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As It Was: Yreka, Calif., Doctor Uses Exceptional Horses and Buggy

Early Siskiyou County doctors traveled mostly by horseback or horse and buggy as far as 100 miles to their patients, sometimes at night or through winter storms on barely passable mountain roads.

Dr. Gregory of Yreka, Calif., became known for his exceptional horses and rigs.  In 1886, the Yreka stable of Nehrbass and Harmon first provided him “a Studebaker buggy and two-wheel road cart, together with harness, buggy robes, foot warmer, and other accessories.”

In 1895, the livery delivered a new buggy to the doctor.  According to Yreka’s Journal, it was built by A. Meister & Son of Sacramento and deemed the finest buggy “ever brought into Siskiyou County.”  It was also the first rig on the Pacific Coast to have “Hub” ball-bearing axles, which were composed of 128 balls “upon which the entire weight of the buggy rest(ed), preventing any friction.”

The doctor’s most famous team consisted of tough sorrel Indian ponies weighing about 700 pounds each. 

The doctor said the ponies gave him better service than his two or three “good” horse teams for which he paid $400 each.

Source: Jones, J. Roy. Saddle Bags in Siskiyou. Happy Camp, CA, Naturegraph Publishers, Inc., 1953, pp. 276-278.

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.