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 Sierra County California

Sierra County, Organized in 1852. Bounded north by Plumas and Lassen, east by the State of Nevada, south by Nevada, and west by Yuba and Plumas. Area, 830 square miles. Assessed valuation of property for 1874, $2,295,317.

County seat, Downieville. Principal towns: Brandy City, Forest City, Goodyears Bar, Howland Flat, Loyalton, Sierra City, Sierraville, and St Louis. The resources are chiefly mineral, but fruit in considerable quantities is grown; wine is manufactured, and the cereals are successfully cultivated.

The county embraces one of the highest sections of the Sierra Nevada, reaching to the valleys of the eastern slope, where is found the largest area of arable land. The western slope is very broken, being composed of deep cañons and high ridges capped with gravel, and this usually covered with volcanic matter. In the gravel deposits of these ridges are the gold mines that have made this county so famous, and given wealth to so many.

From five to seven millions was the annual product of Sierra for many years, and at the present time the yield approaches that sum. The deposit, bearing gold in the greatest quantity, is called the "Blue Lead," and is supposed by some to be the bed of an ancient river, running at right angles to the present mountain streams and parallel to the Sacramento; but the great difference in the levels of these blue gravel beds, and the undisturbed position of the strata of gravel, clay and sand in the many "hills" and "flats," were found, disprove the theory. Recent developments in Bald Mountain, near Forest City, indicate a great extent of unworked ground of extraordinary value. The quartz mines of Sierra rank among the best in the State, and large fortunes have been made from them. The most noted of these are at the Sierra Buttes, near Downieville, where are three mills operated by a single company, having an aggregate of eighty-six stamps.

The Sierra Buttes mine is one of the most remarkable in the State, and has given great wealth to many owners. The vein is from twelve to twenty feet in thickness, and is opened by a tunnel at a great depth, giving drainage and easy working. The mills are below the tunnel, receiving the ore by chutes, are run by water power, being 80 situated one after the other that one stream propels all. The ore assaying seven dollars per ton is mined and milled at a cost of two dollars and four cents per ton. So economically can the mine be worked that $274,400 were divided among stockholders in 1873. Iron ore of a very high percentage is found in the county, and a company is formed to manufacture iron, but no reduction works are yet completed.

The resources of Sierra show a permanancy and value very encouraging to its future prosperity. It being high in the mountains, the difficulty of access has been a severe tax upon its wealth, and retarded other development than that of the goldmines, but the day is not distant when these obstacles will be overcome.

Officers: David H. Cowden, County Judge; Harry Strange, Clerk, Recorder, and Auditor; Edward Barry, District Attorney; Henry Spaulding, Sheriff and Tax Collector; Hiram G. Wier, Treasurer; George W. Hughes, Assessor; Isaac G. Jones, Surveyor; Alemby Jump, Coroner, and Public Administrator; A. M. Phalin, Superintendent Public Schools.

California Gazetteer | AHGP California

Source: Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1876-78, Compiled by Henry G. Langley, San Francisco, 1875

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