William Samuel Kidder
William Samuel Kidder was born in Charing, Kent County, England on November 15, 1835, to John and Mary Ann (Payne) Kidder. His father was a properous business man who advertised as a tea, coffee, and spice merchant. William was one of nine children born to John and Mary Ann (Payne) Kidder.
The Kidder family emigrated to America in 1842, the family settled in a small farming community called Pittsfield, about two or three miles from Morris, New York situated in the southern half of New York state. This is where William Kidder first heard the gospel preached in a little Baptist Church. At a later age he was received into the fellowship of the Morris Baptist Church.
The news of the Gold Rush excited William in his early teens, there was much excitement throughout the East about the discovery of gold in California. At the age of twenty-four, in the year 1858, his dream came true. William took a boat from New York to Panama. There he disembarked and took the passage in a stagecoach for the west coast. Upon arrival on the west coast, William took passage on a boat waiting to transport the passengers to San Francisco. The adventure was safely made.
River boats ran from the Golden Gate to Sacramento and from the Sacramento Valley to the Shasta Goldfields. He soon found out that the gold did not grow on tree or that the roads were paved in gold.
Kidder arrived at the town of Piety Hill, situated in Western Shasta. Upon his arrival he immediately began associating with the baptists churches which had been organanized. He also took an interest in mining too.
In 1859, William Kidder was teaching at the Whiskeytown Schoolhouse. While there, William united with the Whiskeytown Creek Baptist Church. The name of the church was later changed to the Mt. Shasta Baptist Church. During these flush times, William was living at French Gulch.
In 1860, William S. Kidder was ordained as a baptist minister. He was the most traveled and prominent preacher of his time in Shasta County. It was soon after this that William assisted in the organization of the First Baptist Church of Red Bluff, Tehama County, and on September 25, 1860, William became the first pastor.
On November 3, 1860, the Richland Baptist Church was organized at Eagle Creek (now Ono) in Shasta County by the Reverends F. Spencer and William S. Kidder. Kidder was associated with it as pastor. The name of this church was later changed to the Eagle Creek Baptist Church.
The Reverend Kidder was a patriotic man. While living at French Gulch he volunteered for service in the Union Army in Company I of the Seventeenth Regiment of California Volunteers. On November 10, 1864, he was inducted into the Army at the San Francisco Presidio. William Kidder was a member of the E.F. Winslow Post, G.A.R., of Redding. He was honorably discharged from the Army on March 31, 1866.
Reverend William Samuel Kidder was married Mary Elizabeth McFarlin on December 5, 1867 in a double wedding ceremony with Mary's sister who was being wed to Thomas Burton Smith. Both brides were daughters of pioneers George and Martha Yelland Miller McFarlin.
The newlyweds established their first home in French Gulch, where William was teaching school. He also served a stint as Postmaster for French Gulch. The family later moved to the settlement of Eagle Creek in Western Shasta where he was chosen pastor of the Eagle Creek Baptist Church in 1868.
It was Reverend W.S. Kidder who suggested the name of Ono in 1883, when the settlement of Eagle Creek wanted a post office. It was accepted and the settlement was now a town named Ono. The place name of Ono is mentioned five times in the Old Testament. It was a plain, also a town near Jerusalem, now known as Auna. "Let Us meet together on the plains of Ono" (Nehemiah 6:2)
Reverend Kidder's brother-in-law William McFarlin became the first post master of Ono. Reverend Kidder by this time was teaching Sunday School and the Ono Schoolhouse.
Reverend Kidder was elected as Shasta County Assessor from 1881 to 1882. William was elected by a large margin of votes. Kidder appointed his wifes brother-in-law Thomas B. Smith as his deputy with Benjamin Swasey, another pioneer.
In the 1880s Reverend William S. Kidder founded the First Baptist Church of Redding, then located on the north east corner of Court and Placer Streets. He became their first pastor. This church is now located on Eureka Way in Redding.
Reverend William Kidder is certanily one of the most important figures in Shasta County history. He died on March 16, 1911 due to a heart attack. William was dubbed as "The most respected man of Western Shasta", at the time of his death. He was a pioneer, teacher, civil war soldier, preacher, farmer and miner.
Reverend Kidder and his wife had seven children. Six girls and one boy. All the girls married and their descendants still live here in Shasta County.

Contributed by Jeremy M. Tuggle
Resource "Rooted In Shasta County" by Jeremy M. Tuggle published by Preserving Memories in 2003, 2nd Edition 2004.

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