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Full text of "History of Contra Costa County, California; with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present"

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HISTORY OF 

CONTRA COSTA 
COUNTY 



CALIFORNIA 



WITH 



Biographical Sketches 



OF 



The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been 

Identified with Its Growth and Development 

from the Early Days to the Present 



ILLUSTRATED 
COMPLETE IN ONE VOLUME 



HISTORIC RECORD COMPANY 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA 
1926 



251527 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

(Numbers refer to pages.) 

Table of Contents 9 

Preface 15 

Index of Names 1096 

HISTORY OF CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

CHAPTER I 

Introductory: The Early History of California 33 

Influence of tradition and mythology on discovery of America. Spanish 
and English Explorations and Discoveries (p. 33) : Explorations and 
discoveries of Cortez and Alarcon. Explorations in Alta or Nueva California 
(p. 36) : Discoveries by Cabrillo and Ferrolo on the Pacific Coast — Drake's 
voyages of discovery and plunder — New Albion — Drake circumnavigates the 
globe — Voyages and discoveries of Viscaino. Colonization of Alta California 
(p. 41) : Missionary work of the Jesuits — Junipero Serra and the Franciscans 
succeed the Jesuits — Joint colonization by Church and State under Serra and 
Galvez — Expeditions by land and sea under Portola and Galvez — The nine- 
teen missions, with dates of their founding. Aborigines of California (p. 44) : 
Viscaino's description of the Indians of California — Their characteristics and 
mode of life — Superiority of Northern tribes over those of the South. The 
Passing of Spain's Domination (p. 46) : Visits of La Perouse and Van- 
couver to the Pacific Coast — Spanish monopoly of the fur trade — The Ameri- 
can smugglers — Russian activities on the Pacific Coast — Fort Ross — The 
Mexican struggle for independence — El Ano de los Temblores — El Ano de 
los Insurgentes. The Free and Sovereign State of Alta California 
(p. 49) : The arbitrary administrations of Chico and Gutierrez — Alvarado 
and Castro raise the standard of revolt — The Free State of Alta California 
proclaimed — Recognition of Alvarado in the South, and his appointment as 
governor under Mexican authority. Decline and Fall of Mexican Domi- 
nation (p. 51): The government passes into the hands of native-born 
Californians — Growth of foreign population and influence — Arrest and im- 
prisonment of foreigners — Capture of Monterey by Commodore Jones — 
Micheltorena's administration in Los Angeles and Monterey — Pico succeeds 
to the government — His troubles with Castro and the "foreign adventurers" — 
Marsh's letter to Cass. The American Conquest of California (p. 61) : 
Fremont's expedition to California — The Bear Flag Republic — Making of 
the flag. Under the Stars and Stripes: Commodore Sloat raises the American 
flag at Monterey — Activities of Stockton and Fremont — Capitulation of Gen- 
eral Pico at Cahuenga. Mexican laws and American officials — Peace estab- 
lished. Gold! Gold! Gold! (p. 67) : Viscaino's reference to gold — First 
discovered in 1841 at the San Francisco Ranch, or in 1842 at San Francis- 



10 TABLE OF CONTENTS 

quito — Marshall's discovery of gold at Coloma in 1848 — The controversy 
over dates — Account of the great gold rush. Making a State (p. 77) : 
Organization of a provisional government and adoption of a State constitu- 
tion — Election of State officials — The first legislature — Admission of Califor- 
nia to Statehood. 

CHAPTER II 

Contra Costa County: General Features 81 

Advantages of Location (p. 81) : Area, boundaries, and population — 
The water front — Fresh water anchorage — Most valuable river traffic — Fine 
system of highways — Unsurpassed climate. Eastern Contra Costa County 
(p. 83) : Topography and products — The rich valleys — The sandy lands — 
The tule lands — Dairying. Mount Diablo (p. 85) : San Francisco Exam- 
iner's account of its discovery and naming by the Spaniards in 1772 — Legends 
and description of the mountain — The Mount Diablo Estate. Valleys in 
Contra Costa County (p. 88) : Tassajara Valley — San Ramon Valley — 
Alhambra Valley — Ygnacio Valley. 

CHAPTER III 

Early County History 91 

Division of State into counties, 1850 — Original boundary of the county — 
Present boundary — Acts of the court of sessions, 1850: assessments for county 
expenses and public buildings ; licenses levied — Board of supervisors created, 
1852 — Provision for $27,000 court house, 1854 — Division of county into dis- 
tricts, 1855 — Assessed valuations in 1850 and 1875 — Assessor's report, 1853 — 
Spanish families and early land claims — The Indians of Contra* Costa County 
— Old adobes. Transportation : Early ferries and passenger boats — Building 
and extension of railroad lines — Bridges and ferries — -Minerals and mining — 
Important industrial concerns. 

CHAPTER IV 

County Officers 102 

Officers of Contra Costa County, from its Organization to the 
Present Time: Senators — Assemblymen — District judges — County judges 
and superior judges — Associate justices of court of sessions — Justices of the 
peace — District attorneys — County clerks, recorders, and (after 1855) audi- 
tors — County clerks — County auditors — County recorders — County sheriffs — 
County tax collectors and treasurers — Tax collectors — County treasurers — 
County assessors — Public administrators — County coroners — County surveyors 
— Superintendents of schools — County commissioner and county physicians — 
County supervisors. 

CHAPTER V 

Martinez 110 

Townsite laid out for Martinez heirs by Col. W. M. Smith, 1849 — Grant 
of Pinole and San Pablo Ranchos to Ignacio Martinez and Francisco Castro, 
1823 — William Welch secures Las Juntas Rancho, 1832 — Early settlers — 
Survey of the first addition, 1850-1851 — Town incorporated and trustees 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 11 

elected — Incorporation voided by supreme court — Contra Costa Gazette estab- 
lished, 1858 — -Other newspapers — Martinez reincorporated, 1876 — Boun- 
daries — Fires and earthquakes — Civic improvement and industrial expansion. 

CHAPTER VI 

Richmond 114 

First inhabitants : anthropological and geological revelations of the shell 
mounds — Location and importance of the city — Crespi's expedition, 1772 — 
Petition of Francisco Castro to Provincial Assembly for grant of three square 
leagues in "Los Cuchigunes," or "San Pablo," 1823 — Decree of Assembly 
granting land solicited — History of subsequent delays and petitions, including 
petition for additional square league — Original territory and augmentation 
finally granted by Figueroa to successors of Castro, 1835 — Subsequent history 
of the property — Protracted litigation and final decree in partition, 189-1 — 
The Tewksbury, Emeric, and Nicholl interests and subdivisions — The coming 
of the Santa Fe — Other subdivisions of the "Town of Richmond" — Santa Fe 
shops moved from Stockton to Richmond — Incorporation and annexation mat- 
ters — The Standard Oil Company — Transportation and power facilities — 
Schools of the city — Richmond Union High School — Roosevelt Junior High 
School — Newspapers — Post offices — Tables. 

CHAPTER VII 

Pittsburg 140 

Present population of the city — Survey of the townsite for "New York of 
the Pacific" — General Sherman's account of the survey — Aspirations for loca- 
tion of State capital there — Discovery of coal and change of town's name to 
Black Diamond — Importance of fishing industry — The C. A. Hooper Com- 
pany's influence on industrial growth of the city — History of the Los Medanos 
Rancho — Change of the city's name to Pittsburg — Phenomenal growth of the 
city — Fire department — City Hall — Veterans' Memorial Building — Public 
schools — Public Library — Water system — Chamber of Commerce — Light and 
power facilities — Transportation — Newspapers — Banks — Post office — Principal 
industrial firms — Fraternal organizations. 

CHAPTER VIII 

Antioch . ..143 

William W. Smith, founder of Smith's Landing — Early settlers and 
growth of the town — Name Antioch adopted at community picnic, July 4, 
1851 — Brief history of the schools — Account of the organization of the 
churches — Lodges of the city — Discovery and mining of coal and copper — 
Establishment of industries — The Antioch Ledger — Banks — Population and 
incorporation — Fire department — Water supply — Light and power — Sewer 
system — City Hall — Streets — Transportation by land and water — Products — 
Memorial Building — Antioch Free Library — City officers. 

CHAPTER IX 

Concord 148 

Townsite platted by Salvio Pacheco, Fernando Pacheco, and Francisco 
Galindo, 1869 — Todos Santos, alias "Drunken Indian" — Early settlers — 



12 TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Lodges of the city — Churches — Schools — Banks — The Concord Sun — Incor- 
poration of Concord as a city of the sixth class, 1905 — Population — Streets and 
sewers — Light, power, gas, and water supply — Fire department — Fires — 
Modern buildings — Mount Diablo Union High School — Libraries — Chamber 
of Commerce — Products — Shipping facilities — Diablo Air Mail Field Base. 

CHAPTER X 

Crockett 151 

Location — Named in honor of Judge J. B. Crockett — Original townsite — 
California & Hawaiian Sugar Refining Company — Community center club 
house — Thomas Edwards, the founder of Crockett — The Edwards family 
home — Notes from the diary of John Edwards. Later Growth of the Town : 
The town in 1883 — The California Beet Sugar & Refining Company — The 
California & Hawaiian Sugar Company — The Crockett Record and Crockett 
Signal — Population of the city — First National Bank and Bank of Pinole — 
Churches of the city — Growth of the schools — John Swett Union High School 
— Other modern buildings — The fire department — Crockett and Valona Busi- 
ness Men's Association — Citizens' Improvement Association — Lodges of 
Crockett — Veterans' Memorial Hospital. 

CHAPTER XI 

El Cerrito 157 

Founded by William F. Rust in 1888 — Post office established at Rust — 
Incorporated as a city of the sixth class under the name El Cerrito in 1917 — 
Establishment of schools and churches — Erection of modern school buildings — 
Population in 1926 — Improvement of streets — City Hall — First board of 
trustees — Present city officials — Advantages of El Cerrito as a residential city 
— Clubs and associations — Assessed valuation of city property — Quarrying by 
Bates & Borland and the Hutchinson Company — The El Cerrito Journal — 
The fire department — Annexation election of 1926, and control of San Pablo 
Avenue. 

CHAPTER XII 

Other Towns of the County 159 

Bay Point (p. 159)— Danville (p. 160) ; Mount Diablo Country Club — 
Alamo (p. 162) — Pacheco (p. 164) — Brentwood (p. 166) — Byron (p. 168) 
—Clayton (p. 171)— Oakley (p. 172)— Rodeo (p. 173)— Tormey (p. 173) 
— Cowell (p. 174)— Walnut Creek (p. 174)— Lafayette (p. 174)— San 
Ramon (p. 175) — San Pablo (p. 176) — Morgan Territory (p. 177) — Avon 
(p. 177)— Hercules (p. 178). 

CHAPTER XIII 

Library Development 178 

Martinez Branch Library (p. 178) : Work of the E. Q. V. Society 
and the Martinez Free Reading-Room and Library Association — Library 
building — Yearly circulation of books. Antioch Branch Library (p. 179) : 
The Library Club — Mr. Williams' reading room for boys — Work of the 
Woman's Club and Library Association — Library building — Yearly circula- 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 13 

tion of books. Concord Branch Library (p. 180) : Organization and work 
of the Library Association — Library building — Yearly circulation of books. 
Crockett Branch Library (p. 181): Library of the Crolona Men's Club 
— Cooperation of the California and Hawaiian Sugar Company — Library 
building — Yearly circulation of books. Walnut Creek Branch Library 
(p. 181): Work of the Woman's Club — Library building. Pittsburg 
Branch Library (p. 182) : Mr. Crosby's gift of books, and the opening of 
a library — Library building — Yearly circulation of books. Richmond 
Library (p. 182) : Richmond Library Club formed, and library established — 
Cooperation of Woman's Improvement Club — Library building — West Side 
Branch of Richmond Public Library; yearly circulation — Stege Branch ^yearly 
circulation — Grant Branch — Enlargement of main library building — Yearly 
circulation of books. The County Library System (p. 183) : Contra 
Costa County Free Library — Yearly circulation — History and growth — Co- 
operation with local branches and with schools. 

CHAPTER XIV 

Lodges of the County 184 

Masonic Lodges — Royal Arch Chapters — Eastern Star Chapters — Odd 
Fellows Lodges — Odd Fellows' Encampments and Cantons — Odd Fellows' 
Hall Association — Rebekah Lodges — Knights of Pythias and Pythian Sisters — 
Benevolent Protective Order of Elks — Improved Order of Red Men — Native 
Sons of the Golden West — Native Daughters of the Golden West — Patrons 
of Husbandry — American Legion Posts. 

CHAPTER XV 

Banks and Banking 192 

Primitive banking methods — Contra Costa Savings & Loan Bank of 
Pacheco — Bank of Martinez — Bank of Antioch — Contra Costa County Bank 
— Bank of Pinole — First National Bank of Contra Costa County — San Ramon 
Valley Bank — Mechanics Bank of Richmond — First National Bank of Rich- 
mond — Richmond Savings Bank — First National Bank of Concord — Bank of 
Byron — First National Bank of Walnut Creek — Bank of Brentwood — First 
National Bank of Antioch — National Bank of Martinez — Bank of Oakley — 
Bank of Richmond — First National Bank of Crockett. 

CHAPTER XVI 

Irrigation 196 

Public sentiment in favor of irrigation, as reflected by early editorials in 
the local press, 1876, 1879 — East Contra Costa Irrigation Company {p. 197) 
— Knightsen Irrigation District (p. 198) — Lone Tree Irrigation District 
(p. 200) — Brentwood Irrigation District (p. 201) — The Bryron-Bethany 
Irrigation District (p. 202) — Growth of irrigation, as reflected by the press: 
news items, chronologically arranged, and giving additional data regarding the 
history of irrigation in the county. 

CHAPTER XVII 

The Pioneers: Nativity, Necrology, Brief Mention 209 

Brief summaries of the lives of many of the early pioneers of the county, 



14 TABLE OF CONTENTS 

together with data of birth, marriage, and death — often under data line as 
given in the local press — and with the surnames arranged in alphabetical order, 
rather than chronological, for greater convenience of reference. 

CHAPTER XVIII 

Gleanings from the Files of the Contra Costa Gazette, 1858-1926 245 

A chronological presentation of excerpts from the complete set of bound 
volumes in the office of the Gazette in Martinez, covering the more important 
events, historical, political, and personal, that have occurred in Contra Costa 
County since the early days; tracing the gradual development and expansion of 
its varied interests; and recalling many interesting incidents in the lives of its 
pioneers. 



PREFACE 

In the compilation of the History of Contra Costa County for this 
work, the writer has pursued an uncharted course. The general State 
history, which introduces the story, has been taken from early publica- 
tions, the accuracy of which cannot be questioned. The story of Contra 
Costa County has been gleaned from many sources, the earliest of which 
was the Slocum history of 1882. This book is regarded as being fairly 
correct, so far as it goes, to the time- of its publication. The files of the 
newspapers have been a source of information, as have, also, interviews 
with many of the oldest inhabitants. The citizens of the various cities, 
towns and villages have kindly supplied material, when called upon, and 
this has been woven into the story of their localities; also, this information 
has been verified by scanning the files of the newspapers, to check up on 
items and dates. 

One feature that has never appeared in former county histories is the 
chapter on the early settlers who have passed away. This will be of 
absorbing interest, for it mentions many whose names, even, would not 
otherwise have been mentioned, because no representatives of their families 
are now in the county. The files of the Martinez Gazette, dating from 
September, 1858, have yielded much of the data for this chapter, as also 
the data for the chapter of gleanings from the local press. The value of 
these files to the county and State can never be estimated in dollars and 
cents, and they should be safeguarded for the future. 

To all those who have kindly extended a helping hand, the writer 
wishes to extend his hearty thanks. Especial mention is due the Martinez 
Gazette, Martinez Standard, Crockett Signal, Antioch Ledger, Brent- 
wood News, Byron Times, Richmond Independent and Richmond Record- 
Herald. To Ed. W. Netherton the writer wishes to extend thanks for the 
irrigation articles; to Mrs. Alice Whitbeck, for her story of the library 
development; and to C. A. Odell, for his history of Richmond, the early 
data for which required much research work. To each and every one who 
has responded when called upon, acknowledgment is here given. 

The publishers wish to thank the following photographers for their 
cooperation in supplying photographs: Lancaster Studio, Martinez; Smith 
Studio, Pittsburg; and Hartsook's Studios in Stockton, Oakland and San 
Francisco. 

The biographies of many will be missed from the section devoted to 
the stories of the lives of the people, as will also their portraits; not be- 
cause of the fault of the publishers of this book, but because it was impos- 
sible to impress upon many the importance of recording for posterity 
their life histories and family records. In other cases the life history has 
been omitted out of deference to the wishes of some member of the family. 



16 TABLE OF CONTENTS 

The growth of Contra Costa County is so rapid, with its many and 
varied opportunities on every hand, that it has been impossible to give a 
fully detailed record of the achievements of the past few decades; it is to 
be hoped that these will be more amply recorded in some work of a future 
date, when what is now taking place shall have become settled history. 

The publishers have asked no remuneration from any quarter, and 
have made no charge for printing any material; their only source of 
revenue has been from the sale of the history. To all those who have 
supported the work, thanks are here given. We feel sure that in the com- 
ing years this History of Contra Costa County will prove invaluable, and 
will be a source of gratification to the families of those mentioned herein. 

HISTORIC RECORD COMPANY, Inc. 

Los Angeles, Cal., 
December 16, 1926. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 



CHAPTER I 

INTRODUCTORY: THE EARLY HISTORY OF 
CALIFORNIA 

For centuries before the discovery of America, there had been a vague 
tradition of a land lying somewhere in the seemingly limitless expanse of 
ocean stretching westward from the shores of Europe. When Columbus 
proved the existence of a new world beyond the Atlantic, his discovery did 
not altogether dispel the mysteries and superstitions that for ages had 
enshrouded the fabled Atlantis, the lost continent of the Hesperides. 
Romance and credulity had much to do with hastening the exploration of 
the newly discovered western world. Its interior might hold wonderful 
possibilities for wealth, fame and conquest to the adventurers who should 
penetrate its dark unknown. 

The fabled fountain of youth lured Ponce de Leon over many a league 
in the wilds of Florida; and although he found no spring spouting forth 
the elixir of life, he explored a rich and fertile country, in which the 
Spaniards planted the first settlement ever made within the territory now 
held by the United States. 

When Cortez's lieutenant, Gonzalo de Sandoval, gave his superior 
officer an account of a wonderful island ten days westward from the 
Pacific Coast of Mexico, inhabited by women only, and exceedingly rich in 
pearls and gold, although he no doubt derived his story from Montalvo's 
romance, the "Sergas de Esplandian," a popular novel of that day, yet 
Cortez seems to have given credence to his subordinate's tale, and kept in 
view the conquest of the island. 

SPANISH AND ENGLISH EXPLORATIONS AND 
DISCOVERIES 

To the energy and enterprise of Hernan Cortez is due the early 
exploration of the northwest coast of North America. In 1522, Cortez 
established a shipyard at Zacatula, the most northern port on the Pacific 
coast of the country that he had just conquered. Here he intended to 
build ships to explore the upper coast of the South Sea (as the Pacific 
Ocean was then called) ; but his good fortune, that had hitherto given 
success to his undertakings, seemed to have deserted him, and disaster fol- 
lowed disaster. He finally, in 1527, succeeded in launching four ships. 



34 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Three of these were taken possession of by the king's orders for service in 
the East Indies. The fourth and the smallest made a short voyage up the 
coast. The commander, Maldonado, returned with glowing reports of a 
rich country he had discovered. 

In 1528 Cortez was unjustly deprived of the government of the coun- 
try he had conquered. His successor, Nuno de Guzman, president of the 
royal audiencia, as the new form of government for New Spain (Mexico) 
was called, had pursued him for years with the malignity of a demon. 
Cortez returned to Spain to defend himself against the rancorous and 
malignant charges of his enemies. He was received at court with a show 
of high honors, which in reality were hollow professions of friendship and 
insincere expressions of esteem. He was rewarded by the bestowal of an 
empty title. He was empowered to conquer and colonize countries at his 
own expense, for which he was to receive the twelfth part of the revenue. 
Cortez returned to Mexico, and in 1532 he had two ships fitted out, which 
sailed from Acapulco, in June of that year, up the coast of Jalisco. Por- 
tions of the crews of each vessel mutinied. The mutineers were put aboard 
of the vessel commanded by Mazuela; and the other vessels, commanded 
by Hurtardo, continued the voyage as far as the Yaqui country. Here, 
having landed in search of provisions, the natives massacred the com- 
mander and all the crew. The crew of the other vessel shared the same 
fate lower down the coast. The stranded vessel was afterwards plundered 
and dismantled by Nuno de Guzman, who was about as much of a savage 
as the predatory and murderous natives. 

In 1533 Cortez, undismayed by his disasters, fitted out two more ships 
for the exploration of the northern coast of Mexico. On board one of 
these ships, commanded by Bercerra de Mendoza, the crew, headed by the 
chief pilot, Jiminez, mutinied. Mendoza was killed and all who would not 
join the mutineers were forced to go ashore on the coast of Jalisco. The 
mutineers, to escape punishment by the authorities, under the command of 
the pilot, Fortuno Jiminez, sailed westerly away from the coast of the 
mainland. After several days' sailing out of sight of land, they discovered 
what they supposed to be an island. They landed at a place now known as 
La Paz, Lower California. Here Jiminez and twenty of his confederates 
were killed by the Indians, or their fellow mutineers, it is uncertain which. 
The survivors of the ill-fated expedition managed to navigate the vessel 
back to Jalisco, where they reported the discovery of an island rich in gold 
and pearls. This fabrication doubtlessly saved their necks. There is no 
record of their punishment for mutiny. Cortez's other ship accomplished 
even less than the one captured by the mutineers. Grixalvo, the com- 
mander of this vessel, discovered a desolate island, forty leagues south of 
Cape San Lucas, which he named Santo Tomas. 

Cortez, having heard of Jiminez's discovery, and possibly believing it 
to be Sandoval's isle of the Amazons, rich with gold and pearls, set about 
building more ships for exploration and for the colonization of the island. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 35 

He ordered the building of three ships at Tehauntepec. The royal audien- 
cia having failed to give him any redress or protection against Nuno de 
Guzman, he determined to punish him himself. Collecting a considerable 
force of cavaliers and soldiers, he marched to Chiametla. There he found 
his vessel, La Concepcion, lying on her beam ends, a wreck, and plundered 
of everything of value. He failed to find Guzman, that worthy having 
taken a hasty departure before his arrival. His ships having come up from 
Tehauntepec, he embarked as many soldiers and settlers as his vessels 
would carry, and sailed away for Jiminez's island. May 3, 1535, he landed 
at the port where Jiminez and his fellow mutineers were killed, which he 
named Santa Cruz. The colonists were landed on the supposed island and 
the ships were sent back to Chiametla for the remainder of the settlers. 
The vessels became separated on the gulf in a storm and the smaller of 
the three returned to Santa Cruz. Embarking in it, Cortez set sail to find 
his missing ships. He found them at the port of Guayabal, one loaded 
with provisions, the other dismantled and run ashore. Its sailors had de- 
serted and those of the other ship were about to follow. Cortez stopped 
this, took command of the vessels and had them repaired, and then set 
sail for his colony. 

Finding the interior of the supposed island as desolate and forbidding 
as the coast, and the native inhabitants degraded and brutal savages, with- 
out houses or clothing, living on vermin, insects and the scant products of 
the sterile land, Cortez determined to abandon his colonization scheme. 
Gathering together the wretched survivors of his colony, he embarked 
them on his ships and in the early part of 1537 landed them in the port of 
Acapulco. 

At some time between 1535 and 1537 the name California was applied 
to the supposed island, but whether applied by Cortez to encourage his 
disappointed colonists, or whether given by them in derision, is an unsettled 
question. The name itself is derived from a Spanish romance, the "Sergas 
de Esplandian," written by Ordonez de Montalvo and published in Seville, 
Spain, about the year 1510. The passage in which the name California 
occurs is as follows: "Know that on the right hand of the Indies there is 
an island called California, very near the terrestrial paradise, which was 
peopled with black women, without any men among them, because they 
were accustomed to live after the fashion of Amazons. They were of 
strong and hardened bodies, of ardent courage and great force. The 
island was the strongest in the world from its steep rocks and great cliffs. 
Their arms were all of gold and so were the caparison of the wild beasts 
which they rode, after having trained them, for in all the island there is no 
other metal." The "steep rocks and great cliffs" of Jiminez's island may 
have suggested to Cortez or to his colonists some fancied resemblance to 
the California of Montalvo's romance, but there was no other similarity. 

For years Cortez had been fitting out expeditions by land and sea to 
explore the unknown regions northward of that portion of Mexico which 
he had conquered, but disaster after disaster had wrecked his hopes and 



36 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

impoverished his purse. The last expedition sent out by him was one com- 
manded by Francisco Ulloa, who, in 1539, with two ships, sailed up the 
Gulf of California, or Sea of Cortez, on the Sonora side, to its head. 
Thence he proceeded down the inner coast of Lower California to the cape 
at its southern extremity, which he doubled, and then sailed up the outer 
coast to Cabo del Engano, the "Cape of Deceit." Failing to make any 
progress against the head winds, April 5, 1540, the two ships parted com- 
pany in a storm. The smaller one, the Santa Agueda, returned safely to 
Santiago. The larger, La Trinidad, after vainly endeavoring to continue 
the voyage, turned back. The fate of Ulloa, and of the vessel too, is 
uncertain. 

The only thing accomplished by this voyage was to demonstrate that 
Lower California was a peninsula. Even this fact, although proved by 
Ulloa's voyage, was not fully admitted by geographers for two centuries. 

In 1540 Cortez returned to Spain to obtain, if possible, some recogni- 
tion and recompense from the king for his valuable services. # His declin- 
ing years had been filled with bitter disappointments. After expending 
nearly a million dollars in explorations, conquests and attempts at coloni- 
zation; fretted and worried by the indifference and the ingratitude of a 
monarch for whom he had sacrificed so much; disappointed, disheartened, 
impoverished, he died at an obscure hamlet near Seville, Spain, in Decem- 
ber, 1547. 

The next exploration that had something to do with the discovery of 
California was that of Hernando de Alarcon. With two ships he sailed 
from Acapulco, May 9, 1540, up the Gulf of California. He reached the 
head of the Gulf of California. Seeing what he supposed to be an inlet, 
but the water proving too shallow for his ships to enter it, he manned two 
boats and found his supposed inlet to be the mouth of a great river. He 
named it Buena Guia (Good Guide), not Colorado. He sailed up it 
some distance and was probably the first white man to set foot upon the 
soil of Upper California. He descended the river in his boats, embarked 
on his vessels and returned to Mexico. The viceroy, Mendoza, who had 
fitted out the expedition of Alarcon, was bitterly disappointed on the return 
of that explorer. The report of the discovery of a great river did not 
interest his sordid soul. Alarcon found himself a disgraced man. He 
retired to private life and not long after died a broken-hearted man. 

Explorations in Alta or Nueva California 

Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, reputed to be a Portuguese by birth and dis- 
patched by Mendoza, the viceroy, in command of the San Salvador and the 
Vitoria to explore the northwest coast of the Pacific, sailed from Navidad, 
June 27, 1542. Rounding the southern extremity of the peninsula of 
Lower California, he sailed up its outer coast. On August 20 he reached 
Cabo del Engano, the most northerly point of Ulloa's exploration. On 
the 28th of September, 1542, he entered a bay which he named San Miguel 
(now San Diego), where he found "a land-locked and very good harbor." 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 37 

He remained in this harbor until October 3. Continuing his voyage, he 
sailed along the coast eighteen leagues, discovering two islands which he 
named San Salvador and Vitoria after his ships (now Santa Catalina and 
San Clemente). On the 8th of October he crossed the channel between 
the islands and mainland and anchored in a bay which he named Bahia de 
los Fumos y Fuegos, the Bay of Smokes and Fires (now known as the 
Bay of San Pedro). Heavy clouds of smoke hung over the headlands of 
the coast; and inland, tierce fires were raging. The Indians, either through 
accident or design, had set fire to the long dry grass that covered the 
plains at this season of the year. 

After sailing six leagues further up the coast, he anchored in a large 
ensenada or bight, now the Bay of Santa Monica. It is uncertain whether 
he landed at either place. The next day he sailed eight leagues to an 
Indian town, which he named the Pueblo de las Canoas (the Town of 
Canoes) . This town was located on or near the present site of San Buena- 
ventura. Sailing northwestward, he passed through the Santa Barbara 
Channel, discovering the islands of Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San 
Miguel. Continuing up the coast, he passed a long narrow point of land 
extending into the sea, which from its resemblance to a galley boat he 
named Cabo de la Galera, the Cape of the Galley (now called Point Con- 
cepcion). Baffled by head winds, the explorers slowly beat their way up 
the coast. On the 17th of November they cast anchor in a large bay which 
they named Bahia de los Pinos, the Bay of Pines (now the Bay of Mon- 
terey) . Finding it impossible to land on account of the heavy sea, Cabrillo 
continued his voyage northward. After reaching a point on the coast in 
forty degrees north latitude, according to his reckoning, the increasing 
cold and the storms becoming more frequent, he turned back and ran 
down the coast to the island of San Miguel, which he reached November 
23. Here he decided to winter. 

While on the island in October, he had broken his arm by a fall. Suf- 
fering from his broken arm, he had continued in command. Exposure and 
unskilful surgery caused his death. He died January 3, 1543, and was 
buried on the island. No trace of his grave has ever been found. 

Cabrillo on his deathbed urged his successor in command, the pilot 
Bartolome Ferrolo, to continue the exploration. Ferrolo prosecuted the 
voyage of discovery with a courage and daring equal to that of Cabrillo. 
February 28 he discovered a cape which he named Mendocino in honor of 
the viceroy, a name it still bears. Passing the cape he encountered a fierce 
storm which drove him violently to the northeast, greatly endangering his 
ships. On March 1, the fog partially lifting, he discovered a cape which 
he named Blanco, in the southern part of what is now the State of Oregon. 
The weather continuing stormy and the cold increasing as he sailed north- 
ward, Ferrolo reluctantly turned back. Running down the coast, he reached 
the island of San Clemente. There in a storm the ships parted company 
and Ferrolo, after a search, gave up the Vitoria as lost. The ships, how- 
ever, came together at Cerros Island; and from there, in sore distress for 



38 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

provisions, the explorers reached Navidad, April 18, 1543. On the dis- 
coveries made by Cabrillo and Ferrolo the Spaniards claimed the territory 
on the Pacific coast of North America up to the 42nd degree of north 
latitude, a claim that they maintained for three hundred years. 

The next navigator who visited California was Francis Drake, an Eng- 
lishman. He was not seeking new lands, but a way to escape the vengeance 
of the Spaniards. Francis Drake, the "Sea King of Devon," was one of 
the bravest men that ever lived. Early in his maritime life he had suffered 
from the cruelty and injustice of the Spaniards. Throughout his subse- 
quent career, which reads more like romance than reality, he let no oppor- 
tunity slip to punish his old-time enemies. It mattered little to Drake 
whether his country was at peace or war with Spain; he considered a Span- 
ish ship or a Spanish town his legitimate prey. 

Drake sailed out of Plymouth harbor, England, December 13, 1577, in 
command of a fleet of five small vessels, bound for the Pacific coast of 
South America. Some of his vessels were lost at sea and others turned 
back, until when he emerged frqm the Straits of Magellan he had but one 
left, the Pelican. He changed its name to the Golden Hind. It was a ship 
of only one hundred tons' burden. Sailing up the South Pacific coast, he 
spread terror and devastation among the Spanish settlements, robbing 
towns and capturing ships until, in the quaint language of a chronicler of 
the expedition, he "had loaded his vessel with a fabulous amount of fine 
wares of Asia, precious stones, church ornaments, gold plate and so mooch 
silver as did ballas the Goulden Hinde." 

From one treasure ship, the Caca Fuego, he obtained thirteen chests of 
silver, eighty pounds weight of gold, twenty-six tons of uncoined silver, 
two silver drinking vessels, precious stones and a quantity of jewels; the 
total value of his prize amounted to three hundred and sixty thousand pesos 
(dollars). Having spoiled the Spaniards of treasure amounting to "eight 
hundred sixty-six thousand pesos of silver, ... a hundred thousand pesos 
of gold, . . . and other things of great worth, he thought it not good to 
return by the streight (Magellan) . . . least the Spaniards should there 
waite and attend for him in great numbers and strength, whose hands, he 
being left but one ship, he could not possibly escape." 

Surfeited with spoils and his ship loaded with plunder, it became neces- 
sary for him to find the shortest and safest route home. To return by the 
way he came was to invite certain destruction to his ship and death to all 
on board. At an island off the coast of Nicaragua he overhauled and refit- 
ted his ship. He determined to seek the Straits of Anian, that were be- 
lieved to connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Striking boldly out on an 
unknown sea, he sailed more than a thousand leagues northward. Encoun- 
tering contrary winds, and the cold increasing as he advanced, he gave up 
his search for the mythical straits, and, turning, he ran down the northwest 
coast of North America to latitude thirty-eight degrees, where "hee 
found a harborrow for his ship." He anchored in it June 17, 1579. This 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 39 

* 

"convenient and fit harborrow" is under the lee of Point Reyes and is 
now known as Sir Francis Drake's Bay. 

Fletcher, the chronicler of Drake's voyage, in his narrative, "The 
World Encompassed," says: "The 3rd day following, viz., the 21st, our 
ship having received a leake at sea was brought to anchor neerer the 
shoare that her goods being landed she might be repaired." 

The ship was drawn upon the beach, careened on its side, caulked and 
refitted. While the crew were repairing the ship, the natives visited them 
in great numbers. From certain ceremonial performance Drake imagined 
that the Indians were offering him the sovereignty of their land and them- 
selves as subjects of the English crown. He gladly accepted their prof- 
fered allegiance and formally took possession of the country in the name 
of the English sovereign, Queen Elizabeth. He named it New Albion. 

Having completed the repairs to his ship, Drake made ready to depart, 
but before leaving he set up a monument to show that he had taken posses- 
sion of the country. To a large post firmly set in the ground he nailed a 
brass plate on which was engraved the name of the English Queen, the date 
of his arrival, and the statement that the king and people of the country 
had voluntarily become vassals of the English crown; a new sixpence was 
fastened to the plate to show the Queen's likeness. 

After a stay of thirty-six days, Drake took his departure, much to the 
regret of the Indians. He stopped at the Farallones Islands for a short 
time to lay in a supply of seal meat; then he sailed for England by the way 
of the Cape of Good Hope. After encountering many perils, he arrived 
safely at Plymouth, the port from which he sailed nearly three years before, 
having circumnavigated the globe. His exploits and the booty he brought 
back made him the most famous naval hero of his time. He was knighted 
by Queen Elizabeth and accorded extraordinary honors by the nation. He 
believed himself the first discoverer of the country he called New Albion. 

The English founded no claim on Drake's discoveries. The land 
hunger that characterizes that nation now had not then been developed. 

Fifty years passed after Cabrillo's visit to California before another 
attempt was made by the Spaniards to explore her coast. In September, 
1595, just before the viceroy, Don Luis de Velasco, was superseded by 
Conde de Monte Rey, he entered into a contract with certain parties, of 
whom Sebastian Viscaino, a ship captain, was the principal, to make an 
expedition up the Gulf of California "for the purpose of fishing for pearls." 
There was also a provision in the contract empowering Viscaino to make 
explorations and take possession of his discoveries for the crown of Spain. 
In September, 1596, Viscaino sailed up the gulf with a fleet of three vessels, 
the flagship San Francisco, the San Jose, and a Lancha. The flagship was 
disabled and left at La Paz. With the other two vessels he sailed up the 
gulf to latitude twenty-nine degrees. He encountered severe storms. At 
some island he had trouble with the Indians and killed several. As the 
long-boat was departing, an Indian wounded one of the rowers with an 
arrow. The sailor dropped his oar, and the boat careened and upset, 



40 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

drowning twenty of the twenty-six soldiers and sailors in it. Viscaino re- 
turned without having procured any pearls or made any important dis- 
coveries. After five years' waiting, he was allowed to proceed with his 
explorations. 

Viscaino followed the same course marked out by Cabrillo sixty years 
before. November 10, 1602, he anchored in Cabrillo's Bay of San Miguel. 
Whether the faulty reckoning of Cabrillo left him in doubt of the points 
named by the first discoverer, or whether it was that he might receive the 
credit of their discovery, Viscaino changed the names given by Cabrillo to 
the islands, bays and headlands along the California coast. Cabrillo's 
Bahia San Miguel became the Bay of San Diego; San Salvador and Vitoria 
were changed to Santa Catalina and San Clemente; and Cabrillo's Bahia de 
ios Fumos y Fuegos appears on Viscaino's map as the Ensenada de San 
Andres, but in a description of the voyage compiled by the cosmographer, 
Cabrero Bueno, it is named San Pedro. It is not named for the Apostle 
St. Petei, but for St. Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, whose day in the Catho- 
lic calendar is November 26, the day of the month Viscaino anchored in 
the Bay of San Pedro. 

Sailing up the coast, Viscaino passed through the Santa Barbara Chan- 
nel, which was so named by Antonio de la Ascencion, a Carmelite friar, 
who was chaplain of one of the ships. The expedition entered the channel 
December 4, which is the day in the Catholic calendar dedicated to Santa 
Barbara. He visited the mainland near Point Concepcion, where the 
Indian chief of a populous rancheria offered each Spaniard who would 
become a resident of his town ten wives. This generous offer was rejected. 
December 15, 1602, he reached Point Pinos, so named by Cabrillo, and 
cast anchor in the bay formed by its projection. This bay he named Mon- 
terey, in honor of the viceroy, Conde de Monte Rey. Many of his men 
were sick with the scurvy, and his provisions were becoming exhausted. 
So, placing the sick and disabled on the San Tomas, he sent them back to 
Acapulco; but few of them ever reached their destination. On the 3rd of 
January, 1603, with two ships, he proceeded on his way. After sighting 
Cape Blanco, he turned and sailed down the coast of California, reaching 
Acapulco March 21, 1603. 

Viscaino, in a letter to the King of Spain, dated at the City of Mexico, 
May 23, 1603, grows enthusiastic over California's climate and produc- 
tions. It is the earliest known specimen of California boom literature. 
After depicting the commodiousness of Monterey Bay as a port of safety 
for the Philippine ships, he says: 

"This port is sheltered from all winds, while on the immediate shores 
there are pines, from which masts of any desired size can be obtained, as 
well as live oaks and white oaks, rosemary, the vine, the rose of Alexan- 
dria, a great variety of game, such as rabbits, hare, partridges and other 
sorts and species found in Spain. This land has a genial climate, its waters 
are good and it is fertile, judging from the varied and luxuriant growth of 
trees and plants; and it is thickly settled with people whom I found to be 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 41 

of gentle disposition, peaceable and docile. . . . Their food consists of 
seeds, which they have in great abundance and variety, and of the flesh of 
game such as deer, which are larger than cows, and bear, and of neat cattle 
and bisons and many other animals. . . . They are well acquainted with 
gold and silver and said that these were found in the interior." 

The object of Viscaino's boom literature of three. hundred years ago 
was the promotion of a colony scheme for the founding of a settlement on 
Monterey Bay. He visited Spain to obtain the consent of the king and 
assistance in planting a colony. After many delays, Philip III, in 1606, 
ordered the viceroy of New Spain to fit out immediately an expedition to 
be commanded by Viscaino for the occupation and settlement of the port 
of Monterey. Before the expedition could be gotten ready, however, Vis- 
caino died and his colonization scheme died with him. 

Colonization of Alta California 

A hundred and sixty years passed after the abandonment of Viscaino's 
colonization scheme before the Spanish crown made another attempt to 
utilize its vast possessions in Alta California. 

The Jesuits had begun missionary work in 1697 among the degraded 
inhabitants of Lower California. With a perseverance that was highly 
commendable and a bravery that was heroic, under their devoted leaders 
Salvatierra, Kino, Ugarte, Piccolo and their successors, they founded six- 
teen missions on the peninsula. 

For years there had been, in the Catholic countries of Europe, a grow- 
ing fear and distrust of the Jesuits. Portugal had declared them traitors 
to the government and had banished them in 1759 from her dominions. 
France had suppressed the order in her domains in 1764. In 1767, King 
Carlos III, by a pragmatic sanction or decree, ordered their expulsion from 
Spain and all her American colonies. 

The Lower California missions were transferred to the Franciscans, 
but it took time to make the substitution. At the head of the Franciscan 
contingent that came to Bahia, Cal., to take charge of the abandoned mis- 
sions, was Father Junipero Serra. His success as a preacher and his great 
missionary zeal led to his selection as president of the missions of Califor- 
nia, from which the Jesuits had been removed. April 2, 1768, he arrived 
in the port of Loreto with fifteen associates from the College of San Fer- 
nando. These were sent to the different missions of the peninsula. These 
missions extended over a territory seven hundred miles in length and it 
required several months to locate all the missionaries. The scheme for the 
occupation and colonization of Alta California was to be jointly the work 
of Church and State. The representative of the State was Jose de Galvez, 
visitador-general of New Spain, a man of untiring energy, great executive 
ability, sound business sense and, as such men are and ought to be, some- 
what arbitrary. Galvez reached La Paz in July, 1768. He immediately 
set about investigating the condition of the peninsula missions and supply- 
ing their needs. This done, he turned his attention to the northern coloni- 



42 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

zation. He established his headquarters at Santa Ana near La Paz. Here 
he summoned Father Junipero for consultation in regard to the founding 
of missions in Alta California. It was decided to proceed to the initial 
points San Diego and Monterey by land and sea. 

The first vessel fitted out for the expedition by sea was the San Carlos, 
a ship of about two hundred tons burden, leaky and badly constructed. She 
sailed from La Paz January 9, 1769, under the command of Vicente Vila. 
In addition to the crew there were twenty-five Catalonian soldiers, com- 
manded by Lieutenant Fages, Pedro Prat, the surgeon, a Franciscan friar, 
two blacksmiths, a baker, a cook and two tortilla makers. Galvez in a 
small vessel accompanied the San Carlos to Cape San Lucas, where he 
landed and set to work to fit out the San Antonio. On the 15th of Febru- 
ary this vessel sailed from San Jose del Cabo (San Jose of the Cape), 
under the command of Juan Perez. On this vessel went two Franciscan 
friars, Juan Viscaino and Francisco Gomez. Captain Rivera y Moncada, 
who was to pioneer the way, had collected supplies and cattle at Velicata 
on the northern frontier. From here, with a small force of soldiers, a 
gang of neophytes and three muleteers, and accompanied by Padre Crespi, 
he began his march to San Diego on March 24, 1*769. 

The second land expedition, commanded by Governor Gaspar de Por- 
tola in person, began its march from Loreto, March 9, 1769. Father 
Serra, who was to have accompanied it, was detained at Loreto by a sore 
leg. He joined the expedition at Santa Maria, May 5. 

The San Antonio, the last vessel to sail, was the first to arrive at San 
Diego. There she remained at anchor, awaiting the arrival of the San 
Carlos, the flagship of the expedition, which had sailed more than a month 
before her. On April 29, the San Carlos, after a disastrous voyage of 110 
days, drifted into the Bay of San Diego, her crew prostrated with the 
scurvy, not enough able-bodied men being left to man a boat. 

On the 14th of May Captain Rivera y Moncada's detachment arrived. 
The expedition had made the journey from Velicata in fifty-one days. On 
the first of July the second division, commanded by Portola, arrived. The 
four divisions of the grand expedition were now united, but its numbers 
had been greatly reduced. Out of 219 who had set out by land and sea 
only 126 remained. The ravages of the scurvy had destroyed the crew of 
one of the vessels and greatly crippled that of the other; so it was impos- 
sible to proceed by sea to Monterey, the second objective point of the 
expedition. 

If the mandates of King Carlos III and the instructions of the visitador- 
general, Jose de Galvez, were to be carried out, the expedition for the set- 
tlement of the second point designated (Monterey) must be made by 
land; accordingly Governor Portola set about organizing his forces for 
the overland journey. On the 14th of July the expedition began its march. 
It consisted of Governor Portola, Padres Crespi and Gomez, Captain 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 43 

Rivera y Moncada, Lieutenant Pedro Fages, Engineer Miguel Constanso, 
soldiers, muleteers and Indian servants, numbering in all sixty-two persons. 

On the 16th of July, two days after the departure of Governor Por- 
tola, Father Junipero, assisted by Padres Viscaino and Parron, founded 
the mission of San Diego. 

The San Jose, the third ship fitted out by Visitador-General Galvez, 
and which Governor Portola expected to find in the Bay of Monterey, 
sailed from San Jose del Cabo in May, 1770, with supplies and a double 
crew to supply the loss of sailors on the other vessels, but nothing was ever 
heard of her afterwards. Provisions were running low at San Diego, no 
ship had arrived, and Governor Portola had decided to abandon the place 
and return to Loreto. Father Junipero was averse to this and prayed un- 
ceasingly for the intercession of Saint Joseph, the patron of the expedition. 
On the 23rd of March, when all were ready to depart, the packet San 
Antonio arrived. She had sailed from San Bias the 20th of December. 
She encountered a storm which drove her 400 leagues from the. coast; then 
she made land at thirty-five degrees north latitude. Turning her prow 
southward, she ran down to Point Concepcion, where at an anchorage in 
the Santa Barbara Channel the captain, Perez, took on water and learned 
from the Indians of the return of Portola's expedition. The vessel then 
ran down to San Diego, where its opportune arrival prevented the aban- 
donment of that settlement. 

With an abundant supply of provisions and a vessel to carry the heavier 
articles needed in forming a settlement at Monterey, Portola organized a 
second expedition. This time he took with him only twenty soldiers and 
one officer, Lieutenant Pedro Fages. He set out from San Diego on the 
17th of April and followed his trail made the previous year. Father Serra 
and the engineer, Constanso, sailed on the San Antonio, which left the port 
of San Diego on the 16th of April. The land expedition reached Monterey 
on the 23rd of May and the San Antonio on the 31st of the same month. 
On the 3rd of June, 1770, the mission of San Carlos Borromeo de Mon- 
terey was formally founded with solemn church ceremonies, accompanied 
by the ringing of bells, the crack of musketry and the roar of cannon. 
Father Serra conducted the church services. Governor Portola took pos- 
session of the land in the name of King Carlos III. A presidio or fort of 
palisades was built and a few huts erected. Portola, having formed the 
nucleus of a settlement, turned over the command of the territory to 
Lieutenant Fages. On the 9th of July, 1770, he sailed on the San Antonio 
for San Bias. He never returned to Alta California. In 1777 this mission 
was moved to Carmel Valley, and here it became known as El Carmel 
Mission. 

Then the following nineteen missions were established in order of 
dates as here given: 

San Antonio de Padua, San Luis Obispo County, June 14, 177l. 

San Gabriel d' Arcangel, San Luis Obispo County, September 8, 1771. 



44 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, San Luis Obispo County, September 1, 
1772. 

Dolores, or San Francisco de Assis, San Francisco, October 9, 1776. 

San Juan Capistrano, Los Angeles County (now Orange County), 
November 10, 1776. 

Santa Clara, Santa Clara County, January 12, 1777. 

San Buenaventura, Santa Barbara County, March 31, 1782. 

Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County, December 14, 1786. 

La Purisima Concepcion (Immaculate Conception), Santa Barbara 
County, December 8, 1787. 

Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County, September 25, 1790. 

La Soledad (Our Lady of Solitude), Monterey County, September 29, 
1791. 

San Jose, Alameda County, June 1 1, 1797. 

San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist), Monterey County, June 24, 
1797. 

San Miguel Arcangel, San Luis Obispo County, July 25, 1797. 

San Fernando Rey de Espana (Ferdinand, King of Spain), Los Ange- 
les County, September 8, 1797. 

San Luis Rey de Francia (Louis King of France), San Diego County, 
July 13, 1798. 

Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara County, September 17, 1804. 

San Rafael Arcangel, San Rafael, Marin County, December 14, 1817. 

San Francisco de Solano, Sonoma County, August 25, 1823. 

Aborgines of California 

Whether the primitive California Indian was the low and degraded 
being that some modern writers represent him to have been, admits of 
doubt. A mission training continued through three generations did not, 
perhaps, greatly elevate him in morals. When freed from mission restraint 
and brought in contact with the white race, he lapsed into a condition more 
degraded and more debased than that in which the missionaries found him. 
Whether it was the inherent fault of the Indian or the fault of his train- 
ing is a question that is useless to discuss now. If we are to believe the 
accounts of the California Indian given by Viscaino and Constanso, who 
saw him before he had come in contact with civilization, he was not infe- 
rior in intelligence to the normal aborgines of the country east of the 
Rocky Mountains. 

Sebastian Viscaino thus describes the Indians he found on the shores of 
Monterey Bay three hundred years ago: 

"The Indians are of good stature and fair complexion, the women 
being somewhat less in size than the men and of pleasing countenance. 
The clothing of the people of the coast lands consists of the skins of the 
sea-wolyes (otter) abounding there, which they tan and dress better than is 
done in Castile; they possess also, in great quantity, flax like that of Cas- 
tile, hemp and cotton, from which they make fishing-lines and nets for rab- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 45 

bits and hares. They have vessels of pine wood very well made, in which 
they go to sea with fourteen paddle-men on a side with great dexterity, 
even in stormy weather." 

Indians who could construct boats of pine boards that took twenty- 
eight paddle-men to row were certainly superior in maritime craft to the 
birch-bark-canoe savages of the East. We might accuse Viscaino, who 
was trying to induce King Philip III to found a colony on Monterey Bay, 
of exaggeration in regard to the Indian boats, were not his statements con- 
firmed by the engineer, Miguel Constanso, who accompanied Portola's ex- 
pedition 167 years after Viscaino visited the coast. 

The Indians of the interior valleys and those of the coast belonged to 
the same general family. There were no great tribal divisions like those 
that existed among the Indians east of the Rocky Mountains. Each 
rancheria was to a certain extent independent of all others, although at 
times they were known to combine for war or plunder. Although not war- 
like, they sometimes resisted the whites in battle with great bravery. Each 
village had its own territory in which to hunt and fish and its own section in 
which to gather nuts, seeds and herbs. While their mode of living was 
somewhat nomadic, they seem to have had a fixed location for their 
rancherias. 

The early Spanish settlers of California and the mission padres have 
left but very meager accounts of the manners, customs, traditions, govern- 
ment and religion of the aborigines. The padres were too intent upon 
driving out the old religious beliefs of the Indian and instilling new ones to 
care much what the aborgine had formerly believed or what traditions or 
myths he had inherited from his ancestors. They ruthlessly destroyed his 
fetiches and his altars wherever they found them, regarding them as inven- 
tions of the devil. 

From the descriptions given by Viscaino and Constanso of the coast 
Indians, they do not appear to have been the degraded creatures that some 
modern writers have pictured them. In mechanical ingenuity they were 
superior to the Indians of the Atlantic seaboard or those of the Mississippi 
Valley. Much of the credit that has been given to the mission padres for 
the patient training they gave the Indians in mechanical arts should be 
given to the Indian hrmself. He was no mean mechanic when the padres 
took him in hand. 

Bancroft says "the Northern California Indians were in every way 
superior to the central and southern tribes." The difference was more in 
climate than in race. Those of Northern California, living in an invigorat- 
ing climate, were more active and more warlike than their sluggish brethren 
of the south. They gained their living by hunting larger game than those 
of the south, whose subsistence was derived mostly from acorns, seeds, 
small game and fish. Those of the interior valleys of the north were of 
lighter complexion and had better forms and features than their southern 
kinsmen. They were divided into numerous small tribes or clans. 



46 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The Spaniards never penetrated very far into the Indian country of 
the north, and consequently knew little or nothing about the habits and 
customs of the aborigines there. After the discovery of gold, the miners 
invaded their country in search of the precious metal. The Indians at first 
were not hostile, but ill treatment soon made them so. When they re- 
taliated on the whites a war of extermination was waged against them. 
Like the mission Indians of the south, they are almost extinct. 

THE PASSING OF SPAIN'S DOMINATION 

The Spaniards were not a commercial people. Their great desire was 
to be let alone in their American possessions. Philip II once promulgated 
a decree pronouncing death upon any foreigner who entered the Gulf of 
Mexico. It was easy to promulgate a decree or to pass restrictive laws 
against foreign trade, but quite another thing to enforce them. 

After the first settlement of California, seventeen years passed before 
a foreign vessel entered any of its ports. The first to arrive were the two 
vessels of the French explorer, La Perouse, who anchored in the harbor 
of Monterey, September 15, 1786. Being of the same faith, and France 
having been an ally of Spain in former times, he was well received. During 
his brief stay he made a study of the mission system and his observations 
on it are plainly given. He found a similarity in it to the slave plantations 
of Santo Domingo. 

November 14, 1792, the English navigator, Capt. George Vancouver, 
in the ship Discovery, entered the Bay of San Francisco. He was cor- 
dially received by the comandante of the port, Hermanagildo Sal, and 
the friars of the mission. 

Through the English, the Spaniards became acquainted with the im- 
portance and value of the fur trade. The bays and lagoons of California 
abounded in sea otter. Their skins were worth in China all the way from 
$30 to $100 each. The trade was made a government monopoly. The 
skins were to be collected from the natives, soldiers and others by the mis- 
sionaries, at prices ranging from $2.50 to $10 each, and turned over to 
the government officials appointed to receive them. All trade by private 
persons was prohibited. The government was sole trader. But the gov- 
ernment failed to make the trade profitable. In the closing years of the 
century the American smugglers began to haunt the coast. The restrictions 
against trade with foreigners were proscriptive and the penalties for eva- 
sion severe, but men will trade under the most adverse circumstances. 
Spain was a long way off, and smuggling was not a very venal sin in the 
eyes of layman or churchman. Fast sailing vessels were fitted out in Bos- 
ton for illicit trade on the California coast. Watching their opportunities, 
these vessels slipped into the bays and inlets along the coast. There was 
a rapid exchange of Yankee notions for sea otter skins, the most valued 
peltry of California, and the vessels were out to sea before the revenue 
officers could intercept them. If successful in escaping capture, the profits 
of a smuggling voyage were enormous, ranging from 500 to 1000 per cent 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 47 

above cost on the goods exchanged; but the risks were great. The smug- 
gler had no protection; he was an outlaw. He was the legitimate prey of 
the padres, the people and the revenue officers. The Yankee smuggler 
usually came out ahead. His vessel was heavily armed, and when speed or 
stratagem failed he was ready to fight his way out of a scrape. 

Each year two ships were sent from San Bias with the memorias — 
mission and presidio supplies. These took back a small cargo of the prod- 
ucts of the territory, wheat being the principal. This was all the legitimate 
commerce allowed California. 

The fear of Russian aggression had been one of the causes that had 
forced Spain to attempt the colonization of California. Bering, in 1741, 
had discovered the strait that bears his name and had taken possession, for 
the Russian government, of the northwestern coast of America. Four 
years later, the first permanent Russian settlement, Sitka, had been made 
on one of the coast islands. Rumors of the Russian explorations and set- 
tlements had reached Madrid, and in 1774 Captain Perez, in the San 
Antonio, was sent up the coast to find out what the Russians were doing. 

Had Russian America contained arable land where grain and vege- 
tables could have been grown, it is probable that the Russians and Span- 
iards in America would not have come in contact; for another nation, the 
United States, had taken possession of the intervening country, bordering 
the Columbia River. 

The supplies of breadstuffs for the Sitka colonists had to be sent over- 
land across Siberia or shipped around Cape Horn. Failure of supplies 
sometimes reduced the colonists to sore straits. 

On the Sth of April, 1806, Count Rezanoff anchored safely in the Bay 
of San Francisco. He had brought with him a cargo of goods for ex- 
change but the restrictive commercial regulations of Spain made it difficult 
for him to trade with the natives, although the friars and the people needed 
the goods Rezanoff brought to exchange. After Rezanoff's visit the Rus- 
sians came frequently to California, partly to trade, but more often to hunt 
otter. While on these fur-hunting expeditions they examined the coast 
north of San Francisco with the design of planting an agricultural colony 
where they could raise grain to supply the settlements in the far north. In 
1812 they founded a town and built a fort on the coast north of Bodega 
Bay, which they named Ross. The fort mounted ten guns. They main- 
tained a fort at Bodega Bay and also a small settlement on Russian River. 
The Spaniards protested against this aggression and threatened to drive 
the Russians out of the territory, but nothing came of their protests and 
they were powerless to enforce their demands. The Russian ships came to 
California for supplies and were welcomed by the people and the friars if 
not by the government officials. 

The Russian colony at Ross was not a success, however. After the 
decline of fur-hunting the settlement became unprofitable. In 1841 the 
buildings and the stock were sold by the Russian governor to Capt. John A. 
Sutter for $30,000, and the settlement was abandoned. 



48 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Notwithstanding the many changes of rulers that political revolutions 
and Napoleonic wars gave the mother country, the people of California 
remained loyal to the Spanish crown, although at times they must have 
been in doubt who wore the crown. 

On the 15th of September, 1810, the patriot priest, Miguel Hidalgo, 
struck the first blow for Mexican independence. 

Arrillaga was governor of California when the war for Mexican inde- 
pendence began. Although born in Mexico he was of pure Spanish par- 
entage and was thoroughly in sympathy with Spain in the contest. He 
died in 1814 and was succeeded by Pablo Vicente de Sola. Sola was 
Spanish-born and was bitterly opposed to the revolution, even going so far 
as to threaten death to any one who should speak in favor of it. 

As the revolution in Mexico progressed times grew harder in Califor- 
nia. The mission memorias ceased to come. No tallow ships from Callao 
arrived. The soldiers' pay was years in arrears and their uniforms in rags. 
What little wealth there was in the country was in the hands of the padres. 
They were supreme. "The friars," says Gilroy, who arrived in California 
in 1814, "had everything their own way. The governor and the military 
were expected to do whatever the friars requested. The missions contained 
all the wealth of the country." The friars supported the government and 
supplied the troops with food from the products of the neophytes' labor. 
The crude manufacturers of the missions supplied the people with cloth for 
clothing and some other necessities. The needs of the common people were 
easily satisfied. Gilroy states that at the time of his arrival "there was not 
a sawmill, whip saw or spoked wheel in California. Such lumber as was 
used was cut with an axe. Chairs, tables and wood floors were not to be 
found except in the governor's house. Plates were rare, unless that name 
could be applied to the tiles used instead. Money was a rarity. There 
were no stores and no merchandise to sell. There was no employment for 
a laborer. The neophytes did all the work and all the business of the coun- 
try was in the hands of the friars." 

The year 1812 was the Aho de los Temblores. The seismic disturbance 
that for forty years or more had shaken California seemed to concentrate 
in power that year and expend its force on the mission churches. The mas- 
sive church of San Juan Capistrano, the pride of mission architecture, was 
thrown down and forty persons killed. The walls of San Gabriel Mission 
were cracked and some of the saints shaken out of their niches. At San 
Buenaventura there were three heavy shocks which injured the church so 
that the tower and much of the facade had to be rebuilt. The whole mis- 
sion site seemed to settle and the inhabitants, fearful that they might be 
engulfed by the sea, moved up the valley about two miles, where they re- 
mained three months. At Santa Barbara both church and the presidio were 
damaged and at Santa Ynez the church was shaken down. The quakes con- 
tinued for several months and the people were so terrified that they aban- 
doned their houses and lived in the open air. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 49 

The other important epoch of the decade was El Aho de los Insur- 
gentes, the year of the insurgents. In November, 1818, Bouchard, a 
Frenchman in the service of Buenos Ayres and provided with letters of 
marque by San Martain, the president of that republic, to prey upon Span- 
ish commerce, appeared in the port of Monterey with two ships carrying 
sixty-six guns and 350 men. He attacked Monterey, and after an obstinate 
resistance by the Californians it was taken by the insurgents and burned. 
Bouchard next pillaged Ortega's rancho and burned the buildings. Then, 
sailing down the coast, he scared the Santa Barbaranos; then, keeping on 
down, he looked into San Pedro, but finding nothing there to tempt him he 
kept on to San Juan Capistrano. There he landed, robbed the mission of a 
few articles and drank the padres' wine. Then he sailed away and dis- 
appeared. He left six of his men in California, among them Joseph Chap- 
man of Boston, the first American resident of California. 

THE FREE AND SOVEREIGN STATE OF ALTA CALIFORNIA 

Governor Figueroa on his deathbed turned over the civil command of 
the territory to Jose Castro, who thereby became "gefe politico ad in- 
terim." The military command was given to Lieut.-Colonel Nicolas 
Gutierrez, with the rank of comandante general. The separation of the 
two commands was in accordance with the national law of May 6, 1822. 

Castro executed the civil functions of gefe politico four months; and 
then, in accordance with orders from the supreme government, he turned 
over his part of the governorship to Comandante General Gutierrez and 
again the two commands were united in one person. Gutierrez filled the 
office of "gobernador interno" from January 2, 1836, to the arrival of his 
successor, Mariano Chico. Chico had been appointed governor by Presi- 
dent Barragan, December 16, 1835, but did not arrive in California until 
April, 1836. Thus California had four governors within nine months. 
They changed so rapidly there was not time to foment a revolution. 

Chico .began his administration by a series of petty tyrannies. Exas- 
perated beyond endurance by his scandalous conduct and unseemly exhibi- 
tions of temper, the people of Monterey rose en masse against him, and so 
terrified him that he took passage on board a brig that was lying in the 
harbor and sailed for Mexico with the threat that he would return with an 
armed force to punish the rebellious Californians; but it was only a threat; 
he never came back again. 

With the enforced departure of Chico, the civil command of the terri- 
tory devolved upon Nicolas Gutierrez, who still held the military command. 
Although a mild-mannered man, he seemed to be impressed with the idea 
that he must carry out the arbitrary measures of his predecessor. 

He quarreled with Juan Bautista Alvarado, the ablest of the native 
Californians. Alvarado and Jose Castro raised the standard of revolt. 
They gathered together a small army of rancheros and an auxiliary force 
of twenty-five American hunters and trappers under Graham, a backwoods- 
man from Tennessee. By a strategic movement they captured the castillo 



50 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

or fort which commanded the presidio, where Gutierrez and the Mexican 
army officials were stationed. The patriots demanded the surrender of the 
presidio and the arms. The governor refused. The revolutionists had 
been able to find but a single cannon ball in the Castillo, but this was suffi- 
cient to do the business. A well-directed shot tore through the roof of the 
governor's house, covering him and his staff with the debris of broken tiles; 
that and the desertion of most of his soldiers to the patriots brought him 
to terms. On the 5th of November, 1836, he surrendered the presidio and 
resigned his authority as governor. He and about seventy of his adherents 
were sent aboard a vessel lying in the harbor and shipped out of the country. 

With the Mexican governor and his officers out of the country, the next 
move of Castro and Alvarado was to call a meeting of the diputacion or 
territorial congress. A plan for the independence of California was 
adopted. 

Castro issued a pronunciamiento, ending with "Viva La Federacion! 
Viva La Libertad ! Viva el Estado Libre y Soberano de Alta California !" 
Thus amid vivas and proclamations, with the beating of drums and the 
booming of cannon, El Estado Libre de Alta California (The Free State 
of Alta California) was launched on the political sea. 

Notwithstanding this apparent burying of the hatchet, over the diffi- 
culties arising because of the insistence of claimants in the south for the 
capital at Los Angeles, rather than at Monterey, and notwithstanding con- 
siderable trouble that had arisen and several battles fought and won by 
Alvarado's forces, there were rumors of plots and intrigues in Los Angeles 
and San Diego against Alvarado. At length, aggravated beyond endur- 
ance, the governor sent word to the surenos that if they did not behave 
themselves he would shoot ten of the leading men of the south. As he had 
about that number locked up in the Castillo at Sonoma, his was no idle 
threat. One by one Alvarado's prisoners of state were released from 
Vallejo's bastile at Sonoma and returned to Los Angeles, sadder if not 
wiser men. At the session of the ayuntamiento on October 20, 1838, the 
president announced that Sehor Regidor Jose Palomares had returned from 
Sonoma, where he had been compelled to go by reason of "political differ- 
ences," and that he should be allowed his seat in the council. The request 
was granted unanimously. 

The surenos of Los Angeles and San Diego, finding that in Alvarado 
they had a man of courage and determination to deal with, ceased from 
troubling him and submitted to the inevitable. At the meeting of the 
ayuntamiento, October 5, 1839, a notification was received, stating that 
the supreme government of Mexico had appointed Juan Bautista Alvarado 
governor of the department. There was no grumbling nor dissent. On 
the contrary, the records say, "This illustrious body acknowledges receipt 
of the communication and congratulates His Excellency. It will announce 
the same to the citizens tomorrow (Sunday), will raise the national colors, 
salute the same with the required number of volleys, and will invite the 
people to illuminate their houses for a better display in rejoicing at such a 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 51 

happy appointment." With his appointment by the supreme government 
the "Free and Sovereign State of Alta California" became no more than 
a dream of the past. 

DECLINE AND FALL OF MEXICAN DOMINATION 

While the revolution begun by Alvarado and Castro had not established 
California's independence, it had effectually rid the territory of Mexican 
dictators. A native son was governor of the department of the Californias 
(by the constitution of 1836 Upper and Lower California had been united 
into a department) ; another native son was comandante of its military 
forces. The membership of the departmental junta, which had taken the 
place of the diputacion, was largely made up of sons of the soil, and natives 
filled the minor offices. In their zeal to rid themselves of Mexican office- 
holders, they had invoked the assistance of another element that was ulti- 
mately to be their undoing. 

During the revolutionary era just passed the foreign population had 
largely increased. Not only had the foreigners come by sea, but they had 
come by land. Capt. Jedediah S. Smith, a New England-born trapper and 
hunter, was the first man to enter California by the overland route. A 
number of trappers and hunters came in the early thirties from New Mex- 
ico by way of the old Spanish trail. This immigration was largely Ameri- 
can, and was made up of a bold, adventurous class of men, some of them 
not the most desirable immigrants. Of this latter class were some of 
Graham's followers. 

By invoking Graham's aid to put him in power, Alvarado had fastened 
upon his shoulders an old Man of the Sea. It was easy enough to enlist the 
services of Graham's riflemen, but altogether another matter to get rid of 
them when no longer needed. 

There were rumors of another revolution, and it was not difficult to per- 
suade Alvarado that the foreigners were plotting to revolutionize Califor- 
nia. Mexico had recently lost Texas, and the same class of "malditos 
extranjeros" (wicked strangers) were invading California, and would ulti- 
mately possess themselves of the country. Accordingly, secret orders were 
sent throughout the department to arrest and imprison all foreigners. Over 
100 men of different nationalities were arrested, principally Americans and 
English. Of these forty-seven were shipped to San Bias, and from there 
marched overland to Tepic, where they were imprisoned for several 
months. Through the efforts of the British consul, Barron, they were re- 
leased. Castro, who had accompanied the prisoners to Mexico to prefer 
charges against them, was placed under arrest and afterwards tried by 
court-martial, but was acquitted. He had been acting under orders from 
his superiors. After an absence of over a year twenty of the exiles landed 
at Monterey on their return from Mexico. Robinson, who saw them land, 
says: "They returned neatly dressed, armed with rifles and swords, and 
looking in much better condition than when they were sent away, or prob- 



52 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

ably than they had ever looked in their lives before." The Mexican gov- 
ernment had been compelled to pay them damages for their arrest and im- 
prisonment and to return them to California. 

The only other event of importance during Alvarado's term as gov- 
ernor was the capture of Monterey by Commodore Ap Catesby Jones, of 
the United States navy. This event happened after Alvarado's successor, 
Micheltorena, had landed in California, but before the government had 
been formally turned over to him. 

The following extract from the diary of a pioneer, who was an eye- 
witness of the affair, gives a good description of the capture: 

"Monterey, Oct. 19, 1842. — At 2 p. m. the United States man-of-war 
United States, Commodore Ap Catesby Jones, came to anchor close along- 
side and in-shore of all the ships in port. About 3 p. m. Captain Arm- 
strong came ashore, accompanied by an interpreter, and went direct to the 
governor's house, where he had a private conversation with him, which 
proved to be a demand for the surrender of the entire coast of California, 
Upper and Lower, to the United States government. When he was about 
to go on board he gave three or four copies of a proclamation to the 
inhabitants of the two Californias, assuring them of the protection of their 
lives, persons and property. In his notice to the governor (Alvarado) he 
gave him only until the following morning at 9 a. m. to decide. If he re- 
ceived no answer, then he would fire upon the town. 

"I remained on shore that night and went down to the governor's with 
Mr. Larkin and Mr. Eagle. The governor had had some idea of running 
away and leaving Monterey to its fate, but was told by Mr. Spence that he 
should not go, and finally he resolved to await the result. At 12 at night 
some persons were sent on board the United States who had been appointed 
by the governor to meet the commodore and arrange the terms of the sur- 
render. Next morning at half-past 10 o'clock about one hundred sailors 
and fifty marines disembarked. The sailors marched up from the shore 
and took possession of the fort. The American colors were hoisted. The 
United States fired a salute of thirteen guns; it was returned by the fort, 
which fired twenty-six guns. The marines in the meantime had marched 
up to the government house. The officers and soldiers of the California 
government were discharged and their guns and other arms taken posses- 
sion of and carried to the fort. The stars and stripes now wave over us. 
Long may they wave here in California!" 

"Oct. 21, 4 p. m. — Flags were again changed, the vessels were released, 
and all was quiet again. The commodore had received later news by some 
Mexican newspapers." 

Commodore Jones had been stationed at Callao with a squadron of four 
vessels. An English fleet was also there, and a French fleet was cruising 
in the Pacific. Both these were supposed to have designs on California. 
Jones learned that the English admiral had received orders to sail next 
day. Surmising that his destination might be California, he slipped out of 
the harbor the night before and crowded all sail to reach California before 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 53 

the English admiral. The loss of Texas, and the constant influx of immi- 
grants and adventurers from the United States into California, had embit- 
tered the Mexican government more and more against foreigners. Manuel 
Micheltorena, who had served under Santa Anna in the Texas war, was 
appointed January 19, 1842, comandante-general inspector and gobernador 
propietario of the Californias. 

Santa Anna was president of the Mexican republic. His experience 
with Americans in Texas during the Texan war of independence, in 
1836-1837, had determined him to use every effort to prevent California 
from sharing the fate of Texas. 

Micheltorena, the newly appointed governor, was instructed to take 
with him sufficient force to check the ingress of Americans. He recruited 
a force of 350 men, principally convicts enlisted from the prisons of Mex- 
ico. His army of thieves and ragamuffins landed at San Diego in August, 
1842. 

Micheltorena drilled his Falstaffian army at San Diego for several 
weeks and then began his march northward; Los Angeles made great 
preparations to receive the new governor. Seven years had passed since 
she had been decreed the capital of the territory, and in all these years she 
had been denied her rights by Monterey. A favorable impression on the 
new governor might induce him to make the ciudad his capital. After a 
stay of a month in the city Micheltorena and his army took up their line 
of march northward. He reached a point about twenty miles north of 
San Fernando, when, on the night of the 24th of October, a messenger 
aroused him from his slumbers with the news that the capital had been cap- 
tured by the Americans. He spent the remainder of the night in fulminat- 
ing proclamations against the invaders fiercer than the thunderbolts of 
Jove, copies of which were dispatched posthaste to Mexico. Then, with 
his own courage and doubtless that of his brave cholos aroused to the 
highest pitch, instead of rushing on the invaders, he and his army fled back 
to San Fernando, where, afraid to advance or retreat, he halted until news 
reached him that Commodore Jones had restored Monterey to the Cali- 
fornians. Then his valor reached the boiling point. He boldly marched 
to Los Angeles, established his headquarters in the city and awaited the 
coming of Commodore Jones and his officers from Monterey. 

On the 19th of January, 1843, Commodore Jones and his staff came 
to Los Angeles to meet the governor. At the famous conference in the 
Palacio de Don Abel, Micheltorena presented his articles of convention. 
Next morning, January 21, Jones and his officers took their departure 
from the city amidst the beating of drums, the firing of cannon and the 
ringing of bells, saluted by the general and his wife from the door of their 
quarters. On the 31st of December Micheltorena had taken the oath of 
office in Sanchez's Hall, which stood on the east side of the plaza. Salutes 
were fired, the bells were rung and the city was illuminated for three eve- 
nings. For the second time a governor was inaugurated in Los Angeles. 



54 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Micheltorena and his cholo army remained in Los Angeles about eight, 
months. The Angelenos had all the capital they cared for. They were 
perfectly willing to have the governor and his army take up their residence 
in Monterey. The cholos had devoured the country like an army of 
chapules (locusts) and were willing to move on. 

Micheltorena, while not a model governor, had many good qualities 
and was generally liked by the better class of foreign residents. He made 
an earnest effort to establish a system of public education in the territory. 
Schools were established in all the principal towns, and territorial aid from 
the public funds to the amount of $500 each was given them. But he was 
unreliable and not careful to keep his agreements. He might have suc- 
ceeded in giving California a stable government had it not been for the 
antipathy to his soldiers and the old feud between the "hijos del pais" and 
the Mexican dictators. These proved his undoing. The native sons under 
Alvarado and Castro rose in rebellion. In November, 1844, a revolution 
was inaugurated at Santa Clara. The governor marched with an army of 
150 men against the rebel forces, numbering about 200. They met at a 
place called the Laguna de Alvires. A treaty was signed in which Michel- 
torena agreed to ship his cholos back to Mexico. 

This treaty the governor deliberately broke. He then intrigued with 
Capt. John A. Sutter, of New Helvetia, and Isaac Graham to obtain assist- 
ance to crush the rebels. January 9, 1845, Micheltorena and Sutter formed 
a junction of their forces at Salinas — their united commands numbering 
about 500 men. They marched against the rebels to crush them. But the 
rebels did not wait to be crushed. 

Another Mexican-born governor was deposed and deported, to join 
his fellows, Vitoria, Chico and Gutierrez. In accordance with the treaty 
of Cahuenga, and by virtue of his rank as senior member of the depart- 
mental assembly, Pio Pico was appointed constitutional governor of Cali- 
fornia, September 3, 1845, by President Herrera. 

Castro gave Pico a great deal of uneasiness. He ignored the gov- 
ernor and managed the military affairs of the territory to suit himself. 
His headquarters were at Monterey, and doubtless he had the sympathy if 
not the encouragement of the people of the north in his course. 

But the cause of the greatest uneasiness was the increasing immigration 
from the United States. A stream of emigrants from the western States, 
increasing each year, poured down the Sierra Nevadas and spread over the 
rich valleys of California. The Californians recognized that through the 
advent of these "foreign adventurers," as they called them, the "manifest 
destiny" of California was to be absorbed by the United States. 

In the summer of 1845 a force of 600 veteran soldiers, under com- 
mand of Colonel Iniestra, reached Acapulco, where ships were lying to take 
them to California; but a revolution broke out in Mexico and the troops 
destined for the defense of California were used to overthrow President 
Herrera and to seat Paredes. California was left to work out her own 
destiny unaided or drift with the tide — and she drifted. 




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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 55 

Marsh's Letter to Cass 

The following letter, which Dr. Marsh wrote to Hon. Lewis Cass, 
Secretary of War, in 1842, is so illuminative of the period and the situa- 
tion, that we give it in full: 

"Farm of Pulpines, near St. Francisco, 

Upper California, 1842. 
"Hon. Lewis Cass. 

"Dear Sir: You will probably be somewhat surprised to receive a 
letter from an individual from whom you have not heard, or even thought 
of, for nearly twenty years; yet although the lapse of time has wrought 
many changes both in men and things, the personal identity of us both has 
probably been left. You will, I think, remember a youth whom you met 
at Green Bay in 1825, who, having left his Alma Mater, had spent a year 
or two in the 'far, far West,' and was then returning to his New England 
home, and whom you induced to turn his face again toward the setting 
sun; that youth who, but for your influence, would probably now have been 
administering pills in some quiet Yankee village, is now a gray-haired man, 
breeding cattle and cultivating grape-vines on the shores of the Pacific. 
Your benevolence prompted you to take an interest in the fortunes of that 
youth, and it is therefore presumed you may not be unwilling to hear from 
him again. 

"I left the United States in 1835, and came to New Mexico, and thence 
traversing the States of Chihuahua and Sonora, crossed the Rio Colorado 
at its junction with the Gila, near the tidewater of Gulph, and entered this 
territory at its southern part. Any more direct route was at that time un- 
known and considered impracticable. 

"I have now been more than ten years in this country, and have traveled 
over all the inhabited and most of the uninhabited parts of it. I have 
resided eight years where I now live, near the Bay of San Francisco, and at 
the point where the rivers Sacramento and San Joaquin unite together to 
meet the tide-water of the bay, about forty miles from the ocean. I possess 
at this place a farm about ten miles by twelve in extent, one side of which 
borders on the river, which is navigable to this point for sea-going vessels. 
I have at last found the far West, and intend to end my ramblings here. 

"I perceive by the public papers that this region of country, including 
that immediately north of it, which until lately was the most completely a 
terra incognita of any portion of the globe, is at length attracting the atten- 
tion of the United States and Europe. The world, at length, seems to 
have become awake to the natural advantages of California and Oregon, 
and it seems probable that at the same moment I am writing, their political 
destinies are about being settled, at least for a long time to come. I men- 
tion the two countries together because I conceive the future destiny of this 
whole region to be one and inseparable. The natural conformation of the 
country strongly indicates it, and a sympathy and fellow feeling in the in- 
habitants is taking place, which must soon bring about the consummation. 






56 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

California, as well as Oregon, is rapidly peopling with emigrants from the 
United States. Even the inhabitants of Spanish origin, tired of anarchy 
and misrule, would be glad to come under the American Government. 

"The Government of the United States, in encouraging and facilitating 
emigration to Oregon, is, in fact, helping to people California. It is like 
the British Government sending settlers to Canada. The emigrants are 
well aware of the vast superiority of California, both in soil and climate, 
and I may add, facility of access. Every year shorter and better routes 
are being discovered, and this year the great desideratum of a good and 
practical road for wheel carriages has been found. Fifty-three wagons, 
with that number of families, have arrived safely, and more than a month 
earlier than any previous company. The American Government encourages 
emigration to Oregon by giving gratuitously some five or six hundred acres 
of land to each family of actual settlers. California, too, gives lands, not 
by acres, but by leagues, and has some thousands of leagues more to give 
to anybody who will occupy them. Never in any instance has less than one 
league been given to any individual, and the wide world from which to 
select from all the unoccupied lands in the territory. While Col. Almonte, 
the Mexican Minister to Washington, is publishing his proclamations in 
the American newspapers forbidding people to emigrate to California, and 
telling them that no lands will be given them, the actual Government here is 
doing just the contrary. In fact they care about as much for the Govern- 
ment of Mexico as for that of Japan. 

"It has been usual to estimate the population of Upper California at 
five thousand persons of Spanish descent, and twenty thousand Indians. 
This estimate may have been near the truth twenty years ago. At present 
the population may be stated in round numbers at seven thousand Spaniards, 
ten thousand civilized, or rather domesticated Indians. To this may be 
added about seven hundred Americans, one hundred English, Irish, and 
Scotch, and about one hundred French, Germans, and Italians. 

"Within the territorial limits of Upper California, taking the parallel 
of 42° for the northern, and the Colorado River for the southeastern 
boundary, are an immense number of wild, naked, brute Indians. The 
number, of course, can only be conjectured. They probably exceed a mil- 
lion, and may perhaps amount to double that number. 

"The far-famed missions of California no longer exist. They have 
nearly all been broken up, and the lands apportioned out into farms. They 
were certainly munificent ecclestiastical baronies; and although their ex- 
istence was quite incompatible with the general prosperity of the country, 
it seems almost a pity to see their downfall. The immense piles of build- 
ings and beautiful vineyards and orchards are all that remain, with the 
exception of two in the southern part of the territory, which still retain a 
small remnant of their former prosperity. 

"The climate of California is remarkably different from that of the 
United States. The great distinguishing difference is its regularity and 
uniformity. From May to October the wind is invariably from the north- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 57 

west, and during this time it never rains, and the sky is brilliantly clear and 
serene. The weather during this time is temperate, and rarely oppressively 
warm. The nights are always agreeably cool, and many of the inhabi- 
tants sleep in the open air the whole year round. From October to May 
the southeast wind frequently blows, and is always accompanied by rain. 
Snow never falls excepting in the mountains. Frost is rare except in De- 
cember or January. A proof of the mildness of the winter this moment 
presents itself in the shape of a humming-bird, which I just saw from the 
open window, and this is in latitude 38° on the first day of February. 
Wheat is sown from October until March, and maize from March until 
July. As respects human health and comfort, the climate is incomparably 
better than that of any part of the United States. It is much the most 
healthy country I have ever seen or have any knowledge of. There is no 
disease whatever that can be attributed to the influence of the climate. 

"The face of the country differs as much from the United States as the 
climate. The whole territory is traversed by ranges of mountains, which 
run parallel to each other and to the coast. The highest points may be 
about six thousand feet above the sea, in most places much lower, and in 
many parts they dwindle to low hills. They are everywhere covered with 
grass and vegetation, and many of the valleys and northern declivities 
abound with the finest timber trees. Between these ranges of mountains 
are level valleys, or rather plains, of every width, from five miles to fifty. 
The magnificent valley through which flow the rivers of St. Joaquin and 
Sacramento is five hundred miles long, with an average width of forty or 
fifty. It is intersected laterally by many smaller rivers, abounding with 
salmon. 

"The only inhabitants of this valley, which is capable of supporting a 
nation, are about a hundred and fifty Americans and a few Indians. No 
published maps that I have seen give any correct idea of the country, ex- 
cepting the outline of the coast. 

"The Bay of San Francisco is considered by nautical men one of the 
finest harbors in the world. It consists of two principal arms, diverging 
from the entrance in nearly opposite directions, and each about fifty miles 
long, with an average width of eight or ten. It is perfectly sheltered from 
every wind, has great depth of water, is easily accessible at all times, and 
space enough for half the ships in the world. The entrance is less than a 
mile wide, and could be easily fortified so as to make it entirely impreg- 
nable. The vicinity abounds in the finest timber for ship-building, and in 
fact everything necessary to make it a great naval and commercial depot. 
If it were in the hands of a nation who knew how to make use of it, its 
influence would soon be felt on all the western coast of America, and 
probably through the whole Pacific. 

"I think it cannot long remain in the hands of its present owners. If 
it does not come into possession of Americans, the English will have it. 
This port in their hands, what will Oregon be worth to the United States? 
They loudly threaten to get possession of Cuba as an offset against Texas. 



58 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Will they not be quite as likely to obtain California, as an offset against 
Oregon? A British ship of war was here last summer, whose captain was 
a brother of Lord Aberdeen, and one of her lieutenants a son of Sir R. 
Peel. The gentlemen declared openly that this port would soon belong 
to them. This I take to be only a slight ebullition of John Bullism; but 
that they want this port, and will have it if possible, there can be no 
doubt, a consummation most earnestly and ardently to be deprecated by 
every American. I hope it may direct your views to take an interest in 
this matter. 

"The agricultural capabilities of California are but very imperfectly 
developed. The whole of it is remarkably adapted to the culture of the 
vine. Wine and brandy of excellent quality are made in considerable 
quantities. Olives, figs, and almonds grow well. Apples, pears, and 
peaches are abundant, and in the southern part oranges. Cotton is be- 
ginning to be cultivated and succeeds well. It is the finest country for 
wheat I have ever seen. Fifty for one is an average crop, with very im- 
perfect cultivation. One hundred fold is not uncommon, and even one 
hundred and fifty has been produced. Maize produces tolerably well, but 
not equal to some parts of the United States. Hemp, flax, and tobacco 
have been cultivated on a small scale, and succeed well. The raising of 
cattle is the principal pursuit of the inhabitants, and the most profitable. 

"The foreign commerce of Upper California employs from ten to fif- 
teen sail of vessels, mostly large ships. Somewhat more than half of these 
are American, and belong exclusively to the port of Boston. The others 
are English, French, Russian, Mexican, Peruvian, and Hawaiian. The 
French from the islands in the Pacific and the Russians from Kam- 
tschatka, and their establishments on the northwest coast, resort here 
for provisions and live stock. The exports consist of hides and tallow, 
cows, lard, wheat, soap, timber, and furs. There are slaughtered annually 
about one hundred thousand head of cattle, worth $800,000. The whole 
value of the exports annually amounts to about $1,000,000. The largest 
item of imports is American cotton goods. The duties on imports are 
enormously high, amounting on most important articles to one hundred and 
fifty per cent on the original cost, and in many instances to four or five 
hundred. Thus, as in most Spanish countries, a high bounty is paid to 
encourage smuggling. Whale ships visit St. Francisco annually in con- 
siderable numbers for refreshments, and fail not to profit by the facilities 
for illicit commerce. 

"California, although nominally belonging to Mexico, is about as in- 
dependent of it as Texas, and must ere long share the same fate. Since 
my residence here, no less than four Mexican governors have been driven 
from the country by force of arms. The last of these, Micheltorena, 
with about four hundred of his soldiers and one hundred employes, was 
driven away about a year ago. 

"This occurred at the time that the rest of the nation was expelling 
his master, Santa Ana, although nothing of this was known here at the 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 59 

time. The new administration, therefore, with a good grace, highly ap- 
proved of our conduct. In fact, the successive administrations in Mexico 
have always shown a disposition to sanction and approve of whatever 
we may do here, from a conscious inability to retain even a nominal domin- 
ion over the country by any other means. Upper California has been 
governed for the last year entirely by its own citizens. Lower California 
is in general an uninhabited and uninhabitable desert. The scanty popula- 
tion it contains lives near the extremity of the Cape, and has no connection 
and little intercourse with this part of the country. 

"Upper California has a productive gold mine, and silver ore has been 
found in many places. A mine of quicksilver has been very lately found 
in this vicinity, which promises to be very valuable. 

"I know not, since you have been so long engaged in more weighty 
concerns, if you take the same interest as formerly in Indian affairs, but 
since I have supposed your personal identity to remain, I shall venture a 
few remarks on the aborgines of California. In stature the California 
Indian rather exceeds the average of the tribes east of the mountains. He 
is heavier limbed and stouter built. They are a hairy race, and some of 
them have beards that would do honor to a Turk. The color similar to 
that of the Algonquin race, or perhaps rather lighter. The visage, short 
and broad, with wide mouth, thick lips, broad nose, and extremely low 
forehead. In some individuals the hair grows quite down to the eyebrows, 
and they may be said to have no forehead at all. Some few have that pe- 
culiar conformation of the eye so remarkable in the Chinese and Tartar 
races, and entirely different from the common American Indian or the 
Polynesian; and with this unpromising set of features, some have an ani- 
mated and agreeable expression of countenance. The general expression 
of the wild Indian has nothing of the proud and lofty bearing, or the 
haughtiness and ferocity so often seen east of the mountains. It is more 
commonly indicative of timidity and stupidity. 

"The men and children are absolutely and entirely naked, and the 
dress of the women is the least possible or conceivable remove from 
nudity. Their food varies with the season. In February and March they 
live on grass and herbage; clover and wild pea-vine are among the best 
kinds of their pasturage. I have often seen hunderds of them grazing to- 
gether in a meadow, like so many cattle. 

"They are very poor hunters of the larger animals, but very skilful in 
making and managing nets for fish and fowl. They also collect in their 
season great quantities of the seeds of various grasses, which are partic- 
ularly abundant. Acorns are another principal article of food, which are 
larger, more abundant, and of better quality than I have seen elsewhere. 
The Californian is not more different from the tribes east of the moun- 
tains in his physical than in his moral and intellectual qualities. They are 
easily domesticated, not averse to labor, have a natural aptitude to learn 
mechanical trades, and, I believe, universally a fondness for music, and a 
facility in acquiring it. 



60 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

"The Mission of St. Joseph, when in its prosperity, had one hundred 
plough-men, and I have often seen them all at work in one field, each with 
his plow. It had also fifty weavers, twenty tanners, thirty shoe-makers, 
forty masons, twenty carpenters, ten blacksmiths, and various other me- 
chanics. They are not nearly so much addicted to intoxication as is com- 
mon to other Indians. I was for some years of the opinion that they were 
of an entirely different race from those east of the muntains, and they cer- 
tainly have but little similarity. The only thing that caused me to think 
differently is that they have the same Moccasin game that is so common on 
the Mississippi, and what is more remarkable, they accompany it by sing- 
ing precisely the same tune ! The diversity of language among them is 
very great. It is seldom an Indian can understand another who lives fifty 
miles distant; within the limits of California are at least a hundred di- 
alects, apparently entirely dissimilar. Few or no white persons have taken 
any pains to learn them, as there are individuals in all the tribes which 
have communication with the settlements who speak Spanish. 

"The children, when caught young, are most easily domesticated, and 
manifest a great aptitude to learn whatever is taught them; when taken 
into Spanish families, and treated with kindness, in a few months they 
learn the language and habits of their masters. When they come to ma- 
turity they show no disposition to return to the savage state. The mind 
of the wild Indian, of whatever age, appears to be a tabula rasa, on which 
no impressions, except those of a mere animal nature, have been made, 
and ready to receive any impress whatever. I remember a remark of 
yours some years ago, that 'Indians were only grown-up children.' Here 
we have a real race of infants. In many recent instances when a family of 
white people have taken a farm in the vicinity of an Indian village, in a 
short time they would have the whole tribe for willing serfs. They sub- 
mit to flagellation with more humility than the negroes. Nothing more is 
necessary for their complete subjugation but kindness in the beginning, 
and a little well-timed severity when deserved. It is common for the 
white man to ask the Indian, when the latter has committed any fault, 
how many lashes he thinks he deserves. The Indian, with a simplicity and 
humility almost inconceivable, replies ten or twenty, according to his opin- 
ion of the magnitude of the offense. The white man then orders another 
Indian to inflict the punishment, which is received without the least sign 
of resentment or discontent. This I have myself witnessed or I could 
hardly have believed it. 

"I fear the unexpected length of this desultory epistle will be tedious 
to you, but I hope it will serve at least to diversify your correspondence. 
If I can afford you any information, or be serviceable to you in any way, 
I beg you to command me. Any communication to me can be sent through 
the American Minister at Mexico, or the Commanding Officer of the 
Squadron of the Pacific, directed to the care of T. O. Larkin, Esq., Amer- 
ican Consul at Monterey. I am, sir, very respectfully, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"Hon. Lewis Cass." "John Marsh. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 61 

THE AMERICAN CONQUEST OF CALIFORNIA 

The Mexican War marked the beginning by the United States of terri- 
torial expansion by conquest. 

After the adoption of liberal colonization laws by the Mexican gov- 
ernment in 1824, there set in a steady drift of Americans to California. 
At first they came by sea, but after the opening of the overland route in 
1841, they came in great numbers by land. It was a settled conviction in 
the minds of these adventurous nomads that the manifest destiny of Cali- 
fornia was to become a part of the United States, and they were only too 
willing to aid destiny when an opportunity offered. The opportunity came 
and it found them ready for it. 

Capt. John C. Fremont, an engineer and explorer in the service of 
the United States, appeared at Monterey in January, 1846, and applied 
to General Castro, the military comandante, for permission to buy sup- 
plies for his party of sixty-two men, who were encamped in the San Joa- 
quin Valley, in what is now Kern County. Permission was given him. 
There seems to have been a tacit agreement between Castro and Fremont 
that the exploring party should not enter the settlements, but early in 
March the whole force was encamped in the Salinas Valley. 

Castro regarded the marching of a body of armed men through the 
country as an act of hostility, and ordered them out of the country. In- 
stead of leaving, Fremont intrenched himself on an eminence known as 
Gabilan Peak, raised the Stars and Stripes over his barricade, and defied 
Castro. Castro maneuvered his troops on the plain below, but did not 
attack Fremont. After two days' waiting Fremont abandoned his posi- 
tion and began his march northward. On May 9, when near the Oregon 
line, he was overtaken by Lieutenant Gillespie, of the United States navy, 
with a dispatch from the President. Gillespie had left the United States 
in November, 1845, and, disguised, had crossed Mexico from Vera Cruz 
to Mazatlan, and from there had reached Monterey. The exact nature 
of the dispatches to Fremont is not known, but presumably they related to 
the impending war between Mexico and the United States, and the neces- 
sity for a prompt seizure of the country to prevent it from falling into the 
hands of England. Fremont returned to the Sacramento, where he 
encamped. 

The Bear Flag Republic 

On the 14th of June, 1846, a body of American settlers from the 
Napa and Sacramento valleys, thirty-three in number, of which Ide, Sem- 
ple, Grigsby and Merritt seem to have been the leaders, after a night's 
march, took possession of the old castillo or fort at Sonoma, with its rusty 
muskets and unused cannon, and made Gen. M. G. Vallejo, Lieut.-Colonel 
Prudon, Capt. Salvador Vallejo and Jacob P. Leese, a brother-in-law of 
the Vallejos, prisoners. There seem to have been no privates at the Cas- 
tillo, all officers. Exactly what was the object of the American settlers 
in taking General Vallejo prisoner is not evident. General Vallejo was 



62 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

one of the few eminent Californians who favored the annexation of Cali- 
fornia to the United States. He is said to have made a speech favoring 
such a movement in the junta at Monterey a few months before. Castro 
regarded him with suspicion. The prisoners were sent under an armed 
escort to Fremont's camp. William B. Ide was elected captain of the 
revolutionists who remained at Sonoma, to "hold the fort." He issued a 
pronunciamiento in which he declared California a free and independent 
government, under the name of the California Republic. A nation must 
have a flag of its own, so one was improvised. It was made of a piece 
of cotton cloth, or manta, a yard wide and five feet long. Strips of red 
flannel torn from the shirt of one of the men were stitched on the bottom 
of the flag for stripes. With a blacking brush, or, as another authority 
says, the end of a chewed stick for a brush, and red paint, William L. 
Todd painted the figure of a grizzly bear passant on the field of the flag. 
The natives called Todd's bear "cochino," a pig; it resembled that animal 
more than a bear. A five-pointed star in the left upper corner, painted 
with the same coloring matter, and the words "California Republic" 
printed on it in ink, completed the famous Bear Flag. 

Under the Stars and Stripes 

The California Republic was ushered into existence June 14, 1846, 
attained the acme of its power July 4, when Ide and his fellow patriots 
burnt a quantity of powder in salutes, and fired off oratorical pyrotechnics 
in honor of the new republic. It utterly collapsed on the 9th day of July, 
after an existence of twenty-five days, when news reached Sonoma that 
Commodore Sloat had raised the stars and stripes at Monterey and taken 
possession of California in the name of the United States. Lieutenant 
Revere arrived at Sonoma on the 9th, and he it was who lowered the 
Bear Flag from the Mexican flagstaff, where it had floated through the 
brief existence of the California Republic, and raised in its place the 
banner of the United States. 

Commodore Sloat, who had anchored in Monterey Bay July 2, 1846, 
was for a brief time undecided whether to take possession of the country. 
He had no official information that war had been declared between the 
United States and Mexico; but, acting on the supposition that Captain 
Fremont had received definite instructions, on the 7th of July he raised 
the flag and took possession of the custom-house and government build- 
ings at Monterey. Captain Montgomery, on the 9th, raised it at San 
Francisco, and on the same day the Bear Flag gave place to the stars and 
stripes at Sonoma. 

General Castro was holding Santa Clara and San Jose when he re- 
ceived Commodore Sloat's proclamation informing him that the commo- 
dore had taken possession of Monterey. Castro, after reading the procla- 
mation, which was written in Spanish, formed his men in line and, address- 
ing them, said: "Monterey is taken by the Americans. What can I do 
with a handful of men against the United States? I am going to Mexico. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 63 

All of you who wish to follow me, 'About face!' All that wish to remain 
can go to their homes." A very small part of his force followed him. 

Commodore Sloat was superseded by Commodore Stockton, who set 
about organizing an expedition to subjugate the part of the territory 
which still remained loyal to Mexico. Fremont's exploring party, re- 
cruited to a battalion of 120 men, had marched to Monterey, and from 
there was sent by vessel to San Diego to procure horses and prepare to act 
as cavalry. 

While these stirring events were transpiring in the north, Pio Pico had 
entered upon the duties of the governorship with a desire to bring peace 
and harmony to the distracted country. He appointed Juan Bandini, one 
of the ablest statesmen of the south, his secretary. After Bandini re- 
signed, he chose J. M. Covarrubias; and later Jose M. Moreno filled the 
office efficiently. 

The principal offices of the territory had been divided equally between 
the politicians of the north and the south. While Los Angeles became the 
capital, and the departmental assembly met there, the military headquar- 
ters, the archives and the treasury remained at Monterey. But, notwith- 
standing this division of the spoils of office, the old feud between the arri- 
benos and the abajenos would not down, and soon the old-time quarrel 
was on with all its bitterness. Castro, as military comandante, ignored 
the governor, and Alvarado was regarded by the surenos as an emissary 
of Castro's. The departmental assembly met at Los Angeles, in March, 
1846. Pico presided, and in his opening message set forth the unfortunate 
condition of affairs in the department. Education was neglected; justice 
was not administered; the missions were so burdened by debt that but few 
of them could be rented; the army was disorganized, and the treasury 
was empty. 

On the 16th of June, Pico left Los Angeles for Monterey with a mili- 
tary force of a hundred men. The object of the expedition was to oppose, 
and, if possible, to depose Castro. To enlist the sympathy and more 
ready adhesion of the foreign element of Los Angeles, Pico issued the 
following circular. (A copy, probably the only one in existence, was do- 
nated some years since to the Historical Society of Southern California.) 

[Seal of] "Gobierno del Dep. de Californias. 

"Circular. — As, owing to the unfortunate condition of things that now 
prevails in this department in consequence of the war into which the 
United States has provoked the Mexican nation, some ill feeling might 
spring up between the citizens of the two countries, out of which unfortu- 
nate occurrences might grow, and as this government desires to remove 
every cause of friction, it has seen fit, in the use of its power, to issue the 
present circular. 

"The Government of the department of California declares in the 
most solemn manner that all the citizens of the United States that have 
come lawfully into its territory, relying upon the honest administration of 
the laws and the observance of the prevailing treaties, shall not be mo- 



64 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

lested in the least, and their lives and property shall remain in perfect 
safety under the protection of the Mexican laws and authorities legally 
constituted. 

"Therefore, in the name of the supreme government of the nation, 
and by virtue of the authority vested upon me, I enjoin upon all the in- 
habitants of California to observe towards the citizens of the United States 
that have lawfully come among us, the kindest and most cordial conduct, 
and to abstain from all acts of violence against their persons or property; 
provided they remain neutral, as heretofore, and take no part in the in- 
vasion effected by the armies of their nation. 

"The authorities of the various municipalities and corporations will be 
held strictly responsible for the faithful fulfilment of this order, and shall, 
as soon as possible, take the necessary measures to bring it to the knowl- 
edge of the people. God and Liberty. Pio Pico. 
"Jose Matias Moreno, Secretary pro tern. 

"Angeles, July 27, 1846." 

When we consider the conditions existing in California at the time 
this circular was issued, its sentiments reflect great credit on Pico for his 
humanity and forbearance. A little over a month before, a party of 
Americans seized General Vallejo and several other prominent Califor- 
nians in their homes and incarcerated them in prison at Sutter's Fort. Nor 
was this outrage mitigated when the stars and stripes were raised. The 
perpetrators of the outrage were not punished. These native Califor- 
nians were kept in prison nearly two months without any charge against 
them. Besides, Governor Pico and the leading Californians very well 
knew that the Americans whose lives and property this proclamation was 
designed to protect would not remain neutral when their countrymen in- 
vaded the territory. Pio Pico deserved better treatment from the Amer- 
icans than he received. He was robbed of his landed possessions by un- 
scrupulous land sharks, and his character was defamed by irresponsible 
historical scribblers. 

Pico and Castro left Los Angeles on the night of August 10, for 
Mexico, Castro going by the Colorado River route to Sonora. Pico, after 
being concealed for a time by his brother-in-law, Juan Foster, at the Santa 
Margarita and narrowly escaping capture by Fremont's men, finally 
reached Lower California and later on crossed the Gulf to Sonora. 

Stockton began his march on Los Angeles August 11. He took with 
him a battery of four guns, mounted on carretas, each gun drawn by four 
oxen. He had with him a good brass band. 

Major Fremont, who had been sent to San Diego with his battalion of 
170 men, had, after considerable skirmishing among the ranchos, secured 
enough horses to move, and on the 8th of August had begun his march to 
join Stockton. He took with him 120 men, leaving about fifty to garrison 
San Diego. 

Stockton consumed three days on the march. Fremont's troops joined 
him just south of the city, and at 4 p. m. of the 13th the combined 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 65 

force, numbering nearly 500 men, entered the town without opposition; 
"our entry," says Major Fremont, "having more the effect of a parade of 
home guards than of an enemy taking possession of a conquered town." 

Squads of Fremont's battalion were sent out to scour the country and 
bring in any of the California officers or leading men whom they could 
find. These, when found, were paroled. 

On the 17th of August, Stockton issued a second proclamation, in 
which he signed himself commander-in-chief and governor of the territory 
of California. It was milder in tone and more dignified than the first. 
He informed the people that their country now belonged to the United 
States. For the present it would be governed by martial law. They 
were invited to elect their local officers if those now in office refused to 
serve under the new order. 

Four days after the capture of Los Angeles, the Warren, Captain 
Hull, commander, anchored at San Pedro. She brought official notice of 
the declaration of war between the United States and Mexico. Then for 
the first time Stockton learned that there had been an official declaration 
of war between the two countries. United States officers had waged war 
and had taken possession of California upon the strength of a rumor that 
hostilities existed between the countries. 

The conquest, if conquest it can be called, was accomplished without 
the loss of a life, if we except the two Americans, Fowler and Cowie, of 
the Bear Flag party, who were brutally murdered by a band of Califor- 
nians under Padillo, and the equally brutal shooting of Berryessa and the 
two de Haro boys by the Americans at San Rafael. These three men 
were shot as spies, but there was no proof that they were such, and they 
were not tried. These murders occurred before Commander Sloat raised 
the stars and stripes at Monterey. 

On the 15th of August, 1846, just thirty-seven days after the raising 
of the stars and stripes at Monterey, the first newspaper ever published 
in California made its appearance. It was published at Monterey by 
Semple and Colton and named The Californian. Rev. Walter Colton was 
a chaplain in the United States navy and came to California on the Con- 
gress with Commodore Stockton. He was made alcalde of Monterey and 
built, by the labor of the chain gang, and from contributions and fines, the 
first schoolhouse in California, named for him Colton Hall. Colton thus 
describes the other member of the firm, Dr. Robert Semple: "My partner 
is an emigrant from Kentucky, who stands six feet eight in his stockings. 
He is in a buckskin dress, a foxskin cap; is true with his rifle, ready with 
his pen and quick at the type case." Semple came to California in 1845, 
with the Hastings party, and was one of the leaders in the Bear Flag 
revolution. The type and press used were brought to California by 
Augustin V. Zamorano in 1834, and by him sold to the territorial govern- 
ment, and had been used for printing bandos and pronunciamentos. The 
only paper the publishers of The Californian could procure was that used 
in the manufacture of cigarettes, which came in sheets a little larger than 



66 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

foolscap. The font of type was short of w's, so two v's were substituted 
for that letter, and when these ran out two u's were used. The paper was 
moved to San Francisco in 1848, and later on consolidated with The Cali- 
fornia Star. 

The capitulation of Gen. Andres Pico at Cahuenga put an end to the 
war in California. The instructions from the secretary of war were to 
pursue a policy of conciliation towards the Californians, with the ultimate 
design of transforming them into American citizens. Colonel Fremont 
was left in command at Los Angeles. 

Mexican Laws and American Officials 
Upon the departure of General Kearny, May 31, 1847, Col. Richard 
B. Mason became governor and commander-in-chief of the United States 
forces in California by order of the President. Stockton, Kearny and 
Fremont had taken their departure, the dissensions that had existed since 
the conquest of the territory among the conquerors ceased, and peace 
reigned. Mexican laws were administered for the most part by military 
officers. The municipal authorities were encouraged to continue in power 
and perform their governmental functions, but they were indifferent and 
sometimes rebelled. Under Mexican rule there was to trial by jury. The 
alcalde acted as judge and in criminal cases a council of war settled the 
fate of the criminal. The Rev. Walter Colton, while acting as alcalde of 
Monterey, in 1846-1847, impaneled the first jury ever summoned in Cali- 
fornia. "The plaintiff and defendant," he writes, "are among the prin- 
cipal citizens of the country. The case was one involving property on the 
one side and integrity of character on the other. Its merits had been 
pretty widely discussed, and had called forth an unusual interest. One- 
third of the jury were Mexicans, one-third Californians and the other 
third Americans. This mixture may have the better answered the ends of 
justice, but I was apprehensive at one time it would embarrass the pro- 
ceedings; for the plaintiff spoke English, the defendant in French; the 
jury, save the Americans, Spanish, and the witnesses, all the languages 
known in California. By the tact of Mr. Hartnell, who acted as inter- 
preter, and the absence of young lawyers, we got along very well." 

The process of Americanizing the people was no easy undertaking. 
The population of the country and its laws were in a chaotic condition. 
It was an arduous task that Colonel Mason and the military commanders 
at the various pueblos had to perform, that of evolving order out of the 
chaos that had been brought about by the change in nations. The native 
population neither understood the language nor the customs of their new 
rulers, and the newcomers among the Americans had very little toleration 
for the slow-going Mexican ways and methods they found prevailing. To 
keep peace between the factions required more tact than knowledge of 
law, military or civil, in the commanders. 

Peace Established 
The treaty of peace between the United States and Mexico was signed 
at Guadalupe Hidalgo, a hamlet a few miles from the City of Mexico, 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 67 

February 2, 1848; ratifications were exchanged at Queretaro, May 30 
following, and a proclamation that peace had been established between 
the two countries was published July 4, 1848. Under this treaty the 
United States assumed the payment of the claims of American citizens 
against Mexico, and paid, in addition, $15,000,000 to Mexico for Texas, 
New Mexico and Alta California. Out of what was the Mexican terri- 
tory of Alta California there has been carved all of California, all of Ne- 
vada, Utah' and Arizona and part of Colorado and Wyoming. The terri- 
tory acquired by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was nearly equal to the 
aggregated area of the thirteen original states at the time of the Revolu- 
tionary War. 

The news of the treaty of peace reached California August 6, 1848. 
On the 7th Governor Mason issued a proclamation announcing the ratifi- 
cation of the treaty. He announced that all residents of California who 
wished to become citizens of the United States were absolved from their 
allegiance to Mexico. Those who desired to retain their Mexican citizen- 
ship could do so, provided they signified such intention within one year 
from May 30, 1848. 

The war was over; and the treaty of peace had made all who so 
elected, native or foreign born, American citizens. Strict military rule 
was relaxed and the people henceforth were to be self-governing. Ameri- 
cans and Californians were one people and were to enjoy the same rights 
and be subject to the same penalties. The war ended, the troops were no 
longer needed, and orders were issued to muster out the volunteers. 
These all belonged to Stevenson's New York regiment. The last company 
of the Mormon battalion had been discharged in April. The New York 
volunteers were scattered all along the coast from Sonoma to Cape San 
Lucas, doing garrison duty. They were collected at different points and 
mustered out. Although those stationed in Alta California had done no 
fighting, they had performed arduous service in keeping peace in the con- 
quered territory. Most of them remained in California after their dis- 
charge and rendered a good account of themselves as citizens. 

GOLD ! GOLD ! GOLD ! 

Sebastian Viscaino, from the bay of Monterey, writing to the King of 
Spain 300 years ago, says of the Indians of California: "They are well 
acquainted with gold and silver, and said that these were found in the in- 
terior." Viscaino was endeavoring to make a good impression on the 
mind of the king in regard to his discoveries. The traditions of the ex- 
istence of gold in California before any was discovered are legion. Most 
of these have been evolved since gold was actually found. Col. J. J. 
Warner, a pioneer of 1831, in his "Historical Sketch of Los Angeles 
County," briefly and very effectually disposes of these rumored discoveries. 
He says: "While statements respecting the existence of gold in the earth 
of California and its procurement therefrom have been made and pub- 
lished as historical facts, carrying back the date of the knowledge of the 
auriferous character of this State as far as the time of the visit of Sir 



68 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Francis Drake to this coast, there is no evidence to be found in the written 
or oral history of the missions, in the acts and correspondence of the civil 
or military officers, or in the unwritten and traditional history of Upper 
California that the existence of gold, either with ores or in its virgin state, 
was ever suspected by any inhabitants of California previous to 1841; 
and, furthermore, there is conclusive testimony that the first known grain 
of native gold dust was found upon or near the San Francisco ranch, about 
forty-five miles northwesterly from Los Angeles City, in the month of 
June, 1841. This discovery consisted of grain gold fields (known as 
placer mines), and the auriferous fields discovered in that year embraced 
the greater part of the country drained by the Santa Clara River from a 
point some fifteen or twenty miles from its mouth to its source, and east- 
erly beyond Mount San Bernardino." 

The story of the discovery as told by Warner and by Don Abel 
Stearns agrees in the main facts, though differing materially in the date. 
Stearns says gold was first discovered by Francisco Lopez, a native of 
California, in the month of March, 1842, at a place called San Francis- 
quito, about thirty-five miles northwest from Los Angeles. The circum- 
stances of the discovery by Lopez, as related by himself, are as follows : 
"Lopez, with a companion, was out in search of some stray horses, and 
about midday they stopped under some trees and tied their horses out to 
feed. They were resting under the shade, when Lopez, with his sheath- 
knife, dug up some wild onions, and in the dirt discovered a piece of gold, 
and, searching further, found some more. He brought these to town, and 
showed them to his friends, who at once declared there must be a placer 
of gold. This news being circulated, numbers of the citizens went to the 
place, and commenced prospecting in the neighborhood, and found it to 
be a fact that there was a placer of gold." 

Colonel Warner says: "The news of this discovery soon spread among 
the inhabitants from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles, and in a few weeks 
hundreds of people were engaged in washing and winnowing the sands of 
these gold fields." 

Warner visited the mines a few weeks after their discovery. He 
says: "From these mines was obtained the first parcel of California gold 
dust received at the United States mint in Philadelphia, and which was 
sent with Alfred Robinson, and went in a merchant ship around Cape 
Horn." This shipment of gold was 18.34 ounces before and 18.1 ounces 
after melting; fineness .925; value, $344.75, or over $19 to the ounce, a 
very superior quality of gold dust. It was deposited in the mint July 
8, 1843. 

It may be regarded as a settled historical fact that the first authenti- 
cated discovery of gold in Alta California was made on the San Fran- 
cisco rancho in the San Felicano Canon, Los Angeles County. This canon 
is about ten miles northwest of Newhall Station on the Southern Pacific 
Railroad, and about forty miles northwest of Los Angeles. 

