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As It Was: William D. Mathews Sr. Settles at Fort Jones, Calif.

William D. Mathews Sr. was born in Fort Jones, Calif., to Israel S. and Ann Mathews—both early pioneers of Siskiyou County.  William’s father was one of the earliest pioneers to enter Scott Valley.

In 1903, William married Julia Swan, whose father built several of the area’s stage coaches.  She died in 1921, and their son Doug Mathews died in 1924.  Mathews married Katherine Horn, but she, too, died. He married Gertrude Burton in 1936.

Mathews was a rancher and farmer, working for a time with his brothers and father.  He helped pioneer many trails into the Marble Mountains.  Later, after separating from his partnership with his father, Mathews owned and operated the Star Ranch outside of Fort Jones.  He also served as a Siskiyou County supervisor during World War I.

Mathews spent 19 years as director of the Siskiyou Golden Fair and, in 1933, became postmaster of Fort Jones and served as a judge for the city of Fort Jones.  He died in 1964.

Source: “In Memorium…” Siskiyou Pioneer and Yearbook. 1964.  Vol. 3 No. 7, pp.127-129. Yreka: Siskiyou County Historical Society.

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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.