TUTTLE GULCH HISTORY
By Deborah Hamby
Tuttle Gulch is located in the southwestern part of Shasta
County on the north side of the Shasta-Tehama County line. It is
an area between Gas Point and Bald Hills. Today this area of gently
rolling hills is used primarily for grazing land and for cattle and sheep.
It is sparsely populated, and there are no buildings other than homes
for the few families who live there.
Although there doesn't appear to be documented evidence
of the first exploration and settlement by white men of this area, according
to the "History and Business Directory of Shasta County" written in 1881,
there was a man by the name of French Tuttle, who in early 1850 with a
group of about twelve white men crossed the North Fork of Cottonwood Creek
and explored as far south as Beegum, which would have been west of today's
Tuttle Gulch. However, because the sketch notes of this trip
were lost, it is possible that this group travelled as far east as Tuttle
Gulch or that French Tuttle returned to this region at a later time.
From my study of the markers at the Tuttle Gulch Cemetery,
I find that there were inhabitants in this region from the 1860's on.
There were several families: the Maupins, the Marx, the Drews, the Thomassons,
and the Metz. Several of these families held tracts of land into
Although farming was their common livelihood, some of
these families also mined gold. As described to me by Mrs. Frankie
Morehead, who grew up in Tuttle Gulch, the families farmed and raised livestock
for their simple, everyday needs. However, when something special
was wanted, some of the men would mine for gold. She described their
life as pleasant and simple and emphasized that amounts of money were not
important to their lifestyle. There is great evidence of hydraulic
mining. Mrs. Morehead told me that this type of mining was primarily
done by Chinese who also lived in the Tuttle Gulch area. There is
no written evidence of the Chinese being there that I could find, but apparently
they had a settlement on the hillside between what is now Foster Road and
From the 1860's to the turn of the century, schooling
in Tuttle Gulch went through the eighth grade. Students who wanted
to further their education moved to Chico for high school. Called
Excelsior School, the school house in Tuttle Gulch was a white one-room
building located on MacAuliffe Road. This school was only for white
students, as was the general practice of the times. The Indians usually
went uneducated, although some Indian families sent their children to a
boarding school run by the U.S. Government.
Today all that remains of the past is Tuttle Gulch Cemetery
and the washed-out gulches left by the hydraulic mining operations.