The William J. Paugh House in Jackson was designed by local artist and architect Charles L. Parish in the Carpenter Gothic Architectural style. It is one of the only homes in the Mother Lode to be built in the Gothic-style, and appears nearly the same as it did when it was constructed in 1860. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
Renovations to the home were made from 1900-1940. In 2004 and 2005, extensive work was done to remodel the home to its original state and was based on lithographs of the home from 1860. Much of the work removed the additions to reveal features from the original construction. The home is the only known remaining building designed by Charles L. Parish.
Charles L. Parish
Charles L. Parish designed the home in 1859. He was a locally-important architect, builder, and artist who is responsible for much of the early artwork of Gold Rush camps. His illustrations are curated at the University of California, Berkeley Bancroft Library.
Parish was born in Ile Perrot, Canada and studied architecture in New Haven, Connecticut. He arrived in Jackson via a California-bound ship from New York in 1852 or 1853. Prior to his arrival in Jackson, he tried his hand at mining but was unsuccessful. Once in Jackson, he opened up a shop that was either used for mill-working or carpentry. In addition to the William J. Paugh home, Parish designed the Amador County Jail, the Gothic Revival home of Calaveras County Sheriff Benjamin Thorn, and likely aided in the construction of the toll bridge and toll house on the Mokelumne River at Big Bar.
The Carpenter Gothic design that Parish pursued for the William J. Paugh home was influenced by many Gothic-style architects of the mid-nineteenth century. The wood used to construct the home was likely procured from Parish's shop, and his designs in the home are original. Though the Gothic style was popular on the East Coast during this time period, it was rarely seen in California.
In 1861, the home was auctioned off as the grand prize in a raffle. Parish ran advertisements in the Amador Ledger-Dispatch and the Sacramento Union for the "Charles L. Parish Gift and Musical Entertainment Raffle." 8,650 tickets were sold for $1.00 each. Amador County Sheriff William J. Paugh won the raffle on April 4, 1861 and lived in the home until 1870.
It is unclear why Parish raffled this handsome home. One account says Parish built the home to impress a woman, but after the woman died in a tragic accident Parish decided to raffle the home off. This account contradicts with other documents that say Parish was married to a woman from New York named Delilah. Whichever the case, William J. Paugh became one of many prominent community members to reside in the home.
William J. Paugh and Subsequent Residents
The home has had many different owners since it was raffled. In addition to Sheriff Paugh, the home has been occupied by a judge, a County clerk and auditor, a bank agent, gold mine owners and supervisors, and the schoolteachers of the first school in Jackson.
William J. Paugh was the Sheriff of Amador County at the time he won the home. He mined gold for a time after his tenure as Sheriff. In 1870 he left Jackson for Alameda to practice medicine and sold the home to a Jackson Wells Fargo Agent, George Snowden Andrews. In 1874 Andrews sold the home to Amador County Clerk James B. Stevens, who was also known for his time as a secretary at the Napa State Asylum for the Insane. After Stevens, the home was sold to A.W. Kerr and his wife, who were the first schoolteachers at the first school in Jackson.
After the Kerr's, the next owner of the home was Judge George Moore from Kentucky. He died in the parlor of the home via a gunshot wound, and it is unclear if he was murdered or committed suicide. The event inspired a flurry of articles in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1884. His widow Viola sold the home to the owners of the Nevills Mine (also known as the Mammoth Mine), W.A. Nevills.
The Nevills resided in the home until 1885 when the house was sold to another judge, S.W. Griffith. Subsequent owners of the home included Amador County Clerk and Auditor G.R. Breese, Kennedy Gold Mine Supervisor Robert Ousby, and T.T. Hocking, whose family owned the Hocking Mine.
Hocking sold the home to W. K. McFarland in 1924. Upon the passing of McFarland and his wife, the home was inherited by their children. They sold the property in 1940 to J.W. Voss and his wife Margaret. Margaret lived in the home until her passing at the age of 102 in 2001. Her nieces sold the home to Gerald and Jeanette Chaix, the most recent owners of the home.
The William J. Paugh home is important for its architectural style, the man who designed it, and the social history of the people who lived there. The home is the last known building designed by Parish that remains, and the Carpenter Gothic style is unique to California in the time and area it was built. The people who lived in the home after Parish were important members of the Jackson community. The William J. Paugh home represents an important piece of Jackson history and a distinct architectural style that stands out in the region.
The eastern slope of Amador County begins at Kirkwood’s historic stage stop. The relatively narrow county is aligned between the Mokelumne and Cosumnes rivers and roughly follows an important emigrant trail route. Amador County was once a rich gold mining county, and many of the county’s towns began as gold mining camps. The largest Native American grinding stone with 1,185 mortar holes and dozens of petroglyphs is in Amador County at the Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park, which also houses the Chaw’se Regional Indian Museum. Amador County has a booming wine country with over 35 small wineries in the foothills.