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to Yolo—the first county in this respect in the State. The number of sheep and hogs has multiplied rapidly during the past few years, rendering wool, pork and bacon important items in the products of the county. Besides several other small manufactories, Shasta counts a tannery and a pottery among her industrial establishments. There are two grist mills in the county, both driven by water; they have a daily capacity to make one hundred barrels of flour each—the cost of their joint construction being $22,000. Shasta contains twelve saw mills, capable of cutting from one thousand to six thousand feet of lumber, daily; all but two of these mills are propelled by water, the cost of each ranging from $2,000 to $12,000.
This county contained at one time a great extent of rich placer mines, and although the most of these are now pretty well worked out, there are still fair diggings in a number of localities, with a great many promising lodes of auriferous quartz. In the Pittsburg district, on McCloud's river, in the northern part of the county, a great number of veins were located in 1863, on the supposition that they contained valuable deposits of copper ore, much of this metal being found in the croppings. Subsequent explorations having shown the presence also of gold and silver, the latter predominating in value, a large population was drawn into the district, and much work done, some of these lodes having since turned out to be valuable. Veins of similar character have also been found on Cow creek and elsewhere in the county, indicating that vein mining, both for gold and silver, will yet become an active and profitable pursuit therein. Already there are twelve quartz mills running in the county, on rock yielding an average of over twenty dollars per ton by working process. There are also a good many arastras driven by horse power, and numbers of Mexicans make fair wages, crushing quartz with hand mortars, their earnings ranging from six to twenty dollars per day. Hydraulic washings are in successful operation at two or three points in the county, and, as water is abundant, this mode of working is likely soon to be greatly extended. One half of the quartz mills are driven by steam and the other half by water; they carry from four to eight stamps each, and cost, in the aggregate, about $100,000. Sixteen water ditches, besides distributing branches, have been built in the county. These works vary from two to fifty-three miles in length, and in cost from $5,000 to $140,000— the total sum expended in their construction being about $400,000.
This county, erected in 1864 from the eastern parts of Plumas and Shasta counties, is named after Peter Lassen, an early explorer of the surrounding regions, and a pioneer settler in this part of California. It is bounded on the north by Siskiyou county, on the east by the State of Nevada, on the south by Sierra and Plumas, and on the west by Plumas and Shasta counties. For a long time, nearly the whole of this territory, together with the eastern part of Siskiyou county, was successively claimed, first by Utah, then by Nevada Territory, and finally by the State of Nevada, each of which, in turn, exercised jurisdiction over it until the year 1862, when the eastern boundary of California having been located to the east of it by a joint survey on the part of the two States, prevented a collision, already precipitated, from proceeding to extremities between the authorities of Plumas and Roop counties.
Lassen county embraces within its limits a large area, about equally divided between rugged mountains, alkali flats and arid sage plains, the only considerable body of good land in it being that lying along and adjacent to Susan river, generally denominated Honey lake valley, with a narrow strip in Long valley, further south. The mountains consist of the Sierra Nevada, which, trending northwest, strike across its southwestern border, forming a high barrier between this and Plumas county, and numerous straggling groups lying further north and east; the former well timbered with pine, spruce and fir, the latter containing no trees except a few scattered groves of scrubby pitch pine, called in the Spanish, "pinch", and a species of dwarf juniper. This pinon, a low, bushy tree, about one foot in diameter at the butt, and twentyfive feet high, being of a firm fibre, and full of resinous matter, makes a valuable fuel, though not worth much for other purposes. The juniper, or, as it is more commonly called, the cedar, being still smaller than the pine, and at the same time light and porous, is of little value, whether for fuel or lumber.
This county, as well as the eastern part of Siskiyou, all of Alpine, Mono and Inyo counties, lying upon or being wholly to the east of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and within the rim of the Great Utah Basin, partakes largely of the features that characterize that elevated and generally barren plateau, being marked by great aridity, vast stretches of alkali flats and sandy plains, clusters of desolate and broken hills, ranges of mountains alternating with narrow valleys, and a remarkable scarcity of animal and vegetable life. The only streams of any size consist of a branch of Pitt river, in the northern part of the county; of Pine creek, running into Eagle lake; and of Susan river, heading in the Sierra, and running easterly into Honey lake, together with a stream flowing through Long valley from the south, and emptying into the same receptacle. Besides these, there are a number of small creeks running down from the mountains into Honey lake valley, affording ample means for irrigating the rich lands lying along its western border, close under the Sierra, as well as furnishing an extensive water power, their descent being very rapid. The most of these creeks sink after flowing a short distance out upon the plain, though one or two make their way across it, emptying into Susan river.
There are two lakes in this county—Eagle lake, lying near its center, and Honey lake, in its southern part. The former, about twelve miles long and eight wide, is of very irregular outline, and no great depth; the latter is of almost equally irregular shape, and still more shallow, having, in fact, within the past few years, nearly dried up. It receives its name from the quantities of honey-dew found on the grass and shubbery in the vicinity. This substance is deposited by the honey-dew aphis, a species of bee sometimes found in dry and barren countries. It is a sweetish, viscid liquid, resembling honey, and though never used by the whites, is gathered by the Indians, who, boiling the grass and twigs on which it is found, make a sort of molasses, of which they are fond.
