Pheobe Masten Slater

Pheobe Masten Hamilton Slater, circa 1877. Courtesy of Philip S. Hall

Various members of the Masten family first arrived in Lassen County and have been involved in many activities over the years, and many descendants still reside in the region. Pheobe was born in 1834, the third child of Peter and Nancy Masten in Ohio. In 1851, she married William S. Hamilton and the following year with her two brothers John and Benjamin Masten crossed the plains and settled in Amador County, California. Several years later, the Masten clan moved to Knights Landing, Yolo County, where he only child, died.

In 1864, at the urging of her brother-in-law Heiro K. Cornell the Hamiltons moved to Susanville. The Hamilton’s stay in Susanville was brief and they relocated to the Tule District and located on what is the present day Fleming Unit of Fish & Game. In 1868, an event had a major impact on Pheobe. Her, and her neighbor, Lurana Sharp dressed prepared the two female bodies of the Pearson Massacre.* In 1880, her husband died unexpectedly, and she carried on with the ranch. In 1882, she not only sold the ranch, but remarried to J.H. Slater, a civil engineer. Slater had visions of a Susan River irrigation system, but could not find any supports. The couple then moved to the San Francisco Bay area, where he died in 1913. In 1918 Pheobe returned to Susanville to make her home with her nephew John Cornell, and died there on 21 January 1919.

*The Pearson Massacre site is one of the few sites I have never attempted to locate.



3 thoughts on “Pheobe Masten Slater”

  1. Hi Tim,
    I’ve done some research on the Pearson Massacre site, and multiple sources show the location at 40° 17’ 42.11” N, 120° 11’ 21” W. This put’s the site at about 2,561 feet SSE of Amedee Hot Springs bearing 148° True from the springs. When things dry out a little more, I’ll drive out and see if there is anything to identify the site and also see if my research is correct.
    Larry Plaster

  2. I have run across a white wooden marker several chains east of the Hot Springs, at the time a thought it might be related as I knew the massacre was in that general vicinity.

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