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As It Was: Early Settler Recalls Butte Valley Winters

A Butte Valley native, Erna Evans Franklin, wrote about growing up in the Picard Calif., community east of Yreka on the road to Alturas and Dorris.

Evans Franklin was the daughter of David Henry Evans and Leila Estella Varnum.  Her mother was the granddaughter of Loring H. Varnum, who served as Siskiyou County public administrator and coroner in 1875. 

Evans Franklin recalled that during the cold winters heated rocks were wrapped and placed at their feet in the sleigh.  During severe blizzards, her father tied a rope from the barn to the house when he fed his livestock.  When her sister Elma was born in 1921, a team of horses towed the delivering doctor’s Model T Ford through the snow.

Evans Franklin wrote about how one Memorial Day the family visited relatives’ graves in the Picard cemetery and she noticed a child’s grave with a glass jar on top containing a doll, toys, and a necklace.  The jar remained there for years.

Much later, Erna saw that the cemetery had been planted in grass and the child’s grave was no longer marked.

Source: Hickey, Mary. “Evans Family....as Told to Me.” Siskiyou Pioneer, The, vol. 4, no. No 10, 1977, pp. 52-55.

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.