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As It Was: Woman Writes Book about Life in the Trinity Alps

Years later, Ethel Porter recollected traveling at three years of age in 1892 with her father to the Altoon quicksilver mine at elevation 6,800 feet in the Northern California Trinity Alps.

Her dad, J.H. Porter, contracted to supply wood to the mine and eventually moved his family to the site in 1896.  Porter used eight oxen to haul wood, later expanding to three teams of six or eight horses.  Porter built a barn for each of the teams, with a man assigned to oversee the care of the animals.

The mine was successful, using Porter’s wood to generate steam to power electricity for lights and for the mill’s machinery and hoists.

Ethel Porter remembered a string of lights that ran up the hill, providing entertainment in the winter snow.  Men and children would ski down the hill on appropriately sized skis made by Swedes at the mill.  She said the more daring skiers also used snow-covered dump-piles of mine debris with slopes much steeper than the hill.

Porter’s book, published in 1958, is titled “"Recollections of a Childhood Spent in the Trinity Mines."

Source: Porter Callom, Ethel. "Recollections of a Childhood Spent in the Trinity Mines." Trinity, 1958, pp. 40-43.

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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.