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As It Was: Adella Weaver Relates Early Life in Yreka, Calif.

Adella V. Weaver spent her childhood in Yreka, Calif., where her father mined.  In a memoir, she shared some interesting episodes, noting that she and other children had the freedom to roam at will.

She wrote, “We collected gold from the sluice boxes after each washout.  Our collections would run from a bit (12 ½ cents) to a quarter.”  She also wrote, “We made more or less annual trips to Strawberry Valley gathering huckleberries, strawberries, and fishing.”  The children also dug for roots—anything considered edible.

Adella’s first teacher was stern Mr. Whaley. As she recalled, “On Friday afternoons everyone had to recite a piece.  Mike Garvey said he did not know anything.  Mr. Whaley insisted again, and Mike said that he knew only one, but feared Mr. Whaley would whip him for it.  The teacher promised not to, so Mike recited, “Mr. Whaley, with a big shillalah ...Whips the boys daily.”  A shillalah is a cudgel.

When Adella was 14, the family moved to Santa Cruz to give her sickly mother a change of environment.  From there, they traveled on one of the first cross-country railroad trips from California to Iowa.

Source: Weaver, Adella V. "Excerpt from Memories of Yreka, California." Siskiyou Pioneer and Yearbook, vol. 2, no. No 7, 1955, p. 48.

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.