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April 13, 2012

Oroville Mercury Register
December 7. 1954
Marine Sergeant Jack Henderson Bids Goodbye to Friends in Korea

Bidding goodbye to an old friend is Marine Sergeant Jack R. Henderson, son of Mr. and Mrs. John W. Henderson of Highland Blvd., and the husband of the former Miss Joann Webb of Oroville. He is a platoon sergeant with the anti-tank company, Fifth Marine Regiment in Korea. Before enlisting in November, 1950, he attended Oroville Union High School and was employed by Oroville Auto Parts. His friend “Reckless,” a Korean racing pony and mascot of the Fifth Marine Regiment, is returning to Camp Pendleton after serving as an ammunition carrier for the regiment since the spring of 1953. Reckless was made an honorary sergeant for his accomplishments in ammo-carrying during the last days of the Korean conflict. The sorrel-brown pony will rejoin the First Marine Division whenever it re-deploys to a new location.

From The Feather River Territorial Special Edition 1959 By James Lenhoff
Pioneer Railroad Financiers said it was preposterous! Engineers said it was impossible! But the Argonauts of Oroville did it anyway. The most rip-roaring railroad celebration in the history off any California mining town occurred on the fifteenth of February, 1864. On that bright Monday morning the citizens of Oroville welcomed the fourth railroad built in California, connecting their city with Marysville, a distance of some twenty-nine miles. The occasion marked the end of a rugged three year project which had been plagued by Civil War, lack of man-power, material shortages, floods, and rebel interferences. But the hardy Argonauts of Oroville were determined to build their railroad come hell or high water- and both did.

Completion of the California Northern Railroad hardly could have come during a more hectic season, for not only had the thousands of Chinese along the Feather River just staged one of their brightest New Year festivals, but the hot-tempered campaigns of another election year were in full swing. On the national scene Abraham Lincoln was bidding for a second term in the White House, while locally the patriotic Union Party was making an all-out effort to oust the last stronghold of Confederate politicking in the northern mines. Important as these issues were, an even more serious problem had been presented by the silver strike in Nevada’s Comstock Lode, a bonanza excitement which had made ghost towns of many California mining camps and now laid siege upon Oroville despite the rich diggings which were being uncovered daily.

However, on Monday morning all these intrigues came to an abrupt truce as the entire town determined to glory in its contribution to the annals of pioneer industry. Early in the morning miners, merchants, gambler, cattlemen and Indians poured in from all over the country, and by 10 am. The streets were thronged with jackasses and humanity. The Inaugural Train was due from Marysville at 11 a.m. sharp, and the city fathers were frantically trying to dispose of last minute details. The new depot near the bluffs on the upper end of Huntoon Street was lavishly decorated with patriotic banners, and a fancy free lunch was being laid out by the ladies of the town on long, linen-draped tables in the middle of Montgomery Street, which was the main boulevard through town. Flags were flapping gaily from every building in the city, and chefs at the St. Nicholas and International hotels were preparing the multi-course banquets which were to be served to the entire population that evening.
(To be continued)

Stu’s Notes: Well I just found the above story of Marine Sgt. Jack Henderson, a brave young man to enlist in November 1950 with the Chinese coming into the War. Things did not look good. Anyway, I found Jack and he is still living in Oroville along with his wife Joann. He tells me he will give me some of the “rest of the story” of “Sergeant Reckless”. You know I always want more of every story I use and many times it happens.
The story of Jack Henderson came with a picture of Jack and his buddy Reckless, I think this is the first time I’ve written about a horse in a war. In WWII they were used more than you would think on both sides. My good friend and brother Ironworker Jim Minter was in the Horse Calvary at the start of WWII. He had a limp he attributed to the kick of a mule.

The Story written by Oroville Historian James Lenoff does a pretty good cross-section of life in Oroville in the Civil War Era. There were Southern Sympathizers in Butte County, one reason for Soldiers in this area. They did cause problems and Oroville and Chico did send soldiers to Arizona Territory to fight the Texans but that is another story. I must say the soldiers were used against the Native American’, Maidu’s, of Butte County, also. We do not have any names of Butte County men who died in the Civil War, just names of some of those who joined up and went.