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Manila, Calif., Takes Name from Admiral Dewey’s Famous Battle

There once was a town named Manila five miles west of Gazelle, Calif., in Siskiyou County.

A miner named John Harris discovered gold on Squaw Creek shortly after the Spanish-American War of 1898.  He neglected to file a claim and soon Allan and Grant Davis discovered a rich quartz ledge as they were searching for missing cattle.  They named their mine in honor of Admiral of the Navy George Dewey and his famous Battle of Manila.

W.T. Shurtliff and Dr. G.W. Dwinnel of Montague bought the claim in 1899.  Dwinnel established 10 more claims that they sold to a Boston corporation for $125,00, which in 1900 sold out to the Squaw Creek Mining Company for $600,000.  The company employed 30 miners.

About that time, ranchers on the Dewey Mine Road, John Sissel and Mary Finnerty, established a new town and named it Manila. The first building in town was a saloon, followed by a blacksmith’s shop.

Manila lasted about 10 years before the mine fell on hard times.  Nothing remains today but a  depression in the road where the saloon once stood.

Source:  Weed, Abner. "Manila." The Siskiyou Pioneer and Yearbook 6.No 4 (1991): 53-54. 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.