“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Susanville in Lassen County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Peter Lassen In California

Peter Lassen In California Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 11, 2008
1. Peter Lassen In California Marker
Inscription. “In Camponit Peter Lassen and his party had been waiting for the winter to be over. Instead of crossing the mountain ranges on their way south, he and six other persons decided to go by ship from Fort Vancouver. A small steamship, “Lausanne,” from a New York shipping company had landed at Fort Vancouver. On its way back, it should make a stop-over in Yerba Buena – which today is San Francisco. Peter Lassen and his party had the opportunity to be on this boat. Lassen had the intention of arriving to California as soon as possible.

“On the voyage, Peter Lassen had persuaded the captain, Josiah Spaulding, to land at Fort Ross, which was located on the Pacific coast about 75 miles north of Yerba Buena – near Bodega Bay. When Lassen arrived, Fort Ross had about 300 inhabitants. Landing at Fort Ross was done because the traveling companions wanted to make a short cut to the Sacramento Valley, where they planned to stay at Sutter’s Ranch, now Sacramento. Lassen thought that Sutter’s Ranch would make a good starting point for himself.

“When the Lausanne arrived in Fort Ross – it must have been on July 16 or 17, 1840, the group was welcomed by the people, mainly Russians, from the Fort. From Fort Ross a pilot was sent out to the ship – and it sailed on to the nearest harbor,
Peter Lassen Information Kiosk at Entrance to Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 11, 2008
2. Peter Lassen Information Kiosk at Entrance to Cemetery
Bodega Harbor, or as it was called at the time: Punta Russe de la Bodega. In 1840, however, California was part of -- and owned by Mexico. The Mexican authorities would not allow Peter Lassen and his companions to stay. On July 26, the steamship Lausanne sailed on to San Francisco – without the men! It must therefore have been either July 25 or 26, 1840, that Peter Lassen for the first time set his foot on the land of California – in spite of it was prohibited for him to do so.

“A few days later, General Vallejo gave permission to the five men, that they could stay in California. In the middle of August, the five companions arrived at Sutter’s Ranch. This man was an absolute contrast to Peter Lassen; he was genteel, and felt that he was “better” than other people. No wonder that the common Peter Lassen would not stay too long at Sutter’s Ranch. Only two weeks after their arrival, Lassen and one of his companions, William Wiggins, broke away from Sutter’s Ranch heading south. They had a stop-over in Yerba Buena, where Wiggins noticed that the town only had six houses. These houses were the beginning of San Francisco. The two men went on to San Jose, which was a big town of 500 inhabitants. He worked as a blacksmith in this town all winter.

“Lassen became a pioneer when the idea of building a sawmill began to take place in
Close Up of Map on Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 11, 2008
3. Close Up of Map on Marker
Route to the West
It took Peter Lassen ten years, from time he arrived in Boston, to reach California in 1840
his head. Now Peter Lassen was the supervisor and constructor of his own mill, which became the first working sawmill in California. Lassen wanted to move on and sold the mill in Santa Cruz and returned to the new Fort built by Sutter. In the spring of 1843, while Peter Lassen was still working for Sutter, some cattle were stolen by a party of immigrants. So, Peter Lassen and some other men, among these John Bidwell, started a trip up the Sacramento River – following a route where very few white people had passed before. No map showing the region was available, so Lassen and Bidwell drew a map. They also gave names to places they were passing on their way. They traveled for several days, when they found the part of immigrants with the stolen animals, near where Red Bluff is located today.

“Peter Lassen now had time to look around, and he was impressed with the beauty of the area.”
From “Uncle Peter” pages 56-62
Location. 40° 21.066′ N, 120° 38.389′ W. Marker is in Susanville, California, in Lassen County. Click for map. Marker is located 5 miles SE of Susanville on Wingfield Road (via Richmond Road) on the Kiosk at the entrance to the Cemetery. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2550 Wingfield Road, Susanville CA 96130, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Migration of Peter Lassen (here, next to this marker); Burial of Peter Lassen (here, next to this marker); Lassen’s Bosquejo Rancho (here, next to this marker); Birth of Peter Lassen (here, next to this marker); Peter Lassen Grave (a few steps from this marker); Richmond (approx. 0.9 miles away but has been reported missing); Susanville Railroad Depot (approx. 4.3 miles away); Lassen County Courthouse (approx. 4.7 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Susanville.
More about this marker. This is the third in a series of six markers. These should be reviewed in the following order:
1. Birth of Peter Lassen
2. Migration of Peter Lassen
3. Peter Lassen In California
4. Lassen’s Bosquejo Ranchero
5. Peter Lassen Grave
6. Burial of Peter Lassen
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Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 1,638 times since then and 101 times this year. Last updated on , by Jana Stanley of Susanville, California. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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