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.  

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.

For 20 years, until 1931, Mark and Ada Merrill had a traveling tent show that featured two bears, two Shetland ponies, sheep, monkeys and dogs.  They were a very enterprising couple.

Charles Nentzel was a year old in 1833 when his family immigrated to America from Bavaria.  He grew up in New York, assisted his father as a blacksmith, and became a jeweler’s apprentice.

Emigrating from Iowa with his family by covered wagon in 1859, Hiram Leonard Niles lived in Boise, Idaho, and Sonoma County, Calif., before marrying and settling down in Shasta County.

For many years, Dr. Charles Pius practiced medicine in Yreka, Calif.

In 1852, eight-year-old William J. Bidwell emigrated with his family from Wisconsin to California. They first settled at Horsetown in Shasta County. The father, John Bidwell, mined during the winter of 1852, became a blacksmith and wagon maker, and in 1858 moved the family to a 160-acre farm in western Shasta County.

Replacing ferries by bridges increased travel and accessibility in Southern Oregon and Northern California.

In 1909, Charles D. Willson obtained the first use-permit from the Crater National Forest and built a small hotel on 10.4 acres at Rocky Point on the northwest shore of Upper Klamath Lake.

On Feb. 27, 1940, 2.5 inches of rain fell in six hours in Redding, Calif.  The following day, rising flood waters closed three bridges leading out of town, including the north end of the newly constructed Market Street bridge, the east approach to the Free Bridge, and both approaches to the Diestelhorst Bridge.