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Laird Family Establishes Lower Klamath Lake Ranch

Marion Raymond “Ray” Laird was born in 1894 at Laird’s Landing in Siskiyou County.  His grandfather and family emigrated west in 1862 in covered wagons.  Laird’s father, Charles, was only four and rode the entire way bareback. Family lore has it that a band of Indians wanted to trade for the boy, thinking he would make a fine warrior.

The Lairds settled first in Trinity County, but eventually settled on the Klamath River.  Charles raised stock with his father, but also drove stages along the Redding to Ashland, Ore., stage route. Finally he established a ranch along Lower Klamath Lake where there was open range and good meadows. He married in 1892 and the couple raised three boys and a girl on the ranch known as Laird’s Landing. The ranch also became a stopping-off place for travelers. Meals were 25 cents; lodging and horse feed cost extra.

Ray Laird attended local schools, riding 25 miles on horseback to Macdoel in order to graduate.  He attended U-C Davis, graduating in animal husbandry.  World War I called him to service, and after the war he married and raised a family even as he expanded the ranch’s holdings.

Source: Nelson, Sedge. "Siskiyou County Cattleman, 1972, Ray Laird." Siskiyou Pioneer and Yearbook. No. 8 ed. Vol. 8. Yreka: Siskiyou County Historical Society, 2008. 58-59. 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.