A state of existence
The Great Northwest has long fueled the American dream of freedom, independence, and an abundant life in harmony with nature and spirit. Blessed with a moderate climate, lots oa fresh aire and water, and protected by mountains, the State of Jefferson lives in the hearts of many in Southern oregon and Northern California.
In 1803, Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark into the Pacific Northwest. Soon after, Jefferson envisioned the establishment of an independent nation in the western portion of North America which he dubbed the "Republic of the Pacific". Jefferson's original idea has since been embraced by a number of different groups with generally similar aims.
The last stand
In November, 1941 support for an independent state ran high. Poor roads and purposeful political isolation by California and Oregon politicians had galvanized the movement.
A provisional government was elected and Judge L. Childs of Crescent City as governor.
A vigilante groundswell of local citizens, armed with hunting rifles and cheered by their neighbors, created roadblocks on U.S. Highway 99, stopping and collecting tolls from travelers who crossed the Jefferson state line.
The 1941 State of Jefferson Proclamation of Independence:
"You are now entering Jefferson,
the 49th State of the Union.
Jefferson is now in patriotic rebellion against the states of California and Oregon.
This State has seceded from California and Oregon this Thursday, November 27, 1941.
Patriotic Jeffersonians intend to secede each Thursday until further notice.
For the next hundred miles as you drive along Highway 99, you are traveling parallel to the greatest copper belt in the far West, seventy-five miles west of here.
The United States government needs this vital mineral.
But gross neglect by California and Oregon deprives us of necessary roads to bring out the copper ore.
If you don't believe this, drive down the Klamath River highway and see for yourself. Take your chains, shovel and dynamite.
Until California and Oregon build a road into the copper country, Jefferson, as a defense-minded State, will be forced to rebel each Thursday and act as a separate State."
State of Jefferson Citizens Committee
Temporary State Capital, Yreka
Just three days before Pearl Harbor and the entry of the United States into World War II, the national press arrived to cover the inauguration of Jefferson Governer Childs. Signs saying "Our roads are not passable, hardly jackassable; if our roads you would travel, bring your own gravel" were set up around the area. Just as the movement was skyrockedted into the public attention the japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Governor Childs quickly dissolved his State of Jefferson government in a patriotic call for national unity.