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As It Was

As It Was: Gold Seekers in 1851 Discover Paragon Bay Instead

A small band of men looking for a lost cache of gold found something worth far more.

Getting equipment and supplies into mining towns like Sailors’ Diggings near present-day Cave Junction, Ore., about 5 miles north of the California border, was a long, slow process involving mules and primitive trails.  Supplies came from San Francisco up the Sacramento River and on to Jacksonville by mule train on primitive trails over the mountains.

Capt. McDermott and his men left Happy Camp in 1851 on an expedition to confirm the validity of the Legend of the Lost Cabin that claimed a miner who had hid his gold near his remote cabin was killed by Indians who also burned the cabin. 

McDermott and his men didn’t find any trace of the cabin or the gold, but they did end up on top of French Hill, above Gasquet, where they could see Paragon Bay in the distance.  

McDermott envisioned the bay below as a convenient port for food and equipment.  In 1853, the Paragon Bay Agreement was the first step toward developing the harbor and town of Crescent City.
 

Source: Wensrich, Bill. The Trail To Sailors' Diggin's. First ed., Riverside CA, Genesis Printers, 2017, pp. 66-67.

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Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.