© 2024 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
Listen | Discover | Engage a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Pioneers Build Stone Fort Near Montague, Calif.

Early pioneers had a great fear of Indian attack.  One settler named Price, assisted by Sam Hadley and a few other neighbors, took matters into their own hands by constructing a small, fort-like stone structure at the head of Northern California’s Shasta Valley.

Located on the early emigrant wagon road eight miles north of Montague, Calif., the fort’s actual date of construction may have been around 1852, followed by an 1855 remodeling. 

The stone building measured 25 to 30 feet square, characterized by slotted second-floor windows for riflemen. The first-story windows also had rifle slits, but placed high on the walls to keep anyone outside from squeezing through.  The structure consisted of a double-thick cement-like mixture of clay, mud, and lime. The door was built of heavy oak timbers, reinforced with iron, while the roof was heavy lodge-pole pines covered with hand-split shakes.  A fire-protective layer of gravel and earth covered the shakes, and on top of that was another layer of lighter poles and shakes to stand up to the rain’s pummeling.

Nothing indicates anyone ever needed to use the fort, and its existence has been lost to time and weather.


Source: Rippon, C. B. “Cy.” "The Old Stone House Ranch." North-South Trail Three Pans of Dirt
Sisc-Kaou-Siskiyou… Ed. Cy Rippon. Spring ed. Weed: Cy and Sally Rippon, 1975. 67-71. 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.