Remember When for Aug. 8, 2014

115 years ago

A tall muscular stranger with dark hair, a sandy complexion and a two-inch scar in the middle of his forehead died on Prattville Road near the Mountain Meadows summit.

The stranger, who registered for the stagecoach ride to Chico as W. O’Donnell, boarded the stage “with a roll of blankets wrapped in black oil cloth.” He rode up top with the driver, who was surprised to hear the sound of a pistol hammer failing.

When the driver saw the passenger had a revolver, he asked him what he was doing, and the passenger replied he was “emptying a pistol.”

The driver did not think much of the man until he had put the revolver to his own head and pulled the trigger again. Seeing the need for action, the driver pulled up the horses, and he and fellow passengers tried to disarm the man.

The stranger lost them in the brush and the others ended their search. Before they could travel another half mile, they hear the retort of a pistol ring out across the summit. Susanville Sheriff Wilson brought the body back to town, and the coroner’s jury ruled the stranger “came to his death by gunshot wound inflicted with suicidal intent.”

Remember When for July 29, 2014

91 years ago

A forest fire burned more than 500 acres near the Pit River, located around Nubieber, and threatened several ranchers. Most of the fire was allowed to naturally burn because of the lack of firefighting personnel in northern Lassen County.

Remember When for July 22, 2014

25 years ago

Lassen County’s oldest cultural event, The Bear Dance, was held for the first time at its new location on Willard Hill. Five teepees were erected and about 200 people participated in the ceremony. The dance had been held for many years at Gladys Mankins’ Ranch near Janesville, but the property was sold after her death and the new site was found on United States Forest Service land west of Susanville.

Remember When for July 15, 2014

115 years ago

Women of Susanville were reminded the art of preparing cool, delicious iced beverages was one in which a young woman would be proud to excel in. Several recipes, including lemonade and orangeade, were printed in the newspaper for the ladies interested in trying their hand at whipping up the turn-of-the-century refreshments.

Remember When for July 8, 2014

115 years ago

Sounding like a spokesperson for modern-day Republicans, railroad magnate Eramus Gest complained to the California State Board of Equalization that taxes should be levied on income “so millionaires would be willing to spend their money on improvements.” Gest, the executor of the estate of Charles Moran, took over the operation of the Nevada, California and Oregon railroad when Moran, the railroad’s founder, died in 1897.

The small, private railroad had laid tracks from Reno, Nevada, to Amendee in Lassen County. Complaining about the railroad’s $330.89 tax bill, Gest said, “I don’t think a railroad has not earned as much as a postage stamp in 10 years should be assessed for anything.”

Although Gest said the railroad planned to expand its rails past Susanville to Alturas and eventually to the Columbia River, Gest said his company earned only $6,691.51 last year and from that small profit he had to pay interest on a $1.4 million investment.

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