Sunday, February 8, 2009

Argonaut ~ Daniel Jenks, Yreka 1860

A illustration of the town of Yreka in 1860 by Artist Daniel Jenks.

This is perhaps one of the few early "birds-eye" images of Yreka. It was drawn of graphite and ink by an Argonaut, Daniel Jenks, from his gold mine on nearby Long Gulch Mountain.

Daniel Jenks was a middle class, educated man from Pawtucket, Rhode Island who among thousands of others was caught up in gold-rush fever and came west via sailing "round the horn" to find his fortune. Originally heading toward Pike's Peak he found his way to Yreka and arrived August 25, 1859. He landed a job as a grocery store clerk and saved his money and in December of 1859 bought a mining claim on Long Gulch Mountain. Jenks only kept the claim for a few months and when it didn't pan out he sold it and worked as a grain merchant for several years.

On his way west and during his stay here Daniel kept diaries and drew images of everyday scenes and told events of his frontier life to share with his sisters and family back in Rhode Island. According to information at the Library of Congress website these diaries are now in the Elizabeth J. Johnson Pawtucket History Research Center in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Jenks never found his riches in gold, and returned to Pawtucket and died at the young age of 41 in 1869.

Locals know and understand that Siskiyou was the "second" Mother lode, with millions of gold mined in our area during the "gold rush" era, but continuing on even today.

The image above and information can be found at the Library of Congress Website in the Digital Collections section. A transcript of a lecture on Daniel Jenks can also be found presented by Sara Duke. The information presented here is from the information available. If you haven't visited the site to research it is definitely worth the time to visit, there are many interesting local images and historical information.

One can find additional information about the Yreka area gold rush in our book, Yreka, Images of America in the introduction and in various sections throughout the book. Later "birds eye" images of Yreka can be found on pages 18, 21, 25, and 55. Other information can be obtained in our publication Yreka, The First 80 Years, available only at the Siskiyou County Museum.
Copyright: Claudia East, 2009.