The Fall River Valley was once home to the Achomawi (Pit River) tribe. During the Gold Rush era when thousands of emigrants rushed to California’s gold country, the Native Americans were progressively pushed out of homelands they had occupied for thousands of years before European settlers arrived. The conflict over land disputes was often bloody with widespread destruction of property and loss of life on both sides.
Shasta County fared no differently than other places in California. In 1855, Mr. Bowles and Mr. Rogers arrived with teams of oxen and wagons filled with machinery. They began immediately to construct Fall River’s first saw mill.
Samuel Lockhart and his brother Harry developed a wagon road that stretched from the head of the Sacramento River at Red Bluff to the northern mining communities of Yreka. The Lockhart Ferry was a connecting link in the trail situated at the confluence of Fall River and Pit River. In 1856 the ferry began operation and the California Stage Company ran the Red Bluff to Yreka route for a short time. The Lockhart Ferry became an important station on the route.
The Native Americans returned to the settler’s camp in the Fall River Valley during the winter of 1855-1856 when Sam Lockhart and other settlers left to search for additional provisions. Angry with the settlers taking over native lands, the Native Americans drove the five men who were left in the camp – Mr. Alva Boles, Colonel Jedediah H. Rogers, Harry A. Lockhart, and two brothers, Daniel and John Bryant – away from their homes and then murdered all of them. The Native Americans then burned down the saw mill.
After what is called the “December massacre,” the ferry was re-established in 1857 below Fall River Falls. The Historical Marker is placed .25 mile away from where the "Pit River Massacre" took place.
Shasta County is bordered by the Trinity Mountains to the west and the Cascade Range to the east, featuring the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Although Shasta’s jewels include Lassen Peak and Lake Shasta, Siskiyou County to the north claims the spectacular landmark Mount Shasta.