History of Ten Mile River Township, California
From: History of Mendocino County, California
Alley, Bowen & Co., Publishers
San Francisco, Cal., 1880


GEOGRAPHY. - This township is bounded on the north by Humboldt county, on the east by Little Lake township, on the south by Big River township, and on the west by the Pacific ocean.

TOPOGRAPHY. - The entire surface of the country here is a grand series of mountains, the valleys between being small and insignificant. The mesa which borders the ocean all along the Mendocino coast to the south of this, vanishes here, and the bold spurs of the mountains project into the very ocean. Kibesillah is an Indian word and signifies the head of the valley, and it is located at the northern extremity of the mesa land along the coast.

SOIL. - If there were any soil worth while mentioning it would be well to record the fact here, but there is so little of it in the township that it requires but little space in this work. From Kibesillah southward to Ten-mile river, along the coast there is quite a strip of excellent grazing and arable land, but that is about all there is in the entire township.

PRODUCTS. - Lumber and the products of the dairy, to which is added some potatoes, oats, and other grain, comprise all the exports of the township.

CLIMATE. - Here, as elsewhere along the coast, the climate is cool, damp, and generally pleasant, when one becomes acclimated, but till then it is not considered a luxury to revel in the almost eternal fogs of that section. In the winter season the climate is lovely, and it is then that the resident of that section is repaid for all that he is deprived of during the foggy summer season.

TIMBER. - Redwood forests abound all along the coast of this township, and the body of the timber is very heavy and extensive. There is a wide field here yet for the prosecution of the milling interest. Other varieties of valuable timbers grow in abundance here, especially the chestnut oak, from which tan-bark is derived. The working of ties and fence posts form one of the principal industries of the section, and large forces of men are engaged at this work all the year.

EARLY SETTLEMENT. - Enoch Judson Whipple was, doubtless, the first permanent settler in this township. He had been in charge of the Ten mile River station of the Mendocino Reservation, and when it was abandoned, he began farming on the same land, extending its limits, however, so as to embrace about seven thousand acres. He was soon followed by S. J. Bell, Lloyd Bell, William Billings, David Leslie, H. Chadbourne, A. A. Packard, and H. T. Powell. To the latter named gentleman belongs the honor of beginning the first dairy in the township, which he did in 1869. He has since then made upwards of twenty tons of butter. This is now one of the principal industries of this section. At Cotineva the first settler was A. J. Lowell, who located near the head of the creek in 1866; and the only other settler there previous to 1870 was Leonard Dodge.

NEWPORT. - Beginning at the southern end of the township, the first place we come to is Newport North, which comprises a general merchandise store and some other buildings belonging to Messrs. Stewart Sr Hunter.

KIBESILLAH. - his is the next place, and is a neat looking little village of some dozen or twenty buildings. H. Chadbourne started a blacksmith shop and hotel there in 1867, which was the first business in the place. It now supports two hotels, one store, one livery stable, and two saloons.

WESTPORT. - This town lies north of the last mentioned about five miles. and is quite a brisk and thriving little place. Its first settler was Samuel Beal, for whom the place was called Beal's Landing for some years. In 1875 Fred. Helmke built a chute there, but he had no franchise. It did not stand a great while before it was washed away. In 1877 James T. Rodgers began the construction of a chute, and to him belongs the honor of giving to the place its present name, he being from Eastport, Maine, naturally called the new town, Westport. George McFay built the first store in 1878, and John F. Johns opened a hotel during the same year. Its present business directory comprises four stores, one hotel, two livery stables, one shoe shop, and two saloons.

USAL. - This is a small place of only two or three buildings. There is no road to it, and a telegraph office is about the only mode of communication with the outside world.

PORTS AND CHUTES. - Beginning at the end south of the township, the first port we come to is at Newport North, where there is a chute, owned by Messrs. Stewart & Hunter. Besides the lumber which they pass over this chute, large quantities of cord-word, tan-bark, ties and posts, come to this place for shipment.

At Kibesillah there is also a chute, over which all the above named articles, except lumber, pass in large quantities.

At Westport there is a wharf three hundred and seventy five feet in length and twenty feet in width, at the end of which there are two chutes. The wharf has a suspension span of about two hundred feet, and its outer end is planted firmly on a large rock. This chute and wharf was constructed in 1877 by James T: Rodgers, and he gave to the town its name. At Cotineva, or Rockport as it is also called, there is a chute and wharf, which was erected in 1876 at an expense of $14,000, and is said to be the finest arrangement of the kind along the Mendocino coast. There is a suspension span in this wharf two hundred and seventy five feet long, and sustained by seven cables on each side.

Northport is sixteen miles north of Cotineva, and is the last chute up the coast in the county. It is owned by Funk & Ca, and Walter Fisk of Sonoma county is the resident member of the firm. There is really no chute here, as such a thing is an impossibility, but a cable and cage is used, which is operated by a steam engine.

Bear Harbor is the last point on the coast of Mendocino county where any business is done. There is at present only one store, and an extensive stock ranch at that place, though it is probable that a chute will be constructed some time in the near future. There is a heavy growth of redwood very near the ocean all along this section of the coast, but it is so rough and mountainous that it will be years before a road will be built through there. Large quantities of ties, posts, tan bark and cord wood find an outlet to market over each of these chutes yearly.

The Usal school district has only five children in it, which doubtless makes it the smallest district in point of the number of children in it in the county.

MILLS. - The Newport mill was built in 1875 by Fields Brothers, and in 1877 it was destroyed by fire. Messrs. Stewart & Hunter rebuilt it in May, 1878, on its former site, which is about two miles east of the town of Newport North. Its capacity when first built was twenty five thousand feet daily, and when it was rebuilt it was given the same. There are two thousand acres owned by the company, but a great deal more is accessible. It is estimated that about twenty million feet has been cut by this mill. Its machinery consists of a double circular saw, a single edger, a planer, and all the other necessary appliances fora first class mill.

The only other mill in Ten mile River township is located at Cotineva or Rockport, and was built by W. R. Miller, in 1877. Its machinery consists of a double circular saw, an edger, two planing machines, one picket machine, etc., and its capacity is twenty ive thousand feet. There have been upwards of nine million feet of lumber shipped from the port since the mill began operations, and there are three thousand two hundred acres of timber adjoining the mill.

The schooner John and Samuel was wrecked at Newport North in 1879.

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