JD Comment: Back in 1941, this would have been the 49th
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State, as Hawaii and Alaska had not yet become states. — Admin Liz Bowen
1941: The Jefferson State
Reprinted in its original form from the
Siskiyou Daily News
Dec. 2, 1941
Many Envoys Will Attend Mass Meeting
Modoc Falters in Campaign for Minerals
Five major newsreel companies have sent units to
Yreka to film the provisional territorial assembly called by the late Gilbert Gable for this Thursday afternoon. Gable died a few hours after calling the public rally to be held in front of the Siskiyou county courthouse.
Siskiyou county leaders of the 49th state movement, after a hurried conference this morning, decided to go ahead with their plans for the public rally.
“Gilbert Gable would not want us to falter now, after the project he supported so long and so well was near success,” declared State Senator Randolph Collier.
Curry county will send delegates to the meeting, and the Trinity and Del Norte Boards of Supervisors will be present. Lassen county is also expected to participate.
While three new converts joined the provisional state of Jefferson yesterday, another faltered.
Trinity Supervisors voted unanimously to support the Jeffersonians’ crusade for development of this region’s natural resources as did the Associated Farmers of California and a group of University of California students. But the Modoc County Supervisors, after a mysterious session, without warning withdrew their support. “I’d like to know who put the pressure on who over there,” Senator Collier declared.
The newsreel contingent includes units from Fox Movietone, Paramount, News of the Week, and Pathe.
Tomorrow, the newsreel companies expect to film scenes on the Klamath.
Thursday the public is invited to participate in the movies which will be made during the afternoon, when leaders of the provisional territory of Jefferson meet at the Court House. Time of the filming will be announced tomorrow. Siskiyou people also are urged to participate in the torchlight parade to be held late Thursday afternoon.
In announcing the support of the Trinity Board of Supervisors, Chairman F. C. Meckel said his people had two axes to grind.
“Like the rest of you, we want to see our chrome and other minerals developed,” he declared, “and we want to nominate Ed Reagan, our District Attorney, for the post of U. S. Senator if Jefferson is able to secure statehood.”
1941: The Jefferson State
Reprinted from the Siskiyou Daily News
Nov. 24, 1941
Here Are Winner’s Reasons for Suggesting Name of Jefferson
Nov. 21, 1941
Editor, The News:
Here is the new name for the proposed new state to be formed out of the counties in Northern California and Southern Oregon. I think it would be very appropriate to name the new state, JEFFERSON, after Thomas Jefferson. My reasons are as follows:
1 – Thomas Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence, the great instrument that states that the people have a right to govern themselves.
2 – Thomas Jefferson is the outstanding American in my opinion. Through his influence and foresight the Louisiana Purchase was made, thus adding an immense area to the U.S.
3 – It was by his foresight that the Lewis Clark Expedition was organized and sent to explore the new Oregon country during his term. I firmly believe that this expedition saved this section as a part of the United States.
So in view of these facts, the new state would be well named. I own some property in Del Norte county, so feel like I have the right to make the above suggestion. The creation of the new state would encourage thousands of people to move here. As it is, when people come to California, they first go to Los Angeles, or San Francisco, and crowd in those areas, thus passing up the sections that have so much to offer in new and undeveloped resources. I have stated many times in the past three years, that if Del Norte county, could be picked up and set in the Dust Bowl, it would be worth as billion dollars. It is worth that much more where it is, but it will take people to develop it. There must be some incentive for them to come. A new state would offer opportunities and have a pull to bring them. The new state would give more representation in Congress, thus increasing the importance of the western section of the United States.
I have lived in two territories that came in as states, so have something to back up my statements mentioned above. The west was young when I first saw it. My folks were living in Washington when it came in as a state in 1889. I am
Yours very truly,
J. E. MUNDELL
This article was just found while doing research on the founder of the 1941 movement, Gilbert Gable. He was from the east coast but lived in Port Orford, OR during the time he was trying to promote economic stability and prosperity for the place he chose to live.
There have been several attempts at forming a new state (Jefferson – 1941) from the mountain border region of northern California and southern Oregon. None has gained as much attention and retained it as the secession movement of 1941.
For some background into the
Gilbert Gable from Port Orford and others, including, members of the 20-30 club in Yreka, the Yreka Chamber of Commerce, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors, State Senator Randolph Collier and Judge John L. Childs of Crescent City made the most successful and most publicized attempt at creating a new state from the bottom portion of Oregon and the top portion of California.
* * *
The abundant supply of minerals and timber in this region was largely inaccessible due to the lack of sufficient roads and bridges into the rugged mountain border country. The local pioneering people grew weary of unfulfilled promises from Salem and Sacramento to help fund sufficient highway projects in the region while building campgrounds in the cities where there were more votes.
Representatives from the mountain border
counties involved met in Yreka, CA on November 17, 1941 to form an alliance to obtain federal aid for the construction and repair of bridges and roads. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted to allocate $100 to research the possibility of seceding from the state of California and joining the other counties to form a new 49th state. The Yreka Chamber of Commerce was very instrumental in persuading the Board.
The local newspaper ran a contest to name the new state and the winning entry was Jefferson. The winner of the contest pocketed $2 for his efforts. Yreka was designated the temporary state capital where the ‘State of Jefferson Citizen’s Committee’ was formed.
They proceeded to stop traffic on Highway 99 outside of town and handed their
Jefferson made the papers nearly every day, competing with headlines of Germany’s ravaging of Europe. The San Francisco Chronicle sent a young reporter, Stanton Delaplane, to cover the events. He traveled the rain-soaked roads to speak with locals to get a feel for the secession movement from their point of view. He got stuck in the mud down the Klamath River but that did not stop him from writing a series of colorful articles on the rebellion which earned him the coveted Pulitzer Prize.
On December 4, Judge
John L. Childs of Crescent City in Del Norte County was elected governor. A torchlight parade complete with horses, marching bands and sign-carrying young people riding in trucks was held in Yreka followed by a ceremonious inauguration held on the courthouse lawn.
The newsreels were to air nationally the week of December 8, but tragically on December 7th
Pearl Harbor was bombed and the State of Jefferson rebellion of 1941 came to an end. The people of the region went to work for the war effort and good roads were eventually built into the backcountry to access strategic minerals and timber. These same roads have helped countless numbers of rural families make a living from the land that continues to produce abundant, quality natural resources.
The State of Jefferson ‘state of mind’ remains in the hearts and minds of people everywhere.