120 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 heard 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.”
70 years ago
Susanville Fruit Growers reopened the box factory it had closed last winter. Operating four of 10 cutoff saws, 40 men went to work and another 25 should find jobs at the factory by November, depending upon the size of the orange crop. The company reported logging was “slightly above normal” with half a mill each day.
45 years ago
Nearly 100 relatives of George Woodward, a pioneer of 1849 who traveled over the Lassen Trail, attended a family reunion at Susanville City Park, also known as Plumas Eureka State Park. Woodward built many of the mills that operated in Johnsville and Sierra City, including one later restored by the state of California. Relatives came from Trout Lake, Washington, Reno, Manteca, Citrus Heights and the Susanville area.
30 years ago
The most endangered species is not the spotted owl, but rather the hardworking residents of timber communities in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, according to those who attended the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service meeting conducted in Redding. Two busloads of Quincy loggers made the trip and hundreds of loaded logging trucks, festooned with signs, surrounded the Civic Auditorium. Few environmentalists could be found at the hearing.
20 years ago
Two years ago, Susanville engineer Fred Nagel came before the board of supervisors with a simple plan to fix Lassen County’s septic waste disposal problem.
Nagel did not know his idea would turn into a convoluted political football that would only land 26 months of hearing and arguments concerning the language of the law.
The supervisors paved the way for Nagel’s project with changes to the Wendel plan and geothermal law, but left a wake of displeased area residents.
16 years ago
Lassen High School graduate Kevin Mangold, class of 1986, is easy to spot in the movie “Seabiscuit.”
Mangold is the jockey who gets thrown, bit and stepped on by the horse.
“I’m the guy who gets his shirt ripped off,” Mangold said during a telephone interview from his home in Ohio. “Seabiscuit was known for, if he didn’t get along with somebody, he would pretty much let the rider know.”
Crews are getting a good hold on the Whaleback Fire, burning vegetation near Eagle Lake, but officials were concerned about the upcoming wind going into the weekend.
The blaze, which has been burning since Friday afternoon, July 27, forced the evacuation of the Spalding tract, various campgrounds and camps, forced road closures on portions of County Roads A1, 21 and 231, and called for the advisory evacuation of the Bucks Bay and Stones Landing areas. The advisory evacuation was lifted Friday morning, Aug. 3.