|The State of Jefferson Citizens Committee continued to create notariety with their antics for the movement by declaring that the new state would be free of sales tax, property tax, and income tax. The state would be paid for by opening red light districts and gambling halls. They declared that the wooden nickel would be the "coin of the realm." News articles not only began to appear in the local paper, but larger papers including the San Francisco Chronicle began to cover the story. A young reporter named Stanton Delaplane came and visited the local people and wrote a series of stories to understand the movement from their point of view. He later went on the win the Pulitzer Prize for his writings.|
|On December 4th Yrekans held an election for the first provisional governor for the State of Jefferson. John C. Childs, a judge in Crescent City, Del Norte County, California, won the local election. A public rally had been planned and it had been arranged to have several Hollywood newsreel companies and magazine photographers from Life and Time magazine to come cover it. The local newspaper asked the locals to dress as cowboys and really ham it up for the cameras by toting pistols and rifles as they handed out leaflets again at Hwy 99. All the kids in Yreka were given a day off school including the drum and bugle corps to join in a parade that would lead to the Court House lawn for Judge Childs inauguration.|
| In the parade, many signs were carried by
the kids saying things like:
"OUR ROADS ARE NOT PASSABLE, HARDLY JACKASSABLE"
"THE PROMISED LAND -- OUR ROADS ARE PAVED WITH PROMISES."
"Double XX" and "IF OUR ROADS YOU WOULD TRAVEL, BRING YOUR OWN GRAVEL."
It was quite a scene as the cameramen and reporters "directed" the crowds
at the parade and the inauguration. The governor's speech stated
that changes were long overdue. Fifty years ago the roads were not passable
in the area and they still were not. Randolph Collier introduced the new
state's officers, who represented each of the four participating counties.
The governor, chief justice, attorney general, secretary of the Chamber
of Commerce, chaplain and U.S. Congressman were divided between Siskiyou,
Trinity, Del Norte and Curry counties. A good time was had by all
including the new Governor who had celebrated so much he was described
as "indisposed" the next day. The newly elected officials met on
December 6 to reorganize and get moving.
|December 7th 1941 dawned with the surprise attatck of Pearl Harbor Hawaii and the beginning of WWII. The dream of a 49th state had died. Judge Child's last act as chief executive was to state, "In view of the National emergency, the acting officers of the Provisional Territory of Jefferson here and now discontinue any and all activities. The State of Jefferson was originated for the sole purpose of calling the attention of the proper authorities...to the fact we have immense deposits of strategic and necessary defense minerals and that we need roads to develop those. We have accomplished that purpose and henceforth all of our efforts will be directed toward assisting our States and Federal Government in the defense of our Country."|
|Although always thwarted, the movement has revived periodically since 1941, and is still alive in the hearts of many today. There are many buisnesses that carry the name of Jefferson in Northern California and Southern Oregon. You can still see signs that say "State of Jefferson" on them. The State of Jefferson's "official" money is the two dollar bill, because it has Thomas Jefferson on it, of course.|
|The State Of Jefferson relates to the theme of Revolution, Reaction,
and Reform in history, because in a way it was likely the last Revolution
in America. Because of the feeling of isolation from the government
and lack of representation that the people shared, they decided that Southern
Oregon and Northern California were going to secede from the union and
form a 49th state of America. What could be more Revolutionary, than
a group of people wanting to form their own state, just like when we seceded
from England and formed our own country because Americans felt we were
not being represented fairly?
In alot of ways, the idea was thought of as a joke to get attention to their situation, but was also very serious to many others who really believed in the idea then and now. The activists did get a huge reaction, and today many people still talk about how the concerns of the rural areas of Northern California and Southern Oregon are not addressed by the State governments. Obviously the concerns in Southern Oregon and Northern California are not the same as those in big cities like Los Angeles, California and Portland, Oregon. It would be very interesting to see what would have happened if the bombing of Pearl Harbor and World War 2 had not interrupted the process of the creation of the State of Jefferson.