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Early Ranchers Settle Scott Valley

Among the first ranchers to drive cattle into Scott Valley, Calif., in the early 1850's, Hurd and Lytle, were accompanied by teenagers Albert and Edgar Denny, who met up with the ranchers on the California Trail near the Humboldt River in Nevada.  They promised to help get the animals to California safely and joined the herdsmen to Scott Valley.

Another pioneer family headed by the Davidson brothers, Dave, Bill and Jerry, was one of the first to graze cattle in the Marble Mountains.  They came to California in 1849 by way of the Isthmus of Panama.

William Davidson crossed the plains in 1850, arriving in Yreka in 1851. He mined for a time and opened a store in Deadwood, then moved to Scott Valley to farm. His son James was said to be the first Anglo-American born in Scott Valley, on Dec. 3, 1853.

George Smith, another early Scott Valley rancher, mined in the Salmon River country before becoming a farmer.  He married Cleopatra Fairbrother and they had six children. Smith’s only son, Fred, operated the ranch until his two sons, Ormond and Leland, took over. George also helped build the Rough and Ready flour mill.

Source: Fiorini-Jenner, Gail L., and Bernita L. Tickner. Western Siskiyou County: Gold & Dreams. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2002/2005. 74-76. 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.