The land that we have named Winterhill has a history of ownership going back to the early days of the California Gold Rush and the Placerville area. Placerville is just a few short miles from the site where gold was discovered in California that led to the famous Gold Rush. The fact, that this 40 acre parcel remained in tact, waiting for us to become its guardians, is somewhat miraculous.
Originally Winterhill was part of a much larger parcel of land owned by one of the founding fathers of Placerville , Alonzo Church which we believe was deeded to Alonzo on July 11, 1872 by John Fichlich. Alonzo was married several times but one of his wives was Lusena. They came to California in the early years of the gold rush and operated a general store in Fairplay. We have not yet been able to find out any information about Lusena but we do know that Alonzo was born in New York on November 13, 1826 and died January 1, 1902 in Placerville at age 75. One of Alzono’s and Lusena’s children was named Mary who was born March 4, 1863 in Fairplay. Alonzo owned large parcels of land and mining claims in the area. Alonzo deeded the parcel containing Winterhill to Mary in 1898.
Mary Church married Phillip Franklin Pierce Wentz. He went by Frank Wentz. He was born in Ohio on October 10, 1852 and arrived in California by way of the Isthmus of Panama and landed at San Francisco on November 14, 1858 . Frank died November 5, 1939. Frank’s father was Jeremiah Wentz who married Kezia Finch March 22, 1849 in Seneca County , Ohio. Jeremiah was born 4 May 1826 in Maryland and died June 28, 1912 and is buried in the El Dorado Cemetery . His occupation was a hotel keeper and farmer. Kezia Finch was born April 18 1829 in New York and died March 17, 1915 and is buried the El Dorado Cemetery .
The Mountain Democrat published Mary and Frank's 50th wedding anniversary announcement on January 12, 1939 . They had no children but they had many nieces and nephews. Mary and Frank are buried in the Placerville Cemetery next to Alonzo Church .
When Mary died on September 17, 1943 she left the 120 acre parcel to her neighbors A. G. Reynolds and Frank Bailey (of Frank Bailey Road ). It took until 1949 for Mary’s Estate to be settled and the property to be conveyed. Frank Bailey ended up with the sixty acre parcel containing Winterhill. In 1971, Frank Bailey and his wife deeded the parcel to Jerry and Margaret Patterson. In 1974, the Pattersons deeded the property to Medford J. Horner. He carved off 20 acres, subdivided that piece of land into 4 five acre lots and sold it to Morris Stelzmiller. In 1997, Marion Horner deeded the remaining 40 acres to John Wolf. John deeded the property to us in 2003. We renamed the road that runs through our property (with the permission of our neighbors and El Dorado County ) to Winterhill Drive.