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Cornelius Gordon Proves an Enterprising Settler

Cornelius Gordon and his wife, Emily, crossed the plains in 1879 to settle on 144 acres located six miles up the Klamath River from Happy Camp, Calif.  An enterprising man, Gordon opened the Pennsylvania Mine and built his home from lumber milled at his own sawmill.  As a cobbler, he made shoes for his wife and six children, and as a homeopathic practitioner, he tended to the sick and wounded.  It was said he healed Gypsy John, a local Karuk Indian who’d been shot through a lung.

Gordon and his sons cultivated 25 of his 144 acres and raised hay, corn, vegetables and fruit, including cherries and walnuts.

Visitors and travelers on the Elk Creek Trail began stopping frequently at the Gordon place.  In 1915, the Gordons opened their home as a resort for fishermen, often taking in as many as 30 summer visitors.

The Klamath River ferry, constructed in 1885 on the Evans Ranch, moved to the Gordon Ranch in 1916.   It remained an important crossing point until 1934 when the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed a road up the other side of the river.


Source: Gordon, Ralph, and Marge Morey. "The Gordon Family." Siskiyou Pioneer. No. 9 ed. Vol. 3. Yreka: Siskiyou County Historical Society, 1966. 62-63. 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.