Long valley, extending for more than forty miles through the southern part of the county, is a fine stock region, and, though but sparsely settled, there are usually several thousand head of cattle grazing in it— stock, as a general thing, doing well here, as is the case also in Honey' lake valley throughout the winter, feeding upon the wild grasses, sage, grease-wood and other herbage found growing in the valley and upon the adjacent hills. At long intervals, however, snow falls in these valleys to the depth of twenty or thirty inches, causing much distress among the stock running at large—sometimes even destroying a portion of it. Usually the snow does not fall in the valleys to a depth of more than six or eight inches, and is of temporary duration; on the Sierra it always falls to a depth of many feet, and sometimes lies for several months on the interior ranges.
Honey lake valley, first settled in 1857, contains about twenty thousand acres of fine farming and meadow lands, nearly the whole of which is enclosed, and at least one fifth of it under cultivation. About one thousand acres of wheat, one thousand five hundred of barley, and two hundred of oats were sown in 1867, which yielded respectively at the rate of twenty-five, thirty and thirty-two bushels to the acre. Vegetables of various kinds and superior quality are raised here, and the hardier fruits are also found to grow and mature without difficulty, apples of large size and fine flavor having been grown for several years past. Irrigation, for which there are the best of facilities, is, however, found necessary for perfecting the crops, both of vegetables and grain. The considerable elevation of this entire region, everywhere over four thousand feet above sea-level, rendering the seasons short, a resort to this aid becomes necessary to hasten the growth of vegetation. Honey lake valley has an altitude of four thousand two hundred feet, and Summit Lake, five thousand eight hundred feet, while many of the mountains within the limits of the county reach a height of more than seven thousand feet. They are generally dry and sterile, containing nothing but a scanty growth of bunch grass, and a few stunted pines and juniper trees. Like the rest of the country, they are nearly destitute of game, the only thing found to reward the labors of the hunter being hare, sage-hen, and an occasional deer.
Hot springs occur at several points in the county, the most noteworthy of which consists of a group situated on the margin of Honey lake. One of these springs boils furiously, the hot water leaping several feet high. It is about twelve feet square, and so deep that its bottom has never been reached by sounding. The other springs in this group are not so hot, some of them only tepid. They are all more or less impregnated with mineral substances—the waters of one being chalybeate, of another, saline, alkaline or sulphurous.
The population of Lassen amounts to about two thousand, six hundred of whom are residents of Susanville, the county seat. The value of the real and personal property in the county is estimated at $800,000. It contains seven saw mills, all but one driven by water, erected at an aggregate cost of $60,000, and having a daily capacity to cut from two thousand to fourteen thousand feet of lumber each; two grist mills, both run by water, cost $12,000, and together capable of making one hundred barrels of flour daily. The only water ditches in this county are such as have been built for purposes of irrigation; the largest of the number, the Willow creek ditch, is eight miles long, and cost $12,000.
The mineral wealth of the region embraced within and lying adjacent to Lassen county was, from an early day, supposed to be great, much prospecting for silver having been carried on there before the discovers- of the Washoe mines. The extent to which this idea had obtained may be inferred from the fact that it was while on an expedition in search of silver mines supposed to exist to the northeast of Black Rock that the brave old pioneer, Peter Lassen, was killed by the Indians, in the spring of 1859. None of the explorations prosecuted in that quarter appear, however, to have resulted in any discoveries of value until the Black Rock mines, lying some fifty miles northeast of Honey lake, were found, about two years ago. Two quartz mills have since been erected at that place both of which have been running on the silver ores obtained from the mines with varying success. That the ores are rich, and very abundant, seems pretty well established, though they are doubtless of a very obstinate and intractable character. The district is but poorly supplied with wood and water, adding further to the difficulties in the way of a successful and economical treatment of the ores, which, should they really prove what is claimed for them, will have to be transported to points where there are better facilities for their reduction than exist at these mines, before they can be worked on an extensive scale. The Central Pacific Railroad, when built up the Humboldt, will run within less than a hundred miles of Black Rock, whereby much cheaper transportation of the ores being insured than is now practicable, there is a prospect that these mines will be largely and profitably worked in the course of a year or two more.
A good many claims were located, and considerable work done, on silver bearing lodes situated in the Sierra, west of Honey lake valley, as early as 1859, but as no extensive crushings have ever been made of the ores, nor enough work performed to prove the mines, their value remains undetermined—nothing having been done upon them since that early period. It is not known that any vein mines, or placers of importance, exist elsewhere in the county, though a good deal of prospecting for deposits of the precious metals has at different times been done.
Plumas county, so designated from the Rio de las Plumas, the Spanish name of Feather river, which stream, and its affluents, ramify it in every direction, is bounded on the north by Shasta and Lassen counties, on the east by Lassen, on the south by Sierra and Yuba counties, and on the west by Butte and Tehama counties. Its greatest longitudinal axis extends southeast and northwest a distance of eighty-five miles, its transverse axis being about forty-five miles in length, giving