It is impossible to obtain definite information in regard to the yield 
of the San Fernando placers, as these mines are generally called. William 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 69 

Heath Davis, in his "Sixty Years in California," states that from $80,000 
to $100,000 was taken out for the first two years after their discovery. 
He says that Melius at one time shipped $5000 of dust on the ship Alert. 
Bancroft says: "By December, 1843, two thousand ounces of gold had 
been taken from the San Fernando mines." Don Antonio Coronel stated 
that with the assistance of three Indian laborers, in 1842, he took out 
$600 worth of dust in two months. De Mofras, in his book, states that 
Carlos Baric, a Frenchman, in 1842, was obtaining an ounce a day of pure 
gold from his placer. 

These mines were worked continuously from the time of their dis- 
covery until the American conquest, Drincipally by Sonorans. The dis- 
covery of gold at Coloma, January 24, 1848, drew away the miners, and 
no work was done on these mines between 1848 and 1854. After the 
latter dates work was resumed, and in 1855, Francisco Garcia, working a 
gang of Indians, is reported to have taken out $65,000 in one season. 
The mines are not exhausted, but the scarcity of water prevents working 
them profitably. 

It is rather a singular coincidence that the exact dates of both the first 
and second authenticated discoveries of gold in California are still among 
the undecided questions of history. In the first, we know the day but not 
the year; in the second, we know the year but not the day of the month on 
which Marshall picked up the first nuggets in the millrace at Coloma. 
For a number of years after the anniversary of Marshall's discovery be- 
gan to be observed, the 19th of January was celebrated. Of late years 
January 24th has been fixed upon as the correct date; but the Associated 
Pioneers of the Territorial Days of California, an association made up 
of men who were in the territory at the time of Marshall's discovery or 
came here before it became a State, object to the change. For nearly 
thirty years they have held their annual dinners on January 18, "the anni- 
versary of the discovery of gold at Sutter's sawmill, Coloma, Cal." This 
society has its headquarters in New York City. In a circular recently 
issued, disapproving of the change of date from the 18th to the 24th, the 
trustees of that society say: "Upon the organization of this society, Feb- 
ruary 11, 1875, it was decided to hold its annual dinners on the anniver- 
sary of the discovery of gold at Sutter's sawmill, Coloma, Cal. Through 
the Hon. Newton Booth, of the United States Senate, this information 
was sought, with the result of a communication from the secretary of the 
State of California to the effect that the archives of the State of Califor- 
nia recorded the date as of January 18, 1848. Some years ago this date 
was changed by the society at San Francisco to that of January 24, and 
that date has been adopted by other similar societies located upon the 
Pacific and Atlantic coasts. This society took the matter under advise- 
ment with the result that the new evidence upon which it was proposed to 
change the date was not deemed sufficient to justify this society in ignoring 
its past records, founded on the authority of the State of California; 
therefore it has never accepted the new date." 



70 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Marshall himself was uncertain about the exact date. At various 
times he gave three different dates, the 18th, 19th, and 20th, but never 
moved it along as far as the 24th. In the past thirty years three different 
dates, the 18th, 19th and 24th of January have been celebrated as the 
anniversary of Marshall's discovery. 

The evidence upon which the date was changed to the 24th is found 
in an entry in a diary kept by H. W. Bigler, a Mormon, who was working 
for Marshall on the millrace at the time gold was discovered. The en- 
try reads: "January 24. This day some kind of metal that looks like 
gold was found in the tailrace." On this authority about ten years ago 
the California Pioneers adopted the 24th as the correct date of discovery. 

While written records, especially if made at the time of the occurrence 
of the event, are more reliable than oral testimony given long after, yet 
when we take into consideration the conflicting stories of Sutter, Marshall, 
the Winners and others who were immediately concerned in some way 
with the discovery, we must concede that the Territorial Pioneers have 
good reasons to hesitate about making a change in the date of their anni- 
versary. In Dr. Trywhitt Brooks' "Four Months Among the Gold Find- 
ers," a book published in London in 1849, and long since out of print, we 
have Sutter's version of Marshall's discovery given only three months 
after that discovery was made. Dr. Brooks visited Sutter's Fort early in 
May, 1848, and received from Sutter himself the story of the find. Sutter 
stated that he was sitting in his room at the fort, one afternoon, when 
Marshall, whom he supposed to be at the mill, forty miles up the Amer- 
ican River, suddenly burst in upon him. Marshall was so wildly excited 
that Sutter, suspecting that he was crazy, looked to see whether his rifle 
was in reach. Marshall declared that he had made a discovery that 
would give them both millions and millions of dollars. Then he drew 
his sack and poured out a handful of nuggets on the table. Sutter, when 
he had tested the metal and found that it was gold, became almost as ex- 
cited as Marshall. He eagerly asked if the workmen at the mill knew of 
the discovery. Marshall declared that he had not spoken to a single per- 
son about it. They both agreed to keep it a secret. Next day Sutter and 
Marshall arrived at the sawmill. The day after their arrival, they pros- 
pected the bars of the river and the channels of some of the dry creeks 
and found gold in all. 

"On our return to the mill," says Sutter, "we were astonished by the 
work-people coming up to us in a body and showing us some flakes of 
gold similar to those we had ourselves procured. Marshall tried to 
laugh the matter off with them, and to persuade them that what they had 
found was only some shining mineral of trifling value; but one of the 
Indians, who had worked at a gold mine in the neighborhood of La Paz, 
Lower California, cried out: 'Oro! Oro' ('Gold! Gold!'), and the secret 
was out." 

Captain Sutter continues: "I heard afterward that one of them, a sly 
Kentuckian, had dogged us about and that, looking on the ground to see 
what we were in search of, he lighted on some of the flakes himself." 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 71 

If this account is correct, Bigler's entry in his diary was made on the 
day that the workmen found gold, which was five or six days after Mar- 
shall's first find, and consequently the 24th is that much too late for the 
true date of the discovery. The story of the discovery given in the "Life 
and Adventures of James W. Marshall," by George Frederick Parsons, 
differs materially from Sutter's account. The date of the discovery given 
in that book is January 19, 1848. Op the morning of that day Marshall, 
after shutting off the water, walked down the tailrace to see what sand 
and gravel had been removed during the night. (The water was turned 
into the tailrace during the night to cut it deeper.) While examining a 
mass of debris, "his eye caught the glitter of something that lay lodged 
in a crevice on a riffle of soft granite some six inches under water." Pick- 
ing up the nugget and examining it, he became satisfied that it must be 
one of three substances — mica, sulphurets of copper, or gold. Its weight 
satisfied him that it was not mica. Knowing that gold was malleable, he 
placed the specimen on a flat rock and struck it with another; it bent, but 
did not crack or break. He was satisfied that it was gold. He showed 
the nugget to his men. In the course of a few days he had collected 
several ounces of precious metal. Some four days after the discovery it 
became necessary for him to go below, for Sutter had failed to send a 
supply of provisions to the mill, and the men were on short commons. 
While on his way down he discovered gold in a ravine at a place after- 
wards known as Mormon Island. Arrived at the fort, he interviewed 
Sutter in his private office and showed him about three ounces of gold 
nuggets. Sutter did not believe it to be gold, but after weighing it in scales 
against $3.25 worth of silver, all the coin they could raise at the fort, 
and testing it with nitric acid obtained from the gun shop, Sutter became 
convinced and returned to the mill with Marshall. So little did the work- 
men at the mill value the discovery that they continued to work for 
Sutter until the mill was completed, March 11, six weeks after the nuggets 
were found in the tailrace. 

The news of the discovery spread slowly. It was two months in 
reaching San Francisco, although the distance is not over 125 miles. The 
great rush to the mines from San Francisco did not begin until the middle 
of May, nearly four months after the discovery. On the 10th of May, 
Dr. Brooks, who was in San Francisco, writes: "A number of people have 
actually started off with shovels, mattocks and pans to dig the gold them- 
selves. It is not likely, however, that this will, be allowed, for Captain 
Folsom has already written to Colonel Mason about taking possession of 
the mine on behalf of the government, it being, he says, on public land." 

As the people began to realize the richness and extent of the dis- 
covery, the excitement increased rapidly. May 17, Dr. Brooks writes: 
"This place (San Francisco) is now in a perfect furore of excitement; all 
the workpeople have struck. Walking through the town today, I observed 
that laborers were employed only upon about half a dozen of the fifty 
new buildings which were in course of being run up. The majority of 
the mechanics at this place are making preparations for moving off to the 



72 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

mines, and several people of all classes — lawyers, storekeepers, mer- 
chants, etc., are smitten with the fever; in fact, there is a regular gold 
mania springing up. I counted no less than eighteen houses which were 
closed, the owners having left. If Colonel Mason is moving a force to 
the American Fork, as is reported here, their journey will be in vain." 

Colonel Mason's soldiers moved without orders — they nearly all de- 
serted, and ran off to the mines. 

The first newspaper announcement of the discovery appeared in The 
Californian of March 15, 1848, nearly two months after the discovery. 
But little attention was paid to it. In the issue of April 19, another dis- 
covery is reported. The item reads: "New gold mine. It is stated that a 
new gold mine has been discovered on the American Fork of the Sacra- 
mento, supposed to be on the land of W. A. Leidesdorff, of this place. A 
specimen of the gold has been exhibited, and is represented to be very 
pure." On the 29th of May The Californian had suspended publication. 
"Othello's occupation is gone," wails the editor. "The majority of our 
subscribers and many of our advertising patrons have closed their door's 
and places of business and left town, and we have received one order af- 
ter another conveying the pleasant request that the printer will please 
stop my paper or my ad, as I am about leaving for Sacramento." 

The editor of the other paper, The California Star, made a pilgrim- 
age to the mines in the latter part of April, but gave them no extended 
write-up. "Great country, fine climate," he wrote on his return. "Full 
flowing streams, mighty timber, large crops, luxuriant clover, fragrant 
flowers, gold and silver," were his comments on what he saw. The policy 
of both papers seems to have been to ignore as much as possible the gold 
discovery. To give it publicity was for a time, at least, to lose their oc- 
cupation. 

In The Star of May 20, 1848, its eccentric editor, E. C. Kemble, un- 
der the caption "El Dorado Anew," discourses in a dubious manner upon 
the effects of the discovery and the extent of the gold fields : 

"A terrible visitant we have had of late. A fever which has well-nigh 
depopulated a town, a town hard pressing upon a thousand souls, and but 
for the gracious interposition of the elements, perhaps not a goose would 
have been spared to furnish a quill to pen the melancholy fate of the re- 
mainder. It has preyed upon defenseless old age, subdued the elasticity 
of careless youth and attacked indiscriminately sex and class, from town 
councilman to tow-frocked cartman, from tailor to tippler, of which, 
thank its pestilential powers, it has beneficially drained (of tipplers, we 
mean) every villainous pulperia in the place. 

"And this is the gold fever, the only form of that popular southerner, 
yellow jack, with which we can be alarmingly threatened. The insatiate 
maw of the monster, not appeased by the easy conquest of the rough-fist- 
ed yeomanry of the north, must needs ravage a healthy, prosperous place 
beyond his dominion and turn the town topsy-turvy in a twinkling. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 73 

"A fleet of launches left this place on Sunday and Monday last bound 
up the Sacramento River, close stowed with human beings, led by love of 
filthy lucre to the perennial yielding gold mines of the north. When any 
man can find two ounces a day and two thousand men can find their hands 
full, was there ever anything so superlatively silly? 

"Honestly, though, we are inclined to believe the reputed wealth of 
that section of the country, thirty miles in extent, all sham, as superb a 
take-in as was ever got up to guzzle the gullible. But it is not improbable 
that this mine, or, properly, placer of gold can be traced as far south as 
the city of Los Angeles, where the precious metal has been found for a 
number of years in the bed of a stream issuing from its mountains, said 
to be a continuation of this gold chain which courses southward from the 
base of the snowy mountains. But our best information respecting the 
metal and the quantity in which it is gathered varies much from many 
reports current, yet it is beyond a question that no richer mines of gold 
have ever been discovered upon this continent. 

"Should there be no paper forthcoming on Saturday next, our readers 
may assure themselves it will not be the fault of us individually. To 
make the matter public, already our devil has rebelled, our pressman 
(poor fellow) last seen was in search of a pickax, and we feel like Mr. 
Hamlet, we shall never again look upon the likes of him. Then, too, 
our compositors have, in defiance, sworn terrible oaths against type-stick- 
ing as vulgar and unfashionable. Hope has not yet fled us, but really, in 
the phraseology of the day, 'things is getting curious.' " 

And things kept getting more and more curious. The rush increased. 
The next issue of The Star (May 27) announces that "the Sacramento, 
a first-class craft, left here Thursday last thronged with passengers for 
the gold mines, a motly assemblage, composed of lawyers, merchants, 
grocers, carpenters, cartmen and cooks, all possessed with the desire of 
becoming rich. The latest accounts from the gold country are highly 
flattering. Over three hundred men are engaged in washing gold, and 
numbers are continually arriving from every part of the country." Then 
the editor closes with a wail: "Persons recently arrived from the country 
speak of ranches deserted and crops neglected and suffered to waste. 
The unhappy consequence of this state of affairs is easily foreseen." One 
more twinkle, and The Star disappeared in the gloom. On June 14 ap- 
peared a single sheet, the size of foolscap. The editor announced: "In 
lewer words than are usually employed in the announcement of similar 
events, we appear before the remnant of a reading community on this 
occasion with the material or immaterial information that we have 
stopped the paper, that its publication ceased with the last regular issue 
(June 7). On the approach of autumn, we shall again appear to announce 
The Star's redivivus. We have done. Let our parting word be hasta luego." 
Star and Californian reappeared November 14, 1848. The Star had ab- 
sorbed The Californian. E. C. Kemble was its editor and proprietor. 



74 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Although there was no paper in existence on the coast to spread the 
news from the gold fields, it found its way out of California, and the rush 
from abroad began. It did not acquire great force in 1848, but in 1849 
the immigration to California exceeded all previous migrations in the 
history of the race. 

Among the first foreigners to rush to the mines were the Mexicans 
of Sonora. Many of these had had some experience in placer mining in 
their native country, and the report of rich placers in California, where 
gold could be had for the picking up, aroused them from their lazy self- 
content and stimulated them to go in search of it. Traveling in squads of 
from fifty to one hundred, they came by the old Auza trail across the 
Colorado desert, through the San Gorgonio Pass, then up the coast and 
on to the mines. They were a job lot of immigrants, poor in purse and 
poor in brain. They were despised by the native Californians and mal- 
treated by the Americans. Their knowledge of mining came in play, and 
the more provident among them soon managed to pick up a few thousand 
dollars, and then returned to their homes, plutocrats. The improvident 
gambled away their earnings and remained in the country to add to its 
criminal element. The Oregonians came in force, and all the towns in 
California were almost depopulated of their male population. By the 
close of 1848, there were 10,000 men at work in the mines. 

The first official report of the discovery was sent to Washington by 
Thomas O. Larkin, June 1, and reached its destination about the middle 
of September. Lieutenant Beale, by way of Mexico, brought dispatches 
dated a month later, which arrived about the same time as Larkin's re- 
port. These accounts were published in the Eastern papers, and the ex- 
citement began. 

In the early part of December, Lieutenant Loeser arrived at Washing- 
ton with Governor Mason's report of his observations in the mines made 
in August. But the most positive evidence was a tea caddy of gold dust, 
containing about 230 ounces, that Governor Mason had caused to be 
purchased in the mines with money from the civil service fund. This the 
lieutenant had brought with him. It was placed on exhibition at the war 
office. Here was tangible evidence of the existence of gold in California, 
the doubters were silenced, and the excitement was on and the rush began. 

By the first of January, 1849, vessels were fitting out in every seaport 
on the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico. Sixty ships were announced 
to sail from New York in February and seventy from Philadelphia and 
Boston. All kinds of craft were pressed into the service, some to go by 
way of Cape Horn, others to land their passengers at Vera Cruz, Nica- 
ragua and Panama, the voyagers to take their chances on the Pacific side 
for a passage on some unknown vessel. 

With the opening of spring, the overland travel began. Forty thou- 
sand men gathered at different points on the Missouri River, but principally 
at St. Joseph and Independence. Horses, mules, oxen and cows were used 
for the propelling power of the various forms of vehicles that were to 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 75 

convey the provisions and other impedimenta of the army of gold seekers. 
By the first of May the grass was grown enough on the plains to furnish 
feed for the stock, and the vanguard of the grand army of gold hunters 
started. For two months, company after company left the rendezvous and 
joined the procession until for 1000 miles there was an almost unbroken 
line of wagons and pack trains. The first half of the journey was made 
with little inconvenience, but on the last part there were great suffering and 
loss of life. The cholera broke out among them, and it is estimated that 
5000 died on the plains. The alkali desert of the Humboldt was the 
place where the immigrants suffered most. Exhausted by the long journey 
and weakened by lack of food, many succumbed under the hardship of the 
desert journey and died. The crossing of the Sierras was attended with 
great hardships. From the loss of their horses and oxen, many were com- 
pelled to cross the mountains on foot. Their provisions exhausted, they 
would have perished but for relief sent out from California. The greatest 
sufferers were the women and children, who in considerable numbers made 
the perilous journey. 

The overland immigration of 1850 exceeded that of 1849. Accord- 
ing to the record kept at Fort Laramie, there passed that station during 
the season 39,000 men, 2500 women, and 600 children, making a total 
of 42,100. These immigrants had with them, when passing Fort Laramie, 
23,000 horses, 8000 mules, 3600 oxen, 7000 cows, and 9000 wagons. 

Besides those coming by the northern route, that is, by the South Pass 
and the Humboldt River, at least 10,000 found their way to the land of 
gold by the old Spanish trail, by the Gila route, and by Texas, Coahuila 
and Chihuahua into Arizona, and thence across the Colorado desert to 
Los Angeles, and from there by the coast route or the San Joaquin valley 
to the mines. 

The Pacific Mail Steamship Company had been organized before the 
discovery of gold in California. March 3, 1847, an act of Congress was 
passed authorizing the secretary of the navy to advertise for bids to carry 
the United States mails by one line of steamers between New York and 
Chagres, and by another line between Panama and Astoria, Ore. On the 
Atlantic side the contract called for five ships of 1500 tons burden; on the 
Pacific side, two of 1000 tons each, and one of 600 tons. These were 
deemed sufficient for the trade and travel between the Atlantic and Pa- 
cific coasts of the United States. The Pacific Mail Steamship Company 
was incorporated April 12, 1848, with a capital stock of $500,000. Oc- 
tober 6, 1848, the California, the first steamer for the Pacific, sailed from 
New York, and was followed in the two succeeding months by the Oregon 
and the Panama. The California sailed before the news of the gold dis- 
covery had reached New York, and she had taken no passengers. When 
she arrived at Panama, January 30, 1849, she encountered a rush of 1500 
gold hunters, clamorous for a passage. These had reached Chagres on 
sailing vessels, ascended the Chagres River in bongos or dugouts to Gor- 
gona, and traveled thence by land to Panama. The California had ac- 



76 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

commodations for only 100, but 400 managed to find some place to 
stow themselves away. The price of tickets rose to a fabulous sum, as high 
as $1000 having been paid for a steerage passage. The California en- 
tered the Bay of San Francisco February 28, 1849, and was greeted by 
the boom of cannon and the cheers of thousands of people lining the 
shores of the bay. The other two steamers arrived on time, and the Pa- 
cific Mail Steamship Company became the predominant factor in Cali- 
fornia travel for twenty years, or up to the completion of the first trans- 
continental railroad in 1869. The charges for fare on these steamers in 
the early fifties were prohibitory to men of small means. From New York 
to Chagres in the saloon the fare was $150; in the cabin, $120. From 
Panama to San Francisco in the saloon, $250; cabin, $200. Add to these 
the expense of crossing the isthmus, and the Argonaut was out a goodly 
sum when he reached the land of the golden fleece; indeed, he was often 
fleeced of his last dollar before he entered the Golden Gate. 

The first effect of the gold discovery on San Francisco, as we have 
seen, was to depopulate it, and of necessity suspend all building opera- 
tions. In less than three months the reaction began, and the city expe- 
rienced one of the most magical booms in history. Real estate doubled in 
some instances in twenty-four hours. The Californian of September 3, 
1848, says: "The vacant lot on the corner of Montgomery and Washing- 
ton Streets was offered the day previous for $5000 and the next day sold 
readily for $10,000." Lumber went up in value until it was sold at a 
dollar per square foot. Wages kept pace with the general advance. Six- 
teen dollars a day was a mechanic's wages, and the labor market was not 
overstocked even at these high rates. With the approach of winter, the 
gold seekers came flocking to the city to find shelter and to spend their 
suddenly acquired wealth. The latter was easily accomplished, but the 
former was more difficult. Any kind of a shelter that would keep out the 
rain was utilized for a dwelling. Rows of tents that circled around the 
business portion, shanties patched together from pieces of packing boxes, 
and sheds thatched with brush from the chaparral-covered hills constituted 
the principal dwellings at that time of the future metropolis of Califor- 
nia. The yield of the mines for 1848 has been estimated at $10,000,000. 
This was the result of only a few months' labor of not to exceed at any 
time 10,000 men. The rush of miners did not reach the mines until Julv, 
and mining operations were mainly suspended by the middle of October. 

New discoveries had followed in quick succession Marshall's find at 
Coloma until, by the close of 1848, gold placers had been located on all 
the principal tributaries of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. Some 
of the richest yields were obtained from what was known as "dry diggins." 
These were dry ravines from which pay dirt had to be packed to water for 
washing or the gold separated by dry washing, tossing the earth into the 
air until it was blown away by the wind, the gold, on account of its weight, 
remaining in the pan. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 77 

A correspondent of the Calif ornian, writing August 15, 1848, from 
what he designates as "Dry Diggins," gives this account of the richness 
of that gold field: "At the lower mines (Mormon Island) the miners 
count the success of the day in dollars; at the upper mines near the mill 
(Coloma), in ounces; and here, in pounds. The only instrument used at 
first was a butcher knife, and the demand for that article was so great 
that $40 has been refused for one. 

"The earth is taken out of the ravines which make out of the moun- 
tains and is carried in wagons or packed on horses from one to three miles 
to water and washed. Four hundred dollars is the average to the cart 
load. In one instance five loads yielded $16,000. Instances are known 
where men have carried the earth on their backs and collected from 
$800 to $1500 a day." . 

The rapidity with which the country was explored by prospectors was 
truly remarkable. The editor of the Californian, who had suspended the 
publication of his paper on May 29 to visit the mines, returned and re- 
sumed it on July 15 (1848). In an editorial in that issue he gives his ob- 
servations: "The country from the Ajuba (Yuba) to the San Joaquin 
Rivers, a distance of one hundred twenty miles, and from the base toward 
the summit of the mountains as far as Snow Hill, about seventy miles, has 
been explored, and gold found in every part. There are probably three 
thousand men, including Indians, engaged in collecting gold. The amount 
collected by each man who works ranges from $10 to $350 per day. The 
publisher of this paper, while on a tour alone to the mining district, col- 
lected, with the aid of a shovel, pick and pan, from $44 to $128 a day, 
averaging about $100. The largest piece of gold known to be found 
weighed four pounds." Among other remarkable yields the Californian 
reports these: "One man dug $12,000 in six days, and three others ob- 
tained thirty-six pounds of pure metal in one day." 

MAKING A STATE 

Col. R. B. Mason, who had been the military governor of California 
since the departure of General Kearny in May, 1847, had grown weary of 
his task. He had been in the military service of his country thirty years, 
and wished to be relieved. His request was granted, and on the 12th of 
April, 1849, Brevet Brigadier General Bennett Riley, his successor, ar- 
rived at Monterey and the next day entered upon his duties as civil gov- 
ernor. Gen. Persifer F. Smith, who had been appointed commander of 
the Pacific division of the United States army, arrived at San Francisco 
February 26, 1849, and relieved Colonel Mason of his military command. 
A brigade of troops 650 strong had been sent to California for military 
service on the border and to maintain order. Most of these promptly de- 
serted as soon as opportunity offered, and found their way to the mines. 

A year had passed since the treaty of peace with Mexico had been 
signed, which made California United States territory; but Congress had 
done nothing toward giving it a government. The people were becoming 



78 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

restive at the long delay. The Americanized Mexican laws and forms of 
government were unpopular, and it was humiliating to the conqueror to 
be governed by the laws of the people conquered. The question of calling 
a convention to form a provisional government was agitated by the news- 
papers and met a hearty response from the people. Meetings were held 
at San Jose, December 11, 1848; at San Francisco, December 21, and at 
Sacramento, January 6, 1849, to consider the question of establishing a 
provisional government. It was recommended by the San Jose meeting 
that a convention be held at that place on the second Monday of January. 
The San Francisco convention recommended the 5th of March; this the 
Monterey committee considered too early, as it would take the delegates 
from below fifteen days to reach the pueblo of San Jose. There was no 
regular mail and the roads in February (when the delegates would have 
to start) were impassable. The committee recommended May 1 as the 
earliest date for the meeting to consider the question of calling a con- 
vention. Sonoma, without waiting, took the initiative and elected ten 
delegates to a provisional government convention. There was no unanimity 
in regard to the time of meeting or as to what could be done if the con- 
vention met. It was finally agreed to postpone the time of meeting to the 
first Monday of August, when, if Congress had done nothing towards 
giving California some form of government better than that existing, the 
convention should meet and organize a provisional government. 

The confusion constantly arising from the attempt to carry on a gov- 
ernment that was semi-military and semi-Mexican induced Governor Riley 
to order an election to be held August 1, to elect delegates to a conven- 
tion to meet in Monterey September 1, 1849, to form a State constitution 
or Territorial organization to be ratified by the people and submitted to 
Congress for its approval. Judges, prefects and alcaldes were to be 
elected at the same time in the principal municipal districts. The constitu- 
tional convention was to consist of thirty-seven delegates. Instead of 
thirty-seven delegates, as called for, forty-eight were elected and seated'. 

Of the forty-eight delegates elected twenty-two were natives of the 
Northern States; fifteen of the Slave States; four were of foreign birth, 
and seven were native Californians. Several of the latter neither spoke 
nor understood the English language and William E. P. Hartnell was 
appointed interpreter. Dr. Robert Semple, of Bear Flag fame, was elected 
president; William G. Marcy and J. Ross Browne, reporters. 

Early in the session the slavery question was disposed of by the adop- 
tion of a section declaring that neither slavery or involuntary servitude, 
unless for the punishment of crimes, shall ever be tolerated in this State. 
The question of fixing the boundaries of the future State excited the most 
discussion. The present boundaries were established by a majority of two. 

A committee had been appointed to receive propositions and designs 
for a State seal. Only one design was offered. It was presented by Caleb 
Lyon of Lyondale, as he usually signed his name, but was drawn by Major 
Robert S. Garnett, an army officer. It contained a figure of Minerva in 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 79 

the foreground, a grizzly bear feeding on a bunch of grapes; a miner with 
an uplifted pick; a gold rocker and a pan; a view of the Golden Gate with 
ships riding at anchor in the Bay of San Francisco; the peaks of the Sierra 
Nevadas in the distance; a sheaf of wheat; thirty-one stars; and above all, 
the word "Eureka" (I have found it), which might apply either to the 
miner or the bear. The design seems to have been an attempt to adver- 
tise the resources of the State. General Vallejo wanted the bear taken 
out of the design, or if allowed to remain, that he be made fast by a lasso 
in the hands of a vaquero. This amendment was rejected, as was also one 
submitted by O. M. Wozencraft to strike out the figures of the gold dig- 
ger and the bear and introduce instead bales of merchandise and bags of 
gold. The original design was adopted with the addition of the words, 
"The Great Seal of the State of California." The convention voted to 
give Lyon $1000 as full compensation for engraving the seal and furnish- 
ing the press and all appendages. 

The constitution was completed on the 1 1th of October and an election 
was called by Governor Riley to be held on the 13th of November to vote 
upon the adoption of the constitution and to elect State officers, a legis- 
lature and members of Congress. 

At the election Peter H. Burnett, who had been quite active in urging 
the organization of a State government, was chosen Governor; John Mc- 
Dougall, lieutenant governor; and George W. Wright and Edward Gilbert, 
Members of Congress. San Jose had been designated by the constitutional 
convention the capital of the State pro tern. 

The people of San Jose had pledged themselves to provide a suitable 
building for the meeting of the legislature, in the hope that their town 
might be made the permanent capital. They were unable to complete the 
building designed for a State capital in time for the meeting. The un- 
comfortable quarters furnished created a great deal of dissatisfaction. 
The legislature consisted of sixteen Senators and thirty-six Assemblymen. 
There being no county organization, the members were elected by districts. 
The Senate and Assembly were organized on the 17th of December. 
The Governor and Lieutenant-governor were sworn in on the 20th. The 
State government being organized, the legislature elected John C. Fremont 
and William M. Gwin United State Senators. 

On the 22nd the legislature elected the remaining State officers, viz. : 
Richard Roman, treasurer; J. I. Houston, controller; E. J. C. Kewen, at- 
torney-general; Charles J. Whiting, surveyor-general; S. C. Hastings, chief 
justice; Henry Lyons and Nathaniel Bennett, associate justices. The 
legislature continued in session until April 22, 1850. Although it was 
nicknamed the "Legislature of a Thousand Drinks," it did a vast amount 
of work and did most of it well. It was not made up of hard drinkers. 
The majority of its members were above the average legislator in intelli- 
gence, temperance and patriotism. The members were not there for pay 
of for political preferment. They were there for the good of their adopted 
State and labored conscientiously for its benefit. 



80 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The State had set up housekeeping without a cent on hand to defray 
expenses. There was not a quire of paper, a pen, nor an inkstand belonging 
to the State, and no money to buy supplies. After wrestling with the 
financial problem some time, an act authorizing a loan of $200,000 for 
current expenses was passed. Later on in the session another act was 
passed authorizing the bonding of the State for $300,000 with interest at 
the rate of three per cent a month. The legislature divided the State into 
twenty-seven counties, created nine judicial districts, passed laws for the 
collection of revenue, taxing all real and personal property and imposing 
a poll tax of $5 on all male inhabitants over twenty-one and under fifty 
years of age. 

California was a self-constituted State. It had organized a State 
government and put it into successful operation without the sanction of 
Congress. Officials, State, county and town, had been elected and had 
sworn to support the constitution of the State of California, and yet there 
was really no State of California. It had not been admitted into the Union. 

On August 13th the bill for the admission of California finally came 
to a vote. It passed the Senate, thirty-four ayes to eighteen noes. In 
the House the bill passed by a vote of 150 ayes to fifty-six ultra Southern 
noes. It was approved and signed by President Fillmore September 9, 
1850. On the 11th of September the California Senators and Congress- 
men presented themselves to be sworn in. 

The news of the admission of California reached San Francisco on 
the morning of October 18, by the mail steamer Oregon, nearly six weeks 
after Congress had admitted it. Business was at once suspended, the courts 
were adjourned, and the people went wild with excitement. Messengers, 
mounted on fleet steeds, spread the news throughout the State. News- 
papers from the States containing an account of the proceedings of Con- 
gress at the time of admission sold for $5 each. It was decided to hold 
a formal celebration of the event on the 29th and preparations were begun 
for a grand demonstration. 

At the plaza a flag of thirty-one stars was raised to the mast head. 
An oration was delivered by Judge Nathaniel Bennett, and Mrs. Wills 
recited an original ode of her own composition. The rejoicing over, the 
people settled down to business. Their unprecedented action in organizing 
a State government and putting it into operation without the sanction of 
Congress had been approved and legalized by that body. 

Like the Goddess Minerva, represented on its great seal, who sprung 
full-grown from the brain of Jupiter, California was born a fully matured 
State. She passed through no territorial probation. No State had such a 
phenomenal growth in its infancy. No State before or since has met with 
such bitter opposition when it sought admission into the family of States. 
Never before was there such a medley of nationalities — Yankees, Mex- 
icans, English, Germans, French, Spaniards, Peruvians, Polynesians, Mon- 
golians — organized into a State and made a part of the body politic 
nolens volens. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 



CHAPTER II 

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY: GENERAL FEATURES 

Contra Costa County will some day be called the "Hub" of California; 
and rightly so, for its strategic location at the crossing of the trade routes 
from the fertile valleys of the interior of the State, and from the great 
Northwest, where the captains of commerce meet and barter with the rest 
of the world, will in the near future, much more than in the past, compel 
the recognition of its peculiar and paramount advantages. 

In writing about the county, the difficulty lies not so much in finding 
topics for discussion as in selecting among so multitudinous and so varied 
an array of facts those which will give a clear and distinct appreciation of 
the region as a whole, without overcrowding and confusing the understand- 
ing. The writer has had an intimate acquaintance with nearly every county 
in the State for over a quarter of a century, during which time a careful 
study has been made of each for the purpose of describing and illustrating 
its advantages. While recognizing the varied claims of the different 
sections of our State, this one for climate, that one for scenery, another 
for wealth of lumber, or mineral resources, and others for specialized hor- 
ticultural, viticultural or agricultural opportunities, about which ample 
volumes might be written with justice to each, yet the writer feels that no- 
where else in California is there to be found such a gathering together 
of material advantages, such manifold chances for advancement, such 
fertility of soil, balminess of climate, and beauty of scenery; nor such 
large-hearted hospitality of the people, linked with kindred social graces 
and a wide-awake spirit of business enterprise which, at last awakened, is 
now welcoming the coming of the new day of larger undertakings, of wider 
views, and of broader developments. Ours then be the pleasant task of 
recording a few of the reasons why there has gatherd within the confines 
of Contra Costa County, one of the smaller among the fifty-eight counties 
of the State, a population of some 60,000 of the most alert, open-eyed and 
far-seeing of its people. 

ADVANTAGES OF LOCATION 

Contra Costa County contains 877 square miles of territory, or, to be 
more exact, 561,873 acres of land, over three-fourths of which is cultivated, 
and the balance utilized for grazing and pasturage. It is situated almost 
midway between the north and south boundaries of the State, and near the 
western border and the Pacific Ocean, being thus placed by nature at the 
very center of things. The southwestern end of the county is within 
seven miles in an air line of the Coast's great metropolis, San Francisco. 
Then right adjoining are the growing cities of Oakland and Berkeley, with 



82 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

almost a quarter of a million inhabitants, who are surging across the 
county line in throngs and rapidly building up the interval between the 
confines of Berkeley and Richmond, the banner city of the county, which 
possesses the brightest future of any of the towns that front on San 
Francisco Bay. 

The Water Front 

Beginning at Richmond, whose southern eminences are but eight miles 
across the water from San Francisco, is the first deep water adjacent to that 
city, and the beginning of what is probably the most incomparably valuable 
asset of the county, a water front of seventy miles extent, comprising by far 
the greatest amount of deep-water frontage on the Bay. Already this cir- 
cumstance has been taken advantage of by many manufacturing establish- 
ments in various parts of the country. 

Fresh Water Anchorage 

An item of especial interest in regard to this water front is the fact 
that in the upper portions, stretching from the Carquinez Straits, in 
increasing ratio, to Antioch and the eastern end of the county, on the San 
Joaquin River and its tributary channels, the waters are fresh, and as a 
consequence afford a cheap and easy means for ocean-going vessels to get 
rid of barnacles and other salt-water growths, which die in the fresh water 
and drop off, leaving the vessel's bottom clear, thereby saving the expense 
and delay of being dry-docked and scraped. 

Most Valuable River Traffic 

The traffic of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers through the Delta 
District of Contra Costa County amounts to $108,000,000 annually, a 
larger traffic than that of any other river in the United States. Of this 
vast sum, $52,000,000 originates in the Delta, the remainder coming from 
points farther inland. 

Included in the Delta are 525,000 acres — a small empire — where 
enterprising farmers and horticulturists are annually producing millions 
of dollars' worth of field and orchard products for the world's food supply. 

Many companies receive their raw material by boat and ship out the 
manufactured product by steamer and rail. The main lines of the Southern 
Pacific, the Santa Fe, and the Sacramento-San Francisco Railroads traverse 
the county, the first two having tracks that follow the coast line, reaching 
all industrial centers. 

There is regular ferry boat service from Contra Costa points. The 
largest ferry boat in the world plies between Port Costa and Benicia, carry- 
ing trains as well as passengers. 

River shipping is another transportation convenience. Three hundred 
miles of navigable rivers terminate on the Contra Costa water front, 
placing a wide and prosperous interior within easy access of the shipper. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 83 

Fine System of Highways 

The system of highways makes motor transportation to all parts of the 
county possible. Three transcontinental highways pass through Contra 
Costa County. 

The county is the pioneer of the double track concrete highway, which 
adds comfort to motoring and makes collision accidents practically 
impossible. 

A road test recently conducted in Contra Costa County by scientific 
experts was watched by road engineers from all over the country, who were 
interested in discovering the most durable materials and construction for 
heavy-traffic highways. 

Auto trucks and stage lines offer convenient service when it is needed. 
It is a down hill haul from practically all the State to the Contra Costa 
water front. 

Unsurpassed Climate 

Contra Costa owes its favorable climate to its position and topography. 
Situated between the Golden Gate and the great San Joaquin Valley, it 
escapes the chill and fog that so often visit the former, and the high dry 
heat of the interior. The Contra Costa range of hills protects the county 
from the direct force of the constant trade winds, whose force proves 
unpleasant to all but the most rugged and robust. Deflected by this range, 
these winds blow up San Pablo Bay and, striking the northern shore of 
the Carquinez Straits, sweep eastward into the vast interior valleys. As a 
consequence, Contra Costa County receives the benefit of their cooling in- 
fluence without being subjected to the effects of their direct onslaught. The 
mean annual temperature, determined by observations extending over many 
years, ranges from 52 to 60 degrees, except in the eastern portion, where 
the average is from 60 to 68 degrees. Winter frosts are rare, and are light 
and of short duration. 

Droughts are unknown in Contra Costa County; the abundant winter 
rains, the absence of the intense evaporating heat of the interior, and the 
ozone and moisture-laden breezes from the ocean furnish abundant sup- 
plies of watery vapor for all forms of vegetation, without the use of irri- 
gation. 

Of course there are variations in the different sections of the county. 
The extreme western valleys fronting on San Francisco and San Pablo 
Bays are cooler and moister than the eastern, but both are equally well 
fitted, with some minor exceptions, for all classes of agriculture. 

EASTERN CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The eastern end of Contra Costa County is an empire of itself, a land 
of perennial richness and inexhaustible fertility. Its topography is varied. 
Along the northern and eastern portions, which lie on the San Joaquin and 
its channels, there is a level plain, which continues for its whole eastern 
face, fronted by a large area of tule delta lands, intersected by many 



84 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

creeks and sloughs. Its center, south and west, is extremely hilly, with 
fertile valleys lying between the ridges, while the canyons, through which 
flow smiling streams, gamboling on their way to the rivers, are shaded 
with a variety of fine trees and woods. 

Lying in the northern foothills of Mount Diablo is the coal-producing 
region. From the mines opened here much mineral wealth has been 
extracted. 

The plain lands of this section were formerly one of the most re- 
markable wheat and hay-raising districts of the State, but were partially 
cropped out. While hay is still a staple, the great reliance of this region 
is fruit, thousands of acres of which are just coming into bearing. These 
plains are in fact the commencement of the great valley of the San Joaquin, 
a country most fair to look upon. In time to come, when subdivided and 
intensively cultivated, these lands will, where properly watered, bear won- 
derful crops of grain, fruit, vegetables and other farm produce. 

The Rich Valleys 

Back of this plain land open up the smaller valleys, the chief of which 
are the Marsh, the Briones, and the Deer Creek valleys. These valleys 
are now largely devoted to general farming, fruit and the cultivation of 
grapes. There is here much deep alluvial soil, on the hills as well as in 
the valleys, and also many broad acres of that reddish soil, impregnated 
with minerals, which makes such wonderful land for grapes and fruits. 
From Antioch east there is a region where table grapes are a very prof- 
itable crop. 

The Sandy Lands 

There is a strange region lying between Oakley and Brentwood. The 
soil is sandy and was originally covered with chaparral and scrub oak. 
Useless land, said many men who tried to farm it and made a failure. 
About 1887, however, James O'Hara came to the region. He bought 
some of this land and was laughed at. But he had ideas. He planted 
fruit trees on this sandy land and in doing so transformed the region. 
Nowhere else does the fruit ripen so early or prove so sure a crop. 

The Tule Lands 

The tule lands are the wonder of the world. As fertile as the dyked 
lands of Holland and as inexhaustible as the plains which receive the an- 
nual floods of the Nile, there is nothing that they will not grow. Barley, 
potatoes, beans, onions, vegetables fit to grace the tables of kings, are 
grown, often two crops in the year, and especially asparagus and celery. 
Fruit trees grow here too, and bear amazing crops, but vegetables pay 
better and bigger returns. 

Dairying 

Dairying is another industry that is coming rapidly to the front, and is 
yielding splendid returns for the investment. The milk and cream are 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 85 

usually sent to the cities, where there is a great demand. A sign of the 
times is the fact that these are all "sanitary" dairies, where especial pre- 
caution is taken to insure absolute cleanliness in every department. 

MOUNT DIABLO 

This mountain is a distinctive possession of our county. Lying very 
near the geographical center, it seems almost the pivot about which swings 
every interest of the region and, in a sense, of the whole middle and north- 
ern portions of the State. Its singularly commanding position makes it 
the observed of all observers, and its beauty, both of contour and of sur- 
roundings, deepens its charm on closer acquaintance. 

About it gather most of the traditions of the Indian aborigines, to 
whom it was a terror-striking divinity, loved or feared according to its 
brighter or more threatening mood; and associated with it are many in- 
cidents of special historic interest. The Indians called the mountain 
"Pupunia," and often took shelter in its many caves. 

Says the San Francisco Examiner : 

"The country . . . dominated by Diablo was first revealed to white 
men on March 20, 1772, when Capt. Don Pedro Fagis, Fray Juan Crespi, 
twelve leatherjackets (soldiers), a muleteer, and a Lower Californian 
Indian, attending the pack train, set out from Monterey to reach the old 
Port of San Francisco. The old Port of San Francisco had been variously 
described by Drake ( 1579) , Cermenon ( 1597) , Carbrera Bueno (1734), 
Caspar de Portola (1769). But the Bay of San Francisco, as we today 
know it, had not been seen by white men until Portola's soldiers fell upon 
its southern arm in 1769. It was not until 1775 that the old name was 
transferred from the old Port of San Francisco (Drake's Bay) to the 
present Bay of San Francisco. 

"On Friday, March 27th, with wondering eyes the motley band of 
Spaniards beheld for the first time the Golden Gate (it was not so named 
until 1848). 

"On their march over San Antonio Valley, now Alameda and Oakland, 
great herds of deer, antelope and elk were encountered, and bear were 
daily camp visitors. In the evening smoke arose from hundreds of In- 
dian campfires among the oaks, a picture hard to reconcile with the noisy 
cities of today. Continuing on over the Richmond hills, following the line 
of least resistance, they traveled over what is practically the route of the 
popular boulevard skirting the base of Mount Diablo. 

"Fray Crespi gave a detailed account of the fertile country over which 
the party traveled and tells with much disappointment of encountering, 
after so long and tedious a journey, a body of water (Carquinez Straits), 
which prevented their going forward to Point Reyes (old Port San 
Francisco). 

"A conference was held among the little band, and to push forward 
meant building boats; so the project was abandoned. On the return trip 
they crossed the present site of Antioch, going eastward along the south- 



86 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

ern shores of Suisun Bay to a point just north of Diablo. From these hills 
Captain Fagis and Fray Crespi beheld before them the great rivers of the 
great central valleys, and Fagis named the nearest one the San Joaquin. 

"Thus, to that expedition of 1772 stands the credit of discovering the 
Golden Gate and the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers; the naming of 
the dominating landmark, Mount Diablo; and acquainting the world with 
the splendid region on the eastern shore which Fray Palou calls 'Great 
Sea of the Mediterranean'." 

A legend of Mount Diablo runs as follows: 

There was once a time when there were no human inhabitants in Cali- 
fornia. There were two spirits, one evil and the other good. They made 
war on each other, and the good spirit overcame the evil one. At that 
period the entire face of the country was covered with water, except two 
islands, one being Mount Diablo and the other Eagle Point on the north. 
There was a coyote on the peak, the only living thing there. One day the 
coyote saw a feather floating on the water. As it reached the island it 
turned into an eagle, which flew upon the mountain. The coyote was 
pleased with his new companion; dwelling in harmony together, they'made 
occasional excursions to the other island, the coyote swimming and the 
eagle flying. 

After some time they counseled together and concluded to make In- 
dians, and as the Indians increased the water decreased, until where the 
water had been there was now dry land. 

At that time, what is now known as the Golden Gate was a continuous 
chain of mountains, so it was possible to go from one side to the other 
without getting wet. Then there were only two outlets for all the waters 
on this side of the Sierras, the Russian River and the San Juan at Pajaro. 
A great earthquake later severed the chain of mountains and formed the 
Golden Gate. Then the waters of the ocean and Bay mingled and it was 
not long before the "pale face," or white man, found his way into Califor- 
nia; and so as the waters decreased at the coming of the Indian, so have 
the Indians decreased at the coming of the white man, until the war- 
whoop is heard no more and the council fire is no more lighted. The In- 
dians, like shadows, have passed silently away from the land of the coyote 
and the eagle. 

The following legend of the naming of Mount Diablo is told by Gen- 
eral Vallejo: 

"In 1806 a military expedition from San Francisco marched against 
the tribe 'Bolgones,' who were encamped at the foot of the mountain. 
The Indians were prepared to receive the expedition, and a hot engage- 
ment ensued in the hollow fronting the western side. As the victory was 
about to be decided in favor of the Indians, an unknown personage, dec- 
orated with the most extraordinary plumage, and making divers move- 
ments, suddenly appeared near the combatants. The Indians were vic- 
torious and the incognito (Puy) departed towards the mountain. The 
defeated soldiers, on learning that the spirit went through the same cere- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 87 

mony daily and at all hours, named the mountain Diablo, in allusion to its 
mysterious inhabitant, who continued to make his appearance until the 
tribe was subdued by troops in command of Lieut. Gabriel Moraga, in a 
second campaign of the same year. In the Indian tongue, Puy means evil 
spirit; in Spanish, it means Diablo; in Anglo-American, Devil." 

The mountain is also said to take its name from a phenomenon wit- 
nessed amongst its gorges at a time when Indians were numerous. The 
story runs thus: Once, in an expedition against horse-thief tribes, who in- 
habited the valley as far down as the base of the mountain, the native 
Californians came up with a party of freebooters laden with spoils of a 
hunt, and immediately gave chase, driving them up the steep defiles which 
form the ascent of the mountain on one side. Elated with the prospect 
of securing and meting out punishment to the robbers, they were pressing 
hard after them, when from a cavernous opening in their path there issued 
forth such fierce flames, accompanied by so terrible a roaring, that, think- 
ing themselves within a riata's throw of the principal entrance to his in- 
fernal majesty's summer palace, the astonished rancheros forgot their hos- 
tile errand and, turning tail, went down the mountain faster than they 
went up. On reciting their adventure to their fellow ranchers, it was 
agreed that the Devil and his chief steward had fixed their abode in the 
mountain; and so they named it Mount Diablo. 

The mountain itself is one of the most conspicuous and best-known 
landmarks in California, and as such was naturally selected as the basis 
of the survey systems of the State this side of the Tehachapi. It is not 
its great elevation which has given it its preeminence, for other peaks in 
the Coast Range are higher. Its height is only 3896 feet. But it is com- 
paratively isolated and towers grandly up from the level of the sea al- 
most unimpeded by foothills, save some on the south and west, where it 
is somewhat dwarfed. Its symmetry and its grandeur, its fine double sum- 
mit and conical outline, all make it a mountain among mountains and the 
natural point of departure for eye and measurement. 

From its summit there is spread a view that seems illimitable. The 
eye ranges over an extent of 400 miles from north to south, and to the 
east over the whole extent of the Sacramento-San Joaquin basin. Shasta 
and Lassen Buttes are visible in clear weather to the north, and to the 
south the vast uplift which culminates in Mt. Whitney. To the west, all 
that great tumble of ridges and valleys that make up the Coast Range, 
and even the streets of San Francisco, through a good glass, and beyond, 
the Pacific Ocean, are visible — truly a noble prospect. It is estimated that 
this comprehensive view embraces an area of 40,000 square miles and 
that of as interesting a country as lies anywhere under the sun and stars. 
Mount Diablo is worthy of a pilgrimage around the world to see. 

Mount Diablo Scenic Boulevard, which winds through the Mount 
Diablo Estate, was built in 1916 by R. N. Burgess and associates. Its 
total length is twenty-three miles, in its two branches that run through the 
Mount Diablo Country Club and to Walnut Creek. The climb rises 3849 



88 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

feet, with a seven per cent to eight per cent grade. The features are the 
Garden of Jungle Gods (giant freak rocks) and Devil's Slide. From 
the top of Mount Diablo, in favorable weather, can be seen the State's 
heart north and south, and the entire range of the Sierra Nevadas. 

On October 25, 1926, in the presence of a large throng on the sum- 
mit of Mt. Diablo, Glenn B. Ashcroft of Alameda, president of the So- 
ciety of Engineers of San Francisco, dedicated the northerly pinnacle to the 
memory of Colonel Leander Ransome, pioneer engineer, who in 1851 es- 
tablished that point as the base meridian for all surveys in California. 

The Mount Diablo Estate of 10,000 acres belongs to the Mount 
Diablo Park Club and to Mount Diablo Park, which is open to guests 
and members. This organization grew out of the Oakwood Park Stock 
Farm owned by Seth Cook, a retired miner and horseman. He was a 
royal entertainer and had a race course of his own, with a row of euca- 
lyptus trees all around the track. It is now owned by the Country Club 
as a community farm of forty acres, with Diablo the business center of 
the community. 

VALLEYS IN CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The chief valleys in the county are known as the Alhambra, Pacheco, 
Ygnacio, Clayton and San Ramon. These actually constitute one valley, 
however, and are continuous for almost thirty miles, varying in width 
from one-half mile to fifteen miles. There are smaller separate valleys, 
known as Stone, Lone Tree, Pinole, Rodeo, Franklin and Briones, all well 
watered by running streams. In the eastern part of the county begins the 
great San Joaquin Valley, with an average width in Contra Costa County 
of twenty miles, and with a beautiful stretch of country sloping from 
Mount Diablo to the San Joaquin River. 

Ygnacio Valley lies at the foot of Mount Diablo on the northwest, and 
reaches to the Sacramento River and Suisun Bay. Walnut Creek flows 
through this valley. 

Diablo Valley is separated from Ygnacio Valley by Lime Ridge, and 
extends southeasterly. It contains about fifty square miles of arable land 
and is drained by a small creek which has its source in the ridge. 

Stone Valley is a small valley east of and adjoining San Ramon. 

Pacheco Valley lies on the northern side of Mount Diablo and extends 
to Suisun Bay. It is a central valley of the county and is six miles wide by 
fifteen miles in length. It merges into Ygnacio Valley and is watered by 
Walnut Creek. Mount Diablo Creek drains the eastern portion and, ad- 
joining Walnut Creek, empties into Suisun Bay. 

San Ramon Valley extends towards the south and merges with Liver- 
more Valley in Alameda County. It is about one mile wide and twelve 
miles long, with Contra Costa hills on one side and on the other the spurs 
and foothills of Mount Diablo. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 89 

Alhambra Valley lies to the south of Martinez, where it opens up to 
Carquinez Straits, and is about six miles long and one mile wide. The 
famous Alhambra Mineral Springs are in this valley. 

Franklin Valley, better known as Franklin Canyon, is a spur of Al- 
hambra Valley and runs back into the Contra Costa hills about three 
miles. It is one of the show places along the Santa Fe Railroad. 

San Pablo Valley, one of the largest in the county, faces San Francisco 
Bay and contains about 18,000 acres of land. 

Briones, Pinole and Rodeo are smaller valleys that extend back into 
the hills. Deer Creek Valley is in the eastern part of the county. 

Tassajara Valley 

This extensive valley lies on the southeastern slopes of Mount Diablo, 
and is a beautiful region of more or less high ridges and large expanses. 
It is a land of cattle ranges and dairy farming, although much grain and 
hay are also grown. 

This section is somewhat cut off from the rest of the county, and as a 
consequence much of the business of the region gravitates to Livermore 
and Pleasanton, nearby towns in Alameda County. It is a rich country, 
possessing resources of immense potential value. 

This valley was settled by many Irish ranchers and is a grain-raising 
locality. Abner Pearson was one of the first American settlers. Then 
came Gillette Brothers in 1851 ; they raised the first grain in 1852. Mark 
Elliott, Wilson Coats, and Levi Maxey were also among the pioneers. 
Philip Mendenhall was a large property owner in the valley, as is also 
Thomas Carneal. There has been but little advancement made beyond 
grain-raising, although some fruit is being raised at this writing. 

San Ramon Valley 

. The largest, the richest in natural resources, and one of the mosi 
favored valleys for the country homes of San Franciscans and other city 
dwellers is the San Ramon. It stretches from the waters of the Sacra- 
mento River at Suisun Bay to the southern extremity of the county, and 
ranges in width from fifteen miles in its lower part to a mile or less in 
some parts of its upper reaches. It possesses every variety of soil, and 
taken all in all, is considered one of the richest and most beautiful pieces 
of land in the State. 

In point of scenic beauty, it is unsurpassed. On one side is the Contra 
Costa range, a rare aggregation of beautiful peaks and slopes, grand 
heights and deep, dark canyons, that present a kaleidoscope of changing 
loveliness with the procession of the seasons. 

On the other side is Mount Diablo and its wonders, bright and glad 
when the sun shines bright, sombre and forbidding when shrouded with 
storm' clouds, beautiful always. 

San Ramon has many tributary valleys. In the early times San Ramon 
was a famous cattle country. 



90 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

It is a region where horses and other animals thrive well. Some of 
the fastest and best horses in the country have been raised in this valley 
— horses that have carried off the biggest money. 

But now-a-days fruit orchards, grape vineyards and intensive cultiva- 
tion are coming to the fore. 

Dairy farming, likewise, is an expanding industry and very profitable. 
People are adding to their herds every day, and prosperity is visible on 
every hand. 

In San Ramon Valley are some of the most beautiful country homes 
in the West, where art and nature vie with each other to create a charmed 
environment. 

Alhambra Valley 

Contra Costa County may be called a Jewel Box, containing gems 
of value, all beautiful, all brilliant, all blessed with perennial virtue, but 
of different qualities and possessing an endless variety of settings. Among 
these Alhambra shines with brightest luster, every acre of its length pre- 
senting a charm to sight and memory. 

Alhambra Valley is all the lovelier because it is small. It is only five 
miles in length, and is nowhere more than a mile wide. The mountains 
crowd up close on every side. Trees crown their eminences often, and 
mark the course of their canyons; great oaks dot the landscape. The soil 
of the bottom lands is the richest loamy mold, and bears bumper crops. 
The hillsides have lighter, more pliable soils, which for some kinds of 
vines and trees are unexcelled. El Hambre Creek flows down through 
the valley. 

On a knoll in the lower part of this valley John Muir, the famous na- 
turalist and lover of the Sierras, made his home; and John Swett, premier 
educator of the State, also selected this valley for his home. 

The famous Alhambra water, which is bottled at Martinez and shipped 
over the world, comes from copious springs about a mile below the 
head of the valley. It is piped to the bottling depot at Martinez. 

Alhambra is the nearest valley to the city of Martinez, which in fact is 
built in its mouth. The Santa Fe railway crosses it, a mile or so up, over a 
viaduct that has been admired for its elegant and substantial construction. 

Ygnacio Valley 

This fertile valley has been aptly styled the Dreamland of California, 
the soil of this valley, which lies at the northwestern foot of Mount 
Diablo, is of that peculiarly rich, dark loam which has always been found 
the very best for fruits of every kind. There are large orchards here of 
pears, prunes, peaches, almonds, apricots and walnuts which yield unfailing 
crops. Where the valley has not been transformed into orchard and vine- 
yard, it is still dotted with the great oaks that beautify so much of the 
county. Beautiful estates cover the whole area of this valley — the homes, 
most of them, of wealthy people who spend a portion of the year, at least, 
away from the distractions of the cities and the cares of business. 




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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 91 



CHAPTER III 

EARLY COUNTY HISTORY 

On December 15, 1849, an act was signed dividing the State into 
counties. It was passed on February 18, 1850, and confirmed on April 
25, 1850. 

The original boundary of Contra Costa (Opposite Coast) County 
was as follows: Beginning at the mouth of Alameda Creek and running 
northeasterly to the middle of the Bay of San Francisco; thence north or 
northwest following as near the middle of the bay as possible, to the 
Straits of San Pablo; thence up the middle of the straits to Suisun Bay 
and up the middle of said bay to the mouth of the San Joaquin River; 
thence, following up the middle of said river, to a place known as Pesca- 
dero or Lower Crossing; thence in a direct line to the northeast corner of 
Santa Clara County, which is on the summit of the Coast Range, near 
the source of Alameda Creek; thence down the middle of said creek to 
its mouth, the place of beginning, including the islands of San Pablo, Core- 
acas and Tesoro. The county seat to be at Martinez. 

On March 25, 1853, an act was passed by the legislature creating 
Alameda County from the south portion of Contra Costa County, and a 
part of Santa Clara County. 

The present boundary of Contra Costa County was then established, 
viz. : Beginning at the Bay of San Francisco at the northwest point of Red 
Rock, being the common corner of Marin, Contra Costa and San Fran- 
cisco Counties, as established in Section 3950 of the Political Code of the 
State of California; thence up the straits and Bay of San Pablo, on the 
eastern boundary of Marin, to the point of intersection with the line 
bearing south 26 J^ degrees east, about 6j4 miles from the southwest 
corner of Napa County as established in Section 3958, Political Code, 
forming the common corner of Marin, Solano, Sonoma and Contra Costa 
Counties as established in Section 3955; thence to Carquinez Straits; 
thence up said straits and Suisun Bay to the mouth of San Joaquin River; 
thence up said river to confluence of the west and main channels thereof, 
as laid down in Gibbe's map; thence up west channel to a point about ten 
miles below Moore & Rhodes' ranch, at a bend where said channel, run- 
ning downward, takes a general course north, the ^ame being on the west 
line of San Joaquin County and forming the northeast corner of Alameda 
County and southeast corner of Contra Costa County; thence on the 
north line of Alameda County, as laid down in Higley's map and estab- 
lished in Section 3953, to the easterly line of San Francisco City and 



92 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

County, as established in Section 3950; thence due northwest along the 
easterly line of San Francisco, A]/ 2 miles, more or less, to place of begin- 
ning. The county seat to be at Martinez. 

On May 13, 1850, by order of County Judge E. M. Warmcastle, the 
court of sessions convened at Martinez. There were present Judge Warm- 
castle; Absolom Peak and Edward G. Guest, associate justices; T. A. 
Brown, county clerk, and N. Jones, sheriff. It was ordered that there be 
assessed and collected for ordinary county expenditure from the real and 
personal property taxable by law to the amount of twenty-five cents on 
each $100; and that in the same manner a like sum should be levied for 
constructing public buildings for use of the county. The county clerk was 
ordered to procure a suitable building for location of the court house and 
clerk's office, to fit up same, and supply all necessary books and stationery. 
A State poll tax of $2.50 was made collectible from those whom the law 
required to pay it. On June 3, the county clerk was ordered to receive 
sealed proposals for the erection of a jail. On July 20, certain accounts for 
labor performed on temporary buildings were allowed. A sum not to ex- 
ceed $50 was also allowed to procure an official seal. 

On August 17 the following licenses were levied: To vend goods, 
wares, merchandise, with a capital of $5000 or less, $20 per year. To 
vend spirituous, malt and fermented liquors in less quantities than one 
pint, $50 per year. 

An application was made and a license granted Oliver C. Coffin to 
establish a ferry between Martinez and Benicia upon his filing a $2000 
bond. Fares limited by the court: Each man, $1; each man and horse, 
$2.50; each single horse or mule, $2; each wagon, $5; each carriage, $4; 
each head of sheep or hogs, etc., 50 cents. , 

On May 11, 1852, the court of sessions ordered one-half of the reve- 
nue collected for county purposes, fixed for the year at fifty cents on $100, 
should be set apart as a public building fund; also a call for bids to build 
a court house in court house square, Martinez. The latter was recalled 
by the supervisors on August 10. 

On May 3, a board of supervisors was created for the county; an 
election was held on June 14, 1852, and William Patten, S. H. Robinson, 
Victor Castro, R. Farrelly, and T. J. Keefer were elected. Patten was 
chosen chairman. On July 5 committees were duly appointed and matters 
arranged for the full organization of the board, who at once assumed the 
reins of civil government. Their earliest order was the laying out of a 
road between Oakland and San Pablo. 

In 1854, L. R. Townsend submitted plans; and H. J. Childers & C. 
Chipman a bid to build a court house for $27,000, which was accepted. 
The site chosen was on, a hill fronting the bay, Lot 4, Block 2, Martinez. 

On March 20, 1855, the county clerk, assessor and surveyor divided 
the county into three districts. On April 30 an election was called to 
choose a supervisor for each district. John H. Livingston was elected in 
the first district; L. E. Morgan in No. 2; and W. JR. Bishop, in No. 3. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 93 

For the first fiscal year, 1850-1851, the assessed valuation of land 
within the boundaries of the county, as at present defined, was $408,756; 
value of improvements, $10,225; personal property, $237,266; total, 
$656,247. In 1875-1876 the assessed valuation of land had increased 
to $4,593,910; improvements, $522,973 ; personal property, $1,820,480. 
Value of town lots, $139,426; improvements, $211,448. Total valuation 
of property, $7,368,312. 

In 1853, according to the assessor's report, there were 40,000 apple, 
20,000 peach, 10,000 pear, 7000 plum, 4200 cherry, 1500 quince, 1250 
apricot, 1000 fig, 3500 mulberry, 1000 almond, 500 prune, 1000 orange, 
50 lemon and 100 olive trees in the county; and there were 600,000 grape 
vines, with a sprinkling of almost every other kind of fruit grown in the 
middle zone. 

Spanish Families and Early Land Claims 

In 1852 there were living in Contra Costa County the following Span- 
ish families: Alvarado, Castro, Sepulveda, Estudillo, Moraga, Briones, 
Martinez, Sunol, Soto, Peralta, Altemerano, Amador, Miranda, Berry- 
essa, Pacheco, Boca, Higuero, Alviso and Naviaga. 

The following is a list of land claims in Contra Costa County: 

Elam Brown for Alcalanes, 1 square league, granted August 1, 1834, 
by Jose Figueroa to C. Valencia. Claim filed February 2, 1852; confirmed 
February 14, 1853'; appeal dismissed November 26, 1856. 3,328.95 
acres, patented. 

Salvio Pacheco for Monte del Diablo, granted March 30, 1844, by 
Jose Figueroa to S. Pacheco. Claim filed February 27, 1852, confirmed by 
district court January 14, 1856; appeal dismissed November 24, 1856. 
17,921.54 acres; patented. 

Robert Livermore, claimant for Canada de los Vaqueros, granted Feb- 
ruary 29, 1844, by Manuel Micheltorena to Francisco Alviso et al. Claim 
filed February 27, 1852; confirmed by committee September 4, 1855; by 
district court December 28, 1857 ; appeal dismissed December 28, 1857. 

Joseph Swanson, administrator of the estate of William Welch, for 
Las Juntas, 3 square leagues, 13,324.29 acres; granted February 9, 1844, 
by Manuel Micheltorena to William Welch. Claim filed March 23, 1852; 
confirmed by committee December 20, 1853 ; dismissed November 3, 1857. 

Heirs of Juan Sanchez de Pacheco for Arroyo de Las Nueces y Bol- 
bones, granted July 11, 1834, by Jose Figueroa to Juan Sanchez de Pa- 
checo. Claim filed April 6, 1852 ; confirmed by committee April 11, 1853; 
by district court December 22, 1856. Decision of United States Supreme 
Court as to right to appeal in 20 Howard, 261. Decree of district court 
affirmed by U. S. Supreme Court in 22 Howard, 225. 17,734.52 acres. 

Rafaela Soto de Pacheco et al. for San Ramon, granted June 10, 
1833, by Jose Figueroa. Claim filed April 13, 1852; rejected by com- 
mittee November 22, 1853; confirmed by district court February 8, 1858. 



94 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Teodora Soto for Canada del Hambre and Las Bolsas del Hambre, 
granted May 18, 1842, by Juan B. Alvarado to Teodora Soto. Claim 
filed April 29, 1852; confirmed by committee May 15, 1855; by district 
court April 16, 1857; appeal dismissed August 11, 1857. Two square 
leagues, 13,312.70 acres. 

John Marsh for Los Meganos, 4 square leagues, granted October 13, 
1835, by Jose Castro to Jose Noriega. Claim filed May 3, 1852; reject- 
ed by committee March 14, 1854; confirmed by district court April 9, 
1858, and later by the United States Supreme Court. 

Maria Antonia Martinez de Richardson et al. for Pinole, 4 square 
leagues, 17,786.49 acres, granted June 1, 1842, by Juan B. Alvarado to 
Ygnacio Martinez. Claim filed July 8, 1852; confirmed by committee 
October 24, 1854; dismissed March 10, 1857. 

Leo Norris for part of San Ramon, 1 square league, 4,450.94 acres, 
granted by Figueroa to Jose M. Amador. Claim filed September 20, 1852 ; 
confirmed by committee August 1, 1854, by district court Sept. 10, 1857. 

Joaquin Ysidro Castro, administrator for San Pablo, 4 square leagues, 
19,394.40 acres, granted by Figueroa June 12, 1834, to Francisco Castro, 
deceased, and to his heirs; and on the 13th, the surplus lands to Joaquin 
Ysidro Castro and the heirs of Francisco Castro. Claim filed October 9, 
1852; confirmed by committee April 17, 1855; by district court February 
24, 1858; appeal dismissed March 10, 1858. 

Maria Manuela Valencia for Boca de Canada del Pinole, 3 square 
leagues, 13,353.38 acres, granted June 21, 1842, by Juan B. Alvarado to 
M. M. Valencia. Claim filed December 13, 1852; rejected by committee 
August 10, 1854; confirmed by district court November 26, 1854, and by 
United States Supreme Court. 

Joaquin Moraga for Laguna de los Palos Colorados, 3 square leagues, 
13,318.13 acres, granted August 10, 1841, by Alvarado to Juan Moraga 
and Juan Bernal. Claim filed February 15, 1853; confirmed by committee 
January 23, 1855; by district court March 24, 1856; appeal dismissed 
April 8, 1858. 

Jonathan D. Stevenson et al. for Medanos, 2 square leagues, 8,890.26 
acres, granted November 26, 1839, by Alvarado to Jose Antonio Mesa et 
al. Claim filed February 24, 1853 ; confirmed by committee June 19, 1855 ; 
by district court October 16, 1856; appeal dismissed April 2, 1857. 

Inocencio Romero et al. for land granted February 4, 1844, by Mich- 
eltorena to I. Romero et al. Claim filed February 4, 1844; rejected by 
committee April 17, 1855, and by district court September 16, 1857. 

E. R. Carpentier, 10 square leagues, a portion granted by de Sola; an- 
other portion granted in 1841 to Juan, Jose and Victor Castro by Alva- 
rado; another portion granted by Figueroa to Francisco Castro and re- 
granted in 1844 by Micheltorena to Louis Peralta. Claim filed February 
28, 1853; rejected by committee January 30, 1855; appeal dismissed for 
failure of prosecution, April 21, 1856. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 95 

H. W. Carpentier for 225 acres, granted by de Sola and Micheltorena 
to Louis Peralta. Claim filed February 28, 1853; discontinued by claim- 
ant January 23, 1855. 

William C. Jones et al. for San Pablo, 3 square leagues, granted June 
12, 1834, by Figueroa to Francisco M. Castro. Claim filed March 1, 1853 ; 
rejected by committee March 27, 1855; appeal dismissed for failure to 
prosecute April 21, 1856. 

James Enright et al. for Medanos, 2 square leagues, granted Novem- 
ber 26, 1839, by Alvarado to Jose Antonio and Jose Maria Mesa. Claim 
filed March 2, 1853; rejected by committee March 27, 1855; appeal dis- 
missed for failure to prosecute April 21, 1856. 

The Indians of Contra Costa County 

The Indians of Contra Costa County were the Jucheyunes, Alcalanes, 
Bolgones, and Carquinez. They were ignorant and went half naked, the 
men wearing a crude sort of loin cloth and the women an apron of tules, 
hanging from the waist to the knees, front and back, and open at the sides, 
as summer garb; in winter their garments were made from deer skin or 
feathers from water fowls. Their summer habitations were little more 
than shelters made from boughs, interwoven to hold together and keep 
off the sun. In winter they lived in their wikiups, "sometimes erected on 
level ground," as Bancroft describes them, "but more frequently over an 
excavation three or four feet deep and from ten to thirty feet in diameter. 
Round the brink of this hole willow poles are sunk upright in the ground, 
the top drawn together forming a conical structure; or the upper ends 
are bent over and driven into the earth on the opposite side of the hole, 
thus giving the hut a semi-globular shape. Bushes or strips of bark are 
then piled up against the poles, and the whole covered with a thick layer 
of earth or mud. In some instances the interstices of the frame are filled 
with twigs woven crosswise over and under between the poles, and the out- 
side covering is of tule reeds instead of earth. A hole at the top gives 
egress to the smoke, and a small opening close to the ground admits the 
occupants. Each hut generally shelters a whole family of relations by 
blood and marriage, so that the dimensions of the habitation depend on 
the size of the family." 

The Indians were short and stocky, broad-shouldered and strong. They 
were swarthy and had flat features and long, straight, black hair, coarse 
and unkempt. 

Dr. John Marsh, writing to Lewis Cass in 1846, says "they are a hairy 
race, and some of them have beards that would do honor to a Turk. In 
some individuals the hair grows quite down to the eyebrows, and they 
may be said to have no foreheads at all. Some few have that peculiar 
conformation of the eye so remarkable in the Chinese and Tartar races, 
entirely different from the American Indian, or the Polynesian; and with 



96 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

this unpromising set of features, some have an animated and agreeable 
countenance." 

For food they ate various kinds of roots, earthworms and grasshop- 
pers. They made a bread from the pounded kernel of the acorn or buck- 
eye, and used some kinds of fat worms for shortening. In fact they ate 
anything and everything, according to the season. 

The Contra Costa Indians cremated their dead, the near relation of 
the deceased being given the honor of lighting the funeral pyre, which 
consumed all possessions that had been piled around the body. After- 
wards the ashes would be mixed with pitch and smeared on the faces of 
the relations as a badge of mourning. They believed in a continued exist- 
ence after death, and had a vague idea of the Great Spirit. They held 
certain rocks to be sacred, and would not eat grizzly bear meat, which 
they held in veneration. They were extremely docile and would willingly 
submit to punishment for faults committed, if shown kindness to start 
with. They were about the only laborers in California in the early days. 

Old Adobes 

In San Pablo is located what is left of the oldest adobe house in Contra 
Costa County. It was built in 1838 by Don Joaquin Castro, once gover- 
nor of California under Spanish rule. The outer walls are of adobe (clay 
and grass to hold it together) three feet thick; the inner walls are two 
feet thick. The rooms were spacious and were the scene of many fash- 
ionable gatherings. This house, first occupied by the Castro family, was 
later the home of Juan B. Alvarado, also an ex-governer, and the father 
of Henry V. Alvarado, one of the superior judges of the county. This 
property is now a part of the Belding estate. 

Adobe bricks were made by the Indians, who usually worked for the 
Spanish dons without pay. The bricks were made of clay, mixed with 
grass to hold the shape, molded into shape, and left to dry. First one 
side was turned to the sun, then the other, until dry all through. They 
were then laid into the wall with mortar made of mud, and again left 
to dry. To build an adobe house was a laborious task, and usually a year 
elapsed before the house was ready for occupancy. 

At the county line, there is another adobe house, which was occupied 
by Victor Castro, a son of the former governor. In connection with it 
are two long buildings, one used as a stable and the other as a chapel for 
the Indians. Some of the Castro family are buried near this latter house. 

On the Sobrante Grant is still a third adobe. This was occupied by 
a daughter of Castro. She married a Catterras. In the yard at this place 
members of the Catterras family are buried. 

Transportation 

The first mail ever carried up the Sacramento River was carried by 
Seth M. Swain, of Martinez, in the schooner John Dunlap, on July 24, 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 97 

1849. He received $600 for his service, although the postage paid was 
less than $60 and the mail was all contained in one bag. 

In 1849 Dr. Semple, of Benicia, established the first ferry running 
to a point now the site of Alhambra cemetery. The boat was propelled 
by oars at first; then a wheel was put on and run by horse power. 

In 1851, Capt. O. C. Coffin put on the first flat-bottom boat, the lone, 
and carried passengers from Antioch and Collinsville. He brought the 
boat to Martinez, remodeled it, as it had been run by horse power, put in 
an engine, and gave regular service between Martinez and Benicia until 
July, 1854. There was no ferry slip or wharf; an apron was used to land 
passengers and vehicles. The landing was at the foot of Ferry Street. 
Later the lone became a float for a pile-driver; and when her days of 
usefulness were over she was run aground in the tules, and there her hull 
gradually rotted. 

In 1853 a steam ferry was built in New York, brought via the Horn 
to Martinez and launched in the spring of 1854, and began regular serv- 
ice in July. It was owned by Capt. O. C. Coffin and Charles G. and Henry 
Coffin and was called the Carquinez. There was a large volume of busi- 
ness done in carrying stock across the straits. A large corral was built 
where the depot grounds of the Southern Pacific now are. It was com- 
posed of cordwood, which was used on the ferry to generate steam. The 
sticks were four feet long and the corral was built six feet high, and there 
was always enough wood on hand to keep a good corral. The charge was 
$1 per head for cattle. The ferry also carried mail and passengers, as 
there were many school children going to and from Benicia. 

When the Carquinez was condemned, the Benicia was built and the 
engines were transferred from the old to the new boat. When the rail- 
road put on the Solano, the Benicia failed to pay and was abandoned. 

Vessels plying between San Francisco and up river points made Mar- 
tinez a port of call daily. 

In 1877 the railroad was built through Contra Costa County by the 
Central Pacific. The road was completed in 1878, at which time immi- 
gration began fh earnest and the whole county benefited. Stage coach and 
sail boat were slow means of getting over the country, and freight teams 
soon disappeared. 

Byron came into prominence on account of its mineral springs being 
visited by thousands from every part of the United States and abroad. 

The San Ramon branch of the railroad was built in 1890 and opened 
up the best section of the county. 

The Santa Fe, established early in 1895 as the San Francisco and San 
Joaquin Valley Railroad at a cost of $2,500,000, began operating • at 
Stockton on July 22. It had been built by San Francisco capital. In 1899 
the company sold out to the Santa Fe. On August 26 of that year the 
Santa Fe was completed to Pinole, and on March 3, 1902, the post office, 
Wells-Fargo Express, telegraph office and news depot opened, all in the 



98 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

railroad station. In 1900 the line was completed between Stockton and 
Richmond, the shops being located in the latter place that year, and the 
service on cars being done in the open on side tracks until January 26, 1901, 
when permanent buildings were erected and the shops began functioning. 

In January, 1909, the Oakland, Antioch & Eastern was incorporated, 
a 1200-volt electric line between San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento, 
and passing through the Moraga Valley to Moraga, the Country Club, 
Burton and Lafayette, and through San Ramon Valley to Saranap. It 
branched off to Alamo, Danville and Diablo, Walnut Creek, Pacheco Val- 
ley, Concord, Bay Point, West Pittsburg, and again to Pittsburg. It was 
incorporated by A. W. Maltby, of Concord, W. Arnstein, of Alamo, and 
S. L. Napthaly and H. A. Mitchell, both of San Francisco. Work began 
at Bay Point in February, 1909 ; and in May, 1911, it was opened to Wal- 
nut Creek, and on to Oakland in April, 1913. On April 11, 1911, the 
Oakland, Antioch & Eastern incorporated to build to Sacramento from Bay 
Point, and in August, 1913, the line was put in operation between Bay 
Point and Pittsburg Landing. The new road leased the old Oakland & 
Antioch and the San Ramon Valley Railroad, and passenger and freight 
service are looked after carefully. 

The county is traversed and served by several lines of auto stages run- 
ning from Stockton, Oakland, and other Northern California points, so 
that no difficulty arises when a person wants to reach any given point 
at any time. 

Bridges and Ferries 

An aid to transportation through Contra Costa County from the east 
and north will be found in the two large toll-bridges now under construc- 
tion by the American Toll Bridge Company, a $5,000,000 corporation. 
The one nearest completion is being built across the San Joaquin River 
three miles south of Antioch and connects with Sherman Island. This 
bridge will open up a quicker route to the bay cities through the richest 
farming sections of the county. It will cost $1,400,000 when completed, 
and will have a clearance of from 3iy 2 to 70 feet from high water to the 
floor of the bridge, with a ninety-foot fairway between the piers supporting 
the causeway. The roadway will be wide enough for three automobiles 
abreast and cement walks for pedestrians. 

The bridge, 3587 feet long, a concrete trestle, has one fixed steel span 
with seventy-foot clearance at high water, and one steel lift span with a 
minimum clearance of 136 feet when the span is open. Each span has 270 
feet between the piers. Both the fixed and the lift span will accommodate 
the river traffic, and the lift span all sea-going vessels when open. 

Thousands of tourists, routed over the Victory Highway from all 
eastern points through Sacramento, and on down past Courtland, Isleton 
and Rio Vista to Sherman Island, will pass through Antioch, Pittsburg, 
Concord and Walnut Creek on the concrete highways to Oakland and 
San Francisco. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 99 

The Carquinez Straits bridge will extend from a point near South 
Vallejo, in Solano County, to Valona, in Contra Costa County, and will 
be one of the largest bridges of its kind in the country. It will be 3350 feet 
in length and will cost $6,500,000. There will be a clearance of 135 feet 
for ships, a thirty-foot concrete roadway, space for sidewalks, and one 
track for electric trains. 

Engineers who have studied the vehicular traffic in the State, particu- 
larly the present ferry receipts of the Rodeo Ferry, which is owned by the 
company building these bridges, estimate that the two bridges will carry 
more than a million vehicles during the first year they are in operation. 
The American Toll Bridge Company promises that both bridges will be 
completed and open for traffic before the expiration of the new time limit, 
which was fixed as February 5, 1927, a twelve-months extension of time 
having been granted by the board of supervisors. 

At the expiration of twenty-five years the owership of the Carquinez 
bridge, by terms of the franchise, reverts to Contra Costa and Solano 
Counties. Until that time Contra Costa County will receive one per cent 
of the gross income from both bridges, which it is estimated will exceed 
$1,000,000 annually. Solano County will receive one per cent of the gross 
income from the Carquinez bridge, and Sacramento County a like per cent 
of the gross income from the Antioch bridge. In addition, this county 
will receive $100 per month for franchise rights. 

Then there are the ferries : The Richmond-San Francisco ferry, from 
Richmond to San Francisco; the Richmond-San Rafael Ferry, from Rich- 
mond to San Quentin Point, opening up the coast counties of Marin, So- 
noma, Mendocino, and Humboldt; Rodeo Ferry from Rodeo to South Val- 
lejo, a short route through Napa and Solano Counties to Sacramento and 
the north; the Martinez-Benicia Ferry, also giving direct communication 
for Oakland and San Joaquin Valley points with Northern California and 
the coast counties; the Port Costa-Benicia Southern Pacific train ferry, with 
the largest ferry boat in operation in the world; and the ferry for the 
Oakland, Antioch & Eastern (Sacramento Short Line), near Pittsburg. 

Minerals and Mining 

In 1850 a lime quarry was discovered one mile from Pacheco. This was 
the first in the State and was owned by F. L. Such & Company. 

On November 24, 1858, Rountree, Walker & Dickson discovered coal 
half way between the base of Mount Diablo and what is now Antioch, 
five miles from the San Joaquin River. That same year W. C. Israel dis- 
covered coal while cleaning out a spring on his land at Horse Haven. He, 
with his father and brother George, opened up the vein. Later they dis- 
posed of it to Watkins and Noyes. In 1861 the mine was abandoned. 

On December 22, 1859, three and one-half miles from Horse Haven, 
Frank Somers and J. T. Cruikshank discovered the Black Diamond vein. 
Somers, Cruikshank, H. S. Hauxhurst, and S. Adams located lands that 
were later known as the Manhattan and Eureka Mines. George Haux- 



100 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

hurst, G. H. P. Henderson and William Henderson, and Frank Somers 
opened the Black Diamond and the Cumberland Mines. Noah Norton 
afterwards had the Black Diamond and Frank Such the Cumberland. 
Such sold out to C. T. Cutler, A. Tyler, J. Sturgis, and L. C. Wittenmyer 
of Martinez, who successfully worked the property and built the roads 
from Clayton and New York Landing. They also helped Norton to open 
the Black Diamond. 

The Pittsburg Mine was located by G. H. P. Henderson. The Central 
Coal Mine was located by J. E. Wright, who later was joined by W. B. 
Stewart. The Union Mine was located by George Hauxhurst. Indepen- 
dence was purchased from R. Charnock by Greenwood and Newbauer. 

The Empire Company opened in 1876. For many years coal-mining 
was the principal interest in the county. Somersville, Nortonville, and 
Black Diamond, or Pittsburg Landing, were built through this industry. 

Copper was discovered in 1863, and its discovery created great excite- 
ment. Prices for land soared, and for a time hundreds prospected, but 
the excitement soon died down. Clayton was the center of this excitement, 
and the operations there brought on boom times. Lots sold for high 
prices, many companies were formed, shafts were sunk, and some ore was 
obtained. The first shipment was two tons of copper ore, and was made on 
September 19, 1863, when it was sent to San Francisco to be smelted. 
Later a smelter was erected at Antioch. 

In March, 1860, L. W. Hastings discovered silver on the east side 
of Mount Diablo. Nothing ever came of it, however, except as a venture 
in which many people dropped their money. 

Paint deposits were discovered in 1862 and were tested out by Dr. E. 
F. Hough. These deposits were found two miles from Martinez on the 
bank of the El Hambre Creek, and the colors were yellow, green, blue and 
red. In 1863 a mill for grinding was built, but the industry was never de- 
veloped to the extent necessary to determine its real value commercially. 

In 1862 petroleum was discovered near Antioch. Coal oil was also 
found near Pacheco in 1868. 

The Cowell Portland Cement Company have 3000 acres at the base 
of Mount Diablo, where they have the greatest cement plant in the world. 

Important Industrial Concerns 

Among the industrial concerns of Contra Costa County we mention 
the following as the more important: 

Value of Number of 

City Firm Product Employees 

Antioch — Hickmott Canning Co $ 750,000 140 

The Paraffine Companies, Inc 3,000,000 285 

Antioch Mill & Lumber Co 200,000 25 

Bay Point — Coos Bay Lumber Co 3,600,000 250 

American Foundry Co 10,000 6 

Brentwood — Cal. Wharf & Warehouse Co 8,000 5 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 101 

Crockett— Cal. & Hawaiian Refining Corp $70,000,000 2000 

Cowell— Cowell Portland Cement Co 3,000,000..... 235 

Giant— Giant Powder Works 5,000,000 150 

Hercules— Hercules Powder Works 10,000,000 250 

Martinez— Shell Oil Co 40,000,000 1200 

Associated Oil Co. (Avon) 25,000,000 850 

American Oriental Oil Co 550,000 35 

Nichols— General Chemical Co 750,000 350 

Oleum— Union Oil Co 10,000,000 500 

Pittsburg— Columbia Steel Corporation 7,000,000 .1500 

Redwood Manufacturers Co 4,750,000 400 

Pioneer Rubber Mills 3,000,000 400 

F. E. Booth Co. 2,500,000 500 

Great Western Electro Chemical Co 1,000,000...... 250 

Pittsburg Fisheries 800,000 250 

Western California Fish Co 500,000. 25 

A. B. Davis Fisheries 300,000..... 100 

National Chemical Co 85,000..... 45 

Alaska Fishermen 250 

Bundesen & Lauritzen, Shipbuilders ---. 40 

C. A. Hooper Lumber Co 60 

California Bean Growers 18 

Johns-Mannsville Co 125 

Pioneer Dairy Co. .. 35 

Coast Counties Gas & Electric Co 35 

Standard Oil Co 50 

Union Oil Co 20 

Port Costa — Port Costa Brick Works 40 

Port Costa Warehouses 400 

Richmond— Standard Oil Co. and 20 aux. pints. 60,000,000 2850 

Pacific Sanitary Mfg. Co 3,000,000..... 1100 

Certain-Teed Products 2,250,000 200 

Stauffer Chemical Works 1,250,000. 50 

California Cap Works 685,000 120 

California Art Tile Co 65 

Blake Bros. Quarry 500,000. 50 

E. M. Tilden Mills 165,000..... 40 

Hutchinson Quarry Co 190,000 30 

Pacific Vegetable Oil & Lead Co 275,000 25 

Princeton Knitting Mills 250,000 45 

Pullman Car Shops 750 

Republic Steel Package Co 20 

Richmond Pressed Brick Co. 250,000 50 

Santa Fe Railway Shops — 700 

Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Co. 1IHHI 



102 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Selby— Selby Smelting & Lead Co $60,000,000 450 

Stege — Wheeler, Reynolds & Stauffer 25 

Stege Lumber Co 40 

Walnut Creek — Cal. Walnut Growers' Assn 35 

Walnut Creek Canning Co 35 

Tilden Mill & Lumber Co., various plants .. 40 

Southern Pacific Railroad Co. 500 

Pacific Gas & Electric Co 50 



CHAPTER IV 

COUNTY OFFICERS 

The officers of Contra Costa County, from the time of its organiza- 
tion down to the present, are chronologically listed below under their of- 
ficial titles. 

Senators 

1850, W. R. Bascom; 1851, G. B. Tingley; 1852, Jacob Gruwell; 
1854, W. H. McCoun; 1856, A. R. Meloney; 1858, G. W. Dent; 1860, A. 
Inman; 1862, C. B. Porter; 1867, J. J. Green; 1871, D. Goodale; 1875, 
Paul Shirley; 1879, W. H. Sears; 1882, W. B. English; 1884, Frank C. 
DeLong; 1886, J. P. Abbott; 1900, C. M. Belshaw; 1908, E. B. Martin- 
elli; 1916, J. C. Owens; 1918, W. R. Sharkey. 

Assemblymen 

1850, Elam Brown; 1851, N. B. Smith; 1852, H. W. Carpenter; 
1853, F. M. Warmcastle; 1854, Warren Brown; 1855, A. R. Meloney; 
1856, A. Inman; 1857, F. M. Warmcastle; 1858, B. S. Hines; 1859, C. 
Yager; 1860, C. B. Porter; 1862, T. B. Wright; 1865, T. A. Brown; 
1869, J. H. Carothers; 1871, J. W. Galloway; 1873, A. W. Hammitt; 
1875, Charles Wood; 1877, A. J. Young; 1879, D. N. Sherburne; 1880, 
]. P. Jones; 1882, G. W. Carter; 1886, D. N. Sherburne; 1890, G. W. 
Carter; 1892, H. Hook; 1894, C. M. Belshaw; 1900, M. B. Ivory; 1902, 
Henry Ells; 1906, P. C. Campbell; 1908, T. D. Johnson; 1910, M. R. 
Jones; 1916, T. D. Johnson; 1918, W. E. Calahan. 

District Judges 

1850, J. H. Watson; 1851, C. P. Hester; 1853, E. W. McKinstry; 
1863, T. A. Brown, 1865, S. H. Dwinnelle, who served until 1879, when 
the office was abolished. 

County Judges and Superior Judges 

1855, R. N. Wood; 1856, T. A. Brown; 1863, Mark Shepard; 1871, 
C. W. Lander; 1875, T. A. Brown, who served until 1879, when the of- 
fice was abolished and the superior bench was organized, to which he 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 103 

was elected, being continued in the office until 1886. He was succeeded 
by J. P. Jones, who served until 1900. W. S. Wells was appointed to 
succeed Jones, and in 1908 Fred V. Wood succeeded to the office, serving 
until 1914, when R. H. Latimer was elected. H. V. Alvarado was ap- 
pointed upon the death of Latimer and is still in office. In 1915 Depart- 
ment 2 was organized, and A. B. McKenzie was appointed and later 
elected, and is still in office. 

Associate Justices of Court of Sessions 

1850, A. Peak and E. G. Guest. Guest resigned and S. J. Tennent 
was appointed August 19, 1850. 1851, B. R. Holliday and A. R. Meloney; 
1852, E. G. Weld succeeded Holliday; 1853, G. F. Worth and J. M. 
Blood; 1854, J. B. Richardson and L. S. Knowles; 1857, F. Vander- 
wenter and Thomas Russell; 1860, R. P. White succeeded Vanderwenter 
and that same year the office was abolished. 

Justices of the Peace 

The county started out in 1850 with six justices of the peace, viz.: B. 
R. Holliday, A. Peak, E. G. Guest, S. J. Tennent, J. S. Beemer and Jose 
J. Estudillo. 

In 1851 Edson Adams succeeded Peak from Brooklyn, and A. R. Me- 
loney succeeded Guest 

In 1852 William Hillegass succeeded Holliday, G. M. Blake succeed- 
ed Adams, S. Baldwin succeeded Meloney, and A. W. Genung succeeded 
S. J. Tennent. 

In 1853 the following justices were elected: M. Cole, G. F. Worth, P. 
M. Lea, J. M. Blood, G. W. Kimball, J. G. Perkins, A. R. Meloney, D. 
Hodges. 

In 1854 two justices were elected from each newly made district, viz.: 
M. Bowen and G. F. Worth, district No. 1 ; G. W. Hammitt.and H. B. 
Hale, district No. 2 ; A. B. Bates and L. S. Knowles, district No. 3; S. 
Stone and J. F. Alsop, district No. 4; F. Mitchell and S. Pacheco, district 
No. 5; and J. B. Richardson and S. Adams, district No. 6. 

In 1855 R. A. Madison and G. M. Jones were elected in district No. 1, 
M. M. Mentlo and D. Meacham in district No. 2, W. Whipple and J. 
Huff in district No. 3, D. P. Smith and S. A. Reeves in district No. 4, R. 
Desty and B. Clark in district No. 5, F. Latture and William Wyatt in 
district No. 6. 

In 1856 L. E. Morgan succeeded Jones in No. 1 ; L. C. Wittenmyer 
succeeded Meacham in No. 2, J. L. Bromley and F. Latture succeeded 
Whipple and Huff in No. 3, and the extra three townships were consoli- 
dated with the first three. 

In 1857 George Christian succeeded Madison in No. 1, F. Vander- 
wenter succeeded Mentlo in No. 2, L. M. Brown succeeded Wittenmyer in 
No. 2, J. C. McMaster and Thomas Russell succeeded Bromley and Lat- 
ture in No. 3. 



104 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

In 1858 E. F. Weld and Thomas Reynolds were elected in No. 1, F. 
Vanderwenter and Joseph Venable in No. 2, J. H. Russell and C. E. Wet- 
more in No. 3. 

In 1859 A. F. Dyer succeeded Reynolds in No. 1, and J. W. Maxey 
and L. M. Brown were elected in No. 2. 

In 1860, in No. 2, R. P. White succeeded L. M. Brown and J. W. 
Venable succeeded J. W. Maxey; and John Osborne succeeded Russell in 
No. 3. 

In 1861 H. M. Stanage was elected to succeed Venable in No. 2; P. 
Germain and William Girvan were elected in No. 3. 

In 1862 the justices were as follows: W. K. Leavitt and George F. 
Pease, Twp. No. 1; G. W. Hammitt and James Foster, Twp. No. 2; 
J. T. Cruickshank and William Girvan, Twp. No. 3. 

In 1864, in Twp. No. 1, O. F. James succeeded Leavitt, and A. F. 
Dyer was elected over Pease; H. M. Stanage succeeded Foster in No. 
2, and C. P. Marsh and John Phillips were elected in No. 3. 

In 1865 the justices were : O. F. James and A. F. Dyer in Twp. No. 1, 
G. W. Hammitt and A. W. Hammitt in Twp. No. 2, E. S. Sayles and 
J. J. McNulty in Twp. No. 3. 

These officers held until the election in 1867, when John C. Dodd and 
T. D. Palmer were elected in Twp. No. 1, H. M. Stanage and James 
Foster in Twp. No. 2, and J. W. Hook succeeded E. S. Sayles in No. 3. 

In 1868 C. W. Lander succeeded Dodd in Twp. No. 1, and the others 
were reelected in their various townships. 

In 1869 H. Allen and S. C. Wilbur were elected in Twp. No. 1, 
John Slitz and Charles Woods in Twp. No. 2, D. Mayon and H. Ashbrook 
in Twp. No. 3. 

In 1871 W. H. Ford and T. D. Palmer were elected in Twp. No. 1, 
and D. S. Carpenter succeeded Mayon in Twp. No. 3. In 1872-1873 Twp. 
No. 4 was created, with G. R. Oliver as the justice; the justices from the 
other three townships held over. 

In 1873 J. R. Young and J. J. Kerr represented Twp. No. 2; G. R. 
Oliver and Samuel Bacon, Twp. No. 3 ; D. S. Carpenter and A. Pray, Twp. 
No. 4; and D. P. Mahan and D. K. Berry, the new Twp. No. 5. 

In 1875 the list reads: W. H. Ford and T. D. Palmer, Twp. No. 
1 ; John Slitz and J. J. Kerr, Twp. No. 2 ; G. R. Oliver and Samuel Bacon, 
Twp. No. 3; D. S. Carpenter and D. S. Woodruff, Twp. No. 4; A. 
Richardson and T. D. Uren, Twp. No. 5. 

In 1877 A. Rumrill succeeded Palmer in No. 1, M. H. Turner and 
Henry Shuey were elected in No. 2, J. F. Harding succeeded Oliver 
in No. 3, James Rankin succeeded Woodruff in No. 4, J. E. W. Carey 
succeeded Richardson in No. 5. 

In 1879 Henry Hurst succeeded Shuey, R. H. Latimer succeeded 
Bacon, A. W. Hall and H. Ingram were elected in No. 4, and J. P. 
Abbott and H. B. Jewett in No. 5. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 105 

In 1880 W. H. Ford and A. Rumrill held office in Twp. No. 1 ; M. 
H. Turner and Charles Woods, in Twp. No. 2; H. J. Wilson and 
R. H. Latimer, in Twp. No. 3 ; Robert Hastie and H. Ingram, in Twp. 
No. 4; R. Shipley and J. P. Abbott, in Twp. No. 5. 

The list for the year 1881-1882 was: M. H. Bailhache and A. 
Rumrill, Twp. No. 1 ; M. H. Turner and S. F. Ramage, Twp. No. 2; 
H. J. Wilson and J. F. Harding, Twp. No. 3 ; Robert Hastie and A. 
W. Wall, Twp. No. 4; J. P. Abbott and J. E. W. Carey, Twp. No. 5. 
W. H. Ford, who had held office in Twp. No. 1 for many years, died and 
Mr. Bailhache took his place. 

In 1882-1883 F. M. Smith succeeded Bailhache and D. D. Wills 
succeeded Carey. No. 6 was created and S. F. Ramage was elected. 

1884 witnessed a change as well as additional justices. F. M. Smith 
held over in No. 1, W. M. Downey succeeded Rumrill, T. S. Braw ana 
J. S. Warren were elected in No. 2, M. Turner and G. W. Hammitt in 
No. 3, S. F. Ramage and W. J. Perkins in No. 4, J. F. Harding and S. C. 
Nichols in No. 5, and R. Hastie and W. Parsons in No. 6; and F. Clifford 
and A. W. Wall were elected for the new district No. 7, D. D. Wills 
and J. O. Diffin in the new No. 8, J. E. W. Carey and W. K. Doherty in 
the new No. 9, and W. J. Duffy and J. Brunson in the new No. 10. 

In 1886 the new men in office were: J. H. Livingston, No. 1 ; H. P. 
Edwards and J. Casey, No. 2 ; A. B. Harrison, No. 3; W. A. Hammitt 
and J. J. Burke, No. 5 ; P. Daley, No. 7 ; B. F. Haney, No. 8 ; and D. N. 
Williams, No. 10. 

1890 saw many new faces among the justices. D. J. West succeeded 
Smith and J. B. Smith succeeded Livingston in No. 1 ; H. P. Edwards held 
over; M. W. O'Neill succeeded Casey in No. 2; F. E. Weston succeeded 
Harrison in No. 3; G. W. Hammitt held over in No. 3, as did S. 
F. Ramage in No. 4; J. A. Shuey was elected over Perkins in No. 4; 
W. A. Hammitt and J. J. Burke held over in No. 5 ; William Hawes and 
O. N. Rogers succeeded Hastie and Parsons in No. 6 ; Wall held over 
and F. Clifford succeeded P. Daley in No. 7 ; W. Gribble and C. F. 
Montgomery succeeded Wills and Haney in No. 8 ; J. E. W. Carey held 
over and T. E. Middleton succeeded Doherty in No. 9 ; Duffy held over 
and H. C. F. Dohrman was elected over Williams in No. 10. 

In 1894 the following were elected: No. 1, F. M. Smith and J. B. 
Smith; No. 2, J. P. Casey and M. W. O'Neill; No. 3, F. E. Weston and 
J. M. Simpson; No. 4, S. F. Ramage and A. E. Clarke; No. 5, W. A. 
Hammitt and J. M. Goodale; No. 6, H. McDonald and O. N. Rogers; 
No. 7, William Thomas and G. R. Jones; No. 8, William Gribble and N. 
A. Tyler; No. 9, C. M. Chapman and L. Arnstroff; No. 10, John 
Wilcox and Henry Cocks. 

In 1898 the following justices were elected: No. 1, D. S. Carpenter; 
No. 2, J. P. Casey; No. 3, N. B. Rogers; No. 4, W. C. Lewis; No. 5, 
J. J. Burke; No. 6, O. N. Rogers; No. 7, P. Brown; No. 8, E. Stinch- 



106 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

field; No. 9, C. M. Chapman; No. 10, W. Lindsey; No. 11, J. Garrity; 
No. 12, T. B. Pratt; No. 13, R. Hastie; No. 14, L. Arnstroff; No. 15, 
W. Hough; No. 16, Joel Harlan. 

In 1902 D. S. Carpenter and J. P. Casey were reelected in Nos. 1 
and 2; W. H. Hough was elected in No. 3 ; S. F. Ramage, No. 4; J. J. 
Burke, No. 5; J. Fitzgerald, No. 6; J. J. Dickinson, No. 7 ; A. C. 
Hartley, No. 8; C. M. Chapman, No. 9; E. B. Masterson, No. 10; 
J. V. Enloe, No. 11; M. W. O'Neill, No. 12; G. Goethels, No. 13; 
J. F. Carey, No. 14. 

In 1906 the following were elected : C. H. Hayden, No. 1 ; J. P. Casey, 
No. 2; W. H. Plough, No. 3 ; A. E. Clark, No. 4; J. J. Burke, No. 5; 
J. Fitzgerald, No. 6; A. C. Hartley, No. 8 ; A. W. Callis, No. 9; E. B. 
Masterson, No. 10; J. V. Enloe, No. 11; M. W. O'Neill, No. 12; 
G. L. Goethels, No. 13; A. J. LeGrand, No. 14; John Roth, No. 15. 

District Attorneys 
1850, J. F. Williams; 1852, T. T. Bouldin; 1853, H. Mills; 1857, 
E. Parker. May 3, 1858, W. W. Theobalds was appointed, vice Parker. 
1861, Mark Shepard; 1863, H. MrlkTl875, J. P. Jones; 1877, F. M. 
Warmcastle; 1879, Eli R. Chase; 1884, W. S. Tinning; 1894, C. Y. 
Brown; 1902, H. V. Alvarado; 1910, A. B. McKenzie, who resigned 
to become superior judge in Department 2, January 2, 1915; 1914, T. 
D. Johnson; 1918, A. B. Tinning, who is the present incumbent. 

County Clerks, Recorders, and (after 1855) Auditors 

1850, T. A. Brown; 1855, C. Yager. In .1855 the office of county 
auditor was established and combined with those of county clerk and county 
recorder under Yager. 1857, L. C. Wittenmyer; 1863, G. P. Loucks; 
1867, L. C. Wittenmyer; 1869, A. J. Markley; 1870, L. C. Wittenmyer, 
appointed vice Markley, deceased; 1871, G. J. Bennett; 1873, L. C. 
Wittenmyer, who served in the three offices combined until 1 875, when each 
office was given a separate official. 

County Clerks 
1875, L. C. Wittenmyer; 1890, F. L. Glass; 1892, L. C. Wittenmyer; 
1894, F. L. Glass; 1898, J. E. Rodgers, who served until 1908, when J. 
H. Wells was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by his resignation. In 
1910 J. H. Wells was elected, and is still in office. 

County Auditors 
1875, M. H. Bailhache; 1879, J. W. Darby; February 25, 1880, J. 
D. Darby, vice J. W. Darby, deceased; 1881, J. D. Darby; 1882, A. J. 
Soto; 1886, C. Ed. Curry; 1890, A. J. Soto; 1906, A. N. Sullenger, who 
still holds office. 

County Recorders 
1875, W. B. Russell; 1877, C. Ed. Miller; 1880, J. D. Darby; 1881, 
C. Ed. Miller; 1882, Charles S. Cousins; 1894, A. E. Dunkel; 1906, 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 107 

M. H. Hurley, who held office until his death in 1924. On February 9, 
Flora Irene Hurley, his widow, was appointed, and still holds the office. 

County Sheriffs 

1S50, Nathaniel Tones; 1852, N. Hunsaker; 1853, J. F. S. Smith; 
1855, N. Hunsaker; 1857, J. C. Hunsaker; 1861, J. J. McEwen; 1865, 
H. Clausen; 1867, R. B. Hard; 1869, W. Brown; 1871, M. B. Ivory; 
1875, F. Wilkening; 1877, D. P. Mahan; 1884, James Rankin; 1890, C. 
W. Rogers; 1894, R. R. Veale, who has served to the present date. 

County Tax Collectors and Treasurers 

1850, D. Hunsaker, who resigned April 23, 1853, B. R. Holliday 
being appointed in his stead; 1853, Robert E. Borden; 1857, H. Fogg; 
March 2, 1861, S. Swain, appointed vice Fogg, deceased; 1861, O. F. 
Alley; 1869, J. R. L. Smith. In 1873, the two offices were each supplied, 
each with an incumbent. J. R. L. Smith continued as treasurer until 1875. 

Tax Collectors 

1873, M. B. Ivory; 1875, H. Gallagher; 1879, W. Shuey; October 3, 
1881, D. S. Carpenter, vice Shuey, deceased; 1894, H. C. Raap, who 
served until G. E. Searcy was elected in 1906. In 1910, M. W. Joost was 
elected, and is still serving. 

County Treasurers 

1875, A. Tyler; 1877, R. D. Hathaway; 1890, P. L. Roberts; 1894, J. 
O. Sherburne; 1898, R. L. Ulsh; 1902, T. A. Wiley, who served until 
1910, when L. N. Buttner was elected. He died in 1913 and was succeeded 
by J. R. Baker, who in turn was succeeded by C. L. Dodge, the present 
incumbent. 

County Assessors 

1850, N. B. Smith; 1852, L. H. Hastings; 1853, J. M. Jones; 1855, 
O. F. Alley; 1857, J. F. S. Smith; 1859, J. J. White; 1861, N. J. Clark; 
1863, Philip Sage; 1865, F. A. Matthews, who resigned August 2, 1869, 
J. L. Bromley being appointed in his stead; 1869, James Foster; 1879, 
J. N. Stow; 1886, F. Williams; 1894, H. T. Jones; 1910, G. O. Meese, 
who is still serving. 

Public Administrators 
1852, W. W. Chipman; 1853, N. Jones; 1854, J. A. Morgan; 1855, 
George Langdon ; 1857, M. R. Barber; 1859, B. R. Holliday; 1861, 
M. R. Barber; 1863, D. S. Woodruff; 1865, J. E. Stevens; 1867, D. 
Small. He resigned August 8, 1868, and B. R. Holliday was appointed. 
1869, R. B. Brock; March 19, 1872, E. W. Heller, appointed vice Brock, 
deceased; 1881, J. W. Guy; 1884, E. W. Heller; 1886, G. H. Scammon; 
May, 1891, Charles Wood appointed vice Scammon, deceased; 1894, 
F. W. Gunther; 1898, J. Bendixen; 1902, M. H. Hurley; 1910, C. E. 
Daley; 1922, Raymond Johnson, who is still in office. 



108 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

County Coroners 

In 1855 the office of county coroner was formally established and 
William Armstrong was elected. He resigned and L. H. Hastings was 
appointed January 14, 1856. These followed: 1856, W. A. J. Gift; 
March 2, 1857, J. F. S. Smith appointed to fill vacancy; 1857, J. M. 
Sutton; 1858, John Tennent; June 9, 1859, C. H. Ruggles appointed 
vice Tennent; November 8, 1859, E. T. Hough, appointed; 1860, J. L. 
Labaree; 1861, H. H. Fassett; 1863, E. T. Hough; 1866, J. H. Caro- 
thers; 1869, C. A. Ruggles; 1871, J. H. Livingston; 1875, E. W. Hiller. 
In 1875 the office was combined with that of public administrator and E. 
W. Hiller was elected to the two offices; he was succeeded by J. W. Guy 
in 1879. In 1884 the offices again became separated and J. W. Guy 
was succeeded by W. Dunnigan; 1886, J. W. Guy; 1890, H. J. Curry; 
1892, J. C. McMaster; 1894, H. J. Curry; 1906, C. L. Abbott; May, 
1918, Bert Curry appointed vice C. L. Abbott; 1918, C. F. Donnelly, who 
was succeeded by Aubrey Wilson in 1926. 

County Surveyors 

1850, W. Brown; 1853, T. M. Aull; 1855, D. Small; 1859, George 
Vosberg; January 2, 1860, J. B. Abbott, vice Dixon, resigned; Decem- 
ber 2, 1861, K. W. Taylor was appointed, vice Abbott; 1861, John 
Doherty; 1862, K. W. Taylor; 1867, T. A. Talleyrand; 1871, Robert 
Hunt; 1873, R. Eddy; 1875, R. M. Jones; September 16, 1879, T. A. 
McMahon, vice Jones; 1880, T. A. McMahon; 1890, Elam C. Brown; 
1892, T. A. McMahon; 1894, Elam C. Brown; 1914, R. R. Arnold, 
who still holds the office. 

Superintendents of Schools 

1855, J. Vandermark; January 6, 1856, Thomas Ewing, vice Vander- 
mark, resigned; 1856, J. M. Jones; 1857, E. H. Cox; 1859, A. F. Dyer; 
1861, D. S. Woodruff; 1863, J. F. S. Smith; March 19, 1864, H. R. 
Avery, vice Smith, resigned; 1864, H. R. Avery; 1867, A. Thurber; 1871, 
H. S. Raven; 1873, A. Thurber; 1877, E. Wemple; 1879, A. A. Bailey; 
1886, W. A. Kirkwood; 1894, A. M. Phalin; 1902, A. A. Bailey; 1906, 
W. H. Hanlon, who is still in office. 

County Commissioner and County Physicians 

In 1898 L. C. Wittenmyer was elected county commissioner. 

On February 8, 1872, C. R. Holbrook was appointed county physician. 

On August 5, 1874, J. H. Carothers was appointed county physician 
vice Holbrook. 

In 1898 C. E. Brown was elected county physician. 

There appear to have been no further elections to these offices until 
1922, when E. Merrithew was elected county physician. 

County Supervisors 

In 1851 the board of supervisors came into being, S. L. Robinson, Vic- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 109 

tor Castro, Robert Farrelly, William Patten, and T. J. Reefer being 
elected. 

In 1852 C. Lund succeeded Castro, and E. W. Winn succeeded Far- 
relly. 

In 1853 an entire new board was elected, viz. : A. W. Genung, Joseph 
Martin, C. W. Ish, I. Hunsaker and J. C. McMaster, who were to serve 
two years. 

In 1855 the county was districted into three districts and two men 
were elected from each, viz.: No. 1, J. H. Livingston and T. A. Brown; 
No. 2, L. E. Morgan and N. Jones; No. 3, W. R. Bishop and C. E. 
Wetherbee. 

In 1856 J. Emeric from No. 1, Ira J. True from No. 2, and A. Olm- 
stead from No. 3 succeeded Livingston, Morgan and Bishop. 

In 1857 J. L. Bromley succeeded Olmstead in No. 3; in 1860 J. T. 
Walker succeeded Bromley in No. 3; in 1861 G. H. Barrett succeeded 
Emeric in No. 1 ; in 1862 J. R. L. Smith succeeded True in No. 2; in 1863 
R. G. Davis succeeded Walker in No. 3; in 1864 J. Tewksbury succeed- 
ed Barrett in No. 1 ; in 1865 D. N. Sherburne succeeded Smith in No. 2; 
in 1866 R. B. Hard succeeded Davis in No. 3; in 1867 John Tormey suc- 
ceeded Tewksbury in No. 1; in 1868 R. H. Wright succeeded Hard in 
No. 3; in 1872 P. Walker succeeded Wright; in 1873 G. P. Loucks suc- 
ceeded Walker in No. 3; P. Walker was elected from the new district 
No. 4, and J. C. McMaster from No. 5. 

In 1877 Patrick Tormey succeeded John Tormey in No. 1, and W. 
Renwick succeeded Sherburne in No. 2. In 1878 W. B. English succeeded 
Loucks in No. 3; in 1880 D. N. Sherburne succeeded Renwick in No. 2; 
in 1882 T. E. Middleton succeeded Sherburne in No. 2, B. F. Beebe was 
elected over English in No. 3, and W. Nellis succeeded Walker in No. 4. 
In 1884 John Galindo succeeded Beebe in No. 3, P. Walker was again 
returned in No. 4, and Martin Flynn succeeded McMaster in No. 5. J. 
D. Bowen died in 1885 and P. Brown was appointed to fill the vacancy. 

In 1886 J. Kelly succeeded Middleton in No. 2, and C. J. Clayton 
succeeded Walker in No. 4. In 1892 J. M. Stow was elected in No. 2 in 
place of Kelly, and M. B. Ivory in place of Flynn in No. 5. In 1894 A. 
Rumrill was elected over Tormey in No. 1, and D. F. Majors over Gal- 
indo in No. 3. 

In 1896 William Hemme was elected in No. 1, Paul de Martini in 
No. 2, and J. D. Wightman in No. 3. In 1898 P. Tormey was elected in 
No. 1, William Hemme in No. 2, E. J. Randall in No. 3, Paul de Martini 
in No. 4, and J. D. Wightman in No. 5. In 1900 J. M. Stow was elected 
in No. 2, Paul de Martini in No. 4, and J. D. Wightman in No. 5. In 
1902 P. Tormey was elected in No. 1, and E. J. Randall in No. 3. In 1904 
R. Harrison was elected in No. 2, W. J. Buchanan in No. 4, and J. H. Try- 
thall in No. 5. In 1906 V. Hook was elected in No. 3. In 1908 Charles 
Rihn was elected in No. 1, and J. P. Casey in No. 2. In 1914 



110 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Zeb Knott was elected in No. 1, and in 1918 C. H. Hayden was elected 
in No. 3. Casey served until his death in 1923, and in April, 1923, 
Oscar Olsson was appointed his successor. 

