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As It Was: Callahan Mining District Produces Gold in 1916

Although the California Gold Rush that began in 1848 peaked in 1852 and was over within a decade, Northern California mining companies continued producing gold in the early 1900s.

In 1916, the California state mineralogist listed several Siskiyou County mines located in the Callahan district. The Montezuma River claim, only one mile southwest of Callahan, was the largest producer, extracting $50,000 worth of gold a year, the present-day purchasing power of more than $1 million.

Just a mile southeast of Callahan, the Beaudry [BOH-dree] hydraulic mine on 650 acres was the
best-paying hydraulic mine in the district, using water from the Scott River and Wildcat Creek delivered by two ditches, one 15 miles long and the other two miles long.  The owner, J. Beaudry, employed 15 men to produce between $25,000 and $40,000 worth of gold a year.

Another Callahan mining district operation, the Bell Josephine, located six miles southwest of Callahan, covered 160 acres that included the earlier Abers, Carter, and old placer mines.  A two-mile-long ditch delivered water from Slide Creek.  Twelve men worked the mine using four machines called “giants” to wash gold from the gravel.

Source: Report XIV of The State Mineralogist Mines and Mineral Resources of Siskiyou County of portions of CALIFORNIA. XIV ed., San Francisco, California State Mining Bureau, 1916, pp. 4-5.

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.