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  PETER LASSEN

FROM THE LASSEN COUNTY ALMANAC: BY TIM I. PURDY

        PETER LASSEN WAS BORN ON OCTOBER 31, 1800, AT FARUM, DENMARK, A SMALL VILLAGE LOCATED FIFTEEN MILES FROM COPENHAGEN. LASSEN LEARNED THE BLACKSMITH TRADE FROM HIS UNCLE, AND THIS SKILL PROVED TO BE MOST USEFULL FOR HIM THROUGHOUT HIS LIFE.                                                                                                   LIKE MANY EUROPEANS, LASSEN SOUGHT TO ESCAPE POVERTY, AND IN 1830, HE WAS GRANTED PERMISSION TO LEAVE DENMARK FOR AMERICA. LASSEN ARRIVED AT BOSTON AND THERE APPLIED HIS TRADE AS A BLACKSMITH. LASSEN CONTINUED HIS WESTWARD MOVEMENT, FIRST TO PHILADELPHIA AND THEN , IN 1831, TO KEYTESVILLE, MISSOURI.                                                                                                                                                 LASSEN REMAINED IN MISSOURI UNTILL 1839, WHEN HE LEFT THE AREA WITH A SMALL GROUP GOING TO OREGON. LASSEN ARRIVED IN OREGON IN THE FALL AND STAYED FOR THE WINTER. IN THE SPRING OF 1840, HE BOARDED THE VESSEL THE LOSPANNA AND SAILED DOWN THE WEST COAST, ENTERING CALIFORNIA AT BODEGA BAY. FROM THERE HE WENT TO THE RUSSIAN COLONY OF FORT ROSS AND THE PROCEEDED TO JOHN A. SUTTER’S RANCH, NEW HELVETIA (SACRAMENTO). LASSEN FOUND HIMSELF APPOINTED AS A MEMBER OF A POSSE DURING AN INCIDENT AT SUTTER’S RANCH. TWO HORSES HAD BEEN STOLEN AND LASSEN’S GROUP WENT TO THE NORTHERN SACRAMENTO VALLY TO RETRIEVE THEM. WHILE ON THAT EXPEDITION, LASSEN CAME UPON THE CONFLUENCE OF THE SACRAMENTO RIVER AND DEER CREEK.LASSEN WAS IMPRESSED WITH THAT COUNTRY. LASSEN OBTAINED MEXICAN CITIZENSHIP, ALLOWING HIM TO OWN PROPERTY AND WAS SUBSEQUENTLY GRANTED FIVE SPANISH LEAGUES (22,000 ACRES) AT DEER CREEK.                                                                  IN FEBRUARY 1845, LASSEN’S BOSQUEJO RANCH WAS ESTABLISHED THERE AND IT BECAME THE NORTHERNMOST SETTLEMENT IN CALIFORNIA. LASSEN ESTABLISHED BENTON CITY ON THE BOSQUEJO RANCH. IN THE SUMMER OF 1847, LASSEN RETURNED TO MISSOURI TO RECRUIT SETTLERS FOR HIS NEW COMMUNITY. IN THE SPRING OF 1848, HE BROUGHT BACK A SMALL GROUP OF EMIGRANTS AND THEY WERE THE FIRST TO CROSS OVER THE INFAMOUSE LASSEN TRAIL. WHEN LASSEN ARRIVED AT BENTON CITY HE FOUND IT NEARLY VACATED AS HIS POPULOUSE HAD MOVED TO SUTTER’S MILL AND OTHER POINTS FOLLOWING THE DISCOVERY OF GOLD. THAT WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING OF PROBLEMS THAT LASSEN ENCOUNTERED WITH BENTON CITY. PRIOR TO HIS DEPARTURE TO MISSOURI HE HAD DEEDED OVER ONE- FIFTH OF HIS RANCH TO DANIEL SILL. IN MAY 1850, LASSEN DEEDED OVER ONE-HALF OF HIS RANCH TO JOEL PALMER TO FINANCE THE PURCHASE OF A SMALL STEAMBOAT, THE LADY WASHINGTON. THE STEAMER WAS TO BE THE EASIEST METHOD TO TRANSPORT SUPPLIES FRO SACRAMENTO TO BENTON CITY. THE BOAT ENCOUNTERED NUMEROUSE PROBLEMS WITH SAND BARS AND SNAG TREES ON THE SACRAMENTO RIVER AND WAS SUNK. THE DISASTER AND OTHER FINANCIAL PROBLEMS FORCED LASSEN TO SELL THE REMAINDER OF HIS RANCH TO HENERY GERKE. THUS, LASSEN NOW FREEDED AS A LANDHOLDER, RELOCATED TO INDIAN VALLEY, PLUMAS COUNTY.                                                 

BENJAMINE FRANKLIN LOOMIS

FROM THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,                                                                                                        U S DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

     BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (B.F.) LOOMIS WAS BORN ON MARCH 21’ST, 1857 IN MANTEGA, ILLINOIS, TO ADDISON AND EMILY LOOMIS. AS A SMALL BOY, LOOMIS TRAVELED WEST WITH HIS PARENTS AND OLDER BROTHER, ORIN AUGUSTUS, ACROSS THE PLAINS IN A COVERED WAGON. THEY SETTLED IN TEHAMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA. WHEN B.F. WAS NINE, EMILY LOOMIS DIED, AND HIS FATHER MOVED THE FAMILY ( NOW INCLUDING SISTER LUCY ELLA) TO RED BLUFF, CA. IN In 1874, LOOMIS CAME TO MANZANITA LAKE AND BUILT A SMALL CABIN. HE MADE A HIS LIVING MAKING AND SELLING WOOD SHAKES IN THE SUMMER, AND WORKING AS A FARM LABORER IN BATTLE CREEK BOTTOMS DURING THE WINTER. IN 1886, LOOMIS ATTENDED THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHRENOLOGY IN NEW YORK CITY, AND ALSO TOOK CLASSES IN ANATOMY, PHYSIOLOGY, ASTRONOMY, AND ASTROLOGY. THIS WAS PRIMARILY FOR HIS OWN EDUCATION; HE HAD NO PLANS TO BECOME A PRACTITIONER OR LECTURER, THOUGH HE STUDIED AND WROTE ON THE TOPIC FOR MANY          FOLLOWING HIS STUDIES, LOOMIS RETURNED TO CALIFORNIA AND TO SHAKE-MAKING IN THE MANZANITA LAKE AREA. 1888, HE FILED A HOMESTEAD CLAIM ON BAILY CREEK (PRESENTDAY VIOLA), MOVED HIS HOMESTEAD IN 1891, AND BUILT A GENERAL STORE IN 1895.                                                                                                                                                                                    IN 1897, WHILE SERVING ON A JURY IN REDDING, LOOMIS MET FELLOW JURIST LEADER LEANDER VANESS (L.V.) LOOMIS (1827-1909), AN EMIGRANT PIONEER OF SHASTA COUNTY (AND NO RELATION TO B.F. LOOMIS). THE TWO MEN SHARED AN INTEREST IN PHRENOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY, SO LOOMIS SPENT THE TRIAL RECESS AT THE L.V. LOOMIS FAMILY HOME. HERE, LOOMIS WAS INTRODUCED TO L.V. LOOMIS’ DAUGHTER, ESTELLA (1870-1935). B.F. AND ESTELLA LOOMIS WERE MARRIED ON SEPTEMBER 1, 1897. THEIR ONLY CHILD, LOUISA MAE, WAS BORN JUNE 16, 1899. WHILE ESTELLA RAN THE VIOLA STORE AND POST OFFICE, LOOMIS TRANSPORTED FREIGHT TO VIOLA AND SHAKES TO THE SACRAMENTO VALLEY. IN 1910, LOOMIS BOUGHT THE VILAS MILL AND BEGAN A LARGE- SCALE LUMBER BUSINESS WITH THE CONSIDERABLE TIMBER LANDS THAT HE HAD ACQUIRED. LOOMIS ALSO OWNED AND RAN THE VIOLA HOTEL IN VIOLA, CA. ORIGINALLY LOCATED IN SHINGLETOWN BUT RELOCATED BY LOOMIS. LOOMIS BOUGHT HIS FIRST CAMERA IN 1898 FROM ESTELLA’S BROTHER ARTHUR, WHO WAS A COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHER IN REDDING. WHEN LASSEN PEAK BEGAN TO ERUPT IN 1914, LOOMIS WAS AMONG THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHERS TO CAPTURE IMAGES OF THE EVENT. HIS PHOTOGRAPHS AND WRITTEN ACCOUNTS OF THE ERUPTIONS PROVIDE SOME OF THE BEST DOCUMENTATION OF THE 1914 AND 1915 VOLCANIC ACTIVITY. WIDELY DISSEMINATED AT THE TIME IN THE PRESS, LOOMIS LATER PUBLISHED MANY OF HIS PHOTOGRAPHS IN HIS BOOK, PICTORAL HISTORY OF THE LASSEN VOLCANO.                                                                                                                  LOOMIS WAS A STRONG AND ACTIVE ADVOCATE FOR THE INFORMATION OF THE LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK, AND WORKED HARD TO STIMULATE PUBLIC INTEREST IN THE NATURAL WONDERS OF THE REGION. WHEN LOOMIS’ DAUGHTER LOUISA MAE DIED AFTER A BRIEF, UNIDENTIFIED ILLNESS AT THE AGE OF 20, HE BUILT THE LOISA MAE LOOMIS MEMORIAL MUSEUM AT MANZANITA LAKE TO HOUSE AND SHOWCASE A SUBSTANTIAL COLLECTION OF PHOTOGRAPHS AND ARTIFACTS FOR THE PUIBLIC. LOOMIS DEEDED THE MUSEUM, SEISMOGRAPH STATION, AND SEROUNDING 40 ACRES TO LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK IN 1929.                                                                                                                    WHEN LOOMIS RETIRED FROM BUSINESS IN VIOLA, HE AND ESTELLA ESTABLISHED A SUMMER RESIDENCE AND ART SHOP NEXT TO THE MUSEUM AT MANZANITA LAKE. B.F. LOOMIS DIED OF CANCER IN 1935; ESTELLA CONTINUED TO LIVE IN THE AREA UNTILL HER DEATH IN 1953.