Glenn County - Tehama County - Colusa County , California.
(c) 2009, Mike Barkley

Comments in Angle Transcript from Claude Fouts Purkitt, former State Senator, recently elected Glenn County Superior Court Judge, and head of the California Democratic Party for much of the 1920s

[A re-transcription of the transcript on file in the Angle Archives

Important because it suggests how fine the upstream fisheries were prior to the 5 Project dams and Black Butte Dam

The transcription was made first by optically scanning through Textbridge software, and then cleaning it up. The public-use photocopier in the Court Clerk's office is of such a poor quality that the first output from Textbridge is nearly unusable and requires great effort to clean it up. I am pretty good at it, but not perfect; I apologize for any errors I may have missed.

This is in straight text with minimal HTML formatting. Any editorial comments by me are contained within brackets, "[]", which you may delete easily after downloading the "page source" to your own editing software if your browser allows source downloading. ]

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p. 343







The United States of America,



H.C. Angle, et al.,



No. 30

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p. 463

Oliver P. Morton, Esq., Special Assistant to the Attorney General, Los Angeles
P.W. Dent, Esq., District Counsel, Reclamation Service, San Francisco
For The United States

Claude F. Purkitt, Esq., and R.M. Rankin, Esq., Willows, Calif.
For their respective Defendants.
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p. 482


a witness called and sworn in behalf of the Defendants A.P. WAKEFIELD and FRANK WHALLEY, testified as follows:

MR. RANKIN: Q. Where do you reside, Mr. Purkitt?
A. I live here in Willows, at 125 South Murdock Avenue. [now a parking lot for the County Planning Department]
Q. How long have you lived in Glenn County?
A. Ever since the County was divided; before then it was Colusa County.
Q. How old are you?
A. I am 46.
Q. Have you lived in Willows all those 46 years?
A. Well, my headquarters have been in Willows; and out on the Purkitt Ranch, when I was younger--9 miles west of Willows; I have lived in this county all my life.
Q. Are you familiar with the territory known as the Stony Creek country?
A. Oh, yes, some portions of it; I am very familiar with it.

p. 483

Q. How did you acquire that information?
A. Well, in many ways. I used to visit on Stony Creek with friends in early days, when I would go quail-hunting and fishing--not very much on Stony Creek, but past--up on my way going fishing, in the creeks up by Fouts Springs. And I was born at Fouts Springs, and when I was 16 years old I drove a stage for old man Fouts an entire summer, and I passed it every day.
Q. And during that period you became quite familiar with the country?
A. Yes.
Q. And it is a fact, also, that in your professional work you have become more or less familiar with the different properties along Stony Creek?
A. Yes, since I have been practicing law I have become familiar with a number of different places on Stony Creek.
Q. Are you familiar with the property now owned by Mr. Wakefield and Mr. Whalley? That is in the Northwest quarter of Section 11 in Township 18 North, Range 6 West.
A. Yes.
Q. How long have you known that ranch?
A. Well, I have known it since '81, to remember it, and I have been on it a number of times since. I wouldn't say annually--in the last 6 or 7 years I haven't been on it annually--but I would say as much as once a year, anyway.
Q. When you first knew the property--you say about 1881--was any part of it irrigated from a ditch?
A. Yes, there was alfalfa and garden in the lower flat between the higher land and the creek, and then there was some alfalfa in on the upper higher flat, but I don't know how many acres; I never measured it.
Q. Do you remember the ditch that leads to that property, as early as that date?
A. Well, now, the first I

p. 484

remember of that ditch-- We had a cottage at Fouts Springs, and every year, in those days, my folks went to Fouts Springs, along in June and remained there until September. Now, I don't recall so much about it in '80, but in '81 we camped there and took our lunch at the gravel near the big rocks, and my sister Edna was just a baby--just crawling around--she was born in August, and she was just sitting up--I fix it in that way--she was just sitting up--and at that time there were a lot of Indians diving into the hole there, and we camped there for dinner and fed the horses. We had a four-horse team, going to the mountains there--there were no automobiles in those days--and we camped there at a little gravel bar right below the rocks, and fed the team--and there were a number of Indians right there where we were camped--and, oh, 50 or 100 young Indians were diving into that hole and catching fish. They were catching them by hand, too--they didn't have any fish hooks--they were diving in and getting them by hand.
Q. Where is that spot you are describing?
A. That is just a little below where the head of the ditch or the flume came around. I remember myself and some of the party--my brothers, I think--we got in that flume and followed that flume around there, and went around to the head of it walked the flume.
Q. What ditch was that?
A. Well, that was the upper ditch that went onto Mr. Wakefield’s place--what we called the upper ditch, or the high one--the flume hanging around the side of the rocks.
Q. Do you know where the water in that flume was diverted from the creek?
A. It was diverted--there was a sort of wide condition in the main Stony Creek there, and the channel a sort of draws in the bottom of the creek, and it was diverted