The members of the board of supervisors at the present time (1926) 
are: For district No. 1, Zeb Knott; for No. 2, Oscar Olsson; for No. 3, 
C. H. Hayden; for No. 4, W. J. Buchanan; for No. 5, R. J. Trembath. 



CHAPTER V 

MARTINEZ 

The town of Martinez had its beginning in 1849, when Col. William 
M. Smith, then acting as agent for the Martinez heirs, decided to lay out 
a townsite. As early as 1823, Ignacio Martinez and Francisco Castro 
applied for and were granted the Pinole and San Pablo Ranchos, com- 
prising many leagues of land. They erected adobe houses and barns, be- 
gan planting trees and vines, and became the first fruit and grape growers 
in Contra Costa County. There were no roads, only trails through the 
valleys and over the hills; however, other families followed the example 
of these two pioneers and established homes for themselves. These two 
pioneer families were the center of all local social gatherings, and a typi- 
cal Spanish hospitality was always extended by them and their neighbors. 

In 1832 William Welch secured title to a tract of land known as the 
Las Juntas Rancho, on which a portion of the city of Martinez now stands. 
In 1849 Col. William M. Smith secured the services of T. A. Brown to 
survey and lay out a town on 120 acres on the west side of El Hambre 
Creek. Lots sold rapidly, and soon buildings were in the course of con> 
struction. The first building was the house of Dr. Leffler, erected by 
Nicholas Hunsaker. T. A. Brown built the second structure and, with 
his brother Warren and N. B. Smith, opened and conducted the first trad> 
ing post in the county. Boorman and Dana also had a store in 1849, as 
did Howard & Wells; the latter was managed by one Howard Havens. 
That same year the Bradley house was completed, and N. Jones erected 
a cottage next to the Berryessa adobe. Dr. Tennent was the first physi- 
cian and Seeley Bennett the first livery stable man in the town. 

In 1850-1851 T. A. Brown surveyed the first addition to the new 
town, under orders from the owners of the Welch Rancho, El Hambre 
Creek being the dividing line. There were over 500 acres in this tract, 
and the first buildings were the residences of Messrs. Lawless, Wise, 
Douglas, McMahon, and Bolton. It is well to mention that the Douglas 
home was the office of the first county clerk. There was also erected 
the office of the Contra Costa News, the first newspaper in the county. 






VIEWS OF MARTINEZ IN 1868. TAKEN FROM TOP OF COURT HOUSE 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 111 

In 1850 a negro named Jones opened the first eating house on the site 
of the Alhambra Hotel. In 1851 Teodoro Soto built an adobe home, la- 
ter known as the Hickman adobe. 

The first school was started in a house later occupied by T. A. Brown. 
The school room was also the meeting place of the court when in session; 
also church services were held in it on Sundays. The Masonic lodge met 
in the rooms in the second story. B. R. Holliday was the first school teach- 
er in the town of Martinez, where he conducted a private school, and R. 
B. McNair is on record as the second teacher, and the first public school 
teacher. 

In 1852 the Union Hotel was built. This was run by R. E. Borden, 
who was also the county treasurer. 

A petition was circulated and presented to the court of sessions to 
have the town incorporated, which was done, and the election was held on 
February 5, 1851, for the first board of trustees. Not long thereafter the 
supreme court held that the act under which the incorporation was made 
was void; and as the costs necessary to another election were deemed ex- 
cessive by the citizens, the matter was dropped, to be revived again in 
1876, when the incorporation became an actuality. 

On August 2, 1852, the first execution took place, when Jose Antonio 
was hanged for the murder of A. Morales on May 29, 1852. He was 
taken to the edge of the village and hanged from the limb of a sycamore. 

The second execution in Contra Costa County was that of a man 
named Monroe, who murdered a Mr. Briggs near Marsh's Landing. He 
was hanged from the limb of a tree near the old Martinez school building 
in September, 1854. The third hanging took place in the jail yard at Mar- 
tinez, when Manuel Juarez was executed for the murder of Elizabeth 
Robinson, an aged women who lived alone. He was hanged on July 28, 
1867, declaring he was innocent. 

The Methodist Episcopal church was established in 1854; the Episco- 
pal in 1855 ; and in 1866 a Sunday school and library were established by 
the Episcopalians; and their church was built in 1869, as noted later. 

On September 18, 1858, the Contra Cos-ta Gazette was established as 
a weekly newspaper and the first paper was issued by W. B. Soule & Com- 
pany. This paper withstood the ravages of time and never missed an issue 
in sixty-eight years. The complete files of the paper are the repository 
of much of the real history of Contra Costa County found in this book. 
W. B. Soule & Company were in turn succeeded by C. R. K. Bonnard and 
B. E. Hillman. On February 26, 1859, W. Bradford bought the paper; 
on April 28, 1860, he sold a half-interest to R. R. Bunker, and on March 
23, 1861, sold the balance to W. W. Theobalds. The paper was moved 
to the fast-growing town of Pacheco in 1861, which was then the grain- 
shipping center. In 1865 C. B. Porter bought out Theobalds' interest. In 
1871 a disastrous fire completely destroyed the plant, and in November, 
1873, it was moved back to Martinez, its present site. On March 3, 1882, 
F. K. Foster purchased a third interest. On November 3, 1883, Porter 



112 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

sold out to Bunker and Foster, and on August 27, 1887, T. S. Davenport 
bought out Foster. It appeared as a semi-weekly on January 4, 1888. On 
October 3, of that year, James Foster purchased a half-interest from 
Davenport, but this was sold to W. C. Brown after Foster's death. On 
January 7, 1893, the paper was restored to a weekly. In 1898 Brown 
sold to G. E. Milnes, and in 1907 Milnes sold to W. A. Rugg, who had 
established the first successful daily paper in Martinez, the Daily Press, 
on March 1, 1900. Four years later the Press was sold to the Gazette 
Publishing Company and the name was changed to the Daily Gazette. 
Mr. Rugg still owns the paper. 

The California Express was published in 1867 by Alex Montgomery, 
and continued for nearly two years. 

J. W. Collier started the Enterprise in 1871. It was a Democratic 
sheet, printed in San Francisco. It only lived a snort time. 

The Contra Costa News was established in Pacheco in 1873, was 
removed to Martinez in 1877, and is now one of the influential weeklies 
of the county. 

The Martinez Daily Standard and the Contra Costa Standard are 
published in conjunction by the Contra Costa Publishing Company. The 
daily was established in 1911. 

Martinez and Benicia were joined by telegraph on April 8, 1859, and 
that same year Mette & Company established the first stage line between 
Martinez and Oakland. On September 17, 1860, the Martinez Engine 
Company was organized. In May, 1867, Coffin & Standish erected 
the first flouring mill. On February 4, 1871, the Martinez Hook & 
Ladder Company was organized, and on September 5 of that year the 
Martinez Water Company was incorporated. The new bridge over Al- 
hambra Creek was opened to traffic on November 13, 1875.' 

Grace Episcopal Church was built in 1869, E. P. Gray serving as the 
first pastor. On June 18, 1874, the Congregational Church was organ- 
ized with W. S. Clark as the first pastor. 

In 1876 agitation was renewed for reincorporating the city, and on 
May 23 the election for city officers was held. The boundaries of the 
town as finally incorporated were as follows: "Beginning at a point where 
the fence dividing the lands of J. P. Jones and L. I. Fish touches the 
Straits of Carquinez, thence southwardly along said fence and continuing 
same course to the line of the homestead tract of H. Bush; thence westerly 
along the north line of Bush's homestead tract to Arroyo del Hambre ; 
thence southerly along said Arroyo to the center of G Street, to the western 
boundary of the town of Martinez as originally surveyed; thence north- 
wardly following the western boundary of the town plat to the Straits 
of Carquinez, to place of beginning." In July, 1880, the population of 
Martinez was 875. 

In 1879 the Bush property was purchased for a Catholic college, which 
was later built by the Christian Brothers and given the name of De La 
Salle Institute. In 1850-1851 the Catholics used Brown's store for church 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 113 

services. They then began an adobe building, but never completed it. In 
November, 1858, they erected a church, which blew down in 1866; then 
another, the present building, was erected. 

Shirley & Mizner operated a ferry between Benicia and Martinez, 
landing at the foot of Ferry Street, so named. In 1878 they sold out to 
the Northern Railway Company, and this company, with the San Pablo 
and Tulare Railway Company, constructed the first railroad through the 
city of Martinez.- 

In 1882 the Martinez Packing Company was established; and a sal- 
mon cannery was also operated by Joseph Black, both at a time when the 
fishing industry meant much to the town. The Pacific Coast Steel & Iron 
Manufacturing Company was built in 1884. 

In 1887, B. Fernandez erected the Martinez Hotel on the site of the 
Morgan House, which had burned down; the property had been bought 
up by Fernandez. In 1887, also, the Martinez Electric Light & Gas 
Company was organized. 

Several fires have devastated Martinez, and mention is here made 
of the more destructive ones. In September, 1856, the Union Hotel and 
Blum's, Lazar's and Hook's stores were burned. In July, 1867, fire de- 
stroyed the Gift mansion. On December 12, 1876, several buildings at 
the southwest corner of Main and Ferry Streets were burned; on March 
16, 1877, the residence of Mrs. Chase; on January 6, 1878, Granger's 
Restaurant; and on March 8, 1880, the Alhambra schoolhouse. The next 
serious conflagration was the disastrous fire of August 19, 1904, when 
over half the business houses were burned and two entire blocks were 
laid in ashes, with the greatest financial loss the city ever experienced. 
Again, a fire occurred on July 16, 1925, that burned several business places 
on the corner opposite from the one above mentioned. 

The earthquake of October 21, 1868, did considerable damage. It 
razed two walls of the Alhambra Hotel, threw down the walls of the 
court house, top and rear, and did minor damages to many smaller build- 
ings. On April 18, 1906, slight damage was done to chimneys, but other- 
wise the city experienced no harm. 

The buildings constructed in the last two decades have been modern 
in every respect. The county hospital building was built at a cost of $70,- 
000, in 1910. The city hall was built in 1911. The court house, costing 
$600,000, was erected of granite in 1901. The Alhambra High School 
was erected in 1904, and the grammar school in 1909. 

The Alhambra Water Company, established in 1903, began bottling 
water piped from the famous Alhambra Springs, and shipping to various 
parts of the country. 

The Mococo, or Mountain Copper Company, established its smelting 
plant here in 1905. It employs 400 men, with a payroll of $500,000 an- 
nually. The California Transportation Company built a wharf and be- 
gan making regular calls at Martinez in 1909. In 1911 the city estab- 
lished its municipal wharf under a bond issue. 



114 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

In 1911 the Pacific Gas & Electric Company bought out the Contra 
Costa Electric Light & Power Company; and the Great Western Power 
Company entered this field in 1913. The Contra Costa Gas Company was 
established in 1915. The Martinez-Benicia Ferry was established in 1913. 

In 1914 the city experienced its first real boom, when the Shell Oil 
Company chose Martinez as the site for the central base of their future 
operations. Hundreds of families settled in the town, homes began spring- 
ing up everywhere, and the business district enlarged accordingly. The 
Shell Company bought the Cutler, Potter and Arnstein properties, com- 
prising about 400 acres adjoining the city, and began by erecting a $5,- 
000,000 oil refinery and employing some 2000 men. From that date to 
the present time the policy of the company has been one of expansion, 
and this has meant prosperity for the entire city. The Shell Company was 
followed by the Associated Oil Company. 

The streets are all paved, many miles of sidewalks built of cement have 
been installed, and the water mains have been extended to all the addi- 
tions. The State Highway traverses the county via the Tunnel Road to 
Berkeley, and also via Franklin Canyon and Pinole. 



CHAPTER VI 

RICHMOND 

By Clarence A. Odell 

The first inhabitants of Richmond and the surrounding country were of 
a prehistoric race, as we learn by investigation of the Indian or shell 
mounds, of which there are several located/in this county. Among those 
in this vicinity is the one at the mouth of Wild Cat Creek; a larger one 
just behind the Mastersen Hotel at San Pablo, about 300 feet north from 
the old Alvarado Hacienda; and another that was occupied by the house 
of Antone Luis, not far from the San Pablo station of the Southern Pacific 
Railroad; but the most important of them all is the one at Ellis Landing. 
These shell mounds, or "kitchen middens," as they are sometimes 
designated by scientists, who are much interested in them because of 
the anthropological and historic facts which they disclose, are composed 
of the accretions of centuries of tribal life. All the offal, refuse and debris, 
as well as burials of generations succeeding generations, have, from the 
dead level, built up mounds that represent alike the abodes and the his- 
tory of the dusky t aborigines. 

The Ellis Landing shell mound is situated east from Ellis Landing, 
on the northwest shore of San Francisco Bay proper, directly north of 
Brooks' Island. It is mostly submerged and imbedded in an average of 
about thirteen feet of fine silt, but rests on a firm gravel foundation. The 
mound has a roughly triangular outline. With the shore as a base, it 
stretches out about 300 feet. The greatest height above the marsh level 




MACDONALD AVENUE. RICHMOND. 1925 




RICHMOND IN 19 00 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 115 

was seventeen feet, and the greatest depth below the marsh level, about 
sixteen feet. 

Scientists who have investigated this mound have been unable to fix its 
age. Some state that it is probably 3500 years old; others venture no 
opinion further than to say it is prehistoric. It is made up of charcoal 
ashes and shells, of which there were four hundred varieties. In it were 
found implements, weapons and ornaments already totaling some 630 
specimens. Many skeletons have also been unearthed from it. In the 
graves of the males were found charm stones, obsidian blades and smaller 
weapons. In the graves of the women were found mortars, pestles and 
awls; while the infants' graves had in each a handful of disk beads made 
from the obivelle shell, or pendants of abalone shells. 

This mound, like others, was built simply of refuse, and besides being 
a conspicuous archaeological feature, furnishes incontestible evidence of 
having survived considerable subsidence of the Bay country, which occurred 
subsequent to the arrival of primitive man; and it was for these reasons 
especially investigated by the Department of Anthropology of the Uni- 
versity of California. It would seem that it was the custom of these early 
Richmondites to emigrate to the mountains during the summer to fatten 
on the berries, pine nuts, acorns and wild game then so freely supplied by 
nature; and that on the approach of winter they came back to their tepees 
along or near the bay shore and drew upon the sea for their winter food. 
From some unknown cause this race of people became extinct; and it is 
only from the mounds which they left as monuments in this region that 
we may have any conception of the story of their existence. 

Richmond, with a population of 27,000 and an assessed valuation of 
$27,000,000, is the largest city in Contra Costa County. It is situate on 
the northeast of a low range of hills formerly known as the "Potrero de 
San Pablo" (pasture of the San Pablo Rancho), which forms the headland 
of a broad peninsula projecting from the easterly or mainland shore of 
the Bay of San Francisco. This peninsula and headland separates San 
Francisco Bay from San Pablo Bay and the bodies of water above it, viz.: 
Carquinez Straits, Suisun Straits, Suisun Bay and the deltas of the two 
great interior rivers of the State, the Sacramento and San Joaquin. 

The earliest available record of Richmond and its immediate vicinity 
is contained in the diary of Rev. Father Crespi, the historian of the first 
expedition to explore the eastern shore of the Bay of San Francisco, in 
1772. In this diary he states that the expedition camped on Cerrito Creek 
(the county line at El Cerrito, the boundary between Contra Costa and 
Alameda Counties), where they "killed a fat bear and enjoyed a supply of/ 
fresh meat"; the next day, marching on (through what is now Richmond), 
they "viewed the second arm of the sea or large round bay" (San Pablo 
Bay). There they noticed a large whale disporting itself, and "therefore 
infer that this bay is sufficiently deep for large vessels." 

From 1772 until April, 1823, there seems to be little, if any, authentic 
history of this locality; but on April 15, 1823, Francisco Castro presented 



116 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

to the Provincial Assembly (Deputation) of Alta California a memorial 
stating, that "being the owner of large herds of horned cattle and horses," 
he finds himself under the necessity, in order to preserve the cattle which 
he now possesses, and may hereafter possess, and in order to provide for 
the maintenance of his numerous family, to solicit of the Assembly that a 
piece or tract of land be given to him for the purpose of fixing his estab- 
lishment, and asking that it would be pleased to concede to him the "pos- 
session of three square leagues [sitios] in the place called 'Los Cuchi- 
gunes,' or 'San Pablo,' " and praying that there be given to him the "cor- 
responding possession and ownership of this land, as it may be proper in 
the premises" for his protection and that of his succession; and thereon 
the Assembly made the following decree : 

"Monterey, April 15th, 1823. 

"The Honorable Assembly [Deputation] grants to the claimant the 
piece of land which he solicits, measuring three square leagues, consider- 
ing the said claimant entitled to said favor for his services, his known 
probity and the abundance of stock which he possesses, for which purpose 
the Government appoints the Commander of the Presidio of San Fran- 
cisco for the measurement, and giving him possession of the lands for 
which he petitions." 

Said decree was signed "Arguello" and countersigned "Jose Joaquin 
de la Torre, Secretary." i ^'«> 

On April 15, 1823, Louis Antonio Arguello, whose name is signed to 
the foregoing decree, was President of the Provincial Assembly (Deputa- 
tion) of Alta California and was acting as Governor of California. 

On January 1, 1827, the said Francisco Castro presented to the Com- 
mander-in-Chief (Sehor Comandante General) of the Californias a peti- 
tion stating that he had, on said 15th day of April, 1823, presented to the 
said Provincial Assembly the said memorial, and that the Assembly had 
made to him the said order or decree. 

The said petition of January 1, 1827, further contained the following: 
"Considering that to the present time the foregoing decree has not been 
complied with, the reason therefor being unknown to me, I present myself 
to you in order that, making use of the powers with which you are invested, 
you will be pleased to give the orders necessary for the purpose of having 
the foregoing decree enforced. . . . 

"Wherefore I respectfully pray that, taking my petition into considera- 
tion, you will be pleased to order all that which you will deem pertinent 
and reasonable, which favor will, I hope, be granted to me." 

On the margin of this petition the following order was made by the 
Commander-in-Chief of the Californias: 

"Port of San Diego, January 29th, 1827. 

"The Commander of San Francisco will be pleased to report why the 
right of possession within referred to was not given." 

On July 27, 1827, the said Francisco Castro presented a petition to 
the Commander-in-Chief and Political Chief (Comandante General y 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 117 

Gefe Superior Politico) of California, which petition begins as follows: 

"Francisco Castro, owner of the Rancho San Pablo, respectfully pre- 
sents himself to you, and in due form of law exposes," and proceeds to 
set forth, "that during four years he has been in possession of said place as 
shown by the document respectfully presented to your Honor herewith; 
and as in this document, issued by the Most Excellent Deputation, it 
appears that it decrees and commands that due possession be given me, 
and requires the Commander of San Francisco to do so; that though that 
gentleman notifies me for the purpose of giving me said possession, as I 
was at that time a member of said Deputation, and was then called to 
Monterey on public service, I could not obey said summons, and as from 
that day to this I have not as yet been able to settle this matter, I now 
have recourse to the well known justice of your Excellency, requesting 
that you should be plesaed to order that due possession of said tract of 
land be given me." 

The petition further states that he has "already built upon said land a 
walled house, having a stone fence measuring 40 varas to the other 
wooden ones, and planted a garden with many fruit trees therein and a 
vineyard containing upwards of one thousand stalks of vines, built a mill, 
and sowed thirty fanegas of wheat, and one-half a fanega of corn and 
beans each"; that he has "six hundred head of cattle, and five hundred 
horses, more or less"; that the tract of land "runs along the bank of the 
creek [estero] and shores of the bay [mar] of San Francisco, from north 
to northwest from where it bounds with the Rancho of the Sergeant Luis 
Peralta." 

The "walled house" above referred to was built on or near the south- 
erly banks of Wild Cat Creek, just a little east of the present San Pablo 
Avenue. The old adobe house, which has been more or less improved, and 
is still standing east of San Pablo Avenue, just a little north of El Cerrito 
Creek (the boundary between Alameda and Contra Costa Counties), was 
built by Victor Castro, one of the sons of Don Francisco Castro. 

On January 30, 1828, Castro again presented his petition to be placed 
in possession of said land; and on May 10, 1830, he presented another, 
his fifth petition to be put in possession of the land sought, and which 
recites that he therefore renews his claim that due possession be given 
him of the said tract, and that the amount expended, and the improve- 
ments made by his family on the said land "be taken into united 
action — the same consists of a house measuring ten varas, and having good 
foundations, one thousand stalks of vines, and sundry other plants. 

"And in order that this claim be attended with full knowledge of the 
facts, and justice rendered me in the present instance, I will add that I am 
fifty-five years of age; am married and have ten children; was born in the 
town of Cinaloa, in the District of Sonora, which was founded by my 
father; that 1 was for thirteen years a soldier and corporal in the Mexican 
artillery; and that I have belonging to me on the tract which I occupy one 



118 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

thousand four hundred head of cattle, six hundred sheep and five hundred 
horses." 

On this last petition the following marginal decree was made by the 
Political Chief of Alta California : 

"Monterey, 26th May, 1830. 

"Let claimant add to his petition a plan [diseho] showing the confor- 
mation, extent, and all other important particulars relating to the tract 
of land claimed by him." 

Don Francisco Maria Castro died on November 5, 1831, before any 
other proceedings were had, leaving a widow, Gabriela Berryessa Castro, 
seven sons and four daughters surviving him. 

On May 26, 1834, Joaquin Ysidro Castro, the son and first executor 
of the will of said Francisco Castro, presented to the "Political Chief" a 
petition, stating that in consequence of the death of his father, who had 
instituted him the heir (heredero) of a portion of his property and 
guardian of that of his brothers, "as results from the Testament, a copy 
of which is archived in this Capitol," ... he solicits the lawful owner- 
ship of a tract of land named San Pablo. 

The petition proceeds in the following words: "a plan of which I here- 
with present, together with a copy of the first petition for said tract, pre- 
sented by my father, dated the 15th day of April, 1823, and copy of the 
Gubernatorial decree of the same date," and states, "the same having 
remained without effect, I hereby reiterate the petition, imploring of your 
Honor the proper documents for the security of the stock which occupies 
the aforesaid place." 

Governor Jose Figueroa, on June 12, 1834, at Monterey, made a 
decree and grant, reciting: "Whereas the late Francisco Maria Castro has 
had granted to him [tiene concedido] by the Most Excellent Territorial 
Deputation, since the 15th of April, 1823, the land known under the name 
of Los Cuchigunes or San Pablo, bounded by the Ranchos of San Antonio 
and El Pinole, and by a portion of the Bay of San Francisco; and whereas, 
his successors [herederos] subsequently applied for the lawful ownership 
thereof. . . . 

"Now, therefore, using the powers with which I am intrusted, and in 
the name of the Mexican Nation by decree of this day, I do grant to the 
said successors the above mentioned land, declaring the same to be 
their property," etc., subject to the usual conditions, the fourth one being 
as follows : 

"Fourth. — The land of which mention is made is of three square 
leagues, more or less, according to the diseho which accompanied the 
expediente granted to them. The Judge who will put them in possession 
shall cause it to be measured according to law, so that the boundaries 
may be marked out, the surplus, if any, reverting to the Nation for such 
uses> as may be proper." 

On June 23, 1835, the said Joaquin Y. Castro presented to the 
"Political Chief" a petition for an augmentation of the San Pablo Rancho, 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 119 

reciting: "I have already solicited from your Excellency the legitimate 
possession of the Rancho San Pablo which we, the heirs of my deceased 
father, actually occupied, as I have already stated in my first petition, but 
through inadventence have neglected to ask for the extent of land included 
in the plan annexed thereto, and have said that I asked for the three 
square leagues which we anciently occupied. . . . 

"This piece of land being rather small for the number of cattle grazing 
on the same, which number we are exerting ourselves to increase, I solicit 
you, in the name of the other heirs, and as their attorney in fact, that said 
petition be understood to include with the three leagues which we occupied 
the augmentation of the land described in the aforesaid diseho." 

On August 14, 1835, Governor Figueroa made an order which recited 
that "Considering the petition at the beginning of this expediente, and the 
grant [concession] which was obtained on the 15th day of April, 1823, 
from the most Excellent Territorial Deputation, the subsequent petition 
which was made on the 23rd day of June of the present year, praying for 
the amplification of a little more than a square league according to the 
diseho marked No. 2, and also such other additional documents as were 
furnished in conformity with the law and regulations in such cases made 
and provided, I hereby declare Don Francisco Maria Castro the lawful 
owner in full property, and by his demise his successors, of the tract of 
land known under the name of Los Cuchigunes or San Pablo, bounded by 
the Ranchos of San Antonio and El Pinole, and by a portion of the Port 
of San Francisco. I order that a good and sufficient title be made out and 
that the same be- registered in the proper record book; that it be delivered 
to the testamentary executor and heir, Joaquin Ysidro Castro, for all 
necessary purposes, and that the expediente thereof be archived." 

"I, Don Jose Figueroa, general of brigade of the Mexican republic, 
commander in general, inspector, and political chief of the territory of 
Upper California, so order and decree, and in faith thereof hereunto affix 
my name. 

"Jose Figueroa, 
"F'co Del Castillo Negrete, Secretary." 

On August 20, 1835, a grant was made by said Jose Figueroa in the 
same terms as said grant of 1834 for the whole property, including the 
augmentation, to the successors of Francisco Maria Castro, and declar- 
ing the same to be their property. 

On May 22, 1840, the expediente was presented to the Departmental 
Assembly, and the same was approved by the Assembly on May 30, 1840. 

On October 9, 1852, the said Joaquin Ysidro Castro, as "Adminis- 
trator with the will annexed of the estate of Francisco Maria Castro," 
filed with the United State Land Commissioners to ascertain and settle 
private land claims in the State of California, under the Act of Congress 
of March 3, 1851, a petition for the confirmation of said grant. After 
other recitals in said petition appears the following: "Petitioner further 
represents that said Francisco was married to Gabriela Berryessa, and 



120 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

died in the year 1831, leaving surviving him his wife and eleven children, 
the issue of said marriage being Alvina, Maria de Jesus, Maria, Francisca, 
Martina, Antonio, Juan Jose, Gabriel, Victor, Jesus Maria, and petitioner, 
(Joaquin Ysidro Castro). That the said Francisco left a will signed, 
attested, and published according to law, whereby he devised and be- 
queathed to his wife one undivided half of his land and other property, the 
other half to his said children to be equally divided between them. That 
said Martina Castro has intermarried with Juan B. Alvarado." . . . 
"That since the death of Francisco first aforesaid, his said children, Alvina, 
Maria de Jesus, and Maria died without issue, and their share of said land 
descended to their said mother, who thereupon became the absolute owner 
of fourteen twenty-seconds (14/22) of all of said land. 

"That afterwards, on the 4th day of August, 1851, said Gabriela 
Berryessa de Castro, by deed executed the day and year aforesaid, in con- 
sideration of the natural love and affection for her said daughter, Martina 
Castro de Alvarado, gave and conveyed to said Martina all the said inter- 
est (14/22) of her, the said Gabriela, to and in said land. That said 
Martina thereupon became entitled to fifteen twenty-seconds (15/22) of 
all the land aforesaid." 

On April 17, 1855, the claim of petitioner was confirmed and adjudged 
to be valid. Such further proceedings were had that the claim was finally 
confirmed by the proper United States District Court, the land was sur- 
veyed and the final survey was approved on August 17, 1864, by Hon. 
Ogden Hoffman, United States district judge. According to this final sur- 
vey the rancho contained 17,938.58 acres, a patent for which was on Janu- 
ary 31, 1873, executed and issued by the United States. 

The above-mentioned deed from the widow, Gabriela Berryessa de 
Castro, to her daughter Martina Castro de Alvarado was recorded on 
September 9, 1851, in the office of the county recorder of Contra Costa 
County. It was the cause of considerable dissatisfaction among the re- 
maining heirs of Don Francisco Castro, and was one of the reasons for 
the protracted litigation which involved the title of this magnificent tract 
of land. A proceeding was begun in the Probate Court of Contra Costa 
County, to set aside and annul the will of Don Francisco, in August, 1852, 
more than twenty years after his death, and on October 30, 1852, a judg- 
ment setting aside the order admitting the will to probate was entered; 
but in 1856, on the second appeal to the Supreme Court, the will was 
again declared to be valid. 

From time to time the various heirs sold off portions of their holdings, 
in some instances attempting to convey a complete title, while in others the 
conveyance called for an undivided interest. The title thus became so in- 
volved that none of those claiming an interest in the rancho knew exactly 
what he owned. There were various suits and disputes, and efforts made 
to effect a settlement; and in 1856 an agreement for or deed of partition 
was formally drawn up, between parties of nine parts. By it three disin- 
terested parties, viz., James Alexander Forbes, John B. R. Cooper and 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 121 

Nicholas Gray, were named and appointed to make partition of the 
rancho, and to that end to make the necessary survey, map, and report, 
which were to be filed for record among the land records of Contra Costa 
County "with this deed of partition and release, the whole to take effect 
when so filed and recorded, and not before." 

This instrument purports to have been executed and acknowledged by 
nearly all the parties to it. The survey, map and report were made, and 
the deed, etc., were filed and recorded on August 28, 1857. 

Nicholas Gray, one of the above named commissioners, was at that 
time a deputy United States surveyor, and the map and report he made, 
dated September IS, 1856, places the acreage of said grant at 29,941, of 
which 2,470 acres were marsh land; but the final report of the referees 
in partition of the San Pablo Rancho, which was incorporated in the final 
decree of partition, signed by Judge J. C. B. Hubbard, March 3, 1894, 
places it at 17,628.15 acres. 

It may be of interest, in passing, to note that on October 10, 1853, one 
of Don Francisco's sons, Juan Jose Castro, and his wife mortgaged to 
Thomas J. A. Chambers all of their right, title and interest in and to the 
San Pablo Rancho, declaring in said mortgage that it was "one undivided 
eighth part of the whole of said rancho," to secure the payment of a 
promissory note for $633, payable on demand, with interest at the rate 
of five per cent, per month, compounded monthly, until paid. On July 3, 
1856, their interest was sold under foreclosure proceedings; and on Janu- 
ary 12, 1857, no redemption having been made and the time for redemp- 
tion having expired, the sheriff of Contra Costa County, N. Hunsaker, 
issued a deed therefor to John H. Saunders and Hiatt P. Hepburn. The 
early part of this year, 1926, the Mercantile Trust Company paid $1,000 
per front foot for their lot, 50 feet on the north side of Macdonald Ave- 
nue by 107 J/? feet on the east side of Tenth Street, where their new bank 
is now nearing completion. 

Joseph Emeric had acquired the Jesus Maria Castro and Francisco de 
Moraga interests, amounting to a 2/22 interest in the rancho, but had not 
signed the agreement for the partition made by Gray, and interests of some 
of the minor heirs were not bound by that agreement. On November 19, 
1867, Joseph Emeric and others brought suit in the district court of the 
Fifteenth Judicial District of the State for partition of the rancho. An 
interlocutory decree was rendered in that court on July 15, 1878. Several 
appeals were taken; and the judgment and order denying a new trial were 
reversed by the Supreme Court (Emeric vs. Alvarado, 64 Cal. Reports, 
page 529) and the case sent back to the lower court, where Judge James 
G. Maguire, on January 5, 1889, entered an interlocutory decree adjudg- 
ing partition among the parties in interest according to their respective 
shares, as determined and set forth in the findings. There were several 
hundred parties to the action; and the findings of fact, conclusion of law, 
and interlocutory decree covered about 750 printed pages. From this 
last decision there were appeals taken by five sets of appellants to the 



122 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Supreme Court (Emeric vs. Alvarado, Cal. 90, page 444), but on August 
7, 1891, that court rendered a decision covering the five separate appeals 
and affirming the judgment and interlocutory decree rendered by Judge 
Maguire, and also his order denying a new trial. 

The final decree in partition was rendered on March 3, 1894, by Judge 
J. C. B. Hubbard ; and the costs and expense of partition were fixed by that 
decree at $103,470.73. The cost of recording the certified copy of this 
final decree and of filing the certified copy of the map accompanying the 
same, in the office of the county recorder of Contra Costa County, 
was $300. 

At the commencement of the suit in partition, Dr. Jacob M. Tewks- 
bury claimed the ownership and possession of nearly 5000 acres of the 
rancho, but by said final decree this was cut to 2214.155y 3 acres. In the 
meantime he had built some levees across the marsh lands lying between 
the mainland and the Potrero, and ultimately acquired title to about 1200 
acres of this "salt marsh and overflowed land." The south 400 acres was 
sold in 1905 by his widow to H. C. Cutting, who organized the Point 
Richmond Canal & Land Company. This company dredged a canal from 
near Ellis Landing on the slough to a point near where the Washington 
School now stands, and almost parallel to Cutting Boulevard, and with 
the material thus obtained filled and reclaimed about half the acreage 
bought, subdividing it into streets and lots, and sold many of the lots. 
The writer was told some years ago by John R. Nystrom that he, Nystrom, 
had frequently sailed in a bay sloop through the channel between the 
Potrero and the mainland, from San Pablo Bay to Ellis Landing, before 
Tewksbury built the levees that finally caused shoaling, and ultimately 
the closing of the sloughs. 

Among other portions of the San Pablo Rancho acquired by Tewks- 
bury, and confirmed to his widow, Emily S. Tewksbury, by the decree, was 
lot No. 48, as described by the decree and delineated on said map, said lot 
consisting of 392.12 acres. The southeasterly line of this lot was 100 
feet northwesterly of the line of Washington Avenue and extended from 
the marsh on the north side of the Potrero across to San Francisco Bay. 
In 1901 Mrs. Tewksbury sold about half of this lot No. 48, and also a 
portion of the salt marsh and overflowed land, to the Standard Oil Com- 
pany, and has since sold that company the larger portion of the northerly 
800 acres of marsh. On these lands acquired from the Tewksburys the 
Standard Oil Company's mammoth refinery and its adjuncts now stand. 

The easterly portion of this lot No. 48 was subdivided and sold off in 
lots, as is shown in the map of the Town of Richmond, Amended Map 
No. 1 of the Town of Richmond, and maps of Third Addition to the 
Town of Richmond, Fourth Addition to the Town of Richmond, and Bay 
View Addition to the Town of Richmond. 

Dr. J. M. Tewksbury was the leading physician in San Francisco, 
where he died on February 4, 1877, leaving a widow, Emily S. Tewksbury, 
and a son and a daughter. By his will he left his entire estate to his 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 123 

widow. For some years he and his family lived across Wild Cat Creek 
from Francisco Castro's home, east of the end of San Pablo Avenue, 
where the road up San Pablo Creek joins the avenue. 

Joseph Emeric was another owner of a large interest in San Pablo 
Rancho. The final decree in partition awarded his son, Henry F. Emeric, 
as his successor, 1991.132 acres. Among the parcels awarded to him was 
Lot 44, which contained 236.49 acres. Henry F. Emeric married Eliza- 
beth Dover on May 10, 1899. He died in August, 1899, leaving all of his 
estate to his widow. She, in the early part of 1900, sold Lot 44 to John 
Nicholl for $50,000. The John Nicholl Company subdivided that portion 
of the lot lying northwest of the Santa Fe Railway, and on August 28, 
1900, filed the map known as "Map of the Nicholl Subdivision of the 
Town of Richmond." As there was considerable hard feeling between 
Nicholl and the Tewksburys, the first subdivision map prepared by T. W. 
Morgan, C. E., for the company, made no provision for the opening of 
Richmond and Nicholl Avenue as they now exist, between the Tewksbury 
and Nicholl subdivisions, but was laid off in a continuous line of lots mostly 
40 by 100 feet, backing up against the Tewksbury line and fronting on 
Washington Avenue. 

John Nicholl came to this locality in 1857. He bought 200 acres of 
the San Pablo Rancho and built his house, which still stands and is occupied 
by his son, Joseph L. Nicholl, on the south side of Macdonald Avenue at 
28th Street. The eucalyptus trees still standing in front of the house were 
planted in 1868, and are said to be the oldest in the county. This tract, in 
the decree of partition, is designated as Lot No. 55, and contains 191.76 
acres. It extended from Road No. 14 (now 23rd Street) to 32nd Street 
on the east, and from the south line of the Oakland branch of the Santa 
Fe Railway to the vicinity of the Grant School. The easterly nineteen 
acres of the portion south of Macdonald Avenue was purchased by the 
city and is now being improved, and is known as Nicholl Park. It was 
here that John Nicholl, as captain, and a number of the earlier settlers, 
organized a small company known as a "Home Guard," which assembled 
and had "guard mount" and other drills during the Civil War. 

Nicholl acquired other interests in the San Pablo Rancho prior to the 
partition, and on the advice of his attorney, John B. Moon, accepted Lot 
45 of the San Pablo Rancho, containing 152.81 acres and including the 
promontory known as Point Richmond, now Ferry Point, Moon saying 
to him that some day it would be "valuable as a railway terminus." The 
truth of this prediction was proved when on February 26, 1897, Robert 
W. Watt, as vice-president of the San Francisco & San Joaquin Valley 
Railway, gave Mr. Nicholl a check for $80,000, dated on that day and 
drawn on the Bank of California, in payment for fifty-seven acres, includ- 
ing Point Richmond and adjacent land, which the Santa Fe Company now 
own. For some reason the deed was made out to Claus Spreckels. This, 
as we all now know, was the entering wedge for the Atchison, Topeka & 
Santa Fe Railroad to reach tidewater on the Bay of San Francisco. An 



124 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

interesting sidelight on its coming is found in an article by A. S. Mac- 
donald written inj_910, entitled '-'The Beginning of the City of Rich- 
mond," from which the following is quoted: 

"One November evening in 1895, I drove out from Oakland, bound 
for the San Pablo Marshes on a duck hunt. Leaving San Pablo Avenue, 
we passed the old Nicholl homestead and came to what is known as 
Twenty-third Street. Here the county road turned to the north, and then 
to the west again along Richmond Avenue. The only house on the road at 
that time belonged to Mrs. McGann, whose daughter was the first post- 
mistress of Richmond. It was a muddy, treacherous road from her place 
to the Potrero, used only by a Swiss dairyman, tenant on the Tewksbury 
land, residing about where the Standard Oil Company's office now stands. 
Leaving our team at this place, we walked out on the dyke to blinds out "at 
the mouth of the San Pablo Creek. It was a perfectly beautiful morning, 
sun shining brightly and not a breath of wind; consequently no ducks were 
flying, and after sitting five hours without a chance shot I concluded to 
quit, walk over the Potrero hill, and explore the Bay shore. On reaching 
the summit of the hill, a magnificent view greeted my eyes — Mt. Tamal- 
pais looming up to the right, Berkeley to the left and, seemingly just across 
the way, San Francisco — without a sign of life to disturb the quiet and 
peaceful scene. I wondered why such a delightful spot had been neglected 
for either pleasure or profit, as not alone its beauty, but also its commer- 
cial possibilities, appealed to me at once and I determined to investigate. 

"The government map and surveys showed a depth of sixty-five feet of 
water, the only point on the east side of the Bay where land and navigable 
deep water met. Aside from this, I discovered a saving of over twelve 
miles could be made by the Southern Pacific Railroad Company by a ferry 
from Point Richmond directly to San Francisco, instead of handling 
freight through Oakland to the shallow estuary of the Peralta Street slip. 

"These facts I presented to Mr. Huntington with the idea of establish- 
ing the freight and overland traffic of the railroad company at that point. 
Mr. Huntington thought very favorably of the project and prepared to 
look over the proposition; but unfortunately, or rather fortunately, as it 
has since turned out, he had become entangled in some lawsuits and left 
the State. 

"Not discouraged, however, as soon as the Santa Fe Railroad Com- 
pany announced its intention of reaching San Francisco, I presented my 
scheme to them. To avoid attracting attention, the chief engineer, head 
officials and I went out by separate routes and carefully examined the water 
front, with the result that it was considered the most feasible and economi- 
cal point on the Bay for a terminus, and was adopted. 

"As soon as this question was definitely decided, I knew that a great 
city must grow up there, and the next thing was to find a proper location. 
The Potrero was rough and hilly, while the immediate surrounding land 
was low, flat and swampy; the next cho/ce tract was that belonging to 
George H. Barrett, a pioneer resident. This we secured and named the 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 125 

City of Richmond. The country was uninviting-looking enough at the 
time, except the homestead of Barrett, which stood on Tenth Street, just 
north of Macdonald Avenue. > 

"The subdivision of thisjiay ranch by myself and associates was quite 
a serious problem and, to begin with, rather discouraging, as streets had 
to be laid out, blocks graded, sewers constructed, water and gas mains 
secured, railroad stations established by both the Southern Pacific and 
Santa Fe Companies, and street car facilities acquired; but all of this and 
much more "has been accomplished, thanks to the energetic, enterprising 
people who have taken up their residence there — and much credit must be 
given the Women's Improvement Club. 

"The argument which I made to induce the railroad to build to Rich- 
mond is stronger and better today, since it has been proven, than when 
first used — to wit, that it was the only place on the East Shore and the 
most desirable place on San Francisco Bay where land and navigable 
water came -together,- giving shipping facilities unexcelled anywhere else 
on the whole Coast. 

"la addition to this, now, with the Southern Pacific Railroad, Santa Fe 
Railroad, and belt line railroad for land connections, and the Standard 
Oil Company's immense plant and the cables of the great Electric Com- 
pany affording cheap power, it is an ideal place for manufacturing, as is 
evidenced by the large manufacturing concerns already attracted to this 
locality. 

"Richmond, with its fine climate, lying snugly behind the Potrero and 
' .sheltered from the prevailing westerly winds, its navigable harbor, over- 
land railroads and cheap power, has a basis for growth possessed by few 
/cities and, having all the improvements of a modern progressive municipal- 
ity, is bound to be one of the most important cities on the Coast. 

"I was laughed at in 1900 when I predicted a population of 10,000 in 
ten years. President Ripley stated that Richmond would have a popula- 
tion of 20,000 in fifteen years, and I have every confidence in his prediction. 

"Augustin S. Macdonald." 

In the early fifties the place at the foot of Tenth Street was known as 
Ellis Landing. Before that time this district was for ages the burial 
ground of prehistoric man. Scientists from all over the world have studied 
Ellis Shell Mound, and their researches unearthed much of value before 
modern improvements came. In 1849_ Capt. George Ellis operated 
schooners between San Francisco and Ellis Landing. The channel ran 
from San Francisco past Ellis Landing to San Pablo Bay, through the 
present site of the Standard Oil refinery. The Potrero Hills formed an 
island subject to government occupancy. When this channel was closed, 
it made this section part of the mainland. In 1859 Captain Ellis acquired 
the property. He operated two schooners, Sierra and Mystery, carrying 
produce and freight between the landing and San Francisco. John Ny- 
strom was manager of the landing. When Ellis died his. children acquired 



N 126 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

the property, and the old Ellis home and ninety acres of harbor property 
were purchased from George and Selena Ellis, his sister, by the Ellis Land- 
ing & Dock Company; M. Emanuel was president of the company. 

George H. Barrett once owned 420 acres in what is now the business 
district of Richmond. Barrett Avenue is named for him. A. S. Macdon- 
ald bought some of the Barrett property, Macdonald Avenue being named 
for him. 

Owen Griffins was a large landowner in the south part of Richmond. 
Part of it was subdivided by Griffins and Watruss, who sold to John Ny- 
strom, and he added Nystrom's Addition. 

Benjamin Boorman came in 1859. A biographicaLsketch of Mr. Boor- 
man will be found in another part of this history. 

Bernard Schapiro bought 1500 acres of the Tewksbury property and 
subdivided it. 

William H. Wood was another pioneer. His widow married Mr. 
Boorman. Her children were Robert N. Wood, Richard C. Wood, Lu- 
cetta Wood Dunlap, Ann Elizabeth Wood, and Frank G. Wood. By her 
second marriage there were two children, Adelaide Picton and Emily 
Axtell. 

Under the guise of its being "the People's Road," the San Francisco & 
San Joaquin Valley Railroad was built from Bakerfield to Stockton, and 
then on to Point Richmond. The portion from Stockton to Point Rich- 
mond, now known as Ferry Point, was built during 1899 and the early 
part of 1900. When the writer came here in November, 1899, the rails 
had been laid this side of Pinole, although the grading was nearly finished, 
and the tunnel was through the Potrero Hills, but the fill across the tide- 
lands from near Keller's Beach to the Point had not been completed. 
However, a few people had awakened to the fact that there would be a city 
here, or at any rate a chance to sell lots, for on June 3, 1899, the "Map of 
the Town of Point Richmond" was filed in the office of the county recorder 
of this county. This tract was handled and sold by Charles T. Rodolph, 
of Oakland, and was the first within what is now the City of Richmond to 
be subdivided. It comprised the land on the north side of Barrett Avenue 
(then Road No. 12) and designated on that map as Point Richmond Ave- 
nue, between Mrs. McGann's property at the east line of A Street (called 
Spreckels Avenue on that map) and the Santa Fe Railroad, and also 
included a triangular piece west of the railroad, cut into some five or six 
blocks. As the place where Point Richmond Avenue crossed the railroad 
was destined to become a very busy portion of the yards of the railroad, 
the company exchanged some of their ground east of the railroad south of 
Point Richmond Avenue for that portion of the Town of Point Richmond 
lying west of the railroad, as shown on said map. The streets now known 
as A, B, and C Streets, and Garrard Boulevard, were designated on the 
map as Spreckels, Santa Fe, Topeka, and Atchison Avenues, respectively. 
The propaganda setting forth that the San Francisco and San Joaquin 
Railway was to be "the People's Road," to deliver them from the bondage 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 127 

and monopoly of the Southern Pacific, which was then the only road reach- 
ing the Bay of San Francisco or traversing the great San Joaquin Valley, 
was a shrewd move on the part of the Santa Fe people, for they succeeded 
in getting quite a large popular subscription for the stock, and many 
advantages in the way of obtaining rights of way. The building of the 
road exhausted the funds raised by the sale of stock and bonds issued; and 
the Santa Fe Company very accommodatingly stepped in and furnished a 
ferry boat (the Ocean Wave, a stern-wheeler from somewhere up around 
Puget Sound), rolling stock, and other equipment, and took over the man- 
agement of the road. 

The first through train from Chicago, over the Santa Fe, arrived on 
July 3, 1900, about noon. Captain H. P. Lauritzen was in charge of the 
ferry boat, Ocean Wave, waiting for the train. 

Prior to the arrival of that overland train, Lyman Naugle, Richmond's 
grocer, first newspaper publisher and first postmaster, had arrived from 
somewhere and had established himself and family in a small building on 
the north side of what is now Barrett Avenue, between A and B Streets. 
He and his family were the first and, for several weeks, the only settlers 
on this, the first part of the townsite platted. On April 15, 1900, he put 
in a few cases of old type, an old broken composing stone, and a small 
chase, and proceeded to set up the forms for the first newspaper published 
in this city, which he called the Richmond Record. In those days there 
was no Richmond depot on the Southern Pacific, only a three-sided shed 
with a long board seat in it, at the crossing of Road No. 12, now Barrett 
Avenue. This "flag stop" was then called Barrett Station, as Barrett's 
house, just east of Tenth Street between Macdonald on Nevin iWenues, 
was the nearest house to it, where the Southern Pacific trains stopped twice 
a day if "flagged." It was to this point Naugle carried the forms for his 
paper, and then on into Berkeley where the paper was printed. Soon 
after, he got a hand press; and on July 5, 1900, assisted by Frank Critchett 
(who now lives in Oakland and has the first copy of the paper printed, 
and who was the first subscriber, and the writer), began the actual publica- 
tion of a newspaper in the young city. The first few issues of the Record 
were mailed from Stege, a little settlement with a railroad depot and post 
office, and called into being by the California Cap Works, the Stauffer 
Chemical Company's plant, and a match factory. Uncle Sam was not yet 
fully aware of the birth of this "Wonder City," but in August a post office 
was established in Naugle's store and print shop and he was appointed as 
our first postmaster. 

The second subdivision of our city was known as the "Townsite of 
Santa Fe" and was owned and put on the market by McEwen Brothers, a 
corporation composed of George and Frank McEwen and some of their 
family. This tract extends from the south line of the A. T. & S. F. Oak- 
land branch right of way, to the salt marsh lands, then owned by the 
Tewksburys on the south, and from a line 100 feet west of First Street 



128 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

easterly to Tenth Street. The map of this subdivision was filed in the office 
of the county recorder at Martinez on March 17, 1900. 

The next plat filed was known as "Map No. 1 of the Town of Rich- 
mond," being a portion of Lot No. 48 of the San Pablo Rancho, owned 
by Emily S. Tewksbury, and covered a few lots facing on what was called 
Tewksbury Avenue (now Standard Avenue) from 100 feet west of Wash- 
ington Avenue over about to Castro Street. This map was filed on June 
30, 1900. 

Then came the "Nicholl Subdivision of the Town of Richmond," a 
map filed on August 28, 1900; and after it, on November 10, 1900, was 
filed the "Amended Map No. 1, of the Town of Richmond," which took 
in more of Lot No. 48. 

We'll step over again to Barrett Avenue, where, at the northwest 
corner of A Street (then Point Richmond Avenue and Spreckels Avenue), 
T. M. Ross (who had come down from Sacramento) had started the con- 
struction of the second building to be put up in Richmond. He had not 
yet got the roof on when along came Frank Critchett, from Tulare, who 
landed here about July 1, 1900, with his good wife Martha and her three 
sons: Elton Mason, Albert Mason and William D. Mason, the last named 
then about fourteen years of age. William D. Mason was afterward 
superintendent of the Standard Oil refinery. Critchett thought it would 
be a good place for business; so he bought the property and started to fin- 
ish it. But the roof was barely done when he sold it to Henry Wanske, 
who opened, and for some time after operated, the Star Saloon. His 
reason for selling was that the writer had made a deal whereby Critchett 
was given by the John Nicholl Company the two lots at the north corner 
of Washington and Richmond Avenues (80 feet on Washington by 100 
feet on Richmond) in consideration of his erecting, opening, and maintain- 
ing for not less than eighteen months, what they were pleased to term a 
first-class Mechanics' Hotel. The Tewksbury and Nicholl people also 
wanted Naugle, with his newspaper, grocery and post office. Naugle 
would not go without Critchett, nor would he go without Naugle; so as a 
part of the same deal we arranged with Naugle to move over to the hill- 
side in consideration of Nicholl's giving him a lot 40 by 100 feet where 
the bank now stands, at the west corner of Washington and Richmond 
Avenues, and $300 to be used in the construction of a building, to house 
his grocery, print shop and post office, on the lot adjacent, 40 feet front 
on Richmond Avenue by 120 deep, given him by the Tewksburys, together 
with $300 in cash to be used in constructing that building. This building 
was started about September 1, 1900; and on the 10th, before he could 
get the roof completed, we secured a big dray and loaded on it Mr. 
Naugle's effects, including the Richmond Post Office, and brought the 
"whole cheese" over and established him in his new quarters. The post 
office did not stay long with the "bunch" at Washington and Nicholl Ave- 
nues. It was a hard blow to Rodolph and the others interested at the 
original location, which was for years known as "Old Town," to lose their 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 129 

most valuable advertising assets, other than the railroad, i. e., the grocery, 
newspaper and postoffice. Mr. Naugle had failed to get permission of 
the post office department to make the move, and having raised the ire of 
Mr. Laymance and his friends, soon had Mr. Bricker, United States 
postal inspector, hot on his trail with a very large demand from so diminu- 
tive a man, "to immediately take that post office back." Back it went; 
and Naugle, with his grocery and print shop on the hillside, had to trudge 
through the rain and mud of that winter over to Old Town to take care 
of his post office. The spring following Miss Lizzie McGann was ap- 
pointed to succeed him, and was postmaster for many years, until Wav- 
erley Stairley was appointed, who in turn was succeeded by J. M. Long. 

Frank Critchett, a small man with lots of energy and executive ability, 
soon got a crew of men together and started building operations at a lively 
rate. His hotel was started before we "stole" the post office. Then Miss 
McNally, who was boarding a lot of railroad men in a tent near where 
the roundhouse stands and was having difficulties with the winds and rain, 
prevailed on Critchett to put her up a hotel on the gore lot at the foot 
of Washington Avenue. Bill Richards came over from San Francisco 
and bought the lot adjoining Critchett's on the north, and he wanted a 
two-story building put up on it immediately. So Frank took over the man- 
agement of that work and soon had Richards Hall, where were had many 
a dance and frolic, under roof. He must have had a preference for 
"Bills," as there were Bill Redding, Bill Falls and Bill Conn, all sawing 
and hammering away at the same time. Those were stirring times in the 
live town; in fact the wind during that winter "stirred" several of the 
unfinished buildings clear off their foundations. The John Nicholl Com- 
pany had five cottages under construction — one at the south corner of 
Washington and Richmond Avenues, one on Washington on the second lot 
above Naugle's corner, one on Richmond opposite the end of Park Place, 
and two on Tunnel Avenue, between Richmond and Nicholl Avenues. 
During the earlier part of that season, P. M. (Pat) Dean and Mr. Wyatt 
had put up a two-story frame building on Tewksbury (now Standard) 
Avenue and were occupying it for a boarding house and saloon. And with 
so many other memories crowding along, I almost forgot what must have 
been a very important place during the railroad construction work around 
here — the old "Hunters' Home" saloon, that stood on the south side of 
Tewksbury Avenue opposite the end of the road that came up from the 
railroad yards. How long it had been there I do not know, but the build- 
ing looked old when I first saw it. It was afterward moved across the 
street to its present location on the corner. 

Road No. 12, of which Barrett Avenue is now the easterly portion, 
extended from Road No. 14, now Twenty-third Street, to a point a little 
west of the junction of Garrard and Barrett Avenues, and thence southwest 
to a junction with Road No. 26, now Standard Avenue, about 100 feet 
west of Washington Avenue. In January, 1901, the Santa Fe shops were 



130 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

moved from Stockton to Richmond; urgently necessary repair work on 
cars and engines had, prior to that, been done in the open. It is rumored 
that, in making the blueprints for the layout of construction of shops and 
roundhouse, the tracing was inadvertently placed upside down, so that 
the plans as shown thereon provided for the shops and roundhouse to be 
westerly instead of easterly of the main line. At all events the roundhouse 
was built so that it was squarely on and across that portion of Road No. 
12. In 1901 an abandonment of the portion of Road No. 12, from and 
across the railroad on down through the roundhouse and shops, was put 
through the board of supervisors, on condition that the Santa Fe give a 
new roadway, graded and graveled, and sixty feet wide, in exchange. That 
road was afterward abondoned to the Santa Fe Company's use in exchange 
for the present Garrard Boulevard, eighty feet wide. It was filled to 
grade and an oil macadam top put on by the company, and served for 
many years; within the past few months (November, 1926) the Santa 
Fe and the Key System have completed a fine job of paving the portion of 
the boulevard from Ohio to Macdonald Avenues with concrete base and 
bitumen top. 

As is the case with all new railroad towns, the Santa Fe's first depot or 
station was a box car; then came a frame building on the east side of 
the track near where Ohio Avenue crossed the railroad. A reading room 
for the employees was also constructed there by the company. The station 
and reading room were maintained there until moved to their present loca- 
tion at the west end of Macdonald Avenue. 

Incorporation and Annexation Matters 

On October 5, 1903, the first petition for incorporation of the city 
was filed with the board of supervisors. The territory described and 
sought to be incorporated included all west of Twenty-third Street now 
within the present city boundary. The supervisors reduced the area so 
as to exclude about everything but the subdivided territory on the 
Potrero, but the sponsors for incorporation preferred not to have the 
proposition go to a vote that way. On September 6, 1904, another peti- 
tion was filed describing a smaller portion than that described in the first. 
There were various delays by the supervisors in passing on the matter, 
and they finally lost jurisdiction; so on June 5, 1905, a third petition was 
filed. In this was described a small territory. On July 3, 1905, the 
board of supervisors made an order calling an election on Thursday, 
August 3, 1905. At that election 256 votes were cast in favor of and 52 
against incorporation. On August 7 the supervisors canvassed the vote 
and made an order declaring Richmond duly incorporated as a city of 
the sixth class, under the General Incorporation Act. 

The first board of trustees were : Edward J. Garrard, Frank Bab- 
cock, Samuel R. Curry, Frank Critchett, and Herman B. Kinney. The 
first meeting of the board was held in the main office of the Critchett 
Building, August 14, 1905. Samuel R. Curry was selected by the board 
as president; Wm. R. Satterwhite was appointed city attorney; Robert 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 131 

G. Stitt was chosen as city recorder; and W. Stairley, as treasurer. Harry 
Livingston had been elected city marshal, and J. N. Galbraith, city clerk. 

The boundaries of the new city were about as follows : Beginning on 
the east line of the wharf of the Pacific Coast (now Standard) Oil Com- 
pany; thence northeasterly along line of the wharf and east line of the 
land of the oil company to a point about 450 feet north of Standard 
Avenue; thence southeast to intersection of north line of Ohio Street with 
easterly line of right of way of the Santa Fe Railway; thence northerly 
along right of way line to north line of Macdonald Avenue 100 feet west 
of First Street; thence south to Cutting Boulevard; thence southwesterly 
in a line running about 1000 feet northwest of the old road where it 
crossed the Potrero to the brickyard, over to the edge of the tide-land 
surveys; thence following the outer line of the tide lots to near the outer 
wharf; thence zigzaging around so as to leave Ferry Point out, and then 
following outer boundary of tide lots to place of beginning. 

A census taken at that time showed a population of 2118. 

On December 22, 1905, all the territory within the present city limits 
lying west of a point 170 feet east of Twenty-second Street was annexed. 
On October 12, 1908, a board of fifteen freeholders consisting of H. C. 
Wyatt, president, and Dr. C. L. Abbott, F. E. Adams, Levi Boswell, 
L. D. Dimm, J. A. Follett, E. J. Garrard, E. A. Gowe, I. E. Marshall, 
John Roth, H. H. Turley, E. M. Tilden, Dr. Chas. R. Blake, L. S. 
Higgins, and I. M. Perrin, were elected and prepared our present charter, 
which was ratified by vote of the people on February 9, 1909; was ap- 
proved by concurrent resolution of the legislature and adopted by the 
assembly on February 17, 1909, and by the senate on February 25, 1909; 
was filed in the office of the secretary of state on March 4, 1909; and 
went into effect at noon of July 1, 1909. It provides for election of a 
city council of nine members, whose terms of office are six years each, 
these to be elected on the second Monday in May of each odd-numbered 
year. The council each year select one of their own members as pre- 
siding officer, designated as mayor, and also appoint a city manager, a 
clerk, and all other city officials. 

The members of the first council under the new charter were : Edward 
J. Garrard, John N. Hartnett, James C. Owens, Edward McDuff, Otto 
R. Ludwig, Homer E. Wyatt, John J. Dooling, Joseph B. Willis, and 
Jerry A. Follett. Their first meeting was held on July 6, 1909. Willis 
was chosen as mayor; and the following appointments were made: T. 
Park Jacobs, city clerk; W. Stairley, treasurer; H. H. Tutley, auditor; 
I. E. Marshall, assessor and tax collector; Lee D. Windrem, city attor- 
ney; Orlin Hudson, engineer; Jas. P. Arnold, chief of police; Dr. H. M. 
Barney, commissioner of health and city physician; and Wm. Lindsav, 
police judge. 

On October 17, 1911, an election was held for annexation of all the 
territory east of Twenty-third Street now within the city limits, and also 
the greater part of what is now El Cerrito, but failed to carry. 



132 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

On May 28, 1912, an election for annexation of the territory east of 
Twenty-third Street was again held, and carried. The territory annexed 
did not include any east of San Pablo Avenue lying south of the Santa 
Fe Railway or Stege Junction, nor what is platted and known as Rich- 
mond Annex west of San Pablo Avenue. 

The Standard Oil Company 

The Standard Oil Company's refinery is the pioneer, and the largest 
of the city's industries, and might well be called the industrial backbone 
of the city of Richmond. In 1901 the Pacific Coast Oil Company, as this 
branch of the Standard was then known, with their refinery at Alameda, 
and W. S. Rheem as general manager, bought, on his recommendation, 
117 acres of land from Mrs. Emily S. Tewksbury, and about November 
1, of that year, began grading and other work for the construction of a 
new refinery, as they were abandoning the Alameda location for the more 
advantageous one in Richmond. This was the nucleus of their holdings 
of 1350 acres and their present immense oil refinery, the largest west of 
the Mississippi River. In this connection the following item from Mar- 
tinez, dated November 29, 1926, is of interest: 

"Martin W. Joost, Contra Costa County tax collector, today received 
the largest individual tax payment ever received in this county when the 
Standard Oil Company tendered its check for $376,143.21 in payment of 
the first tax installment on its Richmond refinery and the oil storage and 
pipe lands in this county. 

"Joost, in reporting the record payment of a third of a million dol- 
lars by one concern, stated that this equals almost the total amount col- 
lected to date, $465,000. None of the other heavy payers of taxes have 
sent in their checks so far." 

Luther D. Dimm was assistant superintendent; John C. Black, con- 
struction engineer; E. A. Gowe, cashier; Frank Babcock had charge of 
the pipe fitting department; Ed. Axelson, Sr., was head of the boiler de- 
partment; G. B. Fredenberg was superintendent of the acid works; and 
Joseph F. Brooks, who is now manager of the refineries throughout Cali- 
fornia for the company, with offices in their twenty-two-story building in 
San Francisco, was in charge of the can factory. 

As there are no producing oil wells in this vicinity, one might wonder 
where all the oil comes from to keep a plant of such capacity supplied. 
Great storage tanks and reservoirs were built in the apparently inexhaus- 
tible oil fields in the interior of the State, and a double pipe line nearly 
300 miles long was laid to conduct the oil therefrom to Richmond. The 
oil was heavy and ran slowly; hence it was necessary to establish pump- 
ing stations at various points throughout its length, and it is even neces- 
sary to heat the oil at these stations so that it will flow more freely. This 
great pipe line transportation scheme was a vast experiment, for which 
many predicted failure; but the fact that millions upon millions of barrels 
of oil have been pumped through the stations, and that the company has 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 133 

since laid another line or two alongside of the first ones, and other com- 
panies have adopted the same system of oil transportation, is the best 
proof of its success. 

The oil transported through these lines is stored in tanks and reser- 
voirs on the hills about halfway between Pinole and Richmond, at what 
is known as the "Tank Farm"; from there the oil flows by gravity 
through about three miles of pipe to the refinery. 

To give some idea of the immensity of this plant, we have but to say 
that for the five-year period from 1915 to 1920 the average daily run 
of crude oil through the refinery was approximately 50,000 barrels, and 
for the past year the average has been about 80,000 barrels per day. 
The daily average of men employed at the plant in 1915 was 1800; in 
1919 it was 3400; in March, 1920, on account of the large amount of 
construction work going on, it was 4500; and for the past year the daily 
average has been about 2800 men. 

In January, 1917, the company adopted the eight-hour day for their 
men, and while the number of employees from 1915 to 1920 increased 
about 100 per cent, the payroll increased to about $700,000, or about 
300 per cent. In 1926 the monthly payroll averaged about $550,000. 

In 1921 the company adopted a plan for giving the employees an op- 
portunity to become stockholders in the company, permitting them to 
make installment payments of not to exceed twenty per cent of their 
monthly salary, the company agreeing to credit them with fifty per cent 
additional for each dollar so paid on the purchase price of the stock. A 
large number of the employees grasped this wonderful opportunity. The 
scheme was brought to a close in December, 1926; and the company 
issued stock to eighty-seven per cent of its men. 

The products of this plant are many and varied, and are distributed 
all over the world. The company owns its own fleet of steamers and oil 
barges, thus adding to the convenience of delivery. 

Transportation and Power Facilities 

The Richmond harbor, in point of tonnage, ranks among the great 
ports of the country, and ranks fourth among Pacific Coast ports. More 
than 5,480,000 tons of cargo, excluding lumber, passed over Richmond's 
docks in 1925. The city has sixteen miles of deep water front. 

The Santa Fe Railroad's Pacific Coast Terminal is at Richmond, 
where are located its great freight yards and shops employing more than 
750 men. The Southern Pacific's Ogden, Shasta, Sunset, and San Joaquin 
Valley Lines converge at Richmond. These two transcontinental carriers 
maintain an inter-switching agreement and operate in rotation the Rich- 
mond Belt Line. This service gives Richmond factories the most conven- 
ient and advantageous local and transcontinental shipping service on the 
Pacific Coast. Switching charges, on either line, on a car destined for 
a main-line haul, are absorbed by the carrier. 

Richmond enjoys a trap-car or L. C. L. service based on a flat rate 
of S2.70 per car for the movement of L. C. L., provided the line-haul 



134 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

revenue equals $15. For this fee of $2.70, the Southern Pacific or Santa 
Fe will pick up carload lots of L. C. L. shipments at the plant and trans- 
fer them to freight warehouse, or handle incoming L. C. L. shipments 
from freight station to plant. Local switching charges are 34 cents 
per ton, $7.20 per car minimum. 

Richmond is served by a belt line railway which is independently 
owned. It is operated over alternating five-year periods by both the 
Southern Pacific and the Santa Fe, connecting these railways with the 
wharves. The Richmond Belt Line operates 11.30 miles of track, 8600 
feet having been added early in 1926. 

Since 1921 the tonnage at Richmond has increased seventy per cent. 
In 1925 a total of 30,174 cars were handled over the Belt Line Railway, 
which is within the switching lines of both the Santa Fe and the Southern 
Pacific as regards a main-line haul. Passing through the most highly 
developed section of industrial Richmond, the services of the Belt Line 
Railway are a distinct asset to every manufacturing concern locating 
within the territory it feeds. 

No city in the United States is more advantageously placed with re- 
spect to fuel and power than Richmond. The Western States Gas & 
Llectric Company is the chief power distributor in the city, but the Pacific 
Gas & Electric Company and the Great Western Power Company also 
serve Richmond. The high-power transmission lines from the hydro- 
electric plants in the Sierra Nevada Mountains reach Richmond first of 
the Bay Cities, and Richmond thus has first call on the vast resources of 
the hydro-electric power projects. Rates are set by the California Rail- 
road Commission, and have been characterized by Herbert Hoover as 
"the cheapest in the United States." 

At Richmond are the Pullman Shops, the Standard Oil Refinery, the 
Republic Steel Package Company (head office, Cleveland), the Certain- 
teed Products Company, the Santa Fe Shops, the Pacific Sanitary Manu- 
facturing Company (4 plants), and more than fifty other industries, 
which in 1926 turned out $185,000,000 of manufactured goods. 

A recent survey showed that Richmond possesses more than 106 
miles of splendidly paved streets. By reason of their effect on traffic and 
transportation, good streets are a distinct asset to every city, and Rich- 
mond has followed a consistent plan of street improvement commensurate 
with her growth and industrial importance. 

Schools of the City 

A splendid system of public, high, and vocational schools serves the 
people of Richmond, and high standards of instruction prevail. Because 
of the industrial life upon which the city depends, especial emphasis is 
placed upon vocational and trade school work. 

The first public school within the present boundaries of Richmond 
was held in a small frame building on the west side of San Pablo Avenue 
about 500 feet north of McBryde Avenue. This was the first school in 
the San Pablo school district, which included all of the territory com- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 135 

prised within the San Pablo Rancho. On February 2, 1903, the district 
was divided into three parts, forming the Richmond, Stege and San 
Pablo school districts. After the city of Richmond had grown, and had 
annexed the lands east of Twenty-third Street, and including Stege, by 
the election of May 28, 1912 (though the annexed territory did not in- 
clude all of the Stege district), the Richmond and Stege districts were 
consolidated, and that is why the Fairmont, Kensington and Harding 
schools, all in the city of El Cerrito, are under the jurisdiction of the 
trustees, and form a part of the Richmond school district at this time. 

The first building, with its additions, which housed as many as eighty 
pupils at one time, stood until quite recently, and in later days was used 
as a road house and saloon. The first teacher to preside there was a 
Miss Heniky, a woman of unusual ability, able to converse fluently in 
five different languages. After five years of service she resigned and 
married. Professor Skinner, then a teacher in the Berkeley school, ac- 
cepted the position, as he was given a much larger salary than the then 
little hamlet of Berkeley could afford to pay. Miss Ruth Ann Nicholl 
was also one of those who taught in that building — and taught one of 
our present teachers, then Emily Boorman and now Mrs. Axtell. 

The Richmond public schools proper had their beginning in March, 
1901, when our city was a village of only a little more than 100 people — 
and most of these living in tents. The school opened in Richards Hall, 
on the northwest side of Richmond Avenue adjacent to the Critchett 
Hotel, with fifteen pupils, from the first to the sixth grade inclusive. A. 
Odell, a veteran of the school room, was the teacher. During his term 
and through his efforts the school was removed, as soon as the building 
would house them, to the basement of the old First Methodist Church, 
a frame building on Richmond Avenue near Martina Street. This build- 
ing was later torn down to make room for a newer brick structure. Mr. 
Odell was stricken with typhoid fever and the last two weeks of the term 
were taught by Miss Calista Rumrill. Miss Emily Boorman (now Mrs. 
Axtell) opened the next term in July, 1901, with eighty-seven pupils, the 
school still being in the church basement. 

The San Pablo school district, of which we were then a part, had 
voted bonds for the construction of a new school building for San Pablo, 
at its present location on Market Street, and one for the Stege section out 
on Potrero Avenue adjoining the Stege home place, now East Shore 
Park; but on account of the rapid growth of Richmond, a portion of the 
funds were diverted to the construction of our first school building — a 
two-room affair now used by the old volunteer firemen as a clubroom — on 
the half-block of property at the southwest corner of Standard Avenue 
and Castro Street, donated by Mrs. Emily S. Tewksbury for school pur- 
poses. In the fall of 1901 Miss Boorman, with her numerous flock, 
moved into this new building, and soon a Miss Henry was employed to 
assist her. 

In June, 1901, the trustees of the San Pablo school district, viz., J. R. 
Nystrom, Harry Ells and John Peres, applied to the University of Cali- 



136 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

fornia for a man to take charge of their scattered schools. Walter T. 
Helms — who was born on January 3, 1877, near San Lorenzo, and had 
graduated at the Hayward High School and at the University of Cali- 
fornia and was taking postgraduate work there — was recommended and 
at once employed. He entered upon his duties in July, 1901, as principal 
of the three schools of the district. The one at San Pablo had its prob- 
lems to solve, Richmond was in embryo, and the Stege school was incon- 
venient to reach; but Mr. Helms was equal to the occasion. 

During 1901 the population had increased rapidly and the small quar- 
ters then occupied by the school were too small; also the children of the 
east side were handicapped by the long walk to the school on the west 
side. For their accommodation J. R. Nystrom, clerk of the board, se- 
cured the use of the loft in the barn on the Wicks property at the south- 
west corner of Sixth Street and Ohio Avenue, in the early part of 1902; 
and here the first school on the east side of town was held, with Miss 
Elizabeth Carpenter, now Mrs. James Cruickshank, as teacher. The 
school was afterwards moved to Henry J. Fitzgerald's building at the 
corner of Main and Haight (now Fifth) Streets. After the opening of 
Macdonald Avenue in the early part of 1902, it became necessary to pro- 
vide more room; and a small frame building on the west side of Second 
Street, a little north of Macdonald Avenue (now occupied by a Chinese 
laundry), was secured for the purpose, and another teacher was added 
to the faculty. 

Upon the division of the district in February, 1903, Mr. Helms re- 
mained as principal of the San Pablo schools at a salary of $100 per 
month. There were six other teachers — viz. : Ruby Roth, Nellie Jones, 
Susan Leonard, Ada Roth, Elizabeth Carpenter and Mrs. L. L. Johnson 
■ — at salaries of sixty-five dollars per month. For the year, the enroll- 
ment was 277 pupils, with an average daily attendance of 187. That 
year there was apportioned to the Richmond school district $2741 from 
State funds, and $3072.90 from the county funds, a total of $5813.90. 
A bond issue was voted that year for a new building, and the little build- 
ing on Standard Avenue was shunted to one side and a six-room two- 
story building erected. This was sold in 1912, was moved west across 
Standard Avenue, and is now an apartment house. 

The original Tenth Street school building was constructed with a part 
of that bond issue, on the west side of Tenth Street between Macdonald 
and Bissell Avenues, in 1903. It was a frame building of four rooms. 
Four more rooms were added, but the growth of the school was so rapid 
that even with these added rooms it was too small. This eight-room 
structure was sold in 1912 to Theo. Marcollo, moved to the east side of 
First Street, and converted into an apartment house. John E. Zumwalt 
was selected as the principal of the school (now Lincoln) in 1903, and 
continued till his death in 1924. 

In 1907 Richmond had two elementary schools, the one on Standard 
Avenue and the Tenth Street School, with an average daily attendance of 
577 pupils, and fourteen teachers. In October, 1926, there were ten 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 137 

elementary schools, one junior high school, one high school, and depart- 
ments of part-time study, kindergarten, and Americanization. One hun- 
dred ninety-four teachers and supervisors are employed, and the total 
enrollment is 5484. 

Richmond Union High School 

In 1907 the Richmond Union High School District was formed, and 
is made up of the territory originally comprising the San Pablo School 
District. William F. Belding, L. D. Dimm and B. B. McLellan were the 
original board of trustees. The first meeting of the board was had in 
the old Pioneer Club rooms. Professor Walter T. Helms was chosen as 
supervising principal, and thereupon organized the faculty, consisting of 
Prof. B. X. Tucker, as principal (he still is), and Miss Ruth Petersen 
(now Mrs. B. X. Tucker) and Miss Alberta Bell (now Mrs. A. H. Bur- 
nett). The school opened in the old unused original two-room school 
building on Standard Avenue. A bond issue was then put over for the 
purchase of the site now occupied by the school, on Twenty-third Street 
between Macdonald and Bissell Avenues, and the construction of the 
original building at a total cost of $85,000. Since that time various ad- 
ditions have been made to the grounds and building, at a total cost of 
about $100,000. 

In 1924 the board purchased about twenty acres just beyond the city 
limits, on the east side of Twenty-third Street, at a cost of $60,000, and 
on October 29, 1926, awarded a contract for the construction of the new 
high school building at a total cost of $592,991. The linoleum for the 
building was contracted for on the same day at a cost of $8460. 

Roosevelt Junior High School 

The Roosevelt Junior High School, on grounds taking in the entire 
block bounded by Eighth and Ninth Streets and Bissell and Chanslor 
Avenues, was built in 1920, costing with the grounds a total of $425,000. 
It has a capacity for 1200 pupils, and the auditorium built in conjunction 
with it has a seating capacity of 1500. 

Newspapers 

On July 7, 1900, the Record made its first appearance as a weekly, 
Lyman Naugle, editor. There was no postoffice and the papers were 
mailed from Stege. When the postoffice was established, Naugle was 
appointed postmaster. The Richmond Record made its appearance as a 
daily on February 8, 1902. 

The Santa Fe Times was established in 1902 by W. B. Brown. He 
moved to Macdonald Avenue and published the Richmond Terminal. 
George Ryan succeeded to the ownership in 1913. 

The Tribune was" established in 1903, but did not long survive. 

In 1910, J. L. Kennon established the Weekly Herald. This was 
merged with the Record under the name of the Record-Herald. 



138 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The Richmond Daily Leader was established in March, 1912, By 
G. A. Milnes. The Daily Leader and Daily Record-Herald were merged 
that same year, and F. J. Hulaniski was manager of the combined papers. 
He started the Contra Costan, a weekly, which was issued by the Record- 
Herald office. 

In August, 1914, H. C. Cutting established the Thinkograph maga- 
zine, printed in San Francisco until 1916, when he brougt it to Richmond. 
He established the Richmond News in 1916. 

The Richmond Daily Independent made its bow in 1910, J. N. Foss 
and M. J. Beaumont being the owners. John Galvin bought the Foss 
interest, and is still connected with the paper. 

The Daily News was established in January, 1914, by the Daily News 
Company, Inc., backed by some twenty labor organizations. In 1916 it 
was reduced to a weekly, and that same year H. C. Cutting took over 
the paper and organized the Richmond Printing and Publishing Com- 
pany. In 1917 the Daily News was resumed. The evening paper is the 
Richmond Independent; the morning paper, the Record-Herald; and the 
Richmond Terminal is the weekly. 

Along in the early part of 1901 a post office was established on the 
west side of town, with Miss Lucetta Wood (now Mrs. Paul Dunlap) 
as postmaster. She continued in office for ten years. The post office de- 
partment at first designated it East Yard, to correspond with what the 
Santa Fe Company there called their station, in contradistinction to their 
yards at Point Richmond, now Ferry Point. After a while the company 
was prevailed upon to change the station's name to Richmond, and ulti- 
mately the post office department changed the post office name to Point 
Richmond, as there was already a Richmond post office on Barrett Ave. 

TABLES 

CIRCULATION OF PUBLIC LIBRARY 

West Side Stege 23rd 

Main Branch Branch Street Grant 

Library Library Library Station Station Total 

1910-11 16,596 +,216 20,811 

1911-12 22,616 5,391 28,007 

1912-13... 33,043 5,895 38,939 

1913-14 44,965 6,661 1,083 52,709 

1914-15 66,497 10,318 3,058 79,873 

1915-16 78,541 18,550 4,736 101.827 

1916-17 84,233 18,300 5,854 108,387 

1917-18 90,117 19,564 6,483 116,164 

1918-19 100,877 14,374 5,646 120,897 

1919-20 127,385 21,749 6,542 155,676 

1920-21 158,278 24,997 6,934 190,209 

1921-22 173,252 25,768 7,873 206,893 

1922-23 194,123 28,669 9,512 320 232,624 

1923-24 194,808 22,512 10,351 227,671 

1924-25 238,228 24,016 11,566 1,306 275,116 

1925-26 279,268 23,462 12,437 2,599 317,766 

MEMBERSHIP 

Borrowers' cards issued to July 1, 1925 8,953 

Borrowers' cards added by new registration 1,464 

Borrowers' cards cancelled 879 

Borrowers' cards in force June 30, 1926 9,538 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 



139 



ESTIMATED VALUE OF 

City Hall: 

Furnishings and Equipment ....$ 10,000.00 

Police Department and Jail: 

Land and Buildings 3,000.00 

Equipment 2,000.00 

Fire Department: 

Land and Buildings 40,000.00 

Apparatus, etc 70,000.00 

Garbage Dump: 

Land 4,000.00 

Library: 

Land and Buildings 45,000.00 

Furniture and Fixtures 12,000.00 

Books 49,650.00 

Land 25,000.00 



CITY-OWNED PROPERTY 

Natatorium : 

Land and Building $ 135,750.00 

Furnishings and Equipment.... 3,300.00 

Parks and Playgrounds: 

Land 145,000.00 

Equipment 13,000.00 

Street Department: 

Equipment 8,000.00 

Wharves : 

Buildings 425,000.00 

Equipment 25,000.00 

Water Front Land 67,000.00 



Total $1,082,700.00 



ESTIMATED VALUE OF SCHOOL PROPERTY 



Real 
School Estate 

High School : $140,000.00 

Roosevelt Junior High School 60,000.00 

Lincoln 140,000.00 

Washington 45,000.00 

Granf 40,000.00 

Stege 3 5,000.00 

Peres. 70,000.00 

Fairmont 25,000.00 

Nystrom 35,000.00 

Pullman : 10,000.00 

El Cerrito 10,000.00 

North Richmond 20,000.00 

East Richmond 28,000.00 

Kensington 1 8,000.00 

Harding 30,000.00 



Building 

$270,000.00 

310,000.00 

125,000.00 

85,000.00 

70,000.00 

75,000.00 

40,000.00 

45,000.00 

40,000.00 

10,000.00 



Furnishings and 
Equipment 

$35,000.00 

25,000.00 

15,000.00 

7,000.00 

8,000.00 

8,000.00 

5,000.00 

3,000.00 

2,500.00 

800.00 



55,000.00 
55,000.00 



1,500.00 



Total 

$445,000.00 

395,000.00 

230,000.00 

137,000.00 

118,000.00 

118,000.00 

115,000.00 

73,000.00 

77,500.00 

20,800.00 

10,000.00 

20,000.00 

28,000.00 

74,500.00 

85,000.00 



Total $1,996,800.00 



FINANCIAL STATEMENT, CITY OF RICHMOND 

Receipts, Disbursements and Balances 
City Funds 
Balance 

July 1. 1925 Receipts Disbursements 

General Fund $123,592.74 $551,115.01 $563,024.40 

Compensation Insurance Fund 18,313.46 641.06 384.17 

Library Fund 4,226.39 27,752.77 28,345.32 

School Fund 6,101.56 10,659.68 10,79S.84 

Harbor Improvement Fund 87,769.71 27,347.11 102,706.75 

Park and Playground Fund 18,442.09 72.00 2,715.01 

Natatorium Building Fund 75,367.71 75,367.71 

1912 Bond Int. and Redemption Fund.... 20,042.57 69,287.93 68,375.00 

1920 Bond Int. and Redemption Fund.... 3,128.75 34,801.64 35,180.00 

1922 Bond Int. and Redemption Fund.... 6,191.30 7,994.75 10,100.00 

1924 Bond Int. and Redemption Fund... 5,970.52 5,329.84 6,687.50 

Total $369,146.80 $735,001.79 $903,684.70 

School Funds 
Richmond School District 
Balance 

July 1, 1925 Receipts Disbursements 

General Fund $ 4,029.42 $ 43,937.22 $ 28,870.05 

Salary Fund 159,176.05 157,418.00 

Special Fund 8,704.92 158,625.78 127,370.08 

Building Fund 3,257.21 289,291.27 55,688.27 

Library Fund 3,601.65 4,000.00 3,279.71 

Kindergarten Fund 2,147.76 13,097.06 10,752.99 

Total $ 21,740.96 $668,127.38 $383,379.10 



Balance 
June 30, 1926 

$111,683.35 

18,570.35 

3,633.84 

5,962.40 

12,410.07 

15,799.08 



20,955.50 
2,750.39 
4,086.05 
4,612.86 

$200,463.89 



Balance 

June 30. 1926 

$ 19,096.59 

1,758.05 

39,960.62 

236,860.21 

4,321.94 

4,491.83 

$306,489.24 



140 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 



CHAPTER VII 

PITTSBURG 

The city of Pittsburg has at present (1925) an estimated population 
of 7500. The site of what is now Pittsburg was brought into public no- 
tice when the United States Army and Navy engineers investigated it as 
a possible military and naval base, but little ever came of their investiga- 
tions, though a townsite was surveyed and given the name "New York 
of the Pacific." 

In his "Early Recollections of California" General Sherman says: "I 
made a contract to survey, for Col. J. D. Stevenson, his newly projected 
city of New York of the Pacific, situated at the mouth of the San Joaquin 
River. The contract also embraced the making of soundings and marking 
out of a channel in Suisun Bay. We hired a small metallic boat with a 
sail, in San Francisco, laid in some stores and proceeded to the United 
States ship Ohio. At General Smith's request we surveyed and marked 
the line dividing the city of Benicia from the government reserve. We 
then sounded the bay back and forth and staked out the best channel up 
Suisun Bay. We then made the preliminary survey of the city of New 
York of the Pacific, which we duly platted." 

It is understood that General Sherman received $500 and ten lots 
in the new townsite for his services. 

In 1850 a strong effort was made to remove the State's capital, then 
at San Jose, to New York of the Pacific. 

When coal was discovered in commercial quantities the place became 
known as Black Diamond. The main support of Black Diamond was 
from the coal mines and the fishing industry; and the latter is quite an item 
in the present prosperity of the city. However, the present growth and 
development are largely due to the efforts of the late C. A. Hooper and 
the C. A. Hooper Company. When Mr. Hooper became owner of the 
Rancho Los Medanos, on which the town is located, he believed there was 
a great industrial future for the place, and in every way possible he aided 
in its upbuilding. He interested San Francisco capitalists and boosted for 
the town. Since his death, in July, 1914, his son-in-law, W. E. Creed, a 
well-known attorney of the metropolis, has managed the Hooper interests, 
carrying out the plans and ideas of Mr. Hooper so far as is possible. 

The Los Medanos Rancho of 10,000 acres was granted by the Mex- 
ican government in 1835 to Jose Antonio Mesa and Jose Miguel Garcia. 
It was finally patented by the United States government, in October, 1872, 
to their successors, J. D. Stevenson and others. In 1849-1850 the Mesas 
and Garcia conveyed the rancho to Stevenson. The name Los Medanos 
is derived from the sand hills that come down to the river on the eastern 
boundary. Stevenson disposed of his interest to Pioche, Bayerque & Com- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 141 

pany, a banking firm in San Francisco. They sold to L. L. Robinson, one 
of the pioneer mining men and railroad builders. Upon his death it be- 
came the property of his sister, Mrs. Cutter, and she in turn disposed of 
it to C. A. Hooper. Robinson had divided the large acreage into smaller 
parcels and had rented it out to stockmen. The name Pittsburg was be- 
stowed upon the city in 1911 because of its industrial possibilities. 

The city has had a phenomenal growth through the concerted efforts 
of its leading citizens. In January, 1920, municipal bonds were voted and 
carried 9 to 1 for a water system, $140,000; city hall, $75,000; library, 
$7500; streets, $125,000; municipal wharf, $40,000; sewers, $20,000; 
storm sewer, $15,000; fire apparatus, $10,000; street cleaning apparatus, 
$7500. 

The fire apparatus consists of two Seagrave engines. The service is 
motorized, and maintains two salaried men and a volunteer department. 
The fire engine arrived in October, 1920. 

The city hall was dedicated April 14, 1923, and is valued at $75,000; 
the land upon which the building stands is valued at $25,000. In 1924 
the Veterans' Memorial Building was completed at a cost of $25,000. 

The schools of Pittsburg are without equal in the county. In 1915 
the brick grammar school building was erected at a cost of $80,000. There 
is a kindergarten school, and the city is in the Riverview Union High 
School district. In April, 1921, bonds were voted, 329 for and 65 against, 
in the amount of $100,000 for a new school building, and it is a decided 
ornament to the city, though it is inadequate for the present attendance. 

The municipal dock was completed in 1925. The Free Public Library 
was erected from a $20,000 bond issue. The sewer system is being gradu- 
ally extended by the bond issue for $40,000. The Municipal Water Sys- 
tem, valued at $140,000, is being extended. In 1919 the Black Diamond 
Water Company was taken over by the Pittsburg Water Company. 

The Chamber of Commerce has 150 active members and there is 
an active Business Men's Association. In 1915 the Pittsburg Athletic As- 
sociation was formed. Its membership includes all the leading business 
men and officials. A block of land, donated by the C. A. Hooper Company, 
was improved for a recreation park, and a grandstand was erected to ac- 
commodate 1000 people. 

A tree warden was appointed in 1915 and trees were set out on all 
the principal streets. The work was carefully planned by the citizens. The 
trees comprise many California varieties. Property owners vie with each 
other in lawn and flower planting. All streets are paved. Railroad Street 
is the principal business thoroughfare. 

Pittsburg is served by the Pacific Gas & Electric and the Great West- 
ern Power Companies; by the Southern Pacific, Santa Fe, and Sacramento 
and San Francisco Short Line railroads, with auto busses connecting with 
the Oakland, Antioch & Eastern electric. River boats run from the docks 
to and from San Francisco and river points, carrying fruit, produce, and 
passengers. 



142 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The Pittsburg Dispatch, a weekly newspaper, was started by A. P. 
Butterworth and H. C. Jackson, the first issue appearing on January 3, 
1917. The Pittsburg Post is another live paper. 

Banking facilities are provided by the Mercantile Trust Company and 
the First National Bank. The latter began business in 1919, C. Lepori, 
president. 

The first brick building on Railroad Avenue was the post office build- 
ing, and was erected in 1912. Hotel Los Medanos, a modern hotel, was 
built by the C. A. Hooper Company in 1917 at a cost of $60,000. 

Principal Industrial Firms 

The Great Western Electro-Chemical Company, the only plant of its 
kind west of Detroit, is incorporated for $2,000,000. Its first officers were 
Mortimer Fleishhacker, president; John F. Bush, vice-president; Arthur 
Lillienthal, secretary and treasurer. C. W. Schedler was superintendent 
until 1919, when he was made general manager. Some 300 men are em- 
ployed at the plant. 

The Pioneer Rubber Works, the largest west of Chicago, employ 
some 350 people and make a specialty of garden hose, 12,000,000 feet 
being manufactured annually. They also manufacture fire hose, belting, 
packing, auto tires, caustic soda and chloride of lime. They make con- 
veyor belts, and in 1925 filled an order for the largest belts ever made. 
These were two belts, thirty-six inches wide and about a quarter of a 
mile in length, which were installed in the sugar refinery at Crockett. The 
plant covers fifteen acres of ground, and the company is capitalized at 
$2,500,000. 

In June, 1910, ground was broken for the Columbia Steel Company's 
plant. On November 22 of that year, the first heat was poured at the 
foundry, and the original casting is still in use in the yard of the plant. 
The. original foundry was 300 by 60 feet; the original open-hearth unit, 
100 by 25 feet; and at present the total is about 618 feet in the main bay. 
In 1916 the second open-hearth was completed; and in 1917 the finishing 
department was put in operation. The present capacity is 10,000 tons per 
month. Some 1500 men are employed in the plant, more than ten times 
the first month's payroll. 

The Redwood Manufacturers Company was the pioneer manufactur- 
ing concern to locate here. The plant gets its material from the Humboldt 
redwoods and manufactures tanks, pipe, doors, etc. Its products are 
shipped to all parts of the United States and Europe. 

The Lanteri Shipbuilding Company was established by B. P. Lan- 
teri. Here dredgers and ships are built. Some of the largest clamshell 
dredgers in the world have been built at this plant, which is now owned 
by Bundesen and Lauritzen. 

The National Chemical Company; Booth's Cannery, the largest on 
the Coast, employing more than 1000 men in catching salmon, shad, striped 




X 

u 
o 

H 

z 

< 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 143 

bass and catfish, and 200 to 300 men in canning and packing fish; and 
the Western California Fish Company, are other important concerns. 

Fraternal Organizations 

Pittsburg Lodge No. 429, F. & A. M., was organized on January 20, 
1912, with twenty-two Master Masons, mostly demitted from Antioch 
Lodge. The first meeting was held February 20, 1912. On October 10, 
1912, its charter was granted; and on November 9, the lodge was insti- 
tuted and officers installed. There is an Eastern Star Chapter also. 

Other lodges are Pittsburg Lodge No. 436, I. O. O. F.; Los Medanos 
Lodge, Daughters of Rebekah, I. O. O. F. ; Knights of Pythias; and Loyal 
Order of Moose. B. P. O. E. No. 1474 was organized in October, 1923. 
An Elks Hall Association was formed, and a lot was secured at the south- 
east corner of Los Medanos and Tenth Streets for a modern Elks hall. 
There is an Aerie of Eagles; and the Foresters and Improved Order of 
Red Men are represented, as are also the Native Sons (Parlor No. 246) 
and Native Daughters (Parlor No. 146). David Solari Post of the 
American Legion was organized and named in honor of one of those who 
made the supreme sacrifice in the Argonne. There are also many benefit 
lodges and societies represented in this fast growing city. 



CHAPTER VIII 

ANTIOCH 

The city of Antioch was first known as New York of the Pacific, and 
sometimes was called Smith's Landing. Its founder, William W. Smith, 
with his brother, J. H. Smith, both preachers, had come to California via 
Cape Horn in 1849 and, landing in San Francisco, he found that men 
were wanted by J. D. Stevenson for carpenter work at a place about fifty 
miles away. Being an architect, and handy with carpenter's tools, he ac- 
cepted a position at $14 per day and at once he and his brother embarked 
on the Rialto for that point, where J. D. Stevenson and Dr. William 
Parker had purchased a part of the Los Medanos Grant from Jose 
Antonio Mesa. Soon after the arrival of the Smiths at New York of the 
Pacific, they were called upon by Dr. John Marsh, who came down from 
his rancho and offered them the hospitality of his home. 

W. W. Smith, who came from Maine, was appointed the first alcalde 
of the place and as such had charge of all sanitary, civil, criminal and ju- 
dicial affairs of his district. In carrying out the duties of his office, Smith 
spent $2000 in time, money, and medicines, none of which was ever repaid. 

In 1850, W. W. Smith, hearing of the arrival in San Francisco of a 
shipload of settlers from Maine, went down and found a number of fam- 
ilies who wished to obtain land and settle in California. Among them were 
Capt. George W. Kimball and brother, a Mr. Douglass, several named 



144 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Hathaway, a Mr. Marshall and son Benjamin, and a Mr. Dennison. They 
came to Smith's Landing. A street was laid out running east and west, and 
each family who wished to settle was presented with a lot. 

Pulsifer Brothers established a garden on the flat and watered it by 
means of a wooden pump fixed in the slough. 

Smith erected the first building in the township, which was called the 
Sew York House, to which he later added a large oven for baking bread 
and cakes, and in which even an entire beef could be roasted. Besides earn- 
ing $14 a day as a builder, Smith during the evening occasionally fried 
$50 worth of doughnuts, and baked bread, etc., the bread being worth $1 
per loaf. Men working on the river boats often paid $1 for the privilege 
of sleeping on the floor of the New York House in their own blankets. 
Later, Smith leased the New York House to his brother's widow and 
moved to a ranch near where Antioch now stands. 

The second house was erected by John Beemer, agent for Stevenson 
& Parker; and he was also the first postmaster and justice of the peace. 
The third building was built for Dr. Forejo of San Francisco, in which 
H. F. Toy opened a saloon. 

In 1850 Howard Nichols purchased the ship Mt. Vernon and turned 
it into a receiving hulk, where steamers took on and discharged cargoes 
and passengers. In 1851 he fitted it up as a boarding-house. 

A man named Lord; H. H. Hartley, a lawyer; and a Mr. Bodfish 
were among the early settlers. J. C. McMaster, a Forty-niner, with Wil- 
liam Dupee, operated the Flying Cloud on the Sacramento and San Joaquin 
Rivers and located in Antioch. He later became a member of the board 
of supervisors. 

On July 4, 1851, a basket picnic was held at the residence of W. W. 
Smith, which stood on the main street of the town. The principal topic 
discussed at the gathering was the naming of the town. There were be- 
tween thirty and forty men, women and children present. A chairman was 
chosen, and several names were proposed, among them Minton, after a 
steamer that ran up and down the river. This name was suggested in the 
hope that by its adoption the Minton might be induced to stop at the 
landing. Another name proposed was Paradise. Deacon Pulsifer arose 
and said that there were many claimants to the lands in California, and 
they might lose their lands and it would then be 'Paradise Lost'." W. 
W. Smith then proposed that inasmuch as the first settlers were disciples 
of Christ, and one of them (his brother, Joseph Smith) had died and 
was buried on the land, that it be given a Bible name in his honor. He 
suggested Antioch, and so it was acclaimed. 

The first school was established in the settlement in 1850 and was 
held in the galley of a ship owned by Captain Mitchell, which had been 
moved on shore. Adelia B. Kimball, a girl of twelve, daughter of Capt. 
G. W. Kimball, was the teacher. She later became Mrs. A. B. Schott. 
The second teacher was James Cruickshank, who was followed by Mrs. 
Woodruff. The next building used as a schoolhouse was a small one-room 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 145 

house near E Street. As the community grew and more room was needed, 
Joseph Galloway presented a site, the old grammar school lot, and 
a wooden building was erected. Then came a two-story brick with 
wooden additions which sufficed until 1890, when a substantial school build- 
ing was erected. Later two grammar schools were provided through a 
bond issue of $91,000, the old building being used for a kindergarten and 
the first and second grades. 

On June 23, 1883, Mrs. Annie Stinchfield opened a private school for 
children of the primary grade. 

Bonds were voted for $74,000 in 1925, and a new grammar school 
building was completed in 1926. The old building was razed in Septem- 
ber, 1926. 

A religious gathering of people of the Congregational faith was 
early organized by a Mr. Morgan. Miss Adelia Kimball started the 
first Sunday school; she was assisted by Miss Drusilla Boobar and Annie 
Morrison. The school met in the town hall. On June 12, 1865, a meet- 
ing was held to organize a permanent church, Capt. G. W. Kimball be- 
ing chairman and Rev. J. H. Warren, secretary. The following were 
charter members of the First Congregational Church: Mrs. R. H. Aldon, 
Mrs. M. H. Boothby, G. W. Brown, Mr. and Mrs. F. C. Barrett, G. C. 
Carmen, Isaac Hardy, G. W. Kimball, Almon Walton, S. C. Woodruff, 
Miss Ida Fuller, Mrs. J. C. O'Brien, David Woodruff, and William Utter. 

The Catholic Church was organized in 1872, when Father V. Vinzes 
celebrated mass in the home of John Mulhare, where services were held 
for a year. In 1873 a church was built, and in 1875 Father Patrick Cala- 
han came as the first resident priest. In 1880 he built the rectory. He 
died in 1902, and Father Antone Riley took charge; and in 1905 the new 
and commodious church was erected through his efforts. Records at 
Benicia show that the property on which the church and rectory stand was 
deeded to the Catholics in 1850. 

The Advent Christian Church was organized September 25, 1877, by 
Mrs. M. J. Clark, an evangelist, with a charter membership of some thirty 
people, many of whom were members of the First Congregational Church. 
Among them were Mr. and Mrs. John Schott, T. N. Wills, Mr. and Mrs. 
H. F. Beede, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Hardy, Louis A. Schott, and Dr. and 
Mrs. E. L. Wempler. Mrs. Clark served the church as pastor until Rev. 
W. R. Young was made the first resident pastor. He served until 1900. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in September, 1899, 
by Jr P. Abbott and Dr. W. S. George, at a meeting held in Hamburg 
Hall. They were assisted by W. Dunnigan, L. S. Lafferty, and Isaac Laf- 
ferty. Rev. James Blackledge was secured as the preacher, and he was 
succeeded by Rev. Brill. In 1890 he had secured sufficient funds to build 
a church building. 

In 1910 the Church of Christ, Scientist, held their first meetings at 
the home of one of their members. In July, 1911, an organization, with 



146 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

fifteen charter members, was perfected, and in 1912 a lot was purchased 
at Fifth and D Streets. In 1915 a chapel was erected; and the first meet- 
ing in it was held on April 4 of that year. 

San Joaquin Lodge No. 151, I. O. O. F., was instituted in Antioch on 
January 9, 1869. William Girvan was the first Noble Grand. Antioch 
Encampment No. 114 was organized October 9, 1908. J. T. Belshaw was 
the first Chief Patriarch. On June 28, 1888, Mizpah Lodge No. 102, 
D. of R., was instituted. The Odd Fellows own the old Union Hall. 

Antioch Lodge No. 175, F. & A. M., was organized October 12, 
1865. The First Master, under dispensation of May 21, 1865, was F. 
Williams, and he continued Master after the lodge received its charter. 
Ariel Chapter No. 42, O. E. S., was organized March 30, 1880. G. E. 
Wright was the first Worthy Patron, and Elizabeth Williams, the first 
Matron. The Masons purchased the Belshaw building in 1925. 

General Winn Parlor No. 32, N. S. G. W., was organized July 26, 
1884. The Native Sons are also represented by Mount Diablo Parlor 
No. 101, and the Native Daughters by Antioch Parlor No. 223. Antioch 
Aerie No. 785, F. O. E., was organized September 1, 1904, and Antioch 
Lodge No. 1612, L. O. M., was organized in February, 1915, with Dr. 
W. S. George as Dictator. 

Besides these, there are the Y. M. I., No. 101; Pocahontas Lodge, 
I. O. R. M.; Antioch Pyramid No. 24, Sciots; and Antioch Chapter, Or- 
der of De Molay. There are also the Portuguese lodges, U. P. E. C, 
U. P. P. E. C, I. D. E. S., and S. P. R. S. I. 

In 1859 coal was discovered in the hills south of Antioch, and the de- 
velopment of the mines added to the prosperity of the town. A railroad 
was built to the mines from Antioch. In 1863 copper was discovered in 
the hills, and a smelter was built in the town. The mining, however, was 
short-lived. 

The first lumber yard was started in 1864 by J. W. Galloway and E. 
C. Boobar, who sold to Rouse, Forman & Co., in 1877. In February, 
1907, the business was incorporated as the Antioch Lumber Company. 

In 1865 I. Lobree started a pottery, and three years later I. Nicholson 
started the Albion Pottery. 

In 1899 the Antioch Paper Mill was established by M. D. Keeney. 
In 1900 Peter and James Brown bought the mill, added new machinery, 
and increased the output. In March, 1912, this plant became the prop- 
erty of the Paraffine Paint Company, of San Francisco, and was incorpor- 
ated as the California Paper and Board Mills. Numerous fires have oc- 
curred at the plant. 

The Antioch Ledger, a weekly paper, was established by J. E. Town- 
send and Harry Waite, and its first issue was circulated on March 10, 
1870. Since that date the paper has never failed to go to print. In Au- 
gust Townsend became sole owner; and in December J. P. Abbott bought a 
half interest, and Townsend sold the other half to E. G. Fuller, who sold 
to H. A. Weaver in 1872. The following year he sold to Abbott, who 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 147 

carried on the paper until 1881, when he leased it to C. H. Smith. Charles 
F. Montgomery succeeded to the ownership in 1884; and when he died 
his son, Curtis F. Montgomery, remained in charge until April 1, 1905, 
at which date C. F. McDaniel bought the paper. In 1921 A. W. Flaherty 
became the sole owner. 

On September 12, 1891, the Bank of Antioch was organized; S. G. 
Little, president. Its capital stock was $100,000. In 1923 it erected a 
building costing $22,000. 

On January 3, 1911, the First National Bank of Antioch and the 
Antioch Bank of Savings began to do business. The capital stock of the 
former was $25,000; and of the latter, $50,000. J. L. Harding was 
president. 

F. L. Fulton operates a shipbuilding plant, constructing river barges, 
launches, etc. 

In 1922 the R. Hickmott Canning Company was established, with 
James Glenn as manager. 

Antioch has a population of 2500 within its corporate limits, and is 
a city of the sixth class. It was first incorporated in 1872. Later it was 
disincorporated, but was again incorporated in 1890. 

On December 8, 1874, the fire department was organized; F. Williams, 
president; M. S. Levy, secretary; S. Jessup, foreman. The department 
developed with the times, and its equipment now includes a Ford truck 
chemical unit, at the central station, and four hose trucks in various 
parts of the city. A Gamewell fire alarm system is in operation. 

The water supply of Antioch, for domestic and other purposes, is 
carried to the various parts of the town in 10-, 8-, 6-, and 4-inch pipes. 
The mains are so arranged that in case of fire the domestic supply can be 
cut off and the water pumped direct to the point where needed. There can 
be developed 300 pounds pressure if it is needed, but generally 110 to 115 
pounds pressure is used. The water comes from the river and passes 
through a chlorinizing process before entering the mains. The chlorination 
plant, installed in 1916, and the water system, are owned by the city. 
The pumping plant cost $100,000. To develop the system, bond issues 
were voted: in December, 1903, of $22,000; in 1914, of $25,000; and in 
1922, of $96,000. In 1926 the Antioch domestic water supply dam, made 
possible by the last bond issue, was completed. The reservoir, which has 
a capacity of 100,000,000 gallons, is located about three miles back 
in the hills. The bonds of this bond issue were sold at a premium of 
about $8000. The total sum enabled the city to construct the dam, to lay 
a fourteen-inch pipe line from the reservoir to the city, to install such 
pumps as were needed, and also to build a fence around the reservoir. 
This adjunct to the city's water supply insures adequate water for all 
purposes for many years to come. 

The Pacific Gas & Electric Company and the Contra Costa Gas & 
Electric Company, of Pittsburg, supply electricity and gas for light and 
power. 



148 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

On December 21, 1903, a bond issue of $8000 was voted for a sewer 
system. The later development of the system, which has been trebled, 
has been made out of the town's resources. The total assessed value of 
property in Antioch in 1912 was $539,000; in 1924, $1,500,000. 

In 1919 a bond issue for $55,000 was voted for a city hall, which 
was erected that year on four lots, each 25 by 100 feet, valued at 
$1000 per lot. The assessed value of the new hall is $60,000 with its 
furnishings. 

Forty-seven blocks of oil macadam were put in in 1914, under a street 
improvement act of 1911, at a cost of $84,000; in 1916-1917, fifty- 
four blocks of concrete base, one and one-half inches Topeka Top, were 
laid at a cost of $120,000 under the same act. 

The city is served by the Southern Pacific and the Santa Fe railroads, 
and a great deal of hauling is also done by auto trucks. An auto stage 
line connects with the Sacramento-San Francisco Short Line hourly at 
Pittsburg. 

Antioch is a port of call for all river boats. There is an average depth 
of sixty to eighty feet of water at the wharf. The country back of 
the city is a rich dairy section, and a great deal of grain is also raised. 
Fruit and nuts are another source of wealth to the back country. These 
products, together with the excellent docking facilities, make of Antioch 
a fine shipping point. 

The Antioch Memorial Building was erected in 1925 at a cost of 
$22,000, by an apportionment by the board of supervisors from a tax 
levy of three mills on the property valuation, in honor of the men who 
participated in the World War. 

The Antioch Free Library was erected from the Carnegie Foundation 
Fund. 

The city officers in 1925 are: James D. Donlon, president of the 
board; R. M. Beede, treasurer; John E. McElheny, city clerk; members: 
W. A. Christiansen, H. A. West, George W. Harter, and R. A. Wall. 



CHAPTER IX 

CONCORD 

In 1869 Salvio Pacheco, Fernando Pacheco, and Francisco Galindo 
laid out the town of Concord, platting lots and streets. There were nine- 
teen blocks and a plaza. The laying out of the town was undertaken in 
order to afford people living at Pacheco, who were continually being 
flooded out, an opportunity to locate on higher ground, because every flood 
necessitated rebuilding, repairing or raising buildings that had been dam- 
aged by the water. The donor of the land suggested the name Todos 
Santos (All Saints). This is the name by which the town was recorded. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 149 

The Americans dubbed it "Drunken Indian," but the public finally gave 
it the name it now bears. 

When the town was laid out it was decided by the founders that if 
those who lived and did business in Pacheco would locate in Concord, 
a certain number of lots would be given them free. Samuel Bacon was 
the first man to take advantage of this offer; and in June, 1869, he built 
a store and residence on the new townsite, at what is now the site of the 
American Bank. That summer Charles Lohse built a machine shop. Henry 
Loring erected the Klein Hotel, which later became known as the Concord 
Hotel. Several other business houses and homes were erected. 

Among the first settlers were John Brawand, who had a livery stable; 
and George Gavin, who ran a blacksmith shop. H. Ivey also had a livery. 
J. H. Keller, a Forty-niner, opened the first butcher shop. Foskett & 
Elsworthy bought out Keller in 1869 or 1870. John Wiechers con- 
ducted the Mount Diablo Hotel until his death. This hotel stood on the 
site of the Concord Inn. The first bakery was opened by John Lambert, 
who, in 1889, erected a building of his own, more adequate for his bus- 
iness. Others were John Turney, B. Mahoney, John Denkenger, A. 
Gehringer, and Philip Klein. Klein ran the Concord Hotel; Charles Klein, 
his son, now conducts a drug store. F. C. Galindo, grandson of one of 
the founders of Concord, is proprietor of the Concord Department Store. 
M. Neustaedter, son of B. Neustaedter, with his sisters, runs a store 
in the town. M. S. Soares was another of the poineers. His sons, J. M. 
and George, own the Concord Ice & Fuel Company. Henry Bott, a black- 
smith and wagon-maker, has been on the same corner with his plant for' 
fifty years. He was a member of the first board of trustees upon the 
incorporation of the town and is still a member. In 1892, with a partner. 
Mr. Smith, he erected a new shop building. 

Pacheco Lodge No. 117, I. O. O. F., was organized in 1863, with 
G. P. Loucks as first Noble Grand. On January 1, 1896, the hall was 
moved from Pacheco to Concord and dedicated. 

Besides the Odd Fellows Lodge, there are the W. O. W., Neighbors 
of Woodcraft, I. O. R. M., U. P. E. C, and I. D. E. S.; Concord 
Parlor No. 245, N. S. G. W.; Mount Diablo Lodge No. 228, D. of R.; 
Concord Chapter, O. E. S. ; Mount Diablo Lodge No. 448, F. & A. M., 
organized in 1915; and Y. M. I., organized July 31, 1887. 

Concord has a Catholic church, a Presbyterian church, a Christian 
church, and a Church of Christ Scientist, organized in the order given. In 
1873 a Catholic church was erected. In December 1882, a Presbyterian 
church was organized, with Rev. D. Monroe as pastor; and William 
Caven, John Brawand and E. A. Jaquith, trustees. 

The first school was established in 1870 and was taught by Mrs. Henry 
Polley. A grammar school was built in 1892, and a high school in 1906. 

Foskett & Elsworthy founded the First National Bank, now a branch 
of the American Bank. 



150 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The Bank of Concord was established in 1900 by M. E. Lyon, who 
also built the Concord Inn. 

The Concord Sun was founded by S. Fargeon. Later the name was 
changed to the Concord Transcript and the ownership fell to H. A. 
Downer. He was succeeded by J. S. Taylor, who sold to H. E. Griffith. 
Griffith sold to Mrs. N. K. Cushing. In 1910 a corporation called the 
Transcript Publishing Company was organized and published a paper 
every Thursday. This corporation was dissolved in 1914, when Catherine 
Burke purchased the paper. She married J. M. Soares, and together 
they direct the paper's destinies. 

On February 5, 1905, Concord was incorporated as a city of the 
sixth class. B. Elsworthy was the first president of the board; Joseph 
Boyd, the second; E. J. Randall, third; J. M. Finney, fourth; H. W. 
Bott, fifth; J. M. Soto, sixth; Charles Klein, seventh; and D. J. Bald- 
win the eighth president. 

Since the incorporation of the town, which now has 2100 population, 
$200,000 have been spent for street work. The city issued bonds in the 
amount of $29,000 for a sewer system, and pays $1,000 a year interest 
on them. Concord was the first town of its size to have paved streets, 
which were put down in 1914-1915. 

The P. G. & E. and the Great Western Gas & Electric Company 
supply electricity for power and lighting, and the Contra Costa Gas 
Company, in 1916, began to supply gas for fuel and domestic purposes. 
Port Costa Water Company supplies pure water for all purposes. 

On April 12, 1879, a fire department was organized, and this has 
grown with the town and is now equipped with a La France chemical 
engine, purchased in 1925, at a cost of $6000. The old chemical engine is 
owned jointly by the town and the Farm Bureau. 

On April 25, 1917, Concord was visited by a fire which destroyed 
the business portion of the. town, including the Concord Inn, Concord 
Mercantile Company, B. Neustaedter's store, the office of Drs. L. 
Martin and Edward Johnson, and M. C. Meehan's hardware store, the 
law offices of A. S. Sherlock, and some apartments. 

