my perspective . . . July 25, 2011
on to the Stephens story . . .
I parade in downtown Etna
with J. Stephens Store in the background (brick building)
I knew the minute I saw this old photo that I wanted to
learn more about it and about the brick store in the background.
I figured since it was the J. Stephens Store, that the best place
to start was with Mary Stephens Waller.
Mary and her husband Ray (Mayor
of Etna from 1998-2002) live in her family home on Main
Street, it was just a short jaunt to their house for a Sunday
is such an interesting story that you might want to fix yourself
a cup of tea and just settle in for awhile!
first information is taken from notes transcribed by Mary from
a tape recording her father, Joseph Clifford Stephens (known
as 'Cliff' to most people) made in 1986 at the age of 96!
Enor Stephens (hereafter referred to as Dad) was born in Cornwall,
England in 1846 and with his family, came to Munroe Point, Wisconsin
when he was two years old. In 1866, when he was 20 yrs. old he
left Wisconsin and sailed through the Isthmus of Panama and went
to Los Angeles, Nevada and Idaho. He went down the Snake River
in a rowboat.
went to Black Bear in the late 1860's or early '70's. While there,
he had a store, hotel and livery stable. He married Elizabeth
Casey when he was 32 yrs. old and she was 17. At some time he
owned the Turf Club in San Francisco and his brother Harry ran
and his brother Jimmy built the tunnel through the Siskiyou Mountains.
In 1891 or 1892 he built the road from Russian Creek to Jumpoff
Joe on Salmon Mountain."
told me that he had the contract to that point and someone else
had the rest of the way.
So he 'jumped off' the job there . . . thus the name 'Jumpoff
She also said the wide turn down the other side of the mountain
was called 'Jolt-ass Joe' . . .
there was a sign made that actually said that,
but the Native Daughters didn't like the name, so removed the
He was irate and put another one up again . . .
which they removed,
then someone else put it back again . . .
today there is no sign!)
to the tape:
Dad enjoyed horses and racing. He entered horses at tracks from
Oakland to Montana, mostly steeplechases.Wildoats held
the record at the Oakland racecourse (and Daddy thinks it still
stands in 1986!)
told me she recently found an old ledger
and in it was written all the horses he had
and had bet on!!!!)
Dad had 8 to 10 work horses used to haul supplies as far as Trinity
Center. One time, the driver took a load of butter and cheese
over there (which could have been
the butter and cheese from Eb's ancestors, the Walkers of the
Cheeseville Creamery!!!!), collected the $5,000 due and
left the country, possibly to Arizona where the law couldn't touch
him. The money was never recovered.
night after work, Dad walked to Sawyers Bar and got in a poker
game with a card sharp from San Francisco and won $1700 from him.
Dad used that to start his business in Black Bear, sold that to
Bennett Company and then bought the store in Etna for $30,000.
This included the building and the stock. He was a good poker
Store in Etna (ca. 1905)
Cliff on left, unknown man in middle and Joseph Enor Stephens
(Same building as shown in W.W.I parade photo)
this wonderful painting that Mary has framed in her home
was painted by Pam Hayden, local artist
The sign at
the very top says: 'Clover Brand Shoes'
Casey (his wife) was born in 1860 in Blackbear. She was raised
by Aunt Ellen because when she was a baby her parents moved to
Yamhill, Oregon. She was too little to go with them. She didn't
see them again until she was 22 after she was married.
had work horses for hauling freight and making local deliveries.
One of the last was Old Maude. After they bought a pickup
truck for deliveries, Old Maude, who had learned to let
herself out of the barn would go uptown at one o'clock and stand
in front of the store, ready to do her part until 5 o'clock, at
which time she would go home."
Enor Stephens ran the store until his death in 1926. Elizabeth
Casey Stephens, his wife lived in Etna most of her life, moving
after Joe died, to the Native Daughters of the Golden West Home
on Baker Street in San Francisco where she died in 1937.
also provided this information:
(Mary's father) was born in 1890, was raised in Etna and spent
all his life there, except for time in the army and at college.
He managed the Stephens Store after his father's death in 1926
and in 1937 his mother turned the store over to him before her
death. He continued to run it until he closed it in 1961.
in Etna (1957)
wife Heppie and delivery truck
played outfield on the Etna semi-pro baseball team for several
years, served on the Etna Town Council, was one of the founders
of the Etna Lions Club and at one time was a member of the volunteer
his early years he drove the delivery wagon for his father's store,
traveling as far as Sawyer's Bar. He rode horseback extensively
in the Marble Mountain and Salmon River country.
December 11, 1925 he married Lydia Harris, (whose
mother was a Finley). Lydia was better known as 'Heppie'.
said when her mother was a little girl, she would be asked, 'Are
you happy?' and she would reply, 'Yes, I'm heppie' . . . and that's
how she got that name!
be continued . . .
Darlene Towne (W.W.I parade)
Mary Stephens Waller Family Collection
to shop locally!
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