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Volcanoes and History
Cascade Range Volcanoes - "Volcanoes and History"

Naming the Cascade Range Volcanoes
Mount Shasta, California


Peter Skene Ogden, a chief trader with the Hudson's Bay Company, is given credit for naming Mount Shasta on February 14, 1827, after the Native Americans who lived in the area.
"... Tuesday 14th. Wind blew a gale. If the ship destined for the Columbia be on the coast in this stormy weather, I should feel anxious for her. Having 40 beaver to skin and dress I did not raise camp. It is a pleasure to observe the ladys of the camp vying who will produce on their return to Ft. Vancouver the cleanest and best dressed beaver. One of the trappers yesterday saw a domestic cat gone wild. It must have come from the coast. All the Indians persist in saying they know nothing of the sea. I have named this river Sastise River. There is a mountain equal in height to Mount Hood or Vancouver, I have named Mt. Sastise. I have given these names from the tribes of Indians. ..."
[Ogden, February 14, 1827]


Mount Shasta had earlier names, and, according to some historians, Peter Skene Ogden named the wrong peak. According to the Mount Shasta Chamber of Commerce Website (2002):
"... According to legend, about 1821, a Spanish explorer reported that while climbing Mount Diablo near San Francisco he saw Mount Shasta. He called it "Jesus and Maria" because of the double peaks. About this time the Russians probably viewed Mount Shasta from the coast near Fort Ross. Hudson Bay Company trapper, Peter Skene Ogden left Fort Vancouver and journeyed through central Oregon, trapping beaver. The trappers wanted fur from beaver, otter, and martins to export to England. They succeeded over the course of several years to dramatically reduce the population of these small fur-bearing animals. To this day it is rare to see these animals. Ogden noted in his journal on February 14, 1827: "I have named this river Sastise River. There is a mountain equal in height to Mount Hood or Vancouver; I have named Mt. Sastise. I have given these names, from the tribes of the Indians." However historians believe he saw the Rogue River and Mount McLoughlin. Early maps portrayed today's Mount Shasta variously as Mount Pitt, Mount Jackson, and Mount Simpson and said that it was over 20,000 feet above sea level. For the most part, the explorers and fur trappers traveled through the area but did not stay for any length of time. ..."


From the College of the Siskiyous Website (2007):
"... According to Miesse [William Miesse, author of Mount Shasta: An Annotated Bibliography, published in 1993], Peter Skene Ogden (in his 1826-27 journal) refers to a mountain, a tribe, and a river as "Sastice" "Castice" "Sistise" and "Sasty." Based on his description, we know the mountain he was referring to was actually what is now known as Mt. McLoughlin in Southern Oregon. The Sastise River is now called the Rogue (some Indians in the area referred to themselves as "Kqwu'-sta"). It is also believed that the Wilkes Expedition (1838-42) mistakenly transposed Ogden's Sastise to the mountain that we call Shasta today. This is not as hard to do as it seems. By the time of the Gold Rush (1849) lots of maps showing our local mountain with names such as "Shasty", "Shaste", and "Sasty" were printed. Also, between 1842 and 1850 a number of journals and maps listed our mountain as Saste, Sasty, Shaste, Shasty, Shatasla, Sastise, Castice, and Sistise. Interestingly, the modern spelling ("Shasta") did not appear until 1850 when the name was first chosen for "Shasta" County by the California State Legislature. The county included, I believe, what is now Siskiyou, Shasta, and Modoc Counties. The "a" was placed at the end of the word to make it similar to many Spanish endings of other counties (ending with an "a" or "o"). ..."


 


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2008 - 2011, Lyn Topinka
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