In 1912 the Oakland & Antioch Electric Railway entered the town, 
and then many of the old landmarks gave way to modern buildings. 

Among the modern buildings in Concord are the M. E. Lyon Building, 
Bacon Block, Majestic Theater, J. J. January Building, Seifried Building, 
Concord Auto Service Station, Chevrolet and Ford, the new grammar 
school erected in 1924, and the high school. The new auditorium of the 
grammar school was opened in 1926. 

The Mount Diablo Union High School in Concord is the second 
largest school in the county, having twenty teachers and a student body of 
400. The district takes in a territory surrounding Concord that in- 
cludes the towns of Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Bay Point, Clayton, Cowell, 
Avon, and Pacheco. The total assessed valuation of the district is over 
$13,000,000. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 151 

A Carnegie Library and a branch of the Contra Costa County Library 
serve the people of the locality with reading matter. 

A Chamber of Commerce has been in continuous service since its organ- 
ization in 1917. 

There are heavy shipments of green and dried fruits, nuts, and all 
kinds of farm products sent out from Concord annually over the Southern 
Pacific and the Sacramento Short Line. The Concord Ice & Fuel Company 
and Russi & Somer have ample storage warehouses. There are four fruit 
packing-houses at Minert Station, a short distance from town. 

In 1925 hangars were built near Concord for the Diablo Air Mail 
Field Base for air mail transportation. The following newspaper reference 
to this base appeared under the date of January 26, 1925 : 

"Six government planes detailed to the federal air mail will use the 
base as a test field for an indefinite period, starting today. 

"In establishing the Concord trans-continental terminus the federal 
government has stationed fourteen air plane experts at the local base. 

"The site is practically immune from the almost continual land and 
bay fogs of surrounding regions. Because of this and the adaptability 
of the ground formation for landing purposes, the experts declare it an 
excellent location." 



CHAPTER X 

CROCKETT 

The town of Crockett, six miles below Martinez on Carquinez Straits, 
was named in honor of J. B. Crockett, a member of the Supreme Bench of 
California. The original townsite consisted of eighteen blocks divided 
into lots 50 by 100 feet each, with the streets running east and west. 

The town is the location of the California & Hawaiian Sugar Refining 
Company, the largest plant of its kind in the world, representing an in- 
vestment of more than $7,000,000 and employing about 2000 people. The 
fine water-front of Crockett permits vessels of the deepest draft to load 
and discharge cargoes. The Sugar Company is very liberal in civic affairs; 
it furnishes a playground for the children, and a club house for the grown- 
ups. This is recognized as a community center club house. 

Thomas Ewdards, the Founder of Crockett 

"Thomas Edwards, founder of Crockett, was born in North Wales on 
April 5, 1812. At the age of fourteen he went to sea and continued before 
the mast for ten years. He then became mate on a Mississippi River 
boat, where he met J. B. Crockett and W. C. Ralston. On February 9, 
1843, he married Mary Pugh, who was also born in North Wales, on 
July 20, 1819. In 1849 they started for California. They wintered in 
Council Bluffs and started the next spring with forty men and ten wagons 



152 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

for California, reaching the end of the journey in September, 1850. He 
came almost immediately to the Carquinez Straits and engaged in the 
stock business on 1800 acres of land. The rest of his life is the history of 
Crockett. He died February 15, 1883. Two sons, Thomas and David, 
still make their home in Crockett." 

The above quotation, and the following data relative to the founding 
of the town of Crockett, were taken from the Crockett Signal of November 
17, 1922, when there was published a special edition at the twenty-fifth 
anniversary of the founding of the California & Hawaiian Sugar Refinery. 

Thomas Edwards, Sr., came to Carquinez Straits in 1866 and located 
in Bull Valley (Port Costa). J. B. Crockett, a practicing attorney and 
a friend of Mr. Edwards, came into possession of a strip of land one 
mile long on the straits and running three miles south, as counsel fees in 
settling a grant suit. Crockett and Edwards entered into a partnership 
on the land, but Edwards was unable to secure possession on account of 
squatters on the land. These men were living in a cabin, the present site 
of the A. H. Boucke home, and were cutting wood back in the hills and 
shipping by boat to the bay section. Watching their opportunity when the 
men were away from their cabin, Mr. Edwards and his sons took posses- 
sion. When the men came back to their cabin and found themselves dis- 
possessed, they went to the Fernandez ranch at Pinole, organized a band 
of sixteen men, and started back to oust the Edwards's. Mr. Fernandez, 
who knew the circumstances of Edwards' claim, hearing of the band of 
men leaving his ranch, mounted a horse and overtook them and succeeded 
in turning them back. The history of Crockett dates from 1867, when the 
Edwards family settled here, where they have since made their home. 
Thomas and David are the only survivors of the family. 

Thomas Edwards erected his family home on the bay shore, in a little 
cove overlooking the water, the shore-line being just at the edge of his 
front yard. The shore-line has gradually receded until it is several hun- 
dred feet to the water's edge. There was an old Indian burying-ground 
in the immediate vicinity. The townsite comprised 115 acres. Edwards 
sold to J. L. Heald, who built a machine shop of brick and a foundry. He 
helped lay out the town. Edwards received $50 per acre, but reserved 
every other lot. The Edwards house is still standing in a grove of trees, 
most of which were planted by Mrs. Edwards. 

Notes From the Diary of John Edwards 

The following items are taken from the Signal, as copied from a diary 
kept by John Edwards. In 1877 the Southern Pacific was pushing its road 
along Carquinez Straits, construction having begun in 1876. 

"Feb. 6, 1877 — The engineers arrived; 300 men are working on the 
railroad. 

"May 31. — Railroad men began driving piles for Edwards' wharf. 

"June 5. — The carpenters began work. The graders commenced on 
the local water-front. 




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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 153 

"June 12. — Construction work was halted on account of a dispute over 
rights of way over Donahue and Robinson's land. 

"June 13. — A schooner carrying forty Chinese workmen for the rail- 
road was nearly wrecked on the rocky point [where the sugar factory now 
stands]. 

''Aug. 22. — Hugh Edwards and a friend made a trip to San Francisco 
on the cars. 

''Sept. 3. — Railroad men are stringing telegraph poles along the right- 
of-way; cars came up in sight of Edwards' house. 

"Sept. 5. — Election day, and all went to Martinez, over the new county 
road for the first time, to vote. P. Tormey was elected supervisor. 

"Sept. 11. — Rails laid past Edwards' house and cars passed. Engine 
35 pulled a train of thirty-five cars and I rode on the train. 

"Sept. 25. — The first passenger train, with Leland Stanford on board, 
went through to Martinez. 

"Oct. 9. — The first morning newspapers were received by train. 

"Dec. 16. — A jury brought in a verdict for $1600 in favor of Robinson 
in damage suit over rights of way. 

"June 23, 1878. — Two engines hauling forty-three cars of lumber and 
iron for the tunnel came up. 

"July 5. — Passenger trains began making regular stops opposite 
Edwards' house. 

"July 18. — A letter was received from the railroad authorities, mak- 
ing Edwards' place a flag station. 

"Aug. 30. — Overland trains began passing. 

."Dec. 18. — Billings' Engine No. 28 ran into the morning emigrant 
train, telescoping three cars and injuring several people. 

"Dec. 22. — A great quantity of lumber for Port Costa ferry ship 
arrived. 

"March 20, 1879. — Mr. Gordon, telegraph operator, opened Valona 
station. He is stopping at Edwards' house. 

"April 5. — Valona office abandoned. 

"April 25. — Fire destroys James McHarry's store. 

"Dec. 8, 1880. — Edwards opened negotiations to buy Judge Crockett's 
interest in the ranch for $30,000. 

"Dec. 29. — A sidetrack was surveyed for the Edwards's. 

"Dec. 30. — Mr. Heald of Vallejo arrived, looking for a foundry site. 

"Feb. 12, 1881.— The Gazette says that J. E. Eckley transferred 250 
acres to Frances Eckley and Carrie Adams for $5000. 

"March 9. — A. D. Starr and partner of the Buckeye Mills in Vallejo 
are around looking for a site. 

"May 20. — An express office has been established at Vallejo Junction. 

"June 25. — Dr. Strentzel and Mr. Edwards view the franchise made 
with Lee for tidelands. 



154 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

"July 29. — Mr. Edwards finished the survey for the outline of a town- 
site. 

"Oct. 8. — Mr. Starr called to see about getting a mill-site. 

"Nov. 7. — T. A. McMahon, of Martinez, came down to survey the 
town-site. 

"Nov. 18. — Grading began for a hotel. 

"Jan. 16, 1882. — The carpenters are putting up rafters on Heald's 
foundry. 

"Feb. 17. — The Pinkerton House was opened to the public. 

"Feb. 22.- — The first load of machinery for Heald arrived. 

"March 2. — Mr. Heald turned the first wheel in his foundry with a 
threshing engine. 

"March 3. — The foundry is in operation. The whistle blew at noon 
for the first time. 

"March 10. — A meeting was held with the Port Costans on the school 
question. They ran the meeting to suit themselves. 

"March 11. — An election was held to elect W. S. Cown, Doyle and 
John Edwards trustees of Carquinez district. 

"March 13. — A man named Welsh was around looking for a mill-site 
and seemed favorably impressed. 

"May 23. — The lumber arrived for J. C. Glancy's house. 

"May 27. — School trustees go to San Francisco and purchase $130.45 
worth of supplies. 

"June 5. — School began with eighteen scholars. Miss Lottie Bent is 
the teacher. James and Nellie Narbett and three Perrin children are 
among the pupils. 

"July 20. — The first town water tank was set up by William Narbett 
for Mr. Edwards and a pipe line laid to it. 

"Aug. 10. — The foundrymen gave their first ball; there were twenty- 
seven couples present. 

"Aug. 16. — There are three Port Costa children in the Crockett 
school. 

"Sept. 9. — Two freight cars ran off the Solano Ferry today. 

"Nov. 18. — Starr & Company accepted the franchise offer of Edwards. 

"Nov. 29. — The deed was signed by Edwards and the franchise turned 
over to Starr & Co. 

"Dec. 31. — The heaviest snowstorm ever experienced; six inches of 
snow fell and stayed on the ground seven days. 

"Jan. 18, 1883. — Starr got his quit claim deed to high land across the 
track. [Hotel Crockett is now on the site.] 

"Feb. 4. — Pile driver arrived. 

"Feb. 6. — The Mary Glover brought a load of piles for Starr's mill. 

"Feb. 15. — Thos. Edwards, Sr., died. He was buried on the 18th 
at Martinez. 

"April 7. — Legion of Honor organized. There are twenty members. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 155 

"April 12. — A wind storm scattered lumber for Starr's mill about 
the Straits. 

"April 15. — The first church services were held in Crockett settlement. 
About thirty-five attended. Mr. Ballagh preached. 

"April 23. — A site was chosen for a Congregational Church. 

"April 29. — The first church services were held at Port Costa; twelve 
people attended. Rev. Drahms preached. 

"May 4. — The Barkentine Restler was the first vessel to berth at the 
Starr wharf. 

"June 15. — There was a postoffice established at Crockett. 

"July 7. — The first load of groceries was received for Mr. Barnhisel. 
He has the first store in Crockett. 

"July 14. — The school was reorganized. Miss Jones, teacher. 

"July 21.- — Dr. Strentzel gave A. D. Starr a block of land. 

"July 31.- — The lumber was put on the ground for the first house on 
Dr. Strentzel's town-site, Valona. 

"Sept. 22. — Masons began laying brick for the flour mill." 

Later Growth of the Town 

At the close of 1883 Crockett contained: the Pinkerton place, now 
Deininger's; Heald's foundry; schoolhouse; postoffice; Barnhisel's store; 
Edwards Brothers' market; Daniel Brown's house, the first one built on 
the townsite; and the homes of M. A. Hayes, John Flood, J. C. Glancy, 
William Narbett, William Perrin, W. E. Parks, C. H. Gardiner, and a 
few others. 

In 1897 the California Beet Sugar & Refining Company, R. P. Riblet, 
the first president, purchased the Starr Mill and converted it into a beet 
and cane sugar factory. The California & Hawaiian Sugar Company took 
charge in 1905, and began melting in March, 1906. That year they melted 
67,000 tons. This company has grown into the largest refining company in 
the world, and has a melting capacity of 4,500,000 pounds. 

April 22, 1899, the Crockett Signal says the Carquinez school district 
had an attendance of 166. 

The first newspaper in Crockett was the Record, and the first issue 
was put out on Saturday, January 1 1, 1896. Hart A. Downer was editor 
and publisher. The Record was discontinued on December 19, 1896. On 
April 8, 1899, W. G. Howes founded the Crockett Signal, which lasted 
only a short time. In December, 1903, the Signal was revived, and it con- 
tinued until November 19, 1904. In Januapy, 1906, W. M. Laidlaw again 
revived the paper. He has since continued its management very success- 
fully, building up a fine job-printing business in connection with the paper. 

Crockett now has a population of 4000. It has a First National Bank, 
organized in 1919 with $25,000 capital, which was increased to $50,000. 
T. J. O'Leary was the first president and F. W. Hutchinson was president 
in 1926. There is also a branch of the Bank of Pinole, established in 1908. 



156 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The Congregational Church of Crockett, built in 1884, and the Pres- 
byterian Church of Valona are combined under the head of the Crockett 
Community Church. There is also the St. Rose's Catholic Church. 

The school has developed from the one first organized in June, 1883, 
with eighteen pupils, to a very modern institution containing twenty-six 
rooms, with 476 scholars and a principal and twenty-two teachers. The 
John Swett Union High School is also located at Crockett, and has 212 
pupils and eighteen teachers. On Sunday, October 24, 1926, the laying 
of the cornerstone of the new John Swett Union High School building 
was observed with appropriate ceremonies. This is to be one of the finest 
and most modern high school buildings in the county. 

In 1916 a Y. M. C. A. building was dedicated. The Carquinez Wo- 
men's Clubhouse, the Loring Theater, Crockett Music House and Crockett 
Theater are among the modern buildings that ornament the town. 

The town is amply protected from fire by its volunteer department with 
modern equipment. The Sugar Company maintains its own department, 
made up of its own employees. The Valona department is also a volun- 
teer organization. One of the latest municipal developments in Crockett 
was the purchase, by the city, of the old Salvation Army barracks on the 
north side of Loring Street, between West and Bay Streets, for a per- 
manent fire house. The building was remodeled after plans drawn at 
the suggestion of Lloyd Edwards, fire chief, who had visited many cities 
and made inspection of their fire houses. The plans were approved 
by the trustees and the building was completed and taken over by the de- 
partment on March 29, 1926. The building has ample accommodations 
for the La France Triple Combination fire engine and a combination hose 
and chemical cart. The upper floor is fitted out with eight single, modernly 
equipped and furnished bedrooms for the volunteer firemen who wish to 
live there. There are also a kitchenette with all appurtenances, a meeting 
or dining room, a fine clubroom facing Loring Street and shower baths and 
toilets. There are thirty-one men in the department, all volunteers. The 
Crockett fire department cooperates with the fire fighters of the C. & H. at 
all times, as do the latter with the local department when needed. 

As a means of promoting good-will, there is a Crockett and Valona 
Business Men's Association. There are also a Citizen's Improvement 
Association that works continually for civic betterment, and a Girl's Club. 

Almost every lodge and fraternal organization is represented in 
Crockett, among them: Carquinez Lodge No. 337, F. & A. M.; Crockett 
Chapter No. 1 84, O. E. S. ; Crockett Lodge No. 329,1. O. O. F. ; Crockett 
Encampment No. 43; Carmel Lodge No. ISO, D. of R.; Crockett Aerie 
No. 774, F. O. E.; Carquinez Tribe No. 98, I. O. R. M.; Selby Lodge 
No. 192, K. of P.; Court Carquinez No. 1001, I. O. F. ; Neola Council 
No. 172, I. O. R. M.; Degree of Pocahontas; Carquinez Parlor No. 205, 
N. S. G. W.; Court Chris Bremmer No. 166, F. of A.; Alhambra Circle 
No. 205, Neighbors of Woodcraft; Crockett Post No. 33. American Le- 
gion; Camp Fire Girls; Boy Scouts; Carquinez Woman's Club; Contra 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 157 

Costa Chapter, U. A. O. D.; Cavour Grove No. 192, U.A. O. D.; Cro- 
lona Circle No. 70, U. A. O. D. ; Consello Florida do Esperanca No. 59, 
U. P. E. C; Council Santa Rosa No. 29, I. D. E. S.; and Carquinez Par- 
lor No. 234, N. D. G. W. 

The Veteran's Memorial Hospital was erected in 1925, by a tax 
levied by the supervisors, costing about $20,000. 



CHAPTER XI 

EL CERRITO 

The beginning of what is now one of the best residential cities in 
Contra Costa County took place when, in 1888, William F. Rust, a 
blacksmith, located a shop on San Pablo Avenue in which to ply his trade. 
This was then the center of a good farming community; and in order to 
meet the demands of ranchers, Mr. Rust leased property and built his 
shop. The community grew apace, and in 1909 a postoffice was estab- 
lished, Mr. Rust being appointed the first postmaster, which position he 
occupied for three years; in fact, he was postmaster, blacksmith and 
general counselor to the settlers of this district, which was then known as 
Rust. Mr. Rust is now living retired, having invested his money wisely 
in real estate in this district. In September, 1917, it was found desirable 
to incorporate the town as a city of the sixth class, and it was given the 
name of El Cerrito (The Little Hill). At that time the population had 
grown to about 1500 souls. 

In 1905 a school was established and soon after a community church, 
under the direction of a Methodist preacher. There was, however, a 
Catholic church established a short time prior to that of the Methodists. 
Both of these congregations have grown, and in 1925 both erected new 
edifices. In 1916 the school was taken into the jurisdiction of Richmond; 
and in 1924 a modern school building was erected, where eight grammar 
grades are carried on. In 1926 an extensive addition was made to the 
building to accommodate the increase in attendance; also a modern school 
building was erected on Fairmont Avenue. 

The estimated population of El Cerrito, in 1926, is given as about 
4000. Nearly all the streets in the town are paved. During the interval 
from 1917 to 1924 about forty blocks of paving were laid, and during 
1924-1925 $500,000 was spent on street work. A new city hall was built 
in 1925, also to house the fire department, and a fire alarm system has 
been installed. This was done through a bond issue of $65,000 voted by 
the people. 

The first board of trustees, elected in 1917 y were: Kirk Gray, P. A. 
Lee, J. Sandwick, G. W. Adams and P. Larson. Mr. Gray was elected 
chairman of the board. This board of trustees held office until the regular 



158 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

election in 1918, when P. A. Lee was chosen chairman. George Conlon 
succeeded Mr. Adams at this election. Mr. Lee served as chairman until 
April, 1924. He was succeeded by George Conlon, who in turn was suc- 
ceeded, in 1925, by Frank McDermott. In 1926 C. Zimmerman became 
the presiding officer. 

The attractiveness of the city as a residential district is enhanced by its 
adequate street car service, with a- one-fare rate to Richmond, ending at 
Sixteenth Street, and one fare to any Oakland point; its tax rate of ninety 
cents on every $100 valuation; its modern homes, with cheap rents; and its 
modern public facilities and conveniences. Ninety per cent of the residents 
outside of the Berkeley Country Club Terrace, own their own homes, all 
of modern construction and varying in price according to the demands of 
the owners. The city is in Sanitary District No. 7 and is served by the 
East Bay Water Company, the Western States Gas Company, and the 
Pacific Gas & Electric Company. The city limits extend along San Pablo 
Avenue from the Alameda County line three miles northerly, and the 
width averages about two miles, from the Avenue to the top of the Ber- 
keley Hills. The Berkeley Golf Club is located at the northern boundary 
of the town. The city includes about one-half of the residences on the hill, 
in the Mira Vista district, a suburb of Richmond. The El Cerrito Im- 
provement Club and the Berkeley Terrace Welfare Club have a distinct 
bearing on the civic development of the city; while the Parent-Teachers 
Association of El Cerrito looks after the educational interests of the young 
and growing generation. A branch of the Contra Costa County Free Li- 
brary is located in El Cerrito, and housed in a comfortable building on 
Fairmont Avenue. The Berkeley Country Club Terrace Improvement 
Association, which was organized on August 25, 1923, became the El 
Cerrito Improvement Association March 4, 1924. 

At the time of incorporation of the city the assessed valuation of prop- 
erty in El Cerrito was $1,125,000; in 1925 the estimated valuation was 
a little more than twice that amount. Business of nearly every description 
is carried on by enterprising merchants, who esteem it a privilege to boost 
their town and its advantages. The principal industry inside the corpo- 
rate limits is quarrying. Bates and Borland and the Hutchinson Company 
have large quarries here. The city has one enterprising newspaper, the 
Journal, established in April, 1925, and published weekly by L. A. Sirard. 
In 1925 the old volunteer fire department was disbanded, a new depart- 
ment organized, and a new La France engine and chemical truck put in 
commission. In 1926 the fire department headquarters, along with other 
city offices, were moved to the new city hall. 

On August 24, 1926, an annexation election was held at which territory 
was added to the city in order to control the San Pablo Highway. Start- 
ing on the highway at Bay View Avenue it runs west to Avila Street, 
then 100 feet south to San Diego Street, westerly to Panhandle Boulevard 
and southerly to the county line. This territory on the west side of San 
Pablo gives El Cerrito control of San Pablo Avenue for three miles. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 159 



CHAPTER XII 

OTHER TOWNS OF THE COUNTY 
BAY POINT 

The town of Bay Point is situated on a tract of government land lying 
between the Uos Medanos Grant on the east and the Monte del Diablo or 
Pacheco Grant on the south and west. The land was first patented to H. 
H. Smith by President U. S. Grant. Smith sold his preemption and home- 
stead rights to Daniel Cunningham. This part of the tract bordered the 
bay shore. Where the Smith lumber plant now is, was the site of the old 
Cunningham homestead. The other part of the tract, where the business 
and residential parts of the town are located, was upon land patented by 
President Grant to Mr. Clark, who in turn sold to A. H. Neeley, a friend 
of Mr. Cunningham. The Cunningham heirs and Mr. Neeley sold to 
C. A. Smith, a large lumber manufacturer of Minneapolis, Minn., who had 
decided to locate his Western business in close proximity to San Francisco 
and manufacture and distribute his product. This was in 1907, when Bay 
Point was a tule bog. 

Mr. Smith arranged to purchase 1500 acres with one and one-half 
miles of tidewater frontage from the heirs of Dan Cunningham and A. 
H. Neeley. The deal was consummated and the nucleus of the town was 
started on November 26, 1907. William Smith, from Pittsburg, started 
the first general merchandise store in 1908-1909. The first residence was 
erected by William Buholtz in 1908, the second by Samuel Gilroy that 
same year. 

The original name of the shipping point was Seal Bluff. The Copper 
King Smelting Company erected a smelter and docks at a cost of $1,375,- 
000. They closed down February 15, 1903. In 1890 there was a ware- 
house built at that point, and this was the first and only warehouse ever 
located at Bay Point. 

Bay Point is served by the Southern Pacific, Santa Fe and San Fran- 
cisco-Sacramento Short Line railroads. The town is divided into two 
units. That part lying between the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe and 
the bay is devoted to manufacturing; and that between the two roads and 
the foothills, to residence property and business places. The main Pitts- 
burg and Martinez highway passes through Bay Point, and also the main 
county highway to Oakland. 

In 1918, as a war measure, yards were established by the Pacific 
Coast Shipbuilding Company to build ten emergency fleet ships, Diablo 
being the first built. Four hundred men were given employment. The 
town of Clyde was built to house the employees of the shipyard. It is 



160 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

now peopled by the employees of the Associated Oil Company at Avon, 
and by many of the Shell employees from Martinez. 

At Bay Point are located the Coos Bay Lumber Co.'s plant; stores 
of all kinds; a postoffice; a graded school with 150 pupils attending, and 
five teachers (it is in the Mount Diablo Union High School district) ; 
Congregational, Catholic, and Swedish Lutheran churches; Bay Point 
Foundry; and the First National Bank, organized January 7, 1920, with 
$25,000 capital, a branch of the First National Bank of Pittsburg. There 
are also lodges of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Rebekahs, 
the Woodmen of the World, the Royal Neighbors, and a Masonic Club. 

The town has paved streets, cement sidewalks and curbs, an artesian 
water supply system piped into the town from the hills to the south, about 
one and a half miles from the Government Ranch. The population is 
about 800 people, and it is a thriving locality. 

DANVILLE 

The town of Danville, eighteen miles south of Martinez, is located 
in a horticultural district which was one of the early grain-raising sections 
of Contra Costa County. It has a population of about 400 people, and 
is enterprising and progressive. 

Danville was started in 1858 when Daniel and Andrew Inman built 
a smithy. Inman sold out to J. E. Close, who carried on the blacksmith 
shop for years. In 1858 M. Cohen built the second building in the place 
for a branch establishment of the store at Alamo owned and conducted by 
Cohen & Wolf. This building stood for sixty years. The first hotel was 
kept by H. W. Harris in 1858, and he was also the postmaster. The mail 
came via stage from Walnut Creek. P. E. Peel conducted the second 
store. He was succeeded by John Conway, who carried on the business for 
many years. 

There are two versions given regarding the naming of Danville. One 
is that it was named for Dan Inman, the man who built the first building. 
Another is that the honor was given "Aunt Sallie" Young, who named it 
Danville after Danville, Ky., her birthplace. 

There had been a schoolhouse erected in the valley, about a mile from 
the townsite, in 1858; this was moved into the town in 1870 and put on 
a lot in the south end of the town, where the first grammar school was 
built in 1865. This building burned, and the country schoolhouse was 
moved onto the plat of ground. A new building was erected in 1895 and 
did duty until 1922, when the new building was erected at the north side 
of the town. This modern building was built from a bond issue of 
$15,000. In 1910 the Union High School was established at Danville, 
known as the San Ramon Valley Union High School, and school was held 
in temporary quarters until the present high school building was erected 
on a site adjoining the new grammar school. 

In 1872 Granger's Hall was built. The Grange is still a live organi- 
zation of the district. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 161 

Church services were first held in the vicinity in 1857, in a private 
house, by Rev. D. McClure, a Presbyterian preacher. After 1858 serv- 
ices were held in the schoolhouse. On October 1, 1875, the cornerstone 
was laid for the first church edifice, a Presbyterian church, and in June, 
1876, the building was dedicated, after the indebtedness of $2500 had 
been fully paid. On January 1, 1876, Rev. R. S. Symington took charge 
of the church work, and to him is largely due the building and finishing 
of the church. Danville now has, also, a Catholic church. 

There were a number of sturdy pioneers to whom great credit is due 
for the upbuilding of Danville and vicinity. Among them we mention 
Thomas Flournoy, who owned a ranch on the east side of the creek; J. 
E. Close, a blacksmith, who purchased the Inman shop; R. O. Baldwin, 
who owned a large ranch southwest of town; James Stone, a neighbor of 
Baldwin's; A. J. Young, who taught school for years; a Mr. Kerr, who 
owned 200 acres adjoining the town on the west, and who sold this ranch 
to James Stone, who sold to John Hartz; R. B. Love, a large rancher 
in this section; and W. Z. Stone, William Meese, Charles Wood, the 
Boone family, Dr. J. L. Labaree, D. N. Sherburne, A. J. Young, and Bruce 
Stone (who came in 1860), the last two named being still alive. De- 
scendants of Flournoy, Close and Baldwin are still represented here; also 
Mrs. D. N. Sherburne is still here. 

In 1891 the San Ramon branch of the Southern Pacific reached Dan- 
ville, at which time new impetus was given the town. John Hartz sur- 
veyed and sold town lots in an addition which includes the southwest part 
of town. The Oakland, Antioch & Eastern Electric Railway came in 1914, 
but this road was abandoned in 1924 as unprofitable and the tracks were 
taken up. 

The San Ramon Valley Chamber of Commerce was organized with 
A. S. Ormsby as its first president; Will Meese, secretary; Dr. Fred 
Booth, vice-president; and A. H. Cope, treasurer. The Chamber took 
in San Ramon, Danville, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Tassajara and Lafayette. 
In December, 1924, the Chamber was reorganized without Lafayette and 
Walnut Creek. At this time, 1925, E. C. Weister is president and Mrs. 
Jessie Higley, secretary. 

Danville Lodge No. 378, I. O. O. F. was instituted on July 26, 1892. 
Other fraternal organizations are: Danville Lodge No. 123, Daughters 
of Rebekah; Danville Grange No. 85, P. of H., which has about 200 mem- 
bers and is a strong organization; the Foresters of America; the U. P. 
E. C; the I. D. E. S.; and the Woodmen of the World. The Odd Fel- 
lows, in conjunction with the Patrons of Husbandry, erected a social and 
fraternal hall in 1912. 

In 1923 a district fire company was organized with a fine motor chem- 
ical engine. The district covers Alamo, Danville and Tassajara, and the 
upkeep is paid by taxation. 

The Veterans' Memorial Hall, one of the recent modern buildings, 



162 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

was erected by a fund apportioned by the board of supervisors, and cost 
about $20,000. It is in honor of the soldiers of the World War. 

The San Ramon Valley Bank is the financial bulwark of the town, 
and occupies its own building. It was organized in Walnut Creek in 1907, 
and the Danville branch was established in 1911. C. W. Close is resident 
manager. 

The products of the country surrounding the town include walnuts, 
pears, and prunes in the valley; and on the sloping hills grain and hay 
are raised. These products are shipped over the Southern Pacific and by 
motor trucks to Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley. A 
large business is done in trucking. 

A bus line' is operated during the summer season over a scenic boule- 
vard to the top of Mount Diablo, which is one of the great attractions for 
tourists. 

Mount Diablo Country Club 

The Mount Diablo Country Club was organized by George W. Mc- 
Near and a number of his associates who were golf enthusiasts. Property 
was purchased in Contra Costa County in the foothills of Mount Diablo 
and extensive grounds were laid out on the 600 acres. Here is one of the 
best eighteen-hole golf courses with grass greens and fairways to be found 
in the State. Tennis courts and ample provision for other recreational 
games are also to be found here. One of the most modern club houses 
has been erected and is the scene of frequent and enjoyable banquets. 
There is a fine reservoir lake, with bath house and swimming pool; and 
black bass abound in this lake. A paved road leads to the club property, 
which lies three miles from Danville to the east. Besides being an ideal 
recreation center, it is also an ideal home place and some half-hundred fine 
homes are now built within the confines of the property. The club has 
its own water supply, which is adequate for all purposes, the water being 
piped four miles down to the grounds. The club membership is limited 
to 400 and is made up of people from the east bay cities. The officers 
of the club are: George W. McNear, president; W. S. Dinwiddie, vice- 
president; Roy L Pratt, secretary. The board of directors, in addition 
to the above named, are: William Dolge, Bernard Ransome, Hon. L. R. 
Weinmann and William Cavalier. 

ALAMO 

The village of Alamo, which means Poplar in Spanish, is a settlement 
two miles north of Danville and sixteen miles south of Martinez, on San 
Ramon Creek. In the early days this section of the county was settled 
by the Spanish families, Francisco Garcia being one of the pioneers living 
on the San Ramon Grant near this particular spot. On October 3, 1852, 
D. P. Smith settled east of the place. At that time there were but four 
houses between this place and Martinez. In 1852 David Glass started a 
small trading-post at his place. 

Henry Hoffman opened the first store in the village, having bought 
David Glass' stock. This firm soon after became known as Wolf & Com- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 163 

pany, Mr. Hoffman retaining an interest. George Englemire opened the 
second place in 1852, and ran a shoe shop and general store. The post- 
office was established in 1853 at the home of John M. Jones, who was 
postmaster, assisted by his wife, Mary A. This was the only postoffice 
between Martinez and Mission San Jose, the carrier making a round trip 
once a week, with a horse and cart. In connection with their store, Wolf 
& Company opened a hotel. In due time other shops were opened, a har- 
ness shop, meat market and smithy. The thircLbui ldin g was of brick and 
was occupied by Wolf & Company, who soon opened a hotel in connection 
with the store; Mr. Hoffman, retaining an interest in the store, was man- 
ager of the hotel. When Wolf & Company moved to Danville, Mr. Hoff- 
man sold his interest in the store to remain as hotel-keeper of Henry's 
Hotel. He took a partner named William Maxey in the late fifties. 

In 1857 James Foster opened a wagon and carriage shop. He also 
made furniture and coffins. The timbers in his shop were shipped from 
Maine around the Horn. 

In January, 1858, Albert W. Stone arrived in the settlement; and 
that same year J. C. Peterson and F. L. Hamburg also came. Lomax & 
Smart had a general store, and overhead was the Masonic Hall where 
Alamo Lodge No. 122, F. & A. M., which was instituted in 1858, held 
its meetings. In 1860 a two-story brick building was built on the west 
side of the street by Wolf & Cohen, and the Masons moved their lodge 
room to the upper floor. The bricks in this building were made by G. W. 
Webster from clay on the Van Gorden place, the kiln being erected on 
Rancho El Rio, across the creek. The earthquake of 1868 damaged 
this building and it was torn down, and the Masons moved to Danville. 

In 1854, a Cumberland Presbyterian church was erected south of town, 
and that same year the first school opened in the valley, with Richard 
Webster as teacher. For a time school was held in the home of Captain 
Wall, and it was known as the Wall School. 

In 1859 the Contra Costa Educational Association built the Union 
Academy, a boarding and day school, which was opened in June, 1860, 
Rev. David McClure being the principal. This building was located be- 
tween Alamo and Danville and was a three-story structure. John H. 
Braly succeeded McClure, and Robert King followed Braly. The build- 
ing burned in 1868 and was never rebuilt. 

In 1860 Daniel Selley located in Alamo. 

In 1862 tobacco was first raised here by Stout and Peden. 

In March, 1861, Rev. T. M. Johnston published the Pacific Cumber- 
land Presbyter, a religious paper. 

In connection with the activities of Rev. T. M. Johnston, we glean a 
few items from a diary kept by him and now in the possession of his 
granddaughter, Mrs. C. M. French, of Merced. It seems that Rev. John- 
ston came to California on account of ill health, as his diary starts back 



164 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

on February 21, 1859, when he writes from some point back in the East 
en route by stage to California: 

'Albuquerque mail arrived early." 

"March 6 — Arrived at Ft. Smith, stopped at St. Charles Hotel." 

"March 22 — Passed Ft. Fillmore and crossed the Rio Grande." 

"March 27 — Arrived at Ft. Yuma." 

"April 1 — Passed Visalia last night." 

"April 4 — Arrived at What Cheer House in San Francisco." 

"April 6 — Started for Stockton, went to Napa City, took stage for 
Benicia, where took boat for Stockton." 

"Sunday, January 20, 1861 — Preached at Lafayette." 

"Sunday, March 10 — Preached at Alamo." 

"May 29, 1861— Married John O'Brien and Mrs. Mary E. Craw- 
ford." 

"June 8, 1861 — Hail storm today." 

"December 26 — Rained excessively all day. Creek higher than I ever 
saw it." 

"Friday, April 22, 1864 — Preached funeral of James Foster's child 
today to a large congregation." 

"December 21, 1864 — Married Albert G. Wilks and Jane Toomey 
today at house of J. T. Walker." 

"January 1, 1867 — Mrs. Isaac Yoakum died about 5 p. m. today." 

"February 26, 1871 — Preached funeral sermon of Roxana Simpson 
at Sycamore school house." 

"Sunday, March 8, 1874 — Received this day by express a package 
containing books and apparatus of deputy assessor." 

"March 10 — Commenced assessing today." 
- "Saturday, April 4 — Difficult to assess foreigners." 

Rev. Johnston was a traveling preacher and missionary. He spent 
a great deal of his time traveling about from Visalia to Napa, Sacramento 
and Stockton, organizing congregations and helping to build up churches. 

PACHECO 

Located five miles south from Martinez is the village of Pacheco, once 
the most likely town in all Contra Costa County, but now a cross-road 
village. The first house to be erected in the vicinity was the residence 
of G. L. Walrath, which was built in 1853. This place was purchased by 
George Loucks in 1856. Lathrop, Fish & Walrath owned a warehouse, 
which afterwards became the property of Bray Brothers of San Fran- 
cisco. In 1857, soon after locating in Pacheco, Mr. Loucks built a large 
warehouse, 150 feeHong, and the next year added 125 feet to it. This 
stood about a mile from the townsite, on Walnut Creek. On account of 
the stream filling up with silt, in 1862, this warehouse was moved further 
down stream. In 1857, W. K. Hendricks bought some land from Mr. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 165 

Loucks and built a mill. The first sailing vessels to call at Loucks' wharf 
were the C. E. Long and the Ida. F. L. Such had a lime kiln, and the 
first vessels to enter the creek came for his products. 

In 1860, Dr. J. H. Carothers, with Hale & Fassett, bought land and 
laid out a townsite. J. B. Abbott made the survey and Hale & Fassett 
erected the first store, which was occupied by John Gambs. Capt. Ludwig 
Anderson built his home in 1860. That same year Elijah Hook built 
a brick building; J. H. Fray's fireproof building was completed; and a 
man named Woodford started the first hotel. Thus the town was started. 

In August, 1860, a fire destroyed several buildings; and on August 15, 
1867, the Pacheco Flour Mills, owned by W. J. Ireland, were destroyed. 
In October, 1881, Wagner & Russi became owners of this plant, by pur- 
chase from Mrs. Ireland. On September 5, 1871, another fire ravaged the 
town, entailing a loss of more than $30,000, the heaviest loss falling on 
Elijah Hook, L. F. Moreno, Bunker & Porter of the Contra Costa Ga- 
zette, L. Anderson, J. H. Fray, and the Odd Fellows Hall. 

The first church was of the Presbyterian denomination, and was or- 
ganized in 1862. The next was the Catholic church, organized in 1867, 
and the third was a Congregational church. 

On September 12, 1863, Pacheco Lodge No. 117, I. O. O. F., was 
instituted. In 1871 the lodge erected its own building, but it was destroyed 
by fire in September of that year. On April 26, 1872, their new hall was 
dedicated. The lodge was later moved to Concord. 

The first school was established in 1859, and D. S. Woodruff was the 
teacher. 

Capt. Ludwig Anderson started his lumber yard in 1860. P. Stand- 
ish established the Pacheco Plow Works in 1859. He sold to H. M. Dal- 
ton in 1861, and first exhibited his plow at the Bay District Fair in 1862. 
In 1879 the plant was removed to Oakland. 

In June, 1868, Lohse & Bacon built a warehouse at Seal Bluff Landing. 

On October 21, 1868, the great earthquake did great damage to the 
buildings in Pacheco, and throughout Contra Costa County. 

On June 19, 1869, Mohawk Tribe No. 20, I. O. R. M., was organized. 

On May 29, 1869, the Western Union Telegraph Company complet- 
ed their line to Pacheco and established an office in the store of Fassett 
& McCauley, appointing Barry Baldwin as their agent. 

On December 29, 1870, the Contra Costa Savings & Loan Bank was 
organized, with a capital of $50,000. 

On May 10, 1871, the following officers were selected for the new 
military company of forty members: George J. Bennett, captain; H. N. 
Armstrong, first lieutenant; and William Fassett, second lieutenant. 

The Pacheco Tobacco Company was incorporated on February 6, 
1871, with a capital stock of $10,000, for curing and manufacturing to- 
bacco. The directors were W. K. Dell, D. F. Majors, B. Baldwin, S. W. 
Johnson and R. H. Cornell. 



166 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The Contra Costa News was established in Pacheco in 1873 by popu- 
lar subscription; Mr. Chadwick was manager. In May, 1877, W. R. 
Crauna bought the paper, and in October moved the plant to Martinez. 

Pacheco Grange was organized on February 5, 1876 with thirty 
charter members. 

BRENTWOOD 

Probably no section of California has made greater strides in agri- 
cultural development in past years than Brentwood. Up to a few years 
ago irrigation would have been considered not only impracticable, but 
unnecessary, in the country around Brentwood. It took the engineers and 
agricultural experts of the Balfour-Guthrie Company, owners of 13,000 
acres, to discover the possibilities of the land, if irrigated. They laid 
their plans carefully and constructed an irrigation system which is now 
the finest in the State. 

In 1837 the Los Medanos Rancho was sold to Dr. John Marsh, and 
that year marks the coming to Contra Costa County of the first American 
citizen. He established his residence in a small adobe, but later built the 
now famous Stone House, which was most of the time intact and un- 
occupied until the quake of 1868. Dr. Marsh met his death on September 
24, 1856, while on his way to Martinez to take a boat to San Francisco. 
He was accosted by three Mexicans at Potter's Hill, on Pacheco Road, 
and was killed. Thus passed the man who first developed the Brentwood 
Irrigated Farms, and from whom the Marsh Grant derived its name. The 
development of the property was retarded many years, until the final set- 
tlement of the suit of Bergin vs. Sanford, which resulted in the partition 
of the grant, a small portion going to Sanford, while the Bergin interests 
got 95 per cent of the tract, and this was bought by the Balfour-Guthrie 
Company. For many years fine crops of wheat, oats and barley were har- 
vested from these lands. Now, with the land under irrigation, English 
walnuts and alfalfa are being grown very profitably. It cost the Balfour- 
Guthrie Company $500,000 to bring about this change. A concrete ditch 
carries water from Indian River, and by means of laterals it is distribut- 
ed by meter to all parts of the 13,000 acres. 

On the ten-acre experimental farm maintained near Brentwood, the 
Balfour-Guthrie Company demonstrated that celery, asparagus, potatoes, 
and all sorts of vegetables, fruits and berries thrive and bring good returns 
in this section. 

Brentwood, the center of this area, has grown apace with the de- 
velopment of the surrounding country. Its principal street is Oak Street, 
which was paved in 1915. Some of the principal buildings are Hotel 
Brentwood, built by the Balfour-Guthrie Company at a cost of $40,000, 
the Bank of Brentwood, the Liberty Union High School, and the Brent- 
wood-Deer Valley Grammar School. This grammar school, which cost 
$40,000, was financed by a bond issue voted at the election in September, 
1921 ; and the building was occupied in 1922. The school has four teach- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 167 

errand an enrollment of ninety-nine pupils. Other modern buildings are 
the Rolando, Jansse & O'Meara, W. W. Morgans, Brentwood Garage, 
and Shafer's Funeral Home. 

Brentwood was started in 1874. That year Joseph Carey built the 
first building, a blacksmith shop. In 1876, E. Bacigalupi erected a building 
and opened a saloon. L. Grunauer opened a general merchandise store 
in 1880, in the third building erected in town. J. E. W. Carey was the 
first justice of the peace and notary. A postoffice was established Novem- 
ber 9, 1878, C. R. Estabrook being postmaster. The Methodist Epis- 
copal church was built in 1885, and the Christian church in 1889. 

H. B. Jewett was the pioneer rancher, and lived on the grant of land 
now occupied by the northwest part of town. While the railroad was being 
built, Mrs. Jewett boarded some of the men. 

The Balfour-Guthrie Company established the first water system on 
the east side of the town and put in a septic-tank sewer system on that side. 
The water supply is now furnished by the Eastern Contra Costa Irriga- 
tion Company. 

The early agricultural products of this section were wheat and barley, 
and in 1890 Brentwood was the largest shipping point, for the shipment 
of these grains, between New Orleans and San Francisco. 

The Brentwood Lodge of Masons, No. 345, was instituted in 1901, 
with fourteen charter members. William Jereslaw was the first Master; 
Aubrey Williamson, Master in 1925. There were 115 members in 1925. 

Maspha Chapter No. 198, O. E. S., was instituted in 1901 with twen- 
ty-two charter members; Henrietta Stone, first Matron; Mrs. Hazel 
Kreim, Matron in 1925. In 1924 the Masons and the Eastern Star 
erected a Masonic Temple, costing $20,000, with furnishings. 

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows organized a lodge in 1892. 

Brentwood Grammar School was organized in 1882, and the building 
was inclosed in 1888 ; this building stood until 1923. The first high school 
was held in two rooms of the old grammar school until the high school 
was built. The first building burned and was replaced by the present 
structure. 

Brentwood Courier was established in 1892. There was only one 
issue of the paper, as the plant burned. One bundle of the papers was 
saved, and they sold for fifty cents each. 

Fred Eachus established the Brentwood News in 1897. 

E. W. Netherton started the Brentwood Enterprise, having bought 
Eachus' plant. 

Sam Hill became owner of the Brentwood News in 1920. The paper 
is a weekly, with a circulation of 650. 

Brentwood Bank was established in 1913; president, R. G. Dean, who 
continued in that office until his death. The Balfour-Guthrie Company, 
through R. F. MacLeod, owned 210 shares, and local stockholders the 



168 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

rest; the capital stock was $25,000. This bank was sold to the Bank of 
Antioch in 1922. Robert Wallace is the only one of the original directors 
still in office. The institution is now known as the Brentwood Branch of 
the Bank of Antioch. 

Among the early settlers of the town and vicinity are: C. J. Preston, 
who came in 1867, and is now deceased; and Mrs. Elizabeth (Pearce) 
Shafer, who came in 1868 and is still a resident. She crossed the plains 
in 1858, lived in Solano County for ten years, and married William Sha- 
fer, who came to the Los Medanos Grant and engaged in the stock busi- 
ness. R. G. Dean, now deceased, came in 1869; Mrs. Jerusha Dean, his 
widow, lives in Martinez. Robert Wallace came in 1869, was elected 
justice of the peace in 1900, and still holds that office. 

The Southern Pacific serves the community as common carrier, as do 
also a regular Stockton-Brentwood auto stage and motor trucks. Half 
the hay and milk is hauled, by trucks. What fruit is raised is hauled to 
Oakley, where two packing plants care for it, those of the Earl Fruit Com- 
pany and the Stewart Fruit Company. When the large acreage now plant- 
ed comes into bearing, packing houses and canning facilities will be pro- 
vided, land already having been purchased by Hunt Brothers for that 
purpose. The present crops made possible by irrigation are alfalfa and 
fruit. Six thousand acres are in fruit trees — peaches, apricots, etc. — 
from one to three years old. There is still considerable stock raised and 
ranged in the hills, some 30,000 acres being devoted to pasture; and there 
is also considerable dairying. 

John Williams organized the Brentwood Coal Company, backed by 
the Sanford family of New York. He secured two sections of land near 
Marsh Landing, where he had deep water, erected a wharf, and opened 
the coal vein, installing all necessary machinery and equipment, and build- 
ing boarding-houses and bunk-houses. The coal, however, was found to 
be of inferior quality, and water flowed into the shaft in such quantity 
that it could not be handled, and consequently the whole project was aban- 
doned. The property was sold for taxes, and was bought in by the Clay 
Street Bank of San Francisco; and M. B. Ivory was placed in the position 
of manager and superintendent. When the town was started, it was given 
the name Brentwood, after the name of the mine, as some claim. Others 
say that the town derives its name from Brentwood in Essex, England, 
whence originally came the family of Dr. John Marsh, and that the owner 
of the Marsh Grant donated the townsite. 

BYRON 

The name of this thriving town was given to it by the railroad com- 
pany. It has a population of about 500 people and is located in the ex- 
treme eastern end of Contra Costa County, in the center of a highly de- 
veloped, irrigated district, on the main line of the Southern Pacific Rail- 
way. It is two and a half miles from the world-famous Byron Hot Springs, 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 169 

and had its beginning in 1878, when the railroad began operating trains 
through this district. 

The first building put up was erected by a man named Smith, a cob- 
bler, who built a shack, of rough boards where he mended boots and shoes. 
Henry Wilkening erected the first house, which was his family home and 
was also used, as a hotel. He formerly ran the Red House at Point of 
Timber. On November 9, 1878, the postoffice was established and Mr. 
Wilkening was appointed postmaster. That same fall Charles Peers 
moved a house from the old Iron House to the new townsite and opened 
a saloon. Mr. Wilkening erected a building on a lot adjacent to his hotel, 
and in it opened the first saloon. This building is the only one of the 
pioneer structures still standing, all the others having been destroyed by 
the various fires that have ravaged the town. F. M. Holway came at 
the same time as Wilkening and entered his employ, and he is still doing 
business in the old pioneer building, where he has a soft drink emporium 
and a billiard hall. He bought the property in 1885 from the heirs of 
Wilkening, who died in 1883. The hotel, burned in one of the first fires 
to occur in the village, was rebuilt by Mr. Holway in 1885, and was rented 
to M. M. Grover for a term of five years. Again the structure was de- 
stroyed, but was not rebuilt. In 1878 Fish & Blum erected a large ware- 
house. 

Fabian & Levinsky built the first store building in 1879. Peers & Den- 
gels had the first meat market in 1882. Frank Phelps came in 1884 and 
started the first smithy. In 1883 the Congregational Church was built 
and Rev. W. H. Tubbs was installed as pastor. Rev. Tubbs was also con- 
sidered an artist with the paint brush. In 1887 Byron Lodge No. 335, 
I. O. O. F., was instituted with five charter members, F. Rahnestorf, 
Noble Grand; there are now (1925) 195 members. In 1889 Florence 
Knight Lodge No. 264, D. of R., was organized. It was first known as 
Grace Darling Lodge. In 1903 the Odd Fellows erected their new hall, 
a two-story structure. In 1888 V. J. Engle started the first lumber yard 
on property sold him by F. M. Holway. 

Prior to the activities mentioned above, this section was a vast cat- 
tle range, known as Point of Timber on the river, where there was a land- 
ing owned jointly by the neighboring ranchers, and as Eden Plain to the 
west. Here, where the range land had a wide scope, the hardy settlers did 
all in their power to build up a law-abiding community, and accumulate 
fortunes for themselves. Alonzo Plumley came in 1851 ; so did Ferdinand 
Hoffman, who owned 920 acres of land; and J. S. Netherton was the 
third settler in Point of Timber. H. C. Gallagher, J. E. Carey, J. F. 
Carey, A. Richardson, W. R. Wilder, C. J. Preston, D. Perkins, D. K. 
Berry, M. Berlinger, Thomas McCabe, J. P. McCabe, H. C. McCabe, 
George Cople, A. T. Taylor, J. Christensen, R. N. McEntire, W. J. 
Cotes, J. B. Henderson, R. G. Dean, M. A. Walton, J. H. Baldwin and 
others were among the number who laid the foundation for this thriving 
community. 



170 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The pioneers were stock-men and later came the raising of grain, 
mostly wheat. At one time Byron was the liveliest shipping point between 
Stockton and San Francisco. 

In 1868 the Methodist Episcopal parsonage was built, and the fol- 
lowing year A. E. Hertell took charge of the circuit, which included Eden 
Plain. In 1871 it was Point of Timber and Antioch, and in 1872 Som- 
ersville and San Joaquin were added to the charge. In 1875 Rev. E. 
Jacka went to Point of Timber. In 1897 the Methodists erected their 
building. Later the Seventh Day Adventists came into the field, and 
lastly, in 1917, the Catholics. 

Excelsior Lodge No. 349, I. O. G. T., was organized on March 7, 
1869; Point of Timber Lodge, A. O. U. W., was organized on April 12, 
1870; and Point of Timber Grange No. 14, Patrons of Husbandry, was 
organized on May 21, 1873, as an outgrowth of the Farmers' Protective 
League. R. G. Dean was Master. These God-fearing, hardy pioneers 
had much to do with the early development of the whole eastern end of 
Contra Costa County. 

James A. Salts kept a store at Point of Timber. Henry Tichenor 
ran the first hotel at the Hot Springs. After him came Henry C. Gal- 
lagher, who was the first man to advertise the curative powers of the 
water. This was in 1878, and at that early day he brought many sporting 
men from the bay cities and elsewhere to his hotel. Here they coursed 
dogs for amusement. Caswell & Durwood Wright, in 1870, ran a stage 
line from Banta to Antioch through Point of Timber, making the run 
twice a week, with a change of horses at the Red House. 

The Odd Fellows formed an association and erected a building over 
the piles of lumber in Engle's yard for their lodge room. When this 
burned they bought the land of Engle & Peers and erected their own 
building, under the name of the Odd Fellows' Hall Association. 

Byron Parlor No. 170, N. S. G. W., was organized on February 7, 
1891. Then came Donner Parlor No. 193, N. D. G. W. ; Mt. Diablo 
Camp No. 496, W. O. W. ; and the Portuguese lodges: I. D. E. S., No. 
96, organized on November 26, 1911, and U. P. E. C, No. 165, organ- 
ized on October 27, 1920. 

Soon after the founding of Byron a school was started. Ella McCabe 
was the first teacher. The Excelsior district had been organized some 
time before, with Miss Ida Hall as teacher. 

In 1897 the old school building that had been used as the Grange 
Hall, in the Excelsior district, was moved to Byron. 

In 1906 Harry Hammond established the Byron Times, which has 
done more, through its special editions, to advertise the whole delta sec- 
tion, than all other agencies. 

In 1915-1916 the Byron-Bethany Irrigation project was started, and 
in 1917 water was running in the ditches. With the coming of water in 
suitable quantity to irrigate the land, the ranchers began putting in al- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 171 

falfa, which has proved a very profitable crop, with five cuttings a year. 
Most of this is fed to dairy stock, and the milk and cream are shipped to 
Oakland. 

In 1924 the Bank of Tracy, Byron Branch, which had well served the 
financial convenience of the community, was sold to the American Bank, 
Byron Branch; E. C. Hannum, president; Judson Swift, cashier. 

During 1924 the Borden Highway was completed. This highway 
crosses the delta country to Stockton, traversing the entire length of Contra 
Costa County. 

CLAYTON 

The village of Clayton, located at the base of Mount Diablo, at the 
head of Diablo Valley, was named after Joel Clayton and was started 
in 1857, when he laid out one street and platted a few lots on either 
side. The prospecting for coal was the primary reason of founding a set- 
tlement. W. K. Taylor surveyed the site in 1858. The first house erected 
on the present site of the town was built in 1857 by Romero Mauvais, 
who erected a building and opened a tavern. This latter became the site 
of the Clayton Hotel. In 1858 George Chapman erected a hotel ad- 
joining, and in 1858 James Curry opened a livery stable. In 1858 Charles 
Rhine moved his business from a point two miles distant, where he had 
started a store in 1856, into the town. A. Senderman opened a general 
merchandise store next to the Chapman hotel building that same year. 

In 1857 a religious congregation was organized by a Presbyterian 
preacher in the home of Howard Nichols; this organization was later 
merged with a Congregational church, organized on February 1, 1863, 
by Rev. J. J. Powell. On November 10, 1867, a church was dedicated by 
Rev. James W. Brian. 

On February 28, 1864, the town was nearly wiped out by a disastrous 
fire. On March 9, 1872, Joel Clayton died. In July, 1873, a temperance 
meeting was held in Clayton; and on May 6, 1876, three years later, 
Unity Lodge No. 11, I. O. G. T., was organized. 

Some of the early settlers, of Clayton and vicinity were : Capt. How- 
ard Nichols, J. D. Allen, William Taynton, Milton Shepard, D. Fisher, 
Adolph Zophy, G. O. Chapman (who had crossed the plains with Fre- 
mont in 1846, and who died in 1920), Henry Polley, Isaac Mitchell, C. 
Ryan, John Collins, and the Duncans, Donners, Stranchans, Kirkwoods, 
Myricks, Claytons and Cowdles. C. E. Wetmore was the first justice 
of the peace, and William Morris also filled that position in 1862-1863. 

When copper was discovered, Clayton was at its height of prosperity; 
but when the mining excitement diminished, the people began leaving and 
today there is but one general store, and only a few inhabitants remain 
in the once thriving town. The country round about is devoted to general 
farming and stock-raising. Members of the Chapman family are the 
only pioneers represented in the village, but on various ranches are des- 
cendants of several of the early settlers. 



172 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

OAKLEY 

Oakley is a growing town located on the Santa Fe Railroad in the 
heart of one of the most productive farming sections of Contra Costa 
County, through which runs the State highway. It is on the border of 
the reclaimed lands, upon which hundreds of acres of asparagus are 
raised every year; also the town is now surrounded by producing orchards 
and vineyards. 

The town is located on section 25, township 2 north, range 2 east. 
The first settlers were James O'Hara, Andrew Walker, B. F. Porter and 
R. C. Marsh. Deeds of right of way were given to the Santa Fe (not 
sold) with the understanding that they erect a temporary shelter and 
that, when needed, a permanent depot and freight buildings be erected. 
On September 9, 1898, the postoffice was established, R. C. Marsh, post- 
master, who received the first mail on November 1. The first eight 
months the mail was brought from Antioch daily, by cart; then it came 
from Brentwood in charge of the United States postal service. Prior to 
this it was handled by the drivers A. N. Norcross and Daniel Methven. 
The first passenger train stopped on July 1, 1900. 

James O'Hara planted the first almond and fruit trees and the first 
store was run by J. A. Jesse. J. M. Augusto carried on the first black- 
smith shop. 

On July 4, 1905, the first Fourth of July celebration was held, with 
some 2000 guests present. In 1909 the first addition to the town was 
platted by Mr. O'Hara. Later R. C. Marsh added another. The build- 
ing in the town kept abreast of the development of the country — stores, 
garage, machine shops, hotel, community hall and three packing plants, 
a bank, etc. 

The first religious services were held under the branches of a tree. 
Then the Congregational Mission was established, with Paul Bandy the 
first preacher. The Methodists had a church a short distance out in the 
country; but it was soon moved into town, and in 1908 a new edifice was 
built. Next came the Baptist Church. In due time a school was opened; 
and when the occasion demanded, a modern building was erected. 

The Ladies' Improvement Club is one of the important adjuncts to 
the growing town and has done much for civic betterment, as has also the 
Farmers' Club. 

The Loganberry was introduced in the Oakley district in 1900 by 
Rev. C. S. Scott, who brought the plants from Southern California. 

At the packing house of the Miller-Cummings Company of San Fran- 
cisco, hundreds of tons of asparagus, tomatoes and grapes are shipped to 
Eastern points yearly. Apricots ripen earlier in Oakley than in any other 
section, on account of the sandy soil, and these apricots are in great de- 
mand in the Eastern States. 

The Bank of Oakley, established in 1920, has been the financial guide 
in the community and has always fostered all upbuilding of the substantial 
sort. J. H. Shaw, the president, is a real banker and upbuilder. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 173 

RODEO 

The thriving town of Rodeo is situated on San Pablo Bay, where a 
fine water front and excellent shipping facilities are to be found. Its name 
was derived from the rodeos that were held there by the Spaniards in the 
early days of the cattle barons. Patrick Tormey owned the townsite. 
The town was established in 1890. A man named Hawley built the first 
store and sold general merchandise, and was the postmaster in 1892. 
Jerry Mahoney in 1892 bought the first lots put up for sale and erected 
the first building, which he conducted as the Rodeo Exchange. A Mr. 
Graham bought the second lot and built the first hotel, and J. D. Smith 
erected two residences that same year. 

In 189.3 the first school was established, which in 1913 had seven 
teachers. The town has a Presbyterian church, established in 1911; and 
the Catholic church was built in 1918. That same year the First National 
Bank was established, T. J. O'Leary being the first president. S. J. 
Claeys is the present president. Their new building was erected in 1921. 
In 1921 the Bank of Pinole established their Rodeo Branch, with Mrs. 
Gertrude Bernard as manager. 

The volunteer fire company was organized in 1895 with an ordinary 
hose cart; there is now a chemical truck, and there are four companies with 
seventy-five members. T. P. Lewis is the fire chief. The town owned its 
own water supply. S. J. Claeys put in the water system. 

The plants of the Union Oil Company and Western Oil Company are 
located in the nearby town of Oleum; and the powder factories of the 
Hercules Company, the plant of the C. & H. Sugar Company, and the 
Mare Island Navy Yard supply many residents, who commute to the 
last-named place. The Standard filling station is located here. The 
Rodeo Ferry to Vallejo, which gives a twenty-minute service, has done 
much to advance the popularity of Rodeo. 

The social and fraternal life of the town finds expression in the activi- 
ties of Rodeo Rebekah Lodge No. 342, established on November 13, 
1913; Rodeo Lodge, I. O. O. F., established on August 4, 1906; Rodeo 
U. A. O. D. No. 177; Rodeo Circle No. 54, U. A. O. D.; I. D. E. S. 
No. 69 ;U. P. P. E. C. No. 12; and S. P. R.S.I. No. 71. 

The opening of Hotel Rodeo on April 30, 1892, was an auspicious af- 
fair. A special train of five cars was run from San Francisco and carried 
guests from the entire bay district to inspect the work done by the Rodeo 
Packing Company at its immense stock yards and plant. At the banquet 
225 people were seated at one time in the dining room. 

The estimated population in 1925 is 1000. The living pioneers are 
F. Furtado, John Mello, J. D. Smith, Mrs. Olinda Joseph, and Jeremiah 
Mahoney. 

TORMEY 

Tormey was the original station between Oleum and Rodeo. It was 
then moved and was known as El Ciervo (The Deer). When the Selby 
Smelting Company came, in 1886, the hotel was erected by Mr. Tormey, 



174 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

who also built five cottages. The public school was established in 1888. 
In 1900 the smelting company bought the townsite and property adjacent. 
Mr. Tormey died in May, 1907. 

COWELL 

The town of Cowell is located four miles from Concord, in the foot- 
hills of Mount Diablo, and was established by the Cowell Cement Com- 
pany of San Francisco, in connection with their building the great cement 
works there, which were opened in February, 1908. This is the greatest 
plant of its kind in the world and employs hundreds of men. The rail- 
road was built by the company, connecting with the Southern Pacific, the 
Santa Fe and the Oakland, Antioch & Eastern. The first resident physi- 
cian for the company was Dr. W. E. Bixby. 

WALNUT CREEK 

This town is one of the oldest, and also one of the most beautiful in 
the county. Situated on the Arroyo de las Nueces (Creek of the Walnuts), 
whose waters have eaten their way down through the rich alluvium to a 
depth varying from fifteen to thirty feet, and almost in the center of the 
great San Ramon Valley, its name does not belie its character. This lovely 
creek was given its name from the wild hard-shelled walnuts that grow 
along its course; and today both in town and all through the surrounding 
country, walnut trees abound — now, however, mostly the thin-shelled Eng- 
lish walnut, which has been grafted on the hardy native stock. Many 
walnut groves are found in the vicinity, and many of the splendid country 
roads have walnut trees planted along the margin, affording delightful 
shade and presenting beautiful vistas where the giant trees overarch the 
roadway. 

The central location of the town assures it a future of importance. It 
is a station on the San Ramon branch of the Southern Pacific, from which 
are made heavy shipments of fruit, grapes, nuts, and other products. 

The street improvements in Walnut Creek represent an outlay of 
about $60,000. The streets are of concrete and oil macadam, and extend 
over the major part of the town. A new fire house costing $3000 has 
been built, and in it has been installed a new La France fire engine pumper 
with a capacity of 400 gallons per minute. The cost of the engine was 
$7000. 

A Lions Club was instituted in December, 1925. 

LAFAYETTE 

Lafayette is a small town situated three miles west of Walnut Creek 
and fourteen miles east from Oakland. It is located on the Tunnel Road, 
a paved thoroughfare connecting Contra Costa County with the East 
Bay Cities. The town had its beginning when the owner of the Rancho 
Alcalanes, a Spaniard named Valencia, who owed W. A. Leidesdorff, of 
Yerba Buena, considerable money, arranged to sell the property to get 
the money owing him. On February 7, 1848, Elam Brown, who had 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 175 

bought the rancho, moved his family onto it, and thereafter it was the 
family home for many years. After concluding the purchase, Mr. Brown 
sold one-tenth of the holding to Nathaniel Jones for $100, both families 
settling on the tract about the same time. Brown and Jones erected the 
first two frame buildings. Brown moved his location twice before per- 
manently settling. His last place was torn down in 1924. 

In 1848 Mr. Brown sowed wheat, and when harvested the grain was 
hauled to San Jose to be ground into flour. In 1849 he bought a horse 
power mill in Benicia and erected it on his place. The families did their 
household shopping in San Jose, the nearest settlement. Mr. Jones was 
the first to set out trees and shrubs for family use and ornamental pur- 
poses. 

In 1852 Benjamin Shreve came to the place, and then he and Mr. 
Brown gave the place the name of Lafayette. 

In 1853 Milo J. Hough built the first hotel, and a cemetery was 
platted; also an interdenominational building was built by the people and 
church services were held. J. H. Gorham and George W. Hammitt were 
also making their homes in the new settlement. 

On January 15, 1859, the Contra Costa Agricultural, Horticultural & 
Mechanical Society was formed, with L. I. Fish president. At the regular 
meeting on May 14, T. A. Brown was elected president; Elam Brown, 
treasurer; H. H. Fassett, recording secretary; N. Jones, corresponding 
secretary; W. Bradford, D. Small, E. H. Cox, W. T. Hendrick, J. 
O'Brien, J. A. Hamilton, D. Goodale, W. J. Caldwell, D. Carrick and 
Jose Martinez, vice-presidents. The first fair was held in Pacheco on 
October 11, 1859. 

There was a library association organized in Lafayette in 1860, but it 
never functioned. 

On June 6, 1859, near Lafayette, the home of R. S. Linville was 
burned and Mrs. Linville and two children lost their lives. 

On March 8, 1863, occurred the death of Stephen Jones, father 
of Nathaniel Jones. 

On October 8, 1864, Brown & Company opened a stage line between 
Walnut Creek and San Ramon, connecting with Oakland lines. 

When the Tunnel Road and the Oakland, Antioch & Eastern Electric 
Railway were completed, a new era opened for this suburban district, and 
now there are many fine homes erected in the hills and valley sections sur- 
rounding Lafayette. An auditorium was built by public subscription and 
served for all public gatherings. In 1865 N. Jones started a newspaper, 
but it lived only two months. There is a postoffice at Lafayette, and a 
Methodist Episcopal church and an Improvement Club; and a new audi- 
torium is being erected. Some of the most beautiful scenery in the county 
is to be found in the Lafayette section. 

SAN RAMON 
This little village was originally called Limerick, but the name was 
changed when the railroad came. It is surrounded chiefly by a region 



176 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

devoted to general farming and cattle ranges, although the growing of 
fruits and grapes has made great progress. It is the terminus of the San 
Ramon branch of the Southern Pacific and the most southerly town in 
the county, and when the road is continued on to Pleasanton, and thence 
to San Francisco, greater activity may Be expected. Some splendid places 
are to be found in this vicinity. 

SAN PABLO 

The town of San Pablo, Contra Costa County, was named for the 
Rancho San Pablo that had been granted to Don Francisco Castro in 
1823. It was his home until his death, in 1831. In 1838 a commodious 
adobe house was erected by the Castros on the property. Mrs. Castro 
died in 1851. Juan B. Alvarado, at one time governor of California, 
married a daughter of Castro and they moved into the adobe in 1849, and 
here he died in 1882. He donated to the Catholic Church three acres 
of land for church purposes, and in 1854 the first Catholic Church was 
dedicated by Archbishop Allemany. In 1864 a new church was erected at 
a cost of $300 and was dedicated to Saint Paul. The Catholic Church 
plans a very modern building in the near future. The resident priest is 
Father Porta, who is beloved by all his parishioners. The Baptists also 
built a church later on, and this was replaced by a modern structure in 
1925. It is a large and commodious building, and the congregation is a 
large one. Weatherby & Poole kept the first store. In 1855 Peck & 
Dohrman opened the San Pablo Hotel in an adobe building. Dr. Goodale 
was the first physician. John Wilcox and John Nicholl were large land- 
owners in the vicinity, as was also Joseph Emeric. John Proviso was one 
of the early merchants of the village. W. F. Belding was another of the 
pioneer merchants. In 1860 a meeting of the citizens was called to raise 
money for the purchase of a steamer to use as a ferry to run to San Fran- 
cisco from San Pablo. San Pablo Avenue goes through the town and is 
a good paved thoroughfare. There are now a town hall and several 
stores and garages in the town, and many modern cottages and bungalow 
homes occupied by employees of the various industrial plants in Richmond 
and vicinity. On account of the close proximity to Richmond, there is 
little to hope for as to the future of the town, but there are a number of 
good ranches in the district where dairying is carried on and fruit and 
hay are grown by the ranchers. 

The oldest landmark now known in San Pablo is the Alvarado Haci- 
enda, built in 1838 of adobe bricks. It is about ninety feet long and had 
broad porches on two sides, with great overhanging gables and an attic. 
It is now a part of the general mass of structure known as the Belding 
store, at the west corner of Alvarado and Church Streets. The porchway 
being boarded up, it now holds boxed goods, barley and pork barrels. 
Little heeds the purchaser who drops into the store for a few potatoes or 
to pay a bill, that some seventy or eighty years ago this present store 
room was the Mecca each fall, after the grand rodeos, for all the Dons, 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 177 

Donnas, Senors, Senoritas, vaqueros and peons that gathered around the 
homes of Don Ygnacio Martinez, S. J. Tennent, Briones, Pacheco, Mor- 
aga, Castro, Galindo and other pioneers of the time. 

It was customary in very early times for ships to anchor off shore 
from what is now San Pablo and Richmond, there to receive from the 
barges the hides, horns and tallow produced in this vicinity and adjacent 
interior country. There being no sale for the meat, vast herds were 
slaughtered for the products mentioned. The tallow was reduced in great 
kettles, poured into forms dug in the soil, and then taken to the 
ship's hold. 

The fall rodeos or round-ups were followed by the great social event 
of the year — the Spanish fandango. In all these festivities San Pablo was 
the rallying point for all the grandees, with their families and attendants, 
throughout this entire section. For a week these gatherings were devoted 
solely to sports, dancing and unlimited hilarity, only to move on — a great 
cavalcade of horsemen, horsewomen, wagons, bedding and camp outfits — 
to Pinole, there to repeat the performances and then again to move on to 
other ranchos. 

MORGAN TERRITORY 

In 1856 Jeremiah Morgan, familiarly called "Jerry" Morgan, lo- 
cated in this section. He came from Ygnacio Valley, where he had settled 
in 1853. He had been on a bear-hunting expedition on Mount Diablo 
and in its vicinity discovered a tract of land that struck his fancy, and as 
a result he settled upon a tract of 2000 acres. It is situated in a pro- 
ductive section of the county. After he had located his family in the 
new home he called it Morgan Territory, and it is still known by that 
name. It took Morgan three days to get into the territory with his 
wagons in 1856. Marsh Creek has its source here. In 1857 Alonzo 
Plumley acquired a possessory title to half the original tract. A school 
was established in 1858 and William Ellis was the first teacher. In 
1859 Ransome Woods, Solomon Perkins, John Gibson and C. Leeming 
settled in the territory. In 1860 Edward Curry bought out Gibson and 
Leeming. 

Jerry Morgan was born in the Cherokee Nation, Ala., in 1819, and 
came to California across the plains in 1849 from Illinois. He died at 
his home on January 23, 1906. 

AVON 

The Associated Oil Company is responsible for the founding of the 
town of Avon. The company erected their refinery here and have spent 
many millions of dollars to build up a large plant. They have direct 
water transportation, and both the Santa Fe and the Southern Pacific 
Railroads also serve the town. The oil company was incorporated in 
1901, acquired the property of the National Oil Transportation Com- 
pany in 1905, and have direct pipe lines from Coalinga, Kern River and 



178 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

McKittrick oil fields to tidewater at Monterey Bay. In 1906 they com- 
pleted a line to Port Costa. In 1913 they erected their refinery on 620 
acres they had purchased at Avon, as they named the town. Since that 
date they have been continually expanding. 

HERCULES 

Hercules, in Contra Costa County, is an incorporated city of the sixth 
class and was built up by the Hercules Powder Company in the locality 
of the plant where they manufacture explosives. It is adjacent to Pinole. 
Many of the employees of the powder works live in the town, and others 
reside in the nearby towns and cities. During the World War the city 
took on new life and there were several hundred men working in the man- 
ufacture of war materials. 



CHAPTER XIII 

LIBRARY DEVELOPMENT 

By Mrs. Alice G. Whitbeck, County Librarian 

Previous to the establishment of the Contra Costa County Free Li- 
brary in 1913, the record of the efforts of small communities to supply 
themselves with books and magazines through clubs or personal subscrip- 
tions is all that we have of the early history of the library movement. 
These pioneer efforts met with many obstacles, but the earnest and unflag- 
ging zeal of a few enthusiastic workers held the clubs and associations 
together until the final achievement of a county-wide library system. 

The struggle of each community is a story in itself, the recording of 
which brings back the names of many early residents now held in memory 
and of many more who still hold the same interest in the larger library 
that they did in the one of small beginnings. 

Martinez Branch Library 
The Martinez Library dates back to October 24, 1883, when a little 
club was formed with five charter members, the Misses Julia Fish, Jane 
Grey Frazer, Marion Taylor, Carrie Cutler, and Louise Corbert, for the 
purpose of working for a free reading room. They called themselves the 
E. Q. V. Society, but kept steadily before them the idea of a reading-room 
whenever they might be able to accomplish it. In 1885 a book social was 
given, netting 150 books. Immediately the Martinez Free Reading-Room 
and Library Association was organized, officers elected, and the public in- 
vited to become members by paying dues of twenty-five cents a month. 
This membership grew and great interest was shown. The use of a room 
had been given by Dr. John Strentzel in a building owned by him on Main 
Street, and the room was prepared for use by the young people of the 
town. Generous contributions of time, money, and talent were given 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 179 

freely in many entertainments and benefits that were devised for this 
purpose. In 1893 a lot on a prominent corner on Main Street was do- 
nated by Mrs. John Strentzel and her daughter, Mrs. John Muir. The lot 
was of thirty-two feet frontage by ninety-six feet in depth, and was 
deeded with the provision that the building placed thereon must be al- 
ways devoted to library purposes. 

The association now filed articles of incorporation, and a deed was 
shortly afterward executed, which contained a provision that a two-story 
brick, building covering the entire lot be placed there within two years, or 
the property would revert to the Strentzel estate. A canvassing committee 
was immediately appointed, and by May reported more than $1700 
pledged. 

Byron Brown offered free of charge his services as architect and super- 
visor of the building, a generous gift, since it left all funds to go to actual 
work of construction. Everybody was interested, and the town agreed to 
lease the rear portion of the lower floor — a room for town meetings and 
offices and a large room for the fire apparatus. The upper floor was to be 
leased for a term of years to the I. O. O. F., thus insuring an income with 
which to meet interest and reduce the debt that m'ust be incurred to erect 
the building. When the bids came in, the lowest, $6371, was found to be 
that of C. H. Ludden, who thus became the builder. In the latter part of 
February, 1896, the building was completed, furnished, and occupied, with 
a debt of $3800 to be paid by the efforts of the association, represented 
by a board of seven trustees, elected annually. This debt was reduced in 
ten years by entertainments of all kinds to a little over $800. When the 
earthquake caused damages to the amount of $1400, again the people, in 
their interest for the welfare of the library, collected $900; so the whole 
debt then stood at $1300. This was paid off in the next five years. On its 
twenty-fifth anniversary the association's fifteen-year note of indebtedness 
was burned. 

With the establishment of the County Library, it was not possible 
to keep up the subscriptions. The town trustees then came to the aid of 
the institution and supplied the means of upkeep, while the County Library 
supplied the library service. Figures from the County Library report of 
1924-25 show that a total of 43,017 books were circulated during the year. 
The collection of books varies in number of volumes, as a constant ex- 
change is maintained between it and the County Library, located on the 
upper floor of the library building. 

Antioch Branch Library 

The first efforts in Antioch toward providing reading for the public 
were made by a library club, each member of which contributed five dollars 
as purchase price of two books. The books were exchanged at house-to- 
house meetings. 

About 1904 Mr. Williams, with the idea of helping the boys of the 
town, started a small reading room in a store on Main Street, but later 



180 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

built a gymnasium and library-room on the corner of Third and F Streets. 
A small fee was charged for the use of the books; and with his mother, he 
kept this reading-room open for five or six years. 

In 1911 a part of the membership of the Woman's Club started a li- 
brary association, each contributing one dollar a year and as many books 
as she could spare from her shelves. The books were kept in the club- 
house and were distributed each week by one of the members. Later 
Miss Carrie Williamson was appointed librarian, and she has had charge 
continuously. When the County Library was established in 1913, Antioch 
cooperated at once and gave the use of its clubhouse for the County Li- 
brary books, which, together with those accumulated, were circulated 
freely. Miss Williamson continued in charge. 

Through the efforts of Mrs. Mary L. Fulton, Mrs. Keeney, and Mrs. 
Frederika J. West, funds were raised to buy a corner lot for the building 
which the Carnegie Corporation donated to the county. This building, 
costing $2550, was planned by Frances Reid. Though small, the building 
has proved adequate to the demands. As in all the county branches, an ex- 
change of books constantly keeps the collection alive. The 1924-25 
County Library report shows that 16,518 volumes were circulated during 
the year. Miss Williamson has served continuously with great satisfac- 
tion to the public. 

Concord Branch Library 

On October 29, 1906, a mass-meeting was called and met in Odd 
Fellows Hall for the purpose of organizing a public library and reading- 
room. Dr. George McKenzie was elected chairman and Miss G. R. 
Crocker secretary, with the additional names on the committee of Joseph 
Boyd, W. A. Kirkwood, and Mrs. F. F. Neff. At the next meeting the 
following permanent officers were elected: President, W. A. Kirkwood; 
vice-president, Mrs. H. H. Elsworthy; secretary, Miss G. R. Crocker; 
treasurer, Joseph Boyd; directors, Mr. Pingree, Mr. Gehringer, Mr. 
Spencer, Mr. Randall, and Miss Skinner. 

The first location was in the Fire Hall; and books received by dona- 
tions, with others borrowed from the State Library and Oakland Club, 
were circulated. Miss Skinner was the first librarian and Mr. Martin the 
first assistant, the latter receiving ten dollars a month. Dues were twenty- 
five cents a month. Frequent entertainments were given to provide for 
the new books and maintenance. 

A strong interest has always been felt by the library association in the 
welfare of its reading-room; and when the County Library was formed, 
it was among the first to grasp at the idea of enlarging its usefulness and 
joined immediately. Mrs. Ballenger, who had been a most interested and 
faithful librarian for a number of years, was forced to give up the work 
from ill health, and Mrs. H. Elise Williams was appointed. A pleasant 
room in the Foskett building was rented by a continuation of this same 
library association, and the books and magazines were supplied by the 
County Library. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 181 

A donation of $2500 from the Carnegie Corporation enabled the 
county to erect a small building in 1917, in the town park. Mrs. Williams 
was succeeded by Mrs. Ellen Thurber, the present custodian. The circu- 
lation of books for the year 1924-25 was 16,143 volumes. 

Crockett Branch Library 

In 1908 the Crolona Men's Club was formed in Crockett, the member- 
ship composed largely of men from the California and Hawaiian Sugar 
Refining Company. The company and a number of men interested do- 
nated about 600 volumes and provided the clubhouse. In 1910 the Y. M. 
C. A. assumed control of the Crolona Club. When the County Library was 
established, the collection housed in the Y. M. C. A. rooms became a part 
of the County Library. The books were accessioned and a charging sys- 
tem installed. After it became apparent that the club house was too small 
for its purpose, a new building was started in 1914 and was completely 
furnished and equipped by the sugar company. The building that had 
been occupied was remodeled for the Crockett Girls' Club and a County 
Library collection placed there under the charge of Mrs. Edith Powers. 
Because of the use made of the larger men's clubhouse, all the books for 
the use of the town residents were placed in the Girls' Club clubhouse. 

In 1918 the California and Hawaiian Sugar Company moved and fitted 
up the old Pinole Bank for a town library. This building has been entirely 
fitted to the needs of the company, and Mrs. Charlotte Standish has been 
the custodian continuously. The circulation from this branch for the 
year 1924-1925 was 16,143 volumes. In addition to this number of books 
circulated from the branch, many books are housed in the library of the 
Community Center and are used by the men exclusively. 

Walnut Creek Branch Library 

At the time of the establishment of the County Library, the members 
of the Woman's Club of the town were contemplating a reading-room in 
their clubhouse and had gathered a number of books together. They re- 
alized the great help that the County Library would be to them and put 
off the opening of their reading-room until the County Library could help 
in preparing and adding to their collection. For the first year a committee 
of ladies kept the library open and distributed the books. Later Mrs. 
Hempstead was appointed, and she was succeeded by Mrs. Caroline 
Gamble. 

The library moved its quarters twice before the new Carnegie building 
was ready for occupancy. The lot for the building was donated by the 
Burgess Company, a corner on which a very delightful bungalow library 
was erected in 1916. 

Mrs. Robinson, the present custodian, has been in charge since the 
resignation of Mrs. Gamble. 



182 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Pittsburg Branch Library 

There had been no move to start a library in Pittsburg until a gift from 
Mr. Sumner Crosby of several hundred volumes made it apparent that 
there must be some place to house them. A room was fitted up in the 
town hall and locked book cases provided. Mrs. Theresa Minaker was 
appointed custodian and has held the position since the opening. 

The library soon outgrew its quarters, and when the new town hall was 
built a room was planned on the second floor. This room also was soon 
found too small, and bonds were voted to build a building on a site donated 
by Mr. Wiggington E. Creed. A building designed by Mr. A. W. Corne- 
lius will be ready for occupancy February 1, 1926. The circulation of the 
Pittsburg Branch for the year 1924-1925 was 19,503 volumes, a large 
number of books to be given out, considering its very crowded quarters. 

Richmond Library 

The Richmond Library Club was formed on August 16, 1907, with 
Mrs. W. W. Felch as chairman of the library committee. The club rented 
a small room on the corner of Sixth and Macdonald Avenue, and the 
library was kept open by a committee of women, among whom were Mrs. 
W. W. Felch, Mrs. E. K. Smallwood, Mrs. C. Smith, Mrs. Clarence 
Jenkins, and Mrs. C. B. Evans. Books were donated and entertainments 
given to meet the expenses. In 1908 a request was made to the Carnegie 
Corporation for a library building, the Woman's Improvement Club 
having given five lots in a central location on Nevin Avenue for a site. 
A gift of $17,500 was granted upon the usual conditions, and in June, 
1909, the first meeting of the trustees was held. Mrs: E. B. Smallwood 
was elected president; Harry Adkison, secretary; and as directors, Mrs. 
George W. Topping, L. D. Dimm, and J. C. Bedwell. Mrs. Alice G. 
Whitbeck, of Berkeley, was appointed the first librarian, May 2, 1910. 
The library was dedicated with appropriate exercises on August 17, 1910. 

Great interest was shown in its development, generous and adequate 
support was given by the city trustees, and after three successful years, 
in which the library became a vital part of the community, Mrs. Whit- 
beck resigned to take charge of the County Library, and Miss Delia M. 
Wilsey, of Pomona, was appointed librarian. Several changes at that 
time were made in the library staff. At the time of the resignation of Mrs. 
Whitbeck plans were made and partially carried out to install a children's 
room in the basement, the three years' growth proving the inadequacy of 
the room originally planned as such. This room, very pretty and com- 
plete in all its appointments, was finished, but another two years' growth 
showed the necessity of using the still larger assembly room for the chil- 
dren, and turning their room into a cataloging and work room. 

In December, 1917, Miss Wilsey was married to James A McVittie 
and Miss Norah McNeill, of Berkeley, was appointed librarian. The 
growth and expansion of the library have been continuous. The Point 
Richmond library, which was established on July 7, 1908, became a branch 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 183 

of the Richmond Public Library on January 1, 1910. It is now known 
as the West Side Branch, occupies commodious quarters at Washington 
Avenue and Park Place, and has a yearly circulation of more than 20,000 
volumes. 

The Stege Branch, established in July, 1913, was located on Potrero 
Avenue, and for nine years was under the charge of Mrs. Florilla Brown, 
a well known and widely loved local resident. Mrs. Brown was eighty 
years old when she resigned the position a few months before her death 
in 1922. The library is at present located on South Wall Street, where it 
is much used by the children of the neighborhood and has a yearly circu- 
lation of 10,000 volumes. 

The Grant Branch, a small neighborhood branch library located in 
the Grant School building, was opened in 1924, the school authorities giv- 
ing free use of the room occupied. 

On account of the crowded condition at the main library, a special 
building tax was levied in 1921, and a $42,000 addition was completed in 
March, 1924. By this addition the main library was increased to almost 
double its original size; double-deck steel book stacks were installed, and 
the boys' and girls' department was very much enlarged. 

From the original collection of a few hundred books, the library's 
stock now numbers over 48,000 volumes, and for the year 1924-1925 
the combined circulation of books, magazines and pictures was 275,116. 

From its inception, the Richmond Library has given special attention 
to work with children. The large and well-equipped boys' and girls' de- 
partment at the main library is in charge of a specially trained children's 
librarian, and includes a well-organized picture collection of over 23,000 
pictures, and a special school department from which libraries are sent 
to all of the classrooms of the nine elementary schools of the city. 

Mr. George B. Fredenburg is president of the Board of Library Trus- 
tees, the other members being Mrs. W. B. Trull, Mrs. T. T. Cramer, Mrs. 
B. X. Tucker, and Mr. Carl R. Alexander. 

At the time of the establishment of the County Library, and for three 
years thereafter, the Richmond Library was a part of the County Library 
system; but in January, 1916, it withdrew, and is now the only library 
not affiliated with the County Library. 

The County Library System 

The accounts of the inception and growth of the branches already 
given embrace, as far as is known, the efforts of the different communi- 
ties towards establishing a library in their midst. The Contra Costa 
County Free Library was established in 1913, and has recently rendered 
to the supervisors its twelfth annual report, which shows that 184,081 
volumes were circulated from forty-four branches, and 52,935 books sent 
to fifty-five schools. 

The early history of the County Library is interesting, as it was so 
largely pioneer work. The work began with Mrs. Whitbeck as librarian 



184 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

and one assistant, Miss Anne Weyand. A room was rented from the 
Martinez Library Association, and immediate steps were taken to help 
the struggling places noted in the brief histories and to establish other 
branches; also, to bring in as- many schools as possible. As a result of 
rapid and well-organized work, books were sent to twenty-eight places 
the first year. Some of these were the reading-rooms already mentioned; 
others were merely deposits in stores, post offices, private homes, and iso- 
lated schools. 

The growth from year to year was so rapid that three moves were 
made in office quarters, until finally the large lodge room on the upper 
floor of the Martinez Reading Room Association building was vacated 
and fitted up as County Library office and library. This growth has neces- 
sitated an increased office force, embracing a school department, a branch 
department, a cataloging department, and a records department. At the 
present time, nine full-time assistants are employed to process, catalog, 
ship and exchange books to ninety-nine different points. 

The policy of the County Library has been to have each town supply 
its own library room or building in whatever way it may. Many times 
these have been started in a very small way, only to find out in a year or 
two that they wanted better quarters. This has been especially noted in 
the cases of the towns of Brentwood, Byron, Danville, El Cerrito and 
Lafayette. Improvements are constantly taking place, and there is a 
general effort to have larger and better reading-rooms. 

The work with the schools has grown enormously, and has been made 
possible by the assistance and cooperation of County Superintendent of 
Schools Mr. W. H. Hanlon, and by the very full measure of appreciation 
shown by the teachers served. The citizenship classes have come in for 
much help in the way of books, pictures and musical records. Besides 
furnishing books to the schools, the County Library circulates maps, 
globes, charts, pictures, music records, and films. More and more the 
teachers are realizing what the County Library means to them. The 
county is almost entirely covered by service to branches or schools. What 
remains to do is to increase and improve this service. 



CHAPTER XIV 

LODGES OF THE COUNTY 

It has been very difficult to gather material for the compilation of a 
history of the various secret societies in Contra Costa County. This has 
been due in part to lack of whole-hearted response, on the part of some, 
to calls and correspondence intended to elicit the needed information, 
though others, both officers and members of organizations, have freely 
cooperated in securing the necessary data; and we thank them kindly. It 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 185 

has been the purpose of the compiler to give, in this chapter, an account 
of the organizing of the local societies, especially as regards the granting 
of dispensation and charter, and the names of the charter members and 
original officers. It is to be understood that many other local societies 
(as also, indeed, most of those mentioned here) will be found listed in 
the chapters devoted to the cities in which they are located. Here follows 
the record, so far as we have been able to secure the information. 

Masonic Lodges 

Martinez Lodge No. 41, F. & A. M., was granted a dispensation on 
July 26, 1852, continued upon application on August 3, 1853; a charter 
was ordered May 3, 1854; and the following were the officers and mem- 
bers: Robert N. Woods, M.; J. Mitchell, S. W. ; H. Mills, J. W.; D. 
Small, Treas. ; J. S. Days, Sec; J. Tucker, S. D.; E. T. Weld, J. D.; S. 
Russell, Tyler; Masons, S. G. Briggs, A. Hooper, J. T. Trippen, J. S. 
Walls. In 1859 the lodge erected its own hall by subscription of the 
members. 

Antioch Lodge No. 175, F. & A. M., was granted dispensation on 
June 15, 1865; was constituted on October 12, 1865; and the charter 
members were: Francis Williams, Rozwell Hard, J. P. Walton, D. H. 
Cleaves, N. Adams, S. Jessup, J. J. McNulty, J. C. O'Brien, J. E. Wright, 
R. Charnock, Jackson W. Ong, Thomas Cryan, E. T. Mills. The officers 
under dispensation were F. Williams, M.; S. W. Bedford, S. W. ; J. C. 
O'Brien, J. W. Upon the charter being granted, these were elected: 
F. Williams, W. M.; S. W. Bedford, S. W.; J. C. O'Brien, J. W. ; J. E. 
Wright, Treas.; M. Kline, Sec; N. Adams, S. D.; S. Jessup, J. D.; E. T. 
Mills, Tyler. 

A petition was sent in to form a lodge at Crockett on December 20, 
1898 ; dispensation was granted for Carquinez Lodge No. 337, F. & A. M., 
on April 26, 1899; and the first meeting was held on April 29, of that 
year. A charter was granted on October 12, 1899, and the lodge was 
constituted on October 28, 1899. 

Brentwood Lodge No. 345, F. & A. M., was organized in February, 
1902; its charter was received on October 15, 1902. The lodge had 
thirteen charter members. 

A petition was sent from Richmond, signed by sixteen Masons, to 
organize a lodge in that city. This resulted in the organization of Mc- 
Kinley Lodge No. 347, which received dispensation on April 5, 1902. 
The first meeting was held April 12, 1902, with Harry Ells as Master. 
On November 8 the lodge was regularly constituted. 

Pinole Lodge No. 353, F. & A. M., held its preliminary meeting on 
November 11, 1902; its charter was granted on February 17, 1903, and it 
had eighteen charter members. 

Pittsburg Lodge No. 249, F. & A. M., was organized on January 20, 
1912, with twenty-two Master Masons as charter members, most of them 
demitting from Antioch Lodge No. 175. The first meeting was held 



186 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

under dispensation on February 20, 1912, and on October 10 of that 
year a charter was granted. On November 9 the lodge was instituted. 

On June 4, 1912, Alpha Lodge No. 431, F. & A. M., was organized 
in Richmond, on account of the wide territory covered, by twenty-five 
charter members. The first meeting was held under dispensation on May 
24, H. A. Stiver, Master. A charter was granted on October 10; and 
on November 12, 1912, the lodge was duly instituted. 

Mount Diablo Lodge No. 448, F. & A. M., was granted dispensation 
on May 21, 1916; the first meeting was held on May 30, and on October 
17, 1916, a charter was granted, when twenty-three men signed the roll. 

Harbor Lodge No. 502, F. & A. M., was organized on March 3, 
1921, C. W. Duncan, Master. 

Point Lodge No. 503, F. & A. M., was instituted on March 3, 1921, C. 
J. Peterson, Master. The organization of the last-named lodge gives the 
city of Richmond four lodges. 

Royal Arch Chapters 

Antioch Chapter No. 65, R. A, M., was issued a charter on April 29, 
1885. On May 13 the chapter was constituted and C. H. Frink was 
elected High Priest. 

Richmond Chapter No. 42, R. A. M., was granted a charter on De- 
cember 21, 1912, Harry Ells being elected High Priest. 

Eastern Star Chapters 

Ariel Chapter No. 42, O. E. S., was instituted at Antioch on March 
30, 1880, with twelve charter members, by Grand Worthy Patron C. L. 
Thomas. The members were: Elizabeth Williams, Alice Parkinson, Kate 
Forman, Malvina G. Abbott, Alice Rouse, Mrs. T. B. Jacobs, Annie Mc- 
Killips, Alyszan R. Jessup, Mary E. Frink, N. W. Smith, C. H. Frink, 
G. Rouse and J. P. Abbott. 

Occidental Chapter No. 64, O. E. S., was organized on October 15, 
1881, with the following charter members at Martinez: Elizabeth Wil- 
liams, L. C. Wittenmyer, Francis Williams, Eva Bissell, Clara K. Wit- 
tenmyer, Lizzie T. Russell, Emma Moore, Helen C. Carothers, Margaret 
E. W. Thompson, Mary Brown, Narcissa H. Woodruff, Caroline J. Hol- 
lenbeck, H. M. Hollenbeck, Clara L. Wittenmyer and Leontine Blum. 

Miramar Chapter No. 205, O. E. S., was organized in Richmond on 
September 5, 1902, Mrs. P. C. Campbell, Worthy Matron. 

Crockett Chapter No. 184, O. E. S., was organized on September 7, 
1900. 

Almona Chapter No. 214, O. E. S., was organized at Walnut Creek 
on September 5, 1903. 

Pinole Chapter No. 220, O. E. S., was organized at Pinole on Feb- 
ruary 23, 1904, with fifteen charter members. 

Los Cerritos Chapter No. 234, O. E. S., was organized in Martinez 
on July 22, 1905. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 187 

Acantha Chapter No. 249, O. E. S., was organized at Richmond on 
September 7, 1906, Mrs. F. Schoen, Worthy Matron. 

Beacon Chapter No. 383, O. E. S., was organized in Richmond on 
September 9, 1921, Mrs. J. Burdon, Worthy Matron. 

Point Chapter No. 394, O. E. S., was organized in Richmond on July 
6, 1922, Mrs. H. G. Stidham, Worthy Matron. 

Odd Fellows Lodges 

Pacheco Lodge No. 117, I. O. O. F., was instituted at Concord on 
September 12, 1863. The officers installed on July 6, 1864, were: L. B. 
Farish, N. G. ; E. Hook, V. G. ; William Gieraw, Rec. Sec; W. A. Smith, 
Fin. Sec; G. W. Johnson, Treas. There were fifty-one members reported 
on July 31, 1863. 

Mount Diablo Lodge No. 128, I. O. O. F., was organized on October 
27, 1866, with John H. Williams, N. G.; T. S. Jones, V. G.; A. E. H. 
Stover, Sec; William Prosser, Treas.; J. Jones, Rec. Sec; W. R. D. 
Reese, Conductor; J. Lightowler, Guard. 

San Joaquin Lodge No. 151, I. O. O. F., was instituted with eleven 
men, at Antioch, on January 9, 1869. The following officers were in- 
stalled: William Garvin, N. G.; M. S. Levy, V. G.; George Thyarks, 
Rec. Sec; R. Eddy, Treas. ' 

Martinez Lodge No. 297, I. O. O. F., was instituted on July 20, 1882, 
with the following charter members: Paul Shirley, J. Borland, John Leff- 
ler, R. N. Doyle, S. W. Johnson, E. W. Hiller, Barry Baldwin, C. H. 
Ludden, M. B. Ivory, James Stewart, S. Blum, and W. S. Tinning. The 
first officers were: Paul Shirley, N. G. ; C. H. Ludden, V. G.; W. S. Tin- 
ning, Rec Sec; E. W. Hiller, Sec; R. N. Doyle, Treas.; S. Blum, John 
Leffler and Barry Baldwin were trustees. 

Crockett Lodge No. 329, I. O. O. F., was instituted in Crockett on 
February 3, 1887, with the following charter members: John A. Glick, 
J. O. Marsh, S. H. Barnhisel, Steve Cowin, Robert Howe, Axel Nord, 
W. G. Short and John L. Heald. 

Byron Lodge No. 335, I. O. O. F., was instituted at Byron on No- 
vember 23, 1887, with the following charter members: U. J. Engle, M. 
Grunauer, T. E. Callin, W. J. Casselman and Fred Rahmstorf. 

Danville Lodge No. 378, I. O. O. F., was instituted at Danville on 
July 26, 1892. The following were officers and charter members: E. A. 
Bunce, Treas.; B. W. Stone, Rec. Sec; B. W. Bennett, N. G. ; J. M. 
Huckins, V. G.; W. Z. Stone, Edw. Griffith and M. L. Simpson. 

Rodeo Lodge No. 196, I. O. O. F., was instituted at Rodeo on May 
4, 1906, by Grand Master Theodore Bell; and among the charter mem- 
bers were: J. E. Slade, C. D. Ambrosia, J. M. Ownes, T. J. Francis, S. 
H. Cunningham, E. B. Catt and C. E. Mancrief. There were thirty char- 
ter members all told. The lodge was given No. 196, which had been the 
number of Relief Lodge at Stony Point, until Relief Lodge was consoli- 
dated with other lodges. 



188 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Giant Lodge No. 400, I. O. O. F., was organized at Pinole on October 
2, 1907, with these charter members: B. C. Mawes, H. H. W. Randall, 
Leander Smith, W. C. Gerrish, S. E. Mackey, E. E. Randall and Leonard 
Garroutte. ■ On June 30, 1908, it had twenty-nine members. 

Eclipse Lodge, No. 403, I. O. O. F., was instituted at Richmond on 
July 20, 1908, by Grand Master John E. Raker, with the following char- 
ter members: F. W. Heckman, D. S. Tyler, J. P. Philpott, I. L. Dear- 
born, S. C. Swanson, Theodore Iversen, Lester Follett and V. W. Poulsen. 
On June 30, 1909, it had thirty-three members. 

On the night of February 1, 1902, Twilight Lodge No. 1 19, I. O. O.F., 
the pioneer Odd Fellow Lodge of Richmond, was organized. Delegates 
came from Berkeley, Oakland, and various towns in Contra Costa County, 
and despite the stormy night there was much enthusiasm at the hall in 
Point Richmond. The following were the charter members: John Mur- 
ray, J. A. Whiteside, D. DeBarrows, T. A. Tipp, E. J. Summerfield, E. 
Nelson, John Swanson and I. V. McCoy. On September 16, 1908, a com- 
munication was received by Eclipse Lodge from Twilight Lodge for a 
conference regarding consolidation. On January 6, 1909, the conferences, 
resulted in consolidation and the name became Eclipse Lodge No. 403. 
C. B. Clarenback, N. G.; J. B. Hunt, V. G. ; J. W. Shell, Rec. Sec. 

Bay Point Lodge No. 443, I. O. O. F., was instituted at Bay Point on 
August 15, 1914, with thirty-three members having the degrees conferred 
upon them by members from Pacheco Lodge No. 117, San Joaquin Lodge 
No. 329, and Byron Lodge No. 335. The charter members were: F. L. 
Lindquist, C. H. Counch, J. Buckholtz, L. Ludgren, C. Johnson, William 
Mattson, A. H. Erickson, Carl Hanson, Henry Roman, M. Caragliotti, 
J. L. Olsen, D. P. Alden, M. Percival and Charles Brauner. 

Odd Fellows' Encampments and Cantons 

Social Encampment No. 150, I. O. O. F., was instituted at Norton- 
ville on December 18, 1874, with the following charter members: James 
Rankin, T. S. Brown, J. H. Smith, Samuel Brown, John Trengrove, G. H. 
Scammon and Evan Thomas. 

Contra Costa Encampment No. 99, I. O. O. F., was instituted with 
twenty-eight members on May 13, 1905. The following were the first 
officers: R. G. Erskine, C. P.; Charles Johnson, H. P.; W. A. Leight, S. 
W. ; John Westfall, J. W. ; N. B. Tiller, Scribe; George K. Drew, Treas. 

Canton Richmond No. 40, Patriarchs Militant, I. O. O. F., was or- 
ganized and mustered in by C. H. Kornbeck, Deputy Commander, on 
March 21, 1924. The first officers elected were: Frank Rhoads, Com- 
mandant; Charles Washburn, Lieutenant; D. W. Poulsen, Ensign; M. G. 
Cofer, Clerk; J. A. Shaffer, Accountant. There were twenty-two char- 
ter members. 

Odd Fellows' Hall Association 

In 1914 a movement was started to organize an Odd Fellows Hall 
Association in Richmond, and it was brought to fruition on February 16, 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 189 

1916, when the association was incorporated. The directors were: J. G. 
Gerlach, Frank Rhoads, R. E. Todd, T. Edgar, Charles Johnson, L. B. 
Hutchins, Robert Dornan, Mae Sutton and Thomas Handley. Several 
sites were offered; but it was not until February, 1921, that a site was 
selected and purchased. In October, 1925, a fine building was completed, 
which was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies on October 24 of that 
year. 

Rebekah Lodges 

Richmond Lodge No. 206, D. of R., was organized April 22, 1907, 
with the following members: Mrs. Rose Michell, Mrs. Emma Tyer, Miss 
Minnie Tyer, Mrs. Mary E. Donoho, Mrs. Hattie Horstman, Mrs. 
Mary A. Tiller, Mrs. Stella Milroy, Mrs. Mae S. Bedwell, Mrs. Ella 
Heckman, Bessie Woods, Mrs. Abbie Oakes, Adolph Horstman and Dan- 
iel Tyer; and there were six new members initiated at the first meeting. 

Zephyr Lodge No. 263, D. of R., was instituted in Richmond on April 
5, 1902, in Fraternal Hall, with the following charter members: Sadie 
DeBarrows, Daniel DeBarrows, George Galbraith, John Murray, Lottie 
Murray, Elva Summerfield, E. J. Summerfield, Linda Whiteside and James 
Whiteside. The officers were : Emily Walker, N. G. ; Emma Galbraith, V. 
G. ; Laura Farnell, Sec; and Nellie Adams, Treas. At the end of 1903 
the lodge had eighty-one members. 

Danville Lodge No. 123, D. of R., was instituted September 22, 
1894, with the following charter members: Margret Boydston, Lillian 
Coats, Lydia Stone, Lucy Stark, Ennetta Botts, B. W. Stone, William 
Stark, William Hayden, W. N. Coats and B. W. Bennett. This lodge 
was given the number of Banner Lodge No. 123, which had surrendered 
its charter in January, 1893. 

Mizpah Lodge No. 102, D. of R., was organized at Antioch on June 
28, 1886. 

Los Medanos Lodge No. 116, D. of R., was instituted at Pittsburg 
with the following charter members: Nellie A. and Fred Carter, Jennie 
C. and John H. Gallant, Nannie Cottrell, Mae E. Wright, and A. Bet- 
terworth. Los Medanos took the number of Fern Leaf Lodge of Forest- 
ville, which had surrendered its charter in May, 1895. 

Mt. Diablo Lodge No. 228, D. of R., was instituted on October 12, 
1897, at Concord, with the following charter members: Jennie D. and F. 
L. Loucks, W. E. Clanton, J. W. Haberly, Ency and Joseph Boyd, Jasper 
H. Wells, H. A. Rowley, W. C. Railsback, Anna and F. F. Neff, Mary A. 
and C. H. Clayton, Lillie and Eva Wells, and Carrie Bibber. 

Florence Knight Lodge No. 264, D. of R., was instituted at Brent- 
wood on April 12, 1902, with the following charter members: Ida L. 
Morgan, Abbie and Ruth LeMoine, M. Alice Collins, and Frank P. 
Baker. This lodge was later moved to Byron. 

Carmel Lodge No. 150, D. of R., was organized at Crockett on Oc- 
tober 1, 1889, with the following charter members: Stephen Cowin, Fred 



190 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

C. Larsen, Robert Rowe, Ella Petersen, Wm. Cowin, Susan Edwards, 
Henry H. Hita, Rosetta Cowin, John D. Jones, Flora M. Jones, J. E. 
Petersen, Alice M. Trask, J. J. Smith, Stella Trask and Frank A. Starr. 

Rodeo Lodge No. 342, D. of R., was instituted at Rodeo on Novem- 
ber 22, 1913, with the following charter members: Mae Priscilla, Louis 
Priscilla, Charles Pomber, Luna B. Clarke, Hannah M. Owens, and Stella 
L. Olsen. On June 30, 1914, it had fifteen women and thirteen men 
members. 

Twin City Lodge No. 321, D. of R., was instituted at Pinole on June 
18, 1921, and was given the number of Presidio Lodge, San Francisco, 
which had consolidated with other lodges. These were the charter mem- 
bers : Cecil and Henry C. Pake, Carrie and Charles Stevens, Goldie E. and 
Fred Allison, Ella L. Gerrish, and August E. Person. 

Alhambra Lodge No. 292, D. of R., was instituted December 14, 
1906, at Martinez, with the following charter members: Pearl J., Emma, 
and Charles Ball, Annie E. Rice, Bertha and Joseph Bickel, Sarah J. Jen- 
nings, Margaret A. Crilley, Walter S. Evans and A. E. Selmer. 

Carquinez Lodge No. 352, D. of R., was organized at Bay Point on 
November 21, 1914, with nine members, viz.: Mamie Ritter, Isabel A. 
Nay, Christine and Henry Henrickson, Clara Parker, F. L. Linquist, An- 
tone Anderson, Carl Hanson, and Charles Brauer. 

Knights of Pythias and Pythian Sisters 

Black Diamond Lodge No. 29, K. of P., was organized on October 
24, 1874, with thirty charter members, Watkins P. Morgans, P. C. ; F. 
J. Deeman, C. C; A. A. Paul, V. C; and Robert Prutton, Prelate. 

Richmond Lodge No. 13, K. P., was instituted in 1903 with the fol- 
lowing charter members entering on the night of institution: Chas. Car- 
penter, A. J. Timmons, J. W. Johnson, C. B. Gregory, Chas. V. Adams, 
H. L. Sharrer, Geo. Welsh, Richard Paasch, Emil Anderson, H. Silver- 
thorn, A. F. Silva, A. S. Lilly, John McCann, Andrew Erskine, A. B. 
McVicker, G. W. Lamley, Lyman Naugle, J. Mel. Morrison, J. H. 
Partrage, A. W. Keeler, W. F. Belding, Jr., Geo. B. Hinds, Wm. N. 
Sutherland, Chas. L. Easton, W. M. Laidlaw, J. C. Bly, Wm. A. Thomas, 
Chas. Desmond, O. B. Graves, Fred Walworth, Wm. A. Light, J. S. 
Woods, Fred Ormand, Frank Meredith, M. Dicely, L. W. Dicely, Jas. 
Verges, W. E. Holmes, Emi! Mino, H. H. Burner, Frank Lucas, S. L. 
Hartman, J. Tarro, F. H. Brownell and Chas. Malmstead. 

Pythian Castle was the first lodge building put up by any of the 
lodges in Richmond. It was erected in 1903 on Fifth Street, just south of 
Macdonald Avenue. Pythian Sisters No. 86 also meet in this building. 

Benevolent Protective Order of Elks 

Richmond Lodge No. 1251, B. P. O. E., was organized on May 2, 
1911, with twenty-nine members, and was granted dispensation on August 
1. The Elks Hall Association was incorporated on January 26, 1912. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 191 

The first meeting of its directors was held February 3, 1912 and on 
February 14 two lots were purchased on which to erect a building. These 
lots cost $12,000. Excavation began on October 31, 1912, and the 
building was completed on January 26, 1914. The cost of the building 
was $78,000, and of the furnishings, $22,000. It is one of the modern 
business blocks of Richmond. 

Pittsburg Lodge No. 1474 was organized at Pittsburg on October 
20, 1923, with 107 charter members. The first Exalted Ruler was Dr. 
T. B. Blackshaw. An Elks Hall Association was incorporated on March 
1, 1924, and a lot was purchased at a cost of $8500; but no building has 
been erected to date. 

Improved Order of Red Men 

Mohawk Tribe No. 20, I. O. R. M., was organized on June 19, 1869, 
in Martinez. The order is also represented by Carquinez Tribe No. 98 
and Neola Council No. 172, I. O. R. M., both of Crockett. 

Native Sons of the Golden West 

The first Parlor of the Native Sons of the Golden West was organ- 
ized on July 26, 1884 at Antioch, with twenty-five members. It was giv- 
en the name of General Winn Parlor, No. 32. C. F. Montgomery was 
named the first President and C. M. Belshaw, Secretary. 

On February 7, 1887, a charter was asked for Mount Diablo Parlor 
No. 101, at Martinez, and seventeen members signed the roll. T. A. 
McMahon was the first President, and F. L. Glass, the first Secretary. 

Central Parlor No. 140, at Walnut Creek, was the next Parlor to be 
organized, the date being June 19, 1889. E. B. Anderson was President 
and J. A. Black, Secretary. There were thirty-nine members to start this 
Parlor, but it was dissolved on April 25, 1896. 

The Native Sons of Byron and vicinity were next to apply for a 
charter; and on February 7, 1891, Byron Parlor No. 170 was organized 
with H. W. Johnston, president; W. H. Lewis, secretary; and twenty 
enthusiastic charter members. 

Sunrise Parlor No. 204, of Pinole, was launched on August 4, 1899, 
with thirty-three members. J. W. Wilson was president and J. Wunder- 
lich was Secretary. This Parlor was dissolved on April 27, 1907. 

Carquinez Parlor No. 205, of Crockett, was the next. It was organ- 
ized on August 5, 1899, with forty-four members. W. H. McDonald 
was President and H. T. Smith, Secretary. 

On January 6, 1903, Richmond Parlor No. 217 was organized with 
twenty-one members. C. F. Grant was the first President and J. D. Grant 
was the first Secretary. 

Concord Parlor No. 205 was organized on November 2, 1908, with 
thirty charter members. A. C. Gehringer was President and C. Hook, 
Secretary. 



192 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Diamond Parlor No. 246 was organized at Pittsburg with twenty- 
seven members on February 4, 1909. W. G. H. Croxon was President and 
L. H. Schmalholz was Secretary. 

San Ramon Valley Parlor No. 249 was organized at Danville on 
April 10, 1909, with twenty-three members. C. G. Goold was President 
and S. H. Flournoy, Secretary. This Parlor was later dissolved. 

Native Daughters of the Golden West 

The first Parlor of Native Daughters was organized in Martinez on 
December 10, 1887, and was given the name of Ramona Parlor No. 21. 
Mrs. Lizzie Russell was the first President. 

Richmond Parlor No. 147 was organized on December 2, 1905, with 
thirty-two charter members. The officer presiding was Mrs. A. C. Lang, 
Past President; Mrs. R. H. Spiersch, President. 

Donner Parlor No. 193, N. D. G. W., was organized on November 
4, 1911, at Byron. Mrs. A. Alexson was Past President and Mrs. H. T. 
Hammond, President. 

Carquinez Parlor No. 234 was organized at Crockett in 1926. 

