Isaac Roop

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Isaac Newton Roop, date unknown.


Early Life

Isaac Newton Roop was born on March 13, 1822 in Carroll County, Maryland.[1] Isaac was raised on the family farm, and though his father was wealthy, he had little education.[1] Isaac had two older brothers. Josiah, the eldest, and Ephraim.[2]

Isaac was married to his tutor, Nancy Gardner, in 1840. That same year, they moved to Ashland County, Ohio. They had three children: Susan, John, and Isaiah. Nancy died in 1850.[1]

Listed on 1850 census in Montgomery, Ashland, Ohio with the Gardner family and Susan.

The Shasta Years

Roop arrived in California on October 18, 1850 and was in Shasta by the following June.[1]. According to a letter from Josiah Roop published in the January 4, 1851 Sacramento Transcript, Isaac "made $4000 in the mines on Scott's river, in the short time of two weeks." Isaac mined on Whiskey Creek and operated a store on Oak Bottom for a short time. Ran for Sheriff in 1852.[3]. Was the first postmaster at the Shasta Post Office. There is also a mention of "Roops correl" on a record of sale of the St. Charles Hotel on December 27, 1851.[3]

Roop established the first public school in northern California with Dr. Benjamin Shurtleff and Royal T. Sprague at Shasta in 1853. Isaac was quite successful, accumulating upwards of $10,000[4] to $15,000[1] in holdings by the June of 1853.

On June 14, 1853, around 9 o'clock in the morning, a fire erupted in Shasta that quickly consumed most of the town. Roop first saved the letters and post office books, then hurried to help in the rescue of the school children.[4] Roop lost everything in the fire of June 1853, but it did not dampen his community spirit. Following the fire, he served on a committee to determine the cause of the fire.[3] He then presided over a committee responsible for widening and regrading Main Street. By September of that year, Roop moved to the east and became the first settler of what would become Lassen County. [4]

The Honey Lake Years

Resigned from his postmaster position and moved to Honey Lake Valley (Susanville) in 1853 and established what became known as Roop's Fort. Elected as Governor of the newly established Honey Lake Territory. Was instrumental in the Sage Brush War of Honey Lake Valley[5]


Roop appears to have been a man of kindness and generosity. An entry in the March 19, 1853 illustrates:

A FRIEND IN NEED. Last week when our eyes we red with the familiarity of villainous smoke, vomited forth in huge volumes from an abominable little sheet stove that even fat pine knots would not burn in, a "good Samaritan" happened this way -- saw our piteous condition -- took compassion on us, and in one hour thereafter an elegant little "Commercial Parlor No. 4" was roaring merrily in our office. The same dispenser of good in the evening, discovered our writing fixings -- scissors and paste cup inclusive -- spread out on the top of a trunk, was instantaneously struck with an exceedingly happy idea, in consequence of which we are now writing on a very elegant table. The Scriptures say, "he that giveth to the poor lendeth unto the Lord." A blessed man then art thou ISAAC ROOP.

Roop also had a wry sense of humor, as an announcement in the June 11, 1853 Shasta Courier attests:

HO! FOR SALT RIVER! I, Isaac Roop, Post Master in and for the City of Shasta, having been in office eighteen long months, having fattened at the public cub, and being a liberal man, am willing, and indeed anxious, to share the spoils of a good "fat" office, therefore I shall resign my office on the 30th inst., and recommend to the Democrats of this County the name of D.D. Harrill as P.M. he being well qualified to fill the post, and one in which the Whigs as well as the Democrats have every confidence. I will here state to all my friends who are in arrears for the box rent and postage to call and settle as I will be gone four years, it being my intention to leave for Salt River on the first day of July next, on the splendid and well known steamer "Bigler No 2." For passage and freight apply on board, or to the undersigned. ISAAC ROOP, Defunct P.M., Shasta."

Roop died February 14, 1869 in Susanville


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Shuck, Oscar Tully (1870). "Representative and Leading Men of the Pacific". San Francisco: Bacon & Company.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Boggs, Mae Helene Bacon (1942). My Playground Was A Concord Coach: An Anthology Of Newspaper Clippings And Documents Relating To Those Who Made California History During The Years 1822-1888. Oakland: Howell-North Press.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Fairfield, Asa Merrill. (1976) "Fairfield's Pioneer History of Lassen County." San Francisco: H.S. Crocker Co.
  5. Smith, Dottie (1999). The Dictionary of Early Shasta County History (2nd ed.). self-published.
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