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.  

Siskiyou County historian Alex J. Rosborough was born on Aug. 30, 1865, in Yreka, Calif., one of six children of District Court Judge A. M. Rosborough and his wife, Helen Raynes.

The winter of 1920 in Siskiyou County, Calif., was destined to become a severe one.

Before being named Yreka, the Northern California settlement was known as Shasta Butte City, a conglomeration of little more than shanties, brush huts, tents, and rough log structures.

A frequent stopping place in the 1800s for travelers moving north into Trinity and Siskiyou counties was located at Cottonwood, Calif., between Red Bluff and Old Shasta.  Among the travelers were freight and emigrant wagons, pack trains, foot travelers, and miners.

Irish immigrant Peter Fitzpatrick did not stay in the East for long before he caught gold fever and headed West with a friend named Henderson. 

Life was an adventure for Charlotte Rose Henry as a child in Cottonwood, Calif.  Her parents, Leland and Gladys Cunningham Rose, both born in 1898, were hardworking, but never stopped having fun.


During the gold rush, there was a layover spot called Mud Springs in Shasta County that was used by those traveling to and from the gold fields of Shasta and Del Norte counties or Sacramento and San Francisco. It was located off the old Henleyville Road, also known as the Paskenta Road.  It offered weary travelers a place to camp where the creeks were easily forded.

The teacher at the Big Springs School in Siskiyou County, Calif., Maybelle Needham, married Joe Stallcup in 1916.  A home was built for the young couple on the Stallcup ranch where Needham had boarded with the family.

Two married brothers were farmers in their hometown of Red Bluff, Calif., when they decided to try their hand at cattle ranching. The brothers, John B. and Richard B. Graves, spent most of their money on 80 head of cows in 1890.  They moved to Trinity County in search of good grazing ground and a place to build their homes.

A history marker at the intersection of California Rte. 3 and East Side Road notes that giant bucket dredges “turned the Trinity River upside down for (more than) … 50 years, leaving behind mounds of rock trailings.”  One of them, the Trinity Dredge, was constructed in 1912 at the Blakemore Ranch and powered by electricity produced in Minersville by water from the Van Matre Ranch.

Well-known Siskiyou County hunters, Gordon Jacobs and Walter Bray, were brought together in 1895 by their love of hounds.

The first Henley, Calif., schoolhouse was a simple building at the southwest end of the community’s main street.

The quaint, remote communities of Igo and Ono in Shasta County, Calif., are a pair of settlements established during the gold rush.

Many pioneer gravesites have been lost over time, requiring great effort to locate them.  One of them is the Turtle Gulch Cemetery in Shasta County, Calif., where 57 identified gravesites are barely visible from a road in the Bald Hills.

During the late 1890s and early 1900s, the Montague Brass Band toured Siskiyou County, providing music for special events.

Vesta Ranous Terwilliger was born in 1861 in Yreka, Calif., the daughter of Francis M. Ranous and Mary H. Hood.  Her father became a carpenter and builder and moved with his wife to Yreka in 1856 with his mother’s family.

In 1897, an important mining strike was made in Northern California only four weeks after the claim was purchased for a pittance.

A Butte Valley native, Erna Evans Franklin, wrote about growing up in the Picard Calif., community east of Yreka on the road to Alturas and Dorris.

Marion Ray Laird was named “Cattleman of the Year” in 1972 by the Siskiyou County and California cattlemen’s associations.  Born in 1894 at Laird’s Landing, he was the third generation of Lairds involved in cattle and stock raising,

One of the early settlers of Igo, Calif., Henry L. Abbott , was born in Ohio in 1854, traveled West as a boy, and showed up in the 1870 census as a teenager in Stony Creek, Calif.