Patrons of Husbandry 

Alhambra Grange, Patrons of Husbandry, was organized on Sep- 
tember 12, 1874, with Dr. John Strentzel, Master; W. Frazer, Secretary; 
H. Raap, Overseer; B. R. Holliday, Lecturer; J. McHarry, Chaplain; 
J. C. McHarry, Treasurer; E. Barber, Steward; L. Smith, Assistant 
Steward; J. Stewart, Gatekeeper; Mrs. A. Boss, Ceres; Mrs. H. Raap, 
Pomona; and Miss Louise Strentzel, Flora. 

American Legion Posts 

The American Legion is represented in Contra Costa County by the 
following Posts: Henry A. McNamara Post No. 29, Martinez; Roy 
Freirichs Post No. 200, Brentwood; Harding Post No. 161, Antioch; 
David Solari Post No. 151, Pittsburg; Crockett Post No. 33, Crockett; 
Richmond Post No. 10, Richmond; Walnut Creek Post No. 115, Walnut 
Creek; and Mount Diablo Post No. 246, Danville. 



CHAPTER XV 

BANKS AND BANKING 

In the early days of Contra Costa County there were no local banks, 
and the banking business was for the most part carried on by and through 
the general merchants, who usually had a safe for their own convenience 
and, when so requested by their customers, would accept money of their 
surplus funds. They were sometimes given the money in a sack or some 
other kind of receptacle, with instructions to pay out sums of money 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 193 

upon written orders for various amounts as needed. This, however, was 
the custom only under unusual cricumstances. It was usual for the cus- 
tomer to take a receipt for, what money he turned over to the merchant, 
and that money was mixed with the merchant's and he would keep strict 
account of disbursements and receipts. It was not an unusual thing for 
the merchant to pay a certain rate of interest for the use of the money 
entrusted to him. 

The first bank in the county was organized at Pacheco by Hale 
Brothers, general merchants, who were often asked to make loans on 
good mortgage security for their customers. It was on December 29, 
1870, that the Contra Costa Savings & Loan Bank of Pacheco was or- 
ganized with $50,000 capital. The directors were W. K. Dell, G. M. 
Bryant, John Gambs, Barry Baldwin and W. M. Hale. Two years later, 
on March 27, the Contra Costa Bank was incorporated to do a general 
banking business. 

On October 7, 1873, the Bank of Martinez was incorporated, its 
board of directors being L. I. Fish, W. W. Cameron, S. Blum, H. M. 
Hale, W. M. Hale; L. I. Fish, president; W. M. Hale, cashier. Its cap- 
ital stock was $50,000. On May 26, 1875, its capital stock was in- 
creased to $100,000. In July, 1890, L. C. Wittenmyer bought L. I. 
Fish's interest and became president, holding the office until 1899, when 
he sold out. James Rankin was his successor as president, and he was 
succeeded by W. S. Tinning in January, 1902. W. A. Hale was the 
next president and is still serving in that office. J. E. Rodgers is vice- 
president; Frank Jones, cashier; P. D. Butcher, assistant. The directors 
are J. E. Rodgers, A. B. Tinning, W. A. Hale, E. W. Merrithew and 
T. B. Fernandez. The policy of the bank has always been constructive 
and helpful. 

The Bank of Antioch was organized on September 12, 1891, with 
$100,000 capital stock, $70,000 paid up; S. G. Little, president; R. Hark- 
inson, secretary. C. M. Belshaw succeeded Mr. Little as president. 

Contra Costa County Bank, in Pittsburg, began business on January 
1, 1904, with capital stock of $50,000; D. A. Bender, president. This 
bank was taken over in 1924 by the Mercantile Trust Company of San 
Francisco as one of their chain of banks. 

Bank of Pinole was established on October 25, 1905, by E. M. Down- 
er, with a capital stock of $25,000; J. Bermingham, Jr., president; P. 
Tormey, vice-president; Lou Hart, secretary; E. M. Downer, cashier. 
The board of directors were J. Bermingham, Jr., P. Tormey, E. M. 
Downer, L. Kavanagh, W. A. Ray, Mrs. Sara Bermingham and Henry 
Boysen. In 1908 a branch was established at Crockett, and in 1910 the 
capital stock was doubled. It erected its own building in 1915, and in 
1916 the branch bank building was built. 

The First National Bank of Contra Costa County was organized in 
Martinez on May 16, 1907, and began business on June 7. Its officers 



194 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

were E. A. Majors, president; N. E. Gluckman, cashier. Its capital stock 
was $25,000, which was doubled on May 2, 1908. Its board of directors 
were: E. A. Majors, A. E. Blum, E. J. Randall and W. K. Cole. This 
was taken over by the American Bank of California in 1924. Leslie Alt, 
cashier. 

The San Ramon Valley Bank was organized on June 28, 1907, at 
Walnut Creek; John Hackett, president; A. H. Cope, first vice-president; 
A. Burton, second vice-president; Joseph Silveira, cashier and manager. 
On the same day that this bank was organized the private bank conducted 
by J. L. Silveira at Walnut Creek was incorporated with the San Ramon 
Valley Bank; John Hackett, president; Ralph Harrison, F. V. Wood, A. 
P. Borges, W. K. Cole, directors. The Danville Branch of the San 
Ramon Valley Bank was established in May, 1911, C. W. Close, manager. 
On October 21, 1912, the San Ramon Valley Bank opened a branch at 
Concord; Guy E. Green, cashier; directors, Eli Hutchinson and M. Frank 
Russi. 

The Mechanics Bank of Richmond, formerly the Iversen Banking 
Company, was organized in 1905 by Josias Iversen. It was reorganized 
August 15, 1907, under its present title with a capital stock of $25,000, 
which was doubled on October 12, 1912; and this was again doubled on 
July 27, 1916. The original stockholders were: L. I. Cowgill, Charles 
Nelson J. Iversen, H. C. Morris, S. C. Denson, L. N. McDonald, and F. 
W. Judson. L. I. Cowgill was president and W. L. Ballenger, cashier. 
The bank building was built in 1906 by B. H. Griffins at Eighth Street and 
Macdonald Avenue. 

The First National Bank of Richmond was organized on May 24, 

1910, with a capital stock of $100,000. C. E. Worden, of San Francisco, 
was the first president; C. J. Crary, cashier. 

On July 1, 1911, the Richmond Savings Bank was organized by the 
officers and directors of the First National Bank. 

The First National Bank of Concord was organized on March 20, 

1911, with a capital stock of $25,000; F. W. Foskett, president; H. H. 
Elsworthy, vice-president; and W. L. Brown, cashier. The first directors 
were: P. Roche, J. Sutton, E. H. Shibley, A. C. Gehringer, C. L. 
Devereaux, J. M. Lovazzola, J. V. Enloe and William Ford. In 1912, 
L. A. Stevenson became cashier, and on January 1, 1917, the capital was 
doubled. 

The Bank of Byron was organized on May 11, 1911, as a branch of 
the Bank of Tracy. There is also a branch of the American Bank at Byron. 

The First National Bank of Walnut Creek was organized in Septem- 
ber, 1912, with capital stock of $25,000. Its officers were A. H. Cope, 
president; J. H. Stow, vice-president; H. G. Flint, cashier; Elmer Cam- 
eron, assistant. The directors were : A. H. Cope, J. H. Stow, H. G. Flint, 
P. Thompson and R. N. Burgess. The bank first opened its doors in 
the Brooks realty offices on October 28, 1912. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY ' 195 

The Bank of Brentwood was issued articles of incorporation on April 
4, 1913, and began business on July 15, with a capital stock of $50,000, 
$25,000 paid up. R. G. Dean was president; Robert Wallace, Jr., vice- 
president; and Lee Durham, cashier. The directors were: R. G. Dean, 
Alex Burness, Robert Wallace, Jr., R. F. MacLeod and Frank H. Lud- 
inghouse. This is a Balfour-Guthrie concern. The first day it was opened 
$22,138 was deposited. 

The First National Bank of Antioch was organized on January 3, 
1911, capital stock $25,000. Its officers were: J. L. Harding, president; 
J. A. West, vice-president and manager; J. A. West, cashier. The di- 
rectors were J. L. Harding, J. A. West, E. C. Werrell, J. Arata, W. C. 
Williamson, J. G. Prewett, and M. Baeta. At the same time the Antioch 
Savings Bank was opened with the same directors and officers, and with 
an authorized capital of $50,000, of which $25,000 was paid up. 

The National Bank of Martinez was organized in April, 1924, and 
opened in May, 1924. Fifty-two of the fifty-four stockholders live in 
Martinez. The bank moved into its new home, Estudillo and Main 
Streets, in 1925. It is capitalized for $50,000, and has resources of 
$200,000. R. B. Borland, president; P. Ferrarini, vice-president; A. J. 
Heald, cashier. 

The Bank of Oakley was organized on August 23, 1920, with capital 
stock of $25,000. The first officers were: O. M. Champlin, president; 
J. H. Shaw, vice-president; F. C. Anderson, secretary; and P. A. Ander- 
son, cashier and treasurer. 

The Bank of Richmond was organized on April 25, 1902; William 
Minzer, president; W. F. Belding, vice-president, and W. Stairley, cash- 
ier. This bank is now a branch of the Mercantile Trust Company of 
California, having been taken over in 1924. 

The First National Bank of Crockett was issued a charter on March 
19, 1919, and opened for business on June 1. Its capital stock was $25,- 
000. In 1922 this was increased to $50,000. The bank had a surplus of 
$10,000 in 1926; deposits, $588,062.23. The original directors were: 
P. Murphy, C. P. Thomas, C. Gemignani, B. H. Zuppan, G. W. Likens, 
M. D., G. M. O'Malley, M. D., F. W. Hutchinson, A. Berger, P. Lucey, 
T. J. O'Leary, and A. Aljets. T. J. O'Leary was president; G. W. Likens, 
vice-president; and J. B. Leadbetter, cashier. In 1926 F. W. Hutchinson 
was president; A. Aljets, vice-president; and Mrs. M. D. Parker, secretary 
and cashier. 



196 ' CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 



CHAPTER XVI 

IRRIGATION 

The following editorials from the local press afford a first-hand ac- 
count of the growth of sentiment in favor of irrigation, and the increas- 
ing demand for an equitable distribution of the available water resources 
to the irrigable lands of the county. 

Editorial, January 1, 1876. — "That any irrigation measure can be 
adopted by any legislature which will be wholly satisfactory to all who 
are demanding action in the matter, is not to be supposed. It should not 
fail, however, to adopt some measure that will prohibit the acquisition of 
water rights by private corporations or persons, and will condemn such of 
these rights as have been acquired, wherever and whenever the larger 
public interests are to be subserved by such condemnation. Provision 
should also be made for determining the available water supplies for ir- 
rigation and domestic or manufacturing requirements, and the institution 
of means that may ultimately secure their economical and equal distribution 
for such purposes. There is urgent need in many sections of some im- 
mediate available means of irrigation, and if the legislature can provide 
for these wants without putting obstacles in the way of such a general 
plan as it may ultimately be desirable to adopt, it should certainly do so. 
But it is clear enough that as yet we have not enough data for the ad- 
option of such a general system as will answer the future needs. 

"It may be a question, too, whether with our sparse population and 
limited markets for our staple products, we could at present command 
the capital or fair terms that would be required for carrying out a 
satisfactory system for irrigation works. And if such works are undertaken 
upon means to be raised by bond issue at large discount, there would be 
much probability that bondholders might ultimately come to own the works 
and the land instead of their remaining the property of the farmers of 
the State." 

Editorial: An Irrigation Policy Demanded by the Farmers, May, 
1879. — "The time has come when the State will be called upon to adopt 
some policy with reference to the utilization of its surplus waters where 
practicable, for irrigation of soil. Its first care should be to prevent the 
water being seized and made private property of speculating monopolists, 
and to extinguish such claims as have unjustly been asserted to them. It 
will be its duty to see how they can be fairly and economically distributed 
where they are needed and furnished to consumers at a rate not op- 
pressive. . . . 

"It would seem to be the duty of the State to institute a commission 
or board of engineers to determine sources and the amount of supply 
of water for irrigation, and also the best plan of distribution where re- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 197 

quired. The State might, authorized by special amendment to the con- 
stitution, construct main conduits and enable, by bond guarantee, the 
landowners of such districts as might be organized to construct their own 
work. The general advantages would justify a tax on all property 
in the State for payment of interest and redemption of bonds for portion 
of work done by the State on this plan, with water rents and special 
district taxes levied and collected for the interest and redemption of 
ranchers' bonds. Any system that will meet the requirements will meet 
with more or less objections, and even if it prove perfect in every detail, 
there would be objections made by those who cannot monopolize its 
benefits." 

East Contra Costa Irrigation Company 

East Contra Costa Irrigation Company is a mutual company, and its 
development work was the first irrigation project in the county. x\ll of 
the stock has since been taken over by the Knightsen Irrigation District, 
the Lone Tree Irrigation District and the Brentwood Irrigation District, 
one share of stock being issued for each acre of land represented in the 
various districts. The three districts mentioned were each organized 
under the State law known as the Wright Irrigation Act. 

The rights to water of the East Contra Costa Irrigation Company 
are based on appropriation and use (not riparian), by which means it 
obtained legal rights to as much water as can be supplied by its plant. 

The waters for irrigation in this district are diverted from the head 
of a dredged canal forty feet wide, seven feet deep, and one mile long, 
starting at Indian Slough near Point of Timber Landing, a natural chan- 
nel extending inland from Old River, one of the main delta channels of 
the San Joaquin River. The delta channels of the Sacramento and San 
Joaquin are all inter-connected, so that the water supplied for irrigation 
comes from the combined flow of both rivers. 

The system consists of a series of seven pumping plants lifting water 
from the river level in successive stages to a maximum of 144 feet. It 
is very generously designed and of permanent construction, and is capable 
of watering 25,000 to 30,000 acres. From the main canal, which runs 
east and west, main laterals extend north and south, dividing the terri- 
tory into north-and-south zones. The slope of the country is west and east. 

The seven pumping plants lie along the main canal, one above the 
other. The canal is divided into seven steps, each plant lifting the wa- 
ter through one step. The intake station lifts all the water required for 
the entire system and discharges it into the first step; the balance flows 
to No. 2, which lifts it into the second step, where the water is diverted 
to irrigate that level; and so on through the seven steps or zones. 

The main canal is concrete-lined through its entire length. The pump 
plants are of the highest grade of electrically driven power equipment, 
all of the most permanent and enduring character, and had been con- 



198 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

structed prior to the present era of high cost of labor and material. The 
system could not now be duplicated for less than two or three times its 
original cost. 

The company was organized in 1913. Construction was begun that 
same year, and the pump plants were carried to completion; the main 
canal and main laterals were constructed during 1913, 1914 and 1915. 
Since then the sub-laterals have been under construction as necessary to 
meet the demands of the system. Also some additions have been made 
to the main canals and the plants. 

In his report to the Brentwood Irrigation District, Engineer Woolley, 
who was also engineer for the Knightsen and Lone Tree Districts and 
formerly assistant engineer for East Contra Costa Irrigation Company, 
states: 

"Much anxiety has been manifested in times past with reference to the 
encroachment of salt water in the Delta Channels and possibility of the 
condition reaching that where the water would be unsuited for irrigation 
use. Late in 1919 tests for salinity were begun by the East Contra Costa 
Irrigation Company on water from the intake tunnel; there was also in- 
stalled an automatic recording gauge for registering continuously the level 
of the water at the same point. These salinity tests have been carried 
forward continuously. The maximum degree of salinity thus far recorded 
was 33.4 parts per 100,000, this being much below even the danger point, 
and occurring for short periods as water requirements were at a minimum. 

"A continuous record of the water level at the mouth of intake tunnel 
shows that at no time was there a depth of water less than 3.3 feet over 
the sill of the intake tunnel; also that this condition prevailed only for 
very limited periods and at such times as the demand for water was low. 

"The irrigation season of longest duration for this system was that 
of 1917, when during 285 days 13,143 acre-feet were pumped to irrigate 
3733 acres, at the rate of 3.5 acre-feet per acre. With a water right of 
200 cubic feet per section and 285 days' irrigation season, the total volume 
of water available would be 1 14,000 acre-feet, or on a basis of 2000 acres 
an average gross duty of 5.7 acre-feet per acre, an amount far in excess 
of actual requirements. It may, therefore, be conceded with certainty: 
"(1) That the water is of suitable quality at all times. 

"(2) That there will always be sufficient water at the intake to supply 
the needs of the system. 

"(3) That the water right is ample as to volume for the supply of the 
total acres to be included under this project." 

Knightsen Irrigation District 

During 1912-1913, a period of sub-normal rainfall, the East Con- 
tra Costa Irrigation Company, a mutual service corporation, was formed 
to irrigate certain lands which embrace what is now the northern portion 
of the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, the East Contra Costa Irri- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 199 

gation Company's holdings, and the main portion of the Lone Tree and 
Knightsen Districts. 

The pioneering and financing were done by Balfour-Guthrie Irrigation 
Company, which firm had bought the Marsh grant of 13,000 acres. It 
was evident that, if the water was to be delivered to many holders of 
tracts who were desirous of taking stock in the Contra Costa Company, 
some means of securing rights of way would be necessary, a mutual serv- 
ice company not having the right of eminent domain then. The Wright 
Irrigation Act provided not only the necessary right of eminent domain 
and an excellent method of financing, but the protection of the Bond Com- 
mission, and this was the plan advanced by the local branch of the Contra 
Costa Farm Bureau, which had carried on an educational campaign for 
years. 

The petition for the organization of the Knightsen Irrigation District 
was presented to the supervisors on November 17, 1919; it received sev- 
enty signatures out of 115 on the assessment roll of the district at that 
time. The original signers represented 70 per cent of the value of the 
lands included in the proposed district. The election on the formation 
of the district and for the officers was held January 19, 1920. The vote 
on the formation of the district was 94 for to 23 against. Directors: 
Division No. 1, Joseph Minto; No. 2, E. B. Sellers; No. 3, H. W. Hei- 
dorn; No. 4, Frank Estes; No. 5, Byron Grigsby; assessor, I. M. Bailey; 
collector, A. H. Shafer; treasurer, A. E. Bonnicksen. 

Due consideration of the construction of an independent plant occu- 
pied the directors and officers during the winter of 1920. After consid- 
ering the preliminary report of W. F. Woolley, chief engineer, and A. C. 
Wilson, consulting engineer, of San Francisco, it was the unanimous opin- 
ion of the board that the purchase of stock in the East Contra Costa Ir- 
rigation Company not only prevented a great economic waste in building 
two plants designed to serve practically the same territory, but would be 
less expensive in first cost to the district, providing earlier delivery of wa- 
ter and economy in operation, and a water-right of great value. A con- 
tract for 10,000 shares of stock was made after the legality of the step 
had been considered by E. A. Bridgeford, attorney for the district, and the 
purchase was made. 

The feasibility of irrigating the lands included in the Knightsen Dis- 
trict had been demonstrated in the irrigation of adjacent lands. The 
splendid remuneration received from such irrigation is a matter of com- 
mon knowledge in Eastern Contra Costa County; and with frequent re- 
currence of dry years the absolute necessity for irrigation, if the section 
was to develop, was conceded by all interested. 

There being little data on rainfall in the Knightsen section, conclu- 
sions were arrived at by Woolley, in making his report to the board of 
directors, from Antioch records on the one side and Tracy records on the 
other. The records showed that the mean seasonal rainfall in 1879 was 
10.37 inches at Tracy, while at Antioch it was 12.97 inches. "It is 



200 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

usually conceded that the rainfall at Knightsen and vicinity is less than at 
the other two points, due to the sheltering effect of Mount Diablo, which 
is due west of the district." 

The Knightsen District is unusually well supplied with transportation 
facilities. The maximum distance to track within the irrigated district 
is less than two miles. The Southern Pacific passes on the west; the 
Santa Fe, on the east. Brentwood is on the Southern Pacific; and Knight- 
sen, on the Santa Fe. A concrete highway running the entire length of 
the district is the main and direct highway connecting San Francisco and 
the Bay cities with the valley. The bulky crops of the district are hauled 
by river boats, the delta channels being deep enough for boats. This dis- 
trict is the closest of eastern Contra Costa districts by rail, highway and 
water to the markets of the Bay cities. The Pacific Gas & Electric Com- 
pany and the Great Western Power Company serve electricity for lights 
and power. Rural delivery serves the greater part of the district, and many 
telephones give the conveniences of urban life. 

The principal slope of the district is towards the east; and there is 
a slight fall to the north, the direction of the principal drainage canal, 
Marsh Creek, which follows the entire length of the district on the 
western boundary, cutting off the flood waters from the Diablo hills and 
carying off such drainage water as is led into it by users of water in 
the district. On the east side the sloughs of the San Joaquin care for 
drainage of excess irrigation. 

The soil of the district is Yolo clay-loam, with a capping of fine 
sand in large areas. In places, the sand knolls project above the average 
levels; and most of these are planted to trees, almonds principally. 
The Knightsen and Oakley sections are the best almond districts in 
California, Oakley being the center of packing. At the time of the or- 
ganization, 115 were on the roll. The average size of the ranches was 
eighty-five acres. The assessed value, $856,611.50. Almonds, grapes, 
and alfalfa are the products of the district; and dairying is also carried on. 

Lone Tree Irrigation District 

The Lone Tree Irrigation District, organized under the State law 
know as the Wright Irrigation Act, embraced 2167 acres lying along the 
line of the Southern Pacific, northwest of Brentwood. In 1918 certain 
of the lands now included within the district endeavored to secure water 
from the East Contra Costa Irrigation Company and landowners. Some 
600 acres were signed to take stock in this company contingent upon 
securing the necessary rights of way. These could not be secured by 
negotiation and the plan was abandoned. 

In 1919, when the Knightsen Irrigation District was under way, there 
was some discussion of including these lands; but when the district 
boundaries had been finally settled upon, they were left out. In April, 
1920, the landowners held a meeting to formulate some plan to secure ir- 
rigation, and it was finally decided to organize a district, such pro- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 201 

cedure permitting the securing of rights of way by condemnation if 
necessary, and offering every material advantage of financing by means 
of bond issue. A petition was circulated, and was presented to the 
supervisors on May 3, 1920, and approved by them the same day. On 
July 14, 1920, the State engineer advised the supervisors that the plan 
was feasible and recommended that they grant permission to form the 
district. This the supervisors did on August 2, 1920, calling an election 
for September 10th. The vote was unanimously in favor, and the district 
was organized on September 24th, the directors and officers taking office 
at their first regular meeting that day. 

Assistant State Engineer S. C. Whipple, after a survey of the district, 
says in a report made to W. F. McClure, on which he based his recom- 
mendation to form the district: 

"The general slope of the land is toward east and northeast, elevations 
ranging from ISO feet in the southwest corner to about 50 feet at the 
eastern limit. The soils are highly productive and free from alkali and 
hardpan. According to reconnoissance survey of the Bureau of Soils, 
four types are represented; these in order from the east are: Oakley sand, 
Yolo clay-loam, Yolo adobe, and Diablo abode. 

"The topography affords good natural drainage. Ground water re- 
ported from forty to eighty feet below the surface. There is little danger of 
its rise, inasmuch as irrigation water will be supplied by pumping against 
a considerable head, with consequent economy in use." 

The entire acreage is gradually being set to orchard. At the time of 
the formation of the district, 612 acres were in trees, the balance being 
grain land. Since that time much of the grain land has been set to trees. 

Brentwood Irrigation District 

The newest of the East Contra Costa irrigation projects was or- 
ganized under the Wright Act for the purpose of taking over the stock 
of the East Contra Costa Irrigation Company that had not been dis- 
posed of to the Knightsen and Lone Tree Districts. Of the 20,000 
shares, Knightsen got 10,001, Lone Tree 2095, and Brentwood 7904, 
each acre of land in the three districts representing one share of stock. 

The East Contra Costa Irrigation Company had been operating 
plants and conducting the business of water distribution to Knightsen and 
Lone Tree and to the individual owners in what is now Brentwood Dis- 
trict. It is the intention of the three districts — stock, water and property 
rights of the East Contra Costa Irrigation Company having all been se- 
cured by due process for that purpose — to consolidate and dispose of the 
mutual company, with the following advantages : 

1. Elimination of three boards of directors and officers. 

2. More direct, economic and efficient apportionment of water dis- 
tribution. 

3. Elimination of possible overlapping among the employes and 
conflict between districts. 



202 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

4. All rights, privileges and advantages enjoyed by an irrigation dis- 
trict over a mutual water company. 

5. Better money rates for land owners and more readily available 
capital for further development. 

The Brentwood district embraces 1904 acres of land surrounding 
Brentwood and east of Mount Diablo. The main line of the Southern 
Pacific traverses the tract. The soils are uniform in the district and are 
classified as Yolo clay and Yolo adobe, both types being suitable for 
irrigation. 

In 1922 the crops planted in the district were: Trees, 1600 acres; 
grain, 3000 acres; nurseries, 55 acres; grapes, 200 acres; but these figures 
have been materially changed, trees and alfalfa gradually supplanting 
all grain acreage. The varieties of trees are prunes, apricots, walnuts, 
almonds, peaches, figs, and cherries. 

The seasonal rainfall in the district is practically the same as in Knight- 
sen. No accurate record had ever been kept. At Tracy, twenty miles 
southeast, it was 10.37 inches in 1879; at Antioch, 15 miles northwest, 
12.97 inches. 

The lands of the Brentwood district had been served for several 
years by the East Contra Costa Irrigation Company. The sufficiency and 
value already established, the change from a mutual company met no 
opposition in forming the district. On July 11, 1922, a meeting of the 
landowners was held to form an organization. Petitions were circulated 
and signatures representing 6046 acres were secured, the balance within 
the boundaries belonging to non-resident owners and not represented. 
On December 24, 1922, the supervisors approved; and Mr. Eaton, rep- 
resenting the State engineer, reported favorably. On January 17, 1923, 
the State engineer reported favorably to the supervisors. An election was 
held on March 20, 1923, the result of which was 106 for, none against. 
The following officers and directors were elected: Robert Wallace, Jr., 
president; J. W. Cooper, secretary; J. M. Trembly, assessor, tax col- 
lector and treasurer; W. F. Woolley, engineer; A. D. MacKenzie, Wal- 
ter Moffatt, William Dainty and Byron D. Swift. 

The Byron-Bethany Irrigation District 

The development of irrigation in California on a permanent basis be- 
gan about 1887. It is based upon the Wright Act, which provided muni- 
cipal forms of organization and construction in farming communities, in- 
cluding right of eminent domain and the right to issue bonds and levy 
taxes for construction purposes. Bonding provisions of a district are 
safeguarded by the establishment of a State Irrigation Commission, com- 
posed of the attorney general, State engineer and superintendent of banks. 
They investigate and make report on water supply, feasibility of the sys- 
tem, soil conditions and value of lands embraced in the proposed district. 
The maximum amount of property indebtedness will not exceed 60% of 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 203 

the aggregate value of the lands and complete water system. State su- 
pervision is also provided for. 

The Byron-Bethany project is the result of the efforts put forth by the 
late Volney Taylor of the Byron district. The great increase in land 
values and production in other districts where irrigation had been intro- 
duced led Mr. Taylor, Charles Cople and others to interest their friends, 
and meetings were held to consider the formation of a large irrigation 
enterprise south of Tracy and Byron. It was proposed to divert water 
Irom the San Joaquin River at Tuolumne City and at a slough near the 
intersection of the San Joaquin, Alameda and Contra Costa County lines. 
Differences of opinion developed at these meetings which resulted in the 
withdrawal of the lands of the present Byron-Bethany Irrigation District 
from the larger enterprise and the organization of a portion of these lands 
to be served by a cooperative irrigation company. 

By 1914 surveys, plans and estimates of costs of works were made 
which amounted to between $9 and $10 per acre, exclusive of rights of 
way; and the Byron-Bethany Irrigation Company was duly organized and 
construction work was begun, pumps installed, and ditches sufficiently com- 
pleted to be in operation for the 1917 irrigation season. Water rights 
and rights of way had not been settled prior to this work, and the com- 
pany was brought into legal difficulties for the reason that a private or 
cooperative company could not exercise the right of eminent domain. To 
meet this situation the company secured from the State Railroad Com- 
mission a certificate as a public utility; then they brought suits of con- 
demnation to establish their water rights and secure rights of way. 

By 1917 the cost of work, partly because of war conditions, had ex- 
ceeded their original estimates and had reached the sum of $25 per acre 
for the 8000 acres then under service. In 1918-1919 it became necessary 
to organize a district under the Wright Act. The petition was filed with 
the board of supervisors on September 15, 1919, with 122 signers out of 
the 187 on the assessment roll of the district. The vote was 173 for, 14 
against. The original signatures represented $130,000 in excess of a 
majority of the value of the lands. It was the announced policy of the 
district to acquire, at a fair value, the property of the Byron-Bethany Irri- 
gation Company, and then to reconstruct and extend the plant to cover all 
the lands within the district with sufficient water for general irrigated, 
diversified farming, the district to build laterals to each, or for large 
ownerships, to each quarter-section. 

The original officers and directors of the company were : District No. 
1, J. D. Rosa; No. 2, R. R. Houston; No. 3, M. Grunauer; No. 4, A. 
Peterson; No. 5, W. Saxouer, all directors. The officers: R. R. Houston, 
president; M. G. Preston, assessor, tax collector and treasurer; L. L. 
Dennett, attorney; A. F. Donaldson, secretary; B. H. Grover, manager; 
F. H. Tibbetts, engineer. The present officers and board of directors are: 
W. J. Livingston, president; Robert Armstrong, assessor, tax collector 



204 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

and treasurer; G. A. Howard, secretary; V. L. Wooley, manager; L. L. 
Dennett, attorney. Directors; W. J. Estes, W. J. Livingston, M. J. 
Pimentel, M. C. Monroe and William Saxouer. 

The Byron-Bethany Irrigation District comprises about 17,600 acres 
lying about twenty miles west from Stockton. The land covers portions 
of Township 1 north; Townships 1 and 2 south, Range 3 east; portions 
of Townships 1 and 2 south, Range 4 east, Mount Diablo Base and Meri- 
dian, east of and behind Mount Diablo. The junction point of San Joa- 
quin, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties is within the district boundaries, 
about 58% of the district being in Contra Costa County, 25% in Alameda 
County, and 17% in San Joaquin County. The West Side Irrigation Dis- 
trict joins it on the south and the Balfour-Guthrie Irrigation Project on 
the north. Included in this is the town of Byron. The total assessed 
valuation for 1926 is over $1,500,000, exclusive of improvements. The 
improvements, which include alfalfa and orchards, are about $1,000,000. 
As this is a history of Contra Costa County, one-third of the above 
amounts can be deducted, two-thirds of the district being in Contra Costa 
County. Byron town property would be about $50,000. The total cost 
per acre amounts to approximately $50 per acre. 

The original bond issue was $550,000, of which $3000 were retired 
in 1924; $4000 in 1925; $5000 in 1926. An additional bond issue of 
$100,000 was issued September 1, 1923, to complete the work as outlined 
by the engineer's report made in 1919 for additional concrete ditch lining 
and concrete pipelines, and an additional electric pump at Station No. 4 
with a 40-h.p. motor and a 10^ second-feet capacity. This bonded in- 
debtedness is carried by about 13,000 acres out of the original 17,600, the 
balance of the land being either too poor or too high to irrigate, and 
assessed at a very low figure. 

The sources of supply are the Delta branches of the San Joaquin 
River; the main pumping plant is on a dredged channel 5120 feet long, 
connecting with the upper end of Italian Slough, which is a navigable 
waterway about two miles in length, and connecting with Old River near 
the southern end of Victoria Island. Old River connects with the main 
San Joaquin River at the head of the Delta about eleven miles from Beth- 
any. There are four pumping plants with a combined capacity of consid- 
erably more than 1 15 second-feet of water and a total horsepower of 1655 
electric motors. 

The main canal divides the district into two sections, Byron on the 
north and Bethany on the south. All of the water for the Byron section 
runs northerly through a canal seven miles in length. The district covers 
a tract of irregular shape, in length about twelve miles north and south, 
with a width of from one mile in the center to three and one-half miles at 
the northern end and about three miles at the southern. The main pump- 
ing plant is near the center. The Southern Pacific Railroad runs through 
the length of the entire district; the Santa Fe is about two miles distant 
from the northern end, and the Western Pacific about two miles from the 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 205 

southern. There are deep navigable sloughs and delta branches of the 
San Joaquin River extending to the district, and steamers are supplied 
with numerous landings to facilitate shipping of the products raised. The 
county highway also passes through the entire tract. The southern part 
of the district is chiefly adobe, and the balance is clay loam 18 to 30 inches 
deep. The drainage is a natural slope favorable for the run-off. Alfalfa 
and fruits are raised in abundance; while the higher land is given over 
to grain and grain hay. With this fourth irrigation district the entire 
eastern part of Contra Costa County is made one of the most productive 
sections in the entire State. 

Growth of Irrigation, as Reflected by the Press 

The following news items from the issues of the local press, here pre- 
sented for the most part in chronological order, even though sometimes 
without date, afford additional interesting data regarding the history of 
irrigation in the county. 

June 19, 1886. — -An irrigation club has been organized at Antioch 
with the following officers: J. B. Abbott, president; C. F. Montgomery, 
vice-president; George Fowler, secretary; H. F. Beede, treasurer. 

1911. — The great irrigation scheme for Eastern Contra Costa, which 
was brought to light this week, is creating considerable discussion through- 
out the county, especially in the eastern section. The residents are hoping 
that the plan may be carried out. A company of capitalists from the bay 
region has been organized and R. L. Dunn, engineer, has been engaged 
to draw up plans. These plans provided for pumping water from the San 
Jose near Oakley to a large storage reservoir. From this point the 
water will be run over 3500 acres through laterals over twenty-five miles 
in length. The distance will extend from Bay Point to the San Joaquin 
County line and to the slopes of Diablo. 

December 2, 1911. — Reclamation District No. 779 was declared 
valid by the court. A fight which has been carried on before the supervisors 
and the supreme court for three years over this district came to a close 
when Judge Latimer handed down a decision in the Portman case. 

March 27, 1912. — Four hundred acres will be put into alfalfa by 
Wilhoit & West and cut up into small tracts and sold. A complete irriga- 
tion system is to be installed, and from 400 to 600 acres more will 
be put into alfalfa next spring. 

August 24, 1912. — The great Marsh Grant is to be cut into small 
tracts by the Balfour-Guthrie Company. Rights of way for a great ir- 
rigation system have been secured. The water will be taken from Old 
River and raised by electrical pumps to- a sufficient height to permit it 
to flow over the vast acreage, which will rival Imperial Valley in pro- 
ductivity. 

November 9, 1912. — The district around Walnut Creek is becoming 
an irrigation center. Roleb McPherson is pumping water from a fine well 
onto his alfalfa. He will cut seven crops this year. The Bancroft place 



206 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

has a fifty-horse-power motor in their well, which has been used to irrigate 
their trees. W. H. Leahy has installed a small plant and is able to 
irrigate his orchard and garden. 

November 29, 1912. — By a judgment handed down by Judge R. H. 
Latimer in the superior court, Reclamation District No. 800 in Contra 
Costa County, commonly known as the Wilhoit District, was declared 
legal and valid. This ends the contention in regard to the swamp lands, 
which included land owned by the Bairds. 

January 25, 1913. — Ground was broken for the Marsh Grant irri- 
gation system by Edward Malley, a contractor of San Francisco. 

The F. X. Smith ranch of 160 acres near Brentwood was sold to 
Balfour-Guthrie Company. These holdings will be included in the big 
irrigation district. 

March, 1913. — The contract for the dredger-cut from Indian Slough 
through Point of Timber landing, and also for concrete construction on 
the Eastern Contra Costa Irrigation Project, was awarded March 6th. 
The dredging, which will require the moving of 100,000 cubic yards of 
earth and will cost $4500, was awarded to the Golden State Miners 
Iron Works. The State Contsruction Company, concrete contractors, 
are to receive $17,000 for concrete work. Work on both contracts is 
to begin at once. Ail this work to be done on the Marsh Grant, or 
Los Medanos Rancho. 

March 15, 1913. — When the reclamation of the Sand Mound tract is 
complete, all the land lying between Taylor and Sand Mound Sloughs and 
False River, which had formerly been a part of the mainland by the 
damming up of Dutch Slough, will be converted into an island. The old 
dams on Dutch Slough have been cut away; and the flood water of 
False River, which had no outlet by that course and which had flooded 
the lands mentioned, will be allowed free passage through Sand Mound, 
Taylor and Dutch Sloughs. This also makes the big Jersey Tract an 
island. 

May 17, 1913.— Peter G. King, of Oakland, sells 500 acres ad- 
joining the Marsh Grant to Balfour-Guthrie Company, and this will be 
added to their other holdings and come under the irrigation project. 

August 16, 1913. — A party of engineers are in the field making pre- 
liminary surveys for the irrigation system considered by C. A. Hooper for 
his property, the Los Medanos Rancho near Pittsburg. 

October, 1913. — A big irrigation project was launched at Byron; 
8000 acres will be watered, extending from Italian Slough, where the 
water will be taken along the hill section of McCabe's, crossing to Hoff- 
man's, thence to Peterson's, Cople's, and Henry McCabe's, and taking in 
all the land east to the Wilhoit-West holdings. There will be three lifts 
of twenty feet each. The main ditch will be six miles long, with fifteen 
miles of laterals. 

March 7, 1914. — The Byron-Bethany Irrigation Company, with a 
capitalization of $100,000, has been organized by ranchers in the vicinity 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 207 

of Byron, and articles of incorporation were filed Monday. The plan 
is to build an irrigation system to furnish water to the farms in the 
vicinity of Byron. Work will be begun at once. The incorporators are: 
August Alexson, Charles Cople, R. R. Houston, J. A. Modin, C. F. 
Peterson, William Saxouer and V. Taylor. 

January 9, 1915. — A project for the formation of a new reclamation 
district in Contra Costa County is on foot, and the supervisors will act 
on the petition at their next meeting. The district embraces 3516.54 acres, 
some of the finest Delta land in the county. The owners are the Standard 
Investment Company, 100 acres; W. H. Maxson, 465.18 acres; J. 
H. Prince, 184 acres; J. I. Parsons, 274 acres; F. K. Houston, W. J. 
Hotchkiss, T. Friedlander, 1440.95 acres; W. T. Session, W. T. Jeter, 
H. E. Irish, C. W. Purrington, 516 acres; E. A. Bridgeford, 370 acres. 

September 15, 1916. — The big irrigation ditch of the Byron-Bethany 
Irrigation Company is completed. Water is now the problem, as the 
Sproule & Driscoll interests served an injunction and want compensation. 

March 2, 1918. — A project which aims to put many thousands of 
acres of farming land near Knightsen under irrigation is being agitated. 

Recently there were placed on record deeds by which the California 
Delta Farms Company made valuable reclamation of drainage and ir- 
rigation rights to Districts 2029, 2027, and 2026; and the Boulder 
Land Company to District 576; the considerations named were $327,650, 
$375,140, $449,000, and $321,398. 

The California Delta Farms Company was the recipient of $1,000,000 
from Districts 2024 and 2026 when that amount was paid for the levees 
surrounding the new irrigation and reclamation project in Eastern Contra 
Costa County. The cost of the levees was assessed to the entire district; 
and the county, while retaining the land, received that amount for the 
levees alone. 

1919. — The irrigation plan at Knightsen has again been revived 
by the Farm Center. A total of twenty-four landowners have already 
signed the petition, and seventeen more have signified their intention to 
do so. 

August 9, 1919. — As the petition for the 9000-acre Knightsen Ir- 
rigation District is completed, it will be presented to the supervisors. 
The Farm Bureau is now turning its attention to other irrigation proj- 
ects, which, when completed, will add 40,000 acres to the irrigated area 
of the county. The new districts contemplated are: Oakley-Antioch, 6000 
acres; Pittsburg, Concord and Walnut Creek, 9000 acres; between Antioch 
and Bay Point, and 20,000 acres around Concord and Walnut Creek; 
and Danville District of 1500 acres in San Ramon Valley near Danville. 

January, 1920. — The Knightsen Irrigation project was carried at the 
election January 19th, by a vote of 94 to 23. The directors of the five 
districts included are Joe Minto, 1st; E. B. Sellers, 2nd; H. W. Heidorn, 
3rd; Frank Estes, 4th; Byron Grigsby, 5th; Dr. I. M. Bailey, assessor; 
A. H. Shafer, tax collector; A. E. Bonnicksen, treasurer. 



208 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

At a meeting of the board of supervisors Monday, the Knightsen Ir- 
rigation District was declared officially organized as the result of the 
recent election held there. 

February 28, 1920.- — A meeting was held to consider the Oakley- 
Antioch Irrigation project by the Oakley Farm Center. 

April 17, 1920. — -The Byron-Bethany Irrigation Company has ap- 
plied for authority to sell its holdings to Bryon-Bethany Irrigation Dis- 
trict for $265,000. 

September 27, 1920. — The directors of the recently formed Lone 
Tree Irrigation district met at the Lone Tree schoolhouse Friday night 
for the purpose of mapping out the ditches, etc. 

January, 1921.— With the approval of the proposed Knightsen Irriga- 
tion District by Assistant State Engineer Whipple, plans are being made 
for the establishment of an irrigation system in that section of the 
county. 

At the election ordered for April 6 in the Knightsen Irrigation 
District, to vote on bonds in the amount of $650,000 for a system that 
will water 10,000 acres, the bonds carried, 99 to 21. 

A recent report of the Department of Commerce of the United 
States shows an increase of 66 per cent in the amount of irrigated lands in 
Contra Costa County. In 1910 there were 32,640 acres under cultivation; 
in 1920, 49,125 acres. The irrigated acreage was 26,856 in 1909, and 
44,833 in 1920. The amount of land capable of irrigation in the county is 
46,472 acres. 

June, 1921. — A petition has been filed for a dissolution of the Byron- 
Bethany Irrigation Company. 

The Byron-Bethany Irrigation Company was formally dissolved by 
Judge Latimer on August 9, 1921. The concern was organized a few years 
ago for the purpose of constructing an irrigation system, which is now 
in full operation, and the work of the company is completed. 

December 9, 1922. — The Brentwood Irrigation District has been 
approved by the supervisors. There are 7855 acres included in the 
district. 

January, 1924. — Jersey Island Reclamation District No. 830 has made 
application to the State Department of Public Works for use of water from 
San Joaquin River and tributary streams for irrigating purposes. 

Directors for Brentwood and Knightsen Irrigation Districts elected 
January 25 : Robert Wallace, Jr., and A. D. McKenzie, for Brent- 
wood, vice R. F. MacLeod; H. O. Abbott, P. J. Moody and H. W. 
Heidorn so succeed E. B. Sellers, F. H. Estes, and B. L. Grigsby of the 
Knightsen District. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 209 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE PIONEERS: NATIVITY, NECROLOGY, 
BRIEF MENTION 

In this chapter brief mention is made of some of the more important 
of the pioneers who have lived in Contra Costa County, together with 
data of birth, death, and marriage — often under date line as given in the 
local press. For convenience of reference, the alphabetical arrangement 
has been followed rather than the chronological. Much additional in- 
formation regarding the pioneer settlers of the county will be found in a 
later chapter of "Gleanings from the Contra Costa Gazette," in which the 
chief events of interest in the county's history are presented in chrono- 
logical order from 1858 to the present time. 

J. P. Abbott was born in New Hampshire in 1840, came to Califor- 
nia in 1863, located in Antioch in 1867, and published the Antioch Ledger 
for eleven years. He married Melvina G. McMaster, June 25, 1872. 
His death occurred in 1912. 

Mrs. Encarnacion Altemarino, of Pinole, daughter of Ygnacio Mar- 
tinez, for whom the town was named, died at Pinole, aged seventy-five. 

Don Juan B. Alvarado was born in Monterey in 1908. He was gov- 
ernor of California from 1836 to 1843, and collector of customs from 
1843 to the American occupation. In 1836 he raised the standard of in- 
dependence and proclaimed the "Free and Sovereign State of Alta Cali- 
fornia." He died in San Pablo in 1882. He was called the "Napoleon 
of California." 

February 19, 1926. — On Saturday night, Mrs. Honora Anderson, 
widow of Capt. Ludwig Anderson, succumbed to the infirmities of old age, 
and breathed her last in the home she had occupied as a young wife and 
mother. She was born in Ireland on September 29, 1835, and came to Cali- 
fornia when a young girl. For seventy-four years she lived in this State, 
sixty-eight of that time in Contra Costa County. 

On November 20, 1910, Capt. Ludwig Anderson died at Pacheco af- 
ter more than half a century of activity as a business men of the county. 
He was eighty-five years and three months old at the time of his death. 
He was born in Denmark, August 26, 1825, went to sea when sixteen 
years old, later sailed to the United States, arriving in New York in 1848, 
and in 1850 came via the Horn to California on the Oregon, the vessel 
that brought news to California that she had been admitted to Statehood. 
He engaged in the coasting trade until 1860, and then engaged in the lum- 
ber business in Pacheco. He established the firm of L. Anderson & Com- 
pany there, and later established the business in Martinez. In 1858 he 



210 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

married Honora Troy in San Francisco, and they had seven children. He 
was survived by his widow and six children. 

Smith Ashley was born in Ohio in 1822, came to California in 1853 
via Nicaragua, and in 1861 located at Pacheco, where he was a farmer. 
In 1846 he married Sally L. Call. 

April 8, 1907. — A. E. Austin, a pioneer of 1886 in Contra Costa Coun- 
ty, died aged eighty years. He was a blacksmith and wheelwright. His 
first shop in Martinez was on Escobar Street, where Johnson's Machine 
Shop is located. 

F. S. Bacon was born in Massachusetts in 1833. He came to Cali- 
fornia across the plains in 1852, and the next year came to Bay Point and 
pre-empted land. In 1860 he came to Pacheco, but soon moved to Con- 
cord, where he was the first merchant. 

January 7, 1891. — Samuel Bacon, born in Barre, Mass., died in Con- 
cord, aged fifty-seven years. He was a pioneer of 1852. He served as 
postmaster of Pacheco and was one of the original settlers of Concord, 
where he was in the mercantile business. 

On July 6, 1907, A. A. Bailey died at Vine Hill. He was born in 
Wisconsin in 1844 and came to California in 1874. In 1877 he came to 
Contra Costa County as principal of the Antioch schools, and he was 
elected superintendent of schools in 1879, and also for the succeeding 
four terms. In 1906 he took up the real estate business in Richmond. 
He was a Democrat. 

Died, in Martinez, December 4, 1891, M. H. Bailhache, a native of 
Illinois, aged fifty-three years. He was an old and highly respected citi- 
zen of this county, where he resided since 1870, and was a member of 
General Canby Post, G. A. R. He was serving as postmaster. 

H. W. Baker, a pioneer of the county, died at his home in Antioch on 
December 17, 1898. He was foreman for L. L. Robinson of the Los 
Medanos Grant, and was a member of the Odd Fellows. 

Died, December 20, 1922, J. Rio Baker, aged seventy-three years. 
He was born in Utah and came to California in the early seventies and 
settled at Antioch. He was in the drug business, served as postmaster, 
and was appointed county treasurer to succeed L. E. Buttner, deceased- 
He was a Mason. 

John Baker was born in Pennsylvania in 1819, crossed the plains with 
oxen in 1853, and located on a ranch near Walnut Creek. In 1848 he 
married Martha Ann Glass; they had four children. 

Robert O. Baldwin passed away on April 26, 1908, at his home near 
Danville, aged eighty years, just one month and one day after the cele- 
bration of his Golden Wedding anniversary. He was born in Ohio in 
1828 and in 1850 came to California, crossing the plains with mule-teams 
and pack-animals. In 1852 he came to Contra Costa County to visit 
and was so impressed that he remained, locating on a ranch one and a half 
miles southeast of Danville. He married Mary Cox in 1858, and for 
fifty years lived in the same house. Five of their six children survived him. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 211 

Died, in Martinez, July 21, 1891, Matthew R. Barber, aged seventy- 
five years. Matthew Barber was born in Ohio in 1815, crossed the plains 
in 1849, worked in the redwoods near San Antonio (then in Contra Costa 
County), and while there wrote the tickets for the first election for of- 
ficers of the new county. Later he built several of the first houses in 
Martinez, and then farmed two miles from town. He located perma- 
nently in the county in 1852, and served as public administrator four terms. 
He married Orpha Bean in 1837, and had five children. 

October 12, 1912. — J. P. Bernard, a pioneer, died in Martinez, aged 
seventy-six years. He was born in Massachusetts in 1836, and came to 
California as a young man. He had made his home in Martinez for twen- 
ty-seven years. 

Benjamin F. Beebe was born in New York in 1830, came via Panama 
to California in 1863, located in Contra Costa County and farmed near 
Concord. He served on the board of supervisors. In 1869 he married 
Fannie C. Kuble, and they had two children. His death occurred in 
May, 1901. 

Died, on January 27, 1913, William F. Belding, pioneer merchant of 
San Pablo, president of the Bank of Richmond, and a member of the 
board of education. He left a widow, Mrs. Emma Belding; a son, W. 
F. Jr., and two grandchildren. Mr. Belding was a prominent Mason. 

January 16, 1926. — Mrs. Virginia Belding, widow of William F. 
Belding, passed away at her home in San Pablo Tuesday morning. She 
was the sole survivor of a pioneer family and had resided in San Pablo 
and San Francisco since 1860. 

C. M. Belshaw and wife were killed in an automobile accident No- 
vember 23, 1919, when their Packard touring car plunged over a 400- 
foot cliff between Rockaway and Moss Beaches on the Pedro Mountain 
grade. Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Sherwood of Seattle, who were with them, 
were also killed. C. M. Belshaw was one of the best-known men in Con- 
tra Costa County. He was born in Amador County in 1861, was reared 
in San Francisco, graduated from Harvard in 1883, and was elected to 
the Assembly on the Republican ticket in 1894. He was an Elk and a 
Native Son. 

January 23, 1926. — John Bendixon, at one time public administrator 
of Contra Costa County, died at the Martinez hospital Friday morning, 
following an illness extending over a period of two years. He was born 
in Denmark and was eighty-three years old. 

May 20, 1905. — Seeley James Bennett, one of the pioneer stage men 
of the county, died last Sunday, aged seventy-one years. He was born 
in Ohio in 1833 and came to California via the Gulf of Mexico in 1859. 
Coming to Contra Costa County, he engaged in the livery business in 
Pacheco, in 1860. In 1861 he started and operated the first stage line 
from Pacheco to the Mount Diablo coal mines. In 1862 he came to 
Martinez, and that year he married Jane Hough. They had one son. 
Mr. Bennett was a Mason. 



212 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Mrs. Harriet A. Bent died on February 19, 1899, aged eighty years. 
She was born in Vermont in 1819, was married in 1838, and in the early 
fifties came to California. She was one of the first white settlers in Al- 
hambra Valley. 

Mathias Berlingen was born in Prussia in 1830, came to America in 
1861 and to California via Panama in 1863, and in 1867 located in Con- 
tra Costa County at Point of Timber. In 1874 he married Else K. 
Schnoor. 

Died, in Martinez, February 2, 1888, Dr. Hermann Bernett, a native 
of Germany, aged fifty years. 

Simon Blum, pioneer merchant prince of Contra Costa County, died 
Saturday evening, November 30, 1913, at his residence in Martinez at the 
age of seventy-nine years. He was born in the North of France in 1834; 
in 1850 he left for New York; and in 1852 he came via the Isthmus on 
the steamship Uncle Sam, boarding the Sierra-Nevada for San Francisco 
and arriving there in February, 1853. In 1854 he removed to Martinez, 
where he bought the mercantile business of Captain Fogg, and thereafter 
this was his home and the scene of his operations. He became a very 
prominent citizen, and wealthy. His brother, Gabriel Blum, was asso- 
ciated with him. He married Leontine Alexandre in 1861, and they had 
five children. He was a Mason and an Odd Fellow. In 1911 Mr. and 
Mrs. Blum celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary. 

Henry Blume was born in Prussia in 1837, came to California in 1856, 
located at Pinole in Contra Costa County in 1859, and engaged in ranch- 
ing. In 1867 he married Frederika Gohunning, and they had five sons. 

Joshua Bollinger was born in Missouri in 1810, crossed the plains in 
1850 with ox-teams, and in 1855 came to Contra Costa County and 
farmed at Bollinger's Canyon. 

Mrs. Sophie Boone, a resident of San Ramon Valley for years, and 
prominent in the Danville section, died January 16, 1921, aged seventy- 
two years. 

Mrs. Boots, one of the first school teachers in Martinez, died in the 
spring of 1918, at her home in Niles, Alameda County, aged ninety-nine. 

Mrs. Elitha Boss, who came to Contra Costa County in 1851 and for 
sixty-six years made her home here, died in Pleasant Hill on May 24, 
1917. She was the mother of six children. 

On May 21, 1923, at her home in Martinez, occurred the death of 
Mrs. Amelia M. Bowen at the age of eighty-three years. She was born 
in Mexico, and came to California in 1850 and to this county in 1856, since 
which time she had lived in Martinez. She was survived by three sons. 

John D. Bowen, supervisor of the fourth district, residing at Stewarts- 
ville, died on September 7, 1885, aged sixty-six years. He was a native 
of South Wales, born April 9, 1819. 

February 28, 1920. — Joseph Boyd, a pioneer of Concord, died of 
injuries received when an explosion occurred while he was welding a large 
piece of pipe taken from a water-pump. He was a native of Canada and 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 213 

had been a resident of Concord for thirty years, where he owned con- 
siderable property and operated a blacksmith and machine shop. 

Died, February 26, 1915, at his home in Alhambra Valley, Fred 
Brackman, aged forty-nine years. He was born in Ygnacio Valley, but 
for thirty years prior to his death was a resident of Alhambra Valley. 
He left a widow and four sons. 

Thomas W. Bradley was born in Tennessee in 1818 and crossed the 
plains in 1843 under the guidance of Joel Walker. He served in the 
Bear Flag War under Captain Grigsby. In 1849 he came to this county 
and farmed near Lafayette. He married Rebecca Allen in 1846, and 
had nine children. 

Died, in Martinez, December 25, 1895, Frank D. Briare, a native of 
New York, aged seventy-five years. He was born March 22, 1820, came 
West in 1850, and in 1852 came to Martinez. For years he was in the 
restaurant business. 

Mrs. Mary Ford Briare, wife of Frank D. Briare, died in Martinez, 
June 26, 1885. She was born in Ireland in 1834, and came to Boston in 
1849, and arrived in California the day of the Terry and Broderick duel. 
Since 1859 she had lived in this county. 

January 27, 1906. — The death of Louisa Briones, the oldest native 
daughter in the State, occurred at Oakland last Tuesday. She was born 
in the old Mexican garrison in San Francisco, June 21, 1816, a daughter of 
Joaquin Moraga. In 1844 she married Ramon Briones, of Briones Val- 
ley, Contra Costa County. 

John L. Bromley was born in Maryland in 1820, served in the Mexi- 
can War, came to San Francisco in 1852, and in 1853 located on Mount 
Diablo Ranch. He served as justice of the peace, associate justice of the 
court of sessions, supervisor and assessor. In 1851 he married Anna 
Levering, and they had eleven children. He moved to Oakland in 1873. 

Died, January 9, 1901, in Martinez, C. Y. Brown, a native of Contra 
Costa County, aged forty years. He was born in Lafayette in 1861, edu- 
cated in the Martinez schools, admitted to the bar in 1883, elected dis- 
trict attorney in 1891 on the Democratic ticket, and reelected in 1894 
and 1898. He was a member of Mount Diablo Parlor, No. 101, N. S. 
G. W. 

On January 14, 1922, Mrs. Caroline T. Brown, widow of Judge T. A. 
Brown, answered the final summons at her home in Martinez, aged eighty- 
eight years. She was born in Illinois and knew Lincoln when he worked 
in a grist mill for her father. In 1849 she came to California, and in 
1850 to Martinez. In 1850 Rev. Cameron, her father, built the first 
brick building in Martinez. She married T. A. Brown in 1851. She was 
survived by two sons. 

Elam Brown (see his biographical sketch on another page). 

Died, at Lafayette, January 18, 1884, Mrs. Margaret Brown, wife 
of Hon. Elam Brown, aged eighty-nine years and twenty-eight days. 



214 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The death of Mrs. Minnie Andrew Brown, wife of Elam C. Brown, 
occurred in Martinez in the summer of 1922, at the age of fifty-five years. 
She was born in Ohio in 1867, and came to California and accepted a po- 
sition in the Martinez school. 

Laura A. Brown, widow of Warren Brown, died at Lafayette on 
April 9, 1914, aged eighty years, six months. She was born in Ohio in 
1833, and crossed the plains in 1853 with her mother, Mrs. Lois Hast- 
ings, and party. That fall she came to Martinez. She married Warren 
Brown in 1854, and had been a resident of Lafayette over fifty years. 

Hon. Thomas A. Brown was born in Illinois in 1823, crossed the 
plains to Oregon in 1843, in 1847 came down to California, and in 
1849 located in Martinez. In 1849 he was appointed alcalde for the dis- 
trict; and in 1850 he was elected the first county clerk and recorder. He 
was then elected supervisor, and in 1856, county judge. He served in the 
State Assembly in 1865, was elected county judge in 1874, and superior 
judge in 1879. 

Wallace Brown died at the age of sixty-three years in Martinez on 
December 3, 1921. He was the son of the late Judge T. A. Brown, and 
was born in this city. 

Hon. Warren Brown was born in Illinois in 1826 and came with his 
father, Elam Brown, to California in 1846. He was elected county 
surveyor in 1850, served as a member of the State Assembly in 1854, and 
in 1869 was elected sheriff. He died in 1889. 

James Bryant, a native of England, died in Martinez November 8, 
1908, over eighty-six years of age. He came to California via the Horn, 
being 112 days on the voyage, and came to this county in 1862. He 
mined at Nortonville, and five years prior to his death he came to Mar- 
tinez to live. 

William H. Buckley died at his home in Walnut Creek at the age of 
ninety-nine years. He was born in the State of New York, came to Cali- 
fornia from Mexico in 1849, and in 1854 bought land near Walnut Creek, 
where he died. 

Died, in Martinez, January 3, 1898, R. R. Bunker, a native of Massa- 
chusetts, aged seventy-five years. He was a pioneer of 1850 in Califor- 
nia. In 1860 he came to Martinez and bought an interest in the Gazette, 
and until 1861 it was published by Bradford & Bunker. That year Brad- 
ford sold to W. W. Theobalds, the firm becoming Bunker & Theobalds. 
In 1861 the paper was removed to Pacheco. In 1865 C. B. Portei 
bought the Theobalds interest, and in 1873 the paper came back to Mar- 
tinez. In March, 1882, F. F. Foster bought a one-third interest in the 
paper, and the firm became Bunker, Porter & Foster. Porter and Foster 
retired, and Bunker and Davenport published the paper, and later Bunker 
and Needles. In 1892 W. G. Brown and Bunker formed a partnership, 
and in 1895 Mr. Bunker retired. 

Louis N. Buttner, county treasurer, died suddenly at 12:30 Satur- 
day morning, July 5, 1913, aged forty-seven years. He was born at 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 215 

Sunol, and in 1889, in San Francisco, was married to Mary Hendry, who 
with two sons was left to mourn his passing. He was a prominent Mason 
and Past Master of No. 41, and was a member of the Native Sons of 
the Golden West at Crockett. 

W. E. Calahan, Assemblyman, dropped dead in his drug store at 
Antioch, December 26, 1919. 

Joseph F. Carey, one of the very early settlers of eastern Contra 
Costa County, died Tuesday, May 24, 1910. He was born in New York 
in 1833, moved to Wisconsin with his parents, and in 1853 crossed the 
plains to California. Settling in Contra Costa County in 1865, he en- 
gaged in ranching, and had a blacksmith shop at Brentwood. In 1866 
he married Laura Ann Welch. 

Dr. J. H. Carothers was born in Pennsylvania in 1824 and graduated 
at Miami Medical College. He located at Martinez in 1854, laid out 
the town of Pacheco in 1857, and was elected to the legislature in 1869. 

July 8, 1905.— After a life of unusual activity, D. S. Carpenter died 
in Martinez, aged seventy-four years. He was a prominent Odd Fellow. 
He was born in New York in 1833, came to California in 1852, and in 
1856 located in Contra Costa County. He served as justice of the peace 
and as county tax collector. In 1863 he married Sarah Travers Curry, 
and they had eleven children. 

April 6, 1924. — J. P. Casey, of Port Costa, was summoned by death, 
at the age of seventy-nine years. A native of Ireland, he came to the 
United States fifty years ago, and to Port Costa forty years ago. Mr. 
Casey served sixteen years as a member of the board of supervisors. He 
left three children. 

Patricio Castro was born in Contra Costa County in 1843; he farmed 
five miles south of San Pablo. He married Harriet O'Neil in 1875, and 
they had three children. 

John Cavanaugh was born in County Cork, Ireland, in 1811; he 
came to California via Panama in 1862 and located in San Ramon Val- 
ley, but later moved to Mount Diablo Valley. 

John G. Chase was born in New Hampshire in 1837; came via Pan- 
ama in 1856, and in 1858 located in this county at Antioch, when there 
was only one house there, and engaged in the livery business. He mar- 
ried Elmira A. Johnson in 1868, and had two children. 

February 16, 1918. — J. H. Chichester, a pioneer of Richmond, died 
at his San Pablo home Thursday evening, aged sixty-five years. He was 
born in New York in 1853, and married Miss Alice Pabb in 1876. He 
taught school and soon after his marriage moved to San Pablo. 

May 19, 1906. — John P. Chrisman, a pioneer resident of Contra 
Costa County, died at Danville Saturday, aged eighty years. 

Died, in Martinez, May 27, 1901, George W. Christian, a native of 
New York, aged seventy-three years. Mr. Christian was born in 1828 and 
came to California across the plains in 1849. In 1852 he moved to this 
county, where he had since lived. 



216 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Daniel Clancy was born in Ireland in 1822, came via Panama in 1859, 
and in 1860 located in this county. He married Mary A. Falvey in 1851, 
and had nine children. 

On March 16, 1913, in San Pablo, Charles Henry Clark, the oldest 
voter in the county, died, aged ninety-seven years and eleven months. 

R. J. Clark, a pioneer of Contra Costa, died at his residence in Mar- 
tinez, March 27, 1885. He was born in Nantucket, November 20, 1815, 
and in 1851 came to California at the solicitation of Captain Coffin, who 
desired his services as engineer of the ferry plying between Martinez, and 
Benicia. He remained at his post thirty years. 

May 26, 1906. — Mrs. Susan Classen, who came to California in 
1853 to join her father, Seth M. Swain, died in Martinez, aged seventy- 
four years. 

Joel Clayton was born in England. He came across the plains to 
California in 18'5D, located land near Black Diamond coal mines in 1859, 
and established the town of Clayton. He died in 1872. 

Felix G. Coats was born in Missouri in 1828, crossed the plains by 
prairie schooner in 1849, and located with his parents in Contra Costa 
County in 1852. On February 23, 1860, he married Lovina Doggett, 
and they had six children. He died on June 10, 1916. 

Died, January 4, 1886, Wilson Coats, a native of Tennessee, born in 
1802, who came to California, crossing the plains with oxen in 1849. He 
located in Contra Costa County about 1852, settling in Tassajara Valley, 
being then the only settler there. 

August 21, 1915. — Mrs. Ann Coleman, one of the oldest pioneers 
of Martinez, died Monday, aged ninety years. She had lived in Contra 
Costa County fifty-two years. 

Died, May 14, 1918, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Mary A. 
Armstrong of Byron, Mrs. Rebecca Conner, aged ninety-six years and 
six months. She was born in Ireland in 1821, came to the United States 
in 1847, and for forty-four years had lived in Byron. 

John Conway was born in Ireland in 1830 and was brought to Amer- 
ica an infant. He came via Panama to California in 1860, located near 
Danville, and farmed. Later he engaged in mercantile business in San 
Ramon, having bought out P. G. Peel. He married Nora O'Brien in 
1858, and they had two children. He died on January 24, 1915, at Dan- 
ville, aged eighty-five years. 

Died, near Alamo, December 27, 1891, Henry Cook, pioneer, aged 
seventy-four years. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1817, crossed the 
plains to Oregon in 1847, and came on to California in 1848. He located 
in Contra Costa in 1874. 

June 10, 1922. — This week, in Seattle, was held the funeral of George 
W. Cormack, a native of Contra Costa County, whose discovery of gold 
on Bonanza Creek in the Klondike, August 17, 1896, sent 60,000 pros- 
pectors hurrying to Alaska, visited up to that time only by trappers and 
missionaries. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 217 

March 13, 1926. — Herman Costa, for over fifty years a resident of 
Martinez, died at his home on Thompson Street on Tuesday night, aged 
sixty-nine years. For thirty-two years he had been a member of the Odd 
Fellows Lodge. 

January 15, 1921. — Died, at Concord, J. C. Costa, aged eighty-four 
years. He was born in Portugal and when a young man came to Cali- 
fornia. He was survived by ten children. 

November 12, 1898. — Thursday morning at 9 o'clock, Charles S. 
Cousins, a highly respected resident of the county, died at his home in 
Martinez. He was born in New York in 1830, came to California in 
1859, and located in Contra Costa County. In 1861 he became a clerk 
in the United States mint at San Francisco; in 1870 he came to Pinole 
and farmed; in 1882 he was elected county recorder, and held the office 
until 1895, when he retired. 

William Cowan, Sr., one of Contra Costa County's oldest residents, 
died at his home near Brentwood on February 3, 1910, aged eighty-two. 

William Wilson Cox, of San Ramon Valley, died Friday, April 15, 
1910, at. the family residence. He was born in Indiana in 1833. In 
1852 he went to Missouri with oxen, and on May 2, 1853, started on the 
five-months journey to California, crossing the plains and coming to this 
county upon his arrival. He had lived here ever since. In 1865 he mar- 
ried Mary E. Grist, and they had six children. 

Died, in Byron, December 13, 1896, Samuel Crawford, a native of 
Scotland, aged sixty-seven years. 

Died, February 21, 1908, James Curry, an old pioneer, born in Ten- 
nessee, in 1835, who came to California in 1851. He crossed the plains 
with ox-teams and located in Contra Costa County in 1852, when he set- 
tled in Moraga Valley, and later moved to Curry's Canyon; still later, 
in 1860, he went to Clayton and engaged in the butcher business and af- 
terwards in the livery business. He drove the stage from Antioch to 
Oakland. He married, in 1861, Ella Callahan; and they had eight children. 

September 26, 1925. — William Dainty, pioneer of eastern Contra 
Costa and one of the best-known ranchers of the Brentwood section, 
passed away Tuesday night about eight o'clock at Merritt Hospital, Oak- 
land, after a short illness. He was a native of Brentwood and was about 
sixty years of age. He is mourned by a widow, Mrs. Ella Dainty, one son, 
Leonard, and three daughters, Mrs. Esther Moody, and Misses Velma 
and Wilma Dainty, all of Brentwood. A particularly sad feature of the 
death of the pioneer is that one of his daughters was to have become a 
bride next Saturday. Mr. Dainty was a nephew of Mrs. H. L. Howard 
of Martinez, and was well known here, where he frequently visited. 

Thomas Dake, for more than thirty years a resident of Martinez, 
died on September 10, 1919, ninety-one years of age. He had been a 
resident of California about forty-five years. 

Died, on March 27, 1921, Mrs. Marie Elizabeth Daley, one of the pio- 
neer women of Martinez, who came here with her father, Cornelius S. 



218 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Whitcomb, when she was four years old, and settled near Lafayette. She 
had lived in the county over sixty years, and was an active worker in the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. 

March 30, 1907. — Died, aged seventy-nine years, David Davis, a 
pioneer miner of Nortonville. He was a native of Wales, born in 1828, 
and in the early sixties came to this county. 

John Davis was born in Dalmatia in 1825, came to California in 1849, 
and in 1851 located in Contra Costa County. He married Anna Connor 
and had six children. 

March 19, 1911. — Died, in Pinole, David Dean, a pioneer of Contra 
Costa County and a native of New York, aged eighty-two years. 

January 28, 1925. — One of the pioneers of Richmond, Peter W. 
Dean, passed away at his home at 829 Fifty-sixth Street, Oakland, last 
night at about 8 o'clock. He was forty-three years old and was a native 
of Berkeley. He was the brother of Patrick M. Dean of Richmond, the 
man who became famous about twenty years ago by the promotion of 
the Nelson and Wolgast fight at Point Richmond. 

R. G. Dean, a pioneer of the county, passed away at Brentwood April 
12, 1920, in his ninetieth year. He was born in New York in 1831, was 
orphaned at sixteen years of age, and left for California when he was 
eighteen years old. He married Miss Jerusha H. Martin in San Fran- 
cisco in 1864. He was the man who named Lake Tahoe. 

John Denkinger was born in Germany in 1830, came via Panama in 
1858, and in 1863 located in this county east of Concord. He married 
Emilie Balz in 1863, and had four children. 

January 28, 1911. — With the death of Mrs. Carmen de Soto in Con- 
cord last Saturday, there passed the last of the Spanish pioneer settlers 
who came to Contra Costa County following its admission to Statehood. 
She was born at Warm Springs Rancho, near the Mission of San Jose, 
in 1830, a daughter of Don Valentine Higuera. In 1852 she married 
Silveria de Soto, and in 1853 they moved to Contra Costa County with 
their personal property in a carreta. Mr. de Soto died in 1906. 

Died, August 10, 1885, in Martinez, Mrs. Eyiaca de Briones de Soto 
a native of California, aged eighty-one years. 

Silveria de Soto, one of the last of the early pioneers, died on Octo- 
ber 13, 1906, aged seventy-six years. He was born at San Jose and came 
to Contra Costa County in 1853, settling at San Ramon, and later in Ygna- 
cio Valley, where he lived until his death. In 1852 he married Carmen 
Higuera. He was survived by his widow and seven children. 

Andrew Diffenbach was born in New York in 1832, came via the Horn 
on the Empire in 1852, located in this county at Brentwood in 1867, and 
was a rancher and butcher. 

November 17, 1883. — Austin Dohrmann, one of the oldest and best- 
known Contra Costa citizens, died at his home near Concord. 

Theodore Downing was born in Michigan in 1826, came to California 
across the plains in 1854, and engaged in the butcher business in Mar- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 219 

tinez : in 1859 he was in the hotel business in Pacheco, and later farmed. 
He married Mary Quackenbush in 1852, and had two children. 

William Hall Dukes, pioneer of 1852, of Pleasant Hill, passed away 
at his home July 5, 1917. He was born in Tennessee, and on coming to 
California engaged in mining tor a short time; later he located in Contra 
Costa County, where he bought a farm, built a house, and lived the re- 
mainder of his days. He and his wife, who died eight months before his 
death, had five daughters and one son. 

A. E. Dunkel, vice-president of the Bank of Martinez and a prom- 
inent Contra Costa citizen, died at his home in Martinez on June 13, 
1922, aged sixty years. He was born in Angels Camp, Calaveras County, 
in 1862. He came to Contra Costa County as a young man and located 
at Pacheco, but later came to Martinez. He was county recorder for 
twelve years and resigned to take over the management of the Contra 
Costa County Abstract & Title Company. He was survived by his widow 
and a son. 

Capt. J. E. Durham, for many years a resident of Ygnacio Valley 
and an active citizen of the county, died December 12, 1919, aged ninety 
years. He was born in 1829 in Tennessee, came to California in 1850 
with a government train as teamster to Fort Laramie, and then made his 
way to Salt Lake and on to California in 1851. He came to Contra Costa 
County in 1870. 

Leonard Eddy, a pioneer resident of the county, died in Martinez 
June 12, 1885. He was born in New York, January 15, 1828, and came 
to California from Illinois in 1849. He located at the base of Mount 
Diablo in 1850. 

Thomas Edwards was born in North Wales in 1812, crossed the 
plains to California in 1849, and in 1867 moved to Carquinez Straits 
and engaged in stock-raising. In 1881 he arranged with Mr. Heald to 
establish a foundry on his place, and the town of Crockett was laid out. 

Charles H. Ellerhorst, aged eighty-three years, and for fifty years 
a resident of Pinole, died on Thanksgiving Day, November 30, 1922. He 
was born in Germany and came to California fifty years ago. He was a 
Mason. 

Mark Elliott, one of the oldest residents of this county, died at his 
home in Sycamore Valley, December 7, 1884. He was born in Ohio in 
1826, crossed the plains in 1850, and in 1852 located in the Sycamore 
district. Coal was struck on his property on Alamo Creek. In 1864 he 
married Martha Dempster, and they had two children. 

The death of H. F. Emeric, at his ranch at San Pablo, is recorded 
August 14, 1899. He was born in New York, and in 1854 came with 
his parents to California. He served in the legislature from Contra Costa 
County in 1894-1895, and was appointed on the Fish and Game Commis- 
sion by Governor Budd. He was fifty-one years of age at the time of his 
death. 



220 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

* 

Died, at his residence near Walnut Creek, July 24, 1883, Capt. Orris 
Fales, native of Wales, aged sixty-six years. 

May 19, 1912. — Bernardo Fernandez died at Pinole, aged eighty- 
three years. He was born in Portugal and from the age of thirteen fol- 
lowed the sea until 1853, when he came to San Francisco via the Horn. 
He bought land at Pinole in Contra Costa County that same fall, freight- 
ed to San Francisco, and added to his holdings as he prospered until he 
came to be the owner of 3000 acres, and one of the wealthiest and most 
prominent men in the county. He was active up to the time of his 
death. In 1859 he married Charlotte Caudra, and they had six children. 

March 27, 1918. — Died, at her home in Pinole, Mrs. Carletta Fer- 
nandez, for over fifty years a resident of the county. Mrs. Fernandez 
was born in Chile in 1840 and came to Pinole in 1859; she was a mem- 
ber of the California Pioneers. 

Harrison Finley was born in Missouri in 1837, crossed the plains in 
1860 with oxen, and in 1863 located in Tassajara Valley. In 1862 he 
married Lavina Ray, and they had eight children. 

February 28, 1911. — Died, Charles Fish, one of the oldest settlers 
of Martinez, aged ninety-two years. He was born in New York in 1818 
and came via the Horn to California in 1853, and the next year to Contra 
Costa County. In 1857 he became associated with S. Blum; and he was 
associated with S. Blum and W. A. Hale in the organization of the Bank 
of Martinez. In 1876 he married Mary Elizabeth Grimes. 

August 29, 1925. — One of the few remaining pioneer women of early 
days in Contra Costa County died Saturday morning when Mrs. Mary 
Elizabeth Fish, widow of the late Charles Fish, breathed her last at her 
home in Berkeley. Mrs. Fish had been in failing health for some time, 
and for several days members of her family had realized that the end 
was rapidly approaching. 

As Mary Elizabeth Grimes, the pioneer matron was born in Bethany, 
N. Y. She became Mrs. Charles Fish before Mr. Fish came to California 
in the early fifties; and they resided for many years in Martinez, the Fish 
homestead being one of the oldest pioneer habitations in the county 
seat. One son, Charles Stanley, and two daughters, Misses Grace Emily 
and Blanche Ellen Fish, mourn the passing of their pioneer mother. 

October 13, 1900. — The funeral of Lafayette I. Fish, a pioneer of 
California of 1850, was held last Thursday afternoon from his residence. 
He was born in New York in 1824, came to California in 1850, and in 
1852 located in Contra Costa County and bought some land. He was 
the first president and one of the organizers of the Bank of Martinez in 
1873. 

Mrs. Laura Flournoy, a native of Kentucky, but a resident of Cali- 
fornia from girlhood, died near Danville, January 15, 1921, aged sixty- 
five years. She was an active worker in the Presbyterian church. 

Erastus Ford was born in Michigan in 1830, crossed the plains in 
1849, and in 1850 located in this county. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 221 

William R. Forman was born in Missouri in 1821, came via Panama 
to California in 1851, and in 1857 located in this county and farmed; he 
also was a member of the firm of Rouse, Forman & Company, lumber 
dealers. He married Malinda E. Highland in 1843, and they had a 
family of four children. 

F.-W. Foskett, president of the First National Bank and a capitalist 
of Concord, died on September 11, 1919. He came to Concord many 
years ago and engaged in the butcher business with H. H. Elsworthy. 
When they sold out they established the First National Bank. He left 
a widow, three sons and one daughter. 

Died, in Walnut Creek, December 26, 1891, James Foster, aged sixty- 
seven years. Mr. Foster was born in Maine on October 31, 1824, and 
came to California in the middle fifties and the following year to Alamo, 
where he conducted a wagon shop. He was postmaster and justice of the 
peace; served five terms as county assessor, being elected in 1869; studied 
law, making a specialty of Spanish grants; and was appointed referee for 
subdividing lots in Martinez. He became interested in the Gazette in 
1887, and his ability contributed much to its success. A short time before 
his death he deeded his half-interest in the semi-weekly Gazette to his 
granddaughter, Edna Needles. He married Nancy A. Prescott in 1852, 
and they had three children. 

August 7, 1918. — Mrs. Melvina Abbott Franks, the first white girl 
born in Antioch, died at Mount Zion Hospital, San Francisco, Tuesday 
night. She was a daughter of J. C. McMaster, one of the first supervisors 
of the county back in 1853, and had lived in Antioch all her life. She 
married J. P. Abbott after her graduation from Mills College. He died 
in 1912, and in 1917 she married Arthur Franks. 

R. R. Fuller was born in Massachusetts in 1818, came via the Horn 
to California in 1853, and located on a farm near Antioch. He married 
Sarah A. Pierce in Massachusetts and had four children. 

Died, in Concord, May 25, 1892, Antonio Galindo, at the age of 
sixty-seven years. 

April 10, 1926. — Concord, April 3. Descended from one of Califor- 
nia's oldest Spanish families, and a resident of this community for over 
seventy years, Mrs. Marina Galindo, granddaughter of Salvio Pacheco, one 
of the earliest Spanish settlers in Contra Costa County, and on her moth- 
er's side the granddaughter of Valentino Amador, one of the first Spanish 
officers at the San Francisco presidio, died at her home at the age of 
seventy-seven years. She was born in Santa Clara on May 25, 1848, and 
when seven was brought to Contra Costa County by her parents, and had 
lived here ever since. 

John Gambs was born in Germany in 1827 and came to the United 
States in 1847 and to California via the Horn in 1848. In 1861 he 
located in Pacheco, and engaged in merchandising. He married Helen 
Ohl and had five children. 



222 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Lawrence Geary was born in Baden, Germany, in 1827, came to 
the United States in 1848, and in 1852 crossed the plains and located in 
Contra Costa County. In 1854 he married Jane Wallace, and they had 
five children. 

Col. W. W. Gift was born in South Carolina in 1796, came to 
California in 1849, and was sergeant-at-arms in the Assembly when the 
first legislature met at Monterey. In 1853 he was appointed registrar 
of the land office and later he was custom house inspector at Panama 
Straits. In 1854 he came to Martinez. He married Elizabeth Dodson in 
1819, and had eight children. Colonel Gift was a lover of fine horses, 
and raced Twilight. He died in 1881. 

Died, near San Ramon, September 9, 1897, David Glass, a native 
of Pennsylvania, aged seventy-nine years. He was born in Pennsylvania 
in 1818, and moved to Ohio with his parents. In 1841 he went to Iowa, 
where he built the first house in Ottumwa. He married Elizabeth J. 
Hall, and in 1850 they came to California. In Placerville Mr. Glass en- 
gaged in the mercantile business, but that same year he came to Contra 
Costa County and lived near Walnut Creek for a time. Later he bought 
700 acres south of San Ramon. The deceased left a widow and seven 
children. 

J. B. Greer, a pioneer of Point of Timber, where he conducted a ware- 
house, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. R. H. Caven, near Concord 
on Monday, July 10, 1905, at the age of ninety-five years and six months. 

Munson Gregory was born in Ohio in 1828, crossed the plains in 1850, 
and in 1857 bought a ranch near Mount Diablo. In 1858 he married 
Laura Knox, and they had three children. 

Louis Grunauer was born in Prussia in 1854; he came to America in 
1868, and direct to California, via Panama. In 1878 he located in 
this county and erected the first store in Brentwood, and was the first 
postmaster. 

Died, in Martinez, Friday, January 13, 1899, Henry M. Hale. He 
was born April 4, 1833, in Ohio, and in the late fifties came to California, 
direct to Pacheco, where he entered the employ of his brother. In 1873 
they came to Martinez and organized the Bank of Martinez. 

April 7, 1906. — A county pioneer, Mrs. Mary E. Hale, died Sunday 
evening, April 1, 1906. She was born in Detroit, Michigan, seventy- 
three years ago, and crossed the plains with her father, James E. Lyon, 
in the fifties. She married Henry M. Hale in 1861. 

Died, in Martinez, August 20, 1883, William M. Hale, aged fifty- 
one years and eleven months. Mr. Hale was born September 20, 1831, 
in Ohio and came to California in 1853. In 1858 he removed to Pacheco 
and carried on a business under the name of Hale & Fassett and the 
Hale Brothers until 1873, when the business was closed out on the or- 
ganizing of the Bank of Martinez, both brothers being large stockholders 
and William becoming cashier. In 1863 he married Mary L. Lyon, and 
they had a son and a daughter. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 223 

Mrs. Mary E. Hall, a pioneer of 1859 in Contra Costa County, 
died at her home in Alamo on February 23, 1917. She was born in 
Pennsylvania and came to California and Contra Costa County in 1859, 
where she had since lived. She left five children. 

Myron W. Hall, the father of the walnut industry in this county, died 
at San Ramon, December 16, 1910. He was born in Pennsylvania 
in 1831. At the age of eighteen he came West with Lysander Stone, who 
was bringing a large band of stock to California. In 1857 he came to 
Contra Costa County, locating in Green Valley. In 1859 he went back East 
and married Lucy E. Dorman, and returned to California with her. In 
1870 Mr. Hall bought land near Alamo. In 1872 he planted the first 
native walnuts, and the trees have borne ever since. Six children were 
born to Mr. and Mrs. Hall. 

Henry M. Hallenbeck died in Martinez, November 6, 1918, aged 
eighty-seven years. He was born in New York in 1831, crossed the plains 
in 1851, and came direct to Martinez, where he had since lived. He left a 
widow and five children. 

Austin W. Hammitt, one of the pioneers of the county, died at Concord 
on December 10, 1897, aged seventy-four years. He was born in Ohio, 
crossed the plains with oxen to Oregon in 1849, mined for a time, and 
then returned East. In 1851 he returned to Oregon as captain of a 
train, and in 1857 came to Contra Costa County and located at Walnut 
Creek, engaging in the mercantile business and in farming. He was 
justice- of the peace from 1865 to 1867 and was elected to the Assembly 
in 1873. In 1849 he married Samantha Shaffer, and they had four 
children. He left a widow and three children. 

F. A. Hammitt, pioneer of Contra Costa County and resident of 
Lafayette and later of Concord, died at Martinez Hospital Thursday 
morning, November 8, 1917. He was a native of Wisconsin, was seventy- 
three years of age, and had lived in the county sixty years. 

Died, in Lafayette, February 17, 1896, G. W. Hammitt, a native of 
Kentucky, aged seventy-three years. 

Capt. James T. Harding, one of the oldest residents of Pacheco, died 
November 28, 1886. He was born in Massachusetts in 1810, and was 
a resident of the county since 1858. 

March 22, 1907. — Died, Hiram P. Hardy, a native of New Hamp- 
shire born in 1825. In 1849 he came via the Horn to California, and in 
1853 came to Contra Costa County, where he worked for Dr. Strentzel 
and ranched. Mr. Hardy furnished molding sand to foundries in Cali- 
fornia, Oregon and Washington for over forty years. 

Died, in Port Costa, February 17, 1890, Charles Harkins, aged sixty- 
nine years. Mr. Harkins was formerly a butcher in Martinez, and was 
an old settler of the county. 

July 4, 1925. — On Tuesday evening, June 30, Robert Harkinson 
died at the family home in Antioch, aged seventy years. He was born in 
Pittsburgh, Pa., came to California in 1874, and took employment with 



224 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

the Bank of Dixon, with which institution he remained until 1883, when 
he went to San Luis Obispo. In 1891 he moved to Antioch and was 
instrumental in founding the Bank of Antioch and became its first cashier, 
which position he retained continuously until 1920, when he retired from 
active business. Mr. Harkinson married Alice Brinkerhoff in Dixon and 
leaves one daughter, Mrs. Maude Robertson of Berkeley, his wife having 
passed away several years ago. Interment will be made in Antioch. 

Joel Harlan was born in Indiana in 1828, crossed the plains with his 
parents in 1846, and bought land in Amador Valley in 1852; but when 
Alameda County was formed, his house was one of the points defining the 
boundaries of the counties, and he was left in the new county. He was 
married in 1849 in Sonoma, by ex-Governor Boggs, to Minerva Fowler, 
and they had nine children. He died in 1875. 

Died, at Danville, May 13, 1922, Isabella MacLeod Harrison. She 
was born in Washington, D. C. in 1837. She married A. B. Harrison 
in 1869 and came to California in 1872, settling at Walnut Creek; in 
1887 they moved to Danville, where she had since lived. She had a fam- 
ily of four boys. 

On June 28, 1920, John Hartz, one of the Pioneers of Contra Costa 
County, died at his home in Danville. He was born in Germany in 1847. 
In 1865 he landed in California and began as a ranch-hand in Alameda 
County; in 1888 he bought 280 acres of James Stow. He married Cathe- 
rine Johnson in 1877, and they had three children. He was treasurer 
of the Odd Fellows at Danville for twenty years. 

Died, in Martinez, April 3, 1909, Roswell B. Hathaway, a native 
of New York. Mr. Hathaway was born in 1826 and came to California 
in 1854, locating in Contra Costa County. He was a rancher, later was 
in the butcher business in Pacheco and Concord, and in 1876 was elected 
county treasurer, which office he held for three terms. 

George W. Hawxhurst, one of the oldest and most progressive citizens 
of the county, died September 2, 1890. He was a native of New York, 
born in 1827; came to California in 1850, and to this county in 1855; and 
with Mr. Somers located the Black Diamond claim and the Cumberland. 
He also located the Union Mine. 

Died, at his home in Martinez, April 7, 1897, E. W. Hiller, aged sixty- 
eight years. She was born in Massachusetts in 1828; came via the Horn 
to California in 1849 on the Aurora, a whaling ship; and in December, 
1852, came to San Pablo, and in 1854 to Martinez. He served in an 
official capacity several times, was appointed public administrator in 1872, 
and held office until he was stricken with paralysis. In 1858 he married 
Mary C. Burdett. 

Died, February 24, 1915, in Martinez, Mrs. Agnes M. Hittman, 
widow of the late Frederick Hittman, a native of Germany, aged seventy 
years. She left five daughters and three sons. 

October 19, 1916.- — -James Hoey, a pioneer of Martinez and secretary 
of the Democratic County Central Committee over thirty years, passed 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 225 

away aged sixty-three years. He was born in Ireland in 1854 and came 
to America in 1870, and that same year to Martinez. He married Mary 
Tormey on November 9, 1880, who survived him with three daughters. 

Died, in Byron, October 12, 1899, Ferdinand F. Hoffman, aged 
seventy-two years and six months. He was born in the Rhine Province in 
1826 and came to America in 1847 and to California in 1850, crossing 
the plains. He located in Contra Costa County in 1858 and engaged in the 
tannery business. In 1861 he located on a ranch near Byron. In 1870 
he married Elizabeth Nolling; and they had three children. 

Died, in Martinez, July 22, 1891, William Hoffman, aged seventy 
years. Mr. Hoffman was born in Prussia, June 21, 1821. He came to the 
United States in 1847, and in 1849 to California via Cape Horn. He 
located in Contra Costa County soon after, and in 1855 bought a residence 
in Martinez and established a tannery. 

After a residence of seventy-two years in Martinez, Mrs. Cornelia 
Jane Hollenbeck died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. R. V. Lytton, at 
the age of eighty, on November 1, 1923. She was born in Iowa, came 
to California in 1849 with her parents, and settled in Martinez in 1851. 
She left five children. 

On August 15, 1908, in the Alhambra Valley, Beverly R. Holliday 
passed over the Great Divide. He was a pioneer of 1849 and the first 
educator in Martinez, where he opened the first seminary in 1850. He 
was born in Warren County, Ky., December 22, 1823. From 1840 to 
1849 he taught school in Illinois. In March, 1849, he set out across the 
plains with ox-teams, and in January of 1850 he came to Contra Costa 
County. He was elected justice of the peace in 1850 and was chosen as 
one of the associate judges of the Court of Sessions in 1854. In 1853 
he engaged in farming, and he was a pioneer in fruit culture. In 1858 he 
subscribed funds to help found the Gazette. He married Jane A. Holliday, 
August 19, 1855, and left six children. 

April 26, 1902. — Mrs. Miranda Hook, relict of William Hook, died 
last Wednesday at her home in Ygnacio Valley. She was one of the oldest 
residents of the county. She came across the plains with her husband 
in 1850. In 1854 Mr. Hook bought land in Contra Costa County, and 
this has been the family home ever since. She was eighty-three years old. 

Dr. E. F. Hough was born in New York in 1823, graduated from 
Ohio Medical College, crossed the plains in 1852 from Illinois, settled 
in Ygnacio Valley in 1853, came to Martinez in 1855, and built Hough's 
Hotel, which he ran for twenty-five years. He was one of the first to 
discover mineral paints in this county. In 1842 he married Sibyl Marsh, 
and they had two children. 

Died, near Byron, May 30, 1899, R. G. Houston, a native of Ohio, 
aged sixty-six years. He was born in 1833, came to California in 1852, 
and two years later located in Contra Costa County. He had always 
taken an active part in politics. 



226 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

C. E. Howard, a pioneer of San Ramon Valley, died May 23, 1912, in 
Danville. He was born in Massachusetts in 1826, came to California 
in 1849, and in 1856 came to Contra Costa County. 

Nathaniel S. Howard, of Walnut Creek, died Wednesday, January 
25, 1899. He was born in Plymouth County, Mass., in 1819 and came 
to California in 1849 via Cape Horn, on the Howard. In September, 1856, 
he came to this county and bought a farm near Danville. 

Benjamin Hughes died at Walnut Creek October 18, 1908, aged 
eighty-three years. He was born in Illinois in 1825 and came to Calif- 
ornia in 1852, crossing the plains with ox-teams and locating in Contra 
Costa County on his arrival. In 1857 he bought a ranch near Walnut 
Creek, where he resided until death. He married Miss Emily Seeley in 
1851, and they had two children. 

M. F. Hurley, aged fifty-five years, died at his Martinez home on 
January 30, 1924. He was born in Massachusetts in 1868, and was 
educated in Martinez, where his parents moved in 1878. In 1902 he 
served a term as public administrator, and in 1907 was appointed county 
recorder, which office he held until his death. He married Flora Irene 
Morford in 1912. Mr. Hurley was survived by his widow and three 
children. 

October 3, 1925. — Mrs. Josephine Inman, widow of the late Daniel 
Inman, founder of the town of Danville, and for whom that community 
was named, passed away Thursday at her home near Livermore at the age 
of seventy-eight years. Mrs. Inman came to the San Ramon Valley in 
early days, her husband's family coming to the valley in 1846 and residing 
there continuously from that time on. 

M. B. Ivory was born in Pennsylvania in 1831 ; came to California in 
1858, and located in Green Valley; was elected sheriff in 1871 ; and was 
reelected in 1874. 

November 27, 1923. — Clark Jaquith, for fifty years a resident and 
business man of Concord, died at the age of seventy-five years. He was 
a native of Canada. He is survived by a son and a daughter. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Johnson died on May 22, 1910, at her home. She 
was born in England, and came with her mother, Mrs. Vaughn, to Amer- 
ica. She married Thaddeus Johnson in 1856. They settled near Walnut 
Creek, where Mr. Johnson farmed. In 1890 they moved to Martinez, 
and here Mr. Johnson died in 1895. 

Sampson W. Johnson was born in Virginia in 1828. He started for 
Oregon in 1846; but at the Sink of the Humboldt he changed his mind and 
came to California, joined Fremont, and remained till 1847. In 1859 he 
came to this county and established a livery business in Martinez. In 1850 
he married Annie McClellan, and they had four children. 

December 1, 1912. — The oldest woman voter in Contra Costa County, 
Mrs. Catherine Williams Jones, one of the pioneers of California and the 
county, died on November 30. She was born in Wales in 1821, and 
came to New York in 1849 with her parents. She married John N. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 227 

Jones, who died in 1910. They had been residents of California about 
fifty years and of Nortonville since the early seventies. 

Elizabeth C. (Allen) Jones, wife of Nathaniel Jones, died at Crockett 
on January 19, 1907. She was born in Missouri and married Mr. Jones 
in 1842. They came West in 1846, and in 1847 to Contra Costa County, 
and settled on a part of the Alcalanes ranch. Mrs. Jones was eighty- 
four years old at the time of her death. 

John N. Jones died at Nortonville, Saturday night, August 6, 1910. 
He was born in Wales in 1819, and came to America in 1848. He was 
married in Philadelphia in 1849 to Catherine Williams, who came from 
Wales to join him. About fifty years prior to his death they came West, 
and about two years later moved to Nortonville. Mr. Jones was ninety- 
one years old at the time of his death. 

On May 12, 1905, John W. Jones, a pioneer resident of the county, 
died at the age of eighty-three years. He was born in Kentucky in 1822; 
in 1853 he crossed the plains with ox-teams to California, coming to La- 
fayette on his arrival here. In 1855 he bought a ranch, upon which he 
lived until he moved to Martinez. He had one son, Henry T. Jones. 

January 13, 1900. — Joseph P. Jones, who served on the bench as 
superior judge in Contra Costa County for thirteen years, was buried last 
Friday. He was born in Indiana in 1844, and accompanied his parents 
to Oregon in 1853. In 1865 he returned to Indiana and entered the 
University of Bloomington, graduating in law in 1867. He came to Mar- 
tinez in 1869; was elected district attorney in 1873, serving two years; 
and then served in the legislature. In 1886 he was elected superior judge. 
He was a prominent Mason. 

Mrs. Mary A. Jones died on July 23, 1918, at her home in Alamo, 
aged ninety-three years. She was born in Tennessee in 1825, and came to 
California before the days of the gold rush, via the Oregon route, reach- 
ing Napa on November 10, 1846. She moved to San Jose in 1847, and 
in 1851 came to San Ramon Valley, where she had since made her home. 

The death of Nathaniel Jones, who had been a resident of the county 
since 1847, occurred on January 31, 1899, at Walnut Creek. He was 
born in Eastern Tennessee in 1820. He moved to Missouri and in 1842 
married Elizabeth C. Allen. In 1846, with fifteen or twenty others and 
their families, he crossed the plains, bound for Oregon, but changed his 
course and came to California, arriving here November 2, 1846. He 
served in the battle of Santa Clara under Capt. Julius Martin. He settled 
in this county in 1847. His was the first wagon to cross Carquinez 
Straits on Dr. Semple's ferry propelled by oars. At his death he was sev- 
enty-nine years of age. 

Martin Joost, last of the pioneer Joost family, died at his Vine Hill 
home Sunday, November 11, 1917, aged seventy-four years. He was born 
in Germany, and came to California in the pioneer days. For eighteen 
years before his death he made his home with his sister. 



228 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

February 27, 1926. — -Infirmities due to advanced age closed the long 
life of Mrs. Mary Jane Joselin at her home at Antioch, Friday night. 
She was eighty-five years old and had resided in Antioch for fifty-nine 
years. She was born at Middle Point, Wis. 

June 27, 1925. — The last of the old '49ers in Contra Costa County, 
and one of the best-known and most highly respected pioneers of Central 
California, passed on to his reward Saturday evening at 8 o'clock when 
John Henry Keller of Concord succumbed to an attack of the heart. 
While members of the family realized that his passing might come at any 
time, on account of his advanced age, Mr. Keller's death was sudden and 
came as a shock to his sons and daughters and legion of friends through- 
out the county. 

John H. Keller was a pioneer of California and a '49er in every sense 
of the term. Born in New Albany, Ind., July 2, 1844, he would have 
reached the advanced age of four score and one in another ten days. 
When a boy of five years he crossed the plains to California with his par- 
ents, a journey which took seven months and brought the family to Marys- 
ville in the fall of 1849. There they settled and resided for many years 
when Mr. Keller was growing to manhood. As a young man he joined 
that collection of fearless and intrepid men who, made early-day history, 
as a Pony Express Rider. 

Fifty-four years ago Mr. Keller came to Contra Costa County, and 
for more than a half century has resided in or near Concord and the Clay- 
ton Valley. He engaged in the butcher business, following that pur- 
suit until his retirement a few years ago. He was one of the guests of 
honor at the '49 celebration held in Sacramento recently, and with the 
passing recently of Charles Lohse of Ygnacio Valley, Mr. Keller was left 
the sole surviving member of the hardy '49ers in Contra Costa County. 
Now he too has passed on. 

Nine daughters and sons mourn the passing of their pioneer father, 
the wife and helpmate of the years, Mrs. Celestia Keller, having died a 
little over a year ago. The funeral will be held in Concord Tuesday. 
Burial at Clayton. 

Mrs. Harriet Baird Kellogg, a resident of Martinez for many years, 
died at the home of her daughter, May 15, 1918, aged eighty-two years. 
She was born in Pennsylvania in 1836, came to California in 1887, and for 
several years was president of the Women's Chamber of Commerce of 
San Diego. She came to Martinez in 1899. 

Died, at Vine Hill, April 30, 1910, James Kelly, aged seventy-three 
years. He was born in Belfast, Ireland, in 1837, and came to the United 
States in 1847 with his father, and in 1854 came to California, crossing 
the plains with his brother Samuel. Arriving in Contra Costa County, 
the brothers engaged in the dairy business at Pinole. In 1864 James 
Kelly went back to Wisconsin and married Margaret Dowd, and in 1887 
he bought a ranch near Martinez. He served as supervisor from 1887 to 
1891. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 229 

Capt. George W. Kimball, one of the Forty-niners of Antioch, died 
November 18, 1879. He had been a resident of Antioch since his arrival 
as captain of a ship built in Maine, of which State he was a native, born 
in 1806. 

Died, at his home near Clayton, January 7, 1918, Nicholas Kirk- 
wood, aged eighty-seven years. He was born in Scotland and came to 
California via the Horn in 1852, and to this county in 1857. He had 
never married. 

On April 9, 1921, W. A. Kirkwood, former superintendent of schools 
of Contra Costa County, died in Oakland, aged sixty-three years. He 
left a widow, one son and three daughters. 

March 5, 1926. — Concord, March 2. Charles W. Klein, prominent 
business man and resident of Concord for many years, and mayor of this 
city for a number of years, passed away at his home this morning. He 
was born and reared in this valley and was one of the successful and sub- 
stantial citizens. He was about fifty-three years of age. He leaves a 
widow and two daughters. 

John C. Kouse was born in New York in 1828; came via Panama in 
1853; and in 1861 located in this county, where he mined, ran a hotel, and 
engaged in the lumber business. He died in 1907. 

November 8, 1923. — E. R. Lamb, for forty-three years a resident of 
Ygnacio Valley, passed away at the age of seventy-five years. He was 
born in Connecticut, came to California via Panama when he was twenty- 
one years of age, locating in Napa County for a short time, and then 
came to Contra Costa County. A widow and two children survive him. 

Mrs. M. B. Lander, one of the best-known and most highly respected 
women of Martinez, died on December 10, 1903. She was born in 
Illinois and came to this county very early. She was sixty-five years of age. 

October 15, 1921. — B. P. Lanteri, owner of the Lanteri Shipyards at 
Pittsburg and ex-mayor, met death by drowning on October 9, while re- 
turning from a duck-hunt. He was riding in the bow of his launch, which 
was operated by William Whitlied, and as they approached Dutton's 
Landing a cable used in drawing a barge was suspended, and as the 
launch passed underneath it it caught Mr. Lanteri and hurled him into 
the stream. He was killed by the blow from the cable. He was thirty- 
eight years old. 

Died, near Walnut Creek, August 4, 1891, John Larkey, aged sixty 
years. He was born in Ohio in 1831, came to California across the plains 
with horse teams in 1853, and in 1857 located on his 730-acre ranch near 
Walnut Creek and engaged in farming. In 1864 he married Martha E. 
Spore, and they had six children. 

May 29, 1923. — Judge R. H. Latimer passed away after being strick- 
en with paralysis while trying a case in his chambers. He was born in 
Missouri in 1854 and came to California in 1879, locating in Concord. 
Later he moved to Walnut Creek and engaged in the drug business, dur- 
ing which time he studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1884. In 



230 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

1886 he moved to Martinez and engaged in the practice of law, and in 
1909 he was elected superior judge. He was survived by his widow. 
Judge Latimer was a member of the Masonic lodge. 

December 13, 1924. — Charles H. Lohse, pioneer of Contra Costa 
County, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. H. C. Thomas, in Oak- 
land. He was over the century mark, having celebrated his 100th anni- 
versary on April 27, 1924. He came to Ygnacio Valley over fifty years ago. 

Died, January 5, 1915, Henry Loring, pioneer of Contra Costa Coun- 
ty, first hotel-keeper of Pacheco, and builder of the first hotel in Concord. 
He was born in Germany, and came to Contra Costa County in 1852. He 
was eighty-one years of age. 

George P. Loucks was born in New York in 1819; married Ann Lie- 
bre in 1841, and had four children; came to California in 1851, and in 
1857 located in Contra Costa County, where he engaged in farming and 
warehousing. He served as county clerk and as supervisor. 

Peter G. Loucks, pioneer of Pacheco, died at the home of his son in 
Sonoma, July 4, 1917, aged seventy-three years. 

October 1, 1921. — After being a resident in California for seventy- 
five years, J. G. Lucas passed away at Richmond at the age of ninety- 
three years. He was born in the Azores. When eighteen years of age 
he went to sea and made his first visit to California, in 1846, on the sailer 
Magnet; he returned in 1850, and in 1863 bought land of the old San 
Pablo Grant. 

June 30, 1921. — C. H. Ludden, a pioneer of 1876, died at the age 
of sixty-seven years. He was born in Massachusetts and engaged in the 
contracting business. He is survived by a widow, one daughter, and 
three sons. 

Mrs. Mary Lynch, a resident of Contra Costa County for sixty years 
and owner of one of the largest ranches in the San Ramon Valley, died 
at her home December 26, 1915, aged seventy-eight years. 

William Lynch died on August 28, 1910, at his home in San Ramon 
Valley, aged eighty-two years. He was born on Long Island in 1828, 
and came to California in 1849, and in 1850 to Contra Costa County, 
where he worked at the carpenter's trade and at farming. 

September 16, 1899. — The funeral of the late Joseph McCabe, who 
died in Oakland, was held at Brentwood on September 2, 1899. He came 
to California in his early boyhood, crossing the plains. He left a wife 
and three children. 

Thomas McCabe was born in Ohio in 1810, crossed the plains in 1850 
as captain of a train, located in this county in 1865, and died in 1910. 

Died, July 8, 1915, at Walnut Creek, Daniel McCullough, aged sev- 
enty-three years. 

Thursday evening, October 17, 1901, James McDermott, an old and 
highly respected resident of Somersville, was struck and killed by the 
east-bound train at Martinez. He had come down to attend the funeral 
of his friend, James Rankin. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 231 

William P. McGuire, one of the pioneers of the county, died Monday, 
December 28, 1914, aged eighty-one years. He was born in Kentucky and 
came to California in the early days. He left a widow, Mrs. Sarah Mc- 
Guire, and seven children. 

James McKenna died at his home at Vine Hill, April 8, 1913, aged 
sixty-five years. He was born in Ireland in 1848 and had been a resident 
of the county thirty years. 

T. A. McMahon, well-known county official and business man of Mar- 
tinez, died on April 28, 1914. He was born in this county in 1856, and 
was educated in the Martinez grammar school and in the University of 
California. He served sixteen years as county surveyor. In 1890 he 
was elected mayor, and served for six years. 

Job C. McMaster was born in Maine in 1822, came to California on 
the brig Forest in 1849, located where Antioch stands in 1851, and with 
W. W. Smith laid out the town of Antioch. He was one of the first 
to engage in the dairy business, and in 1852 organized a company to 
make brick. In 1853 he was elected supervisor, and again in 1873. 

George W. McNear, the grain king, who had large warehouse in- 
terests in this county, died in Oakland December 31, 1909, aged seventy- 
two years. He was the owner of a large part of Port Costa and built 
and owned the Port Costa Water Works. 

December 16, 1922. — J. J. McNamara, ex-mayor, the moving spirit 
of the Martinez-Benicia Ferry & Transportation Company, and an active 
spirit in the development and progress of Martinez, died at his home at 
the age of fifty-five years. He was born here and engaged in the mercan- 
tile business for a number of years. He left a wife and two daughters. 

Died, on August 16, 1913, Mrs. Mary McNamara, a native of County 
Louth, Ireland, aged sixty-five years. 

December 31, 1904. — On Monday, D. R. McPherson, a pioneer of 
the county, where he lived for over fifty years, passed away at Walnut 
Creek. He was a native of Kentucky and crossed the plains in 1849. He 
leaves eleven children, four sons and seven daughters. 

W. A. Maltby, a capitalist of Concord, died November 29, 1919. 

On May 7, 1922, at his home in Martinez, O. L. Marsh died at the 
age of eighty-one years. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1841, and 
served in the Civil War with the 105th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. In 1876 
he came to Martinez and followed the carpenter's trade. He left a widow 
and three children. 

April 19, 1924. — Mrs. Elizabeth O. Marshall died, aged seventy- 
five years, at Antioch. She was born in Maine in 1849, married Perry 
Marshall in 1869, came to California in 1875, and since then has resided 
in Antioch. She leaves three children. 

Died, in Martinez, February 16, 1894, Vicente Martinez, a native 
of California, aged seventy-five years. He was born in Santa Barbara in 
1818, and in 1838 came with his father to Contra Costa County, the lat- 
ter having been granted the Pinole Rancho. In 1 849 he came to Martinez. 



232 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

March 13, 1926.— Walnut Creek, March 11. Vicente Martinez, 
scion of one of the oldest families in the county, the county seat being 
named for his father, died last night at 10 o'clock. He was born at Pinole 
seventy-two years ago. 

June 17, 1916.- — L. R. Mead, thirty-five years owner of Byron Hot 
Springs, died in San Francisco, aged sixty-eight years. He was born in 
Michigan and came to California in 1860. In 1881 he bought Byron 
Hot Springs. 

Died, at San Ramon, May 27, 1899, William Meese, a native of Ohio, 
aged seventy-four years, nine months and twenty-five days. He was born 
in 1824. In 1850, with eight others, he came by pack-mules to California; 
and in 1852 he located in Contra Costa County, in the San Ramon Valley. 
He married and raised a family. 

Felix J. Mette, retired mining man and operator of the first stage line 
between Martinez and Oakland in the early days, died in Oakland on 
May 6, 1912, aged eighty-three years. 

December 12, 1925. — On Monday death claimed Mrs. Isabella Mills, 
ninety-three years old. The third white woman to settle in San Pablo, she 
came from Michigan in 1857 and was one of the earliest settlers to develop 
the soil in the San Pablo section. She was the widow of Walter Mills, and 
is survived by four generations of descendants, all of whom were born, 
reared and educated in Contra Costa County. 

January, 1921. — Died, near Clayton, Isaac Mitchell, aged ninety-two 
years. He came here in 1849. Mitchell Canyon, at the base of Mount 
Diablo, is named for him. 

The pioneer editor of Contra Costa County, Charles F. Montgomery, 
of the Antioch Ledger, died in that town on February 17, 1899. He was 
the oldest male white child born in Shasta County, his birth taking place 
on April 24, 1851. He learned the printer's trade in Chico when sixteen 
years of age, and came to Antioch in 1884 and revived the Ledger. He 
served as justice of the peace and as secretary of the Democratic con- 
vention at San Francisco that nominated J. H. Budd for Governor. He 
was a member of the Native Sons of the Golden West, Masons, Odd Fel- 
lows, and the California Press Association. 

April 16, 1921. — At ten o'clock Saturday morning, Edwin Morgan, 
a pioneer merchant of Contra Costa County, died at his home in Martinez, 
aged seventy-one years. He was born in Texas in 1850, came overland in 
the sixties, located in Ygnacio Valley, and in 1870 came to Martinez, 
where he opened a hardware store. He left six children. Mr. Morgan 
was an Odd Fellow. 

Died, in Martinez, June 2, 1884, Elizabeth Morgan, widow of Daniel 
Morgan, a native of County Louth, Ireland, aged seventy-eight years, 
two months and three days. 

Jeremiah Morgan died on January 23, 1906. Jerry, as he was fa- 
miliarly known, was born in the Cherokee Nation, Alabama, in 1819, 
but later became a resident of Illinois. In 1849 he crossed the plains with 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 233 

oxen to California. He returned to his Illinois home and again crossed 
the plains in 1853 and located in Ygnacio Valley. In 1856 he located in 
what is known as Morgan Territory, where he had 2000 acres of land. 

Watkins P. Morgans was born in Wales in 1842, came via Panama 
in 1864, and in 1868 located at Nortonville. 

Died, in Brentwood, May 4, 1895, Dr. H. V. Mott, a native of New 
York, aged seventy-three years. He was born in 1822, came to California 
in 1850, and settled in Contra Costa County in 1866, where he followed 
his profession until his death. 

John Muir, the world-famed naturalist, was buried from his Alham- 
bra Valley home at Muir Heights, Contra Costa County, on Sunday, De- 
cember 27, 1914. The short, simple but impressive sermon was delivered 
by Rev. William F. Bade. Mr. Muir's principal books arc "The Moun- 
tains of California," "Our National Parks," "Stricken," "The Story 
of a Dog," "My First Summer in the Sierras," and "The Yosemite." He 
was an enthusiastic writer and speaker on the preservation of American 
forests. In 1880 he married Louise, daughter of Dr. Strentzel, who owned 
a large tract of land near Martinez. It was on this ranch that Mr. Muir 
lived the last thirty years of his life. He was born in Dunbar, Scotland, 
in 1838. 

Dr. F. E. Neff, for thirty-two years a physician of Concord, and well- 
known throughout central Contra Costa County, was instantly killed at 
seven p. m., June 18, 1923, at Minert Station in Ygnacio Valley. He was 
riding alonein a Chevrolet coupe, and as he was crossing the electric track 
his car was hit by the Sacramento-San Francisco flier. He was born in 
Pennsylvania in 1862, and in 1896 married Miss Anna Williams who sur- 
vived him. He also left five sons and one daughter. 

June 18, 1921. — At the advanced age of eighty-eight years, John S. 
Netherton died in Santa Cruz. He was born in Missouri, April 30, 1833, 
crossed the plains in 1850 with oxen and mined for a time, then came to 
Contra Costa County and settled down to ranching in the Tice Valley in 
Point of Timber. He was the third settler east of Mount Diablo and 
west of Stockton, the other two being A. Richardson and C. J. Preston. 
In 1859 he married Matilda Estes, and they had nine children. 

