Gail Fiorini-Jenner

As It Was Contributor

Gail Fiorini-Jenner of Etna, California, is a writer and teacher married to fourth-generation cattle rancher Doug Jenner. They have three children, seven grandchildren and live on the original homestead.  Her first novel Across the Sweet Grass Hills, won the 2002 WILLA Literary Award. She co-authored four histories with Arcadia Publishing: Western Siskiyou County: Gold & Dreams, Images of the State of JeffersonThe State of Jefferson: Then & Now, which placed in the 2008 Next Generation Awards for Nonfiction and Postcards from the State of Jefferson.  She co-authored Historic Inns & Eateries in the State of Jefferson, featuring 30 locations and their recipes. Fiorini-Jenner has placed in several writing contests: The Jack London Novel Contest; The William Faulkner Story Contest; The Writer's Digest Inspirational Story and Screenplay Contests. She appeared on History Channel's  How the States Got Their Shapes,  and NPR's West Coast Live. She also writes for Jefferson Backroads.  

Shasta, once known as the Queen City of Northern California, was the business and transportation center of pack strings and freight wagons.

On Sept. 7, 1951, the Siskiyou County Historical Society celebrated the 95th birthday of Yreka stone worker James B. “Dad” Russell.

The construction of the Shasta Dam in the 1930s and ‘40s at the north end of the Sacramento Valley was intended to provide long-term water storage in Shasta Lake, flood control, hydroelectricity and protection against the intrusion of saline water.  It is the eighth tallest dam in the United States and has the largest reservoir in California.

Northern California historian Jim Denny has called Whiskey Gulch above Old Etna, Calif., “One of the nicest little whiskey stills that ever turned out illegal whiskey. It was only out of business when whiskey could be produced legally.”

During World War II, the National Youth Administration recruited high school graduates to train as forest guards at the Mount Shasta Vocational Forestry School.  The school was established so that qualified students could earn a living while studying for a forestry career and for defense.

As World War II continued to rage overseas in January 1942, the U. S. Navy and other federal agencies called for assistance from regional and local groups.

Charlotte Rose Henry was born in 1922 in Redding, but the first home she recalled later was in Cottonwood, Calif., across from the family’s store.

On February 27, 1940, more than two inches of rain fell in six hours in Redding, Calif., the storm contributing to seasonal rainfall of more than 42 inches, about twice the normal amount.

Francis Kennedy Hamilton watered circus elephants as a boy and edited Ernest Hemingway’s writing as an adult.

One of Siskiyou County’s early scoundrels, Sailor Jim, whose real name was Danforth Hartson, reportedly shot Indians and was believed to have been involved in a murder for which he was never tried. Townspeople looked upon him with suspicion and disdain.

Hayfork, Calif., is off the beaten path, but with a population of only 2,400 it ranks as the second largest town in Northern California’s Trinity County. Settled in 1851 during the California Gold Rush, it was first known as Kingsbury or Kingsberrys, then South Fork, followed by Hay Town.  It became Hayfork in 1854, its name derived from the hay and food grains produced along the North Fork of the South Fork of the Trinity River.

A sourdough created at least 100 years ago by Scott Valley, Calif., gold miner is still alive and leavening delicious bread and flapjacks.

By 1900, the United States had some 210,000 one-room schools, at least 100 of them in Siskiyou County, Calif.

The physical history of Northern California’s coastal redwood region is linked to the human populations that have interacted with it, from pre-contact times to the present.

The Trinity River was known to trappers of the Hudson’s Bay Company as they passed through Northern California, but these early explorers apparently never gave it a name.

Ethel Porter moved when she was seven in 1896 with her family to the Altoon Quicksilver Mine in Northern California. Her father’s job was hauling wood to the mine using teams of six and eight horses.

During the early 1850s, five gold mining settlements sprang up in Northern California’s Trinity County, including Minersville, Ridgeville, Sebastopol, Diggerville, and the Bates and Van Matre Ranch.

Years later, Ethel Porter recollected traveling at three years of age in 1892 with her father to the Altoon quicksilver mine at elevation 6,800 feet in the Northern California Trinity Alps.

In 1923, Miss Mary E. Dickey took her students to see the fair in Sacramento. A group of six adults and nine children set out in September from the Kenyon School in Siskiyou County, Calif., in Mr. Bibbens’   screenside vehicle, an early type of van.

There’s a Western legend about how the “Last Kangaroo Court” in Trinity County, Calif., was held in Hayfork in September 1906 to teach a stranger a lesson.