Photos of May’s life in Ingot, 1900-1918

Here are some photos from when May and her first husband John Diddy ran the Flintlock Inn, a teamster stop, near Ingot in Shasta County, California.  Their children were Leslie (born 1902, but possibly not to May), Amy (born 1903) and Austin (born 1905).  May worked very hard to run the Flintlock Inn, despite being unhappy in her marriage to a man 20 years older than her, and not of her choosing.  In 1918, May took the very bold step of divorcing John Diddy.

Leslie, Austin and Amy Diddy, ca. 1906. May has written on the bottom of the frame: Mrs. John Diddy, Ingot, Shasta Co., California

Below, a lovely snap of Amy and Austin in the shade on a hot (no doubt) summer’s day at the Flintlock Inn near Ingot:

Austin and Amy Diddy at the Flintlock Inn, Ingot. Ca. 1910?

A school photo, Ingot.  Leslie Diddy is on the far left, Amy is in the centre between two younger girls, and Austin is on the far right.  This must be ca. 1909 or so.

Ingot School photo, ca. 1909

Here is a photo of May and her youngest, Austin, from about 1909/1910.  It was made into a postcard that she originally sent to her good friend Ida M. Calkins, whose husband ran the store in Ingot.  Below the photo is the verso of the postcard, with some later notes by my granny, Amy.

May Ripley Diddy with Austin Diddy, ca. 1909/1910. This was made into a postcard, which May sent to her friend Ida M. Calkins (see below).

On the back of the postcard, May wrote a characteristic inscription: "And so I turn my clouds about, and always wear them inside out to show the lineing." May's life was not easy in Ingot, as she was trapped in what she later called a loveless marriage.

Austin and Leslie in the wintertime, Ingot, about 1914:

Leslie and Austin Diddy at Ingot, ca. 1914

In my grandmother Amy’s published recollections of the Flintlock Inn, she said that her father John Diddy was a fine carpenter, a blacksmith, and made all the family’s shoes as well as the animals’ harnesses.  May did the cooking, baking and washing for the family and their paying guests, kept the animals and grew vegetables, and made all the family’s clothes.  (From “The Diddy Family of Flintlock Inn,” in The Covered Wagon, Shasta County Historical Society, 1984.)  Below is an undated photo of John Diddy:

John Diddy (on right)

Below are two photos of Amy, at 15 years old, upon her graduation from Ingot School. These photos must have been taken just months before May left Ingot (and John Diddy) and took the children to Sacramento. It must have been a very difficult time.

Amy Emma Diddy, age 15, upon her graduation from Ingot School

A happier photo of Amy, age 15, upon graduating from Ingot School

The site of the Flintlock Inn is now Diddy Wells firestation:

Diddy Wells firestation near Ingot, Shasta County, California



  1. That shot of Amy and Austin is really beautiful. Turn-of-the-century candids are always such lucky finds; so much rarer and more revealing than the posed portraits!

  2. Christine:

    I found the stories and photos great. Thank you for sharing them with me. I have rode my bike and worked in all those areas!!! I even spent a lot of my life working as a volunteer fire fighter and spent some time at the Ditty Wells Station! Hope all is well with you and keep in touch.


    • That’s so cool, Steven! I’m very impressed that you were a volunteer firefighter for so many years. When we were in Shasta and Trinity Counties in 2008 there were forest fires raging all around, and yet the firefighters at Diddy’s Wells were so courteous and friendly, and let us come walk around and take pictures. May would be very pleased to know the good work that goes on where she had her roadhouse. Take good care of yourself, and all the best.

  3. loved to see some hist.of ingot .my grandmother jenet . was a teacher at the one room school east of oak run road . it is a home now but still ther. she used to pick up kids on the way ,with my mother and her sister barbara in toe .maybe you would know her kirsten hall then. i also work at the Diddy wells station . my name is Fred Westrip. would like to know where the inn was at.

  4. These photos are wonderful! So full of character and charm. I particularly like the first one, which is very cute. It’s great that you know so much about your family history, and remember stories you were told about it. It must have been extremely difficult for May to leave her husband, she sounds like a strong and courageous lady.

  5. Hi!! Thanks for the information. It helps me a lot to this internet marketing.

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