Stories About Hilt
“... on Halloween, I [Howard Trivelpiece] expected the kids were planning something so when I came home I loaded a claw bar in my PU. The next morning I found my garage door nailed shut. In 5 minutes I had the nails pulled out and the bus in front of the store at 7 o’clock. I think some of the kids were surprised, but no one said a word.”
from Howard Trivlpiece who started driving the Hilt bus in 1935.
... Mrs Adelia Bayliss took the 1930 census of the Hilt area. She had to “ride the speeder out to all the logging camps to count the loggers that year.”
from son, Bill Bayliss who passed away  2/12/1011
“In 1935 Hilt had a baseball team that food players; several Italians, a catcher from the CCC’s, and a picther who was hired by the company to work and pitch ball and that he did. We had to play the Weed Sons because we were tied in the standing of the Siskiyou League. So we played in a neutral? field in Yreka. We beat the Sons. I can’t remember the score. It was a great victory indeed. The Italian players were Lave Bresolin, Tony Femines, Gino Zonnatto, Gino Trinca, John Favero and Dom Favero.”

“In 1932 my brother John and I entered a contest with the Siskiyou News in Yreka to sell subscriptions in Hilt and Hornbrook. We earned $65.00 for our effort and with that we bought a 1927 Model T Ford Coupe from harold Large in Hilt. We were in Yreka High School at the time and decided to paint it red and white for the school colors. This was in January or February with some good sunny days. We painted the body all white with a red strip around it and red wheels. I let my not-so-mechanical brother John tighten one of the wheels in place while I did the others. We had so many curtains in the paint, but by March it finally dried enough so we could get it our of the garage and take it for a ride to the state highway. We started back to town, coming down the street to Hilt, a red wheel passed us and was going towards a Zonnatto boy walking on the shoulder of the road. The wheel barely missed him, but streaked his leg, and left some red paint on his cords. The wheel impaled itself on a wood shed wall and we had a very hard time pulling it out. The Model T did’t even slow down running on three wheels. We put the wheel back on than had to take nut from the of the other wheels to get the Ford back home. It was very lucky no one was hurt but from that point on I did the entire wheel tightening myself.”

“Hilt was a wonderful place to grow up with open spaces for hunting, a creek to fish, rocks to climb, and Shelvin Rock to roll rocks off the top rolling dangerously close to the 99 Highway. The company always had a picnic at Moon’s Mill past the company ranch. A pond was built and part of Cottonwood Creek flooded into it. One time on a picnic a lot of people were swimming and one man was going to show us how to dive. He did, but when he came up he hollered that he had lost his false teeth. So everyone jumped in to help find them. Well, the water became very muddy and it was a long time before someone found them. They gave them to the owner and he just dipped them in the water and put them back in his mouth.” 

from Dom Favero.

In 1914, my grandfather, Antonio Feminis, immigrated from Italy to Northern California and then to Hilt.  My Grandmother Caternia Vanni Feminis and my Uncle Tony Feminis immigrated in 1920, arriving in Hilt in August of that year.  My mother Lucy was born in Hilt in 1921.  I showed her your webpage tonight and I think we found the house where she lived, but she is not 100% positive.  I found one picture of her and two pictures of my Uncle Tony on your site.  She moved to Mt. Shasta from Hilt when she was 15 years old.  She will be 90 years old in May.  She still lives in Mt. Shasta, but she is visiting with us.


Over the past year, I have been in contact with Arnaldo Ceccomori who lives in Milan Italy.  He is a relative of several of the Italian families who moved from the small town in Valle Vigezzo, Italy to Northern California, including several families who moved to Hilt.  He is related to the Feminis, Vanni, and Giorgis families (as am I) who lived in Hilt.  Arnaldo is writing a book on about ten families who immigrated from Valle Vigezzo in Northern Italy, including the Feminis, Vanni, and Giorgis families and will have an exhibit in Santa Maria Maggiore from July through September this year.  It is my understanding that the title of the book is “Siskiyou Road – From Valle Vigezzo to Northern California.”  Since he is Italian, the book will be written in Italian.  I received an email from him today letting me know that he is coming to the Mt. Shasta area in the middle of March and I will meet him there and introduce him to many of my family members.  I also would like to take him to Hilt and show him where the town was.

from Ken Roelofs. 

