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Scott Valley Ranchers Drive Herds to Market

In the days before motorized transport, it was difficult for pioneer ranchers in Siskiyou County to move their cattle to market, especially over the mountain passes.

One important stop along the early cattle “trail” over Forest Mountain from Scott Valley, Calif., was the Forest Horse Ranch. Located outside of Yreka, cattle were driven to the ranch house where the cowboys and riders spent the night. Corrals were built to hold lines of cows often stretching as far as three miles from the ranch.

Reports of the cattle drives date back to 1867 when more than 2,400 head were moved south through Yreka.  In 1869, Charles Hammond sold between 500-600 cows to Mr. Sweetman of Petaluma, Calif.,  for $24 each. 

The Walker Brothers moved 1,600 Mexican cows over Forest Mountain in 1920 in the biggest recorded drive from Yreka to Scott Valley.  Other Scott Valley ranchers who made use of this route included the Jenners, Haydens, Wolfords, Wagners, Mulloys, Davidsons, Marlahans, Kurts, Bryans, Mathews, and Hammonds.


Source: Burton, Fred W. "Cattle Stop." Siskiyou Pioneer, The 3.8 (1965): 19. Print.

Gail Fiorini-Jenner is a writer and teacher. 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 Jefferson, The State of Jefferson: Then & Now, which placed in the 2008 Next Generation Awards for Nonfiction and Postcards from the State of Jefferson.