find A Grave Memorial no. 100008005, citing Happy Camp District Cemetery, Happy Camp, Siskiyou County, California, USA ; Maintained by Vicki Hittson (contributor 47380664) .