State of Jefferson

US state
Name = Jefferson
Fullname = State of Jefferson "(proposed)"

Flaglink = Flag of Jefferson

Nickname = State of Mind
Capital = Yreka, California (proposed 1941)
LargestCity = Redding, California
Governor = None as of 2008
Lieutenant Governor = None as of 2008
Senators = None as of 2008
Representative = None as of 2008
OfficialLang = English
AreaRank = 41st "(hypothetical)"
TotalAreaUS = 67,472
TotalArea = 169,759
PCWater = ?
PopRank = 51st "(hypothetical)" | 2000Pop = 423,004
DensityRank = N/A
2000DensityUS = 6.27
2000Density = 2.49
AdmittanceOrder = Not admitted
AdmittanceDate =
TimeZone = Pacific: UTC-8/-7
Latitude = 38°45'N to 43°57'N
Longitude = 119°18'W to 124°25'W
LengthUS = 113
Length = 182
WidthUS = 265
Width = 467
HighestPoint = Mount Shasta
HighestElevUS = 14,179
HighestElev = 4316.58
MeanElevUS = 7,081
MeanElev = 2158.29
LowestElevUS = 0
LowestElev = 0
Website =

Jefferson is a mostly rural area of Southern Oregon and Northern California in the United States. Several times during the 19th and 20th centuries there have been attempts to establish the area as a separate state. This region on the Pacific Coast is the most famous of several that have sought to adopt the name of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States; the name was proposed in the 19th century for Jefferson Territory, as well as in 1915 in a bill in the Texas legislature for a proposed state that would be created from the Texas Panhandle region. []

19th century

Bisected by a trade and travel route which came to be known as the Siskiyou Trail, the region of the proposed State of Jefferson was one of the last areas of North America to be explored by Europeans and Americans, who did not enter the area until the 1820s, and it was not until the discovery of gold at present-day Yreka, California in 1851 that the first significant American settlement in the area occurred. The area was also the site of the last battle fought in North America where the Native Americans used only bows and arrows (at Castle Crags), and was the site of one of the last significant rebellions by Native Americans (the Modoc War).

In 1852, at the first California state legislature, a bill was introduced to create a "state of Shasta" encompassing much of the area known as Jefferson, including the Shasta Cascade.

Two years later, a separate movement began in southern Oregon. A proposal to create such a state was presented to Congress and remained open until Oregon was granted statehood in 1859.

20th century

In October 1941, the mayor of Port Orford, Oregon, Gilbert Gable, announced that the Oregon counties of Curry, Josephine, Jackson, and Klamath should join with the California counties of Del Norte, Siskiyou, and Modoc to form a new state, later named Jefferson. [Hall, Christopher: [ "A Jefferson State of Mind,"] Via: AAA Traveler's Companion, Sept. 2003]

Gable proposed creating this new state to draw attention to the condition of the state roads along the Oregon-California border, which at the time were oiled dirt roads that became impassable in rain or snow, and handicapped economic development. As local historian Jim Rock explains, "It was more publicity stunt than serious secession movement at that point. After all, under the U.S. Constitution, they had to get the approval of Congress as well as the legislatures of both states."

Gable's act found sympathy throughout the region, who perceived their state legislatures as indifferent to their needs. Siskiyou County especially embraced the cause: the county seat Yreka became the provisional capital, where in November 1941, county representatives met and selected the name Jefferson for their state, in commemoration of Thomas Jefferson, the nation's third president.

While inhabitants in Lassen and Shasta counties in northern California flirted with joining the secession movement, only the counties of Curry, Siskiyou, Trinity, and Del Norte actually endorsed the idea.

A naming contest held by the "Siskiyou Daily News" in November 1941 considered the possibilities for the would be state: Orofino, Bonanza, Discontent, Jefferson, Del Curiskiyou, and Siscurdelmo.

On November 27 1941, a group of young men gained national media attention when, brandishing hunting rifles for dramatic effect, they stopped traffic on U.S. Route 99 south of Yreka, and handed out copies of a Proclamation of Independence, stating that the state of Jefferson was in "patriotic rebellion against the States of California and Oregon" and would continue to "secede every Thursday until further notice."

The secession movement came to an abrupt end, though not before John C. Childs of Yreka was inaugurated as the governor of the State of Jefferson [] . The first blow was the death of Mayor Gable on December 2, followed five days later by the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7. Secessionists focused their efforts on the war effort, which crippled the movement.


As described in an [ April, 2003, American Journalism Review] article::The "state" is diverse politically, with a mixture of conservatives and liberals. Many share the Westerner's common disdain of government and politics. "Politicians and diapers need to be changed often for the same reason," reads one bumper sticker. And many also share a desire to hang on to the landscape that draws both residents and tourists to an area that stretches from the stunning Oregon coast to ethereal Crater Lake and down to California's towering Mt. Shasta.The region retains this identity reinforced by institutions such as Jefferson Public Radio.

Jefferson is commemorated by the State of Jefferson Scenic Byway between Yreka and O'Brien, Oregon, which runs 109 miles along State Route 96 and U.S. Forest Service Primary Route 48. Near the California - Oregon border, a turnout provides scenic views of the Klamath River valley and three informative display signs about the republic.

As of July 2004, if Jefferson were a state, its population would be 423,005, which would make it the smallest in population of the country's states.


The field of the flag is green, and the charge is the Seal of the State of Jefferson: a gold mining pan with the words "The Great Seal Of State Of Jefferson" engraved into the lip, and two X's askew of each other. The two X's are known as the "Double Cross", and signifies the region's sense of abandonment from the state governments in both Salem, Oregon and Sacramento, California.

Further reading

* James T. Rock. "The State of Jefferson: the Dream Lives on!" Siskiyou County Museum, 1999.

ee also

*Upstate California
*State of Franklin
*State of Absaroka
*Cascadia (independence movement)
*Northwest Territorial Imperative

External links

* [ Jefferson Public Radio] on the State of Jefferson
* [ State Of Jefferson Home Page] Organizing the New Movement
* [ Museum of the Siskiyou Trail]
* [ Jefferson State website]
* [ Jefferson Public Radio]
* [ State of Jefferson] by Ian Jones
* [ The Mythical State of Jefferson] by Megan Shaw at Bad Subjects
* [ A State of Mind:Exploring the untamed wonders of Jefferson] by Glenn Garnett at CottageLink Magazine
* [ A Jefferson State of Mind] by Christopher Hall at AAA's Via Magazine
* [,M1 The State of Jefferson] Images of America series (Google Books)


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