Mrs. Matilda Netherton, one of the pioneer residents of the Byron 
district, died at the home of her son Delbert, October 30, 1912. She 
was born in Missouri in 1839, crossed the plains in 1850 with her parents, 
Mr. and Mrs. Joel Estes, and settled in Moraga Valley. In 1859 she 
married J. S. Netherton, and they moved to Point of Timber, where they 
lived for fifty years. They celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in 
1909. She left five sons and her husband. 

John Nicholl, one of the founders of Richmond, died in the fall of 
1914 at the age of ninety-one years. He was born in 1822 in Ireland 
and came to America in 1849, and to California in 1853. He accumulated 
$6000, with which he bought 200 acres of the San Pablo Rancho, and 
later added several hundred acres more. He started the first school in 



234 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

his district and hauled the lumber for it. He left a fortune of between 
$3,000,000 and $4,000,000. 

Howard Nichols was born in Massachusetts in 1799; came to Cali- 
fornia in 1849 via the Horn in the ship Oscar, of which he was part owner; 
settled at New York of the Pacific in 1850, and bought a ranch at Mount 
Diablo in 1852. In his house was established the first Congregational 
congregation in the district. 

John R. Nystrom, founder of Richmond and a pioneer of Contra Cos- 
ta County, died December 24, 1913, just as he was declared winner of an 
important lawsuit. He; was born in Finland, and was sixty-five years of 
age. He came here in 1871 and settled near Stege, and began to build up 
a fortune. He acquired land, now the present site of Richmond, and 
when the town was founded began to sell off his property. 

Died, in Antioch, November 4, 1885, John C. O'Brien, a native of 
Ireland, aged sixty-three years, nine months and twenty-nine days. Mr. 
O'Brien had been a prominent resident of the county thirty-two years. He 
was born January 6, 1822, came to California in 1849, and in 1853 came 
to this county. He was a member of the Odd Fellows and Masons. 

James O'Hara, a pioneer of the Sand Lands district, died in Oakley 
on September 8, 1912, aged seventy-two years. He was born in Maine 
and came to California when young, and later to Contra Costa County. 

Died, at Concord, May 11, 1884, Fernando Pacheco, a native of 
California, aged sixty-five years, eleven months and nineteen days. He 
was a son of Don Salvio Pacheco, who died in August, 18?6, and who 
had filled every position of trust, except that of Governor, under the Mex- 
ican government. 

At his home in Ygnacio Valley, October 8, 1907, H. P. Penniman 
died aged eighty-three years. He was one of the earliest settlers in the 
Valley, coming in 1852. He left a wife and three children. 

Charles Bruce Porter, for many years a resident of this county, and 
for seventeen years one of the publishers and the chief editor of the 
Gazette, died in San Francisco on November 15, 1894, aged seventy-seven 
years. He was born in Massachusetts in 1817 and came to California in 
1849, and to this county in 1855. He served in the Assembly in 1860, 
and was also elected to the Senate. He left a widow and six children. 

Henry Raap, born in Germany in 1830, died July 3, 1914, at the resi- 
dence of his daughter, Mrs. V. Hook. Mr. Rapp came to America in 
1851, and to California via Nicaragua in 1854. In 1862 he went back 
to Germany and married Marie Magdalene Classen. Four sons and one 
daughter were born to them. They settled in Alhambra Valley very early. 
In 1863 he bought a farm near Martinez. 

Peter Raap, for fifty years a resident of Alhambra Valley, was found 
dead in his bed Sunday morning, October 12, 1919. He was born in Ger- 
many and was seventy-six years of age. In 1866 he came to California, 
and settled in Alhambra Valley. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 235 

F. Rahmstorf, for over forty years a resident of the Byron district, 
died April 27, 1918, aged seventy-eight years. He was born in Germany. 
He was a member of the Odd Fellows for forty-five years. 

S. F. Ramage was born in Ohio in 1836; he came via Panama in 1856 
and located in this county, where he ranched and teamed and served as 
justice of the peace. He was married twice and had five children. 

Died, at Lane Hospital, San Francisco, October 15, 1901, James 
Rankin, a native of Scotland, aged fifty-three years. Mr. Rankin was 
born in 1848, came to America in 1865, and arrived in Contra Costa 
County in 1870, where he made his home. He was elected sheriff in 1884 
and served two terms. Then he was interested in coal mining at Somers- 
ville. In 1899 he was elected president of the Bank of Martinez. He 
was a Mason. 

Dr. Frank Rattan, a pioneer physician of Antioch and Martinez, died 
January 3, 1917. He practiced in Antioch twelve years and then came 
to Martinez, where he bought the W. K. Cole drug business. He was 
fifty-six years of age at the time of his death. 

Died, December 27, 1904, at Alamo, Hamilton S. Raven, sixty-five 
years of age. He was born in New York and reared in Michigan. Com- 
ing to California, he taught school for thirty years, twenty-five years in 
Contra Costa County, near Walnut Creek. In 1870 he married Almira 
Baker, who died in 1891. They had five sons and one daughter. 

Charles Rhine was born in Poland in 1838 ; came via Panama in 1856 ; 
located in this county in 1857; opened a store near what is now Clayton 
in 1858; and in 1859 was one of the first to open up a business in Clay- 
ton, in partnership with Joel Clayton. In 1868 he married Celia Lobree, 
and they had eight children.- 

William Rice, a pioneer of 1860 of the county, passed away near Wal- 
nut Creek November 6, 1885, aged seventy-one years. In 1862 he built a 
schoolhouse and opened a private family school on his place. 

Died, May 17, 1915, at Pleasant Hill, E. A. Rodgers, one of the 
oldest residents of the district, who came to California in 1859 and had 
lived on his ranch for forty-five years. He was born in Ireland and was 
seventy-six years of age. He left four children and a widow. 

C. W. Rogers, former sheriff of Contra Costa County and constable 
of Walnut Creek, died at his Martinez home on February 21, 1912, at 
the age of fifty-nine years. He was born in Amador County in 1853. In 
1874 he married Martha Leich. He was a member of the Native Sons 
and the Woodmen. 

Died, in Walnut Creek, April 5, 1897, Mrs. E. J. Rogers, aged fifty- 
nine years, eleven months and twenty-five days. 

On November 16", 1907, at Berkeley, John C. Rouse, a pioneer of 
California, passed away. He was born in New York in 1828; in 1853 
he came to California, and in 1861 to Contra Costa County as foreman 



236 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

of the Pittsburg Coal Mine. He continued the mining business as owner 
for many years, and also was identified with the lumber and banking in- 
terests of Antioch. He was a Mason. 

July 28, 1917. — Mrs. W. A. Rugg, wife of the editor and proprietor 
of the Gazette, passed away at their home in Martinez Saturday evening, 
aged fifty-three years. As Jessie Baird Kellogg, she was born in Wiscon- 
sin in 1864. She married W. A. Rugg in Missouri in December, 1882. 
Coming to California in 1887, they located in San Diego; in 1898 they 
came to Martinez. One daughter survived her besides her husband. 

Died, in Martinez, June 16, 1894, Mrs. Nancy Russell, relict of Capt. 
Thomas Russell, a native of Massachusetts, aged ninety-five years. Mrs. 
Russell was born in 1799. She came with her husband to California in 
1849 ; later they bought a ranch in Ygnacio Valley. For many years Mrs. 
Russell made her home in Martinez. 

George Russi, Sr., prominent mill owner and manufacturer, owner of 
the Pacheco Flour Mill, died at Pacheco November 12, 1910. He was 
born in Switzerland in 1854, and came to California about 1880, and 
started the Pacheco Flour Mills. He left a widow and five children. 

September 19, 1925. — One of the foremost real estate operators in 
Central California, one who of late years has been active in Martinez 
and who was one of the men who founded the city of Richmond, passed 
to his final rest Sunday morning when W. H. Sanford breathed his last 
at his home in Martinez. He was a native of Tennessee, aged sixty-five 
years. He leaves a widow, Jennie E. Sanford, and was the father of Mrs. 
Grace Hansel and Mrs. Era Holmes of Oakland, W. H. Sanford Jr. of 
San Francisco, and Miss Hazel Sanford of Martinez. 

Died, in Port Costa, March 14, 1891, George H. Scammon, aged 
fifty-seven years. He was born in Maine, came to California in 1859, and 
made his home in Walnut Creek. He then moved to Nortonville, remain- 
ing there until the decline of coal mining, when he moved to Port Costa. 
He was serving his second term as public administrator at the time of his 
death. He was a member of the Odd Fellows. 

Died, March 17, 1915, at Brentwood, William Shafer, a native of 
Pennsylvania, aged seventy-nine years. For over fifty years he had been 
a resident of Brentwood, where he engaged in farming. He left a widow, 
three daughters and two sons. 

Died, April 7, 1906, Albert Sherburne, aged seventy-three years. He 
was a native of New York, a pioneer of 1852 in California, whither he 
came via the Isthmus, and located in Contra Costa County in 1856. 

Died, near Danville, August 19, 1897, David N. Sherburne, a native 
of New York, aged seventy-five years. He was born October 14, 1822, 
went to Illinois when twelve years old, and in 1850 crossed the plains 
on horseback and arrived at Placerville on August '26. He mined until 
1856 and then came to Contra Costa County, locating near Danville. In 
1856 he was elected supervisor, and filled the office four terms. In 1879 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 237 

he was elected to the legislature, and in 1880 he was again elected 
supervisor. 

Benjamin Shreve was born in Pennsylvania in 1828, crossed the plains 
in 1852, and in 1853 engaged in business and ran a hotel in this county. 
In 1857 he petitioned Congress to establish a postoffice at his place, which 
was named Lafayette, and he was the postmaster. 

Charles Sickal, a native of Kentucky and for sixty years a resident of 
Martinez, having crossed the plains with oxen in 1855, died at his home 
on April 24, 1918, aged eighty-two years. 

December 12, 1925.- — C. A. Smith, seventy-three, president of the 
Coos Bay Lumber Company at Bay Point and one of the most prominent 
lumber men in the West, died at his home in Berkeley. Smith moved to 
the Pacific Coast from Minnesota in 1884. He founded the C. A. Smith 
Lumber Company, now the Coos Bay Lumber Company, owned lumber 
properties in Humboldt County and Southern Oregon and had large mills 
at Marshfield, Ore., and Bay Point, Cal., the latter one of the most com- 
plete in the world. 

Died, in Martinez, October 18, 1895, John B. Smith, a native of New 
Bedford, Mass., aged fifty-six years. He came to California when thir- 
teen years of age, in 1852, and the next year came to Martinez, which 
had since been his home. He was justice of the peace several years. 

John F. S. Smith was born in Georgia in 1821 ; served under Col. Jack 
Hays in the Indian troubles, and later in the Mexican War; came in 1850 
via Panama to California and to Martinez, where his brother had laid 
out the town; settled on Bull Head Ranch in 1852; and in 1853 was elect- 
ed sheriff. He also served as assessor. 

Napoleon B. Smith was born in Ohio in 1818; crossed the plains with 
his brother, Henry C, in 1845, being piloted by L. W. Hastings to Fort 
Laramie, and from there by Captain Bridger through the Indian country; 
engaged in business in Martinez in 1849; was elected first county assessor; 
and in 1852 was elected to and served in the legislature. He was a mem- 
ber of the Bear Flag party and participated in the events of June 14, 
1846, and was a farmer in the Alhambra district. Francis M. Smith, his 
son, supposed to be the first American male child born in Contra Costa 
County, was born on January 25, 1848. 

Rev. W. W. and Rev. Joseph H. Smith came to California via the 
Horn in 1849 on the brig Forest, and to New York of the Pacific on July 
1 1 of that year as carpenters. W. W. Smith entered the ministry of the 
Christian Church in 1840. He was the first appointed Alcalde of New 
York of the Pacific, and gave the name Antioch to the town, which had 
been called Smith's Landing after him. W. W. Smith died on October 16, 
1899, at the age of eighty-seven years. Joseph H. Smith died in 1850. 

June 26, 1916. — A. J. Soto died at his Martinez home on Court 
Street. He was born on San Miguel Rancho in 1858, graduated from St. 
Mary's College in 1882, was elected county auditor, and with the excep- 



238 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

tion of two years held that office until 1907. He was assistant district 
attorney and inheritance tax appraiser. He left a widow and two girls. 

September 5, 1903. — James Stewart, a resident of Contra Costa Coun- 
ty since 1856, died last Monday. He was born in Ireland in 1825 and 
came to America in 1847, and in 1853 to California, crossing the plains. 
He farmed in Rodeo Valley until 1879, and then came to Martinez and 
engaged in mercantile pursuits. 

Mrs. J. M. Stow, a pioneer resident of Walnut Creek, died on July 
29, 1910. Her maiden name was Alice Glass. She was born in Walnut 
Creek, and in 1873 married J. M. Stow. 

James M. Stow, pioneer capitalist and public-spirited citizen of Con- 
tra Costa County, died on August 17, 1919, in San Diego. He was born 
in Illinois in 1847, and came with his mother to California in 1850, via 
Panama, to join his father in California. In 1860, after the death of his 
father, the family settled in Contra Costa County, and from his twelfth 
year young Stow was reared in this county. In 1873 he opened a store 
in Walnut Creek. In 1880 he was elected county assessor, and served 
seven years. He was one of the chief promoters of the first telephone 
company, which came into existence in 1881. He was the owner and 
proprietor of the Martinez Gazette and vice-president of the Bank of 
Martinez. He built the Contra Costa part of the Oakland and Contra 
Costa County tunnel. He was agent for the Wells-Fargo Express Com- 
pany, and the holder of Alhambra Springs. Mr. Stow was a Mason and a 
Methodist. 

Died, on September 24, 1897, in Alhambra Valley, where she had 
been a resident since 1853, Mrs. L. E. Strentzel, aged seventy-six years. 

Died, at his home in Alhambra Valley, October 31, 1890, Dr. John 
T. Strentzel, aged seventy-seven years, a native of Lieben, Poland. 

Died, in Martinez, February 7, 1884, Eliza Reddell Sturgis, wife 
of Josiah Sturgis, aged sixty-four years and nine months, a native of Nan- 
tucket, Mass. "She was one of the pioneer women of 1857, who, with her 
children, joined her husband on the Coast." 

John Sturgis died April 22, 1886, aged seventy-nine years. He was 
known as "Uncle John" and was one of the earliest settlers of Martinez, 
having come here in 1850. 

January 15, 1910. — Mrs. Elizabeth (Lawrence) Swain, the last of 
the earliest English-speaking residents of Martinez, passed away Satur- 
day evening at her home. Elizabeth Lawrence was born on the Island 
of Nantucket in 1839. At the age of twelve she left with her mother to 
join the husband and father in California, coming via the Nicaragua 
route. The steamship North America, on which they were passengers, 
was wrecked and they were detained a month at San Juan del Sur, at 
which point they were picked up by a vessel and brought around the Horn, 
arriving at San Francisco July 7, 1852. George A. Lawrence had locat- 
ed in Martinez, and the daughter and wife came here. Mrs. Swain had 
lived here fifty-eight years. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 239 

On August 22, 1913, John Swett, a pioneer educator of California, 
died at the age of eighty-three years, at his Alhambra home, "Hill Girt." 
He was the founder of the State school system, a teacher, author, pioneer 
educator, and most highly respected citizen. He was born in New Hamp- 
shire July 31, 1830, and began teaching when seventeen years of age. He 
came via the Horn to California and was 135 days on the water, arriving 
here in 1853. He mined for* a time and then returned to San Francisco 
and began teaching. In 1853 he became principal of the Rincon School, 
and remained there until 1862. One of the first graduates of the Uni- 
versity of California was one of Swett's pupils at Rincon. Mr. Swett 
served as State superintendent of public instruction from 1863 to 1867, and 
then again took up teaching, holding fine positions in San Francisco and 
later in Contra Costa County. 

Mrs. Mary L. Swett, relict of the distinguished educator, John Swett, 
died November 14, 1919, at her Alhambra Valley home in her eightieth 
year. She was the daughter of Judge E. P. Tracy, who drafted the plat- 
form on which Abraham Lincoln was first elected to the Presidency. She 
began teaching in San Francisco at the age of eighteen. She was born 
in 1839 in Connecticut and in 1854 came to California via Panama with 
her parents. She married John Swett in 1862, and they had seven chil- 
dren, four of whom grew up. 

February 27, 1926. — John Tarpley died at the local hospital Mon- 
day morning, aged seventy-eight years. He had resided in San Ramon 
many years and leaves a son there. 

Gabriel Tarwater, a pioneer of Contra Costa County, died at his home 
in Ygnacio Valley, Saturday afternoon, November 9, 1912, aged eighty- 
three years. He was born in Missouri, came to California in 1849, and 
had resided here sixty years. He left a widow and four children. 

January 16, 1926. — For seventy years a resident of Contra Costa 
County, and having approached to within three years of the century 
mark, Mrs. Martha J. Tarwater, one of the few remaining pioneers of 
the early fifties, breathed her last at her Ygnacio Valley home, where 
she had lived for half a century. Mrs. Tarwater was born in Missouri 
and came to California in 1852. With the exception of four years, 1852 
to 1856, she had lived in Ygnacio Valley. 

Alex Taylor came to California in 1868, and located at Point of 
Timber. He died in 1912. 

On August 25, 1923, at 5 :30 p.m., Volney Taylor passed away at his 
home in eastern Contra Costa County. He was born in Canada in 1851 
and came to California with his parents. In 1878 he married Agnes E. 
Andrew. In 1868 he moved to his place in eastern Contra Costa County 
and built a fine country home, and here he accumulated a fortune. He 
was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and for thirty years 
had been a trustee of the Good Templars' Home at Vallejo. 

Died, in Martinez, September 30, 1858, Archibald Tennent, Sr., 
aged seventy years. 



240 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Died, near Pinole, August 16, 1886, Dr. S. J. Tennent, M. D., a na- 
tive of England, aged sixty-eight years. Dr. Tennent had practiced in 
the Sandwich Islands. He was a California pioneer of the first mining 
days, in 1848, and had settled at Pinole soon after, where he farmed the 
Pinole Ranch. In 1849 he married Rafaela Martinez, and they had ten 
children. 

Died, at Providence Hospital, Oakland, March 20, 1915, Mrs. An- 
genette Thompson, a pioneer of Lafayette, where she had lived for fifty- 
nine years. Mrs. Thompson was sixty-eight years of age. She married 
Peter Thompson on March 23, 1862. She left three sons and three 
daughters. 

Peter Thompson died on July 31, 1914, aged seventy-six years. He 
was born in Canada in 1837, came to California in 1859, and located 
soon after at Lafayette, where he continued to reside until his death. 

March 27, 1926. — A pioneer matron of Contra Costa County, Mrs. 
Charlotte Thompson, of the Lafayette section for many years, passed 
away at an Oakland hospital on Monday. She was a native of California 
and was seventy-two years of age. Mrs. Thompson was the wife of 
Robert Thompson, roadmaster of the Lafayette section. 

January 5, 1924. — The death of W. S. Tinning occurred at his home 
in Martinez shortly after midnight, at the age of seventy-two years. He 
was born in New York in 1852 and when a young man came to California 
and Martinez. From 1885 to 1893 he was district attorney. On January 
13, 1902, he was made vice-president of the Bank of Martinez, and he 
succeeded James Rankin as president. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. 
Miriam Porter Tinning, and six children. 

The death of John Tormey of Bay Point occurred at St. Francis Hos- 
pital, San Francisco, in 1908. He had been a resident here for thirty-five 
years. He was a native of Ireland and was fifty-four years of age at the 
time of his death. He left a wife and three children. 

January 25, 1890. — The funeral of General M. G. Vallejo, last 
Thursday, was largely attended. 

February 26, 1908, Mrs. R. R. Veale passed away in Martinez. She 
was born in San Francisco in 1865 and was married in 1884. She left 
six children. 

Died, at Brentwood, June 5, 1886, Richard R. Veale, a native of Illi- 
nois, aged forty-seven years and eleven months. Mr. Veale had been a 
resident of the county since 1868, when he located in Eden Plain, and of 
California since 1857, when he came to this State via Panama. In 1880 
he married Malinda Sexton. 

John Tormey was born in Ireland in 1825, crossed the plains in 1850 
with oxen, and in 1865 located in this county and bought an interest in 
the Pinole Grant in partnership with his brother Patrick. He served as 
supervisor from Township No. 1 for years. In 1859 he married Anna 
Waterhouse, and they had nine children. He died in 1877. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 241 

Patrick Tormey, supervisor, passed away on Tuesday, May 7, 1907. 
He was born in Ireland in 1840 and came to New York in 1858, and to 
California that fall, landing in San Francisco on October 31. He joined 
his brother John, and together they bought 7000 acres of the Pinole 
Ranch. In 1877 he was elected a member of the board of supervisors, 
and with the exception of 1894 to 1898 had since served the county. He 
married Mary Matthews in 1875. 

Died, in Martinez, March 19, 1891, Mrs. Mary B. Tucker, relict 
of the late Capt. John Tucker, aged seventy-nine years. She had been a 
resident of Martinez since 1851. Captain Tucker died in 1881. 

Died, on April 3, 1902, James Walker, a native of Tennessee, born 
in 1825. He came to California in 1847, crossing the plains with oxen 
and arriving in 1848. He was a nephew of Joel Walker, scout and guide. 
In 1853 he came to Ygnacio Valley and farmed until 1890, when he sold 
out and bought a home in Walnut Creek. Mr. Walker served as a county 
supervisor three years. He was seventy-six years old when he died. 

Standing in the cemetery of Martinez is a monument bearing the in- 
scription: "Capt. Joseph R. Walker. Born in Roane County, Tenn., 
December 13, 1798. Emigrated to Missouri in 1819, to New Mexico in 
1820, Rocky Mountains in 1832, California in 1833. Camped at Yosem- 
ite, November 13, 1833. Died October 27, 1876. Age, 77 years, 10 
months, and 14 days." 

Captain Walker passed his last years with his nephew, the late James 
T. Walker, in Ygnacio Valley, near Martinez. He made his first trip 
across the plains in 1820 to New Mexico, on a trapping and trading ex- 
pedition, but at Prescott Lake troops were dispatched by the Governor 
of New Mexico to order their return. In 1832 Walker determined to 
make a visit to California. The best maps he could get of the country rep- 
resented a river flowing from Salt Lake to the Pacific Coast. He deter- 
mined to follow this route and early in the spring set out at the head of 
thirty experienced trappers, well mounted and well outfitted. Arriving 
at Salt Lake, he made a circuit of it, only to be disappointed in his at- 
tempt to find the river. Nothing daunted, he struck west and in October 
reached the Sierra Nevadas, which he crossed and attempted to descend 
near the headwaters of the Tuolumne, but failing, went farther south, 
struck the Merced, and got into the San Joaquin. His were the first white 
man's eyes that ever looked upon the Yosemite, which he then discovered. 
His party camped and trapped until spring. In the meantime Captain 
Walker, with a few men, explored the principal valleys of California. In 
1833 he went south along the foothills, looking for a pass to the east. 
Guided by his unfailing instinct, he came to what he considered the only 
true pass through at 35^ degrees north latitude, and named it Walker's 
Pass. He kept on the thirty-fifth parallel and passed through Colorado. 
In 1859 he acted as guide to troops sent up the Colorado River to Fort 
Yuma. He had been down the Colorado but never up it, but each day 
he would draw a map showing where the mountains approached the river, 



242 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

where the valley widened, etc., from memory, as he had seen it in 
1833. Captain Walker was cotemporary with Jedediah Smith, Kit Car- 
son, Jo Bridger, Bill Williams, Fitzpatrick, the Sublettes, and all the noted 
frontiersmen of the early days. In 1843, while Captain Walker was at 
Fort Hall, Captain Childs, the Yount family, Julius Martin and family, 
and Frank McClellan came along and wanted him to pilot them over the 
mountains. Walker was afraid they could not make it that winter. Cap- 
tain Childs was sent ahead and was to return and meet the party at 
Walker's Lake. The party started, but missed Captain Childs, who was 
to have provisions for them, and they were in sore straits. They traded 
horseshoe nails for fish from the Indians on Walker's River. Winter 
was closing in on them, and beyond the lake they killed their cattle, cached 
their wagons and goods, and after much suffering got into Tulare Valley. 
The women and children's sole dependence for food was placed on the 
rifle of Captain Walker. Captain Walker was a brother of Joel Walker. 

Died, December 30, 1919, at his home in Antioch, Joseph Wallrath, 
aged seventy-one years. He was born in Germany in 1848 and came to 
America in 1865, locating in Ohio, where he married Carolina Wendeln, 
who died there. In 1883 he came to California, locating at Brentwood, 
where he married Anna Lohse. In 1885 he located at Antioch. 

Mrs. Almira Walton, a pioneer of Brentwood, died on March 17, 
1908, aged ninety-two years. She was born in Georgia and came to Cali- 
fornia in 1856, and to Contra Costa County in 1862. 

F. W. Warmcastle was born in Pennsylvania in 1815; served as first 
lieutenant of Captain Crieg's Missouri Mounted Volunteers; came to 
California in 1849; was elected county judge in 1850; and served in the 
Assembly in 1853 and again in 1857, and in the Senate in 1877. He also 
served as district attorney. 

Mrs. Arthur Webb, for thirty-four years a resident of Crockett, died 
January 2, 1920, aged sixty-nine years. She was born in New York and 
had been a resident of California forty-six years. 

Frank Webb, a native of Maine, born in 1833, and a pioneer of 1858 
in California and of 1859 in Contra Costa County, died Thursday, April 
5, 1906. 

I. Weiss, a pioneer of 1859 in California, and of 1860 in Martinez, 
died May 15, 1896. He was born in Prussia in 1831. In 1862 he em- 
barked in business in Martinez, and in 1877 erected a building, which he 
had since occupied. He was a Mason; and it became known, upon his 
death, that he was the donor of the Bear Flag donated to the Native Sons 
of the Golden West and carried by them at the celebration in San Fran- 
cisco in 1890. So modest was he that he did not want his name mentioned 
in connection with the furnishing of the flag. 

Died, near Clayton, September 29, 1894, Chauncey E. Wetmore, a 
native of Connecticut, aged seventy-six years, nine months and one day. 
Mr. Wetmore arrived in California in 1847, before the discovery of gold. 
He engaged in business in San Francisco, and then in Benicia, and later 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 243 

removed to Contra Costa County. His next move was to Oakland, but 
eventually he returned to this county and made his home near Clayton. 
He was an independent thinker. 

Died, in Walnut Creek, July 7, 1893, Cornelius S. Whitcomb, a native 
of Canada, aged eighty years. Mr. Whitcomb came to this county in 
1851, and settled near Lafayette. 

C. N. Wight, for over fifty years a resident of the county, died at 
Pittsburg, April 17, 1913, aged seventy-nine years. He was born in New 
York and came to Contra Costa County in 1852, via Panama. 

In December, 1919, at the age of ninety-two years, Randolph H. 
Wight, a pioneer of Contra Costa County, died at the home of his daugh- 
ter in Berkeley. Mr. Wight was born in New York in 1827 and came to 
Oregon in 1847. In 1848 he arrived' in California, and in 1852 came to 
Contra Costa County for the first time. He married Orfa Durfee in 
1848. 

December 17, 1921. — The death of Mrs. Frances E. Wilder, daugh- 
ter of Capt. George Donner, at Byron recently, recalls the tragic story 
of the Donner Party's trials of 1846-1847 while en route to California. 
Of all those who came across the plains, the Donner Party suffered the 
greatest loss of life. Out of eighty-eight, forty-two perished. 

Arthur Williams, pioneer butcher of Walnut Creek and one of the 
oldest peace officers in the county, died at his home on September 21, 
1915. He was born in New York and was a soldier in the Civil War 
at sixteen years of age. Mr. Williams had been a resident of California 
for forty-four years. He was a Mason and an Odd Fellow. 

December 10, 1898.- — Francis H. Williams, public administrator of 
Contra Costa County, was suddenly stricken with heart disease in the 
office of Dr. E. E. Brown. He was born in Denmark in 1829; in 1846 
he came to New York, thence went to New Orleans, and in 1850 sailed 
via Cape Horn for San Francisco, settling in Solano County. In 1864 
he came to Contra Costa County and located at Antioch until coming to 
Martinez in 1878. In 1886 he was elected county assessor, and served 
until 1894. In 1896 he was appointed public administrator to succeed 
Francis Gunther, who had been adjudged insane. He married Mrs. Eliza- 
beth J. Emmons in 1862. 

Died, September 29, 1885, Jesse H. Williams, in Moraga Valley, 
aged seventy years, four months and sixteen days. Mr. Williams was 
born in Virginia in 1 8 1 5 ; he came across the plains in 1850 with ox-teams, 
and in 1854 came to Contra Costa County with his wife and five children. 

January 27, 1925. — William P. Williamson, Antioch pioneer, aged 
ninety-six years, passed away at his home there on Tuesday, January 27, 
1925, after a brief illness. He was a native of New Jersey and had come 
to California sixty years ago via the Isthmus of Panama. He is survived 
by two daughters, Miss Carrie Williamson and Mrs. Bertha Brewer of 
Antioch, and two sons, Everett and Chester Williamson of San Francisco. 



244 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Died, in Martinez, April 11, 1898, Thomas Z. Witten, a native of 
Virginia, aged eighty-four years. Mr. Witten was born in Virginia in 
1816. He went to Missouri in 1838, and in 1849 came to California, 
crossing the plains. In 1856 he came to Contra Costa County and settled 
near Pacheco. He left six children. 

Lewis Cass Wittenmyer, one of the most prominent and public-spirited 
men of the county, was born in Indiana in 1828, and came across the 
plains from St. Joseph, Mo., with mule teams in 1849, and mined for a 
time. In 1851 he took up 160 acres on San Lorenzo Creek. He returned 
East in the fall of 1852, but came to California the next summer, bring- 
ing a band of cattle and horses, and settled in Sycamore Valley. In 1857 
he came to Martinez, where he lived until the time of his death, which 
occurred in the fall of 1904. He .held many offices of public trust and 
was highly honored by all who knew him. He served as justice of the 
peace several terms, and was county clerk for thirty-two years. In 1872 
he married, and he became the parent of four children. He was a prom- 
inent Mason. 

March 19, 1911. — Died, at San Pablo, Frederick Wolf, a native of 
Germany, born in 1833 and a pioneer of 1859 in California. In 1860 he 
came to San Pablo. At his death he was seventy-eight years of age. 

On Monday morning, May 20, 1907, Charles Wood died at his Dan- 
ville home. He was born in 1830 in Massachusetts, came to California 
in 1852, and in 1862 removed to Sycamore Valley, Contra Costa County. 

December 18, 1918. — Mrs. Charles Wood, a resident of Sycamore 
Valley for fifty years, died this morning at the home of her son, Charles 
J. Wood, at the old family homestead. She was born in New York and 
was eighty-seven years old. She married Charles Wood in 1857 and in 
1862 came to Sycamore Valley to live. Two sons and two daughters are 
the survivors of her family. 

Died, March 25, 1915, at Woodside in San Ramon Valley, George 
Wood, aged seventy-eight years. He was born in Massachusetts and 
came to California in the early fifties. 

David S. Woodruff was born in New York in 1829. He came via 
Panama in 1858, located in Bay Point and taught school; and in 1861 
he was elected superintendent of schools. He also served as public ad- 
ministrator and was justice of the peace at Nortonville two years. He 
opened a drug store in Antioch, and moved to Martinez in 1880. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 245 



CHAPTER XVIII 

GLEANINGS FROM THE FILES OF THE CONTRA 
COSTA GAZETTE, 1858-1926 

The establishment of a newspaper in Contra Costa County was an 
important factor in its upbuilding and development. On September 18, 
1858, W. B. Soule & Company, of Martinez, printed the first copy of 
the Contra Costa Gazette, a weekly paper of four six-column pages, issued 
every Saturday. From that date, sixty-eight years ago, up to September 
18, 1926, the paper did not miss an issue. A complete set of bound vol- 
umes of the paper is to be found in the Gazette office in Martinez. The 
following data, historical and personal, gleaned from the files of the 
paper, will serve to chronicle the main events in the early history of the. 
county, trace the gradual development and expansion of its varied in- 
terests, and recall many interesting incidents in the lives of its pioneers. 

In the extracts given, side-head dates are for the most part to be un- 
derstood as dates of the weekly issues. Undated paragraphs follow in 
chronological sequence, as a rule, between those with dates, but often are 
not to be assigned to the preceding dated issue. It has seemed unneces- 
sary to use quotation marks, especially as the matter given has often been 
condensed. 

Some of the advertisers whose names appeared in the issue of Sep- 
tember 18, 1858, were: 

Charles A. Ruggles, M. D. 

Solano Hotel, Benicia, F. W. Weimann, proprietor. 

E. H. Bryan, copper, tin and sheet iron wares, stores, pumps, lead 
pipe, etc. 

L. H. Hastings, dealer in beef, pork, hides, tallow and all kinds of 
produce. 

A. Hersey, painter, glazier, paperhanger, whitewasher, and all kinds 
of imitations of wood and marble. 

J. W. Sanborn, Benicia, "where can be found papers from all the prin- 
cipal Atlantic cities; also an assortment of stationery, periodicals, etc." 

S. Blum & Brothers, dealers in groceries, clothing, drygoods, boots 
shoes, etc. 

E. Lasar, dealer in dry goods, clothing, groceries, boots, shoes, etc. 

George F. Worth, notary public. 

Martinez Lodge No. 41, F. & A. M.; T. A. Brown, W. M.; John F. 
S. Smith, Secretary. 

Hale & Fassett, dealers in drygoods, groceries, crockery, hardware, 
clothing, etc., Pacheco, Cal. 

Walter Lopez, shaving saloon. 



246 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Alhambra Hotel and Restaurant, meals at all hours. Horses and 
carriages to let. Josiah Sturgis, proprietor, Martinez. 

Cornelius Connelly, 500 bushels Australian Red Seed Wheat for sale. 

Bella Union Hotel and French Store, L. Dutil, dealer in groceries, 
etc. He recommends himself for superior wines and liquors. 

September 18, 1858. — A slight earthquake shock was felt here Sunday 
evening about 8 p. m. [As Saturday was the day of publication, the Sun- 
day mentir ned fell on September 12.] 

The through mail to Memphis and St. Louis starts from San Fran- 
cisco at 1 o'clock tomorrow morning, and it is calculated by the contractor 
that it will get through in twenty-five days. Preparations have been made 
to transport promptly any number of passengers that may offer, or any 
amount of mail matter. One hundred miles per day is the distance to be 
traveled, which, if the stages are able to perform, will cut the time con- 
siderably under twenty-five days. We fully expect that in the course of 
a year this southern mail will be run regularly through in from fifteen 
to twenty days. 

The steamer Sonora arrived in San Francisco on Thursday, at 11 a. 
m. She brings highly interesting and important news. The Atlantic tele- 
graph wire has been successfully laid. Congratulatory messages have been 
exchanged between Europe and America. The Queen of England sent 
the first dispatch to Mr. Buchanan and was immediately replied to. The 
cable was spliced in mid-ocean July 29. On August 4 the Niagara arrived 
with one end at Trinity Bay, New Foundland. On the 5th the cable 
was landed and connected with the American station. On the 16th the 
first message was flashed along the wires. 

On Monday evening the overland mail coach, which left Salt Lake 
September 1, arrived at Placerville with two passengers. 

The 6th Infantry has left Fort Bridger for California via the Hum- 
boldt. 

General Harney and a number of troops are en route to Oregon. 

Notice : The stock-owners of this county can have facsimile brands of 
their own inserted in this paper by paying cost of engraving and the usual 
price of advertising. 

Born, in Martinez, on September 23, 1858, to the wife of Henry 
Bush, Jr., a son. 

San Ramon. — There is no law laid down in the statutes in relation to 
hogs running at large in this county. 

September 25, 1858. — We are indebted to Henry Rich of the Knick- 
erbocker, of Benicia, for his gentlemanly treatment towards us and our 
friends on Sunday last. We would state that he has on hand a full supplv 
of mussels and a fine glass of brandy on which those who are waiting for 
the river-boats would do well to regale themselves. May success always 
attend him. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 247 

October 2, 1858. — Total value of property assessed for the year 
1857 was $1,842,405; but for 1858, $2,536,617, an increase of $694,212. 
This difference is in part due, no doubt, to the increasing activity and 
thoroughness of our efficient assessor. 

October 9, 1858. — A company of eighty men is organized at Weaver- 
ville to fight the Indians, and another is about forming. 

The Los Angeles Vineyard reports that gold and ores of silver and 
copper have been found in the mountains north of Los Angeles. 

The steamer Golden Gate, which left San Francisco on Tuesday last 
for Panama, carried away 420 passengers and $1,850,120 in treasure. 

The law prohibiting the immigration of Chinese went into effect on the 
1st inst. The last arrivals were per the ship Frowning Bird, the 28th ult. 

First dispatch over the Placerville and Humboldt Telegraph was sent 
October 7, 1858. Messages are now being sent hourly from Placerville east. 

Advertisement: — Ambrotypes, melancotypes, and portraits on leather. 
Also for sale, gilt mouldings and picture frames. J. W. Jones. 

October 16, 1858. — The overland mail arrived yesterday from San 
Francisco via Los Angeles, from Memphis and St. Louis, with four days 
later news from the East. The mail left St. Louis on the same day that 
the mail steamer left New York, and was detained thirty-seven hours at 
Fort Smith, Ark., waiting for the mail from Memphis; but still, with this 
drawback, the overland mail arrived in San Francisco before the mail 
steamer. 

San Francisco Markets: Flour, $9 to $10.25, slight decline; wheat, 
$2.75 to $3, as to quality; barley, $1 to $1.02^; oats, $1.50 to $1.55, 
as to quality; butter, Atlantic States, from 18 cents to 23 cents. Dealers, 
will pay 65 cents per dozen for eggs. Fresh butter, 80 cents per pound; 
cheese, 21 cents; spring chickens, $5 to $8 per dozen; old hens, $10.50; 
tame geese, $5 per pair; turkeys, 30 cents to 32 cents per pound; apples, 
jobbing at 15 cents to 20 cents per pound; Spanish cattle, 6 cents to 7 cents 
per pound, live weight; calves, 12 cents; American cattle, 8 cents to 1 1 
cents per pound, live weight. 

October 30, 1858. — The Gazette comes out, with Bonnard & Com- 
pany, editors and proprietors, who announce that they will "make it a 
paper worthy of the support of the citizens of the county, and not a 
vehicle to advance the interests of any clique of men or party, but an inde- 
pendent journal soaring above and toadying to none of the latter interests." 

January 1, 1859. — Contra Costa Agricultural Society formed at La- 
fayette. 

First County Fair was inaugurated October 11, 1859, and an ex- 
cellent exhibit took place. In September, 1861, a pavilion, 60 by 40 feet, 
was built at Pacheco. 

The first officers of the above were : L. I. Fish, president ; Daniel Small, 
vice-president; H. H. Fassett, recording secretary; L. M. Brown, cor- 
responding secretary; John M. Jones, treasurer. 



248 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

February 26, 1859. — W. Bradford appears as editor and publisher 
of the Gazette, and in his editorial he says: "It is usual for editors to 
set forth the manner in which they will conduct their paper and to en- 
large upon the advantages their accession to the editorial corps will be 
to the community, giving in detail the course they intend to pursue. Now, 
we do not propose to do anything of the kind. We shall endeavor to so 
conduct the Gazette as to make it a welcome weekly visitor to the family 
circle, the farmer, the mechanic and the merchant." 

February 26, 1859. — Ferryboat Carquinez will make regular trips 
between Martinez and Benicia, leaving Martinez at 8 a. m., 10 a. m., 
11a. m., 1 p. m., 3 p. m., 5 :30 p. m. ; leaving Benicia at 8 :30 a. m., 10 :30 
a. m., 1 1 :30 a. m., 1 :30 p. m., 3 :30 p. rri., and 6 p. m. Coffin & Swain. 

Born, April 30, 1859, in San Ramon Valley, to the wife of Jacob 
Reid, a son; May 1, to the wife of R. O. Baldwin, a daughter. 

April 7, 1860. — Overland Pony Express. The first Central Over- 
land Horse Express for St. Louis left San Francisco on Tuesday after- 
noon. It carries 85 letters at $5 each, amounting to $425. It is calcu- 
lated to make the trip to St. Louis in nine or ten days. At the same time 
the express leaves Sacramento, a courier leaves St. Joseph, Missouri, 
and if the project is a success at the start we may look for the announce- 
ment, at Carson City, of news only nine or ten days old, say on the four- 
teenth of this month. Mr. Wm. W. Finney, the agent of Russell, Majors 
& Company, has placed his station three hundred miles from Sacramento, 
towards Salt Lake, in order for the start. Another division extends out 
from Salt Lake to meet him, and from the latter city, eastward, the sta- 
tions of the mail from St. Joseph to Salt Lake will be used. 

April 28, 1860. — The Pony Express. The Pony Express last arrived 
was nine days and seventeen hours from St. Joseph, Missouri. The Ex- 
press passed through this place on Monday morning in charge of Mr. 
Thomas J. Bedford of Benicia. By previous arrangements, the ferry 
boat Carquinez was at her berth in Benicia at an early hour, in anticipa- 
tion of its arrival, and not a moment of time was lost in conveying it to 
this place. As the boat touched this side, the horse sprang from her deck, 
and dashing up the wharf was soon lost to sight as he and his gallant 
rider went flying on their way to Oakland. The distance from Martinez 
to Oakland is about twenty-five miles. The Express left here at 7 :33 
a. m. and arrived at Oakland as reported to us at 9:32, which, if correct, 
makes the time occupied one hour and fifty-nine minutes. According to 
the city papers, however, it was accomplished in one hour and forty-five 
minutes, which was probably the swiftest riding on the whole route. 

On April 28, 1860, the Gazette is published by Bradford & Bunker. 
"R. R. Bunker, having purchased a half interest in the Gazette establish- 
ment, will hereafter be associated and equally authorized with the under- 
signed in the publication of this paper. W. Bradford." 

On June 9, 1860, in San Francisco, a trial run was made with a 
steam wagon that arrived from England. It was guided with an appliance 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 249 

like on a boys velocipede. It was loaded with fifty tons and moved 
along briskly enough where the road was firm enough to bear the weight. 
Now that our Yankee machinists have a model, they may succeed in making 
improvements until perfection is reached. For the present we do not 
believe that the steam wagon will run our horses and mules off our 
common roads. 

July 7, 1806. — Pacheco Engine Company, No. 1, has the following 
officers and members: W. J. Caldwell, fireman; J. McDermott, assistant; 
John Phillips, secretary; W. T. Hendrick, treasurer; Elijah Hook, Nelson 
Howe, J. H. Troy, Henry Miller, S. J. Gould, Gus Wilson, J. C. Fish, John 
Thorn, S. Dubois, R. S. Brown, G. P.Sanford, J. Babbatt, Edw. Doane, 
Peter Pons, J. A. Littlefield, John Cerf, George Zogbaum, George Em- 
inett, H. R. Hicks, S. Bacon, W. Henry, S. Standish, W. K. Dell, George 
Sturtevant, W. H. Boss, A. Wortheimer, H. Lord, G. F. Rupert, P. H. 
Standish, G. W. Doane, W. E. Woodford, G. S. Tate, J. Clark, T. 
Downing, J. W. Baker. 

July 13, 1860. — The non-arrival of the pony express at the expected 
time was a source of deep regret to all who felt an interest in the suc- 
cess of the enterprise. The delay is probably caused by the breaking up of 
stations during the Indian troubles and the necessity of re-stocking the 
route with horses. A number of animals have been purchased in this 
vicinity for that purpose, and we may soon expect regularity in its 
movements. 

March 16, 1861. — "I have disposed of my interest in the Gazette 
office to W. W. Theobalds, who, in connection with Mr. Bunker, will 
continue the publication of the paper, and who together are authorized 
to collect all outstanding accounts of the office. W. Bradford." 

The paper thereafter was issued by Bunker & Theobalds. 

January 4, 1862, it began raining, and on the 11th the valleys, 
farming regions, hills, mountains and mining districts suffered; flumes 
and structures of all kinds used in mining were swept away, also bridges, 
miners' cabins, etc. Snow fell to a depth of six inches at the coal mines, 
and there were also landslides. 

In 1862 the Hot Springs near Byron were brought to the notice of 
the public, though they had been discovered years previously. 

Stockraisers of the early sixties in Contra Costa County, with reg- 
istered brands, included the following in or near the places named: 

Martinez: J. Strentzel, Dr.- F. E. Hough, Dr. John Tennent, M. 
R. Barber, B. R. Holliday, S. M. Swain. 

Alamo: M. B. Mitchell, A. Ford, A. Hemme, B. Hall, S. A. Carpen- 
ter, James Foster, F. A. Bonnard, A. W. Hammitt, S. Stone, U. Hunt- 
ington, W. Z. Stone, W. C. Chapman, D. P. Smith, W. Hayes & Bro., 
S. Wolff & Co., E. H. Cox, Joel Harlan, J. M. Jones, Golder Field, 
T\ Glass. 

Danville: John Smith, R. O. Baldwin, J. Flippin, D. L. Spencer, J. 
Sterne, J. M. Jones, J. L. Labaree, T. Flournoy. 



250 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Pacheco: James Hoyt, S. Pacheco, J. L. Bromley, D. Boss, J. T. 
Walker. 

November, 1862. — The Postmaster General has ordered the dis- 
continuance of the Antioch postoffice, as being of the class deemed un- 
necessary. 

December 20, 1862. — Dr. E. F. Hough discovered deposits of red, 
green, yellow and blue paints near Martinez on El Hambre Creek and has 
associated himself with M. R. Barber and N. B. Smith, and two capitalists 
of San Francisco, to develop the property. 

January 10, 1863. — Walnut Creek has had a postoffice established. 
The postmaster is J. R. McDonald. 

March 21, 1863. — Two years ago hardly a solitary house could be 
seen where Antioch now stands, and now there are some sixty buildings, 
all occupied, and more needed. There are two stores, express office, and 
saloons. The Stockton steamer stops there on its way up and down the 
San Joaquin River, so the people can get the papers from San Francisco 
and Stockton the day of issue. Religious services are held on Sunday, 
and a school of from twenty-five to thirty pupils is established. 

May 23, 1863.- — Mining companies include: Ypsilanti Gold, Silver 
& Copper Company, Clayton district, Contra Costa County, capital stock, 
$420,000, 4200 shares at $100; Cayuga Copper Mining Company, Clay- 
ton district, Contra Costa County, 3300 shares at $100 each; Bay County 
Gold & Silver Mining Company, Contra Costa Countv, capital stock 
$530,000, 1860 shares. Other companies are: Contra Costa Mining 
Company, Oriental Copper Mining Company, Pine Tree Mining Com- 
pany, Georgiana Mining Company, Rock Oak Mining Company, Peer- 
less Mining Company, Bay State Mining Company, and Bunker Mining 
Company; and in the San Ramon district: Cold Springs Mining Company, 
Buena Vista Mining Company, Golden Spear Mining Company, Silver 
Spear Mining Company. 

The following have been included since the last issue of the Gazette, 
to work copper mines in Contra Costa County: The Keokuk Gold, Silver 
& Copper Mining Company, capital stock $600,000, 12,000 shares at 
$50 each; and Contra Costa Copper, Gold & Silver Mining Company, 
capital stock $420,000, 8400 shares at $50 each. 

Twelve more were included during the week ending May 30, 1863. 

August 1, 1863. — Adjutant General, Kibbe has prepared and pub- 
lished a list of electors, residents of California, in the military service 
of the United State, entitled to vote at the next election. Here is the 
list from Contra Costa County: C. N. Ashley, M. Toumy, J. Neal, 
James E. Mason, J. Eichenburger, R. Hutchinson, P. F. Lawrence, W. H. 
Watrous, O. M. Coombs, Hopkin Hopkins, Charles Myer, N. B. McGill, 
Thomas Howell, G. R. Hosmer, Henry Andrews, B. Sharpless, James 
Baron, M. S. Loomis, William Whitney, F. O. McGuire, I. B. Sheppard, 
R. Haskell, G. Lawson, T. Scott, J. McConliff, P. Smith, William Craw- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 251 

ford, A. J. Dexter, John Ulric, V. Abbey, Dr. George Gwyther, M. A. 
Meisenheimer. 

September 19, 1863. — The first shipment of copper ore from the 
Mount Diablo mines, about one ton of rock from the Mount Zion, and 
a ton from the Pioneer, passed through Pacheco to San Francisco to be 
smelted. 

January 23, 1864. — The Federal officials, in completing the work of 
enrollment in Contra Costa County, report 1560 men liable for military 
duty. 

March 5, 1864. — A fire in Clayton on February 23 wiped out the 
Clayton Hotel, Rhine & Clayton's store, Union Hotel, A. Senderman's 
store, Perry Cram's livery, Dell's House; about $15,000 loss, one-fourth 
insured. 

1867-1868. — Mrs. Jane C. Smith planted some mulberry trees and 
raised some silk worms near Somersville. 

Mrs. Sarah C. Sellars, in the Iron House district, had some 3000 trees. 
A cocoonery was built near the grove, on scientific principles. 

Mrs. Lafferty, Mr. Betteheim and Mr. Mills also rarsed cocoons. 

April 1871. — James Steele and Isaac Yoakum were arrested in the 
Moraga Valley for assault upon the Moraga family. Some fifteen or 
twenty shots were fired from rifles; one horse, ridden by a Moraga, was 
killed. The affray was a dispute over the possession of land, originally 
owned and occupied by the Moragas but claimed by Carpentier and 
Yoakum under judicial decrees. 

April 27, 1871. — Isaac Yoakum was shot, the affair taking place 
in Alameda County, while he and an assistant were driving some cattle 
to Yoakum's ranch in Moraga Valley. [Later Silverio Moraga was 
killed by George Steele, July 8, 1871.] 

June 4, 1873. — Miss Gumecinda Moraga sued Isaac Yoakum in the 
Third District Court for $10,000 damages, for an alleged assault com- 
mitted during the difficulties incident to the Moraga feud. 

November 2, 1872. — The following statistics of the county were 
compiled from returns made to the surveyor general by the county sur- 
veyor, January 1, 1871, to January 1, 1872: 

Land enclosed in 1871 : 125,940 acres; land cultivated in 1871, 69,790 
acres. 

Acreage Harvested 

Wheat 51,140 701,720 bushels 

Barley 15,400 310,030 bushels 

Oats 1,800 48,900 bushels 

Rye 670 2,000 bushels 

Corn 200 5,320 bushels 

Buckwheat 30 570 bushels 

Peas 20 410 bushels 

Beans 225 4,560 bushels 



252 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Acreage Harvested 

Potatoes 90 16,890 tons 

Sweet potatoes 6 30 tons 

Onions 28 3,810 bushels 

Hay 13,700 14,300 tons 

Beets - 1,800 tons 

Turnips 700 tons 

Pumpkins and Squash 2,000 tons 

Butter -194,200 pounds 

Cheese : 38,900 pounds 

Wool - - 110,620 pounds 

Honey 6,200 pounds 

January 25, 1873. — Isaac Lobree, general grocer and provision mer- 
chant at Antioch, was arrested on complaint of the town marshal, Mahon, 
convicted and fined $5, on a charge of violating the Sunday law, by keep- 
ing his place open. He paid the fine, thereby signifying his acceptance 
of the law. This is the first conviction under the law. 

January ^25, 1873. — The Martinez public school, which has been 
closed the past two months, will reopen in the Masonic Hall, January 27. 
It is to be hoped that the new school building will be completed by 
May 1, for the summer term. 

April 5, 1873. — H. W. Carpentier has instituted suits in ejectment 
against many of the settlers and occupants of the Castro Sobrante lying 
between and surrounded by Pinole, San Pablo, Moraga, San Ramon, 
El Hambre and Welch ranchos. Most of the parties are living on the 
upper end of the tract claimed and, as they have reason to believe, upon 
what are public lands, if the Sobrante is not stretched beyond its proper 
limits. 

April 5, 1873. — By requirement of the new code, Contra Costa 
County, with some 8000 inhabitants, must be apportioned into five super- 
visoral districts at the next meeting of the Board; and at the next general 
election the people of each district will elect a supervisor, if the district 
has not already an official. 

First District: Martinez, Pinole, San Pablo; about 400 votes. 

Second District: Lafayette, Walnut Creek, and Danville; about 400 
votes. 

Third District: Pacheco, enlarged by San Miguel and part of Welsh, 
Concord, Bay Point and part of Black Diamond; about 300 votes. 

Fourth District: Clayton, Nortonville with Landing and part of Black 
Diamond, and Somersville; about 350 votes. 

Fifth District: Antioch, Point of Timber; about 390 votes. 

July, 1873. — J. S. Hill contemplated building Hotel Mount Diablo. 
Articles of incorporation were filed November 4. Capital stock $25,000, 
shares $10 each. 

September 27, 1873. — Danville Grange, P. of H., with thirty char- 
ter members, was organized at Danville today. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 253 

November 22, 1873. — The certificate of incorporation of the Bank 
of Martinez was filed in the county clerk's office October 6, 1873. 
Directors: L. D. Fish, W. W. Cameron, S. Blum, H. M. Hale, W. M. 
Hale. Capital stock $50,000; 500 shares at $100 each. The new bank 
building is now completed and the bank is already proving a great 
public accomodation and has been doing a brisk business. This is the 
second week it has been open for business. 

January 10, 1874. — On December 29, 1873, Antioch Grange, P. of 
H., was instituted with J. P. Walton, Master. 

Judge C. W. Lander died very suddenly, on January 16, 1874, of 
congestion of the brain, on the veranda of the residence of Mrs. Jane 
E. Chase, about midway between the village center and his own resi- 
dence. He was a graduate of Waterville College, Maine. 

January 23, 1874.- — Marshall Martin was hanged in the inclosure 
of the jail yard in Martinez, for the murder of Valentine Eischler, com- 
mitted about a year ago on Marsh Creek, since which time he has 
been in the county jail. Verdict of the coroner's jury at time of ex- 
ecution: "We, the jury, find that Marshall Martin was born in Ten- 
nessee, was about fify-eight years old, and that he came to his death by 
being executed by the sheriff and his deputies of Contra Costa County at 
Martinez under warrant issued out of the Fifteenth District Court of 
the State of California. We also find that the arrangements for the 
execution were perfect in every particular; and that any fall that would 
have broken the neck would have severed the head from the body on 
account of the muscular development being soft and flabby. D. W. Swain, 
Wm. Hanna, T. McMahon, J. W. Fish, David Powell, F. M. Smith, A. 
B. Hamblen, T. Redfern, B. V. Merle, A. Altamerano." 

The Governor, on Wednesday, issued a communication to T. A. 
Brown, as county judge, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Judge 
Lander. 

February 18, 1874. — Articles of incorporation of Green Valley and 
Mount Diablo Summit Road Company were filed to construct and main- 
tain a turnpike road from a point on the Green Valley Road to a junction 
with Mount Diablo, Summit Road; stock $5000; shares $10 each. 

February 21, 1874. — Among the mail contracts for four years, from 
July 1, awarded by the Postoffice Department, was one to L. A. Miller 
for daily service on the Martinez to Oakland route, which includes La- 
fayette, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville and Pacheco, for $1685 per year; 
and one to John Eads for daily service on the Pacheco-Antioch route, 
embracing Concord, Clayton, Nortonville and Somersville, for $1180 
per year. The mail between San Pablo and Martinez was awarded to 
N. P. Ingalls. 

April 4, 1874. — Within a week the mountain grade of the Diablo 
Summit Road will be completed and the crossings of the canyon portion 
made passable for any description of vehicle, so that the ascent to the 
summit may be quickly and pleasantly made. 



254 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

April 18, 1874. — The coach line for the Diablo roads, the one from 
Martinez through Pine Canyon, and that from Haywards through Green 
Valley, will have the finest carriages and teams ever employed for coach 
passenger conveyances on this Coast. Fifty fine horses have been pur- 
chased. The carriages are being built by the Kimbal Carriage Company 
and are especially designed for style, strength, lightness and elegance. 

The Martinez and Pine Canyon line will be run by J. Seeley Bennett; 
the Haywards line, by W. S. Low. 

April 25, 1874. — The residents of Ygnacio Valley, San Ramon, La- 
fayette and Walnut Creek are making a laudable effort to establish a 
high school in the vicinity of Walnut Creek. $5000 in subscriptions have 
already been secured on further subscription of $10,000. 

May 2, 1874. — This has been a noteworthy day, not only for Mar- 
tinez, but for all lovers of outdoor travel in California. The carriage 
road from Martinez to the summit of Diablo was thrown open to the 
public. Last summer J. S. Hall made the ascent alone on horseback from 
Clayton, and knowing something about mountain roads, conceived the 
plan of building a scenic road to the summit. He enlisted the support of 
others, and the road is the result. 

September 26, 1874.- — The Danville Grange celebrated the opening 
of their new hall today with a festal meeting. A very pleasant time was 
enjoyed by all. 

The Alhambra Grange was organized December 4, 1874. 

March 13, 1875. — A fire company has been organized at Antioch, and 
apparatus consisting of four poles, three hooks, two ladders, and four 
axes, has been ordered. 

December 18, 1875. — The new church at Danville is rapidly nearing 
completion, and it is expected it will be ready for occupancy in the early 
spring. Rev. Symington is to serve as pastor. 

January 15, 1876. — The survey of the Moraga Rancho in two separ- 
ate tracts, one of 12,800 acres and the other of about 500 acres, excites 
some remarks and conjectures. If the quantity, to which the title of a 
grant presumed to be in one body has been confirmed, can be located in 
two parts, within the exterior limits, why not in ten to twenty or more 
to cover all the choice spots? Mr. Carpentier has run the 500-acre strip 
through the Redwood Canyon, and the larger acreage embraces all the 
best portion of Moraga Valley. 

April 28, 1876. — The Central Pacific Railway depot was located at 
Martinez. 

June 3, 1876. — Frederick Langenkamp, of Ygnacio Valley, is the 
pioneer hop grower of the county. Three years ago he planted ten acres. 
This year his prospects are fine for a large yield. He has a furnace, dry- 
ing house and packing rooms constructed on approved plans, and is going 
into the business as a source of good profit. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 255 

August 30, 1878. — Antioch Ledger announces that Henry C. Galla- 
gher has taken a five-year lease of the hotel at the Point of Timber Hot 
Springs. 

September 7, 1878. — There is a fever created by the survey of the 
Sobrante Grant, begun some weeks ago under the direction of the United 
States Surveyor General, and many people in the western border of 
Contra Costa County and about Oakland have been much excited in hopes 
of getting a grab at what may prove to be government land, after the 
location and restriction of the Sobrante. 

The land is all in the possession of settlers who have purchased the 
grant title and who hold mostly in large tracts; but the privileged few, 
armed with the inside information, have located University script on every 
foot of the ground except 160 acres to each settler. In addition the 
hills teem with squatters who are busy selecting their locations without 
any regard to the grant title or the University script. The squatters are 
ignorant as to the lines of either survey, and annoy the farmers whose 
titles are not affected as much as they do those whose lands lie in the 
disputed belt. 

The grant owners hope to have the survey rejected; the script holders 
hope and expect that it will not be; and the squatters hope to acquire 
some right by being early in the field. The script locators are entirely 
dependent upon the ruling of the courts in their favor, and are willing to 
await the turn of events; but the squatters are persistent and not disposed 
to remain quiet, for fear they might waive some right which they otherwise 
might acquire. The settlers are determined to defend their rights and 
are quietly arming. Nearly every house on the disputed ground is a citadel 
stored with arms and ammunition. It is to be regretted that this entangle- 
ment could not be gotten over without resort to arms, either to assert or 
defend the rights of any man. 

September 7, 1878. — K. W. Taylor is now engaged in making the 
partition surveys of the San Pablo Rancho for the commissioners appoint- 
ed under the partition decree and judgment of the court. 

September 7, 1878, the postoffice was established at Pinole and 
Bernardo Fernandez was appointed postmaster. 

September 21, 1878. — The occupants of the Sobrante lands excluded 
from the recent survey, and of lands on previously finally located grants 
that have been included in the late Sobrante survey, are in an unpleasant 
state of worriment; and those of the excluded Sobrante lands are forced 
to the extremity of resisting the invasion of script locators and preemptors 
with death-dealing arms, or of surrendering their possessions. There have 
been as yet no fatal encounters, but shots have frequently been exchanged 
between the two forces. There is a possibility that there may be consid- 
erable bloodshed for possession of some of these lands. 

Rancho el Sobrante finally confirmed to J. J. & Victor Castro, surveyed 
by William Minto in August, 1878, containing 20,563.42 acres, which 



256 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

area covers 10,375.69 acres included in the final survey of Rancho La 
Boca de la Canada del Pinole and 221.09 acres included in the final survey 
of Rancho Laguna de los Palos Colorados. 

October 12, 1878.- — Ejectment suits begun by several owners under 
Sobrante Grant title whose lands have been jumped upon claim that they 
are public lands by the recent survey. Most of these claimants have been 
in possession for years. Among the suits of ejectment are: one by Felix 
Brisac against some twenty-three or twenty-four alleged tresspassers, 
one by Daniel Clancy against four or five, one by Mrs. Mary Baden 
against four, one by N. Thode against four, one by Herman Hadler 
against four, one by Julius Reiners against four. 

Married at the residence of the bride's parents near Point of Timber, 
October 22, 1878, by Rev. L. H. Meade, of Clayton, Volney Taylor and 
Miss Agnes E. Andrews. 

November 23, 1878. — The thriving village of Walnut Creek has 
been improved the past summer by a large addition to the schoolhouse; 
half a dozen cottages; the two-story building of J. M. Stow, postmaster, 
store below and Masonic Hall above; the new store of Shuey & Pittman; 
an enlargement of D. N. Sherburne's store, which has been provided with 
a fireproof safe. Walnut Creek has the aspect of a thrifty business village. 
The fine climate and attractive surroundings are likely to insure a con- 
stant future gain of population. 

November 30, 1878. — An anvil salute was fired under the direction 
of the Workingmen's Club in honor of Dennis Kearney, when he passed 
through Martinez on his way East on the Overland last Tuesday after- 
noon. The great agitator bowed his acknowledgements from the rear 
platform. 

In the several suits brought in the District Court by Sobrante owners 
under grant title to eject trespassers, judgment of ejectment was given 
for the plaintiffs with cost of suit; and in the case of Brisac against 
Twomey et al., the judgment included damages of $1000. 

December 7, 1878. — The owners of the Briones Grant were notified 
by telegram from Washington, D. C, last Tuesday, that their patent had 
been issued and recorded in the general land office and would be mailed 
to their order on Friday of this week. 

January 25, 1879. — The Union Cemetery, controlled by a corpora- 
tion, George Fellows, president, has been located on four acres on a quar- 
ter section of C. J. Preston's land leading from Point of Timber to Brent- 
wood. 

April 12, 1879. — The Concord fire department has been fully or- 
ganized and a committee appointed to report on apparatus. $134 was 
subscribed to further the objects of this committee. Officers: H. J. Nel- 
son, foreman; Charles Bente, assistant; S. Bacon, treasurer; B. J. Mur- 
phy, secretary; Charles Navas, P. Klein and Paul Lohse, trustees. 

May 17, 1879. — The board of supervisors purchased the south half 
of the vacant portion of the town block east of the court house, of L. C. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 257 

Wittenmyer, for $500, and are negotiating for the other half for the 
same sum, which has been declined. 

July 12, 1879. — James Stewart announces the opening of his new 
cash grocery and provision store at the corner of Castro and Locust 
Streets. 

July 26, 1879. — The beginning of a sewerage system for Martinez 
has been made in the line of an 8-inch iron-stone pipe laid through four 
blocks up from the bay on Las Juntas Street, with provision for construct- 
ing side drains on either side. 

Married, at Point of Timber, September 3, 1879, by Rev. William 
Gaffney, Wells N. Moore and Olive A. Plumley; also on September 3, 
Henry Sedge and Sarah E. Plumley. 

September 6, 1879. — On September 1, 1879, Walnut Creek was alive 
with people from the houses of the town and country, thronging the main 
street to witness the golden wedding of Milo H. Turner and Caroline M. 
Clark. They were married in Troy, N. Y., in 1829; came to California 
in 1852; came to Contra Costa County and located at Walnut Creek in 
1874. The wedding ceremony was again enacted, after which congratu- 
lations were in order. Many beautiful presents were given the couple. 

September 30, 1879. — Gen. U. S. Grant was greeted by about 300 
people and the firing of a salute, when the train on which he was a pas- 
senger made a two-minute stop at Martinez. He stood on the platform 
of the rear car and after three cheers had been given, courteously raised 
his hat in acknowledgment. 

November 24, 1879. — The great railroad ferry-boat Solano, of the 
Northern Railway Company, for service from Benicia to Bull Valley, 
made her trial trip November 24 from Oakland to Benicia slip, and 
thence across the straits to Bull Valley, where she lies ready for service. 
The boat is the largest in the world ever built for such service, and all 
the resources of the builders have been employed with a view to strength 
and efficiency. 

Married at Clayton, December 20, 1879, by D. S. Carpenter, justice 
of the peace, Joseph A. Houston, of Byron, to Miss Isabel McLane of 
Lake County. 

January 10, 1880. — Judge T. A. Brown presided at the opening of 
the new Superior Court last Monday, January 5. No business offering, 
he declared a recess. There is much doubt as to the regularity and valid- 
ity of any proceeding in the Superior Court under the present practice, 
Acts and Codes. An early act of the legislature is looked for, which will 
enable them to go on without the raising of any questions as to the validity 
of their proceedings. 

September 9, 1882. — The Port Costa Flouring Mills Company has 
filed articles of incorporation with the county clerk of San Francisco 
County for the purpose of carrying on a general flouring mill business at 



258 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Port Costa. Capital stock $150,000. Directors: F. M. Brown, William 
M. Given Jr., W. B. English, Barry O. Baldwin, and E. J. Coleman. 

At Port Costa wharf building is progressing rapidly and track laying 
will soon commence on the wharf recently surveyed. Soon tracks will 
be laid all around the houses built on the piles at this place. 

September 16, 1882. — A Legion of Honor is about to be instituted 
at Clayton. 

September 23, 1882. — Since September, 1858, we do not remember 
that we have had so early a considerable rain throughout so large a por- 
tion of the State as that of last Saturday. ... In this county there was 
a heavy fall at Antioch, which seems to have been confined to the river 
margin. In the evening it showered heavily at Martinez, while in the 
vicinity of Pacheco and Concord the fall of rain and hail was heavy, but 
did not extend to Walnut Creek. 

Port Costa. — The coal bunkers "have been started, and work from this 
source has brought about sixty men to this place. The wharf will be 
800 feet long, and from 30 to 40 feet wide. 

The hotels of Port Costa are full to overflowing. Rooms are in 
great demand; beds are at a premium. There is a good chance for some 
energetic person to start a lodging house here. 

Concord. — The telephone- line between Pacheco and Clayton was com- 
pleted last week. 

October 7, 1882. — The Port Costa Warehouse & Dock Company has 
incorporated with a capital stock of $500,000. The directors are: A. 
Cheesebrough, E. B. Cutter, A. E. Mosby, J. H. Freeman and A. R. 
Church. The object is to do a general storage business. 

October 28, 1882. — H. O. Beaman of Pinole is having a new resi- 
dence constructed. 

A. K. P. Nason has filed a declaration of homestead in Block 23 in 
the town of Antioch. The value of the property is estimated at $2000. 

New powder works are being erected near Pinole by the Granite Pow- 
der Company. Some day we expect to hear that the west end of the 
county has entirely gone to blazes. 

O. F. James, for nearly twenty-two years postmaster of Martinez, 
has resigned and will soon retire from his long business career. 

December 2, 1882. — The Concord boys are talking about organizing 
a brass band. 

The coal market is so brisk at present that the Mount Diablo mines 
are unable to fill all the orders that come in. 

December 9, 1882. — A Presbyterian church has been organized at 
Concord with Rev. D. Monroe as pastor; William Caven, John Braw- 
and, and E. A. Jaquith, trustees. There has been $500 appropriated by 
the Presbytery, $600 by the citizens for a building, and S. Bacon has 
given a lot. 

December 23, 1882. — A Good Templars Lodge, with forty-two mem- 
bers, was organized at Lafayette, with officers elected and installed. A 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 259 

Good Templars Lodge with 23 members was organized at Martinez, 
and officers elected. 

December 30, 1882. — A Good Templars Lodge was organized at 
Danville December 16, with thirty-seven members. 

January 6, 1883. — The snow-storm on Sunday last was a surprise 
and a novelty, although it was general throughout the Bay countie6, 
where snow is seldom experienced. Contra Costa seems to have received 
more than her share. There fell at least five inches in our county and the 
west valleys, and east of Diablo the fall in places amounted to a foot. 

January 13, 1883. — Last week the British ships Minnie Burrell, Argo- 
naut and Cernga left Port Costa for Europe, and the Glendarnel arrived. 

J. D. Peters of Stockton estimates that there are 400,700 tons of 
wheat in the State on December 31, of which 30,000 tons are in Contra 
Costa County. 

January 20, 1883. — A brass band was organized at Antioch. 

A certificate of co-partnership has been filed by L. Levinsky, P. Fabian, 
and M. Grunauer, who will conduct a merchandise business at Byron under 
the name of P. Fabian & Company. 

January 27, 1883. — The Antioch Lodge of Good Templars has now 
105 members. It is the banner lodge of the county. 

The Concord Literary and Dramatic Club has been organized with 
A. Thurber, president; Dr. E. Bragdon, secretary; Mrs. R. H. Caven, 
treasurer; and with a membership of twenty-five. 

February 24, 1883. — The citizens of Walnut Creek have made a 
commendable movement in the organization of a Hook & Ladder Com- 
pany; foreman, W. B. Rogers; secretary, J. M. Wilson; treasurer, M. 
Kirsch. 

Scammon's Hotel is now completed at Port Costa. For the last few 
months the hotels at Port Costa have been crowded to utmost capacity. 

March 3, 1883. — The thermometer at the Martinez postoffice Thurs- 
day reached 78 degrees in the shade. A little more of that snow, please. 

The recently erected railroad coal bunkers at Port Costa are finished 
and ready for use and the tracks were laid to bring the trains under the 
chutes, of which there are fifty, from which a train of twenty-five cars 
can be loaded in a few minutes. The capacity is about 12,000 tons of coal. 

Port Costa.— The first pile was driven Monday for the erection of 
the Nevada Bank's large wharves and warehouses, which, when completed, 
will be 2300 feet long. At the present rate, our town will soon be a solid 
structure for a distance of three miles. 

March 17, 1883. — Excelsior Lodge, I. O. G. T., of Byron, which was 
organized March 7, 1869, with eighteen charter members, celebrated its 
fourteenth anniversary with 160 present, visitors coming from many neigh- 
boring lodges. 

At a meeting of the citizens of Martinez at the Court House Monday 
evening for the purpose of organizing a water company to supply Mar- 
tinez and Port Costa with water, R. R. Bunker was elected chairman, and 



260 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

C. Ed. Miller, secretary. A committee was appointed to draw up articles 
of incorporation, also one to see where water could be obtained. The 
former committee was composed of I. E. Marshall, S. Blum, S. J. Bennett, 
Thos. McMahon, J. O'B. Wyatt; the latter: T. A. McMahon, I. E. 
Marshall, and W. S. Tinning. 

March 31, 1883. — A slight earthquake shock was felt in Martinez at 
ten minutes of eight o'clock yesterday morning. 

The Congregational church at Eden Plain has been removed to Brent- 
wood, where it will be occupied by the Methodist Episcopal congregation, 
who bought it. 

The Antioch Lodge of Good Templars now has a membership of 150 
and is about to establish a reading-room for the public. 

Articles of incorporation of the Nevada Warehouse & Dock Com- 
pany, capitalization $500,000, were filed this week. 

Murphy & Cavanaugh will open their new store at Concord on April 
2, with the greatest display of goods ever exhibited in the town. 

April 7, 1883. — The Antioch Town Hall was ready for occupancy 
this week. 

A Council of the American Legion of Honor will be instituted at 
Crockett this evening by Deputy Grand Commander S. B. Thompson 
of Martinez. 

May 5, 1883. — Starr & Company, milling corporation, are building 
a 4000-barrel mill and large wharves for wheat shipping, and a warehouse 
to hold over 100,000 tons at the wheat port on the south side of Carquinez 
Straits. 

May 5, 1883. — The first annual meeting of the Contra Costa County 
Grangers' Warehousing and Business Association, under new articles of 
incorporation, was held last Wednesday at the Alhambra Grange Hall 
in Martinez, and was attended by nearly all the stockholders who repre- 
sent Alhambra, Walnut Creek and Danville granges. 

May 19, 1883. — A meeting of the Martinez Gun Club was held in 
the office of Justice F. M. Smith last Saturday evening, with President H. 
Weatherby in the chair. A constitution and by-laws were adopted. 

June 2, 1883. — A fine stream of water was struck in the tunnel of 
the Martinez Water Company Tuesday, a distance of twenty-seven feet 
from the mouth of the tunnel. There are now two streams running from 
the tunnel and the indications are that a still greater abundance will be 
found. The water is of fine quality and comes out through the rock 
crevices with a force that indicates an immense pressure behind it. 

June 9, 1883. — A brass band has been organized by a number of 
young men at Point of Timber and Byron. 

The first direct rail shipment for the Grangers' Warehouse by new 
switch connection, was made to Port Costa, of 150 tons of wheat stored 
and sold by R. O. Baldwin of San Ramon Valley. 

Another fine stream of water was struck in the tunnel of the Martinez 
Water Company. There are now three streams of excellent water. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 261 

At a meeting of the Contra Costa County Agricultural Society held 
at Pacheco last Saturday, it was resolved that the society become a mem- 
ber of the National Trotting Association. This will give the society an 
opportunity to govern the conduct of drivers and parties entering horses 
for races. 

June 16, 1883. — Nelson Peterson, of Antioch, has been granted a 
patent for an improved road cart. 

E. W. Hiller started out his ice wagon this week through Pacheco, 
Concord, Walnut Creek, Alamo and Danville. 

Over 30,000 gallons per day is now running from the tunnel of the 
Martinez Water Company, and prospects are good for doubling that 
amount in a few days. 

A recent census of the Martinez School District shows 126 boys and 
117 girls between the ages of 5 and 17, nine less than for last year. 

June 23, 1883. — A barn on the ranch of N. W. Smith, near Antioch, 
was struck by a whirlwind one day last week and completely destroyed, one 
piece of the roof being carried forty yards. 

July 14, 1883. — The results of wheat-threshing in the county, so far 
reported, indicate a shrinkage and loss of forty per cent from effects of 
the early June hot spells. 

July 28, 1883. — George W. McNear has purchased the El Hambre 
Ranch interests of W. A. Piper for $100,000. 

The Nevada Dock warehouses took their first grain for storage a 
few days ago. 

Report of grain production in Point of Timber shows the turnout of 
a few fields : 

A. Richardson 165 acres 1,500 lbs. 

A. Porter 75 acres 1,900 lbs. 

S. M. Wills 110 acres 840 lbs. 

J. Geddes 400 acres 850 lbs. 

George Cople ..200 acres 840 lbs. 

A.V.Taylor 78 acres 1,725 lbs. 

J. S. Netherton 47 acres 1,350 lbs. 

J. M. Baldwin 300 acres 1,650 lbs. 

Volney Taylor 125 acres 1,720 lbs. 

The larger returns are the result of thorough cultivation, the shallow 
plowing giving the best returns in quality and quantity. 

W. P. Netherton, after his harvest vacation, has returned to Oakland 
to continue his high school studies. 

September 1, 1883. — The first ship to load at Nevada Dock ware- 
houses, the Euterpe, 1197 tons, was docked there last Tuesday. The sec- 
ond ship docked Thursday. 

The Grangers' warehouses at Martinez are filling up with grain, and 
nearly all storage room has been engaged. 



262 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

September 8, 1883. — The twentieth anniversary of Pacheco Lodge 
No. 117, I. O. O. F., will be held at the Fair Grounds next Wednesday 
at ten o'clock a. m. 

September 15, 1883. — R. O. Baldwin, of San Ramon, took first prize 
at the Golden Gate Fair in the "horses of all work" class for his stallion, 
"Gold Hill." Capt. J. E. Durham, of Pacheco, took one of the premiums 
in the Roadster Stallion class for his colt, "McVeagh." 

September 15. — Two church services were held for the first time last 
Sunday at Port Costa. 

October 6, 1883. — There is much reason to fear that our Mount 
Diablo coal mines, that have for the past twenty years furnished so large 
a portion of the steam-making fuel of the State, will be unable much long- 
er to maintain a competition with the fine large coal veins of Oregon and 
Washington. 

It is understood that orders were received at Somersville to discon- 
tinue all mining in the Pittsburgh Mine and take out all underground 
machinery and tracks. In the Black Diamond Mine at Nortonville work 
has been retarded by a heavy inflow of water, which overtaxes the pump- 
ing machinery, and the owners are making no move to remedy the situa- 
tion as it now exists. 

A deplorable lack of interest was shown by the farmers in the slim 
attendance at the Twenty-third Exhibition of the Contra Costa County 
Agricultural, Horticultural, and Mechanical Society at the Fair Grounds 
near Pacheco. 

October 13, 1883. — The pumps of the Black Diamond coal mine have 
got the heavy flow of water reduced and under control so that work has 
been resumed in full force. 

The earthquake of last Tuesday morning was the liveliest since 1868. 
It occurred a few minutes after one o'clock a. m., lasting three seconds. 

October 27, 1883. — The Contra Costa Telephone Company have let 
the contract to run an extension of their line through Nortonville, Som- 
ersville, and Stewartville to Antioch. It is but a few weeks ago that their 
line was extended to Oakland and San Francisco, giving direct connec- 
tion with those cities and with San Leandro, San Lorenzo and Haywards. 

A Sabbath school was successfully organized at Port Costa last Sun- 
day. Preaching was held in the evening and is to be continued regularly. 

November 3, 1883. — The Pittsburg coal mine has been closed per- 
manently. 

A lamp-post and large lamp have been placed at the corner of the 
Court House lot near the entrance on Main Street. 

November 10, 1883. — A telephone has been ordered placed in the 
sheriff's office by the board of supervisors for the use of the county. 

Walnut Creek Hook & Ladder Company now possess a fine cart fully 
equipped. 

The business portion of the town of Port Costa was almost entirely 
destroyed by fire. The business portion was a line of wooden buildings 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 263 

along the water's edge, every building resting on piles. Fire rapidly spread 
towards McNear's warehouse, taking every building in its path. 

The wharf was also damaged, and several thousand bushels of wheat 
and eight cars. The loss is only partly covered by insurance. Four hotels, 
three saloons, eight freight cars and eighty tons of wheat were destroyed. 

November 17, 1883. — Mr. Ipswich, late purchaser of the Centennial 
Hotel, has had a force of carpenters and painters repairing and renovating 
the building. 

The Hook & Ladder Company of Concord have appointed a com- 
mittee to receive bids for the erection of a handsome hall. 

December 1, 1883. — Charles B. Porter, for eighteen years editor of 
the Gazette, has disposed of his interest in the paper. 

The Pacific Coast Steel & Iron Manufacturing Company desire to 
locate in Martinez if they can sell $50,000 of stock here, which is offered 
at half-price. 

The California Redwood Company filed notice of application for a 
wharf franchise. They have bought twenty acres near Pinole for their 
yards. They desire a franchise on the water's edge. 

December 8, 1883. — The Petroleum Refining & Developing Company 
has incorporated for the purpose indicated by the title. The principal 
place of business is Haywards. It is claimed that first-quality petroleum 
has been discovered in the Livermore Mountains and development work 
is soon to begin. 

The Commercial Hotel was opened to the public Monday evening, 
and a large number of people took advantage of the occasion to inspect 
the establishment. There is certainly no hotel in the county superior to 
the Commercial. The proprietor, J. Ipswich, spread a sumptuous supper 
for his guests. 

From 3500 to 4000 tons of coal per month are being taken out of 
the Empire Mine. 

December 13, 1883. — This week's weather has been cold, foggy and 
disagreeable. Ice and fog is a condition we seldom have in Martinez. 

D. P. Griffin has bought a half-interest in the Pacheco Flour Mills. 

The farmers of the Danville section look for a dry year and have 
stopped plowing, as the ground is very hard. 

A. C. Tichnor, of Los Angeles, claims to have invented an electrical 
process which will do away with telephone and telegraph wires and poles. 
[Query: Was this an early experiment in wireless telegraphy?] 

December 22, 1883. — A meeting of subscribers and others interested 
in the proposed new steel works at Martinez will be held at the Exchange 
Hotel this afternoon at two o'clock. 

The total amount of real estate sales for the last five months of 1883, 
through the office of Matthews & Sayre, amounted to $167,450. 

December 29, 1883. — Rainfall to date 2.13 inches. The farmers 
generally have resumed plowing. 



264 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

At a meeting of the State Teachers' Association in San Francisco this 
week, D. J. Sullivan of San Pablo was placed on the Committee of Nom- 
inations. 

Port Costa is being rapidly rebuilt. Several houses have been erected 
and others are going up. The new Catholic church is nearly completed. 

The Point of Timber Landing Company are engaged in constructing 
a canal, thirty-six feet wide and four and a half feet deep, from a point 
in the slough near their old wharf, where their buildings are located. 
It is to be about 4000 feet long. At the ordinary high tide this will fur- 
nish over six feet of water, and at low tide two feet. 

Ninety-six trains per day run over the road between Port Costa and 
Oakland. 

January, 1884. — The year 1883 was ushered in by a remarkable snow- 
storm; New Year's Day, 1884, was mild and pleasant. 

Contra Costa County began the new year with $118,946.76 in its 
treasury. 

The tunnel of the Martinez Water Company is now in 300 feet, and 
prospects for additional water grow gradually better. 

January 26, 1884. — The American Exchange Hotel, corner Main and 
Wyatt Streets, in Antioch, was entirely destroyed by fire early last Mon- 
day morning. John Griffin, son of the owner of the hotel, and Patrick 
Hines, a section-hand, perished in the flames. The hotel was built in 
1871 by Patrick Griffin, but was destroyed by fire the same year. It was 
rebuilt of brick, being the only brick hotel building in the county. 

February 2, 1884. — Rainfall to date, 6.12 inches. 

St. Patrick's Church, at Port Costa, will be dedicated tomorrow. 

Everybody is smiling this week on account of the rain. The farmers 
and merchants are all happy. Up to Friday noon of this week 3.36 inches 
of rain had fallen at Martinez. Other sections benefitted in like manner. 

February 9, 1884: — The following notice was presented and adopted 
at a meeting of the Pacific Coast Steel & Iron Manufacturing Company, 
held at Melrose : 

"Notice is hereby given to all whom it may concern, that in pursuance 
of the written consent of the stockholders of two-thirds of the capital 
stock of the Pacific Coast Steel & Iron Manufacturing Company, and 
which consent is in writing and duly filed in the office of the said company, 
that the office and the principal place of business of the Pacific Coast 
Steel & Iron Manufacturing Company will be changed from Melrose, 
Alameda County, to the town of Martinez, Contra Costa County, Cali- 
fornia, and that hereafter said office and place of business of said Com- 
pany will be at Martinez aforesaid." 

February 9, 1884. — The Catholics of Lafayette, Moraga Valley, 
Alamo and Walnut Creek are preparing to erect a church not far from 
Walnut Creek. 

February 23, 1884. — A large force of men and teams are at work 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 265 

on the foundation of the new steel works. The buildings and machinery 
are to cost over $110,000. 

During the past week there have been eight ships loading at the Ne- 
vada Docks, and seventeen at Port Costa. 

The Antioch Ledger was revived last week as a Democratic paper, 
Charles F. Montgomery being its new editor and proprietor. The Ledger 
makes a good showing on its local page, and its editorial columns are 
original and interesting. 

Vincent Hook has purchased the Fish Ranch between Martinez and 
Pacheco, containing over 1000 acres. 

March 8, 1884. — Up to ten o'clock Friday afternoon the rainfall at 
Martinez had amounted to 1.68 inches, making a total for the* season of 
12.19 inches. 

March IS, 1884. — The total rainfall for the season is now 16.25 
inches. 

March 15, 1884. — The Gazette has purchased another job press, 
making four now in operation. 

The efforts of the Martinez Water Company have been rewarded. 
Now 62,000 gallons daily come from Maraschi Canyon, six miles from 
town. The tunnel is in 360 feet. Five or six miles of pipe will be required, 
and its fall will be 800 feet. A reservoir will be built on the hills near 
Martinez and the water piped into town. 

March 22, 1884. — The damage to crops on Roberts Island by the 
breaking of the levee is estimated at $500,000. 

Six thousand sacks of wheat were shipped by car this week from the 
Grangers' warehouse here to the Grangers' warehouse on the Straits. 

Treat & Whitman, experienced horticulturists, are setting out from 
eighty to one hundred acres in fruit trees and vines on their place in Ygna- 
cio Valley. 

March 29, 1884. — A severe earthquake was felt in this county on 
Tuesday, at seventeen minutes to five o'clock p. m., followed by a slight 
shock one hour later. The quake seems to have been quite general 
throughout the State. In San Francisco brick buildings were cracked in 
many places. 

April 5, 1884. — A question now before the citizens of Martinez is 
that of incorporating. It is believed the proper time has arrived for 
such a move. 

The month of March had 8.50 inches rainfall. 

April 19, 1884. — The new El Dorado Hotel at Antioch opened last 
week. 

The Concord Sun has gone into an eclipse; whether partial or total 
is not known. 

E. W. Hiller has secured the Antioch ice-house for this season 
and is now prepared to furnish ice at that point. 

May 10, 1884. — Martinez is to be incorporated under the general 
laws. 



266 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Today the first run of steel will be made at the works to test the cupo- 
las and to see that everything is in running order. 

The new Presbyterian church at Walnut Creek is going up rapidly. 

The Steel Company is making molds and shells for castings. The 
men engaged in the work are experienced and skilful. 

It seems to be definitely settled that Moore & Smith will locate their 
extensive lumber yards here in Martinez during the summer. 

Work progresses on the California and Nevada narrow gauge, and 
it will reach Walnut Creek this summer. 

May 31, 1884. — Oakland and Carquinez Railway Company filed ar- 
ticles of incorporation with the county clerk of Alameda County, with a 
capital of $500,000. The projected road will run from Oakland harbor 
over the San Antonio range of hills to Moraga Valley, Contra Costa 
County, and thence to the Straits of Carquinez. 

News from Crockett and Wheatport state that the Sunday school 
has an average attendance of forty; the public school, an attendance of 
thirty-five. Two dwellings have been erected, a variety store opened, 
and a new butcher shop put in operation. Heald's Agricultural Ware- 
house is going full blast, and Starr's' Mill is completed to the second story. 

The assessment roll of the county will probably foot up between $12,- 
000,000 and $13,000,000 this year. 

A new tannery is about to be started near Martinez by two Benicia 
men. The schooner Columbus is here with a cargo of bark for the en- 
terprise. 

The new officers of Martinez, elected May 3 1 : F. M. Warmcastle, 
Samuel Robin, Dr. H. Bernett, Dr. John Leffler, trustees; John O'B. 
Wyatt, clerk; J. J. Jones, treasurer; Frank Pitts, marshal. There was 
a tie vote for the fifth member of the board of trustees between J. H. 
Borland and Henry Potter, and it was declared neither was elected. 

June 14, 1884. — The rainfall brought the total up to 24.23 inches. 

San Ramon Hotel will be opened today as a first-class country hotel, 
with Joseph Raster, proprietor; Joseph Willard will be the manager. 

The rain damaged the hay crop of the entire State, and much of the 
heavy grain is badly damaged. The loss in the State will run up into the 
millions. 

June 21, 1884. — -J. H. Borland was declared elected the fifth member 
of the board of trustees of Martinez at a special election. 

A run of 10,000 pounds was made at the steel works last Monday. 

Matthews and Sayre sold during the last twelve months more than 
8049 acres, totaling $372,500, and making an average price of $46 per 
acre. This means the development of ranch property and new settlers. 

July 12, 1884. — The new Congregational church at Stewartville will 
be ready for occupancy in ten days. 

The old and new fire organizations of Martinez were consolidated 
at a meeting Tuesday evening at the court house. President, L. C. Wit- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 267 

tenmyer; foreman, Neal Hurley; treasurer, James Braire ; treasurer, J. 
H. Borland; secretary, J. O'B. Wyatt. 

Report of Superintendent Borland, of Contra Costa Telephone Com- 
pany: 54 miles of line; 34 instruments; balance on hand, $384.08. 

August 9, 1884. — The board of supervisors have engaged William 
Minto and T. A. McMahon to draw a correct county map. 

August 16, 1884. — The dedication of Bennett's new hall was a grand 
success. 

Blaine and Logan Clubs are being organized all over the county. 

September 6, 1884. — The display of fruits, vegetables, cereals, etc., 
from this county in San Francisco made by Matthews & Sayre equaled 
any display ever made there and was in many respects superior to similar 
exhibits from other counties heretofore made, and yet the fruit repre- 
sented but a few of our best orchards. Among those who contributed were 
Messrs. Raap, McBride, Dr. Strentzel, Fish, Dudley, Sickal, Thomas, 
John Gambs, Dick and Dukes. Following is a list of the products ex- 
hibited: Grapes — seedless, Sultanas, Sweet Water, Rose of Peru, Flaming 
Tokay, Zinfandel, Muscat, Palestine, Mission, Victor, Black Hamburgs, 
and Golden Chasselas; numerous varieties of peaches, pears, plums, ap- 
ples, oranges, lemons, cucumbers and melons; wheat, seven feet high; 
barley and oats, nine feet high; rye; chestnuts; corn with six ears to a 
stalk and fourteen feet high. 

The Twenty-fourth Annual Fair of Contra Costa County Agricul- 
tural, Horticultural and Mechanical Society was held at Pacheco Sep- 
tember 8 to 13. 

The county was treated to a fine rain Sunday night. Very little dam- 
age was done, as the threshing was practically finished. 

Thirteen schooners were loaded with hay and grain at Antioch this 
week by W. A. Brunkhorst. 

Bray Brothers have shipped 2557 bales of hay this week. 

September 27, 1884. — The fleet of the Pacific Yacht Club will visit 
Martinez today. 

The amount of wheat received at Bray's each day amounts to from 
forty to fifty tons. 

October 4, 1884. — There was a sharp frost in the San Ramon Valley 
Thursday morning. 

October 18, 1884. — Construction work on the new Congregational 
church building at Crockett has begun. 

During the past week the rainfall in the county has been 1.13 inches. 

November 22, 1884. — Over sixty men are at work excavating and 
grading for the site of the new Selby's Lead Works, a short distance be- 
low Vallejo Junction. This large enterprise will add to the business and 
wealth of the county. 

December 6, 1884. — Eight street lamps were placed in position this 
week in Martinez at advantageous points. These lamps will give suffi- 



268 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

cient light for all present purposes, as there are several private street 
lamps which will continue to be used. 

The great event at Point of Timber last week was the opening of the 
Landing Company's Canal, which is three-quarters of a mile long cut 
through the tules from Indian Slough to the company's yard on the main- 
land. The stock is all owned by residents of Point of Timber. A schooner 
with 50,000 feet of lumber is expected in the canal in a few days. 

The first new sidewalk on the official grade in Martinez was con- 
structed this week by Robin & Maloche in front of their blacksmith shop 
on Main Street. 

December 17, 1884. — William P. Netherton, oldest son of J. S. 
Netherton, graduated from Oakland High School last week. 

On December 17 the Byron Hotel burned; insurance, $7000. 

December 20, 1884. — It is stated that the Black Diamond coal mine 
will shut down within a few weeks owing to operating expenses. 

January 3, 1885. — A new sidewalk has been placed, leading to the 
Court House. 

January 17, 1885. — Articles of incorporation of the Antioch & Men- 
docino Lumber Company have been filed with the Secretary of State; 
paid up capital, $200,000. Antioch is to be made the forwarding point 
for all kinds of lumber on the Southern Pacific. 

January 24, 1885. — The Martinez Water Company has proved a 
success. An abundance of water, sufficient to supply a city of 20,000, has 
been obtained. The work has been carried on by John and Harry Porter, 
who back their faith by their work. The tunnel is 900 feet long and is 
situated 840 feet above Martinez. 

January 31, 1885. — Rainfall to date, 8.19 inches. 

At Port Costa all the wharves are lined with ships, and wheat is being 
poured out of car, warehouse and barge for nine hours daily, six days of 
the week. Many of the ships work three gangs at once. 

February 21, 1885. — The Empire Mine is shipping 125 tons of coal 
per day. 

A tax was voted at Crockett for a new school building; fifty votes solid. 

The Three Brothers, the second largest ship afloat under sail, loaded 
45,000 sacks of wheat this week at Port Costa. 

March 7, 1885. — The marriage certificate of W. P. Netherton and 
Maggie M. Glassford was filed this week. 

The new Catholic church at Pinole will be dedicated March 8 by the 
Most Reverend Archbishop Riordan. 

March 14, 1885. — Lumber is being hauled for a new large "Cash 
Store" building in Martinez, to be built for L. M. Lasell, of Nortonville. 

March 28, 1885. — A meeting for the organization of a N. S. G. W. 
Parlor at Martinez was called for Monday evening at the office of Jus- 
tice F. M. Smith. 

General Canby Post No. 78, G. A. R., organized in Martinez, is the 
first organized by Civil War soldiers in the county. G. W. Bowie is Com- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 269 

mander: M. H. Bailhache, Senior Vice; O. L. Marsh, Junior Vice; R. N. 
Doyle, Q. M.; Dr. H. Bernett, Surgeon; Harry Heinz, Chaplain; George 
H. Wellington, Officer of the Guard; and A. L. Gartley, Adjutant. 

The first passenger train on the narrow gauge left Oakland at nine 
o'clock Sunday morning with a number of officials and invited guests on 
board, and made the trip to San Pablo and return. All were pleased with 
the smoothness of the road. 

April 18, 1885. — A communication of the Water Company, offering 
to sell its works to the town for $25,000, was received and laid over until 
April 28. 

The Martinez Warehouse property, the warehouses and real estate 
on Pacheco Creek, schooners Martinez and Melrose, and the steamship 
Tulare, now located in Martinez, all being a portion of the assets of the 
estate of W. A. Bray (Bray Brothers), will be sold at 226 Clay Street, 
San Francisco, today to the highest bidder. The sale is under the direc- 
tion of assignees, C. A. Knox and Frank Otis. 

April 25, 1885. — At the sale of the Martinez Warehouse property, 
Blum & Company of Martinez put in the highest bid, and the property 
was sold to them. They will soon remove their offices to the old Bray 
offices. 

May 16, 1885. — The following schooners arrived at Martinez this 
week for Blum & Company: The Christina Stephens, with a cargo of 
7500 posts; the John McCullough, with 120,000 feet redwood; the Mar- 
tinez, with a load of bricks; and the Melrose, with a load of coal, lime 
and lumber. 

The furniture and fixtures of the late Good Templars Lodge in Mar- 
tinez were sold at auction on May 23 by W. A. J. Gift. 

A Chapter of R. A. M. was recently instituted in Antioch. 

The dedication of the new Pythian Castle of Black Diamond Lodge 
No. 29, K. of P., of Martinez, will take place on June 5, upon which occa- 
sion a grand ball will be given. This lodge has erected a fine two-story 
structure on Main Street. 

The Martinez Cash Store and Wholesale Grocery, Lasell & Com- 
pany, proprietors, will be opened to the public Monday morning. 

Mr. Norris, of Concord, is laying a real city sidewalk around his 
premises, constructed of cobblestones from the quarry near town. Other 
property owners please take the hint. 

William Thomas has had erected, at his own expense, a water-foun- 
tain on Main Street at the Knights of Pythias corner for the benefit of 
the public. The water comes from a spring on his father's premises and 
is of good quality. 

June 6, 1885.; — The thermometer reached 100 degrees in the shade 
Friday, the 29th of May, at Walnut Creek. 

July 4, 1885. — Of the $38,000 bonded indebtedness of the county, 
$9000 has been paid, leaving $29,000 still outstanding. 



270 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The residence of John Murphy, near Concord, was burned Sunday 
morning, with a loss of $3000. 

The firm of Matthews & Sayre has dissolved, Mr. Sayre going to 
Lakeport. Mr. Matthews has united with Easton & Eldridge of San 
Francisco under the firm name of Pacific Coast Land Bureau, and will 
remain in Martinez as agent of the bureau. Since coming here Mr. 
Matthews has been active in selling lands for his company. The first 
year 8049 acres passed through their hands and sold for $372,500. The 
second year 14,973 acres were sold for $838,532. 

July 25, 1885. — The Gazette is dressed in mourning out of respect 
to General Grant. 

August 1, 1885. — Up to yesterday forty-five schooner-loads of hay, 
12,000 bales, had been shipped this season from Blum & Company's ware- 
house. 

Preparations are under way for the Twenty-fifth Annual Exhibit of 
the County Fair. The Grangers of Contra Costa are discussing the pro- 
priety of combining for making a general display of farm products. 

The Martinez postoffice has been raised to the dignity of a third- 
class salaried office. 

Our warehouse capacity is shown in the subjoined table, which in- 
cludes all the warehouses in the county except that of the State Grangers' 
Business Association located on the Straits: 

G. W. McNear, Port Costa 42,000 tons 

Contra Costa County Grangers', Martinez 6,200 tons 

Starr & Company, Crockett 50,000 tons 

Blum & Company, Martinez, (two grain warehouses) .... 2,700 tons 

Blum & Company, Martinez, (two hay warehouses) 900 tons 

Blum & Company, Pacheco, (two grain warehouses) 2,550 tons 

Blum & Company, Pacheco, (two hay warehouses) 500 tons 

Blum & Company, San Pablo 1,500 tons 

Blum & Company, Brentwood 2,500 tons 

Blum & Company, Byron 1,500 tons 

B. Fernandez, Pinole 3,400 tons 

Nevada Warehouse & Dock 90,000 tons 

Contra Costa County Grangers', Crockett 10,000 tons 

Total warehouse capacity for County 213,750 tons 

August 29, 1885. — The bell for the Congregational church arrived 
a few days ago. It weighs 900 pounds. 

September 5, 1885. — The County Fair will open Monday on the 
grounds of the society near Pacheco. 

September 12, 1885. — Dr. Strentzel shipped this week a large assort- 
ment of fruit to the Louisville Exposition and will continue shipments 
during the Fair. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 271 

The Alhambra Grange of Martinez will celebrate its eleventh anni- 
versary at Grange Hall next Saturday afternoon by a harvest festival. 

Entries at the County Fair were almost one-half less than last year. 

September 19, 1885. — A small distillery outfit was captured above 
Antioch by United States officers. 

M. Cohen, of Danville, announces that on account of ill health he 
will sell his business and retire. 

September 26, 1885. — Patrick Brown was appointed supervisor for 
District No. 4, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of John D. Bowen. 

The sale of delinquent steel stock took place Saturday at the office 
in the Gazette Building. . . . The amount received on the assessments 
will pay all debts of the county. An offer has been accepted from a Stock- 
ton man to rent the building for a foundry, but he has not qualified as yet. 

Thomas & Baldwin have fitted up a drug store in the new Fernandez 
Hotel building. 

October 3, 1885. — Dr. Strentzel has succeeded in getting grapes to 
Eastern markets safely. The fruit was carefully packed in carbonized 
bran, which appears to have answered the purpose. He packed four 
boxes in a different manner and shipped them as an experiment. 

The Cook ranch stock, which has won premiums at the Golden Gate, 
State and Stockton Fairs, were returned to the ranch Monday. 

The board of directors of Martinez Free Library and Reading Room 
met last Tuesday evening, organized, and elected the following officers: 
A. Tait, president; Miss Maggie McMahon, treasurer; Miss Alice Bush, 
secretary; John L. Chase, librarian. It was determined to open a read- 
ing room at once, and the public was invited to make use of its privileges. 

There are but few residents remaining in Nortonville. Somersville is 
a little better situated, as the Rankin mine is still working. Just now 
the outlook for coal is not very bright. 

At Selby's Smelting Works about $30,000 in gold and 30,000 ounces 
of silver are being handled each day. The well at the works is now down 
620 feet. 

On the night of October 6, the Orinda Park School was destroyed by 
fire, the work of an incendiary, no doubt. 

Martin Bonzagni has purchased the interest of his partner in the 
soda works at Pacheco and will conduct the business alone. 

November 14, 1885. — The new Congregational church was dedi- 
cated Sunday at Martinez, and C. S. Vaile was installed as pastor. 

November 21, 1885. — The warehouses at Port Costa are about filled 
with wheat, most of which is being loaded into ships direct from the cars. 

Point of Timber rejoices over another rain. 

The Landing Company have gotten through the first year of their 
canal, as boats come and go without getting stuck in mud. 

Byron Hotel, built on the ruins of the old one, is about completed 
and adds much to the appearance of the town. 



272 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

D. R. Thomas, of Martinez, will soon commence tunneling for water 
in the hills on his own premises near town. He already has two tunnels, 
one 184 feet and the other over 200 feet long, and during the summer 
he has supplied several with good water. He proposes to extend the 
tunnels and run two more. If he can furnish Martinez with one-fourth 
of the water required, it will be a benefit. 

The new county map was completed a few weeks ago and accepted 
by the supervisors. It is an admirable work and will prove valuable for 
reference and general information regarding the outlines of the county, 
its water-front, roads, rivers and creeks, boundaries, grants, towns and 
general topography. 

The marriage of Miss Baudelia Soto and A. J. Galindo, Jr., was cele- 
brated December 13, 1885. 

December 26, 1885. — Martinez Cornet Band has been organized 
with the following members : A. E. Blum, G. Shirley, T. A. McMahon, 
J. L. Chase, A. J. Soto, F. Berryessa, W. A. Hale, R. Harvard, F. M. 
Smith, Henry Curry and W. R. Matthews. Prof. Fred Schmidt, of Stock- 
ton, was engaged as instructor. 

January 1, 1886. — Rainfall to date, 13.83 inches. The farmers in 
the county are anxiously waiting for the ground to get dry enough to plow. 

Business transacted at the Depot in Martinez for December: Shipped 
to San Francisco, 81,700 pounds of barley, 2 cows, 2 calves, 2 horses, 
1000 pounds dried fruit, 3980 pounds wine, 11,500 pounds grape fruit, 
719,186 pounds wheat; to Port Costa, 146,200 pounds barley; to Oak- 
land, 5 bulls; to San Jose, 83,120 pounds general merchandise. Received, 
360,000 pounds general merchandise. 

January 9, 1866. — The Fernandez Hotel has been leased by H. R. 
Wright for five years. 

W. R. Matthews is canvassing the town to see what chance there is 
of the citizens' subscribing for a gas company, with proposed capital of 
$50,000. If that amount is raised, M. G. Elmore of San Francisco will 
subscribe $20,000. 

The Martinez Free Library and Reading Room opened October 7, 
and began with 130 books; there are now 300 books, in addition to maga- 
zines and other periodicals. The room used is donated by Dr. Strentzel. 

Walnut Creek has the honor of starting the anti-Chinese movement 
in this county. A meeting was held on January 27. 

John Gambs, of Pacheco, has over 13,000 gallons of wine stored in 
his cellar. 

Selby's Smelting Works use over 400 tons of coal per month. 

Antioch's new postmaster, ex-Sheriff D. P. McMahon, took charge 
of the office on January 25. 

February 6, 1886. — The Martinez Hotel, in the Fernandez Building, 
was opened to the public Tuesday evening. A grand ball was held Fri- 
day evening. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 273 

February 13, 1886. — An anti-Chinese meeting is called for Monday 
evening at the Court House. 

There was a slight earthquake felt Wednesday evening at nine-thirty 
o'clock. 

■Charles Ludden is making a lot of gymnasium apparatus for the 
Martinez schoolyard, for the boys and girls. The children should be 
supplied with all needful appliances for obtaining healthful exercise. 

Contra Costa County is destined to become a paradise of vineyards 
and orchards, of which Ygnacio and Diablo Valleys will be the central 
portion. 

Mrs. Corbett, the postmistress, has decided to move into the new 
Martinez Hotel building, and a large corner room is being fitted up for 
the office. 

March 30, 1886. — Brentwood is booming right along and will be a 
lively town this summer. 

Dr. H. V. Mott has been appointed postmaster at Brentwood. 

A branch of the Y. M. I. is being organized in Martinez. Father 
Aerden has been made temporary president, and Will Lawlers, secretary. 

Curry & Jones have secured the contract for carrying the mail over 
the route from Martinez through Pacheco, Concord, Antioch, Judson- 
ville, Stewartville, Somersville, and Nortonville, for the next four years. 

The California and Nevada Railroad Company have put on trains 
between San Pablo and Oakland. They will soon connect up San Pablo 
Creek with the Walnut Creek stage. 

April 3, 1886. — The new Methodist Episcopal church at Lafayette 
will be dedicated tomorrow. 

The fare from San Francisco to Stockton is ten cents via the river 
boats. The fare from Port Costa to Stockton via the Southern Pacific 
is $2.30. 

April 10, 1886.- — An exciting baseball match took place at Martinez 
Sunday between the "Courthouse Gang" and the "Down Town Chumps." 
Seven innings were played and the final score was 35 to 18 in favor of 
the Chumps. The game was enjoyed by both participants and spectators. 

April 17, 1886. — -Y. M. I. No. 25 was organized Sunday at the 
Catholic church, with 50 charter members. James Kenna was elected 
president. 

Up to May 1, 1886, the seasonal rainfall is 23.48 inches. 

B. J. Murphy has been appointed postmaster for Concord, and Mrs. 
A. Guyeth for Walnut Creek. 

W. R. Matthews has started a movement for holding a fair in 
Martinez during the stay of the G. A. R. visitors in San Francisco, about 
the middle of August, for the purpose of displaying the various resources 
of the county. At the conclusion of the fair the exhibits are to be taken 
to San Francisco and displayed there. Every farmer in the county is 
requested to make exhibits of everything raised from the soil. 



274 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

May 22, 1886. — The Pacific Yacht Club will sail up to Martinez 
tomorrow. 

Ninety degrees in the shade Sunday. 

John Conway has been appointed postmaster at Danville. 

Justice of the Peace F. M. Smith and Miss Libbie Tibbetts were 
united in marriage Thursday morning, May 20, 1886, by Judge A. Van 
R. Paterson. 

A new warehouse for Blum & Company is being erected at Bay Point, 
upon the site of the old one that was blown down two years ago. The 
new building is 150 by 44 feet. They will also erect a small station house, 
as Bay Point is a flag-station. 

May 29, 1886.— W. B. Thomas has purchased E. W. Hiller's ice 
business. 

Vessels at Nevada Dock are storing away grain at the rate of 100 
car-loads per day. The accumulation of cars on Tuesday was 450. 

June 12, 1886. — The El Cierbo Hotel at Selby was opened on Satur- 
day, June 5, with a grand ball. The proprietor, Mr. Pickford, is to be 
congratulated on his well-appointed place. 

June 19, 1886. — Mrs. B. J. Murphy has been appointed postmaster 
at Concord. 

An interesting game of ball was played Sunday at the new recreation 
grounds in Martinez between the Haymakers of Clayton and the 2nd 
nine of the Martinez club. The score was 16-17 in favor of Martinez. 

June 26, 1886. — The new schoolhouse at Port Costa is finished, and 
reflects credit on Mr. Casey, chairman of the board of trustees, and Mr. 
O'Donnell, the contractor. It is located near the old building on a lot 
75 by 100 feet. 

Amount of tax levied $3,750.00 

Losses from various sources 1,102.00 

$2,648.00 

Cost of building $1,600.00 

Cost of lot 1,000.00 

Fencing, etc 298.00 

July 10, 1886. — For the first time since 1854, when Colonel Baker 
delivered a thrilling oration, the Fourth of July was celebrated in Martinez 
in a manner worthy of the day and its associations. Nearly every building 
in town was decorated and every individual exerted himself to add to 
the temporary attractions. A fine procession wended its way through 
the principal streets, headed by Grand Marshal L. C. Wittenmyer and his 
aides, A. J. Soto, Myrtel Blum, Frank Glass and James Briare. The floats 
were numerous and well named. The principal address was made by 
General G. W. Bowie. An oration by Judge Paterson was also delivered. 
Two baseball games were played: One between Clayton and Martinez, 
with a score of 21 to 15 in favor of Martinez; and one between the 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 275 

Martinez Club and the Hofberg Club of Pacheco, with a score of 4 to 
5 in favor of Hofberg. The day ended with fire works and a grand ball. 

July 17, 1886.- — The Concord postoffice made a Money Order. 

The narrow gauge has bought six new passenger coaches and two 
locomotives, which are to be put on the new lines from Oakland to 
Temescal. 

The losses sustained from the extensive grain fires in Sycamore Valley 
were: Charles Wood, $2000; D. Sherburne, $300; J. D. Smith, $100; 
John Camp, $250; besides damages to pastures of the first two named. 

July 31, 1886. — The new wagon road was completed July 30 from 
Martinez to Port Costa at a cost of $668 per mile. The contractor lost 
$137 on the job. The road will be continued on to Crockett. 

August 7, 1886. — On Tuesday Judge T. A. Brown sent his resignation 
to Governor Stoneman, to take effect October 1, 1886. In July, 1885, he 
was stricken with paralysis while attending to the duties of his office. 

September 4, 1886. — Work began on macadamizing Main and 
Ferry Street, of Martinez, Tuesday morning. It will take from sixty to 
seventy-five days to complete the contract. 

The California raisin crop for this year is estimated at 600,000 boxes. 

September 18, 1886. — The Fair was very successful and reflects credit 
upon Contra Costa County. 

The delegates of the Congregational churches of Solano and Contra 
Costa Counties held their conference in the Congregational church at 
Martinez. 

J. J. Jones, of the Alhambra Poultry Yards, received premiums at the 
State Fair for the best breeding hens of Dark Brahmas, Buff Cochins, 
Plymouth Rocks, Brown Leghorns., White Leghorns, one male and four 
females each; the best Brown Leghorn cockerel and pullet; the best White 
Leghorn cockerel and pullet; and the best Houdan cock and hen. 

October 2, 1886. — The first shower of the season occurred Thursday. 

Port Costa, October 9, 1886. — McNear is building a warehouse, 100 
by 100 feet, between Burke's Hotel and the railroad. It is intended tor 
storing hay, potatoes, etc., and will be fireproof. 

Brentwood Lodge, No. 243, A. O. U. W., was installed Saturday 
evening in Wristen's Hall by District Deputy Grand Master Frank Cole- 
man and State Deputy Frank S. Poland. 

Pierce Ryan, of Byron Hot Springs, is having an addition to the hotel 
erected. It will be 150 feet long and two stories high. 

October 23, 1886. — Judge Warmcastle received his commission Satur- 
day and opened court Monday morning. 

There will be a grand turnout this evening at Martinez to listen to 
Hon. James McKenna and J. P. Abbott at Bennett's Hall. The Concord 
Brass Band has been engaged for the occasion. 

The Martinez town trustees have purchased a hook and ladder truck 
for $225, the original cost of which was $600. About $30 will put it in 
fine order. 



