A brief history

Long before Europeans settled on the west coast of North America the native peoples lived in a big green country in what is now Northern California and Canada. Tall trees, tall mountains, mysterious rain forests and streams of salmon embodied a beautiful country. A free land of many peoples.

The Spanish were the first Europeans to claim the land for their Queen in 1542. Britain and the young United States also made claims to the area.

Thomas Jefferson, champion of the west, sent Lewis and Clark in 1803 to document the vast Northwestern country of America. Also in 1803 Jefferson completed the Louisiana Purchase officially claimed the Northwest as a U.S. territory. Jefferson envisioned a great State of the Pacific. Another movement was to create a State of Cascadia along the west coast into Canada. Both ideas fell to the wayside.

Migration by U.S. citizens and others to the West in the 1840s to 1850s resulted in many proposals and arguments to create U.S. states. In 1852 the first attempt to create an independent "State of Shasta" but did not come toa vote in congress. In 1853 another proposal was for a "State of Klamath" but Indian uprisings delayed consideration. In 1854 another statehood movement centered on Southern Oregon began for "Jackson Territory" and the "State of Jefferson." The indepenndent movement failed when the area became part of the State of Oregon in 1858.

The State of Jefferson continues to be a theme to this day fueled by a belief that the dreams and needs of Southern Oregon and Northern California are quite different than the rest of their respective states and Lawmakers in Salem and Sacramento cannmot include fair legislation as they serve the large populations in Northern Oregon and Southern California.

Modern State of Jefferson boundaries:
Mountainous region consisting of the Klamath, Rogue and Umpqua basins and their associated coastal streams. Approximated by these counties in Southern Oregon and Northern California.

State of Jefferson map

  Vestiges        

The State of Jefferson is certainly a state of mind if not a state of the union.
Environmentally defined, it is a biome, a large geographical area of distinctive plant and animal groups, which are adapted to that particular environment.

Politically defined, it is a movment, a large population of distinct cultural and political groups, which are adapted the State of Jefferson.

"Kwanesum Chinook Illahee"
is Chinook for
"Forever Cascadia"
Underneath the skies of Cascadia,
Where the mountain woodlands meet the sea,
Every living thing in Cascadia,
United in diversity.
From the Rocky Mountain highlands,
To the wide Pacific shore,
We will take our stand to preserve the land,
And its biome evermore.
Voices rise in song for Cascadia,
A light for all the world to see,
As we lift a prayer for Cascadia,
Kwanesum Chinook Illahee!

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  A state of existence

Jefferson needs you 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                                    

Crossing the state line into the State of JeffersonIn 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.