November 20, 1912

Daring Hold-Up at Hilt

One of the boldest and most daring robberies that ever took place in at Hilt, Saturday night November 16, 1912 night, when two masked men entered the saloon of Victor E. Warren and with drawn revolvers, held up some fifteen men that were in the saloon at the time. The men were covered by the bandits and forced to line up against the wall and were then relieved of whatever cash they happened to have. (One of those fellows was Pink Cole) Warren, who had a diamond ring which is valued at $1,500 (about $34,400 in today’s dollars), took the ring off and threw it in a corner of the saloon, thinking that the robbers would not see it, but they made a search for it and found it and took it along with the money that they had stolen. The robbers went through the cash register and got $94.50 out of it. One man was relieved of $65 in cash and some checks on a Portland bank, various sums taken from other men, and it is thought that the amounts stolen would aggregate considerably over two thousand dollars. The hold-up occurred at 10:12 p.m., a bullet from one of the guns went through the clock which stopped at that time. The two men that did the job were thoroughly masked and there is no description of them, other than that one was about 5 feet 6 inches tall, and the other one about 5 feet 1 inches tall. The men were apparently smooth shaven and both wore new belts and pistols. Warren rushed behind the bar and got a revolver and commenced firing on the bandits and emptied his revolver, but without effect. The bandits also returned his fire, but there was no one hit. It is understood that seven shots were fired, and it is a mystery than not one was not killed. A mirror behind the bar was broken, and one shot went through the clock putting it out of commission.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story and how Black Bart scared away from robbing a stage by an ax welding driver... as we continue to document the history of the little town of Hilt.

May 13, 1909
After a Residence of 55 Years in Northern Siskiyou, He Bows to the Inevitable.
    Another of our pioneers have crossed the great divide. John Hilt died at the home of his nephew Wilmer Hilt on May 13, 1909, at the age of 84 years and 6 months. His birth place was Fallon, Illinois. With his father and two brothers he crossed the plains with an ox team in 1854 and stopped for several months in Placerville. In 1855, he and W. H. Smith walked from Placer county to Siskiyou, carrying their blankets and mining tools, they reached Cottonwood (now Hornbrook), April 14,1955. His last days were made comfortable as could be made for a sick man, by Wilmer Hilt and his wife assisted by the constant attendance of a trained nurse.
    We, who came before the railroad reached Siskiyou, feel like pioneers, but here was a man who came before there was a wagon road in the county. When every piece of ground within the borders of Siskiyou the Golden was his for the asking. But like thousands of other pioneers, he wanted none of it, except that which contained gold. He turned his attention to mining, made it a study, and was one of the successful intelligent miners of yearly days. He made it a success, and the pure gold that he mined from the streams of Siskiyou, all of it were to put in one pile, would make a two horse wagon load. It came easy and went easy, for he kept little of it. He aided other miners by hundreds who were not so fortunate as he, and also lost much money trying to work the bed of the Klamath river in early days. Since that time it has become an art, and he was one of the men who showed the way. Many years ago he acquired title to timber land on West Branch and placed a sawmill thereon. In after hears he and his wife realized that this land was the makings of a valuable farm. They cleared much of the ground and there spent the last twenty-five years of their lives in comfort and plenty. One good trait of this man was the past had not regrets. He had all of the world’s goods that he could use as he want along, and was always glad that he had seen fit to assist his fellow man in his days of prosperity and plenty. The town of Hilt was named after him.
    He leaves three step children, Mrs. Wm. H. Smith of Ashland, Ore., Albert Shetler of Montague and Mrs. Alice Davidson of Michigan, and one nephew. His wife preceded him to the grave two years ago and last Saturday he was buried beside her in Hornbrook cemetery. Rev. W. E. Coffman conducted the services, assisted by Rev. Mr. Van Fouden of Ashand, Ore.
    He was a man of exemplary habits, with a sociable, kindly feeling for his fellow man. Rest in peace you pioneer and know that we of the younger generation owes you much, and respect the memory of your name, for you and others like you made it possible for us to live in and enjoy old Siskiyou the Golden, with its present advanced civilization and prosperity. J. L. C. 
(Source: Yreka Journal)