This is a fascinating local tale that few visitors know and it survives as a political movement even today here in Northern California. Well worth your time to read on Google but here is a very short version:
In 1941, before Pearl Harbor, seven rural counties in Southern Oregon and Northern California (see map) had been so neglected by their respective state governments that they rebelled and threatened to form a new state. On Nov. 27th a few young men, brandishing deer rifles for dramatic effect, blockaded Highway 99 just south of our county seat in Yreka, Siskiyou County. They handed out leaflets proclaiming that “the State of Jefferson was in patriotic rebellion against the States of California and Oregon and would continue to secede every Thursday until further notice!”
Hilarious as this must have appeared to the blocked motorists, a ‘governor’ John Leon Childs of Crescent City, CA was ‘elected’ on Dec. 4, 1941. Pearl Harbor of course ended the movement rather dramatically just three days later.
But it never really died. As recently as 2016 it was noted that most of the rural counties that would have been included in the State of Jefferson voted heavily for Donald Trump whereas the rest of California voted mostly for Hillary Clinton, reflecting perhaps again how divided Northern and Southern California are still. The sentiment is still alive and well. Signs on barns along Interstate Five, Jefferson Public Radio, and dozens of these flags can be seen around our county to this day.