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  Winter of 1889-90

The ranchers of Siskiyou County had done well during the years between the Modoc War and the winter of 1889-90. Ranchers had prospered from selling horses to the government, and the selling of beef to slaughter houses in the Bay Area. Then the winter storm hit the area.

Snow started falling about December 10, and continued until fences and cabins disappeared beneath the blanket. The freeze followed, with temperatures dropping to 30 degrees below zero, and the crusted snow remained until February. Cattle, horses, deer died by the untold thousands. Old timers say that the few horses that survived had their tails chewed off by others seeking anything to fill their stomachs.

Charlie Boyes died as a direct result of the storm, trying to save remnants of his stock. Pres. Dorris lost his famous "D" ranch through foreclosure, and John Fairchild lost his equally famous "JF" in the same manner. Neither could meet their obligations after such a disastrous winter.

from The Siskiyou County Museum and Historical Society
Keith Arnold

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