This gentleman is the son of Orlo Steele, and was born near Albany, New York, November 13, 1817. When he was three years of age the family moved to Oswego, in the same State, where Elijah was educated. He read law in the office of Grant & Allen, the latter gentleman being Judge of the Court of Appeals. At the July term, 1840, he was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of New York, and then went to Wisconsin, landing in Kenosha (then Southport) on the fifth of October. That fall he was admitted to the Circuit Court of Wisconsin and Illinois, and in 1841 to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin. He practiced law there until April, 1850, during which time he was a member of the first constitutional convention of Wisconsin. In 1849 he was elected to the State Senate, but before his term expired he left for California for his health, intending to stay one year. He landed in Sacramento fro across the plains October 5, 1850, just ten years after his entry into Wisconsin. He went at once to Shasta and commenced mining at Middletown. He soon went below again for medical aid. He fell in with some of the Scott river prospectors, and went to Shasta to winter. In January, he started with others for Scott river. The trip was tedious and the estimated distance from Shasta to Shasta Butte was one hundred and ninety miles. He worked for a few days at Scott Bar, and then came to Yreka when news was received of the discovery here, and took up a claim north of Rich gulch. It was a poor one, and he met with Robert Atherton, Stephen Watson and others to the number of twelve, and took up a claim on Greenhorn. With James McCummins and Barny Simmons, he went prospecting about Shasta Butte and lay camped back of Sheep Rock two nights in a terrific snow-storm, which date he places at the twenty-first and twenty-second of March, 1851. In the fall of 1851 Steele joined with Sloan, Briggs and Tiernan, and started an express from Scott Bar via Yreka to Sacramento. They took up a land claim two miles this side of Fort Jones, and established a trading-post with Tiernan in charge, and another at Scott Bar with Sloan in charge. Steele road (sic) the express. On one of his trips he was taken sick in Sacramento, and it was reported that he was dead. Early in the winter his partners closed up the business and departed. Steele met Briggs at Trinity Center with part of the mules . He took from them his own mules and took possession of the ranch near Fort Jones. He was joined by Lucius Fairchild, from Wisconsin. He practiced a little in his profession, and for defending a man charged with murder he received four head of beef cattle, worth $500. With these Steele & Fairchild started a butchering business. Fairchild took charge of the market at Scott Bar and Steele stayed at the ranch. They continued together till 1855, when Fairchild returned home, became Secretary of State, Governor of Wisconsin three terms, General in the army, Consul to Liverpool, and Minister to Spain. Steele formed a law partnership with A. M. Rosborough and J. Berry. In 1856 he sold the ranch and invested in mortgages on Scott River ditch and lost it all. He then went to Yreka to practice his profession. He associated himself with John D. Cosby from 1857 to 1859, and afterwards partner of F. E. Ensign, and then practiced alone. In 1867 he was chosen Superior Judge of Siskiyou county. He has always taken an interest in the promotion of agriculture, and has imported considerable blooded horses, cattle and fowls, and in 1866 was one of the founders and for several years President of the Siskiyou County Agricultural Society. In 1843 Mr. Steele married Miss Lucia A. Hart, of Oswego, New York, by whom he had four children, two of whom lived to manhood. Edwin, the eldest, died in 1878, at Lakeview, Oregon. William is now mining at Silver Reef, Utah. Their mother died in 1853, at Oswego. In 1857 he marred Louisa P. Hamblin, at Yreka, who died in January, 1866. He afterwards married Louisa E. Lanze, at Yreka, by whom he has three boys, Hubert Elijah, Alden John, and Orlo.
The above picture and text are from: History of Siskiyou County, Harry L. Wells, D. J. Stewart & Co., 1881; pp. 92B, 92C
Elijah Steele is buried in Evergreen Cemetery
Copyright February 16, 2002
Siskiyou Cemeteries Online
No part of this document may be reproduced for sale or for inclusion in a collection for sale.