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As It Was: Etta Soulé Grows Up in Little Shasta Valley, Calif.

Esther “Etta” Soulé was born in a log house in the Little Shasta Valley in Siskiyou County, Calif.  She and several other Soulé children grew up in the area and were educated at a rough-board, box-shaped schoolhouse built in 1860.

The family had a large orchard, carefully laid out by her father, who tagged each tree by its type of fruit.  For example, the tags differentiated apple trees as winesap, belle flower or golden russet.  Other tags identified peach and plum varieties.

Arriving one day from a trip to Yreka, Soulé’s father discovered that Etta had removed more than 50 tags and decorated herself with them.  It was impossible to retag the trees, but the little girl received a serious spanking.

When she was 8 years old, Soulé accompanied her mother to Illinois for the winter.  They traveled by wagon to Marysville – a trip that took a week – and boarded a train to the East.  On the trip to Marysville, they spent one night at the John Bidwell ranch in Chico where she recalled sleeping on the floor.

Soulé grew up, attended the Ashland Academy in Ashland, Ore., and in 1889 married Davis Earhart.

Soulé, Dr. A. A. “Notes on Little Shasta School...” Siskiyou Pioneer and Yearbook, 1955. Vol. 2, No. 7.  Yreka: Siskiyou County Historical Society. pp. 39-40.

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.