Along Green Valley Road, Part 3 – Skinner Winery to Lotus Road

Rose Springs Literacy Society Building

Rose Springs Literacy Society Building

Only a short distance to the east of the Skinner Winery, on the western end of White Oak Flat, was a large red brick store built by George D. H. Meyers, a miner from Tennessee Creek. Years later John Wing purchased the property and, after his death, his widow Louisa ran a roadhouse in conjunction with the store, which was commonly known as Wing’s Store. Nearby, James Wing, her son, operated a toll road paralleling the county road.

One mile to the east, on the north side of the road, stood the White Oak Springs Hotel. Opened in 1852, it was purchased by Arthur Litten in 1859.  Across from it was a brick house that was originally owned by Constantine Hicks (New York House owner) and later, Louisa Wing’s brother, Aylmer Pelton.

Much of the history of the White Oak Springs Hotel is lost except for an April 28, 1852 altercation between an employee of the hotel, James Hewlett and a man named Abner Spencer. Hewlett is said to have stabbed Spencer, who died the next day. On the spot of the crime, a citizens’ committee tried Hewlett and convicted him of murder. Within an hour of the crime he was hanged from a nearby oak tree.

Just beyond the White Oak Springs Hotel was the original location of the town of Rescue (later moved to Rose Springs), where Mrs. Pearle Wing managed a later version of Wing’s Store.

A little over a quarter mile to the east, on the south side of the road and on the east bank of Kelly Creek (just west of the future location of the Tennessee Schoolhouse) was the Kelly Creek House. It was owned by an immigrant from Scotland named William Harriett.

Mr. Harriett operated the business for over fourteen years. When he died, his wife Agnes married August Baring (also known as Frederick Riemer) and the couple ran the business for several more years.

At the top of the hill between Kelly and Tennessee creeks and on the south side of the road, stood a place known by many names: The Rising Sun House, Sunrise House, and Pelton’s Hotel. It looked like a typical New England farmhouse, having been built around 1854 by Samuel B. Pelton, a native of Massachusetts and the father of Louisa Pelton Wing and Aylmer Pelton. It stood at the junction of the Overland Trail with the “upper road” to Gray’s Flat and Shingle Springs.

Around 1876 the Rising Sun House was sold to John Carre, an Englishman of French ancestry, who added a general store and a post office. He ran the place until at least 1883. Like many of the early buildings, the timbers for the Rising Sun House are said to have come around Cape Horn (one historian reporting on the era, wondered where the ships found room for immigrants with all this timber on their decks and in their holds).

One half-mile east of the Rising Sun House was Rose Springs and the Rose Springs House. Built by one Thomas Wood as a stage station, it stood on the south side of the Overland Trail, just east of its junction with the “lower road” to Shingle Springs. In 1862 John William Hodgkins purchased the property and added a general store. In 1863 it passed into the hands of Alfred P. Grainer and, in 1870, to Jacob Egger (Eggers?).

In 1880 Egger built his residence on the 200 acre Rose Springs Ranch, across the road from the original place. The Rose Springs House is said by some to have been a stop for the Pony Express.

Only a quarter mile to the east, on the south side of the road just across Tennessee Creek was a place almost nothing is known about, the Tennessee House.

Another quarter mile brings us to the last place anything is known about: “Hell-roaring Diggings”. Little is known about this location on Dry Creek that must have been “some kind of place” in the early days of the Gold Rush. A hotel once stood at this place, in what is now the creek’s channel.

Across the creek the old road to Coloma turned north towards Uniontown (Lotus). Travelers not wanting to go towards Coloma could continue east some eight miles on the Overland Trail to Placerville.

Unfortunately, little is known about these last miles to Placerville and, although we could assume there were stops along the way, very little seems to have been written about them.

A major source for this article is a book called “The Early Inns of California 1844-1869,” by Ralph Herbert Cross. Copies can be found in the rare book section of the El Dorado County main library.

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