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The Big Ditch
The Soda Springs - Pit River Turnpike
Little Shasta
Ross River
Express Mail
Etna Mills
The Battle of Castle Crags


Upper Soda Springs
Artist James Mason Hutchings - Scott's Bar'


Clawson Family 1893

Gold was discovered in Siskiyou County around 1850. One group of prospectors found gold on the South Fork of the Salmon River above Cecilville in the spring of 1849. More was found on the flats near a ravine called Black Gulch in March of 1851 by Abraham Thompson. Six weeks after the discovery 2,000 miners had arrived in "Thompson's Dry Diggings" to test their luck. Joaquin Miller described Yreka during 1853-54 as a bustling place with "...a tide of people up and down and across other streets, as strong as if in New York". More stage lines used the town for a stage stop than any other community in the state.

Settlers moved into every part of the county during this era, displacing the native peoples by force and establishing roads, towns and businesses. The town of Yreka was incorporated in 1857. The area currently known as Mt. Shasta City was originally called Strawberry Valley because of the many wild berries found there. The town at the northern end of Scott Valley was first named Wheelocks after O.C. Wheelocks who built a trading post here in 1852, then called Ottiitiewa, the Indian name for the Scott Valley branch of the Shasta tribe, then finally renamed Fort Jones in 1860 after the US Army fort had been built. Happy Camp was named in 1851, reportedly by a group of miners "celebrating their survival of the hardships of the trip up the treacherous Klamath and of having found a spot where 'the pickings' seemed so promising, they named it 'Happy Camp." (according to Vera Toleman's history, published by the Siskiyou County Historical Society).

In August of 1854, a party of eight made the first attempt to reach the summit of the celebrated Shasta Butte, or Mount Shasta, then thought to be the highest peak in California.

The Siskiyou County area made worldwide headlines during the Modoc war of 1872-1873 when a small band held off the U. S. Army in the area near Tulelake, now known as Lava Beds National Monument and Captain Jack's Stronghold. Even through the Modocs were greatly outnumbered, it took the army more than a year to squash the rebellion. This was the last armed resistance by California Indians.

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