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have proved extremely rich, the lack of cheap transportation to a shipping point will probably prevent any extensive developments being made here for a long time.
DEL NORTE COUNTY.
This county, organized in 1857, occupies the extreme northwestern corner of the State, having Oregon on the north, Siskiyou county on the east, Klamath county on the south, and the Pacific ocean on the west. It is about fifty miles long, east and west, and thirty miles wide. In its geographic and climatic features, Del Norte strongly resembles Trinity and Klamath counties, already described. The Klamath river, running across its southwestern border, and Smith's river, flowing centrally through it, are the only considerable streams within its limits. The entire southeastern part of the county is corrugated by a heavy chain of mountains, with numerous subordinate and parallel ranges, running northeast and southwest. There is also a similar tier of mountain ranges extending north and south, near the coast, the most westerly about six hundred feet high, and the main ridge, further back, three thousand feet high. The most of the county is well timbered with redwood, spruce and pine. It contains a number of small fertile valleys and a considerable extent of rich prairies, together with three thousand five hundred acres of swamp and overflowed lands. The number of acres enclosed in 1867 amounted to about 8,000, of which 3,500 were under cultivation, the most of it being planted to wheat, of which grain there were about 16,000 bushels raised, with 2,000 of barley and 9,000 of oats. The yield of the cereals here is generally large -wheat frequently turning out from thirty to forty bushels to ihe acre, and barley and oats much more. All the vegetables, dairy products and fruits required for the use of the inhabitants were also raised, the soil and climate being well suited to the growth of all these staples. Vines and berries also thrive with little care, and stock keep in good condition throughout the winter on what they can pick running at large. Several small flocks of sheep are grazed in the county—a few thousand pounds of wool being clipped every year. The horses and mules kept for draft number about 2,000, with about an equal number of neat cattle. There are no quartz mills in this county, though it contains many
auriferous veins of much promise, and placer mining is carried on with success along the Klamath river and several of its tributaries, and also on the headwaters of Althouse creek. For introducing water into these diggings fourteen small ditches have been constructed at an aggregate expense of about $60,000. With additional water supplies the
product of the placers might be much increased, there being yet a large scope of these mines but partially exhausted. The county contains one grist mill, situated in Smith river valley, capable of grinding fifty barrels of flour daily, and four saw mills of small capacity, situated in different localities, engaged in making lumber for local uses, there being none exported from the county. A good wagon road has been constructed, leading from Crescent City, the county seat, to Illinois valley, Oregon, a distance of forty-five miles. It cost $50,000, and serves for the conveyance of supplies to the Althouse and other diggings in southwestern Oregon.
A number of cupriferous lodes, some of them of good size and rich in metal, were discovered at a point about fifteen miles northeast of Crescent City, some ten or twelve years ago. Two or three of these were partially developed at the time, and several hundred tons of high grade ores taken out. Owing to their remoteness from market, however, and other unfavorable circumstances, but little has been done with these mines for the past ten years, though there is little doubt but they will ultimately prove valuable. It has recently been discovered that the croppings of some of these cupriferous lodes, consisting of mundic, are rich in free gold, forming deposits similar to those now being worked extensively and profitably in Placer, Amador and Calaveras counties.
The only town of any size in this county is Crescent City, containing a population of about five hundred, and, which being favorably situated on a small but safe harbor, the only one along this part of the coast, must ultimately become the shipping point for a large back: country, insuring its future growth and importance. The entire population of the county amounts to about two thousand five hundred.
This county occupies the northeastern corner of the State, being bounded on the north by Oregon, on the east by the State of Nevada, on the south by Lassen, Shasta and Trinity, and on the west by Klamath and Del Norte counties—its length, east and west, being one hundred and sixty, and its width, fifty-eight miles. It contains 5,300,000 acres, of which 250,000 are adapted to agriculture. In the year 1867 there were 50,000 acres of land enclosed, and 20.000 under cultivation. About 1,000,000 acres are covered with valuable forests, and nearly half as much more by several large lakes, of which Goose, Rhett and Wright are the principal. A large proportion of the county consists of rugged mountains, deep cañons and elevated, barren table lands. Mount
Shasta, situated in the southwestern part of the county, at the junction of the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges of mountains, reaches an altitude of fourteen thousand four hundred and forty feet.
The Klamath, Pitt and Scott's rivers are the only large streams flowing through the county. The former has its source in the Lower Klamath lake, situated partly in California and partly in Oregon, issuing from the southwestern side of which, near its middle, it flows in a westerly course until it enters Del Norte county. Scott river rises in the Scott range of mountains, runs northerly and joins the Klamath, near the western border of the county. Pitt river issues, a large stream, from the south end of Goose lake, runs southwesterly through Shasta county, until it unites with the Sacramento, forming the principal branch of that river. A large scope of country lying near the central and northern part of this county is without any surface drainage to the ocean, the water being collected in lakes, ponds and lagoons, whence it escapes by evaporation or subterranean channels.
