Early lighthouse keepers made their life at Battery Point

April 24, 2007 11:00 pm
John Jeffrey (Photo courtesy of the Del Norte County Historical Society).
John Jeffrey (Photo courtesy of the Del Norte County Historical Society).

Triplicate staff

After Battery Point Lighthouse was completed, Capt. John Heatley Jeffrey was appointed keeper of the light station in .

He was a captain in the 56th Massachusetts Infantry during the Civil War, then married Nellie Hamilton on Jan. 24, 1868.

The couple left immediately after the ceremony for California by way of the Isthmus of Panama.

Nellie was appointed assistant light keeper by the Light Station Service to help her husband run and maintain the light station.

She was informed in September 1882 that her position would no longer be funded because of budget constraints. Still, she continued to help her husband as the couple raised four children during their years at Battery Point.

Capt. Jeffrey kept his position until 1914.

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To ease travel between the mining camps of the middle Klamath during the mid 1800s, Ben Kelsey was hired to cut a trail from Crescent City to the Klamath. To stretch the trail farther, the city of Yreka raised money to extend the trail to its area.

Kelsey made $4,200 for his work.

Called the Kelsey Trail, the route was used for about a quarter-century to supply the mining camps.

The route crossed Howland Hill and Mill Creek. Two miles from Mill Creek, the Bense Trail from Crescent City joined it to cross Bald Hill and continue southeast on a ridge that paralleled South Fork of Smith River