Roy Wilsey

Roy Wilsey

Roy Wilsey was born on December 5, 1889, at the home of Eugene and Eliza Wilsey. His home was 20 miles east of Redding on Cedar Creek. When Roy was old enough to go to school, the family moved to Redding in the winter so he could attend the first grade in town. As Roy started second grade, the family had homesteaded the place on Cow Creek and so he then went to Eureka School on Highway 299E on the Lemm Place.

As Roy grew up, he worked on his farm and also worked at the Terry Lumber Co. Flume for 3 years.  Roy went to Willows in the spring of 1908 and worked there as a carpenter and at the post office. In the winter of 1909, he went home for Christmas and soon met a teacher named Lottie Sutton who taught at the French Creek School and who also happened to be boarding with the Wilsey family.  As Roy was living in Willows they saw each other occasionally and kept in touch through mail. On February 10, 1912 they wed in the Sutton home in Orland.

Roy and Lottie had  five children, 4 girls and 1 boy. The girls’ names were Charlotte, Eleanor, Phyllis, and Joan. Clarence was the youngest and only boy. Roy worked in the post office and also as a carpenter from 1913 to 1920. In 1920, the family moved to the Wilsey ranch to help Roy’s dad, whose health was failing. When Roy’s father died in 1921, Roy bought the farm from his mother and he ran it for 25 years. Roy and Lottie were active in community affairs. They were members of the Redding Presbyterian Church and had the responsibility of the Bella Vista Sunday School for many years. In 1930, Roy helped organize the Millville Grange and served as its leader for 4 years. Roy was active in the Gideons for 20 years, and served as County Supervisor from 1954 to 1958.

Tragedy struck the Wilsey family when Roy’s only son, Clarence, died from an illness that stemmed from his time of service in World War II. After Clarence’s death in 1946, he and Lottie sold the Wilsey Ranch and moved to Redding. It was here, during his retirement years, that he opened up an amusement park named Kiddieland, in which Lottie and Roy operated and worked for thirteen years. In 1961, Roy turned the operation of Kiddieland over to the YMCA. The YMCA operated Kiddieland for another thirteen years. In 1974, due to lack of funding and due to the condition of the rides, Kiddieland closed and all its rides and equipment were sold at a public auction. Lottie Wilsey passed away from cancer in 1966. Roy Wilsey was 91 years old when he passed away in 1980.  They are both buried in the Redding Cemetery.

biography taken from Roy Wilsey and Kiddieland by Grace Boyle


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