The principal agricultural lands in the county are located in Scott, Shasta and Surprise valleys, the former two lying in its western, and the latter in its extreme northeastern part. There are many other valleys of small size containing a little good land, besides a limited quantity on some of the table lands found in the northern and eastern sections of the county—these latter also affording a considerable amount of pasturage. Scott's valley, forty miles long and seven miles wide, lying between the Trinity and Salmon mountains, which reach a height of six thousand feet, contains a large body of excellent land, nearly all of which is under cultivation. Grain, fruits and vegetables of nearly every description, are grown here without trouble, and generally yield well. The average yield of the wheat harvest of 1867 was twenty-five bushels per acre, some fields turning out as high as forty-five bushels to the acre. There are eight grist mills in the valley and its connecting branches, which, during the year 1867, manufactured seventy thousand barrels of flour. The product of these mills was greatly esteemed for its excellence, owing to the superior quality of the grain. Owing to the elevation of this county, nearly three thousand feet above the level of the sea, the harvests are late, the grain not being reaped until August or September. Frosts are frequent during the spring, and even in the summer months. The weather in the summer is warm, with cool nights; in the winter, often severe, especially on the mountains, where the snow falls to a great depth. Snow also lies to the depth of a foot or two, often for several weeks, in most of the valleys, rendering the use of snow shoes and sleighs a general necessity. The mountain,
river and valley derive their name from a hunter and prospector named Scott, who first entered the latter in the spring of 1849.
Surprise valley, lying in the extreme northeastern corner of the county, and partly in the State of Nevada, is about sixty miles long and fifteen wide. It is one of the most beautiful and fertile of all the valleys lying in the high Sierra, being skirted on two sides with lofty, timbered mountains, and containing large tracts of fertile land, watered by numerous springs and streams, and covered with a luxuriant growth of wild clover and other grasses. On the east side of this valley are three beautiful lakes, extending in a chain nearly its whole length and covering more than one half of its surface.
The upper or most northern of these lakes is sixteen miles long and five wide; the central one is twenty miles long by about three miles wide, and the southern and lowest fifteen miles long and three miles wide. Neither of these lakes have any outlet, though each receives the waters of a number of streams flowing from the mountains on the west. They contain no fish, though trout are found in the mountain streams running into them. At certain seasons of the year the whole valley swarms with ducks, geese, cranes, pelicans, and other wild fowl. All the land suitable for farming lies on the west side of these lakes, consisting of a strip of rich black loam, from two to six miles wide, gently sloping to their borders. Where not under cultivation, this land is matted with wild pea vines, grass and clover, so rank that it is often difficult to ride through it. This valley is said to have been known to Californians since 1852, but derives its name from the surprise its discovery caused a party from the State of Nevada, who came upon it while in pursuit of a band of maurading Indians, in the spring of 1861. It was supposed to be within the limits of that State until the establishment of the boundary a few years since showed it to lie mostly in California. This valley was first settled in 1866, when a small company entered it and located a number of land claims. Since then other settlers have gone there--the population now amounting to three or four hundred. At Fort Bidwell, situated on a handsome eminence at the north end of the valley, overlooking a large portion of it, a small garrison of soldiers is stationed, to protect the inhabitants against the Indians in the vicinity, who have always been troublesome. A grist mill and saw-mill have been erected in the valley, for the accommodation of the settlers. Several thousand acres of land have been enclosed, and part of it placed under cultivation—the cereals here yielding remarkably well. A market for the products of the farmer is found in the Owyhce and Humboldt minesthe former distant about two hundred miles, in an easterly, and the
latter one hundred and thirty miles, in a southeasterly direction. The garrison at the fort, while it shall remain, will also take a portion of these products, and the Black Rock mines, lying fifty miles south, will create a further opening for them, should the lodes there prove valuable. There is also a good prospect that both quartz and placer mines will yet be found at no great distance to the north of this point, in Oregon.
Fort Bidwell, erected in 1865, occupies a commanding site at the north end of the valley. Willow creek, a large stream of pure water, flows by it, and situated a few rods above the post, is a large boiling spring, the waters of which, besides being useful for bathing purposes, could be advantageously employed for irrigation. The mountain ravines and slopes, lying two or three miles west of the main road leading through the valley, are timbered with pine, fir and cedar, affording fuel and all needed material for fencing and lumber. The climate here is similar to that of the other elevated valleys of California—the days warm, with cool nights, in the summer—the winters cold, with deep snow on the mountains, and but little in the valleys; the weather throughout the rest of the year being generally dry, and the temperature delightful.
Goose lake, thirty miles long and ten wide, is situated eight miles vest of Surprise valley--a low range of mountains lying between them. The valley of this lake contains a large body of fine timber and between thirty and forty thousand acres of excellent farming and grazing lands, but it is without settlers ; its remoteness, the hostile character of the surrounding Indians, and the absence of rich mineral deposits, having thus far deterred the whites from locating in it.
Pitt river, carrying a heavy body of water, debouches from the south end of Goose lake, and, pursuing a southerly course, flows for fifteen miles through a desolate plateau covered with large boulders and masses of blackened lava, known as the “Devil's Garden,” at tho end of which it rushes, roaring and foaming, through a deep defile, named, from its wild and rugged aspect, “ the Devil's cañon.” Emerging from this gorge, it meanders quietly through Spring valley, so called because of a deep pool of hot water situated on its banks, which, agitated by the chemical action going on in its subterranean chambers, throws up a volume of water as large as a hogshead to a height of ten feet, which falls back into a large circular basin with the noise of a mountain cascade. The country adjacent to Pitt river, ånd, with few exceptions, the immediate valley of the stream itself, is for the most part an aril, barren and timberless region. There is, however, some