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.  

One of the earliest pioneers of Shasta County, Calif., Alonzo Engle, was born in 1824 in Ohio.

The great-great nephew of George Washington, Col. Benjamin Franklin Washington, headed West in 1849 at the height of the California Gold Rush.  He was born in Virginia, the great grandson of Lawrence Washington, became a lawyer and practiced law for many years before settling in California.

The town of Upton is among the many that no longer exist in Northern California’s Siskiyou County.

In 1877, three businessmen put up $1,500 each to start a new business in Redding, Calif.  The investors were Dr. Louis Wellendorf, James McCormick and Ruldoph Saeltzer.  A year later, Dr. Wellendorf sold his interest to Williamson Lyncoya Smith.

In 1945, Gloria attended her friend’s wedding in the Bronx, New York, and met her best man, Glenn Ray.

Esther “Etta” Soulé was born in a log house in the Little Shasta Valley in Siskiyou County, Calif.  She and several other Soulé children grew up in the area and were educated at a rough-board, box-shaped schoolhouse built in 1860.

Born in 1894, Alfred F. Ross, Jr. was the third generation of his family to call Shasta County, Calif., home.  He was the son of Albert and Lizzie Greer Ross.

Adella V. Weaver spent her childhood in Yreka, Calif., where her father mined.  In a memoir, she shared some interesting episodes, noting that she and other children had the freedom to roam at will.

The winter of 1889-90 was hard on man and beast in Trinity County, Calif.  The snow was 17 feet deep at Denny.  Deer perished by the hundreds and a local butcher, Jim Mullane, lost his entire beef herd.

The one-room Rock Hill School on Old Hill Road southwest of Lebanon, Ore., has served as a school, church, and community center.

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.

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