276 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

November 13, 1886. — The Terry residence, near Clayton, was totally 
destroyed by fire; estimated loss, $20,000, half of which is covered by 
insurance. 

A special election was held in Township No. 5. J. J. Burke was 
elected. 

January 15, 1887.- — The lower portion of Ferry Street is being 
repaired by the railroad company. 

The Port Costa Lumber Company is located at Valona, having ac- 
quired Smith & Moore's business and franchises, one from Dr. Strentzel, 
and one from Prof. John Muir, which includes the entire water-front 
from Starr's Mills at Crockett to Vallejo Junction. A contract for 
1500 feet of wharf, 200 feet wide, has been let. The company is a com- 
bination of all the Oregon pine lumber interests of the Coast, and the 
new yards will be the general coast distributing point. 

January 22, 1887. — 3.68 inches of rain have fallen, as against 15 
inches for 1886. 

Feburary 5, 1887.— Mount Diablo Parlor No. 101, N. S. G. W., was 
organized in the Odd Fellows Hall this week by C. M. Belshaw, of 
Antioch. The following were elected: A. E. Dunkel, Past President; T. 
A. McMahon, President; W. T. Wallace, Jr., C. Y. Brown, and James 
Johnston, First, Second and Third Vice-Presidents; F. L. Glass, Re- 
cording secretary; Guy Shirley, Financial Secretary; A. E. Blum, Treas- 
urer; H. E. Curry, Marshal. 

The twelve instruments for the new Cornet Band of Martinez ar- 
rived Thursday. 

February 12, 1887. — The snowstorm of Saturday was a surprise. Up 
to yesterday noon we have had 7.47 inches of rain for the season. In 
the interior of the county the rainfall has been much heavier. 

The first ball of the Black Diamond football club will be held in 
the Black Diamond Hall Tuesday evening. 

Quite an exodus from the coal mines of this county to Washington 
Territory has recently taken place. 

That portion of Main Street one block below the bridge has been 
macadamized and is now in fine shape. 

March 5, 1887. — A Board of Trade was organized in Martinez 
by an enthusiastic assemblage held in the courthouse Saturday evening. 
The organization was fully perfected the following Thursday with 170 
members. The following officers were elected: President, E. B. Smith; 
vice-president, S. Blum; treas., Bank of Martinez; sec'y, Will Acton. 

The following communication speaks for itself: 

Los Angeles, Calif., March 8, 1887. 
L. I. Fish, Esq., Martinez, Calif. 

Dear Sir: The box of fine navel oranges, lemons, and limes came this 
forenoon and are now doing duty in our show windows for Contra Costa 
County. Have labeled them as you desire and given them the center front 
of the window. They are very fine — no better anywhere. . . . Am glad 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 277 

you thought to send limes in all stages of growth, as it effectually dis- 
poses of the "frozen and snow-bound" business. ... A good many come 
in and ask about them, etc. . . . Many say they will go north, where 
they can get soil at a reasonable price, with rainfall and climate thrown in. 

Yours truly, 
(Signed) E. W. Giddings, 
Agent, Central and Northern California 

Immigration Association. 

Over $2000 have been subscribed to make known our resources. A 
general interest is manifested. The windows of the Board of Trade 
room are gradually being filled with displays of products of the county. 
Every variety of temperate and semi-tropical products is grown in Contra 
Costa County — wheat, barley, alfalfa, fruit and vegetables. It has a 
climate that is unexcelled. The tide of immigration is setting this way. 
The Board of Trade numbers 200 members. 

April 9, 1887. — The Board of Trustees of Martinez have determined 
to take steps to recover the block in the eastern portion of the town 
known as the Plaza. The block in question is claimed by S. Blum. The 
object of the board is to have the court definitely determine the ownership. 
The Plaza was a portion of the William Welch ranch. In 1851, when the 
town was platted by the heirs through Joseph Swanson, their agent, F. M. 
Warmcastle, Elam Brown, N. B. Smith, J. F. Williams, T. A. Brown, and 
others, purchased lots adjoining the square, which was known as the Plaza 
up to 1870. 

April 16, 1887.— (Antioch Ledger) — N. W. Smith, of Lone Tree 
Valley, has 1600 almond trees, five to seven years old; also, 400 
French prune, 600 apricot, 150 peach, 100 plum, sixty fig, sixty apple 
and pear, and twelve cherry trees. 

May 7, 1887. — The old toll road from Redwood Canyon to East 
Oakland may now be traveled free of charge, the franchise having expired. 

3000 tons of rails will be required for the new double track between 
Oakland and Port Costa. The track will be twenty-two miles long. 

R. D. Thomas has purchased a tract of land in the flat south of town 
for the purpose of boring for water. He is of the opinion that he can 
furnish ample water for private and public use. He also believes that 
he can furnish electric lights. 

May 28, 1887.- — The trustees of the town met Tuesday evening and 
granted a permit to D. R. Thomas to lay four-inch pipes in the streets 
for supplying the town with water for a term of twenty years. 

The annual meeting of the Contra Costa County Agricultural Society 
was held in Concord on Saturday and plans for reorganization were made. 

June 4, 1887. — Express offices were opened this week by Wells-Fargo 
& Company in John Conway's store at Danville and in H. C. Hurst's store 
at San Ramon. 

Why use tugs? To the surprise of everybody in Martinez, the large 
bark-rigged ship "Roswell Sprague," capacity 1000 tons, came up the 



278 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Straits last Sunday under full sail in a spanking breeze and dropped anchor 
off the head of Grangers' Wharf, having on board 600,000 feet of 
cedar plank and timber for railroad bridges, tunnels, culverts, etc., being 
constructed along the line. 

Mr. Thomas' is now actively engaged in supplying the town with 
water. He has seven wells on his tract in the flat, S l / 2 to 7 inches bore, 
all connected with one main. His 50,000-gallon tank at the wells is full, 
and his engine is at work every day pumping to the main reservoir. He 
expects to have water in the town mains within a week. 

July 2, 1887. — During the present week Mr. Thomas has placed 
about 1500 feet of pipe leading water to the residences of E. R. Chase, 
O. L. Morgan and Alexander Tait. 

July 30, 1887. — Water rate fixed at $3.75 per month, per hydrant, 
to be paid D. R. Thomas by the town of Martinez. 

July 30, 1887.— Concord is to organize a Y. M. I. tomorrow. 

Things are booming at Nevada Docks, Port Costa, Crockett, Valona 
and Selby. 

The postoffice at Moraga has been discontinued and its business trans- 
ferred to Oakland. 

A slight idea of the vast quanity of wheat going into the warehouses 
may be gathered from the fact that 580 carloads arrived at Port Costa 
in one night last week. 

West Hill Water Works, owned by D. R. Thomas, will supply 20,000 
gallons daily to the Southern Pacific Railway. 

August 20, 1887. — The Martinez Hook & Ladder Company, headed 
by the band, paraded the streets last evening and made a fine showing. 

August 27, 1887. — The Martinez Gas Company will commence build- 
ing their works Monday. A lot has been purchased from S. Blum & 
Company of ample dimensions for their requirements. The stock of the 
company is about all taken, and gas for Martinez is assured at three 
dollars per thousand cubic feet. 

Contra Costa wants telegraphic facilities. 

September 10, 1887. — The boom has reached Byron and extensive 
improvements are being made in that wide-awake and rapidly progressing 
town. A new Congregational church, a commodious schoolhouse, and a 
fine lumber yard have been erected, and the contractors have just com- 
pleted the finest town hall in Contra Costa County. 

The boom has struck Danville; two real estate offices have been opened, 
and several of the old residents have sold out. 

September 17, 1887. — The San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley 
Railway Company was incorporated last Saturday, capital stock $10,000,- 
000, for the purpose of carrying freight and passengers from a point at 
or near Antioch, Contra Costa County, to a point near Rogers, Kern 
County, 380 miles. 

Work is being pushed rapidly on the gas works. A force of men are 
engaged in laying pipe mains through the streets. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 279 

October 1, 1887. — On Monday some twenty of the Martinez sports- 
men signed their names for the purpose of organizing a gun club. The 
following names were enrolled: Ed. Morgan, W. A. Hale, A. P. Nelson, 
W. J. Douglas, George Gill, L. D. Anderson, E. J. Summerfield, T. S. 
Davenport, A. E. Blum, George McMahon, J. P. Briare, Charles Hewitt, 
Charles Wright, C. E. Curry, F. A. Hodapp, T. A. McMahon, R. A. 
Fraser, Harry Moore, Frank. Prairo and Steve Bennett. 

The new Methodist Episcopal church at Byron is rapidly nearing 
completion. 

Semi-annual report of Librarian: 

Number of books in library 601 

Number of paper-covered books 301 

Number of books purchased since April . 84 

Number of books donated since April 10 

Average attendance at Reading Room 25 

(Signed) Martha C. McMahon 
Cash on hand for fiscal year ending on October 4, 

1887 ' $ 37.05 

Total expense for year $284.10 

October 22, 1887. — Sixty-two teachers attended the Institute at 
Concord. 

The first meeting for the purpose of the organization of the stock- 
holders of the Martinez Gas Company was held October 20. Dr. J. 
Strentzel was elected president; R. R. Bunker, vice-president; Alex Bad- 
lam, secretary; R. R. Thomas, treasurer. 

November 5, 1887. — On Sunday evening, for the first time in its 
history, gas was lighted in Martinez for public use. 

The main streets have been macadamized. The West Hill Water 
Works provide ample water. A fine fire company has been organized; 
also the Martinez Brass Band. 

November 19, 1887. — The fiftieth anniversary of the marriage of 
Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Barber was celebrated November 14, 1887. 
when about 140 of their personal friends, old and young, assembled at 
the family homestead. Lunch tables were spread and filled with good 
things to eat. A pleasant time was enjoyed by all. 

The Thanksgiving ball given by the Martinez Military Band was a so- 
cial and financial success. Tasty and elaborate decorations were made. A 
novel grand march was a feature of the evening. A large attendance 
enjoyed the sumptuous feast. 

December 3, 1887. — The new string band recently organized in 
Martinez has begun practicing and soon will be able to furnish excellent 
music for dances. Max Blum, first violin; A. E. Blum, second violin; 
Professor Leroy, cornet; C. H. Wright, double bass. Two more pieces 
are soon to be added. 



280 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

December 17, 1887. — The Native Daughters of the Golden West, 
Ramona Parlor No. 21, was duly initiated at the Knights of Pythias 
Hall last Saturday evening. List of officers: Mrs. Lizzie Russell, Presi- 
dent; Mrs. C. K. Wittenmyer, Past President; Mrs. Emma Case, First 
Vice-President; Babe Jones, Second Vice-President; Jennie Fraser, Third 
Vice-President; Kate Potwin, Recording Secretary; Cora Hough, Financial 
Secretary; Mame Jones, Treasurer; Maggie Carrigan, Inside Sentinel; 
Ella Swain, Outside Sentinel. 

The California Steamship Navigation Company has bought the 
Walker, and now the fare, by river, from San Francisco to Stockton is 
seventy-five cents. 

December 24, 1887. — The twenty-fifth anniversary of the marriage 
of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Raap was remembered by their numerous friends 
at their home on the outskirts of Martinez. 

January 4, 1888. — The Gazette appears today in a new form as a 
semi-weekly paper with a new dress. 

January 7, 1888. — -M. Cohen, formerly of Danville, has opened a 
store in the Martinez Hotel building. 

January 11, 1888. — During the past three or four days the weather 
has been cold about Martinez; in fact, the coldest since 1854. The ther- 
mometer has been down as low as 26 degrees. Ice over an inch thick has 
been taken out of troughs, and every puddle is frozen over. 

January 14, 1888. — Twenty-two degrees was reported at the depot 
at 6 :30 a. m. ; 18 degrees at Pacheco ; 14 degrees at Walnut Creek. Water 
pipes burst in a most extravagant manner and plumbers were in great 
demand. 

January 18, 1888. — The new hose cart ordered for the county arrived 
Sunday and is a beauty. 

February 25, 1888. — The opening of coal mines at Somersville has 
been the means of employing many men at that place, and it is now one of 
the liveliest in the county. 

February 29, 1888. — The Steamer Julia was blown up at 6:10 Mon- 
day, as it was leaving the wharf at South Vallejo with seventy passengers 
on board, about forty of whom were killed. The steamer was burned to 
the water's edge. Fire was communicated to the petroleum tank on the 
wharf, and soon the whole structure was in flames. 

April 4, 1888. — The Town Improvement Commission met last Satur- 
day at the courthouse and endorsed the movement for roads, bridges, 
town hall and other improvements. 

A Leap Year Ball was given by the Native Daughters of the Golden 
West and was largely attended. Splendid music was rendered. The 
grand march was led by Mrs. L. T. Russell, president, and A. T. Gartley. 

April 7, 1888. — The ninth anniversary of the Concord Hook & Ladder 
Company, No. 1, was celebrated Thursday, April 5. The Concord and 
Martinez bands were in evidence, and the Martinez Fire Department was 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 281 

out in full force. A grand ball was held, followed by a grand feed. The 
celebration was a grand success. 

May 26, 1888. — A fine new Cottrell cylinder press has just been in- 
stalled in the Gazette office. It is a fine piece of machinery. 

September 18, 1889. — The work of clearing away debris and re- 
building the burned portion of Port Costa is progressing rapidly. The 
new warehouse will be 1500 by 100 feet, and much more spacious than 
before. 

The new residence erected for C. S. Cousins, of Pinole, is now 
completed. 

The Twenty-ninth Annual Fair of the Contra Costa County Agri- 
cultural Society, but in reality the first of Agricultural District No. 23, 
will open Monday, September 23. 

October 2, 1889. — John L. Heald, of Heald's Foundry at Crockett, 
has finished putting in the wine-making machinery at Senator Hearst's 
place in Sonoma. 

October 9, 1889. — The first rainfall of the season, that of Monday, 
was phenomenal; 1.50 inches fell during the day, which is remarkable 
for the first rain. 

October 9, 1889. — The extensive agricultural works at Crockett owned 
by J. L. Heald have been incorporated. Mr. Heald started the business 
originally at Vallejo. Under the new management the works will be 
enlarged. 

October 12, 1889. — Thursday afternoon the last blow was struck by 
the contractor on the new bridge. That evening the band turned out to 
celebrate the event. 

The old zinc warehouse at Ferry Wharf, an old landmark built in 
1850, in Martinez, is being torn down by George T. Bush. The older 
residents will remember that steamers landed at this warehouse and dis- 
charged their cargoes. 

October 26, 1889. — The Walnut Creek Library will be opened on 
Monday evening, October 28, under the name of the San Ramon Valley 
Library. 

November 2, 1889. — A company has been formed in St. Paul to 
operate an extensive cannery at Martinez, and will occupy the old steel 
plant. 

A paper mill for Antioch is about to be established. 

November 6, 1889, a heavy frost was felt at Danville. 

December 7, 1889. — The Ramona Parlor, Native Daughters of the 
Golden West, will give a fancy dress ball on their anniversary, next Tues- 
day evening. 

Mrs. L. M. Willis has sold the Antioch Ledger to Mr. Gill, of 
Lemoore, and is going to retire. 

December 18, 1889. — On Monday afternoon, about three o'clock, 
the 50,000-gallon water-tank of the West Hill Water Company, which 



282 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

was filled to overflowing, suddenly burst, throwing water, splinters and 
iron hoops in all directions. 

January 18, 1890. — Twenty-eight years ago last Saturday, January 
11, 1862, occurred the great flood in California, an event which has served 
as a date from which to determine the period of other occurrences. In 
the season of 1861-1862 there was 10.80 inches of rain previous to Janu- 
ary 1. In January, 15.36 inches of rain fell, and that heavy fall caused 
the devastating flood. This season there was 20.58 inches before Janu- 
ary 1. 

January 22, 1890. — Eight carloads of fruit were shipped from Mar- 
tinez during the season of 1889. 

At a meeting of the citizens of Pacheco, January 13, a club called the 
Pacheco Social Club was organized. P. G. Loucks was elected president; 
George Holmes, secretary; and R. Angelo, treasurer. 

The new depot at Crockett is now covered. 

The great storm, general all over the State, caused damages in every 
section. In Visalia boats were plying up and down Main Street Saturday 
noon. Stockton was flooded and the city plunged in total darkness Satur- 
day night. Heavy snow-slides were reported at Downieville and Sierra 
City. Los Angeles and San Bernardino suffered severely. In Contra 
Costa County, Pacheco Valley was one sheet of water, and it invaded 
Concord for the first time. Stages were delayed. Telegraph and tele- 
phone wires were down. There were heavy slides between Martinez and 
Port Costa. The inclemency of the weather has been a detriment to busi- 
ness in general. 

February 1, 1890. — We now have had 29.41 inches of rain. 

Danville, Brentwood and Walnut Creek all report isolation on ac- 
count of bad roads and storms. 

February 26, 1890. — The season's rainfall is 35.41 inches. The heav- 
iest recorded was for 1852-1853, when 36.36 inches fell at Sacramento. 
This season is pretty sure to pass that record. 

Briones Valley takes the lead in the county in rainfall, 47.50 inches. 
Snow fell to the depth of an inch Thursday. 

March 8, 1890. — There is now a really fair prospect of an amicable 
division of the San Pablo ranch. Nearly all of the claimants have agreed 
upon the terms of the division. 

May 14, 1890. — Thursday morning the rain gauge added enough to 
bring the total to 40.53 inches as against 17.32 inches for 1889. 

The Pinole Packing Company, after a considerable time, is at last 
assured. It is a syndicate represented by Garretson and Hetches of 
Sioux City, Kans. They will slaughter and pack meats and establish an 
industry for working up hides, etc. 

April 19, 1890. — Steam was got up in the cannery on Thursday to put 
the machinery in motion and adjust the same. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 283 

April 30, 1890. — The new bell, weighing 2700 pounds, for the Catho- 
lic church, arrived at Martinez Saturday and was hauled to the church- 
yard, blocked up and rung for the first time. It has a deep tone. 

May 17, 1890. — Strawberries have made their appearance in local 
markets and meet with ready sale. The first cherries of the season were 
received from H. Raap in Martinez. 

The Alamo bridge is completed on the Green Valley Road in the 
Walnut Creek district. 

July 12, 1890. — A large warehouse belonging to S. Blum & Company 
goes up in smoke; loss $2500; insurance $1500. 

August 13, 1890. — A handsome flag, 6 by 8 feet in size, having a 
large bear painted thereon, together with a staff, was presented to Mount 
Diablo Parlor No. 101, N. S. G. W., by some kind but unknown man. 

September 6, 1890. — A fire at Brentwood destroyed Moody's & 
Brewer's smithy, Shafer's livery, and the entire printing establishment of 
Mr. Humphrey. The local paper was being issued, and only a few copies 
had been run off. 

The Smith Mineral Springs in Alhambra Valley have been fitted up 
with bath tubs and are now open to the public. 

Frank L. Glass announces himself a candidate for county clerk. 

On September 22 the second fair under the new organization of Agri- 
cultural District No. 23 will open at the fair grounds. 

September 24, 1890. — H. H. Markham, candidate for Governor, is 
announced to speak at Antioch September 26. He will be tendered a re- 
ception in Martinez between 10 and 12 o'clock that morning. 

October 1, 1890. — Destruction of the saloon of Nicholas King by fire, 
in which King was fatally burned, and of the butcher shop of Minor 
Slater and the brick building occupied by James Morrow, occurred on 
Saturday. On account of no water pressure it was with difficulty that 
other buildings were saved. 

Contra Costa County Improvement Association organized, and drew 
up by-laws for "The Contra Costa Association"; John Swett, president; 
E. B. Smith, secretary; J. H. Borland, vice-president, District No. 1; W. 
B. Rogers, vice-president, District No. 2; W. A. Patterson, District No. 
3; M. Sickal, District No. 4; A. C. Hanley, District No. 5; Mrs. M. H. 
Bailhache, treasurer. 

The condition of the monster ferry boat, Solano, is worrying the 
railroad authorities. She has never been out of the water since launched, 
and there is no dry dock in the State large enough to receive her. She 
must soon be repaired or sunk. 

December 10, 1890. — Work on the San Ramon branch railway is pro- 
gressing very satisfactorily. The ground is being graded for a depot. 
Rails a mile from Concord. 

January 14, 1891. — The county census gives the population of the 
county as 13,515: whites, 12,978; Chinese', 468; Indians, 4; colored, 57; 
and Japanese, 8. 



284 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Fifteen new buildings have been erected in Pinole in the last year. 

February 25, 1891. — Wheat is coming into Port Costa at a lively 
rate. There are now 500 cars in the yards. 

Owing to another heavy landslide east of Nevada Dock last Mon- 
day, traffic via Martinez was shut off for several hours. 

March 7, 1891. — A meeting of the Alhambra Cemetery Associa- 
tion was held. M. H. Bailhache called the meeting to order and trustees 
were elected to fill vacancies. The organization now stands: M. H. Bail- 
hache, president; G. A. Sherman, vice-president; L. C. Wittenmyer, sec- 
retary, superintendent and treasurer: trustees, M. H. Bailhache, G. A. 
Sherman, L. C. Wittenmyer, L. S. Davenport and E. Morgan. 

March 11, 1891. — A baseball club was organized in Martinez Sat- 
urday evening, with Real Sharp, manager; George Woolbert, captain; 
Albert Hickman, secretary and treasurer. 

March 28, 1891. — The four-masted schooner Kitsap arrived Satur- 
day with 950,000 feet of lumber and lath for Port Costa Lumber Com- 
pany at Vallejo Junction. In docking her, the wharf was rammed and 
damaged to the extent of several hundred dollars. 

Last Sunday the first service was held in the new church at Port Costa. 

According to the census returns, Mount Diablo district still furnishes 
the greater portion of coal produced in California. There has been 
a revival, to some extent, in mining operations. 

April 15, 1891. — Dunham, Carrigan & Company have bought the 
Heald Mill at Crockett and have made Mr. Heald manager. 

April 25, 1891. — President Harrison's train made a short stop at 
Martinez. An anvil salute was fired by A. Grimes. A delegation of 
leading citizens met the train. The school children were out in full force 
and presented him with a fine basket of flowers, and the Native Daughters 
presented another to the President's wife; other bouquets were presented 
by individuals. James McKenzie was one of the Presidential party. 

April 25, 1891. — Papers of the incorporation of Contra Costa Gas 
& Water Company have been completed and sent to Sacramento for filing. 
Prospects for obtaining both water and gas seem to be very good. 

Railroad graders have passed Danville and track-laying is under full 
swing. 

April 29, 1891. — Brentwood turned out in full force to greet Presi- 
dent Harrison's train. After a short speech and hand-shaking, the train 
departed amid cheers for the President. 

On April 22, 1891, the Golden Wedding anniversary of George P. 
Loucks and his wife was fittingly celebrated at their residence by their 
many friends. 

The construction train was run upon the Walnut Creek depot grounds 
April 21; the gravel train arrived April 29. The grounds for the depot 
were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Botillo. Two trains daily run from Em- 
ery Station to Orinda Park. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 285 

At the Monday session of the board of supervisors, Charles Wood of 
Danville was appointed public administrator to fill the vacancy caused by 
the death of Mr. Scammon. 

May 27, 1891. — Articles of incorporation have been filed in the county 
clerk's office by the Gas & Water Company. 

A destructive fire at Crockett last Monday evening destroyed Ed. 
Summerfield's drug store, Lasell & Brothers' dry goods store, Eckley & 
Bartlett's butcher shop, and Cavanaugh's saloon. Total loss, $35,000, 
only partly insured. 

May 30, 1891. — Four locomotives at Danville at one time impart a 
lively appearance to the neighborhood. 

The Martinez school census showed the following results for children 
between the ages of five and seventeen years: Boys, white, 151; girls, 
white, 159; Negro boys, 4; Negro girls, 6 ; Indian, 1. Total, 321. 

June 6, 1891. — Commencing Sunday, the 7th, the San Ramon Branch 
organization will open for freight and passenger business. The opening 
marks an era in the history of Contra Costa County. Trains leave San 
Francisco at 7:30 a. m., arrive in Martinez at 9:29, leave Martinez at 
5:10 p. m., and arrive in San Francisco at 6:45 p. m. Quite a number 
of residents of Martinez availed themselves of the opportunity of in- 
specting the line. There was also a delegation from San Francisco. 

July 4, 1891. — The Signal Service Reports state that the temperature 
for June has been the highest for many years, if not the highest ever re- 
corded in California. 

At the conclusion of the day's festivities there will be a grand ball at 
Bennett's Hall under the auspices of Mount Diablo Parlor No. 101, 
N. S. G. W. 

The railroad company has had another well bored near the depot 
at Concord. An artesian flow was struck at a depth of fifty-seven feet> 
flowing 1000 gallons per minute, four feet over the top of pipe. A valu- 
able artesian belt has been opened. 

July 15, 1891. — The late fire on the east side of Mount Diablo inflicts 
a heavy blow on the stockmen, the feed having been entirely destroyed 
over a large area. 

Deeds by the following persons to the Southern Pacific for right of 
way of the San Ramon Railroad have been filed at the recorder's office: 
J. D. Smith, J. A. McGovern, Mrs. A. Love, D. P. Smith, W. W. Cox, 
Manuel Sherman and Maria Sherman, C. Waite, William Meese, R. O. 
Baldwin, Eli R. Chase, J. B. Moraga and L. P. Moraga, John Baker, 
M. D. Young, John Wilhelm, Felipa Soto de Welch. 

The Nevada Docks will be quite deserted as soon as Eppinger & 
Company leave. There will be only one shipper, William Dresbach. It 
would not be surprising if the Nevada Bank were to ship wheat on its 
own account. 

July 29, 1891. — The county's wealth is estimated as follows: Real 
estate, $9,226,600; improvements, $1,805,010; city and town lots, $460,- 



286 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

;>57; improvements thereon, $605,000; telephone and telegraph lines, 
$20,087; money, $50,428; solvent credit, $34,000; other personal prop- 
erty, $3,310,569; total, $15,571,651. 

The mortgages in Antioch and Martinez amount to $50,984; on farm 
and other town property, $2,550,597; value of property affected by mort- 
gage, $4,299,618; and assessed value of trust deeds and mortgages, $2,- 
601,581. 

Acres sown to crops in 1891 : Wheat, 44,500; oats, 1600; barley, 28,- 
400; corn, 2200; hay, 48,400. Acres planted to grapes, 4350; to fruit 
and nuts, 264,770. 

August 8, 1891. — The Antioch Philharmonic Club has been organized 
with a membership of thirty-five. O. E. Swain is president. 

August 29, 1891. — Twenty cars of fruit passed through Martinez on 
Thursday from San Ramon Valley, and large shipments are being made 
every day. 

The Home Orchestra was organized on Thursday evening in Mar- 
tinez. Its members are: Mrs. T. A. McMahon, Max Blum, Gustave 
Weiss, Miss Jennie Fraser, A. E. Blum, and Prof. W. B. Bartlett, who 
acts as leader. 

The school districts composing the central portion of the county 
having voted for a Union High School, a meeting of the trustees of the 
several districts is called to meet at Walnut Creek on September 26. It 
is desired that parties having eligible sites submit their propositions 
to the trustees. 

October 10, 1891. — On Tuesday evening, 3200 boxes of grapes were 
shipped from Martinez. 

The Lumbermen's and Longshoremen's Association will give their 
first ball at Crockett on October 17. 

October 14, 1891. — Decidedly the most severe earthquake shock ex- 
perienced in this vicinity since 1868 occurred on Sunday evening at 10:30 
p. m., lasting thirteen seconds. Clocks were stopped and light articles 
thrown from shelves, etc. In Napa the Masonic building was badly dam- 
aged, and at the State Asylum the inmates became almost uncontrollable. 

Mahoney & Ivey have been awarded the contract for carrying mail 
from Martinez to Pacheco, and will run a stage twice a day. 

October 28, 1891. — At the last meeting of the town trustees an order 
was made contracting to take gas for five months from November 1, the 
gas company furnishing burners at their own expense. 

November 7, 1891. — The board of supervisors on Wednesday made 
an appropriation for one-third of the actual cost of the proposed Pacheco 
Canal to give relief to farmers of overflowed lands. This leaves $2000 
to be contributed by those benefited. 

December 26, 1891. — A disastrous fire visited the town Wednesday 
morning, about three o'clock, starting in a Chinese wash-house. It spread 
to the Commercial Hotel and the James Rankin building. The loss 
amounted to about $12,000. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 287 

January 16, 1892. — The Starr Mill began making flour last week. 

January 16, 1892. — The new fire engine is expected to arrive today. 
More than ten times the cost of the engine would have been saved had it 
been on hand at the last fire. It is hoped it will prove satisfactory when 
the time comes to use it. 

January 30, 1892. — The Martinez Military Band has been reorgan- 
ized. A number of new musicians have been added, and their prospects 
for performance and efficiency are better than ever. 

The "Boys' Brigade" being organized at Brentwood is very popular 
with all the boys from twelve to seventeen years of age. They have a 
regular uniform. The object is to produce habits of reverence and respect 
for authority. 

February 3, 1892. — At a meeting in the town hall Monday evening 
the Martinez branch of the Merchants' Retail Commercial Agency was 
organized, with the leading merchants as members. There are agencies 
all over California, and now a branch at Antioch, Concord, Crockett, and 
all towns of the county. 

February 24, 1892. — The Contra Costa Herald is a new eight-page 
paper at Brentwood. It is published by E. W. Netherton and is to be 
independent in politics. 

March 3, 1892. — Brick is being manufactured at Pacheco at Blum's 
brickyard. This is the beginning of what promises to be an important 
industry for Contra Costa. 

The country adjacent to Brentwood, known as Eden Plain, is rapidly 
being set to almonds and is destined to become a great center for that 
industry. William Shafer, Thomas Murphy, P. J. Moody, and E. W. 
Steading have set out twenty acres or more each. 

March 16, 1892. — The foundation for the packing house is now laid 
at Rodeo. The building is to be of brick, four stories high, 150 by 175 
feet. Work will also commence on the canning department. 

The new hotel is now opened for business and is handsomely furnished, 
while the bar-room is the finest in the county. 

April 13, 1892. — Over a year ago the Gazette published extracts from 
more than fifty papers about the ten-block system of naming roads and 
numbering county houses. Thus far no criticism has been made. Recent 
dispatches from Washington say that the postmaster general has become 
interested, as it remains the only obstacle to rapid and accurate service in 
the country. These dispatches have been published all over the country, 
and Contra Costa County has been mentioned in all of them. 

David Bush and A. L. Bancroft are now at work interviewing Contra 
Costa people about money with which to measure our roads and block 
them off preparatory to numbering the country houses. 

Hon. Joseph McKenna has presented each school in the county with 
a fine large map of the United States. In retiring from public office Mr. 
McKenna cherishes a feeling of kind regard for those whose confidence 
he has enjoyed. 



288 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

April 23, 1892. — The Martinez Free Library Association has been 
compelled to vacate the place so long occupied and will be placed in the 
room formerly occupied by Mrs. Hollenbeck on Ferry Street. 

The violence of the quake was felt here quite enough to satisfy al- 
most everybody. At Dixon the Masonic Hall was badly damaged and 
will have to be taken down. The Odd Fellows' building at Vacaville is 
also in ruins. 

On May 7, 1892, the Contra Costa Fruit Growers' Association was 
organized, with George Frazer, president; H. M. Bush, vice president; 
H. Raap, secretary; G. A. Putnam, treasurer. 

Married, in Martinez, May 12, 1892, by Rev. D. W. Calfee, Edward 
W. Netherton of Brentwood and Miss Alice M. Carpenter of Martinez. 

May 28, 1892. — A kiln of brick will soon be ready for the market 
from S. Blum's yard at Pacheco. 

Martinez Steel Manufacturing Company: I will pay five cents per 
share for assessment-paid stock in this company. D. J. West. 

July 6, 1892. — The day was made to order for the Antioch celebra- 
tion of our national anniversary. The weather was ideal; a fine parade 
was had, including a number of floats, the Fire Department, and the Na- 
tive Sons of Antioch and Martinez. Two bands furnished the music. The 
oration was delivered by Col. J. P. Irish. The day closed with a grand 
ball in the evening. 

July 13, 1892. — The Giant Powder Works at Fleming's. Point, West 
Berkeley, met with destruction in some five or six separate explosions about 
9 a. m. Saturday. The concussions caused destruction to adjacent build- 
ings, and to windows in Oakland, San Francisco and Berkeley. The shock 
was plainly felt in Martinez. 

Danville Lodge No. 378, I. O. O. F., was organized July 26, 1892, 
with seven charter members; twenty-two new members were initiated. 

August 13, 1892. — Last week parties leased 1000 acres in Briones 
Valley and are now prospecting for oil. 

Nathaniel Jones and wife celebrated their Golden Wedding anniver- 
sary at Walnut Creek, Wednesday, August 10, 1892. 

October 1, 1892. — The water question is getting to be a serious ques- 
tion in Martinez. A number of families are entirely dependent on the 
water-works for their supply and are cut off without a drop. The Water 
Company is under contract to supply the railroad; and as there is not 
water enough within reach of the shallow wells, the town is likely to be 
shut out entirely until the winter rains set in. 

October 26, 1892. — Columbus Day was celebrated at Orinda Park 
by the teachers, pupils and parents of Mount Pleasant and Orinda Park 
school districts. The Alhambra School also celebrated the day with 
appropriate ceremonies. 

Alamo and Port Costa held fitting exercises in honor of Discovery Day, 
October 21, 1892. Liberty, Byron, Oak Grove, Pacheco and Green 
Valley also held their celebrations in proper observance of the day. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 289 

November 23, 1892. — The work of measuring and blocking off the 
roads of the central part of the county, on the ten-block system, has been 
under way for some time. The committee on rural affairs are L. C. Wit- 
tenmyer, W. A. Kirkwood and A. L. Bancroft. H. M. Gregory has 
charge of the field work. Considerable money has been subscribed by 
San Francisco people. 

November 30, 1892. — The Lafayette Hotel was totally destroyed by 
fire Sunday evening; also the stable and entire contents. 

More than 100 miles of road have been measured off thus far in the 
new system of blocking. 

January 14, 1893. — At a meeting of the town trustees Tuesday even- 
ing, an ordinance was introduced providing for a special tax levy to pur- 
chase a chemical engine for protection against fire. 

January 21, 1893. — On Gwin Ranch, four miles east of Martinez, 
a flowing well is reported at eighty feet, yielding an inch stream. Shallow 
flowing wells are reported in Pacheco Valley; also at Concord, on the 
east side of Walnut Creek, at 160 feet. 

A map of Contra Costa County is on exhibit at the Mechanics' Insti- 
tute in San Francisco, showing the ten-block system of numbering houses 
and naming roads. 

January 28, 1893. — The fine warehouse of J. A. Shuey at Danville 
was totally destroyed by fire Tuesday night, together with all its contents. 
There were 4000 tons of hay in storage. The contents and the building 
were well insured. 

The Rodeo Daily News made its expected appearance on March 1, 
1893. Ernest Hymens is the publisher and editor. It is an eight-page 
folio newspaper. 

April 29, 1893. — The California & Nevada Railroad is completed to 
within three miles of Lafayette. This branch line is a private affair of 
the Grant Brothers. 

Work will progress from now on upon the new ferry piers at Emery- 
ville. It is proposed to construct two steel ferry boats. 

May 13, 1893. — A local camp of the W. O. W. will be instituted at 
Masonic Hall Saturday evening, with thirty charter members. The name 
of the camp will be Laurel Camp No. 145. 

The new owners of the Narrow Gauge have organized and elected 
officers as follows: J. S. Emery, president; E. A. Phelps, secretary; Abner 
Doble, J. J. Souvenir, George W. Schell, A. H. Clough, and William 
Thomas, directors. The road will be made a broad-gauge. 

May 30, 1893. — The Rodeo Daily News suspended publication. 

June 17, 1893. — E. W. Netherton and family have removed to Santa 
Cruz, where Mr. Netherton will be employed in the office of the Sentinel. 

August 5, 1893. — The Rodeo Packing Company suspended on account 
of the present financial stringency. 



290 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Frank T r Swett, of Alhambra Valley, has just returned to Martinez 
after an extended visit to the East. He describes the stagnation in busi- 
ness and hard times among the laboring classes as deplorable. He hap- 
pened to be in Manchester, N. H., when the great Amoskeag Mills closed. 
They are the largest in the world and had run continuously for thirty 
years. 8000 people are out of employment. 

The Antioch Ledger goes from the control of C. F. Montgomery & 
Son to Prof. G. F. Foster, who has given ample evidence of ability in the 
editorial chair. 

December 30, 1893. — Chris Evans, the train robber, who had been 
sentenced to prison for life for murder, made his escape from the Fresno 
County jail last Thursday evening. 

March 10, 1894. — On Saturday last Judge J. C. B. Hubbard signed 
the decree for the partition of the San Pablo Ranch. It is a formidable 
document of 500 pages and will cost $300 to record. This ends a case that 
will go down in history as one of the most noted land contests in Califor- 
nia. The amount and value of the land in dispute, the ability and repute 
of the counsel employed, and the length of time extended, have given it 
wide notoriety. Parties secure in the possession of their premises can now 
improve with security. A large increase in population can now be looked 
for, and general advancement of the whole section may be realized. 

March 17, 1894. — Byron has a brass band of fifteen pieces, and it is 
very liberal with its services. 

On Friday evening the Lafayette Improvement Club gave its initial 
party at Corvillo Hall. It was organized some weeks ago, with Ed. J. 
Brady, president. A sumptuous repast was served at midnight. 

March, 1894. — Concord now has the fair grounds of the Agricul- 
tural Society, a fine railroad station, the Klein and Mount Diablo Hotels, 
the firms of Novas & Beebe, Randall Brothers, Henry Soto, Gambs 
& Kaliski, general merchants; M. M. Brackenridge, hardware; Maggie 
Soto, B. Neustaedter, dry goods; two harness shops; one bakery; two 
blacksmiths; three grain warehouses; one livery; one meat market; one 
drug store; the Weekly Sun; two doctors; the I. O. O. F. lodge; express 
office and postoffice; a hook and ladder company; a free reading room; a 
$15,000 school; three churches; a firemen's hall, and a hall for public 
meetings. 

May 5, 1894. — Work was commenced Monday on the new sewer to 
run from Howard Street, near Dr. Tennent's residence, down Talbert to 
Main, and thence down Main to Castro to connect with the sewer laid 
last year. 

The guide posts erected by the county are a great public convenience, 
and if they suffer at the hands of vandals it will go hard with the offend- 
ers. The Lasell Company have supplemented the useful work by placing 
distance posts along the highways out of Martinez. 

June 2, 1894. — The machinery for the manufacture of gas has been 
placed in position and new rates will soon be announced. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 291 



ince 



July 14, 1894. — Ferry wharf is the most lively place in town. Si... 
the tie-up of trains the mail, express, freight and passenger traffic is all 
handled by the California Transit Company. 

July 26, 1894. — The Black Diamond Cannery, erected seventeen 
years ago, was burned to the ground. The cannery was owned by the Sac- 
ramento River Packers' Association, and was one of the best and most 
completely equipped on the coast. 

Besides the cannery, the Southport Land and Commercial Company's 
wharf works, and a sloop owned by Gus Smith, and a plunger of the Sac- 
ramento River Packing Company were burned. 

The board of supervisors has arranged the judicial townships and 
made provision so that but one justice and one constable be allowed to 
each township. 

September 22, 1894. — The Lawless Block was destroyed by fire. A 
crowd gathered and worked to save Miss Shuey's millinery stock and the 
contents of the Free Reading Room in the Rankin Building. 

The most successful fair held in many years, with an unprecedented 
attendance, was held this year by the Agricultural Society. 

On September 22, a Rebekah Lodge was instituted at Danville by 
Grand Master J. H. Simpson, with twelve charter members. The de- 
gree of Rebekah was conferred on fifty-six new members by the Livermore 
Rebekah team. Mrs. Boydston was elected Noble Grand. After the 
usual speech-making, about 150 gathered around the banquet table. 

September 29, 1894. — The thermometer ranged from 104 degrees to 
110 degrees in the shade for the closing days of the week. 

The town well for sprinkling purposes has been sunk to a depth of 
twenty-five feet and is eight feet square. It is quite likely to prove ade- 
quate for the purpose. 

November 10, 1894. — The Walnut Creek Sentinel suspended publica- 
tion with last Saturday's issue. The publishers found too small a field 
for their enterprise. 

A ferry between Martinez and Benicia is now assured. It will make 
use of the Grangers' wharf and will be a great convenience to the public. 
December, 1894. — A committee has been appointed to solicit sub- 
scriptions for the erection of a fireproof building for the Free Reading 
Room and Library. 

January 5, 1895. — A heavy rain fell, flooding the country; rivers of 
water filled the city streets. The whole flat on the oustkirts of the town 
was a sea of water, and water came tearing down the city streets a foot 
or more deep. Smith, Castro and Las Juntas Streets carried a torrent. 
It was impossible to cross Main and Castro without high gum-boots. The 
storm is unprecedented since 1862. 

The storm washed out several thousand feet of the Southern Pacific 
tracks, east of town, and there was a bad break in the embankment be- 
tween Concord and Walnut Creek. 



292 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

An earthquake shock on Thursday, the 24th, which lasted ten seconds, 
was the most severe experienced here for several years. 

As a result of the severe rainstorm the county wagon-road to Oak- 
land is blocked by a landslide of about 200,000 tons of e*arth and a detour 
is necessary. The slide covers an area 100 by 150 feet and is located 
about three miles from Oakland. 

February 2, 1895. — A bell has been hung in the schoolhouse tower 
at Byron. 

February 16, 1895. — There will be a mass meeting of citizens of Mar- 
tinez and vicinity in the town hall on February 20 to take steps to induce 
the projectors of the San Joaquin Valley Railroad to make Martinez a 
station on the new line. 

March 30, 1895. — The Mountain House on Mount Diablo is closed 
for lack of patronage. 

April 6, 1895. — The San Pablo News made its first appearance. 

April 20, 1895. — The Sunset Telephone & Telegraph Company has 
introduced the new long-distance system in Martinez. New wires will be 
strung through the streets, and the new phones will replace the old-style 
boxes. Some forty subscriptions have been received. 

May 11, 1895. — Hart A. Downer has sold the Contra Costa News 
to A. Dalton, Jr., and last Wednesday's issue was circulated under the 
new management. 

June 15, 1895. — 180,000 tons of wheat, owned by the Fair interests, 
is being loaded at Port Costa for Liverpool. Two hundred men are em- 
ployed and sixty-five ships will be required. 

The Union Oil Company has purchased the real estate and wharf of 
the California Lumber Yard Company at Rodeo and intends to erect an 
oil refinery. The investment is about $100,000. 

The Antioch High School was declared lapsed, in accordance with the 
law, on account of not being used for school purposes the allotted length 
of time. 

Martinez is to have an academy where higher branches are taught 
and students prepared for the university. Revs. E. W. Stoddard and 
Hamilton Lee will have charge. It will open Monday, August 5, in 
Guild Hall of the Episcopal Church. 

The roads of Contra Costa County are all named, and the ten-block 
system of numbering the country houses was adopted by ordinance No. 56 
of the board of supervisors; and it now becomes the duty of the board to 
erect sign-posts and guide-boards. The roads are: No. 2, Contra Costa 
Highway; No. 3, Alhambra Way; No. 4, Franklin Road; No. 6, Hillsdale 
Local; No. 13, Camino Diablo; No. 16, Willow Pass; No. 62, Vista 
Ygnacio; No. 63, Valley Center Local; No. 63a, Ogontz Road; No. 64, 
Concord Lateral; No. 65, Via Concordia; No. 66, Linne Ridge Crossing; 
No. 78, Paso Nogal; No. 81, Granville Way; No. 85, Kent Road; No. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 293 

103, Golden Gate Way; No. 104, Walnut Way; No. 105, LaGrange 
Road; No. 106, Garden Annex; No. 110, Locust Way; No. 112, Sara 
Connex. 

August 24, 1895. — C. H. Ludden was awarded the contract for the 
new library building, at $6371. 

At their session Tuesday evening the town trustees passed resolutions 
to contruct cement sidewalks on the business sections of Main and Ferry 
Streets. 

The town of Oleum is to be established on property owned by the Un- 
ion Oil Company, and will mark the advent of a new industry in the 
county. 

According to County Auditor Soto, under the present system we have 
paid out $1,700,000 for county roads during the past forty years. 

The library, conceived in 1883, now has 1800 bound volumes and 
hundreds of volumes of unbound magazines, etc., and will soon be housed 
in its own building. 

Establishment of a creamery at Walnut Creek opens up another in- 
dustry for Contra Costa County. 

The output of the coal mines of Contra Costa County during the 
year 1894 was valued at $94,000. 

December 7, 1895.- — R. R. Bunker, after thirty-six years as associate 
proprietor and editor of the Gazette, severs his connection, and W. C. 
Brown succeeds as sole editor and proprietor. He has been associated 
with the paper the past two and a half years. 

On Monday evening, December 24, a meeting was held at Concord 
of some thirty men of Ygnacio Valley, to form an independent military 
company. A committee was appointed. 

Simon Blum offers one or all of three tracts for the new site of the 
County Hospital. 

January 4, 1896. — The Odd Fellows dedicated their hall at Concord 
on New Year's Eve. 

Brentwood Lodge, A. O. U. W., has consolidated with the Point of 
Timber Lodge at Byron, making that the banner lodge of the county, 
with more than sixty members. 

The furniture of the Antioch High School was sold at auction by 
Superintendent Phalin. 

January 11, 1896. — Contra Costa Tent, K. O. T. M., was organized 
in Martinez Tuesday evening, with twenty charter members. 

On Tuesday evening, January 9, a public installation of officers of the 
Court Todos Santos, A. O. F., was held in the Odd Fellows Hall. 

March 14, 1896. — J. P. Briare has succeeded Mrs. E. L. Bailhache 
as postmaster. Mrs. Josie McCann will be retained as assistant. 

April 3, 1896. — Members of the Martinez Board of Trade and De- 
velopment Association held a meeting in the town hall and elected di- 
rectors for the year: James Rankin, W. K. Cole, W. S. Tinning, F. A. 



294 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

McMahon and R. H. Latimer. James Rankin was elected president and 
W. A. Hale, secretary. 

Milk was delivered to the Walnut Creek Creamery for the first time 
Monday, and their first churning was done on Wednesday. 

The new officers elected at the town election Monday were: W. J. 
Douglas, treasurer; M. H. Hurley, clerk; J. J. Anderson, W. A. Hale, 
J. J. McNamara, W. R. Matthews, Mr. Blum. 

May 26, 1896. — The campaign for woman suffrage was opened in 
Contra Costa County on Tuesday in the opera house. The meeting was 
called to order by Mrs. L. D. Fish, who introduced the national organ- 
izer, Miss Mary G. Hay. Rev. Anna Shaw and Elizabeth Upheim Yates 
also delivered addresses. 

The celebration on July 4th was the best ever held in the county. The 
parade, over a mile long, was a feature deserving much praise, and the 
games were a pleasing feature. J. L. Geary was orator of the day. Ed. 
Randall was grand marshal; aides, Reese Jones, W. A. Hale and Theo- 
dore Moiles. L. C. Wittenmyer was president of the day. W. K. Coles and 
the Benicia ball teams played a good game, won by Martinez, 28 to 19. 
The visiting yachtsmen were tendered a barbecue and lunch. Fireworks 
in the evening were much enjoyed and the Native Sons ball was largely 
attended. Concord and Martinez bands furnished excellent music. 
Everybody had a good time. 

August 8, 1896. — Free mail delivery for Contra Costa County. 

November 7, 1896. — The Salvation Army has named their new farm 
for ex-convicts "Knights of Hope Farm." It consists of 300 acres near 
Pacheco, forty acres in fruit trees. The use of the farm has been given 
the Army by Mr. Montgomery, of San Francisco, with an option to 
purchase. 

November 28, 1896.— Parlor No. 92, N. D. G. W., was instituted at 
Pinole with thirty-five members. First Past President, Nellie E. Barry; 
First President, Marie Fernandez. 

December 5, 1896. — Morello, the horse that won the futurity stakes 
and Chicago Derby, died on the J. O. Rees ranch in this county Novem- 
ber 29. He had been suffering from paralysis three months. He was 
valued at $100,000. 

December 19, 1896. — It is rumored that two strangers dug up a bag 
of gold back of Rogers Hotel at Walnut Creek, last week, which had 
been buried several years ago by a murderer. 

January 7, 1897. — A local lodge of the Knights of the Maccabees 
was organized. 

January 11, 1897. — The Pinole Times and the Crockett Record were 
established. 

January 30, 1897. — Simon Blum has an account book that is of in- 
terest, as it contains considerable information regarding the cost of lay- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 295 

ing out the town of Martinez and a list of those who purchased the first 
lots sold. The town was laid out and surveyed in blocks and lots in 1849. 

Cost of Survey $2500 Sails and work on boat $ 300 

Cost of map 100 Iron safe 50 

Recording power attorney .. 6 Old power attorney 16 

Stakes 150 Acknowledging deeds 187 

Witnessing documents 50 Six cans paint oil 105 

Lawyer's fees 12 Flat book 250 

Printing deeds 240 Lawyers' fees, new deed form 400 

Printing deeds 727 Acknowledging three deeds.. 6 

Agent's salary 750 Anchor 14 

Boat for town 250 

Lots 1, 2, 3, and 4, Block 2, A. Van Home Ellis $400 

Lots 1, and 2, Block 3, C. H. H. Cook 200 

Lots 1 and 2, Block 8, W. M. Smith 200 

Lots 1, 2, 3 and 4, Block 9, G. C. Wood 400 

Lots 1 to 8, Block 10, T. Shilleber 800 

Lot 1, Block 13, W. H. Taylor _ 100 

Lots 1 and 2, Block 17, Thomas Smith 200 

Then appear the names of other purchasers: Nicholas Hunsacker, 
Nathaniel Jones, Moses Wells, William Hendricks, Charles Johnson, M. 
D. Rickey; the latter paid $300 for Lot 8, Block 12. 

Lots 3 and 4, Block 17, J. P. Stark $600 

Lots 2 and 3, Block 19, O. D. Paulson 600 

Lots 5 and 6, Block 20, G. W. Tucker 600 

The Walnut Creek Creamery began operation March 10, 1897. 

March 13, 1897. — Messrs. Stoddard and Lee have decided they can- 
not continue the Martinez Academy after the close of the present term. 
With the closing of the Academy, Martinez and vicinity will have no 
facilities beyond the grammar grades. 

March 20, 1897. — H. H. Whitman, of Ygnacio Valley, is in receipt 
of his returns from New York of his pear shipment. Out of 780 boxes 
of Winter Nellis but five boxes were lost, netting him clear $739.74, or 
$147.95 per acre for five acres. 

The Martinez Board of Trade was organized March 21, 1897. 

March 27, 1897.— Married, in Antioch, March 22, 1897, by Rev. W. 
J. Brier, Jr., Mr. A. B. McKenzie of Martinez and Miss Melvina I. 
Durham of Concord. 

April 24, 1897. — The Walnut Creek Hall Association has incorpo- 
rated, and 5000 shares at par value of $20 have been subscribed. The As- 
sociation will build a hall, which will be occupied by the Mount Diablo 
Lodge of Workmen and Central Parlor, Native Sons. The following 
leading citizens were elected to the board of directors: James M. Stow, 



296 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

V. Hook, A. Legrecht, J. T. Breneman, C. Sharp, M. Kirsch and H. T. 
Jones. 

On May 23, a barbecue was held at the William Buckley ranch, along 
which the road will wind to the mouth of the proposed tunnel that will 
pierce the hills, connecting Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. An in- 
spection of the tunnel, which began twenty years ago and pierced the hill 
about 100 feet on the Contra Costa County side and 200 feet on the 
Alameda side, revealed the fact that it was completely filled with debris. 
Representative people were present from Alameda and Contra Costa 
Counties. Subscriptions were taken and $1600 was subscribed by Ala- 
meda citizens and $1200 by Contra Costa County — J. M. Stow, $500; 
J. O. Miner, $40; E. J. Hutchinson, $100; W. B. Rogers, $100; and 
A. Hemme, $100. 

July 17, 1897. — The Martinez High School Association was organ- 
ized with the following officers: Mrs. L. I. Fish, president; Mrs. T. A. 
McMahon, secretary; Mrs. L. M. Lasell, treasurer. 

July 24, 1897. — The Martinez High School will occupy rooms on the 
ground floor of the Sherman homestead, the house recently vacated by 
Judge and Mrs. George F. Worth. 

August 7, 1897. — The Martinez High School opened with an attend- 
ance of twenty-two pupils. The course is the same as at the Oakland High 
School. Prof, and Mrs. R. C. Bentley, of Nebraska, have been engaged 
to teach. It is to be hoped that a public high school may be established 
before the beginning of another school year. 

August 21, 1897. — Papinta, the vaudeville favorite, has purchased a 
$15,000 ranch in Contra Costa County, 100 acres in Ygnacio Valley, 
four miles from Concord. Fifteen acres are in paper-shell almonds, fif- 
teen acres in French prunes, and fifteen acres in vineyard. 

October 17, 1897. — A local Parlor, N. D. G. W., was organized at 
Antioch. 

November 20, 1897. — The Concord Courant is the new paper issued 
by H. A. Downer. 

November 27, 1897. — This issue of the Gazette is published under 
the new ownership of G. E. Milnes, he having become editor and pro- 
prietor on this date. 

January 15, 1898. — The News has changed hands, and under the 
new management of C. F. Montgomery will be called "The County 
Paper." It is an eight-page paper. 

April 2, 1898. — The worst earthquake Martinez has experienced 
since 1868 occurred at 11 :42 Wednesday night. Vibrations from north- 
east to southwest lasted forty seconds. There was another at 5 o'clock 
Thursday morning. It damaged the court house, cracking the wall in 
three places, and twisted and strained it. The library building was also 
damaged. James Stewart's store had everything, jams, jellies, etc., piled 
on the floor. In Alhambra Valley the shock was more severe. In Port 
Costa every saloon was wrecked. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 297 

The Women's Improvement Club elected permanent officers Tuesday 
evening: President, Mrs. E. L. Bailhache; first vice-president, Mrs. E. M. 
Taylor; second vice-president, Mrs. F. L. Glass; secretary, Mrs. M. B. 
Lander; assistant secretary, Mrs. Charles Curry; treasurer, Mrs. O. L. 
Marsh. 

April 16, 1898. — After fourteen years of litigation in the courts of 
the State, Mrs. Kelly loses her suit in connection with the purchase of 
stock in the old steel works. 

April 23, 1898. — Tuesday night a train bearing soldiers, horses and 
artillery passed through Martinez, and Wednesday evening two more 
went by, taking the soldiers to New Orleans and Key West. 

May 28, 1898. — Martinez is patriotic. A company of volunteers is 
being formed and already fifty names have been placed on the muster roll. 

The Martinez Red Cross held an enthusiastic meeting at Bennett's 
Hall on June 1. 

June 4, 1898. — The Martinez High School Association has been or- 
ganized for the ensuing school year: President, Mrs. James Rankin; 
vice-president, G. A. Sherman; treasurer, Mrs. L. M. Lasell; secretary, 
Mrs. T. A. McMahon. Mr. and Mrs. Bentley will remain as teachers. 
Pupils from outside the district will be welcome at a tuition of $5 per 
month. The home pupils' tuition will be $10 per month, as heretofore. 

June 4, 1898. — The ladies of Walnut Creek and vicinity met at the 
home of Mrs. C. R. Leech and organized a Red Cross Society: Mrs. C. 
R. Leech, president; Mrs. Durham, vice-president; Mrs. E. Anderson, 
recording secretary; Mrs. Esther Williams, financial secretary; Mrs. 
James Hook, treasurer; Miss Zora Barry, corresponding secretary. The 
society held its first regular meeting at the home of Mrs. Arthur Wil- 
liams, number 64. 

June 11, 1898. — The ladies of Concord and vicinity have formed a 
Red Cross Society. The following officers were elected : President, Mrs. 
Dr. McKenzie; recording secretary, Mrs. Dr. Neff; financial secretary, 
Mrs. J. J. January; and treasurer, Mrs. James Boyd. 

Joe Boyd, of Concord, proved his loyalty by paying the railway fare 
from Concord to San Francisco for every Concord recruit. He is rustling 
for members of the Red Cross, which now has fifty. Concord has ten 
young men in the army. 

July 30, 1898. — An explosion in the nitroglycerine house at the Cali- 
fornia Powder Works at Pinole resulted in the death of four and the 
wounding of fifteen. There were two separate explosions about three and 
one-half hours apart. 

September 3, 1898. — The occasion of the opening of the Town Hall 
at Walnut Creek caused quite a ripple of excitement in the social life of 
Walnut Creek and adjacent valleys. A splendid program was given, 
which was enjoyed by all present, including people from Oakland, San 
Francisco and Martinez, besides those living in and near Walnut Creek. 



298 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The hall was made possible through the generosity of Mrs. F. X. Hill 
and the A. O. U., and the untiring work of the women of Walnut Creek 
and vicinity. 

September 7, 1898.- — After an official canvass of votes of the election 
held to establish a Union High School, it was found that the proposition 
was defeated by fourteen votes. 

September 17, 1898. — At the home of Mr. and Mrs. O. W. S. Burpee 
of Walnut Creek, the Golden Wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. 
Albert Sherburne was celebrated. Two hundred invitations were issued. 

December 10, 1898. — On December 5, the gelatine house of the Jud- 
son Powder Works was blown to atoms. C. D. Kennedy, the superin- 
tendent, and four Chinese were instantly killed. 

On January 7, 1899, the Gazette was changed to a five-column eight- 
page paper under the ownership of G. E. Milnes. 

It was decided in 1899 that the bridging of Carquinez Straits was im- 
practicable. This was a subject that had been discussed for ten or more 
years by both the railroad company and various bridge companies of Cali- 
fornia. When the Solano was built, the railroad company asked the Gov- 
ernment for a permit to build a bridge, which was denied. 

February 25, 1899. — Considerable progress is being made on the 
Valley Road between Point Richmond and Stockton. The tunnel near Pin- 
ole will be completed in ninety days. It will not be long before the State 
will be reaping the advantages of the new railroad. 

February 25, 1899. — A pressed brick and terra cotta depot is to be 
erected at Pacheco Landing by the railroad. 

March 14, 1899. — The California and Nevada Railroad will pass 
into the hands of the Santa Fe. Capt. C. K. King is now in charge of the 
California and Nevada. 

April 22, 1899.— The body of Hugh P. McClellan, one of the ten 
Contra Costa boys who early answered the call to arms, and who gave 
his life for his country, was brought back from the Philippines on the 
Ohio and laid to rest at Concord. He was born near Concord twenty-one 
years ago, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles McClellan, and was a 
member of Co. I, 14th U. S. Infantry. He was shot in battle on February 
5 at Manila and died from wounds. A military funeral was accorded him 
by the citizens of Concord, Pacheco and vicinity, and never in the history 
of the county has a more fitting tribute been paid to the memory of anyone. 

May 6, 1899. — Attorney Hartley was appointed justice of the peace 
at Antioch. 

May 13, 1899.- — Holler & Company's fruit and salmon cannery at 
Black Diamond was burned to the ground last Wednesday evening. 

The boring of the Pinole tunnel of the Valley Railroad, 18 feet square 
and i045 feet long, is completed. 

May 27, 1899. — Crack shots of the State are to assemble at Antioch 
for a two days' tournament of California Inanimate Target Association. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 299 

July 8, 1899. — Shortly after midnight Friday the big tunnel at Frank- 
lin Canyon was pierced by crews working from opposite sides. 

July 22, 1899. — The almond growers of Contra Costa County met 
at Brentwood to organize a Contra Costa County Almond Growers' 
Association. William Shafer, of Brentwood, was elected president; J. W. 
Thomas, of Oakley, vice-president; R. J. Trembath, secretary; James 
O'Hara, S. C. Scott and A. M. Graves, executive committee. 

C. K. King was succeeded as receiver of the California and Nevada 
Railroad by A. A. Grant. 

During the recent National Educational Association convention held 
in Los Angeles, the exhibit of Contra Costa County schools received 
much praise. It was prepared under the supervision of Superintendent 
Phalin. The Los Angeles Record Says: "The Contra Costa County dis- 
play represented the daily work of the pupils collected by the superin- 
tendent without the knowledge of the pupils or of the teachers. It com- 
pared very favorably with work prepared especially for the exhibit." 

August 5, 1899. — The last six grand juries have condemned the court 
house, and there is a strong movement for a new county building. The 
present building was erected in 1854 and cost $27,000. 

August 12, 1899. — The board of supervisors have voted to erect a new 
court house. 

August 19, 1899. — Timbers are being smashed every day in the Frank- 
lin Canyon tunnel by the shifting of the earth on account of its peculiar 
formation. 

August 26, 1899. — The welcome that is being given the California 
Volunteers who returned from Manila this week is the greatest affair ever 
held in the State. Over $60,000 was raised for the occasion. The Cali- 
fornia boys have all seen hard service and are all worthy of the ovation 
being given them. 

September 23, 1899. — The annual session of the County Teachers' 
Institute was held in Martinez and was a success, many teachers being 
present. 

October 14, 1899. — The town trustees have granted an electric light 
franchise to Joseph Mayo. 

December 2, 1899. — The steel viaduct across Alhambra Valley, just 
back of Martinez, will be completed in a few days. It is 1680 feet long. 
On Monday the first train passed over the Point Richmond section to 
Cornwall, five miles from Antioch. 

January 13, 1900. — W. S. Wells was appointed by Governor Gage 
to serve as superior judge of Contra Costa County, to succeed Judge 
Jones, deceased. He came to Contra Costa County in 1887. 

February 16, 1900. — The Contra Costa Oil & Petroleum Company 
organized last week. They have control of 1200 acres near Antioch 
where oil was found thirty-five years ago at a depth of 122 feet in paying 
quantities. 

F. L. Glass has been appointed postmaster for the next four years. 



300 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

April 14, 1900. — Last Thursday the doctors of the county met at 
Antioch and organized the Contra Costa County Medical Society. Six 
physicians were present. The officers are: President, J. S. Riley; first 
vice-president, J. T. Breneman; second vice-president, Dr. F. Rattan; 
secretary, George McKenzie; treasurer, W. S. George. 

The residence of Supervisor Paul DeMartini was destroyed by fire at 
Clayton. 

Last Monday the town trustees elected were W. A. Hale, Reese Jones, 
J. G. Duane; treasurer, W. J. Douglas; clerk, M. H. Hurley; marshal, 
George Woolbert. Total votes cast, 223. 

June 30, 1900. — There is a general enthusiasm for the monster cele- 
bration to be held on July 4 at Martinez, and contributions are readily 
coming in to make it a success. The ladies are to aid in securing funds 
for the celebration. A monster crowd of people from all of the county 
is expected. The celebration will last two days. W. H. Bowen, of Corn- 
wall, has been selected grand marshal. There will be many forms of 
amusement. Everything is in readiness for the two-day celebration. 

July 7, 1900. — The monster celebration was termed a grand success. 
Over 7000 people enjoyed the festivities. Miss Mamie Walsh of Valona 
represented the Goddess of Liberty; the maids of honor were Edith 
Barnard, Clara Mills, Nellie Casey and Daisy Collins. W. S. Tinning 
was president of the day. H. C. Raap represented Uncle Sam; Miss 
Florence Carpenter, Fire Queen; Miss Emma Bernard, Angel of Peace, 
on the N. D. G. W. float. The decorations were fine; the parade, unexcelled 
and there were also splendid literary exercises and races of all kinds. 

July 11, 1900. — Wednesday was the sixtieth birthday and the thir- 
teenth wedding anniversary of D. G. Muir, the well-known fruit-grower 
of Alhambra Valley. This fact was not forgotten by his wife, and while 
he was absent in town she planned a surprise. It was a five o'clock tea. 
When Mr. Muir returned home in the afternoon he was met by his many 
friends. All sat down to the festal board and spent pleasant hours re- 
calling old scenes and incidents. 

Quite a force of men are at work on the Randall tract for the Peyton 
Chemical Company's plant. 

July 21, 1900. — The Union Stock Yards Company property at Rodeo, 
which cost $700,000, was auctioned off for $23,000 to A. Alper, represent- 
ing the Great Western Smelting & Refining Company of San Francisco. 
The sale was confirmed by Judge Ogden of Oakland. 

August 18, 1900. — Work on the new electric line for which a fran- 
chise was granted to Henshaw and McDonald last Monday by the board 
of supervisors will begin at once. 

August 25, 1900. — An enthusiastic meeting of the Martinez Repub- 
lican Club was held last Thursday. A large crowd was in attendence. 

The new ferry steamer San Pablo, owned by the Santa Fe, was launched 
last Saturday afternoon at Union Iron Works and christened by Miss 
Payson, daughter of the president of the road. This will be the finest 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 301 

ferry boat on the bay and will run between Point Richmond and San 
Francisco. The vessel has a length of 225 feet, 64 feet beam, and draws 
17.6 feet of water. It has 2000 horse-power and 15-knot speed. 

September 1, 1900. — The twelfth anniversary of the organization 
of the Dante Society will take place this year at Concord, September 15 
and 16. 

The ticket nominated by the Republican Convention at Martinez last 
Saturday was: Superior judge, W. S. Wells; senator, C. M. Belshaw; 
assemblyman, B. M. Ivory; supervisors: District No. 2, J. M. Stow; No. 
4, W. J. Buchanan; No. 5, E. D. Grigsby. 

The Democrats in convention at Concord nominated Arthur Williams 
of Walnut Creek for assemblyman; supervisors: District No. 2, James 
Daley; No. 4, Paul DeMartini; No. 5, J. D. Wightman. 

October 13, 1900. — The result of the vote for the removal of the 
county seat from Martinez to Concord stood 2112 for Martinez and 
1228 for Concord. 

November 17, 1900. — The board of supervisors decided to accept 
plans and specifications for the new courthouse, to cost $100,000. 

The officers of the Martinez Library Association to serve the follow- 
ing year are: G. A. Brick, president; A. A. Lobree, vice-president; Mrs. 
Tinning, secretary; and Jessie L. Hale, librarian. 

December 1, 1900. — The "Owl" train from Los Angeles to San Fran- 
cisco was ditched between Cornwall and Antioch last Sunday. The car 
was derailed and thrown on its side, but all passengers escaped uninjured. 
The track was badly torn up. 

January 5, 1901. — The bids for the construction of the new court 
house were opened by the board of supervisors, and the final result was 
the rejection of all offers, as none of them came within the limit pre- 
scribed by the board. 

January 12, 1901. — With this issue of the Gazette, G. E. Milnes 
buys the interest of J. M. Stow and James Rankin, and becomes sole 
owner and proprietor. Mr. Milnes has had sole management of the 
Gazette for the past three years. 

January 26, 1901. — Dr. Frank Rattan purchased the drug business 
of W. K. Cole and will remove to Martinez and take up the practice of 
Medicine. He has been located at Antioch for the past ten years. 

April 13, 1901. — Plans are selected for the new court house. Havens 
& Toepke, architects of Sacramento, are the successful bidders. 

April 20, 1901. — At the election held Saturday in the districts of 
Concord, Pacheco, Mount Diablo, Oak Grove, Bay Point, Lime Quarry, 
and Pleasant Hill, for the purpose of determining whether a Union High 
School should be maintained, it was decided by a vote of 311 to 76 that 
such a school should be established. It is to be located at Concord. 

May 4, 1901.- — The smelter of the Copper King, Ltd., located at Seal 
Bluff, is in full operation. Large quantities of ores are arriving from 
Fresno County daily. 



302 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The Oakwood Stock Farm, owned by John F. Boyd, comprising 6000 
acres near Mount Diablo, has been sold to a syndicate of Montana and 
Eastern capitalists. The farm has a world-wide reputation for the breed- 
ing of trotters and other stock. Some of the finest cattle in the United 
States were bred on this farm. 

The court house plans were finally adopted and a building authorized 
not to exceed in cost $145,000. 

May 25, 1901. — President McKinley's train will pass through Mar- 
tinez about noon today, but will not stop. 

A communication from W. H. Penniman of Walnut Creek says in 
part, regarding the automobile: "In your issue of the 11th inst., I noticed 
in the column devoted to the doings of the supervisors pertaining to the 
running of autos on the public roads of the county that J. O. Miner and 
John Devlin appeared before the board and asked for an ordinance to 
prohibit the running of autos upon the public roads because they frighten 
horses. ... It does not seem possible that in this progressive age any 
person or people could be found so unprogressive as to wish to retard 
the fulfilling of one of the greatest wishes of the past generations, to be 
able to glide smoothly and more swiftly over the roads with power other 
than the horse. . . I tell you that the auto has come to stay, even more 
so than the bicycle. . . . What scares one horse will not scare another, 
and an auto is no worse, if as bad, as many other things that could be 
enumerated." 

June, 1901. — Residents of the town of Richmond are to form a sani- 
tary district; the object of the move is to put in a complete system of 
sewers. 

Alameda County is in line for the tunnel road. At a meeting of the 
board of supervisors they obligated themselves to levy a tax to raise $10,- 
000 to be paid as Alameda County's share of the cost of building the' 
proposed tunnel. 

July 6, 1901. — The bid of the Pacific Construction Company was ac- 
cepted by the supervisors for the new court house building, to be con- 
structed of granite at a cost of $177,383. Luke Bulger was appointed 
superintendent of construction. 

Fourth of July was celebrated in Concord and Crockett, both places 
drawing large crowds and having fine parades, speech-making, games, 
races, fireworks and dancing. At Crockett, Theodore Moiles was grand 
marshal; Judge T. B. Pratt, president of the day; and J. E. Hughes, 
speaker. At Concord, Arthur Williams was grand marshal; J. M. Oliver, 
speaker of the day; and E. J. Randall, president of the day. 

July 13, 1901. — The results of the election held last Saturday to de- 
termine the question whether a high school should be maintained or not, 
were: Martinez, 188 for, against; Vine Hill, 6 for, 12 against; Alham- 
bra, 18 for, 2 against; Franklin, 5 for, against; Briones, no election. 
The board comprised: J. E. Rodgers, Martinez; L. Brockman, Briones; 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 303 

George Frazer, Franklin; Mrs. M. R. Kelly, Vine Hill; John Swett, Al- 
hambra. Mrs. M. R. Kelly was elected president; J. E. Rodgers, secre- 
tary. E. I. Rowell was elected as principal. 

July 20, 1901. — A permanent organization of the board of trustees 
of Mount Diablo Union High School was effected last Saturday. E. J. 
Randall, of Concord, was elected president; M. T. Sickal, of Ygnacio, 
secretary; John Sutton, of Lime Quarry, third member of the executive 
committee. The full board consists of E. J. Randall, M. T. Sickal, John 
Sutton, John Parkinson, W. A. Kirkwood, Miss Annie Loucks, George 
Putnam. G. W. Wright was elected principal. The high school will open 
on August 5 with one teacher, and so continue until its growth warrants 
additions. [The school opened with thirty-two pupils, and with Miss M. L. 
Grover as teacher.] 

The people of Oakland went before the legislature and secured the 
passage of an act that would enable the Supervisors of Alameda and 
Contra Costa Counties to complete and build the tunnel road. 

July 27, 1901. — About 400 men along the water-front go on strike 
over wages. The men ask $3 per day for nine hours' work, and time and 
a half for overtime. The employers offered 30 cents an hour straight, 
with no extra pay for overtime. The men accepted the above wage and 
time and a half for overtime. 

July 27, 1901. — -Work on laying out the grounds for the new court 
house commenced last Wednesday, and excavating will soon start. 

Flames of unknown origin wiped out Byron Hot Springs Hotel with 
a loss of $85,000. The buildings destroyed were the main hotel, 300 by 
30 feet, with two wings 50 by 100 feet each, a cottage of twenty rooms, 
the laundry, and the gas and ice plants. 

August 3, 1901. — The school districts of Carquinez, Port Costa and 
Selby are determined that they shall have a union high school; and peti- 
tions have been circulated, the required number of names secured, and an 
election called for August 10. 

Gold bullion valued at $320,000 was stolen from the Selby Smelter last 
Tuesday morning. John Winters, formerly an employee of the plant, 
was captured as a suspect and made a confession and showed where he 
had hidden the bullion. There is a squabble over the $25,000 reward. 

The election on August 10 for a union high school for Carquinez, 
Port Costa, and Selby was a success; ninety-one voted for the school, and 
one against. The number of heads of families in the district is as fol- 
lows : Carquinez, 301 ; Port Costa, 9 1 ; Selby, 40. 

August 31, 1901. — A petition embracing Brentwood, Iron House, 
Sand Mound, Eden Plain, Excelsior, Byron, Hot Springs, Liberty, Deer 
Valley, Lone Tree and Live Oak has been presented to the county super- 
intendent, who has called an election. 

Carquinez District selected J. J. Davis, of Crockett; N. McNamara, 
of Selby; and L. M. Buttner, of Port Costa, as trustees of the new high 
school district. 



304 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

On account of no final settlement of the strike along the water-front, 
the warehousemen are putting in electric appliances to take the place of 
stevedores. 

September 7, 1901. — A dispatch from San Francisco says that Presi- 
dent McKinley was shot twice at the Exposition Grounds at Buffalo, N. Y., 
by an assassin. [Upon his death, memorial services were held in Curry 
& Jones Hall, which was packed to overflowing.] 

President Ralston, of the Selby Company, says that those who will 
share in the $25,000 reward for the capture of Winters, who got fifteen 
years at San Quentin, are R. R. Veale, Pete Donaldson, Ex-Chief of Po- 
lice Lees, Captain of Detectives Seymour, and Detectives Tom Gibson, 
Crockett, and Silvey of Morse's agency. The Pinkerton Agency declines 
to accept any reward other than pay for their services. 

September 21, 1901. — The Standard Oil Company purchased 117.66 
acres at Richmond and will erect immense storage tanks. 

October 5, 1901. — The public schools closed as a precaution to prevent 
the spread of scarlet fever, which seems to have secured a strong hold in 
Martinez. 

A special agent of the United States Government is here to investigate 
the establishment of a rural free delivery route in Alhambra Valley, 
Franklin Canyon, Vaca Creek and Vine Hill districts for mail-delivery 
every day except Sunday. 

November 8, 1901.— The car shops of the Santa Fe at Richmond 
were destroyed by fire. The loss to the company amounted to $125,000. 

December 14, 1901. — Ceremonies for the laying of the cornerstone 
of the new court house take place today. The Grand Masons of the 
State are to lay the stone. A procession will form at Masonic Hall and 
march to the court house site. J. D. Wightman will give an address, in- 
viting the Grand Master to commence ceremonies; and W. S. Wells, 
Grand Master of the State of California, will respond. Napa Com- 
mandery No. 34, K. T., will be in attendance. 

February 8, 1902.— Twilight Lodge No. 129, I.O.O.F, was in- 
stituted at Richmond last Saturday night with thirty-four members. John 
Murray, Noble Grand; J. A. Whiteside, Vice-Grand; A. Bishop, Treas- 
urer; T. A. Tipp, Warden; E. J. Summerfield, Conductor; John Swanson, 
Inside Guard; F. Kennedy, Outside Guard. 

San Pablo Water Company secured 200 acres at the mouth of Wildcat 
Creek and will sink wells and pipe water to Richmond. 

April 5, 1902. — The Contra Costa Chamber of Commerce was or- 
ganized on Saturday, March 29. W. S. Tinning was elected temporary 
chairman; G. E. Milnes, secretary; and A. Beam, treasurer. 

April 10, 1902.— The McKinley Masonic Lodge No. 347, F. & A. M., 
of Richmond, was instituted by Grand Master W. S. Wells. The of- 
ficers elected were: Harry Ells, W. M.; W. A. Walker, S. W. ; Dr. J. 
Mel. Morrison, J. W. ; W. Stitt, Treasurer; W. O. Shaw, Secretary; W. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 305 

H. Smith, Senior Deacon; John Murray, Junior Deacon; R. R. Thorn- 
ton, Marshal; William Richards, Tyler. There were seventeen charter 
members. 

May 3, 1902. — At a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, President 
Tinning presided. W. A. Hale, the new secretary, was in his place. A 
pamphlet descriptive of the county is to be issued as soon as all the data 
are available. 

May 3, 1902. — The town of Concord went out to get the site of the 
Fair Grounds and raised $3000. The board of directors of the Agri- 
cultural Society conceded that good work had been done and deserved 
support. There will be a good race track, and the grounds will be put in 
first-class shape. All buildings, etc., will be moved from Walnut Creek to 
the new site of seventy acres in the Galindo tract. 

May 17, 1902. — As a result of the protracted fight for the location 
of the union high school building in the eastern section of the county, the 
second election gave Deer Valley 121, Brentwood 122. The new district 
will be known as Liberty Union High School District. The school opens 
at Brentwood on August 25, with Mr. I. Wright as principal. 

The Contra Costa Driving Club have filed articles' of incorporation 
and have been granted a charter. The directors are : W. S. Wells, F. W. 
Paskett, P. J. Horgan, W. S. Burpee and George A. Wiley. A. B. Mc- 
Kenzie is secretary. Capital stock, $10,000. 

June 7, 1902. — As the result of a fire in Byron today, the business 
section of the town was wiped out. The town not being equipped with 
fire fighting apparatus, the buildings were at the mercy of the flames. 

A special election is to be held on August 11, 1902, for the purpose 
of submitting the proposition to incur a bonded indebtedness of $71,000 
for the completion of the court house, $20,000 for the jail, and $70,000 
for the complete furnishing of the court house. 

The high schools of the county are : The John Swett High School, of 
Crockett; Louis P. Webb, principal; Miss A. Hutton, vice-principal; thir- 
ty-two students. The Alhambra Union High School; F. A. Cooley, prin- 
cipal; Miss Amanda McComb, vice-principal; forty-three students. The 
Mount Diablo High School of Concord; G. W. Wright, principal; Miss 
Maude Grover, vice-principal; Miss G. Crocker, assistant; fifty-one stu- 
dents. The Liberty Union High School, of Brentwood; I. Wright, prin- 
cipal; Miss B. Hagmayer, vice-principal; twenty-one students. 

All bids for the construction of the tunnel between Alameda and Con- 
tra Costa County have been rejected, and the work is to be done by day 
labor. The work is to begin at once. The portion in Alameda County is 436 
feet, and that in Contra Costa County, 616 feet. Superintendent Stow 
now has the road finished to the face of the tunned on this side. 

The bonds for finishing and furnishing the court house and jail were 
carried by a large majority. 

December 27, 1902. — Bay Point Smelter was closed down. 



306 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

January 10, 1903. — At a meeting of the board of supervisors the 
salaries of the justices of the peace were fixed as follows: 

District Name Population Salary 

1 D. S. Carpenter 3096 $100 

2 J. P. Casey 1258 40 

3 W. H. Hough 1310 40 

4 S. F. Ramage 1322 40 

5 J. J. Burke 2080 45 

6 J. H. Fitzgerald 1301 40 

7 J. L. Dickinson 466 15 

8 A. C. Hartley 1515 40 

9 C. M. Chapman 1416 40 

10 E. B. Masterson 3000 100 

11 J. V. Enloe 2285 45 

12 M. W. O'Neill 3020 100 

13 G. L. Goethels 531 15 

14 J.F.Carey 750 15 

March 21, 1903. — The first session of the board of supervisors to be 
held in the new court house was held on March 14. All the various of- 
ficers are now installed in their new quarters. 

March 28, 1903. — What the tunnel road means to that section of the 
county is shown by the following: Property held at $20 per acre now 
sells easily at $100 per acre. 

The torrent of oil from the wells baptized the Standard Oil Com- 
pany's great new pipe line Saturday at Bakersfield, and 20,000 gallons 
of that murky fluid are on the way to the water's edge at Point Richmond. 
The oil is now plunging on its way towards Pond, the first pumping sta- 
tion out of Bakersfield, twenty-eight miles away. It is expected to reach 
there in thirty-six hours. There it will be led into a receptacle big enough 
to hold the whole 20,000 gallons, whence it will be pumped to the next 
station, and so on until it has been passed by ten stations, twenty-eight 
miles apart on the 280-mile pipe line. It will be at least two weeks before 
the oil will reach Point Richmond. 

May 2, 1903. — The corner-stone for the new schoolhouse at Byron 
was laid with appropriate ceremonies last Saturday. 

May 30, 1903. — The supervisors of the State held their annual con- 
vention at Martinez on May 26, 27 and 28, and all the visitors seemed 
pleased with their visit. After the usual business sessions, trips were 
made to various places of interest in the county. J. D. Wightman was 
elected chairman; and County Clerk J. E. Rodgers, secretary. 

The new court house was dedicated on May 29 with impressive cere- 
monies. Much credit is due the volunteer firemen for the success of the 
day's program. President of the day, G. E. Milnes; Ruth Dow, Fire 
Queen; orator of the day, J. P. Abbott, of Antioch. Judge Wells made 
the dedicatory speech. There was a parade formed on Ferry Street near 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 307 

the depot, including the grand marshal and his aides; Martinez Band; 
president of the day, orators of the day and chaplain in carriages; hook 
and ladder truck, conveying the Fire Queen and maids; Ramona Parlor, 
N. D. G. W. ; a company of sailors in uniform, from merchant ships in 
the harbor; the Dante Society, in uniform; Laurel Camp No. 145, W. 
O. W. ; chemical engine; citizens in carriages; and Tug-of-War float. Af- 
ter the services there was a barbecue and sports, and in the evening a ban- 
quet and dance. 

Decoration Day was fittingly observed in Martinez on May 30. The 
fire company and ships in the harbor took part in the ceremonies. Judge 
W. S. Wells was chairman, and Judge E. M. Gibson was orator of the day. 

June 13, 1903. — After a period of five years at Crockett, W. G. 
Hawes, editor of the Crockett Signal, has decided to suspend the publi- 
cation of his paper and to move his plant to East Oakland. 

Eppinger & Company, of San Francisco, owners of the Pacific Coast 
Works at Crockett, have been forced to the wall; their liabilities were 
$1,500,000, and assets $750,000. The failure is one of the worst in the 
State, but the losses fell heaviest upon banks that are able to stand them, 
not on the farmers. 

June 11, at 5:15 a. m., the residents of the town were awakened by a 
violent earthquake shock. It made the houses rock like small pieces of 
cork bobbing on a wave. 

The terrible wreck on the Southern Pacific at Byron last December, 
in which over thirty persons lost their lives in the wreck of the Stockton 
Flyer and the Owl trains, is recalled in a suit filed in supreme court this 
week for $20,000 damages. The plaintiff in the case is Ella A. Sessions, 
widow of Charles Sessions, a capitalist of Oakland, who was crushed 
in the wreck. 

June 20, 1903. — Elections were held in the towns of Black Diamond 
and Pinole last Monday to determine the question of incorporation, which 
was carried by overwhelming majorities. The vote was 50 for and 1 
against at Black Diamond. Clerk, T. M. Donovan; treasurer, V. G. Vis- 
casco; marshal, T. M. Rogers; trustees, W. G. H. Croxon, W. J. Buchan- 
an, J. A. Junta, D. Israel, and V. D. Maggio. At Pinole the vote was 
106 for and 5 against. Clerk, E. M. Downer; treasurer, A. Greenfield; 
marshal, H. A. Christian; trustees, J. A. Fraser, S. J. Stotts, J. P. Bar- 
rett, Joseph Walton, and Thomas Shimmins. 

July 4, 1903. — The Copper King, Ltd., filed a petition in involuntary 
insolvency Wednesday in San Francisco; liabilities, $614,223; assets, 
$306,704. 

Eppinger & Company were declared insolvent. The creditors will not 
realize more than ten per cent. 

July 25, 1903. — The pipe line of the Standard Oil Company from 
Bakersfield to Richmond, 283 miles, is a success. The first oil was pump- 
ed into the tank at Richmond Saturday at nine o'clock; during the first 



308 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

hour 800 barrels were pumped. The enterprise involves an investment 
of $3,000,000, and together with the local plant, $6,000,000. Seven 
hundred people are employed in and about Richmond. 

R. N. Frick gets a franchise for an electric railroad to the peak of 
Mount Diablo. The franchise calls for an electric railway from the inter- 
section of the Alameda-Contra Costa County line to the top of Mount 
Diablo, also branching off at Walnut Creek and running through Ygnacio 
Valley to Martinez. 

The supreme court ends the Sobrante Case, which has been in the 
courts for more than twenty years and involves title to 19,000 acres of 
land in the west end of the county, valued at $4,000,000. The land can 
now be divided among the various parties interested. 

October 17, 1903. — Oil that has been sought by an enterprising com- 
pany for years, has at last been discovered on the Minor ranch. As the 
murky fluid shot up into the air it caught fire from lanterns hanging on the 
derrick, and workmen barely escaped with their lives. Much valuable 
machinery was destroyed by the flames. 

December 5, 1903. — The Brentwood Hotel, the leading hotel of the 
town and a landmark for years, was burned to the ground Sunday night. 

January 30, 1904. — Contra Costa County has had prepared, under the 
supervision of H. C. Raap, a splendid exhibit of its products and resources. 
At the proper time this exhibit is to be sent to the St. Louis World's Fair. 
The good results that will accrue from such an exhibit will be many. Any- 
one seeing it can not help being convinced that Contra Costa County is a 
good place in which to cast his lot. Contra Costa County has over 500 
jars containing as nice specimens of fruit as can be found, and should 
maintain her individuality. 

January 30, 1904. — The Vallejo Junction Hotel, located at Vallejo 
Junction, was destroyed by fire at an early hour Friday morning. 

February 13, 1904. — The Gazette has just installed the Simplex one- 
man typesetter machinery, which is almost human in its workings. 

March 12, 1904. — The flood of last Thursday was the worst the town 
has experienced for the past fourteen years. The water backed up on 
Main Street so that foot travel, except in a limited area, was out of the 
question. North of Main Street everything clear to the water-front was 
one mass of water, in places four feet deep. Portions of the railroad 
track were washed out and trains were delayed several hours. At Pacheco 
several buildings were washed away. 

March 26, 1904. — The exhibit for the St. Louis Fair was shipped, and 
H. C. Raap will leave in about a week to see that it is properly installed. 
There was more than a big furniture car would hold. 

May 28, 1904. — The Martinez Aerie of Eagles was instituted by 
Hon. Charles Nagle, State Deputy Grand President. 

June 4, 1904. — After a visit of six weeks at the St. Louis Fair, where 
he superintended the placing of the Contra Costa County exhibit, H. C. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 309 

Raap is home. He says that this county's exhibit is by far the best seen 
at the Fair. 

July 2, 1904. — The first graduating exercises of the Alhambra Union 
High School were held Friday, July 1, at Curry & Jones Hall. The colors 
of the school are Blue and Gold. Diplomas were given Aileen Murphy, 
Laura M. Mellerup and Francis J. Kelly. 

School Superintendent A. A. Bailey's report shows 6860 children in 
the county between the ages of five and seventeen. 

July 9, 1904. — Celebrations of the Fourth were held in various places 
in the county. In Antioch R. R. Veale was grand marshal and C. M. Bel- 
shaw orator of the day. At Mitchell Canyon some 1200 enjoyed the 
exercises. Gus L. Goethals was president of the day and E. J. Randall 
orator. At Orinda some 400 attended a barbecue held under the aus- 
pices of Mr. and Mrs. J. Harris. Judge McGraw made an address, fol- 
lowed by Mr. Burke of San Francisco. 

August 27, 1904. — A devastating fire on August 19 consumed a large 
portion of Martinez's business district. It was first seen in the Ottman 
Refrigeration Plant, but by reason of delayed service in coupling hose the 
fire secured such headway that it could not be checked. The Curry & 
Jones livery, in fact the whole block of the Commercial Hotel, was ablaze. 
Efforts were then directed to save the property on the opposite sides of 
the streets. 

Help came from Benicia by boat, and even from Concord. The fol- 
lowing sustained losses : 

Loss Insurance 

McNamara & Winkleman ....$ 6,500 $1,250 

A. P. Nelson _ 6,000 2,000 

M. L. Biess 4,000 

C. C. Gill 2,000 500 

J. W. Douglass 3,000 700 

Martinez Hotel 500 

Bank of Martinez 1,000 1,000 

J. Ipswich 2,000 1,000 

M. Bergamini 3,500 1,750 

McMahon Bros 7,000 2,000 

C. C. Swain 200 200 

E. Morgan 5,000 2,250 

• Mrs. S. Rankin 10,000 3,600 

W. J. Johnson 3,000 1,500 

Curry & Jones 1,000. 300 

Sunset Telephone Co 500 

J. W. Ottman 3,000. 1,000 

J. Dahlstrom 5,000 

M. Lawless 3,000 1,500 

G. W. Reed 500 

There were many minor losses besides. 



310 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

September 17, 1904.— C. E. Ertz, of the Bull's Head Oil Company, 
has named his subdivision, laid out on the Frazer ranch, East Martinez. 

February 11, 1905. — At a hotly contested election last Saturday Con- 
cord fought out the incorporation question and elected, as trustees, H. W. 
Bott, M. N. Breckenridge, H. H. Elsworthy, M. E. Lyon, and James 
Boyd; clerk, G. P. Keller; treasurer, F. W. Foskett; marshal, J. W. Guy. 

February 25, 1905. — The directors of the Bank of Martinez have let 
the contract for a new modern building of brick and stone, and costing 
$10,666, to Wilson-Lyons Company. Other buildings being constructed 
aie the pressed-brick building of Mrs. Rankin, costing $1 1,000, which will 
be ready for occupancy on May 1 ; the Bergamini Block, which is about 
completed, a two-story brick and stone building, costing $5000; and that 
of T. A. McMahon and J. J. McNamara, which will cost $10,000. 

March 4, 1905. — The coal yards and grain depot of A. M. Coleman 
& Company, at Point Richmond, were totally destroyed by fire, and the 
coal sheds of the Richmond Supply Company were partially burned. Cole- 
man's loss amounted to $3500 and Black's to $500. 

June 10, 1905. — The board of supervisors granted the request that a 
new township be created to include Richmond, Santa Fe, Stege, San Pablo 
and Grant, and appointed Frank Hull justice of the peace. 

June 17, 1905. — John Zimmerman was found guilty of the Stege rob- 
bery of the Central Bank of Oakland of $10,000. The jury was out nine- 
teen hours. 

July 15, 1905. — Charles H. Hayden has been appointed justice of the 
peace to succeed D. S. Carpenter, deceased. 

July 29, 1905. — Los Cerritos Chapter, O. E. S., was instituted at Mar- 
tinez Saturday night with a membership of thirty. The following officers 
were appointed: Worthy Matron, Mrs. R. B. Borland; Associate Matron, 
Mrs. O. E. Haywards; Patron, W. A. Hale; Secretary, Mrs. A. B. Wil- 
son; treasurer, George A. Wiley; Conductress, Mrs. E. Pasch; Associate 
Conductress, Mrs. W. A. Hale. 

Mr. and Mrs. T. McMahon celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their 
marriage on August 6, 1905. 

The Alhambra Union High School opened Monday with thirty-one 
students enrolled. E. W. Stoddard is the principal; Miss Ruth I. Swett, 
vice-principal; and Miss Florence N. Ewing and Miss Rosalind Wulzen, 
teachers. 

August 19, 1905. — The trial jury sitting in circuit court before Justice 
Beatty in the case of Sessions vs. the Southern Pacific Railway, in which 
Mrs. Sessions sued for $20,000 because Charles A. Sessions was killed by 
collision of trains on December 20, 1902, brought in a verdict in favor of 
the railway company, holding that Sessions was a trespasser on the train 
because he was traveling on an old pass given him by Conductor William 
Doland. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 311 

A Lodge of the Fraternal Brotherhood was organized in Martinez on 
August 12. One hundred and twenty-four were elected to membership by 
ballot. 

The Alhambra Cemetery Association met and elected E. Morgan pres- 
ident, to fill the vacancy made by the death of L. C. Wittenmyer, and C. 
H. Hayden to fill the vacancy on the board. The board of directors are 
E. Morgan, M. R. Jones, C. C. Swain, Elafn Brown, and C. H. Hayden. 

August 26, 1905. — John Zimmerman was sentenced to forty-five 
years for the Stege robbery. He held up and robbed John Dailey and Frank 
Roche near Stege in March, relieving them of $10,000 belonging to the 
Central Bank of Oakland which was being taken to Richmond to be 
used in paying the help of the Standard Oil Company. 

November 4, 1905. — Sterling Parlor No. 146, Native Daughters 
of the Golden West, was organized at Black Diamond, with twenty-two 
charter members. Mrs. Joseph McAvoy, Past President; Mrs. W. H. 
DifHn, President. 

December 2, 1905. — Richmond Parlor No. 147, Native Daughters 
of the Golden West, was organized at Richmond with thirty-two 
charter members. The officers installed were: Past President, Mrs. A. C. 
Lang; President, Mrs R. H. Spiersch; first Vice-President, Mrs. Julius 
Shiefwater; Second Vice-President, Mabel Roth; Secretary, Mrs. G. A. 
Dimick; Treasurer, Mrs. W. S. Bennison; Marshal, Miss EfHe Rihn; 
Trustees, Miss Belle Johannsen and Miss Mable Kohnhoff. 

A Knights of Pythias Lodge was instituted on December 9 at Mar- 
tinez; 175 visitors from various lodges were in attendance. Thirty-one 
candidates received the three ranks, and nine were admitted by card. The 
officers installed were: P. C. Commanders, W. M. Laidlaw, C. R. Hayes, 
R. B. Borland, G. W. Sweetser; C. C, George Elder; Vice-C. C, A. E. 
Goyette; Prelate, C. H. Ludden; Master of Work, L. F. Osborne; Master 
at Arms, A. J. Soto; Inner Guard, L. M. Tubbs ; Outer Guard, A. W. 
Large; Keeper of Records, C. H. Hayden; Master of Finance, Walter 
Morgan; Master of Exchequer, R. B. Borland; Physician, Dr. G. W. 
Sweetser; Trustees, Dr. G. W. Sweetser, E. Osborne, Dr. M. N. Mitchell. 

March 10, 1906. — The water-front town of Stege is experiencing 
a building boom. The Stauffer Chemical Works soon to be erected will 
be one of its largest concerns. Another important industry is that of 
the U. S. Briquette Company. The Metropolitan Match Company is im- 
proving its plant. 

April 7, 1906. — Papers are filled with accounts of the terrible earth- 
quake and fire in San Francisco. 

April 28, 1906. — The lack of glass caused by the conflagration in 
San Francisco necessitates the repair of windows with boards. 

The Martinez Library Association will have to incur a $1500 debt 
to repair the damage to their building in the earthquake. They also lost 
fifty volumes in a bindery in San Francisco. 



312 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The following is the essay given by W. E. Stoddard on graduating 
night, June 8, 1906: 

"The first school in Martinez was taught by B. R. Holliday, in the 
early part of 1850; his school consisted of five or six pupils gathered in 
the Blossom, now known as the Gift house, standing at the foot of Thomas' 
Hill. The school increased from six to twenty-six during the two terms. 
He received $75 per month. In the fall of 1850 he was succeeded by 
McLaughlin. 

"In 1851 there was a school taught in an old house across from D. 
Calahan's furniture store by a Mrs. Rice, who had twelve or thirteen 
pupils. 

"Mr. Hinckley was the next teacher, who taught a three-months term 
in 1852 in a house that stood on Mills Street near Main. 

"In 1853 Mr. More taught in a small brick building on the corner of 
Main and Ferry. 

"In the latter part of the same year Mrs. Phoebe R. Alley taught in 
a house owned and now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. C. C. Swain. Mrs. 
Alley lived upstairs and used her kitchen for a school-room. Rough seats 
were made and a curtain was drawn to hide the cook-stove and utensils. 
It was during her term that the school first received aid from the State. 

"Hiram Burns was the next teacher and taught six months in 1854 in 
the brick building on Ferry Street already mentioned. 

"In 1854 Rev. Sanbourne taught in a house, later Mrs. Henry Hale's 
residence, hut afterwards in a building on Main Street. 

"J. Vandermark was the first superintendent of schools of the county. 

"In 1856 Dr. Holmes taught in a house which might be termed the 
Public Building of Martinez, as it was used as a church, court house and 
Masonic Lodge hall. 

"In 1856 Miss Gregory, a graduate of Oberlin, also taught in this 
building. She had twenty or thirty pupils and Miss Charlotte Worth was 
an assistant. 

"In 1857 Miss Jane Lyon succeeded Miss Gregory. There were 
twenty pupils taking high school studies and twelve in intermediate grades. 
On account of the building being too small, Miss Lyon taught primary 
classes at noon while eating her lunch and at odd times when the older 
ones were not reciting. Her time was fully occupied from eight in the 
morning until late in the evening. She had to buy the apparatus needed, 
out of her own pocket. In winter a stove was borrowed and the pupils 
furnished fuel. The pipe was of three different sizes, which the teacher 
and pupils put together with wire and mortar. 

"In the early part of 1858 Miss Lyon accepted a call to Sacramento 
and Miss Eliza May took her place. She taught two terms. 

"On September 4, 1858, S. H. Bushnell was employed. One of his 
pupils told the following: 'Two boys were to be whipped, and one of them 
was sent to get a switch. He obeyed, went to the creek, cut a fine green 
poison-oak switch, and brought it to the teacher. The boys got their 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 313 

whipping, also a week's vacation, as the teacher was nursing a bad case of 
poison oak.' 

"There were forty-eight scholars, twenty-eight girls and twenty boys. 
A new Masonic Hall had been completed in 1860, and the public school 
moved into it, where Mr. Bushnell taught two years. 

"The school gradually grew, and in 1873 the citizens of Martinez had 
erected a two-story wooden building, which was completed May 1st. 

"D. T. Fowler was the last teacher in the Masonic Hall and the first 
in the new schoolhouse. Mrs. Fowler and Miss Connors were his assist- 
ants. There were only eight months of school yearly, on account of 
funds. The ladies of the town organized an Educational Aid Society, 
with Mrs. Alley president. They gave entertainments and solicited sub- 
scriptions to pay the teachers for two more months, so that a ten-months 
school could be maintained. This society also bought desks and a piano, 
and laid a two-plank sidewalk from Main Street to the schoolhouse." 

Contra Costa County's subscription towards rebuilding the schools 
in San Francisco was between $500 and $600. 

The plans and specifications for the repair of earthquake damages to 
the new court house were placed in charge of A. A. Cantin, architect. 

August 25, 1906. — Recent reports from the Copper King Mining 
Company, Ltd., of London, with mines in Fresno and a smelter here, 
which was forced into bankruptcy, indicate that all creditors will be paid 
in full. The trustee of the concern has been given permission to work the 
mine, and says there is plenty of ore in sight to pay all liabilities. 

September 15, 1906.- — The Pinole Aerie of Eagles was instituted Wed- 
nesday, September 14, with fifty-six charter members. The officers are: 
Sam Bermingham, Past President; J. Doughty, President; W. G. Hays, 
Vice-President; J. V. Enloe, Secretary; T. J. Stats, Treasurer; F. Lock- 
yer, Chaplain; George Floyd, Conductor; N. G. Scanlon, Inside Guard; 
J. Clancy, Outside Guard; H. W. Baldwin, Physician; J. Silva, J. A. 
Lewis and John T. Silva, Trustees. 

September 15, 1906. — There was a big fire at Richmond on Tuesday 
night, the 11th, which destroyed almost an entire block, including the un- 
dertaking parlors and furniture store of E. B. Smallwood, the Eureka 
Lodging House, Mrs. Jacka's restaurant, and the fruit stand of F. Hus- 
ton. There was no fire department and the blaze was fought by bucket- 
brigade. The loss was $25,000. 

The estimated loss in a fire at Black Diamond was $10,000, with 
$4000 insurance. The buildings burned were: C. Lepori's store, resi- 
dences of J. R. Nichols and G. Crivello, and the warehouse of W. J. 
Buchanan & Company. The fire started in the barn of C. Lepori. The 
firemen worked well and with good results. 

The Gazette has installed a Mergenthaler Linotype machine. Mr. 
Milnes will welcome visitors and will see that the workings of this won- 
derful machine are explained to them. 



314 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

November 3, 1906. — Work on the pottery plant buildings at Rich- 
mond is being pushed rapidly. The new concern will manufacture all kinds 
of porcelain ware and will employ 150 men. 

The California Wine Association has commenced work on its new 
warehouse and winery at Point Molati on Richmond Island. When com- 
pleted, the plant will cost a half million of dollars; 10,000,000 gallons 
of wine will be stored in vats, and the plant will handle 25,000 tons of 
grapes. The wharf is already completed and deep-water transportation 
assured. 

February 9. — L. N. Buttner was appointed county treasurer to fill 
the vacancy caused by the death of G. A. Wiley. 

February 23, 1907. — The Antioch Lumber Company incorporated 
with a capital stock of $100,000; A. M. Simpson, president; J. P. Abbott, 
vice-president; R. M. Beede, treasurer; H. F. Beede, secretary. 

March 16, 1907. — The Richmond Chamber of Commerce was or- 
ganized with H. C. Cutting, president; L. D. Dimm, vice-president; J. Q. 
Black, secretary; H. L. Boswell, assistant. 

On March 14 there were fifty-five fishing boats between Port Costa 
and Martinez. As many as seventy were counted from a court-house 
window. 

March 30, 1907. — The Henley-Tyler Lumber Company of Rich- 
mond has been incorporated with a capital stock of $50,000. 

April 15, 1907. — The Richmond Union High School is located in 
Block 99, Macdonald Avenue, on a site of twenty lots. 

April 26, 1907. — Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wood of Danville celebrated 
their Golden Wedding anniversary at their "Woodside Home." 

The First National Bank of Contra Costa County opened its doors 
June 7, 1907, with Ed. Majors, president; A. E. Blum, vice-president; 
E. J. Randall and W. K. Cole, directors; M. E. Gluckman, cashier. 

June 29, 1907. — The private bank conducted by J. L. Silveira at 
Walnut Creek has been incorporated, and will be known as the San Ramon 
Valley Bank, Inc., capital stock, $25,000. They will have a branch at 
Danville. John Hackett is president; A. H. Cope, first vice-president; A. 
Burton, second vice-president; J. L. Silveira, cashier and manager; C. W. 
Close, manager of the Danville branch. Ralph Harrison, F. V. Wood, 
A. P. Borges, and W. K. Cole make up the directorate. 

July 27, 1907. — The supervisors place the increase in valuation on 
property in the county at $3,275,862, which will bring the total up to 
$27,122,288 as against $23,846,426 in 1906. 

August 15, 1907. — Two passenger trains came through Franklin tun- 
nel on Thursday morning, the first trains since January 26, when the 
tunnel was blocked by slides and caving in. 

December 7, 1907. — The Gazette changed hands. W. A. Rugg bought 
out G. E. Milnes. From 1900 to 1904 Mr. Rugg was editor of the Daily 
Press, which paper was later changed into the Daily Gazette. Mr. Rugg 
has always been a fearless writer and is out for a square deal. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 



315 



January 18, 1908. — C. J. Preston, owner of a farm two miles out of 
Byron, Contra Costa County, lays claim to the record alfalfa yield on 
land that is hot irrigated. He has just cut the sixth crop on his sixty acres 
of field, which has netted him a clear gain of $80 an acre. His total 
profits exceed $4000. 

February 20, 1908. — Twenty-four persons were killed, four white 
and twenty Chinamen, at the explosion at the powder works in Pinole. 
Destruction to property amounted to $100,000. 

The last of the Richmond Union High School bonds have been sold. 

On May 9, 1908, the Martinez Gun Club held a regular shoot, each 
member having a chance at twenty blue rocks : 

G. E. Searcy 16 J. Mayo 8 

G. McDonald 15 M. Joost _ 4 

A. E. Blum 9 C. Daley 13 

F. Joost 7 W. Morgan 15 

On May 20, 1908, the Oregon Express was wrecked near Pinole; five 
were killed. 

The total number of children of school age in the county is 9222, as 
follows : 



Alamo - 68 

Antioch - 442 

Black Diamond 911 

Briones Valley 50 

Carquinez 791 

Concord 405 

Deer Valley 30 

Excelsior 47 

Green Valley 25 

Hot Spring 36 

Jersey 34 

Liberty 37 

Live Oak 94 

Martinez 702 

Morgan Territory 33 

Mt. Pleasant 32 

Oakley 90 

Pacheco 125 

Pleasant Hill 61 

Richmond 1830 

San Pablo 254 

Selby 160 

Sobrante 25 

Stege 378 

Sycamore 66 

Vasco 29 



Alhambra 55 

Bay Point 78 

Brentwood Ill 

Byron 80 

Central 143 

Danville 81 

Eden Plain 53 

Franklin - 45 

Highland 50 

Iron House 68 

Lafayette 105 

Lime Quarry 66 

Lone Tree 40 

Moraga 49 

Mt. Diablo 116 

Oak Grove — ... 71 

Orinda Park 14 

Pinole - Hercules 395 

Port Costa 249 

Rodeo 193 

San Ramon Ill 

Sand Mound 39 

Somersville 21 

Summit 16 

Tassajara 81 

Vine Hill 81 



Willow Springs 56 



316 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

June 6, 1908. — Martinez is to have a garage for the motoring public. 
W. J. Johnson plans an up-to-date auto-repair shop, with motor cars 
for sale and for rent. 

Pinole was visited by a conflagration that destroyed six buildings; 
loss, $40,000. 

July 1 1, 1908. — The Selby Smelter has been ordered to close, by order 
of Superior Court Judge Harrier of Solano County, until some device 
has been installed which will consume the deadly mineral fumes. 

August 29, 1908. — There are fifty-eight schools in the county, 135 
teachers, and six union high schools in addition to the district schools; 
that is, at Concord, Richmond, Brentwood, Crockett, Martinez and 
Antioch. There are fifty-seven school buildings in the county. The 
school census for the year showed 5990 pupils, with an average atten- 
dance of 3358. The average cost of primary instruction was $21.97 
per scholar; for high school instruction, $93.22. In 1907 the county 
paid for school purposes $43,470.12. 

On Tuesday, September 1, 1908, John N. Jones and his wife cele- 
brated the fifty-ninth anniversary of their marriage. They came to 
California in 1853. 

October 30, 1908. — Fifty years ago, the school marshal of District 
No. 1 (Martinez) gave the following item: Number of children between 
the ages of 4 and 18 in his district, 371. 

Fifty years ago, on October 10, 1858, the first overland mail from 
San Francisco arrived at St. Louis, having made the trip in twenty-four 
days, eighteen hours and twenty-six minutes. Mr. Butterfield was re- 
ceived at St. Louis with a triumphal procession. He telegraphed the 
news of his arrival to Washington from Jefferson City, and on the 9th 
received the following reply : 

"Washington City, 

"October 9, 1858. 
"John Butterfield, 

"President Overland Mail Co. 

Sir: Your dispatch has been received. I cordially congratulate you 
on the result. It is a glorious triumph for civilization and the Union. 
Settlements will follow the course of the road and the East and West will 
be bound together by a chain of living Americans which can never be 
broken. 

(Signed) "James Buchanan." 

[Note: Today (1925) the trip is made in thirty-two hours from San 
Francisco to New York with fourteen stops by aeroplane.] 

October 24, 1908.— $1,000,000 will be expended by the Standard Oil 
Company at Point Richmond on reclamation of a large tract of marsh land 
for the erection of additional refinery machinery. 

October 31, 1908. — Two large warehouses at the end of Berryessa 
Street, used for the storage of lumber by the Martinez Lumber Company, 
were burned in a spectacular fire this morning about 1 a. m. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 317 

February 10, 1909. — Richmond's new charter carried, 582 for and 
269 against. The Board of Freeholders began work on a new governing 
instrument last October, calling for nine elective councilmen to serve for 
a term of six years. 

March 13, 1909. — This morning at ten o'clock, on the front steps 
of the Court House, a portion of the Bull's Head Oil Works' property 
was sold under the sheriff's hammer for $7318.56. 

On April 21, 1909, the Golden Wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Myron 
W. Hall, of Alamo, was celebrated at Danville. 

The John Swett Union High School was dedicated April 30, 500 
being present. It is safe to say that there is no more modern or better 
equipped school building in the State. 

May 15, 1909. — George Barnovich, who was convicted of dyna- 
miting the home of Superintendent Hartman of the California & Hawaiian 
Sugar Refining Company, February 5th, was sentenced by Judge Latimer 
to serve life imprisonment in San Quentin. 

June 5, 1909. — The graduating class of Alhambra Union High School: 
Leila Veale, Hazel Soto, Florence Morris, Ida Hale, Nellie Glass, Villani 
Hoey, Lydia Bulger, Orpha Domnaugh, Agnes Mayo and Alma 
Honegger. 

July 10, 1909. — The Supreme Court affirmed the decision by Judge W. 
S. Wells for the partition of the Marsh ranch at Brentwood. The decision 
brings to a close a legal battle that has waged for forty years. The 
ranch, 13,000 acres, was originally patented to John Marsh. His heirs 
sold it to J. P. Sanford in 1871, partly for cash and partly on credit. 
Sanford was caught in the panic of 1873 and was unable to meet the 
requirements, so the property was foreclosed in 1875. The division will 
be as follows: George Davidson, 2829 acres; A. G. Moseley, 2829 acres; 
T. I. Bergen, 1680 acres; C. N. Ellinwood, 1414 acres; C. E. Sanford, 
J. E. M. Sanford, Mariah E. Robertson and A. M. Sanford, 707 acres 
each; heirs of H. McAllister, 399 acres; Garrett W. McEnerney and 
W. B. Treadwell, 333 acres each; heirs of T. P. Stoney, 222 acres; heirs 
of J. A. Stanley, 222 acres. 

September 4, 1909. — A fountain was unveiled in Richmond Saturday 
at the intersection of Park Place and Washington Avenue by the West 
Side Women's Improvement Club. One thousand were present to see 
the bronze fountain unveiled. The exercises opened with music by Fisk's 
band of Oakland, after which Mrs. Luther Dimm lifted the veil. Mrs. S. R. 
Curry made an appropriate address. 

The Martinez Grammar School was dedicated on September 25. 

October 30, 1909. — The election held Monday in Martinez, for 
annexation, resulted in 229 ballots for and 13 against. 

January 1, 1910. — With the coming of the Pullman car works to 
Richmond, it has taken another boom. 

April 2, 1910. — One of the largest transactions in real estate in this 
section was the sale, by the Canadian Bank of Commerce of San Fran- 



318 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

cisco, of Jersey Island to D. W. Carmichael and A. L. Shinn. The island 
contained 4000 acres and the purchase price was $200,000. 

April 9, 1910. — H. T. Jones, county assessor, resigned and George 
Meese was appointed by the supervisors to fill the vacancy. 

April 21, 1910. — The immense oil reservoir of the Standard Oil Com- 
pany, west of Pinole, is burning. A force of 200 men and 100 teams are 
desperately at work to prevent the spread of the flames to the large tanks 
a short distance south. The reservoir is 100 feet from the Santa Fe Rail- 
way, and all trains are being run over the Southern Pacific between Rich- 
mond and Bay Point. 