p. 485

at that time out of a draw or lower place in the bed of the creek, next to the south bank, between the rocks and where Little Stony enters the main creek. I never stepped it; I know just about where it was, but that is as near as I can recall definitely.
Q. Is it a fact that that would be a short distance from the flume you speak of?
A. Yes.
Q, This flume you have described is a part of the water ditch or conveyance that goes down on the Wakefield and Whalley land?
A. Yes, that is correct.
Q. Now, after this time when you first noticed the flume, as you have described, how often have you observed that flume and ditch?
A. I observed it every summer along until they took that old flume down; and then I noticed one summer when we went down, that flume had some boards out of it, and there was a wider flume at the bottom of the rocks--that was somewhere about ‘90--about '92; I was 16, I think, the summer I worked through there.
Q. Is that the flume that is there now, or do you know?
A. I don’t know; they may have replaced it; it may have been lower down; I couldn't say if it was the same flume, but it is practically in the same place.
Q. That flume was in practically the same place then as it is now?
A. Yes.
Q. Then, if I understand you, you observed that flume and ditch and water running in it practically every year from that time on?
A. Well, nearly every year, yes; I wouldn’t say positively every year; I might have missed a year in there. And then when I drove a stage that summer, the Zumwalt boys--there was Louis and Joe and the blonde one - I have forgotten his first name--and they hauled grain up there at that time, and I used to lay over

p. 486

at Stonyford, and I would lay over once in a while and have my lunch with them and still be back in time to take my stage on--and that summer I observed it a good many times, and that is when I saw them irrigating.
Q. Where did they use this water that went through this flume and ditch?
A. They used it in Section 11, there between the ditch and the main Stony Creek--I thank it in the Northwest quarter of Section 11.
Q. Yes. Did they have alfalfa growing on that land in those years you speak of?
A. Thëre was alfalfa on part of it, and then they had corn and garden stuff in some of it--melons some years - they irrigated them however-- and the alfalfa then when they had the garden in the lower end; when Hickok was there they had a garden in the lower end--the lower flat--and Logan--and then they had the garden on the bench land, and then after that they put the alfalfa on the lower land--it is rotated and alternated.
Q. Do you know the acreage of that irrigated land?
A. When I first observed them irrigating that upper flat they didn’t irrigate as much as they do now, but along in the 90s it was increased and went around a little higher up next to the hills, or maybe earlier. A ditch may have been there but they didn't have it planted as early as I recall.
Q. I think that is all, unless there is some other statement you wish to make.
A. That is all I know about this particular piece of land.
THE MASTER: Any cross examination?


MR. MORTON: Q. Just one question, Senator. In 1881, in order to get over to that flume that you speak of, you had


to cross the creek?
A. Yes, we crossed the creek down below.
Q. How did you cross it?
A. My recollection is that there were a lot of horses--the Indians had a lot of ponies there--and we rode those ponies across the creek and that was how we got across.
Q. What time of the year was that?
A. In August, I think.
Q. Was the water low?
A. There was quite a good deal of water in there; I don’t remember so much about that.
Q. A low period, however?
A. I think it was in the latter part of June; I am basing my answer on the fact that we nearly always went to the mountains--Fouts Spring--because we had a cottage there.
MR. MORTON: That is all.
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[unfortunately no indication of species, size, and numbers of fish, and whether or not they were stranded, migrating, or what. . . .]

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Return to Stony Creek Water Wars.

--Mike Barkley, 161 N. Sheridan Ave. #1, Manteca, CA 95336 (H) 209/823-4817