William Kingsbury Conger

One of the most prominent men of western Shasta County and Butte County is William Kingsbury Conger. William was born about 1821, and he was a native of Pennsylvania. Conger possibly arrived as early as 1849, settling in Western Shasta, other reports show him arriving in the early 1850s. Conger settled at Piety Hill, which was named becuase political and religious groups met their and held discussions.

A few of the known people at these discussions were; William K. Conger, Edward R. Jones and Hayes Titus. Another version claims that a family who came from Piety Hill, Michigan, named this settlement after their former home. Piety Hill is now the relocated town of Igo in Western Shasta. This pioneer settlement became a California Historic Landmark.

Conger took part in a lot of Western Shasta's earliest development, and lived in the following places in the Clear Creek territory; Horsetown, Briggsville and Texas Springs. He also lived at Middletown. Conger is credited with erecting the first building at Eagle Creek, which became Ono in 1883, the building which was built by him was still standing in 1949, it doesn't exist any more.

Conger went into business with Samuel S. Dunnells, a native of Maine. They conducted the Bald Hills Hotel and Ranch in the 1850s. Dunnells later moved to Janesville, which became Gas Point and became their merchant in the 1860s.

William and a man named D. Titus filed claims to 320 acres half mile Southeast of the mouth of South Fork of Clear Creek, which became known as Conger Gulch, located near Igo. Conger Butte was named for him too, it is no longer in existence today as it was renamed Petty Butte.

In 1859, C.F. Ellsworth established a water-powered sawmill, located on the north side of the South Fork of Clear Creek. Ellsworth hired Conger to help run his sawmill. As early as 1866, William K. Conger became the first settler of Igo, and is credited with building that towns first building too.

William became a married man and to this union three children were born. The Conger family moved to Copper City where this family kept a boarding house. The Conger's returned to Igo after a year or so to live, and then the family moved to Chico, Butte County, California. At Chico they lived in a house on Salem Street.

William Kingsbury Conger's obituary stated the following; "Mr. Conger is a cousin of Minister Conger, whose fate in China is not assured, and he is also a cousin of Senator O.D. Conger of Michigan. It was a detachment of his brother's Colonel C.D. Conger, that captured John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. William K. Conger, the subject of this notice, as we see by the newspapers died in Alameda, July 23, 1900, at the age of 79 years. He leaves a widow, Mrs. M.R. Conger, three daughters - Miss Kate Conger of the Alameda School Department, Mrs. Floy Dolliver of San Francisco, and Mrs. A.A. Hubbard of Reno, Nev. - and one son, W.A. Conger, a member of the firm Hammond & Conger." Burial took place at Chico and his funeral was attended by a large crowd from Shasta County. Conger became a well known man of Northern California.

Contributed by Jeremy M. Tuggle
Place Names of Shasta County by Gertrude A. Steger, La Siesta Press, 1966.
A History of Shasta County by Shasta County Book Commission
The Dictionary of Early Shasta County History by Dottie Smith, Second Edition
The Shasta Courier, Saturday, July 28, 1900. Obituary of William K. Conger.

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