The land doesn’t move, but the boundaries that enclose Modoc County, Calif., and its population of 9,686 have shifted many times, more than for any other California county.
First it became part of the Utah Territory before being transferred to the Nevada Territory. When Nevada became a state, the land became part of Shasta County in California. Shasta was divided into two counties in 1852, Shasta and Siskiyou.
Finally, on Feb. 17, 1874, a year after the Modoc War ended, Modoc County was created from the eastern section of Siskiyou County. Other names proposed for the new county were Summit and Canby in honor of Gen. E.R.S. Canby, who was killed by Captain Jack during the Modoc Indian War.
The county seat today is the farm town of Alturas, once known as Dorris Bridge, which was named after the first white settler, James Dorris. At an altitude of 4,370 feet, the town sits on a prehistoric lake bed where the Pit River Indians once thrived.
Not content with its current boundaries, the county’s Board of Supervisors voted in 2013 in favor of seceding from California and hitching to a proposed State of Jefferson.
Source: "Modoc County History." Alturas Today. 2014. Web. 19 Apr. 2014. "UPDATED: Modoc County joins Siskiyou in state of Jefferson bid for secession." Redding.com. The Record Searchlight, 24 Sept. 2013. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.