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As It Was: Anton A. Roman Becomes Gold Rush Publisher

One of the more intriguing characters in Siskiyou County’s early history was Anton A. Roman.  In 1851, Roman went to Scott Bar but after only a few weeks moved on.

In 1857, he traveled to San Francisco with 100 ounces of gold he had mined, walked into a bookstore, and traded his poke for books that he hoped would tide him over the long winter months.

Instead of returning to the gold mines after the winter, Anton opened Roman’s Book Store in Yreka, which became one of the town’s most noteworthy businesses.  He partnered for a time with pioneer A. E. Raynes.

Two years later, Roman was back in San Francisco.  He wrote, in these words, “I established myself permanently with a large stock of bound books on the west side of Montgomery Street north of California Street. It was from this store, nine years later, that the first issue of Overland Monthly was published.”  

It was through the Overland Monthly that Bret Harte became known as one of the California Gold Rush’s most prominent authors.

And, it was during this time that so many books out of the West were marked with “A. Roman.”

Source: Jones, J. Roy. Saddle Bags in Siskiyou. Happy Camp, CA, Naturegraph Publishers, Inc., 1953, pp. 70-71.

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.