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Subject: Ca-Sierra Co. History (Description of S)
Date: 19 Jan 2006 02:33:01 -0000

Sierra County CA Archives History - Books .....Description Of Sierra County 1882
Copyright. All rights reserved.

File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by:
Joy Fisher January 18, 2006, 9:32 pm

Book Title: Illustrated History Of Plumas, Lassen & Sierra Counties

SIERRA COUNTY lies in the north-eastern part of the state of California, its
entire area being included within the great range of the Sierra Nevadas. From
its almost universal mountainous nature it has been appropriately termed Sierra,
the lowest point within its confines being two thousand feet above the level of
the sea. It is bounded on the north by Plumas and Lassen counties, on the east
by the state of Nevada, on the south by Nevada county, and on the west by Yuba
and Plumas counties. The topography of the county, with the exception of Sierra
valley, presents a continuous succession of lofty hills and deep canons, many of
the former rising to dizzy heights, and hundreds of the latter sinking into
bewildering depths, with precipitous walls of rock and earth. Most of the hills
are covered with magnificent coniferous forests of red spruce, balsam fir,
cedar, sugar and yellow pine; while the valleys or canons furnish a rich growth
of oak and all the varieties of trees found in the foot-hills of California. It
is not uncommon to find vast pines towering up to a height of two hundred feet
or more, situated at the base of hills, with soaring tops that seem ambitious to
reach the highest altitudes surrounding them. Most of the mining towns in Sierra
county are situated far above the snow-line, at elevations ranging from three to
six thousand feet.

Every part of the county enjoys a climate unrivaled for healthfulness and
pleasure. Malarial disorders and fevers, so universal in other sections of the
state, are totally unknown here. A physician moving here is obliged to
reconstruct his system of practice on another basis entirely from that which
obtains elsewhere.

The water obtained from the numerous mountain streams is of the purest
possible quality, being fed by the vast masses of snow melting from the summits.
The crystal torrents on every side, dashing and foaming over the rocks, pursuing
their serpentine ways through the wild yet always beautiful canons of the
Sierras, rushing with mighty swiftness along their narrow channels, and singing
the ever-sweet song of rushing waters, are laden with countless numbers of
beautiful mountain trout, choice prizes for the eager angler: all of which
attractions during the summer months draw many seekers for health and pleasure
to these banquet-halls of nature. The county is traversed by the Middle Yuba
river on the south, the North Yuba in the center, Slate creek and Canon creek on
the north, together with numerous affluents pertaining to them all. Oregon
creek, Kanaka creek, and Wolf creek flow from the north into the Middle Yuba;
the North Yuba forks at Downieville, causing the south fork of the North Yuba,
and the middle and north forks of the North Yuba. In addition to these streams
are many small and lovely lakes scattered through the center and eastern parts
of the county. Webber lake, in the south-eastern part of the county (spoken of
elsewhere in this volume), is a beautiful sheet of water, remarkable for its
many echoes. Gold lake, with its many lesser companions, occupies a place in the
north, being reservoirs for myriads of the famous mountain trout.

The isolated peaks of Sierra county are Table Rock, Saddle Back, Mount
Fillmore, Fir Cap, Mount Lola, and the Sierra Buttes. Fir Cap attains an
altitude of 6,500 feet, Sierra Buttes 8,950 feet, and Mount Lola, the highest
point in the county, about 9,200 feet. The Sierra Buttes mountain is one of the
landmarks of the state, visible from a large area of the valley of the
Sacramento, and rendered prominently conspicuous by the sharply-defined,
cone-shaped, serrated, basaltic lava in its formation. The snows in these high
altitudes fall to a great depth, obstructing the roads over the ridges for weeks
at times, the only means of communication being by travel on snow-shoes. Snow is
frequently found on the ridges twenty feet in depth.

Sierra county extends east and west in nearly the shape of a parallelogram.
Its greatest length is sixty miles, and the greatest breadth thirty miles,
embracing an area of eight hundred and thirty square miles. The primal cause of
the settlement of Sierra county was the desire for gold, almost fabulous amounts
of which have been found in many parts. The proportion of agricultural to
mineral land is exceedingly small, not one acre in fifty being suitable for the
plow. Mining has from the first been the principal occupation, and will continue
to be so for hundreds of years, as the deposits of auriferous gravel and quartz
seem to be inexhaustible. Nearly every hill and mountain is a vast treasure
vault of nature, needing only the brain and the hand of man to unlock the
carefully hidden combination. It was not always thus. The overflowing chests of
nature dropped here and there with lavish waste enough of wealth to indicate the
incomparable richness of that they kept from human gaze. Perhaps the millions
dug from ancient river channel or picked from some chance crevice are but the
chippings or the shavings from the rest.

Following is a list of altitudes of the various points of interest in Sierra
county, obtained by Mr. E. K. Downer, junior editor of the Mountain Messenger^
who used one of Muller's most accurate aneroids. The figures given are
approximately correct.
Downieville 3,000
Sheehan's Ranch 4,600
Eureka 5,150
McMahon's 5,000
Mt. Pleasant Ranch 4,750
Port Wine 5,100
Summit of ridge between Eureka and McMahon's 5,600
Scales' 4,400
Slate Creek bridge 4,350
Gibsonville 5,600
Newark 5,850
Slate Creek bridge No. 2 5,650
Highest point on road to Howland Flat 6,050
First ridge above Howland Flat 5,800
Sears' Union Ditch Crossing 5,925
Summit of second ridge 6,000
Potosi 5,800
Howland Flat (Becker's) 5,800
McFarland's 5,750
Sears' U. W. Co.'s office (Pine Grove) 5,600
Table Rock 7,050
St. Louis (Schwartz's hotel) 5,200
Morristown bridge crossing 4,250
Morristown 5,150
Craig's Flat 5,100
Canon Creek bridge 4,325
John Tore's bridge 2,900
Goodyear's Bar 2,750
Watering trough 4,125
Mountain House 4,700
Forest City 4,600
Pliocene shaft 5,575
Barnhardt's 3,125
Mccarty's 3,250
Shady flat 3,225
Shoo Fly 3,325
Whitney's lower saw-mill 3,375
Adam Weitzell's 3,500
Frank Beaver's 3,575
A. Kaiser's. 3,950
J. Hutchinson's 4,200
Sierra City (Scott's) 4,250
Sierra Buttes office 5,375
Summit Sierra Buttes 8,950
J. H. Bassett's 5,400
Slap Jack ranch 6,200
County Cabin 6,600
Main Summit 6,800
Yellow Jacket point 6,050
Fowle's ranch 5,350
H. K. Turners 4,975
Ridge between Turner's and Toomy's 5,050
Toomy's 5,000
Boyle's 5,000
Chapman's 5,075
James Miller's 4,980
Sierraville 5,000
Loyalton 5,000
Randolph 5,020
Campbell's Sulphur Springs 5,050
Webber Lake 6,800
Haskell's Peak 8,126

Additional Comments:
Extracted from:

Illustrated History of Plumas, Lassen & Sierra Counties

San Francisco: Fariss & Smith

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