April 30, 1910. — The Oakland & Antioch Railway Company, incor- 
porated January 8, 1910, with a capital stock of $3,500,000, plan to begin 
construction at once on a line from Oakland to Bay Point. 

The Oakwood Park Stock Farm, comprising 5800 acres in San Ramon 
Valley, has been sold to Col. H. D. Loveland, S. L. Bright and A. P. 
Holland. A recent valuation of $450,000 was placed on the property. 
The land and improvements represent an outlay originally of $800,000. 

May 28, 1910. — Bull's Head Oil Company has been reorganized and 
is now known as the American Oriental Company. The new company will 
soon begin active operations. 

An auto stage line has been established between Walnut Creek and 
Oakland and will soon be extended to Danville. There will be three round 
trips daily. The operating company will be known as the California 
Transit Company. 

Work on the Pullman shops is progressing rapidly at Richmond. The 
company intend to make this plant one of the largest in the country. The 
Southern Pacific and Santa Fe Railways have built spur tracks to the 
shops from their main lines. 

Roads recommended for improvement by the highway commission ap- 
pointed by the supervisors under the act of March 9, 1907, are: 

( 1 ) Byron-Knightsen Road, from the county boundary line between 
Alameda and Contra Costa County through Byron and Knightsen to the 
Brentwood-Oakley Road, 15.02 miles. 

(2) Brentwood-Oakley Road, from the Byron-Knightsen Road to 
the Southern Pacific, through Brentwood and to Oakley, 8.72 miles. 

(3) Oakley-Antioch Road, from the Brentwood-Oakley Road, 
through Oakley to the Santa Fe Railway and to the limits of Antioch, 
6.40 miles. 

(4) Antioch-Black Diamond Road, from the western limits of An- 
tioch to the eastern limits of Black Diamond and Eighth Street, 3.39 
miles. 

(5) Black Diamond-Bay Point Road, from the western limits of 
Black Diamond to Bay Point, 7.73 miles. 

(6) Bay Point-Martinez Road, from Bay Point to crossing of Mount 
Diablo Creek, through the Government ranch and Vine Hill to Martinez, 
8.20 miles. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 319 

(7) Martinez-Crockett Road, from the western limits of Martinez, 
through Port Costa and Crockett, 5.16 miles. 

(8) Crockett-Pinole Road, from Crockett through Valona, Tormey 
and Rodeo to Hercules and Pinole, 7.65 miles. 

(9) Pinole-San Pablo Road, from the western limits of Pinole 
through San Pablo, 5.97 miles. 

(10) San Pablo Avenue, from San Pablo to the county boundary, 
4.22 miles. 

(11) San Pablo Station Road, from the intersection of Alvarado 
Avenue and Church Street to Market and on Market Street to the Sta- 
tion, 1.16 miles. 

(12) Tenth Street, from Station Road to the northern limits of 
Richmond and Tenth Street, 0.59 miles. 

(13) Twenty-third Street Road, from San Pablo Station Road to 
Twenty-third Street and the limits of Richmond, 0.28 miles. 

(14) Macdonald Avenue, from San Pablo Avenue Road on Mac- 
donald Avenue to Richmond limits, 1.29 miles. 

(15) Stege Road, from San Pablo Avenue and Potrero Avenue on 
Potrero to Bay, and on Bay to Stege, 0.83 miles. 

(16) Potrero-Pullman Avenue, from Potrero and Bay on Potrero to 
Pullman and on Pullman to Cutting Boulevard, 0.80 miles. 

(17) Cutting Boulevard, from Pullman Avenue across the Southern 
Pacific right of way on Cutting to the limits of Richmond, 0.44 miles. 

(18) San Ramon Valley Road from the county boundary through 
Danville, 7.83 miles. 

(19) Tassajara Road, from Danville to Tassajara, 8.06 miles. 

(20) Danville-Walnut Creek Road, from Danville through Alamo 
and Walnut Creek, 6.43 miles. 

(21) Tunnel Road from Walnut Creek through Lafayette to the 
county line, 10.78 miles. 

(22) Walnut Creek-Concord Road, from Walnut Creek to Con- 
cord, 6.27 miles. 

(23) Clayton Road, from the limits of Concord to Clayton, 5.34 
miles. 

(24) Concord-Martinez Road, from the limits of Concord to Bay 
Point-Martinez Road, 2.04 miles. 

Estimated mileage, 124.60. Estimated cost, $1,460,000, including 
grading, paving, bridges, culverts, overhead, engineering, etc. : Bridges 
and culverts, $409,600; grading and paving, $1,051,000. 

The bond election called for deciding upon the building of the roads 
is set for August 2. The success of the movement means more for the 
county than any other project. The board of supervisors adopted the 
report of the highway commission, and sounded the slogan in the cause of 
prosperity by calling an election for a bond issue of $1,460,000 for 124 
miles of roads. 

July 14, 1910. — Assessed valuation of the county, $35,231,648. 



320 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Successful rallies being held throughout the county for good roads 
have created great enthusiasm. 

Directors elected on July 29 for a joint ferry company were: J. H. 
Glendon, Benicia; Gus Gnauf, Ed Kuhland and L. A. Stevens, Martinez; 
J. W. McClellan, L. M. Lasell and J. J. McNamara. President, J. J. 
McNamara; vice-president, J. H. Glendon; secretary, H. K. White; 
treasurer, Bank of Martinez. 

The highway commission bonds were defeated by 256 votes. 

September 17, 1910. — Pacheco Mills move their office and warehouse 
to Concord. The big mill remains at Pacheco. Work on the storage 
warehouse near the Southern Pacific depot in Concord is being pushed 
rapidly. 

On October 7, 1910, fire broke out in the Burlington Hotel at Port 
Costa, causing a damage of $1000. 

October 8, 1910. — The Pinole Hotel was totally destroyed by fire 
on Friday, the 7th, together with a cottage owned by Mrs. Frater; loss 
was $10,000. 

The greatest real estate deal in the history of the county, from the 
standpoint of acreage and money, was made on October 7, when R. N. 
Burgess, of San Francisco, purchased the holding of Foskett & Elsworthy, 
stock raisers and butchers of Concord, thus coming into possession of 3700 
acres. The tract consists of seven ranches : Government, Murphy, part 
of Galindo, Ayres, Webster, Samuels and Clier ranches. 

With a charter membership of over sixty, the Concord Chamber of 
Commerce was organized October 15, 1910, at a meeting held in the 
I. O. O. F. Hall. A. W. Maltby was elected president; George W. 
Wilson, secretary; M. E. Lyon, treasurer. Board of Directors: H. Hels- 
worthy, G. W. Whitman, E. U. Leland, and M. Neustaedter. 

November 5, 1910. — Three autoists were killed and two injured in 
an accident on Pacheco Road, Sunday night, when a large roadster 
plunged into the ditch being excavated by the Port Costa Water Company 
two miles from Martinez. The dead are: Clarence E. Kline, J. P. 
Mahoney, and Peter Pacheco; the injured, J. McKay and Antonio 
Fortado. 

November 12, 1910. — J. M. Stow has completed a fine business block 
in Walnut Creek, and another is in course of construction. 

On November 22, 1910, at one p.m., the first rails of the Oakland 
& Antioch Electric were laid at Bay Point. One hundred men are engaged 
in the work. 

The Postoffice at Somersville is to be discontinued. At one time 
this was the only office in the county to do an international money order 
business. When the coal mines closed, the business gradually decreased. 
It is also said that the Nortonville office is to be closed. 

February 13, 1911. — The Oakland & Antioch Electric operated its 
first car from Bay Point Monday afternoon at three o'clock, and amid the 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 321 

tooting of horns and the blowing of whistles made its run from Bay Point 
to Concord. A splendid banquet was held in Concord. 

February 25, 1911. — Miss Emilie Haywood, daughter of Mr. and 
Mrs. O. E. Haywood of Alhambra Valley, is now playing the leading 
part in the "Madame Sherry" Company in the East, after playing under- 
study one season with the New York Company. Wherever they go, Miss 
Haywood is making a hit with the critics. 

March 11, 1911. — The new County Hospital building has been com- 
pleted within the estimates and has been accepted by the supervisors. 

The opening of the R. N. Burgess holdings, which have been sub- 
divided near Concord, occurs next Sunday. Electric cars will be operated 
from Bay Point to Concord, and special trains will be run over the 
Southern Pacific from Oakland, San Francisco and Berkeley. 

The election in Black Diamond to change the name to Pittsburg was 
carried 80 to 30. 

The Oakland & Antioch Electric Railway Company have reincor- 
porated as the Oakland, Antioch & Eastern Railway, with a capital stock 
of $10,000,000, of which $80,000 is paid up. 

On May 6, 1911, a grand barbecue was held at Walnut Creek to 
welcome the advent of the Oakland, Antioch & Eastern Railway. 

June 3, 1911. — Three thousand dollars were subscribed in one hour 
towards the building of the highway between Bay Point and Martinez. 

June 6, 1911. — Walnut Creek voted $20,000 bonds for a new gram- 
mar school building, the bonds carrying 68 to 8. 

The Woman's Improvement Club was formed at Walnut Creek on 
July 5. Mrs. H. Spencer was elected president; Mrs Hackett, vice-presi- 
dent; Mrs. George Crompton, secretary; Mrs. Joseph Silveira and Mrs. 
R. L. Nougaret, trustees. 

September 16, 1911. — R. N. Burgess and his associates are consid- 
ering opening a National Bank at Walnut Creek. It has been rumored 
for some time that a branch of the Concord Bank would be started at 
Walnut Creek. 

October 15, 1911. — Sixteen families were rendered homeless and the 
town hall was destroyed by a fire in Rodeo, through the overturning of a 
lamp in a barn while a woman was milking a cow. Lack of water hindered 
the work of the fire-fighters. 

November 4, 1911. — -Point of Timber Parlor, Native Daughters of 
the Golden West, was instituted at Byron. Mrs. H. T. Hammond was 
elected president; Mrs. A. Alexson, past president; Mrs. C. Cople, first 
vice-president; Grace Blum, second vice-president; Viola Holway, third 
vice-president; Mrs. L. Richardson, secretary; Mrs. A. Plumley, treasur- 
er; Maud Plumley, financial secretary; Mrs. M. Gaines, marshal; Minnie 
Steding, inside sentry; Lottie Hudson, outside sentry; Mrs. W. Frey, 
Mrs. A. Pitou and Mrs. Stone, trustees. 



322 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The Town Hall site was purchased by the trustees for $5000, and 
the remainder of the property was purchased for $4000, from the general 
fund for park purposes. 

January 6, 1912. — The Martinez-Benicia Ferry Company will he 
incorporated with capital' stock of $50,000, shares $10 each. 

January 20, 1912. — Contra Costa Chamber of Commerce is launched 
at Concord. Over 100 boosters gathered at the banquet to work for all 
Contra Costa County. The members present Friday night, January 19. 
are determined that the people of the county shall learn and the world 
shall know that the old saying, "Joined hands and united efforts can 
win and build an empire," is applicable to this county as well as any other 
part of the State. A feature of the speeches was the good-roads bond issue. 

During 1911 Contra Costa County was second in the State in the 
production of barley, which was over 3,000,000 bushels worth over 
$1,500,000. 

February 17, 1912. — The old Veale tract of 1700 acres, about five 
miles northeast of Brentwood, was sold to the California Realty Com- 
pany of San Jose for $140,000. 

February 24, 1912. — The work on the loading station and oil refinery 
at Martinez will begin at once, was the statement of J. C. Van Eck 
manager of the Rothschild interests in the Royal Dutch Shell Oil Com- 
pany. The initial appropriation is $500,000. 

On Thursday, February 22, officials of the Associated Oil Companv 
visited Martinez and Avon and inspected the site for their proposed 
refinery at Avon. If building operations begin soon, 500 men will be 
employed in construction work. 

On March 14, Bay Point Chamber of Commerce was organized with 
sixteen charter members. The following officers were elected: Presi 
dent, S. W. Cunningham; vice-president, W. L. Cleveland; secretary, 
S. Shideler; treasurer, A. W. Smith. 

March 16. 1912. — Contra Costa Chamber of Commerce was organ- 
ized and officially launched today. Following are the officers: President, 
C. J. Rihn, cf Richmond; first vice-president, E. J. Randall, of Concord; 
second vice-president, F. C. Macgurn; third vice-president, C. S. Dodge, 
of Crockett; secretary, F. E. Brooks, of Walnut Creek; treasurer, W. A. 
Hale, of Martinez. Directors: L. R. Mead, of Byron; Sumner Crosby, 
of Pittsburg; W. McBryde, of Pinole; Mrs. E. H. Shibley, of Martinez, 
president of the Women's Improvement Club: Mrs. C. W. Keeney, presi- 
dent of the Antioch Women's Club; Mrs. G. S. Gibson, president of the 
Richmond Women's Improvement Club. Charter members: W. A. Rog- 
ers, Joseph McCann, Julia A. Barry, John Rosa, A. N. Paterson, G. L. 
Putnam, C. L. Pingree, G. P. Upham, D. C. Ray, C. M. Bulger, R. R. 
Veale, Cecil Hall, H. J. Kammerer, F. C. Gill, S. M. Dodge, 
J. H. Martin, C. L. Dodge. D. J. Lucey, R. L. Clancy, J. R. 
Nvstrom, L. N. Buttner, J. O'B. Wyatt, H. M. Stone, C. G. Goold. 
N. S. Boone, J. Kent, E. H. Shibley, Lillian V. Shibley, Mildred 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 323 

L. Crampton, Leila E. Veale, S. Y. Shideler, W. R. South, J. M. 
Christen, F. P. Munson, L. H. Enloe, G. D. Young, H. Hall, I. B. Sali- 
ture, W. J. Love, W. Eggleston, T. S. Newson, T. B. Duery, W. G. Shaw, 
M. T. Sickal, E. J. Randall, L. Anderson Company, M. R. Jones, J. H. 
Trythall, J. W. McClellan, F. H. Upham, W. H. Penniman, P. H. Cun- 
ningham, C. Macgurn, H. A. West, A. C Gehringer, G. T. Crampton, 
F. L. Glass, W. A. Rugg, W. A. Hale, W. R. Sharkey, J. J. McNamara, 
J. P. Allen, J. F. Hoey, W. B. Williams, L. L. Levinson, G. O. Duncan, 
Nellie K. Cushing, Aga D. Lander, E. B. Barber, P. Douglas, W. S. Bur 
pee, M. W. Joost, J. H. Coulter, A. B. Coleman, G. E. Green, F. E. 
Brooks. 

March 27, 1912.— On March 23, 1912, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Thomp- 
son celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their wedding at Lafayette. 

May 18, 1912. — R. N. Burgess buys Lyons' interest in Concord Bank. 
This may mean that he will not open another bank as planned. 

June 8, 1912. — The Pacheco Flour Mills are to suspend milling 

June 11, 1912. — The Concord Warehouses were destroyed by fire. 
The losses were as follows: A. E. Blum, $5000, insurance, $1500; Mt. 
Diablo Commercial Co., grain, $7000, well insured; Mt. Diablo Com- 
mercial Co., hay, $3000, well insured; home of Miss Barrett, $1500. 

July 13, 1912. — A crew of fifty workmen with tools arrived at Dan- 
ville Wednesday night to begin work on the new road to the summit of 
Mt. Diablo, starting at Oakwood Park Stock Farm. The work has been 
started by the R. N. Burgess Company. Over 150 cars of rock and 
gravel has been ordered and will be delivered over the Southern Pacific. 

On July 18 the famous Byron Hot Springs Hotel was burned to the 
ground. There were 100 guests in the hotel, but all escaped. Eight 
years ago the old hotel building was destroyed. 

July 20, 1912. — The Dutch Shell Company have awarded the con- 
tract for ten steel tanks for storage of oil and the steel gas holders for 
the Asiatic Petroleum Company or Indian Oil Company, for $57,350, to 
the Western Pipe & Steel Company. 

C. A. Hooper, Pittsburgh millionaire, has purchased the Moraga 
Grant at a cost of $1,000,000. 

August 10, 1912. — The Mount Diablo Company will exploit Oak- 
wood Farm. The club-house is being remodeled for occupancy. 

August 10, 1912. — The town trustees awarded Murry-Elwell Com- 
pany the contract to improve the water-front; their bid being $31,340, in- 
cluding the architect's and engineer's fees. 

The charter for the Walnut Creek National Bank has arrived, and 
the R. N. Burgess Company will erect a new building for bank purposes. 

October 12, 1912. — Great crowds were present at the Concord Wal- 
nut Carnival. 

October 21, 1912. — The branch of San Ramon Valley Bank at Con- 
cord opened for business at nine o'clock a. m., this Monday. Guy E. 



324 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Green is cashier; J. H. Coulter, assistant; Eli Hutchinson and M. Frank 
Russi, resident directors. 

The Corcoran ranch between Benicia and Selby, bordering Carquinez 
Straits, directly in the so-called funnel zone of the Selby Smelter, has been 
sold by the owners, Dan, John and Michael Corcoran, to the Selby Com- 
pany for $100,000. 

Bay View Pavilion, the only dance and entertainment hall in Mar- 
tinez, was destroyed by fire on October 27. It was built in 1905 by J. J. 
McNamara and Reese Jones. 

The First National Bank of Walnut Creek, founded by R. N. Burgess 
Company, opened for business in the Brooks real estate offices at Wal- 
nut Creek on October 28. J. A. Flint is cashier, and Elmer Cameron, as- 
sistant cashier. 

November 2, 1912. — The John Nicholl Company sold to J. H. T. 
Watkinson 112 acres in the city of Richmond for $500,000. A $400,000 
mortgage was given to Nicholl by Watkinson. Nicholl purchased the 
tract a few years ago for $100 per acre. 

November 16, 1912. — The property of the Judson Dynamite & Pow- 
der Company, near Stege, has been sold to the E. I. du Pont de Nemours' 
Powder Company of Pinole. 

The Antioch paper mills, one of the most extensive industrial enter- 
prises in the county, and the property of the Paraffine Paint Company, 
were totally destroyed by fire Tuesday afternoon. The fire started in 
Mill No. 5 when an oiler threw a quantity of oil on a hot roller used in 
slicking the paper. The oil blazed to the ceiling and set fire to the mill 
before aid could be summoned. The costly machinery in all the mills was 
entirely destroyed. The loss to the company is $500,000. About 130 
men are thrown out of employment. During the last few months work 
has been under way, enlarging the plant to double its former capacity, 
and was about completed. 

November 23, 1912. — The old Tule Ranch will be known hereafter 
as the Knightsen Ranch. It was purchased by W. J. Hotchkiss, of Ber- 
keley, and comprises 3000 acres, part of which was at one time under culti- 
vation, only to be destroyed by the great Jersey break several years ago. 
Three clamshell dredgers are working night and day on the reclamation 
project. When the levees are completed, a drainage pump, which cost 
§7000, will be installed. 

The cottages and hotel at Byron Hot Springs are to be rebuilt at once. 

December 4, 1912. — The town trustees accepted the new City Hall 
built by G. W. Boxton at a contract cost of $12,990. The hall is a fine 
two-story brick building, and is a credit to the town. 

December 14, 1912. — The rebuilding of the tunnel road is now in 
progress. About twenty men and teams are working from the Fish ranch 
towards the tunnel. 

December 21, 1912. — The California Delta Farms Company, capital- 
ization $7,500,000, with an authorized bond issue of $3,500,000, acquired 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 325 

by purchase 39,337 acres of delta lands at an estimated value of $12,000,- 
000. Lee A. Phillips, of San Francisco, is president of the company. 
Twenty-two thousand acres are now under cultivation and leased. The 
lands involved are the Roosevelt and King Edward islands, owned by 
Holland Land & Water Company, and the Palms & Orwood tracts, 
owned by Orwood Land Company. On the latter's tract, 1000 acres are in 
asparagus, 5600 acres in potatoes, and 1400 acres in onions. 

Lee Dyer received the appointment as postmaster at Avon and will 
open the office to accommodate the Association employees at work on 
the Marsh lands. 

A head-on collision in dense fog wrecked two locomotives and injured 
several trainmen and passengers on the Santa Fe in Rodeo Valley near 
Luzon, Tuesday, the 17th of December. The injured passengers and 
trainmen, except those eastbound, were taken in a relief train to Richmond. 
Greater disaster was averted by the action of Dave Hopkins, on the west- 
bound train, who slowed down at the curve to comply with orders, saw 
the smoke of the on-coming train, and had his train at almost a stand- 
still when the collision occurred. 

January 9, 1913. — Martinez people awakened to find a blanket of 
snow over two inches deep covering the ground. Young and old promptly 
took part in the greatest snow carnival ever held here. Snowballing and 
tobogganing were in order. The grammar and high schools were dis- 
missed for the morning, so that all could enjoy the sport. 

Ground was broken for a $1,000,000 refinery at Avon by the Asso- 
ciated Oil Company. 

The Associated Oil Company asks for a wharf franchise; $10,000 is 
the estimated cost of the wharf. 

Lacking just one week of being two years after the first Oakland & 
Antioch electric car was run over the line from Bay Point to Concord, 
the first electric train passed through Redwood Canyon tunnel Friday, 
February 21, onto the Oakland side and ran to Lake Temescal. 

March 1, 1913. — The Western Pipe and Steel Company have been 
awarded the contract to erect twenty-five steel oil tanks, each of 55,000- 
barrel capacity, for the Associated Oil Company at Avon. The Nevada 
Dock Station will be maintained as terminus for their pipe lines. 

The Oakland & Antioch line is opened from Bay Point to Oakland. 
The golden spike was driven Saturday, March 2, at midnight, by General 
Manager H. A. Mitchell. 

Balfour-Guthrie Company was awarded the contract for a modern 
two-story reinforced concrete forty-room hotel building at Brentwood, to 
cost $41,000. 

April 5, 1913. — The Associated Oil Company awards the contract 
for the erection of machine shops, boiler and pump houses, and drum 
sheds at Avon, to MacDonald & Kahn, at a cost of $19,489. 

Articles of incorporation for the Bank of Brentwood were filed on 
April 4; capitalization, $50,000; $25,000 paid up. This is a Balfour- 



326 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Guthrie concern. R. F. MacLeod, secretary of the company, holds 210 
shares; R. E. Dean, 10 shares; F. H. Ludinghouse, 10 shares; Robert 
Wallace, Jr., 10 shares; and Alex Burness, 10 shares. 

A Farmers' Institute was held at Oakley, April 17 and 18, and 
proved to be a big affair. 

May 10, 1913. — With the placing in position of the forty-fifth five- 
foot section of concrete, on May 5, the great concrete chimney of the 
Mountain Copper Works in this city, the largest chimney of its kind in 
the State, was practically completed. When the last bucket of concrete 
was deposited the American flag was raised, 300 feet above sea level. 

On June 3, fires were built in the first of the three furnaces at the 
Mountain Copper Company's smelter, and the other two are to be con- 
nected up during the week. The mammoth chimney proved a success. 

May 17, 1913. — Warren McBryde was appointed supervisor in Dis- 
trict No. 1 to succeed C. J. Rihn, resigned. 

May 24, 1913.— The "Liberty Bell," the student body annual of the 
Liberty Union High School of Brentwood, is off the press in the Gazette 
office, and is one of the handsomest high-school annuals ever issued in 
the county. It is a book of seventy-eight pages, with a large advertising 
section and with pictures of the graduating class: Myra Pearce, Elaine 
Wallace, Edith Cakebread, Richard Wallace and Judson Swift. The 
cover design is a Liberty Bell; the colors, purple and gold; and it is dedi- 
cated to Balfour-Guthrie Company. Myra Pearce is the editor-in-chief, 
and Elaine Wallace, business manager. 

The finest annual ever issued by the students of the Alhambra High 
School, "The Torch," is now off the press. It is a book of 100 pages, 
replete with interesting stories, bright and snappy notes, and fine cuts, 
and is bound in alligator skin, embossed in gold. Credit for the book is 
given J. K. Cushing, the editor, and M. B. Veale, the business manager, 
and their staffs. 

June 28, 1913. — The tunnel road is now open, as the road from the 
Fish ranch to the tunnel is completed. While the road was closed, the 
supervisors of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties lowered the floor two 
feet and macadamized it. 

The first electric train from Sacramento to the Bay over the O. A. & E. 
was operated Wednesday, July 3, when the officials and promoters made 
their first official tour. The ferry boat Brigit, which will ferry the 
trains across Suisun Bay, was delivered to the company Tuesday evening 
and carried its first train of cars Wednesday morning. 

J. Rio Baker was appointed county treasurer to succeed L. N. Buttner, 
deceased. 

July 12, 1913. — The ferry boat, City of Seattle, which is to be put on 
the Martinez & Benicia run, arrived at Benicia Sunday after a successful 
trip from Seattle in tow of the steamer Wm. Chatham. As soon as the 
boat has been inspected and a number of changes made, it will be put in 
operation. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 



327 



July, 1913. — The property valuation of Contra Costa County is giv- 
en as $48,000,000: 



Alamo $300,265 

Alhambra 204,865 

Antioch 412,590 

Antone 77,455 

Ambrose 238,155 

Briones 224,370 

Brentwood 511,445 

Byron 335,115 

Concord , 842,515 

Cowell _ 467,210 

Cunningham 430,490 

Carquinez 1,506,820 

Danville 359,550 

Deer Valley 207,755 

Eden Plain 652,165 

Excelsior 524,655 

Green Valley 218,245 

Franklin 74,780 

Highland 121,600 

Hot Springs 307,525 

Iron House 293,735 

Jersey 234,055 

Lime Quarry 317,445 

Live Oak 238,400 

Lone Tree 240,545 

Lafayette 418,800 

Liberty 211,785 

Mt. Pleasant 150,995 

Moraga 206,785 

Morgan Territory 87,050 

Martinez 213,255 

Mt. Diablo 269,855 



Nichols $ 

Orinda 

Oak Grove 

Oakley 

Pinole 

Pacheco 

Pittsburg 

Pleasant Hill 

Port Costa 

Rodeo 

Richmond 1 

Sobrante 

Selby 

Summit 

Sycamore 

San Pablo 1 

Somersville 

San Ramon 

Sand Mound 

Sheldon 

Tassajara 

Vine Hill 

Vasco 

Walnut Creek 

Willow Springs 

Richmond 14 

Pittsburg 

Martinez 1 

Antioch 

Concord 

Pinole 

Hercules 



610,340 
119,460 
797,430 
167,950 
176,315 
403,565 
840,485 
359,440 
462,325 
446,230 
,944,730 
839,920 
956,810 

38,125 
368,160 
,284,510 

71,270 
526,455 
509,730 
167,305 
196.475 
218,590 

89,065 
597,765 
315,380 
,843,795 
657,455 
,151,510 
547,165 
298,075 
158,075 
652,715 



July 19, 1913. — Stock subscription for the' Martinez-Benicia Ferry & 
Transportation Company has been closed. About $23,000 in all has 
been subscribed. 

The Bank of Brentwood threw open its doors on July 15. R. G. 
Dean is president and Lee Durham is cashier. The deposits the first day 
amounted to $22,138. 

Traffic via the Martinez-Benicia ferry is very heavy. Sunday, July 27, 
the receipts amounted to $200. 

August 4, 1913. — Work has started on the addition to the California- 
Hawaiian Company's refinery at Crockett. About $2,000,000 will be 
expended to bring the output to 40,000 tons of refined sugar annually. 



328 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Byron Hot Springs Hotel is to be rebuilt, and the specifications call 
for a concrete structure. 

August 22, 1913. — A franchise has been sold whereby all towns in 
Contra Costa County will have gas. S. Waldo Coleman, to whom the 
franchise was granted, will soon be laying mains throughout the county. 

The eight new wells of twelve-inch diameter and from forty to 100 
feet deep, which have been sunk during the past few weeks at the Galindo 
Water Station of the Port Costa Water Company, are soon to be con- 
nected with the main line pipe, and water will be drawn from them to 
supply Martinez, Port Costa, Crockett and Rodeo, in addition to the 
manufacturing establishments which are steady patrons. 

August 30, 1913. — Two aerial electrical stations of the P. G. & E. in 
Concord and Walnut Creek were wrecked by dynamite and the two towns 
plunged into darkness about midnight, August 23. The work was done 
by experts. The dynamite was placed so that the upper portion of one of 
the tall supporting poles was blown away and the cross-beam so shattered 
that it dropped, throwing the heavy transformers to the ground, where 
they were broken. There have been several threats over the employment 
of non-union men. 

The C. A. Smith Lumber Yards at Bay Point were swept by flames 
on August 26, and over 40,000,000 feet of the most expensive lumber in 
the yards destroyed; $1,000,000 is the estimated loss. The mill and box 
factory were saved. Calls for help were sent to Concord, Richmond, 
Martinez, Pittsburg and Antioch. A special train over the O. A. & E. 
brought fire-fighters from Pittsburg; a special over the Santa Fe from 
Richmond arrived about midnight; and about one o'clock a Southern Pa- 
cific train came from Oakland. The fire tug Crolona of the California & 
Hawaiian Sugar Company was brought out and did valiant service in 
saving docks and wharves. Orders were sent out to do everything to stop 
the fire, and a dynamiting crew blew up several large lumber piles before 
the flames could be checked. While over 1000 men were fighting the 
flames, the women of Bay Point prepared hot coffee for them. 

On August 27 an aerial transformer of the P. G. & E. in Richmond 
was blown up at the corner of Cutting Boulevard and Kearney Street, 
which wrecked the lines carrying current for electric light to Pullman, 
Stege and East Richmond. 

On September 3, 1913, the Oakland, Antioch & Eastern began regular 
train service over their line from Sacramento to Oakland. The event was 
celebrated by a luncheon at Hotel Oakland at which city officials, boosters 
and others from Sacramento joined with Oaklanders in lauding the possi- 
bilities of the new road. 

September 17, 1913. — The San Ramon warehouse burns, and 850 
tons of hay are a total loss. Bishop Brothers and ranchers of the valley 
were heavy losers. 

The 4000-foot wharf at Avon was finished this week. It has a front- 
age of 200 feet on Suisun Bay and is fifty feet wide. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 329 

A gala event was the presenting of the band stand to the city by the 
Women's Improvement Club Saturday night. The band concert was a 
big drawing card of the evening. 

At a meeting of the board of directors of the Bank of Concord, held 
on October 3, the Burgess and Whitman interests in the bank were sold 
to W. K. Cole and his associates of the San Ramon Valley Bank. The 
Concord branch will be discontinued. 

Mr. and Mrs. George W. Yoakum celebrated their fiftieth wedding 
anniversary Saturday, November 1, 1913, at their home in Martinez. 

On November 30 the Pacheco postoffice was discontinued. It was es- 
tablished fifty years ago. All mail hereafter will designate Martinez or 
Concord as postoffice. 

The Brentwood Hotel formally opened its doors Monday night for a 
grand ball. The hotel cost Balfour-Guthrie Company $60,000. 

January 3, 1914. — Pacheco was inundated and two feet of water was 
on the main highway to Concord. Considerable road-work was washed 
away, caused by over-flowing of Walnut Creek. Near the slaughter-yards 
eleven of the telephone poles were blown down on the Martinez-Concord 
road. At Vallejo Junction the high cliff began to slide and crews were 
rushed there to protect the railroad. The O. A. & E. suffered from the 
storm in Moraga Valley, where tracks were undermined. 

Rainfall up to January 1, 1914, 9.23 inches. 

The Army Board approves the Richmond Harbor project, according 
to information sent by Congressman C. F. Curry. 

The Martinez-Benicia Ferry makes a splendid record. Its financial 
standing is excellent, as shown by the secretary at a meeting of the stock- 
holders. Total receipts from July 20 to January 1, $36,788; 24,032 pas- 
sengers were carried, and 4352 autos, 566 motorcycles and 705 teams. 

March 7, 1914. — The first trains over California's first community 
railway were operated Monday on the new line of the San Ramon Valley 
Railway, extending from Walnut Creek to Danville. The seven and a 
half miles of road was built by subscription and is the property of the 
farmers who own the property over which the road operates. The roll- 
ing stock and equipment are furnished by the Oakland, Antioch & Eastern 
Railway. 

Henry J. Curry has just completed a new theater building at a cost 
of over $30,000, which was formally opened on April 17. The theater 
is a handsome building and fills a long-felt need in Martinez. 

The Associated Oil Company is to double its capacity at Avon. They 
are running full capacity now and are unable to supply the demand for 
their refined products. The work of grading for the new stills and tank 
bottoms is under way. 

May 23, 1914. — The world's greatest ferry, Contra Costa, was 
launched in the West Oakland shipyards Saturday morning. It is to be 
used in ferrying the Southern Pacific trains across the Straits from Benicia 
to Port Costa. The length of the ferry is 433.4 feet; over guards, 420 



330 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

feet; beam, 66 l / 2 feet; depth moulded, 19.5 feet; depth amidships, 19 feet 
9 inches. It will carry four train tracks with a capacity of thirty-six freight 
cars and two engines. It has fourteen bulkheads; and 2,000,000 feet of 
lumber, thirty tons of spikes, seventy-six tons of round iron, and 16,600 
treenails entered into its construction. The Contra Costa will be put into 
service on June 1 and will handle the passenger trains through the new 
steps, while the Solano will handle the freight trains. 

St. Mark's Catholic Church in Richmond was totally destroyed by 
fire on May 22. The rescue of the Blessed Sacrament and the vestments 
by Rev. O'Connor was one of the incidents which will long be remembered. 
The church was built in 1911 at a cost of $8000. 

June 6, 1914. — An order was placed by the Shell Oil Company for 
172 miles of pipe for a line between Coalinga and Martinez. This is 
pretty good proof that the Shell Company intends to establish their long- 
talked-of refinery here. 

Contra Costa County, not including Richmond, receives annually 
hundreds of millions of feet of lumber; millions of pounds of wood pulp 
for paper manufacture; thousands of cars of ores to be smelted, hundreds 
of carloads of sand, scores of cars of manganese ore and silica, millions of 
tons of raw sugar to be refined, thousands of cars of grain to be handled 
at its ports, and thousands of carloads of other raw materials for use in its 
factories. Contra Costa County produces and ships annually thousands 
of cars of celery, asparagus and river fruits; and thousands of cars of 
manufactured articles are produced in the factories. 

July 25, 1914.— A new pipe line, to cost $4,234,685, and an oil re- 
finery are assured for Martinez. 

August 1, 1914. — Martinez lost the tide-lands case and thereby has 
no right or title to the municipal water-front. Suit was begun in Superior 
Court in 1911 against eighty or more defendants. 

November 18, 1914. — Russi & Sonner Flour Mills at Pacheco were 
destroyed by fire. The mills were about to be reopened after being idle 
several years. 

Seven hundred cars of material are to be shipped to Martinez for 
building the Shell refinery. 

December 24, 1914. — The giant ferry, Contra Costa, made her first 
trip today. 

A. B. McKenzie resigns as district attorney to accept the position of 
superior judge, Department 2, that has just been authorized for Contra 
Costa County. This will save holding extra sessions of court when there 
is a full calendar. 

The new library and reading room at Brentwood was opened to the 
public on January 5. Brentwood can claim the distinction of being the 
first town in the field to put up its own building. Entire credit is due the 
Library Association which was formed last February, with Mrs. Andrew 
Bonnickson at its head and an executive committee of earnest and pro- 
gressive women. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 331 

1914 was a big year for the Martinez and Benicia Ferry; it carried 
13,659 autos and 62,000 passengers. 

The Lacy Manufacturing Company of Los Angeles has the contract 
for building forty-one steel tanks of 55,000 gallons capacity each, for the 
Shell Oil Company at Martinez. The work is to be completed by April 1. 

The hull of the Oakland, Antioch & Eastern ferry boat Bridgit, which 
burned in the Mallard Island slip several months ago, has been lifted 
from the bay, and the entrance to the slip on the Contra Costa Mainland 
is now open. 

On February 3, 1915, Antioch Lodge, L. O. M., was instituted with 
a charter membership of seventy-two. 

On February 5 the Mountain Copper Company, Ltd., resumed opera- 
tions in its plant at Martinez. The plant will operate to fifty-per-cent 
capacity. 

April 3, 1915, was Contra Costa County Day at the P. P. I. E., and 
all the county turned out, with over 400 automobiles in line and about 
1000 people walking. The parade was over three miles long and went 
up Market Street, San Francisco, headed by the Richmond Band. Every 
town and every industry of any importance in the county were represented 
in the procession, as were also the schools. It was the greatest dedication 
day since the exposition opened and will be long remembered by those who 
participated. 

April 10, 1915.- — The city of Martinez has made an appropriation of 
$50 per month to the Free Library, and it will be known as the Martinez 
Municipal Library. The appropriation is for the next ten months, and 
thereafter $30 per month, unless a tax levy is made to support the library. 

On April 12, 1915, the Contra Costa County Bar Association was or- 
ganized at a meeting of the attorneys of the county held in Department 
No. 1 Courtroom. W. S. Tinning, of Martinez, was elected president; 
J. E. Rodgers, of Martinez, vice-president; T. H. DeLap, of Richmond, 
secretary; Leo F. Tormey, of Martinez, treasurer. Members of the 
executive committee: M. R. Jones, A. S. Ormsby, of Martinez; and D. J. 
Hall, of Richmond. 

April 24, 1915.- — A deal aggregating over $3,000,000 was announced 
today, when it became known that an Eastern syndicate had agreed to take 
over 30,000 shares of outstanding capital stock of the Giant Powder Com- 
pany at $110 per share. 

The Richmond-Marin ferry service opened May 1 and 2 with a mon- 
ster two-day celebration. The first boat to cross from the Marin County 
shore to the Point Orient wharf was met by a welcoming committee. A 
luncheon was given and on May 2 the Richmond people were guests of 
Marin County at San Rafael, where a barbecue was held. 

On May 15, the board of supervisors inspected the new addition to 
the County Hospital, which was erected at a cost of $30,000. The ad- 
dition gives accomodations to bring the total to 120. 



332 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The Union Oil Company is increasing its capacity at Oleum and 
spending $25,000. They will build fifteen new storage tanks and increase 
the size of their wharf. 

June 5, 1915. — The Shell Company starts operating the American 
Oriental plant. G. W. Geear to be superintendent at Bull's Head Point. 
The Shell lease became effective Tuesday and fires were relighted, with 
all the American-Oriental force at their former places. 

The Valley Pipe Line Company, of Coalinga, has started oil through 
the pipes to test the lines. There are eleven stations between the tank 
farm and Coalinga. The capacity of the line is 30,000 barrels every 
twenty-four hours. 

The first auto party over the new Mount Diablo scenic boulevard, 
built by the R. N. Burgess interests, has reached the 2500-foot level, to 
which point the road is completed. There the Inn and toll-house are to 
be built. The toll rates as fixed by the supervisors are: 2-passenger auto- 
mobile, $1.00; all others, $1.50; 2-horse vehicle, $1.50; 4-horse vehicle, 
$2.00; 6-horse vehicle, $2.50; individual persons, 25 cents; cow, horse, 
etc., 10 cents each; sheep, 2y 2 cents. 

On Wednesday, June 8, the Antioch Paper Mills suffered a $50,000 
fire. The entire stock of paper-making material was lost, in the destruc- 
tion of the rag pile. 

The Contra Costa Free Library is the first library in the State which 
is in line for aid from the Carnegie Library Fund. The appropriation 
will be $2500; the city to contribute $250 each year towards its mainten- 
ance, which is the only condition. 

The new $10,000 hospital erected by the Standard Oil Company, ad- 
joining its refinery at Richmond, will be officially opened on June 12 by 
the Contra Costa County Medical Society. 

July 19, 1915. — The Boulevard District election for commissioners 
was held in the two polling places, Moraga and Alamo; Arthur Burton, 
Ldw. R. Williams, and Josiah Boucher were elected. The next step is 
to organize and lay out the course, which has practically been decided upon. 

June 26, 1915. — Stills are completed, tanks filled, and actual operation 
hinges on the completion of the power station, is the progress announced 
by the Shell Oil Company. The plant, as laid out, will give employment 
to 150 men, all skilled mechanics in their line. 

The board of supervisors, on Monday, voted their intention of levy- 
ing a direct tax of 25 cents on every $100 assessed valuation of property 
for the next fiscal year, to start the building of public highways from the 
tunnel through the county to Byron. 

Increase in assessed valuation of property from 1906 to 1915: 

1906 $21,590,845 1911 $39,700,914 

1907 27,122,288 1912 42,631,665 

1908 29,405,603 1913 47,731,341 

1909 32,472,408 1914 52,204,930 

1910 35,399,378 1915 54,488,451 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 333 

On July 12 an entire block of business places at Rodeo was gutted by 
fire; the loss was $25,000. 

August 14, 1915. — The third fire which has visited the Antioch Paper 
Mills has been burning two days, with a loss of over $60,000. 

The most disastrous grass fire in the county was that of Tuesday after- 
noon, when 3000 acres of pasture and stubble in the Rodeo Valley were 
destroyed by flames. Hundreds of men were fighting the blaze. The 
Santa Fe sent a special train of fire fighters. 

The supervisors on Monday awarded the contract for the construc- 
tion of the drawbridge over Pacheco Slough at Avon, and for pile trestling 
along the Martinez-Bay Point road, and for the first link of 3.01 miles of 
the permanent county highway from the tunnel to Bryant Station. The 
contract price is $35,625.75. 

On September 4, 1915, an explosion occurred at the Hercules Powder 
Plant in Pinole, killing two men. Following is a list of previous explo- 
sions at this plant: July 27, 1892, nitro-glycerine house; four killed and 
nine wounded. May 21, 1894, nitro-glycerine house; five men killed. 
September 1, 1897, mixing and packing house; four men killed. May 3, 
1899 nitro-glycerine house; two killed. June 4, 1904, gelatine mixing 
house; four men (2 Chinese) killed. Two small explosions in 1905; 
two men killed. July 1907, nitro-glycerine; four Chinese killed. Feb- 
ruary 1, 1908, quinine packing house and three cars of dynamite; four 
white men and twenty-three Chinese killed. September 30, 1909, nitro- 
glycerine explosion; four killed. 

September 30, 1915. — This is the fiftieth anniversary of the founding 
of the Antioch Congregational Church. 

On October 5, 1915, a business block in Brentwood was burned, caus- 
ing a loss of $20,000, to the following property: Tremley's Hardware 
Store, Peter Olsen's building adjoining, the residences of Frank Golden, 
Hercules Logan and M. Sargent, two barns, and the tank and tank-house 
owned by the Balfour-Guthrie Company. 

The Contra Costa Gas Company's plant at Pittsburg, which supplies 
gas to Antioch, Pittsburg, Concord and Martinez, is being enlarged by 
adding a 20,000-cubic-foot storage tank and machines that will double 
the capacity. The plant represents a $200,000 investment. The main 
office of the company is located at Martinez. 

January 27, 1916. — Concord experienced a light fall of snow this 
morning. 

February 19, 1916. — During 1915 the Martinez-Benicia Ferry carried 
78,895 passengers, 16,893 automobiles, 1183 motorcycles, 1439 teams. 
The directors of this corporation are W. H. George, J. J. McNamara, 
J. W. McClellan, H. Likas, P. B. Fry and L. V. Cooper. Total disburse- 
ments for the year, $18,666; received from all sources, $30,045.48; sink- 
ing fund, $4000. 

The early settlers of Contra Costa County, those men and women 
who came in the early days, held a reunion on February 23 at the home of 



334 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Mrs. Mary Gilpatrick in honor of Mrs. J. H. Carothers, who celebrated 
her eighty-eighth birthday. Those present were: 

Year Came Year Came 

Charles Lohse (age, 91 yrs.) 1849 Mrs. L. C. Wittenmyer 1865 

Mrs. Jane E. Bennett 1852 Mrs. Caroline Brown 1849 

Mrs. Hathaway 1853 Mrs. H. Hale 1859 

Mrs. Leontine Blum 1859 Mrs. Manuel Taylor 1866 

Mrs. C. Bower ...1850 Mrs. Dora Ludden ....1850 

Miss G. Miranda 1851 Mrs. Margaret J. Kelly 1864 

Mrs. Charles Lohse 1850 

March 18, 1916. — Contracts were awarded for a clubhouse, garage 
and cottages at Avon by the Associated Oil Company, at a cost of $38,000. 

The Contra Costa Free Library was established on July 21, 1913. 
Work began on October 1 in a small room rented from the Martinez 
Free Reading Room Association. Mrs. Alice Whitbeck, librarian of the 
Richmond Public Library, was appointed librarian, with Miss Weyand 
as assistant. They started in a very small way a system that has been 
far-reaching in influence. Through the cooperation of Mr. Hanlon, coun- 
ty superintendent of schools, the majority of schools over the county are 
in close touch with and receive every benefit of the librarian and library. 
Miss Weyand resigned and Miss Hale was appointed assistant. Later 
Miss Coulter and Miss Halliday were added to the force. There were 
eighteen branches the first year and sixty-six in 1915. In addition to her 
library work, the librarian has given talks at schools and clubs in the 
various towns. 

April 7, 1916. — Charles E. Bibber was elected a member of the board 
of directors of the Bank of Concord to succeed J. D. Silveira, who re- 
signed. Mr. Bibber purchased Silveira's interest in the bank. 

May 24, 1916. — The Matson liner, Wilhelmina, yesterday completed 
her eighty-second voyage from Honolulu, bringing 119 cabin and 87 
steerage passengers, 77,000 bags of raw sugar, 12,000 bags of refined 
sugar, 500 tons of molasses, 28,000 cases of canned pineapples, 3000 
bunches of bananas, 650 cases of fresh pineapples, and 280 bags of cof- 
fee. The liner was docked at Crockett this morning to discharge the 
cargo of raw sugar. 

June 24, 1916. — The Gazette, always first with the latest, has secured 
the United Press News Service and is now the only paper in the county 
with direct wire news service daily. 

July 15, 1916. — The Tunnel Road is now open to traffic. Automobiles 
are allowed to travel the highway, the first time in a year. 

On July 30, 1916, the new chapel of the Martinez Christian Science 
Society was formally opened and dedicated. Its seating capacity of 200 
was filled. The chapel is located on Melius between Las Juntas and 
Court Streets, and is of a Swiss bungalow type. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 335 

The first Carnegie Library in Contra Costa County was opened and 
dedicated at Walnut Creek on August 22, with appropriate ceremonies. 
This is also the first library to be built, with funds obtained through the 
Carnegie Foundation, after the bungalow type particularly adapted to the 
needs of smaller places, where the cost of maintaining a larger building 
would be burdensome. 

The Antioch branch of the County Library opens on September 16. 
The building was built with funds from the Carnegie Foundation. 

September 17, 1916.— Mount Diablo Parlor No. 101, N. S. G. W., 
unfurled the American flag on a pole forty feet above the peak of Mount 
Diablo, and 3849 feet above sea level. A staff built of cement and rock 
quarried from the flank of the mountain itself was dedicated to the "Pio- 
neers of Contra Costa County." Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. Dean, of 
Brentwood, who came here in 1850, pulled the cord which released the 
flag. The flag was made by Mrs. J. H. Martin, formerly of Concord, 
and Miss Loretta Collins of Vallejo, and was presented to Mount Diablo 
Parlor. The staff from which it is to fly was built by W. H. George, 
of the Cowell Portland Cement Company, and was presented to Mount 
Diablo Parlor. The construction work was handled by H. B. Morey & 
Sons, of Menlo Park. 

On September 30, 1916, the new Hotel Martinez was thrown open to 
the public with a grand ball. The hotel has been remodeled and rebuilt, 
and also refurnished, and is steam-heated throughout. On the roof a 
dancing platform has been built and provision made for afternoon and 
evening parties. 

January 6, 1917. — The six big realty companies with which B. Scha- 
piro and his associates in land development and promotion in Contra Cos- 
ta County are interested, have been consolidated into one holding com- 
pany known as the Contra Costa Realty Company. Articles of incor- 
poration are on file. The capitalization is $1,000,000, with the principal 
place of business at Richmond. The directors are : Ben Schapiro, R. R. 
Veale, J. E. Bouquet, F. A. Cascioni, H. A. Johnston, E. M. Downer 
and E. D. Armstrong. 

January 13, 1917. — In a lengthy opinion in the case of Henry Cowell 
Cement & Lime Company vs. the various ranchers in that vicinity, Judge 
R. H. Latimer holds that dust is a private nuisance and not a public evil. 
Thus comes to a close a suit which has extended over many years and cost 
thousands of dollars. The suit was filed in 1910 in the name of the people 
of the State of California vs. Cowell Portland Cement Company to abate 
a nuisance. 

January 16, 1917. — Alhambra Creek was frozen over at seven o'clock 
this morning for the first time in over twenty years. 

March 3, 1917. — The Union Oil Company is to increase the capacity 
of its asphalt and lubricating oil plants at Rodeo. 

March 10, 1917. — The first shipment of material arrived for the con- 
struction of Unit Three of the Trumble system at the Shell refinery. 



336 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

On March 6, the new ferry, City of Martinez, was christened as she 
glided down the ways at Pittsburg. As soon as she is fitted up she will 
be put on the Martinez-Benicia run. 

March 17, 1917. — The Associated Oil Company reclaims a sixty-acre 
tract near Avon for additions to the big plant. The addition will be for 
lubricants particularly. 

The Standard Oil Company has purchased 100 acres of the Mizner 
estate and will at once begin the work of filling, grading and preparing 
for the extension of its mammoth plant at Richmond. When completed, 
the plant will be the largest of its kind in the world. 

The California Cap Works at Stege were destroyed by a blast on 
March 12. Two Chinese were killed and three seriously injured. The 
explosion was caused by a Chinaman dropping a tray of caps. 

The Associated Oil Company is preparing to operate the American- 
Oriental property. The lease held on the property by the Shell Oil 
Company expired some time ago. 

The San Ramon High School was dedicated on March 10, when a 
large crowd gathered to witness the ceremonies. 

March 13, 1917. — Unusual precautions are being taken by the Shell 
Company in guarding its big refinery and tank farm at Martinez during 
these days and weeks of strained relations with Germany. A strict guard 
has been maintained ever since the plant has been in operation. Day and 
night guards patrol the property. No passes are issued except to em- 
ployees and persons whose business calls them to the plant. 

Searchlights and machine guns will protect the Standard Oil refinery at 
Richmond. Sixteen giant searchlights, formerly used at the Exposition, 
have been secured; and 100 new guards have been put on. 

April 7, 1917. — Two tall towers on which will be mounted two power- 
ful searchlights, and which will be operated during the night and throw 
their powerful beams of light to all parts of the $5,000,000 refinery, will 
be in place in a few days. 

Company B, 2nd Infantry, N. G. C, of Richmond, was mustered into 
Federal service at the Presidio in San Francisco Tuesday afternoon. 

Twenty-three special deputy sheriffs were sworn in this week to guard 
the property of the Associated Oil Company at the Avon Refinery & 
American-Oriental works. The men were nearly all employees of the 
company. 

Practically all the big plants on the bay shore are guarded. The 
Standard Oil at Richmond, Giant & Hercules Powder Works, Union Oil 
at Oleum, American-Oriental, Associated Oil and Great Western Electro- 
chemical are guarded day and night by armed guards. 

The Contra Costa County Council for Defense has been named by 
Governor Stephens. It includes Judge R. H. Latimer, 'Sheriff R. R. Veale, 
District Attorney T. D. Johnson, and J. H. Trythall, chairman of the 
board of supervisors. These will name three private citizens. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 337 

April 28, 1917. — A food-conservation mass-meeting was held in Mar- 
tinez and was attended by over 300 citizens from various parts of the 
county; it was held under the auspices of the County Council of Defense. 

The Concord business district was swept by fire, including the Concord 
Inn, Post Office, Mercantile Company, Bank of Concord, B. Neustaedter 
& Son, general merchandise, and the offices of L. L. Martin, D. D. S., 
E. E. Johnson, D. D. S., A. S. Sherlock, attorney, and Mrs. S. A. Fletcher, 
modiste. Nearby towns sent assistance, including Martinez, Antioch, 
Avon, Cowell, Walnut Creek and Oakland. 

May 5, 1917. — Judge O. Duncan, of Walnut Creek, first commis- 
sioned officer from Contra Costa County, was called to the colors as first 
lieutenant this week. 

The Martinez Red Cross Auxiliary was organized, with 163 members, 
to handle the work in Martinez; chairman, W. H. Hanlon. 

The veterans of the Spanish-American War stand ready, and members 
of Fitzhugh Lee Camp No. 9 pledged themselves to the Government, 
giving notice that they stand ready to answer a call to arms. 

On his twenty-fourth birthday, R. W. Netherton, son of E. W. Nether- 
ton of Martinez, left Sunday to enlist in the aviation corps of the United 
States Army. 

June 2, 1917. — Following is a list of the Mount Diablo High School 
graduates: W. B. Bliss, Mary W. Bott, Joseph Brazil, Minnie M. Car- 
penter, Laura E. Dunn, M. L. Frandsen, F. Freitas, J. W. Graves, Mar- 
jorie Holman, Charles Jennings, Dorenda Maltby, A. K. Matheson, Clara 
M. Morken, Ida I. Myrick, Zelma I. Myrick, F. W. Neff, E. L. Parker, 
Julie H. Prettyman, J. A. Randall, J. J. Salazar, A. Sibrian, Ethel C. 
Smith, Beatrice A. de Soto, C. L. Thomson, H. H. Titcomb, Helen G. 
Welch, Hazel B. Wetmore and N. F. Wilson. This is the largest class 
to be graduated in the history of the school. 

A fast Oakland, Antioch & Eastern train crashed into an automobile 
near Moraga on May 27. Four women and one man were instantly 
killed: Miss Gladys Mortimer, Mrs. A. E. Richmond, Miss Eva Walker, 
Mrs. F. J. Canin, and A. J. Hawkins, all of Oakland. 

A recruiting station for Company H, 2nd California Infantry, was 
opened on May 30. Lieut. M. O. Ballard is in charge, with Captain Suth- 
erland as assistant. They aim to bring their company up to its maximum 
strength. 

Mortimer Veale, Cullom Hadapp, Malcolm Borland, Earl Soto, and 
Ralph West, on the eve of their departure for war service, were banqueted 
by Martinez citizens. 

Home Guards ready for any emergency: E. W. Jensen, Martinez; 
J. N. Feeley, Hercules; E. H. Shibley, Port Costa; Otto Hasenpuch, Val- 
ona; W. Matheson, Cowell; W. R. Wood, Walnut Creek; G. B. Putnam, 
Pleasant Hill; Alex Burrick, Brentwood. Eighty men have signed the 
Home Guard roll. 



338 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

June 9, 1917. — 6298 young Contra Costa County citizens sign the roll 
for the draft, the various towns being represented as follows : 

Walnut Creek 68 Selby 46 

Concord 109 Richmond 1907 

Avon 18 Rodeo 146 

Alamo 22 San Pablo 167 

Martinez 393 San Pablo Creek 24 

Moraga 34 Hercules 143 

Clayton 39 Pinole 157 

Lafayette 50 Vine Hill 35 

Cowell 68 Giant 48 

Danville 107 Alhambra 76 

Tassajara 28 Stege 128 

Port Costa 94 Nichols 102 

San Ramon 23 Bay Point 105 

Crockett 363 Valona 190 

Pacheco 28 Pittsburg 390 

Antioch 326 Lone Tree 70 

Oakley 91 Jersey 110 

Knightsen 89 Orwood 17 

Brentwood 94 Byron 130 

June 16, 1917. — Contra Costa County subscribed $856,350 to the 
first Liberty Loan call. 

On Saturday, June 23, the Concord Library, the third of the Carnegie 
Foundation Fund buildings for this county, was opened to the public. 

The entire county is now thoroughly organized in all departments for 
the work of winning the war. 

July 7, 1917. — As a member of Ambulance Unit No. 2 of the Uni- 
versity of California, Malcolm McKenzie, son of Judge and Mrs. A. B. 
McKenzie of Martinez, left with 118 other members of that unit for 
Allentown, Pa., Wednesday afternoon, the first Martinez boy to start 
on the journey across the seas to the battle front. 

The ferry boat City of Martinez made its first regular run in the 
Martinez & Benicia service on July 6. 

August 11, 1917. — John Hansen, of Jersey, was the first man from 
Contra Costa County who successfully passed all requirements of the draft 
board and was passed into the conscription army of the United States. 

By order of the board of supervisors District No. 17 was created, 
which includes Knightsen and Oakley. 

September 8, 1917. — Monday's fire record in Martinez: National 
Hotel; S. Barlettani, blacksmith shop and residence; Mrs. M. Brosch, 
residence; S. Barlettani, cottage; G. Stewart, grocery; J. W. McClellan, 
residence; L. Bulger, residence. The loss was $30,000, partly covered by 
insurance. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 339 

October 20, 1917. — The regimental organization of the Contra Costa 
Home Guards has been completed and the captains of the three most 
proficient companies in the organization have been elevated to higher 
rank. Captain E. W. Jensen has been made Lieutenant Colonel; Captains 
Long of Richmond, Jack Kasch of Cowell, and Frank Thompson of 
Lafayette have been elevated to the rank of Major. 

Election of officers was held Thursday for the Martinez company. 
First Lieut. B. E. Stotts was made Captain; Second Lieut. Gould was 
made First Lieutenant; and First Sergeant Richmond was made Second 
Lieutenant. 

December 8, 1917. — A deal was closed Monday in Martinez for the 
transfer of the Wallace water-front lands lying west of the Grangers' 
wharf to George W. McNear, Inc. 

January, 1918. — Justice of Peace C. H. Hayden resigned. Rex L. 
Boyer was appointed as his successor for township No. 1. 

January 19, 1918. — Raymond F. Gavin, the first Contra Costa boy 
to make the supreme sacrifice, was laid to rest beside his parents in Sunset 
View, Richmond. 

February 2, 1918. — Three lost their lives in the fire which destroyed 
Miller's Hotel at Fairview. 

The Martinez sewer and water bonds were carried by a majority of 
over three to one; $200,000 was the amount voted on. 

The first Martinez boy to give up his life in France was Private 
Henry A. NcNamara, who died accidentally. He was buried at Suresnes, 
France, April 3, 1918. 

A letter from a Richmond boy, J. M. Masiel, private, Company D, 
6th U. S. Engineers: 

"My regiment has been attached to the British for two months, and 
we have been in the active service ever since, from the third line up to 
the front, where we were lucky to have our first chance with the British 
to prove our ability. If you have heard anything about the engineers 
helping to hold back the wild bull-headed Hun, it was us (cut by censor). 
Believe me, we sure knocked them over while they lasted. 

"The Tommies, Australians, Canadians and all of them will never 
forget us, being engineers, doing what we did. We built steel bridges 
across the Somme so fast it made their heads swim. We took prisoners 
and killed the enemy like a mowing machine cuts grass. I never saw such 
a mess in my life. It will take him a good many nights to bury them. 

"They came over ten to one. We were in the front line seven days 
and nights. We gave him his! If you see my mother, ask her to let you 
see the thanks we received from the Fifth Army General of the British. 

"I've seen everything over here. An American aviator brought down 
a Fritz two-seater yesterday, that dropped about two Richmond blocks 
from us. The pilot and observer were both lucky they did not get killed. 

"We wear our steel helmets all the time, day and night — so much 
shrapnel about when we start shooting at his planes. 



340 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

"I think I'm the first Richmond boy to be in the front line at the right 
time, and also the first one to get a Fritzie. I've got a souvenir from him 
for luck." 

June 8, 1918. — Bert Curry of Richmond was appointed coroner by the 
board of supervisors to fill the vacancy left by Dr. C. L. Abbott. 

June 15, 1918. — The San Francisco Milling Company's local plant 
at Pittsburg was totally destroyed by fire last night, with all the machinery, 
raw and finished products, one car of wheat, and one car barley. 

The first Contra Costa boy to meet death in action on the battlefields 
of the Marne was Private Sidney Severns, U. S. Marine Corps, who was 
killed on June 7. The message was received by his mother in Martinez 
the same day she received a "Mother's Day" note from her boy, which 
said, "Don't worry about me. I have not been anywhere near the great 
drive yet. I have not fired a shot out of my rifle since I have been in 
France." 

Martinez pays $34,004.53 for a water system from the Port Costa 
Water Company, including the system, pumping plant, site, excepting the 
main pipe-line to Port Costa and Crockett. The deeds were delivered to 
the trustees, and the plant will be turned over on July 25. 

Reclamation projects in the great San Joaquin island delta region have 
been set afoot since January 1, amounting to $3,000,000. Foremost of 
these have been the Delta Farms Company, and the Lee Phillips and 
subsidiary interests. 

July 27, 1918. — The Martinez Canning Company's plant, on the 
Martinez water-front between the C. T. and Grangers' wharves, is ready 
for business with the first season's run. The building and equipment cost 
about $300,000. 

The first Crockett man to make the supreme sacrifice on the battle- 
fields of France was Corporal Ora Alfred Sweet, Company D, 26th 
Infantry. He was killed in action on the French front on July 21. 

On August 20, the old Briones home, on the corner of Estudillo and 
Thompson Streets, was destroyed by fire. It was one of the oldest 
existing landmarks in Martinez, having been erected sixty years ago by 
Casmido Briones. 

At the age of eighty-six years, Mrs. Ingraham, of Vine Hill, is proud 
of the work she has done for the Red Cross. 

September 14, 1918. — On Thursday the Liberty Union High School 
at Brentwood was totally destroyed by fire, starting from chemicals in the 
school laboratory. The building and annex were well insured, but the 
loss of books to the pupils will be heavy. School opened two weeks ago. 

November 9, 1918. — Corporal Peter Byer, Jr., of Tassajara, and 
Simon Anderson, of San Ramon, made the supreme sacrifice on the field 
of battle in France. They were among the first Contra Costa boys to 
enter service. 

November 30, 1918.-2,000,000 tins is the 1918 pack of the Martinez 
Cannery. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 341 

January 11, 1919. — The gelatin plant at the Hercules Powder Works 
blew up on January 7, killing four men. 

On January 6, the news flashed over the country of the death of 
Ex-President Theodore Roosevelt. 

The Martinez-Benicia Ferry & Transportation Company bought from 
Mrs. Helen Muir Funk nine acres and the old wharf of the Grangers' 
property at the foot of Berrellessa Street for $10,000. 

February 22, 1919. — United States Congress appropriates $64,500 
for widening and deepening of Suisun Bay and the San Joaquin River 
channel from Antioch to Martinez. This was obtained through Con- 
gressman C. F. Curry. 

During 1918 the Martinez-Benicia Ferry transported 83,280 auto- 
mobiles, 296,574 passengers, 965 teams and 3115 motorcycles. The 
directors reelected are: J. J. McNamara, J. W. McClellan, of Martinez; 
W. H. George, of Cowell; and A. J. Pementa, J. R. Chisholm, R. H. 
Mann, and Gus Gnauck of Benicia. 

On Sunday, March 9, the reorganized Martinez Band of twenty-six 
pieces gave a very enjoyable concert at the City Hall Park. 

May 3, 1919. — At the recent reorganization of the Gazette Publishing 
Company, the following officers were elected: W. A. Rugg, president and 
general manager; B. E. Stotts, vice-president and assistant general man- 
ager; J. K. Cushing, secretary and general news editor. 

May 24, 1919. — John Weaver, an aged recluse living near Clayton, 
was found murdered on Friday morning. He lived alone in a small cabin. 
Robbery is believed to have been the motive, for he was in the habit of 
keeping money and valuables in his cabin. He was over sixty, and a pioneer 
of this section. 

July 12, 1919. — Practically the entire central portion of Brentwood 
was destroyed by fire Tuesday morning, when a blaze started in the 
store of O. H. Jansee. The loss was estimated at $15,000. 

July 19, 1919.— The bond issue for $125,000 for the high schoql 
building was carried at Wednesday's election. 

July 26, 1919. — A phenomenal vote was cast throughout the county 
in favor of the $2,600,000 good-roads bond issue. The vote showed 
3852 for and 169 against — 22 to 1. 

Andrew Carnegie died at his home in Lenox, Mass., August 11, 1919. 

Three hundred people were present at the opening of the Concord 
Farm Center Club-house on August 16. 

August 30, 1919. — Life imprisonment was given Peter D'Amico, 
who was found guilty of the killing of Frank Bradon in a Pittsburg saloon 
several months ago. 

In one of the most blood-curdling wholesale murders that has ever 
been committed in Contra Costa County, three Hindoos were chopped 
to pieces in their cabins on Jersey Island early Tuesday morning, Bran 
Singh, Bhetan Singh and Iber Singh. The report of the murder was made 
by Lachman Singh, who was occupying the same cabin with one of the 



342 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

murdered men. According to his story, he was in the hut with Bran Singh 
at Camp 8 on the property of the Jersey Island Company, on the op- 
posite side of the island from the headquarters of the company. He 
said he heard someone trying to force entrance to their cabin, and fled 
through the back window to another Hindoo camp. He summoned his 
friends and together they went back to the cabin and found Bran Singh 
dead. They went at once to Camp 13, where other friends were, 
and found the other two men in the same shape. Lachman Singh reached 
headquarters about daybreak, and officers were summoned. 

September 27, 1919.— The Oakland, Antioch & Eastern Railway will 
hereafter be known as the San Francisco-Oakland Railroad. 

The Contra Costa County Exposition, which continued for eight days, 
was participated in by many exhibitors from various localities in this 
part of the State. The Tommasino Royal Italian Band was hired for 
the duration of the big show. The attendance broke all records for 
the first day's attendance. 

Estimated cost of the proposed concrete highways to be constructed 
out of the $2,600,000 bond issue is as follows: t 

Bay Point to Pittsburg 8.46 miles $261,800 

Martinez to Bay Point _ 5.50 " 156,000 

Martinez to Dublin. 23.00 " 687,816 

Pacheco to Concord 1.50 " 66,600 

San Pablo Creek 12.00 " .. 390,664 

Franklin Canon 9.00 " 296,748 

Crockett Straits 1.50 " 50,000 

Richmond to Giant 5.00 " - 140,000 

Knightsen _ 3.25 ■" 51,000 

Brentwood East 3.70 " 92,372 



72.91 " $2,223,000 

Proposed Secondary Roads 

Ygnacio Valley. 5.50 miles $55,000 

Concord to Clayton 5.50 " . 55,000 

Clayton East 12.50 " 125,000 

Tassajara Road 10.00 " 100,000 

Old River " 27,000 



33.50 " $362,000 

Summary 

Maintenance Equipment $ 15,000 

Concrete Highways 2,223,000 

Secondary Roads 362,000 



$2,600,000 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 343 

The Associated Oil Company starts preliminary work at Avon to 
double the size of its plant at the cost of $2,000,000. The company has 
gone to considerable expense the last few years in providing recreation 
for the employees with a fresh-water swimming pool, bowling alleys, 
billiard and ball-rooms. 

The contract has been let for the Brentwood High School to Hannah 
Brothers, of San Francisco, for $63,795. 

The closing of the first annual Contra Costa County Exposition. 
October 13, marked the sixtieth anniversary of the closing of the first 
County Fair ever held in Contra Costa County. 

The success of the Exposition is largely due to the various Farm 
Bureaus of Contra Costa County; 10,000 attended the big show Sunday. 

October 18, 1919. — John Tait, of San Francisco cafe fame, and his 
associates purchased Byron Hot Springs Hotel Thursday, October 16. 
It is said that $100,000 will be spent in refitting the hotel. C. J. Brun 
has been installed as manager. 

December 20, 1919. — Active work has been started by the Founda- 
tion Company, one of the largest concerns of its kind operating in this 
country, upon the construction of mechanical shops for the Standard Oil 
Company which will cost $1,000,000. 

On Wednesday, December 24, Charles Butters purchased the site of 
the old Peyton Chemical Company, including 127 acres of land, for 
$65,000. 

John Barleycorn passed away peacefully on January 23, 1920, at 10 
o'clock. His death struggles were not overly hard, but in Martinez there 
are many mourners. 

On January 26, in a Byron bank robbery, $50,000 in currency, liberty 
bonds, jewelry and securities were stolen from 154 safe-deposit boxes. 
The robbers burned a hole through the Bessemer steel plates around the 
combination to the safe-deposit vault. 

January 24, 1920. — The Oakland, Antioch & Eastern Railway was 
sold at public auction today on the courthouse steps by Sale Commissioner 
A. E. Dunkel. The purchasers of the road were the members of the 
reorganization committee composed of the directors of the Oakland, 
Antioch & Eastern Railway. The price was $1,200,000. 

January 31, 1920. — Improvements on a large scale will be made by 
the San Francisco-Sacramento Railroad Company, according to General 
Manager H. A. Mitchell. $90,000 for ballasting rock will be spent; 
and other improvements are a branch line from Clyde to the shipyard of 
the Pacific Coast Ship Building Company at Bay Point, reconstruction of 
the tunnel between Shepherd Canyon and Redwood Canyon, erection of 
additional substations, and new electrical motor equipment for installa- 
tion on passenger cars. 

At Brentwood, January 31, the board of directors of the Bank of 
Brentwood elected R. Wallace Jr., president; F. Ludinghouse, vice-presi- 
dent; Alex Burness, treasurer; R. G. Dean and R. F. MacLeod, directors. 



344 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

The Building and Loan Committee of the Chamber of Commerce of 
Martinez, consisting of D. L. Hilson, chairman, L. Bonzagni and Ralph 
Wight, enlarged the committee to include E. A. Majors, R. H. Latimer, 
J. H. Wells, M. W. Joost, J. R. Baker, A. N. Sullenger, M. H. Hurley, 
G. O. Meese, Dr. E. W. Merrithew, T. B. Swift, Frank Roberts, Joe 
Sparacino, J. W. McClellan, E. R. Lasell, J. J. McNamara, G. P. Keller, 
F. L. Glass, E. R. Colvin and J. E. Colton. The committee as a whole 
met and selected Hilson, Wells, Bonzagni, Colvin and Wight to prepare 
by-laws for a Martinez Building & Loan Association. 

F. Rolandi, contractor, who was awarded the job of constructing the 
Martinez-Dublin highway, has started work; and O'Brien Brothers, who 
have the contract for the Franklin-Canyon road, are placing equipment 
on the ground. 

March 8, 1920. — Antioch's new city hall was formally accepted by 
the trustees. 

The Brentwood Post of the American Legion was organized on March 
20; W. F. Wooley, president; R. J. Wallace, secretary-treasurer; Charles 
Forbes, first vice-president; Fay Donaldson, second vice-president. 

April 3, 1920. — A complete confession of the triple murder on Jersey 
Island last September has been made by Maher Singh, who was arrested 
in San Francisco. Sheriff Veale took Singh into custody as he was about 
to board the liner Korea Maru for Calcutta, India. 

March 27, 1920. — Thursday was a red-letter day in the history of the 
Columbia Steel Company, when the great rolls, together with the majority 
of the units of the new rolling mill, were put in action for the trial run. 

April 24, 1920. — J. E. Colton, for the past four years mayor of Mar- 
tinez, was reelected to that office. 

May 1, 1920. — Crockett Encampment No. 43, I. O. O. F., was insti- 
tuted April 8, with fifty-three charter members. 

May 1, 1920. — The Antioch Bank buys the controlling interest in the 
Bank of Brentwood, when the entire stock held by the Balfour-Guthrie 
Company, C. and R. F. MacLeod, and Alex Burness was purchased. 
MacLeod and Burness have been succeeded on the board of directors by 
R. E. Davis and Mr. Mahaffey. 

May 8, 1920. — The theatre constructed by Enea Brothers in Pitts- 
burg was opened to the public on May 4, when a large crowd of local 
people attended the dedication ceremonies. The new building cost 
$100,000. 

June 18, 1920. — L. A. Crowell, a banker of North Dakota, and P. 
Henitz of Minneapolis, Minn., took over the controlling interest of the 
First National Bank at Bay Point. L. A. O'Brien, vice-president, retains 
his interest and will become field auditor for Crowell. The new direc-. 
torate will be C. B. Johnson, L. A. Crowell, L. A. O'Brien, A. E. O'Brien, 
and C. E. Howes. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 345 

Richmond gets big S2, 000, 000 plant of the National Products Com- 
pany, which has bought an entire block on the inner harbor for plant 
and warehouse purposes. 

July 12, 1920. — J. A. McVittie, for eight years city auditor of Rich- 
mond, was appointed city manager at a salary of $4000 per year. 

September 25, 1920. — The new $60,000 high school at Brentwood 
was opened with a large attendance. The district from which students 
are drawn are Byron, Byron Springs, Excelsior, Deer Valley, Brentwood, 
Knightsen, Oakley and Lone Tree. 

September 27, 1920.- — Maher Singh was sentenced to death by Judge 
McKenzie, for the killing of the three Hindus on Jersey Island. December 
17 was set for the day of the execution at San Quentin. The last murderer 
to be sentenced to death and executed in Contra Costa County was Mar- 
shal Martin, January 23, 1874, by Sheriff M. B. Ivory. Martin was 
convicted of murdering Valentine Eischler of Brentwood on November 16, 
1872. At that time executions were not conducted at the penitentiaries; 
the hanging was held in Martinez in the presence of the sheriff, district 
attorney, a local preacher, and a few residents. 

October 2, 1920. — The bond election in Richmond for progressive 
harbor policies was carried by an overwhelming majority. For com- 
pleting the harbor at a cost of $400,000, the vote stood 2872 for and 
459 against; for the construction of warehouses at a cost of $150,000, 
the vote was 2781 for and 459 against. The adoption of the second propo- 
sition makes available at once the sum of $328,000 appropriated by 
Congress to assist in the development of Richmond Harbor. The city 
has already spent $100,000 on a municipal wharf. 

October 9, 1920. — Robert Clark, wharfinger and agent for the 
Martinez-Benicia Ferry Company, and his family, narrowly escaped 
death from drowning Thursday morning when the warehouse and a 
portion of the Benicia municipal wharf collapsed from the effects of 
teredos undermining the piles. 

October 30, 1920. — The county superintendent of schools, W. H. 
Hanlon, appointed Rachael K. Miller as county nurse, who will have 
charge of health conditions in all schools of the county. She will be paid 
by the county and by the Red Cross organizations, furnishing her own 
transportation about the county. 

November 1, 1920.— W. K. Cole, of Concord, has sold his stock in 
the Concord Bank to B. G. Ensign, of Berkeley, and Albert Smith, of 
Rodeo. 

February 19, 1921. — There are 100 stockholders in the Martinez 
& Benicia Ferry & Transportation Company. 

The board of trustees of Benicia have granted the Ferry Company a. 
forty-year franchise for East Fifth. 

The affairs of the Ferry Company have been satisfactorily arranged, 
w i tn J- J- McNamara, president; Grant R. Allen, general manager. 



346 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

March 5, 1921. — The board of trustees of the local Martinez High 
School opened bids for the construction of a new building, for which bonds 
had been voted in the amount of $175,000. 

Through reorganization of the sugar firm of Crockett, the California 
& Hawaiian Sugar Refining Company will hereafter be known as the 
California & Hawaiian Sugar Refining Corporation. The directors of 
the new corporation met in San Francisco and purchased the physical 
properties and assumed all liabilities. The capitalization is $20,000,000; 
$5,000,000 is 8 per cent preferred stock, the balance common stock. The 
stockholders will provide $10,000,000 for readjustment. 

On March 24, ground was broken for the new $175,000 high school 
building on Smith Street. Munson Brothers, of San Francisco, have been 
awarded the contract. 

The ferry steamer Avon J. Hanford, of the Rodeo-Vallejo Ferry 
Company, entered service March 29, and made her first trip in eleven 
minutes. She is 186 feet long and can carry sixty-five automobiles. A 
half-hour service will be maintained. 

May 3, 1921. — The Bank of Martinez increased its capital stock 
from $100,000 to $125,000, and also increased its surplus to $281,500. 

June 16, 1921. — Antioch dedicated her $100,000 grammar school 
building with appropriate ceremonies Thursday evening. Addresses were 
made by Superintendent W. H. Hanlon and R. J. White. 

July 9, 1921. — Dedication ceremonies for the opening of the new 
I. O. O. F. building in Martinez were held on July 6 with the joint instal- 
lation of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs. 

An increase of $2,405,070 in the assessed valuation of Richmond 
property is shown by the City Assessor, J. O. Ford. The assessment this 
year is $26,722,370. 

The Episcopal Church work was organized April 2, 1862, by Mrs. 
Martha Coffin and Miss Caroline Fish in Martinez, with six women and 
five men. The first recorded services of the Episcopal Church were held in 
Benicia by Major Townsend, U. S. A., September 24, 1854. On Sunday, 
July 10, 1870, Grace Church of Martinez was consecrated by Bishop 
Kipp. The fifty-first anniversary of the founding of the church will be 
held on July 10, 1921. 

August 10, 1921. — A fund of $25,000 to erect a memorial building on 
a site near the city hall, purchased last year by the city for $30,000, was 
appropriated by the Richmond city council. The memorial will be erected 
in honor of Richmond's service men. 

On August 21 the Franklin Canyon Highway was opened for travel. 
Miss Margaret Tinning christened the road with a twenty-year-old bottle 
of champagne. Many people from the surrounding towns were present. 

August 27, 1921. — In 1912 the assessed valuation of Antioch was 
$538,000; it is now, 1921, $1,199,325. 

A $100,000 exploitation campaign for Richmond through the East 
and Middle West, covering a year and including motion pictures, lectures, 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 347 

newspaper articles and display advertisements setting forth the industrial 
and home building opportunities of the city, is to be carried on. The re- 
sult will mean great industrial and commercial growth for Richmond. 

Engineers and road-builders from every section of the country gath- 
ered at Pittsburg on November 9 for the formal opening of the experi- 
mental highway constructed here by the Columbia Steel Company to de- 
termine the most durable type. The highway is built a quarter of a mile 
in length in circular form, with sixteen different types of construction. The 
tests have been in progress for several weeks with delicate instruments, in 
tunnels and under the road, where the effects of atmospheric changes on 
concrete have been recorded. Today thirty-six Government trucks, each 
weighing 14,500 pounds, were put in operation on the road. These ma- 
chines will be operated over the road until the slabs of concrete have 
been destroyed. When the test is finished that section of the highway which 
best withstood the tests will be selected as the most durable. There were 
about 500 present. 

December 17, 1921. — The fleet of trucks engaged in wrecking the 
test highway at Pittsburg have traveled 57,908 miles and have subjected 
the circular track to 1,896,560 tons, according to the report made by the 
Good Roads Bureau of the California State Automobile Association. The 
total weight passing over each section- from December 4 to the 10th was 
636,300 tons, the trucks traveling 17,538 miles. There has been no sec- 
tion to give way thus far, but all show signs of cracking. On December 
14, the weight of the trucks was increased from eleven tons to thirteen 
and a half tons, and the weight is to be increased until thirty-ton loads are 
carried over the road, and the speed increased to twenty miles. The en- 
gineers say these tests will result in a lasting benefit. 

January 16, 1922. — Classes will begin in the new $185,000 high school 
building just completed. The bonds were voted two years ago by the 
citizens. The building is designed in Romanesque style of architecture, 
walls of reinforced concrete, with red tile roof. The auditorium will 
seat 850; the main building is 250 feet long and two stories high. 

January 28, 1922. — After three months, the wheels of heavy traffic 
will cease rolling over the concrete slabs at Pittsburg. The testing will 
continue in the spring. The ditches around the road will be kept flooded 
and be drained in the spring when tests are resumed. 

Former records for snowfall were broken here Sunday, January 29, 
when snow fell the entire day. In some places in the county it was ten 
inches deep. Old trees on the highway were broken by the weight of the 
snow. The fall was general throughout the county and in the bay cities. 
In Berkeley it was a foot deep in places, and in Martinez about eight 
inches on the average. 

On March 21, ground was broken for the $12,000 Women's Club 
building at Las Juntas and Melius Streets in Martinez. 



348 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

May 6, 1922. — Concord voted 117 for and 1 against the issue of 
$70,000 bonds for the construction of a new grammar school building. 

On May 14, 1922, Martinez was accorded the honor of having broad- 
casted the first complete Sunday religious service from a radio station on 
the Pacific Coast. The services were conducted by Rev. N. F. Sanderson, 
who delivered his sermon from the Rock Ridge Station in Oakland. In 
the Congregational Church a magnavox had been installed, and the en- 
tire services were enjoyed. 

June 3, 1922. — By a vote of 166 for and 15 against at Brentwood, and 
1 1 for and 2 against at Deer Valley, the bond issue was carried to build 
a $40,000 grammar school at Brentwood. 

June 24, 1922.— The Shell Oil Company has purchased, for $4500, 
one and one-half acres of land from James Dent, adjoining their present 
holdings. 

July 8, 1922. — The board of supervisors purchased the Fernandez 
Estate on Court and Ward Streets in Martinez for $12,500, as a site 
for the prospective Hall of Records. 

July 22, 1922. — Construction was started by Cahill Brothers on the 
first $125,000 unit of the half-million-dollar warehouse and processing 
plant for the California Bean Growers' Association. It will be 80 by 326 
feet, part of it five stories high. It is located on a four-acre tract purchased 
by the Association between Antioch road and the bay, west of the Red- 
wood Lumber Yard. The association has a private wharf with 104 feet 
frontage. 

Work has begun on the enlargement of the Pioneer Rubber Company's 
Mills of Pittsburg, it being a part of the $500,000 development program 
authorized by the directors. 

Pittsburg will have the first Junior High School in the county with the 
completion of the $12,000 building, which will be ready for occupancy 
September 1. The equipment will cost $7000. 

On July 29, 1922, two thousand acres of range land was swept by 
flames on the eastern side of Ygnacio Valley and the south side of Mount 
Diablo. There was serious damage to cattle ranges. 

August 5, 1922. — On August 3, at a meeting of the directors of the 
First National Bank and the San Ramon Valley Bank in Walnut Creek, 
the two banks were merged and the stock liquidated. Officers and direct- 
ors: E. B. Ensign, president; Arthur Burton, vice-president; W. S. Burpee, 
C. R. Leech, N. S. Boone and F. A. Marshall, directors. 

August 19, 1922. — The almond crop of Contra Costa County for 
1922 is valued at $2,500,000 and has been signed to the California Al- 
mond Growers' Exchange by 110 growers. Contra Costa County is 
third in the State in almond production. 

The First National Bank of Richmond has merged with the Mer- 
cantile Trust Company of San Francisco. The banking-house of the old 
Bank of Richmond at Macdonald and Eighth will be closed, but the 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 349 

parent bank at Point Richmond will be maintained. C. S. Downing and 
W. K. Cole have sold their interests. 

Fifteen hundred Klansmen from all parts of Northern California 
were initiated into the K. K. K. on Saturday night in West Pittsburg, in 
the marsh lands between Mount Diablo and the Carquinez Straits. 

W. K. Cole committed suicide in San Francisco on September 14, 1922, 
when sixty years of age. He had been in ill health for some time and had 
spells of despondency. He was a prominent druggist of Martinez at one 
time, but sold out his dr-ug business and engaged in banking; he was a di- 
rector of the Bank of Martinez. 

December 9, 1922. — E. A. Majors, president of the First National 
Bank of Martinez, announces that the controlling interest in the bank 
has been sold to the American Bank of Oakland. There will be no change 
in the directorate or in the personnel of officers. The bank will be con- 
ducted as a National bank; later it may be changed into a State bank. 

December 23, 1922. — Crockett and Valona vote $240,000 bonds for 
the purchase of several acres of land and the erection of a grammar 
school building. 

March 3, 1923. — The Bay Point business district was damaged to the 
extent of $35,000 when several stores and other buildings were destroyed 
by fire. 

March 10, 1923. — A large section of the business district of Byron was 
destroyed by fire. The loss is estimated at $200,000. The buildings des- 
troyed were the Byron Times, postoffice, Santos Hotel, L. V. Plumley's 
merchandise store, Ellis Howard's butcher-shop, barber-shop and shoe- 
shop in the S. M. Cabral building. 

April 28, 1923. — The Pioneer Rubber Company of Pittsburg has 
doubled its capitalization, raising it from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000. 

One of the heaviest and finest fruit crops in Alhambra Valley and 
Pleasant Hill in years, is reported this year. The pear crop alone is val- 
ued at $187,000; and the total valuation of the crop, for all fruits, is 
nearly $500,000. 

July 14, 1923. — "One of the best auto-camp parks in the country," is 
the verdict of the motor-tourist campers that enjoy the privileges of the 
Martinez Auto Park, operated by the Chamber of Commerce. 

The people of Martinez have spent about $600,000 for new streets 
in four years. 

Richmond expended a total of $132,461.38 during the past fiscal 
year, ending June 30, for the paving of streets. 

July 20, 1923. — Ground was broken in Pittsburg by the C. A. Hooper 
Company for the first twenty of 250 bungalow-homes to be constructed by 
that firm. 

July 24, 1923.— The Pacific Cellouis Mills at Walnut Creek, makers 
of artificial silk, received a car of machinery from Germany this week. It 
will be installed at once, and they expect to begin operations September 1. 



350 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

August 2, 1923. — Without interruption in business, the American 
National Bank ceased to exist today and became the American Bank, 
under a California charter. 

September, 1923. — The grape crop in Alhambra, Ygnacio, San Ra- 
mon and other valleys in this part of the county, will be worth $250,000. 

September 15, 1923. — Thomas Carneal, who owns many acres of land 
in the Tassajara district, conceived the idea of providing an up-to-date 
school building for the pupils of the community. He set aside an ample 
tract of land for playgrounds, then had a fine concrete building erected, 
and equipped the building throughout with the latest in fixtures and fur- 
niture, and also an automatic player-piano. The whole investment amount- 
ed to $13,000, which he donated to the district. The Highland district 
is in a rather isolated section, and Mr. Carneal thought the school children 
would like to know what was going on in the outside world; so he added 
a modern radio-receiving set to the equipment. 

On September 17, 1923, a terrible fire in Berkeley burned over thirty 
square miles. A number of Contra Costa County families reside in Berk- 
eley. Local students attending the University of California were victims 
of the fire, which destroyed sixty blocks. 

October 7, 1923. — The fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the 
Bank of Martinez was observed fittingly today by the bank's officers. On 
October 7, 1873, the Bank of Martinez opened for business with a capital 
stock of $50,000; L. I. Fish, president; W. M. Hale, secretary and cash- 
ier; H. M. Hale, teller and accountant; L. I. Fish, William W. Cameron, 
Simon Blum, Henry M. Hale, and W. M. Hale, directors. The town 
then had a population between 500 and 600. On May 26, 1875, the 
capital stock was increased to $100,000. L. I. Fish was succeeded by L. 
C. Wittenmyer in 1890. James Rankin succeeded to the presidency in 
1899, and in 1902 W. S. Tinning. W. M. Hale was cashier from 1873 
to 1883; H. M. Hale, from 1883 to 1899; W. A. Hale, from 1899 to 
date. The original building burned in 1904; an annex was added in 1915. 

October 13, 1923. — The Bank of Concord held a meeting and Albert 
Smith was elected vice-president, succeeding B. G. Ensign, resigned, he 
having purchased Ensign's stock. J. H. DeMartini, also a new stock- 
holder, was elected cashier. 

Over 2000 attended the institution of the Pittsburg Lodge of Elks oh 
October 20. The lodge was instituted by District Deputy Exalted Ruler 
George Rucker, of San Jose. After the ceremonies of institution the of- 
ficers took their chairs and initiated seventy-one members. 

Over 700 autos have registered at the auto camp since the opening 
on June 1. Figuring four passengers to a car, this makes 2800 people 
who spent from one night to a week here. Of this number twenty have 
bought homes in Martinez or have made permanent homes in the county. 

November 24, 1923.^The consolidation of the Contra Costa County 
Bank with the Mercantile Trust Company of California has been ap- 
proved. By this act the bank will become a unit of an institution with re- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 351 

sources in excess of $130,000,000, with offices in thirteen San Francisco 
Bay cities. Officers and directors of the Bank are: W. E. Creed, president; 
W. J. Buchanan, vice-president; A. S. Sbarbaro, vice-president; G. Todaro, 
cashier; Armand Stow and N. Canevaro, assistants; C. J. Wood, Otis Lov- 
erage, W. E. Creed, A. S. Sbarbaro, W. J. Buchanan, G. Todaro and N. 
Canevaro, directors. The resources of the bank are over $1,300,000. 

December 11, 1923. — Pittsburg business property was sold by James 
Fitzgerald for $22,000, according to the deed filed in the office of the 
county recorder. The property included a building in the business section. 

December 15, 1923.- — The furnaces of the Mountain Copper Company 
at Bay Point are closed down, throwing 125 men out of employment. 

January 5, 1924. — Richmond has a population of between 22,000 and 
25,000. East Bay Water Company has 4800 services. The manager of 
the company estimates that the total number of connections in the town 
is 5300. The phone company has 2975 connections. The Western States 
Gas & Electric Company has 6353 consumers. The average daily attend- 
ance in school is 3924. 

Bulding permits in Pittsburg for 1923 totaled $190,723; seventy-five 
per cent of this amount was for homes. This is exclusive of Creed Tract 
No. 2, where buildings represent $150,000. 

The Pinole Times is twenty-nine years old. It was established by 
E. M. Downer and Dr. M. L. Fernandez and was the third paper in the 
county. Downer & Fernandez published it till the latter withdrew. John 
Birmingham took his place, continuing until 1916, when Ed. Ebsen bought 
the paper. 

The Union Ice Company starts work on their $30,000 ice plant at the 
corner of Escobar and Pine Streets. 

Property loss by fire in San Ramon Valley: Total alarms, 56; loss, 
$53,500; inside limits, $11,525; outside limits, $41,975. 

January 19, 1924. — Rural free mail delivery began at Brentwood, 
extending to Marsh Creek, Deer Valley and Antioch Road, 25.6 miles. 
The service includes 115 homes. Will Coates is the temporary carrier. 

W. A. Hale, was made president of the Bank of Martinez, to succeed 
Mr. Tinning, deceased; F. R. Jones, cashier; A. B. Tinning, director. 

February 2, 1924.- — The Pacific Gas & Electric buys thirty acres of 
the Amos Graves ranch at Antioch, where they will establish a substation. 

February 9, 1924. — Mrs. Flora Irene Hurley was appointed by the 
board of supervisors to fill out the balance of her husband's term as county 
recorder. 

On June 18, the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Congre- 
gational Church in Martinez will be observed by a three days' program. 

March 22, 1924. — The plague of the hoof and mouth disease in sev- 
eral parts of Contra Costa County is discovered, and immediate steps 
taken to quarantine the places where discovered. Some of the most valu- 
able herds in the county are in San Ramon Valley, and extra precautions 
are being taken to protect the stock. 



352 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

March 22, 1924. — Every herd in Pinole Valley is to be killed in the 
hoof and mouth disease war. There are twenty-seven exposed herds near 
Richmond; 266 cattle were killed and put under the ground today. It 
was then decided by Government experts that every animal in and around 
Richmond and Pinole has been exposed. 

Protective quarantine was placed on ranches from Danville to the 
county line. 

A charter for the National Bank of Martinez has been granted by 
the comptroller of currency, and steps are under way to establish the new 
bank by April 15. It will have a capital stock of $60,000, and has 
100 per cent local capitalization. The plans include the erection of a 
building on the Joost property, at Main and Mill, and until the building 
is completed the bank will be housed in the rear of the library building. 
The officers are: R. B. Borland, president; Primo Ferrarini, vice-presi- 
dent; A. J. Heald, secretary and cashier. 

The Contra Costa Golf Club was organized on Wednesday, April 2. 
A. B. Tinning was elected president; George Nees of Crockett, vice- 
president; C. A. Withington of Martinez, secretary; W. A. Hale, treas- 
urer. The board of directors: Dr. E. Todd, Concord; R. V. Davis, 
Antioch; H. Lamond, Pittsburg; W. H. Hanlon, Martinez; Mrs. H. T. 
Silver, Walnut Creek. M. W. Joost was chosen chairman of the member- 
ship committee. A site near Pacheco was decided upon, 311 acres for 
$21,770. The membership fee is $100. A nine-hole sand-green course 
can be constructed for $3000. 

April 12, 1924. — The largest cofferdam in the world has been sunk 
in the Carquinez Straits for the construction of the Carquinez bridge by 
the American Toll Bridge Company. 

Mount Diablo High School takes many first prizes in the Fifteenth 
Annual Track Meet of the Contra Costa High School League, with a 
score close to 100 points over Alhambra High of Martinez. 

April 19, 1924. — Oscar Olsson was appointed to succeed J. P. Casey, 
deceased, on the board of supervisors. 

Up to date, $400,000 has been the loss in Contra Costa County in the 
slaughter of cattle in the hoof and mouth plague. 

The State of California, on May 17, completed the payment of 
$180,000 to Contra Costa County cattlemen as compensation for herds 
destroyed in connection with the hoof and mouth disease. A like amount 
is yet to be paid by the United States Government. 

May 24, 1924. — Under the first apportionment of taxes collected from 
the sale of gasoline, Contra Costa County received $29,402. The total 
apportionment was $5,533,943.03. Los Angeles County drew $1,094,- 
625.11, and little Alpine County $83.84. 

The Richmond-San Rafael ferry boat City of San Rafael was launched 
at the Robertson Shipyards, Alameda, Saturday night. The City of San 
Rafael is the largest and fastest of the company's three ships; it has a 
750-horsepower engine and a capacity of seventy automobiles. The ship 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 353 

was christened by Miss Athalie Clark of Richmond. The launching was 
attended by many citizens of Richmond and San Rafael. The new slips, 
wharves and terminals at Castro Point are nearing completion. The 
boat and improvements represent almost a million-dollar investment. 

May 31, 1924. — The Pioneer Rubber Company of Pittsburg had a 
$20,000 fire on May 25. 

Pier No. 1, on the Solano side of Carquinez Straits, is practically com- 
pleted for the big bridge across the Straits. It is on dry land and is of 
reinforced concrete. On the Crockett side the cofferdam, 150 feet long 
and 52 feet wide, is being driven deeper and deeper into the earth. The 
outer part of the dam is built like a ship and is water-tight. It will be 
driven 55 feet into the earth, after which 225 concrete piers will be driven 
inside. Each pier, reinforced, weighs fifteen tons. There will be four 
similar dams, forty feet square. There will be two spans, each of 1100 
feet, the central tower pier 150 feet wide, anchor span each side 500 feet 
long, and 135 feet clearance for ships. The bridge will be completed 
early in 1927, when the six-minute ferry owned by the same company will 
be abandoned. For twenty-five years the bridge will be a toll-bridge, 
which will provide dividends on the capital stock. 

The Contra Costa County Golf Club is now certain to become a 
reality. A large gathering of enthusiastic golfers met in Department 2, 
Tuesday evening, at which representatives from every part of the county 
were present. The limit of membership at $100 is 200. 

August 16, 1924. — Contra Costa stock losses from hoof and mouth 
disease amount to $426,844.57. 

September 8, 1924. — Contracts totaling $1,200,000, and calling for 
completion of the Antioch-Sherman Island bridge within twelve 
months, were let to the American Toll Bridge Company; $850,000 for 
concrete work and foundations went to Duncanson-Harrelson Company, 
of San Francisco; and $350,000 for steel, to the Golden West Iron Works, 
of San Francisco. 

September 20,1924. — California Wharf & Warehouse at Port Costa 
burned early this morning. The loss in grain is estimated at $450,000; 
and in buildings, $400,000. The concern is owned by the Balfour-Guthrie 
Company, who had just renewed their franchise for the wharf for twenty- 
five years. 

November 1, 1924. — Martinez was advanced to city delivery of mail 
on November 1, 1924. On March 1, 1924, it was allowed three carriers 
and given the status of a village delivery. There are still three carriers. 

January 8, 1925. — Cost of government in Contra Costa County has 
increased 81.28 per cent the last two years, but the duties of the various 
officers have been doubled in the same time, according to the report of 
J. O. Ford, grand jury expert, on file today with the inquisitorial body. 
According to Ford's report the offices of the district attorney, county 
clerk and probation officer have seen the greatest increase of duties. In- 



354 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

crease in crime has been the cause of the bulk of the additional work 
demanded of the district attorney and the probation officer, according to 
the expert's report. A considerable portion of the increase in government 
cost is represented in the funds expended in enforcement of the prohi- 
bition law, the expert declares. 

January 8, 1925. — Two huge conveyor belts, weighing seven and one- 
half tons each, considered the largest on the Pacific Coast, were delivered 
to the C. & H. Sugar Refinery at Crockett, the past week. The belts, 
manufactured at the Pioneer Rubber Works near Antioch, are each 950 
feet long, three feet wide, and one inch in thickness, made of seven-ply 
duck with a heavy coating of rubber on either side. It took three weeks 
to manufacture the conveyors, at a cost of $10,000. A single flat car 
was used in their transportation to the Crockett refinery. 

January 8, 1925. — The Delphian Club of Martinez, starting with 
thirty-one members, was brought into being last night at a meeting of the 
Martinez Woman's Club of virtually the entire membership. 

January 13, 1925. — The regular and annual meeting of the East 
Contra Costa Chamber of Commerce was held in the banquet room of 
Hotel Brentwood, January 13, more than fifty members being present, 
among whom were a number of ladies. The dinner served by Landlord 
Crawford was greatly enjoyed. 

President Roy Davis called the meeting to order and the minutes of 
the previous meeting were approved as read by Secretary George Upham. 
Roy Davis was reelected president and Paul Anderson, treasurer. At 
this time three directors from each of five towns were elected as follows: 
Antioch, M. B. Veale, Thomas Milan, A. Flaherty; Oakley, Jim S. Cran- 
dell, O. M. Champlain, Bill O'Hara; Knightsen, D. D. Watson, Ed. 
Sellers, W. A. Fotheringham; Brentwood, Jerry O'Meara, C. B. Weeks, 
George Shafer; Byron, L. Z. Richardson, Harry Hammond, H. C. Han- 
num; and in addition, from Lone Tree, O. C. Prewett; from Live Oak, 
E. J. Vieria; and from Knightsen, G. Somerhalder. 

January 17, 1925. — Growth of Richmond from a few scattered shacks 
on an expanse of wheat fields and marshland in 1900 to a thriving indus- 
trial city of approximately 30,000 inhabitants in 1925, was reviewed in 
a pioneer day program given yesterday by the Richmond Rotary Club. 
Dr. C. L. Abbott and Walter T. Helms made fifteen-minute addresses 
concerning the early history of Richmond. Dr. Abbott told of coming to 
the old town of San Pablo in 1900, when Richmond was just starting, 
of the struggles to get Richmond incorporated, and how a committee 
composed of Frank Hull, J. Q. Black, Frank Crichett and himself finally 
arranged a plan that won out, resulting in the election of E. J. Garrard 
as the first mayor of the little city. Walter Helms narrated how he came 
here while studying law, to take over the schools of the San Pablo school 
district, which included what is now San Pablo, Richmond and El Cerrito. 

Among the pioneers of Richmond who were present as guests of the 
Rotarians were Ben Boorman, Harry Ells, A. C. Lang, Lee D. Windrem, 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 355 

C. A. Odell, Robert Fernald, Rebus Lipe, Edward Hoffman, V. A. 
Fenner, O. L. Wright, Chris Theis and Dr. P. C. Campbell. 

January 31, 1925. — Of the scores of chamber of commerce secretaries 
in the thickly populated bay region, only half a dozen are women, and 
two of these reside in Contra Costa County. They are Miss Catherine 
Beam, secretary of the Martinez chamber, and Mrs. Jessie Higley of the 
Danville chamber. In the Association of Bay Chamber of Commerce 
Secretaries both women are known as "live wires," always looking out 
for the interests of their communities. 

January 31, 1925. — The Rodeo-Vallejo Ferry Company, holder of the 
franchise to construct the Carquinez Straits bridge, has sold two lots and 
a tract of 2.71 acres at the bridgehead at Crockett to the American Toll 
Bridge Company for $40,500, according to a deed filed yesterday with 
the county recorder. The Toll Bridge Company was organized for the 
purpose of constructing the bridge. 

Almond blossoms in January is the record of Martinez this year. A 
tree resembling a huge popcorn ball burst into bloom last week on the 
ranch of L. Brackman. 

February 7, 1925. — During the year 1924, $14,264,000 was spent in 
Contra Costa County for major building. 

Walnut Creek's new Memorial Hall will be dedicated Sunday after- 
noon, February 8, when Supervisor C. H. Hayden will make the memorial 
address. A large program has been planned by the American Legion Post 
at Walnut Creek. All ex-service men and the general public are invited 
to attend the ceremonies, which will be held in the main auditorium. 

The contract for the construction of the Brentwood Memorial Hall 
was awarded to George H. Field Company of Antioch by the board of 
supervisors, on their bid of $16,860. This contract covers the construc- 
tion of the last of the seven memorial halls to be built by the county. 
The Brentwood building is being erected under the direction of the Roy 
Frerichs Post of the American Legion. 

Antioch's celery-shipping season, through Santa Fe docks, is about 
ended, with a total of 1550 cars. Last year 1628 cars were shipped, 
but in dollars and cents this year's crop will bring greater returns. 

A forty-eight-room three-story annex is to be added to Hotel Oehm 
in Martinez, the new addition to cost between $50,000 and $75,000. 
It will be built on the 50 by 100-foot lot adjoining the hotel on Alhambra 
Avenue. 

Diablo Air Mail Terminal will be formally opened this afternoon. 
Mayor Klein of Concord has declared a holiday for business houses and 
schools of that city. C. A. Richardson, manager of the western division 
of the transcontinental air mail service, will be present. 

February 14, 1925. — A Board of Commerce is being organized in 
Pinole, with forty business firms signed up. A meeting will be held in 
the near future to elect officers and directors and secure quarters. 



356 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

"Contra Costa County is notable among the counties of the State in 
its memorials to World War veterans. When the doughboys started 
over seas they were promised that when they returned they could have 
'anything they wanted'. Making good this promise, the board of super- 
visors has built a veterans' memorial hall in each town in the county where 
there is an American Legion Post. These are now being finished and 
dedicated. Walnut Creek dedicated its hall last Sunday. Danville hopes 
to open its building on Washington's Birthday. 

"The buildings were paid for by a small direct tax, all of which has 
already been raised. On the threshold of each one is a brass plate read- 
ing 'Dedicated to those who served'. While the halls are nominally in 
the custody of the American Legion, they are open to all veterans' organ- 
izations. The Legion men have gone further and offered their use free 
to any and all patriotic, civic and welfare associations, such as the Boy 
Scouts, Red Cross, farm bureau, chamber of commerce and improvement 
clubs. They will be, in a manner, community halls. The h"i 1 ^ ; - , ~ : n 
Danville is to house the public library and the chamber of commerce. In 
Martinez there is to be a public swimming pool. The struck '-"" """ de- 
signed to serve as substantial memorials to the men of Contra Costa county 
who served their country at the time of its need, and mark the towns con- 
taining them as having a full quota of patriotic citizens." — Editorial in 
San Francisco Chronicle. 

February 14, 1925. — The growth of El Cerrito is evidenced by the 
fact that building permits representing a total of $37,000 were issued 
last month. 

The ferry boats of the Martinez-Benicia Ferry & Transportation 
Company are undergoing their annual repair and overhaul, which will 
be completed within two weeks. 

The first consignment, seven crates of asparagus, shipped this year, 
left Antioch last Friday, February 13, for the California Corporation 
markets in New York. This is thirteen days in advance of the first ship- 
ment made in 1924. 

Congratulations were showered upon Mr. and Mrs. John B. Green, 
of Richmond, last Sunday, in honor of the sixtieth anniversary of their 
marriage, which was solemnized in England, February 8, 1865. 

February 21, 1925. — According to the survey filed with the harbor en- 
gineers, Contra Costa's population has increased in the last five. years from 
53,900 to 62,800. 

Armand Stow of Pittsburg, formerly of Walnut Creek, has been 
promoted to be manager of the Pittsburg branch of the Mercantile Trust 
Company. 

February 28, 1925. — With asparagus bringing $1 a pound in New 
York and a carload a day being shipped East by express from Antioch and 
the Delta country, prospects for a good season among the "grass" growers 
are looming up. This spring delicacy is selling for 25 cents to 35 cents a 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 357 

pound in San Francisco, at the present time. It is expected that larger ship- 
ments will be forwarded within the next few days, as the crop is rapidly 
maturing. 

The name of Governor Alvarado, father of Superior Judge Henry V. 
Alvarado, one of the last Spanish chief magistrates, will be honored 
by the naming of Richmond's principal park after him, according to action 
of the Richmond council Tuesday evening, February 24. The late Gov- 
ernor Alvarado owned a typical Spanish home in the Contra Costa hills 
not far from the park. 

February 28, 1925. — Directors of East Contra Costa Chamber of 
Commerce of the five towns in Diablo Valley met in regular session 
Tuesday evening and voted an appropriation of $200 to sign the roads 
in Diablo Valley along all of the main highways. This appropriation 
will probably be extended to cover all cross-roads in the district later. 

May 16, 1925. — Mrs. Julia Michaels, of Richmond, on Wednesday 
filed a petition in the Superior Court here for letters of admission in the 
estate of her husband, Max Michaels, who died a few days ago at his late 
residence in Richmond. 

May 16, 1925. — At a recent meeting of the electors of the John 
Swett Union High School at Crockett, it was decided to call an election 
to vote on a $400,000 bond issue for the purpose of erecting and equip- 
ping a new building to supplant the one now in use. Plans for the build- 
ing, which, according to County Superintendent of Schools William H. 
Hanlon, will be one of the finest and most up-to-date in the State, are 
now being drawn by a San Francisco architect; and it is expected that the 
election will be called as soon as the plans are complete. 

Crockett now has one of the best-equipped elementary schools in the 
State and, with the proposed new high school, will take a leading place as 
an educational center. 

May 23, 1925. — The 11,700-ton Norwegian freighter Talabot, largest 
steamer ever to navigate the straits and up-river region, weighed anchor 
and started down stream late Wednesday, carrying more than a million 
feet of lumber from the yards of the Redwood Manufacturers Company, 
where she has been loading since Monday. A stop was made at Point 
San Pedro to take on a load of case oil, after which the Talabot will pro- 
ceed up coast to Noyo, Mendocino County, to complete her lumber cargo, 
and then will sail for Australia with a cargo equivalent to 5,600,000 feet. 

Despite the size of the craft, which is 428 feet long with a 56-foot 
beam, Captain Larson and crew of forty-two men navigated the narrow 
up-river channel without difficulty and made a landing at the Redwood 
Company's docks under the Talabot's own power. A landing was made 
at 7 o'clock Saturday evening, and Sunday the big ship was open to visitors, 
hundreds of interested sight-seers going aboard during the day. The 
Talabot is said to be the largest boat ever to visit the Pittsburg waterfront, 
and the ease with which a landing was effected augurs well for the future 
of Pittsburg's deep-water harbor. 



358 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

May 30, 1925.— O. H. Klatt, of the American Toll Bridge Company, 
was in Martinez Friday for the purpose of filing with the office of the 
county recorder the plans, specifications, and contract for construction 
of the unfinished portion of the foundation of the Carquinez bridge, 
together with the completion bond supplied by the National Surety Com- 
pany. The contract is between the American Toll Bridge Company and 
the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Company andi is signed by Avon J. 
Hanford as president of the Toll Bridge Company and T. S. Tullock, 
president of the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Company. 

The contract price for the completion of the foundation of the bridge 
is $1,419,700, and the bond to secure the completion of the work within 
sixteen months from last February 1st is for the same amount. Approxi- 
mately $1,000,000 has already been spent for the foundation work done 
by Duncanson and Harrelson, San Francisco contractors. 

May 30, 1925. — Harvesting of barley began in the Byron section 
early this week, a number of crews being in the field. Threshing began 
Wednesday on the Winegar ranch, where there are 250 acres of Golden 
Oregon Mariout. The yield will run from twenty-five to thirty-five sacks 
to the acre. Here there is also 100 acres of early Baart wheat that prom- 
ises twenty sacks to the acre. Stanley Cabral began threshing operations 
this week in the Bethany country. The Cabrals have considerable fine 
barley and wheat in the Vasco territory, southwest of Byron, where the 
promise is for a good yield. There is considerable barley in the Byron- 
Tracy-Delta sections, and the yield in almost every instance will be the 
highest in recent years. 

June 13, 1925. — In honor of three birthday anniversaries, Frank 
Higuera of Pinole entertained at a barbecue picnic held at the V. Martinez 
ranch near Walnut Creek, Sunday. The guests whose birthday anni- 
versaries it was were : Frank Higuera, Virgie Bronestadt and V. Martinez. 

June 27, 1925. — Asparagus is still being harvested at some of the 
tracts in the delta, but the end of the season is near. Asparagus ranks 
second in California for canned vegetables. Ninety per cent of the 
canned asparagus of the United States is grown in the delta districts of 
the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers. The San Joaquin delta is rapidly 
becoming a large asparagus producer. Some of the large acreages in 
the delta are located on the Bishop tract, Webb Island, Bouldin Island, 
and Terminus tract. 

June 27, 1925. — A handsome $10,500 clubhouse for Carquinez Golf 
Club members is under construction at the club's grounds at Giant. The 
building, according to present estimations, will be thrown open to members 
October 1. 

The building with furnishings will represent an outlay of $15,500. 
The furnishings committee estimates the luxurious furnishings for the 
club will cost $5000. 

The Carquinez Golf Club has shown steady growth and progressive- 
ness since its organization last year. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 359 

The directors of the Carquinez Golf Club are : Dr. U. S. Abbott, 
president; Grant Miner, Jr., vice-president; Ira R. Vaughn, treasurer; 
Arthur A. Alstrom, secretary; Frank Gordon, T. H. DeLap, A. P. Hill 
and R. H. Stratton. 

July 4, 1925. — The Martinez Home Builders' Association, organized 
here by local business men and capitalists several years ago to promote 
the erection of homes for contract sale in this city, formally and officially 
passed out of existence Monday when Judge McKenzie ordered the dis- 
solution of the corporation. 

The association has disposed of all of the dwellings which it had 
built on property lying south and west of Susanna and Pine Streets, as 
well as all of the unimproved property, and as the promoters did not 
intend to continue operations, dissolution of the corporation was ordered. 

July 4, 1925. — With the filing of certificate of extension of corporate 
existence for an additional fifty years, it was revealed Tuesday that the 
California Transportation Company, operating between San Francisco 
and Stockton, has been in existence for half a century. It was fifty years 
ago June 19th last that the company began operations on the bay and 
rivers, and it has continued uninterrupted freight and passenger service 
ever since. 

July 4, 1925. — Mrs. Alice G. Whitbeck, head of the Contra Costa 
County public library system for the past twelve years, was on Monday 
reappointed by the board of supervisors for her fourth term of four years. 
During Mrs. Whitbeck's administration, the county library system has 
developed from humble beginnings to a high degree of efficiency, and it 
ranks today as one of the leading county libraries of the State. Much of 
this success may be directly attributed to Mrs. Whitbeck's untiring efforts 
and ability to administer the affairs of the county library. 

July 4, 1925. — Justice, Glass' monthly report filed Thursday shows a 
total collection in fines and fees last month of $4691. Of this total vio- 
lators of the Wright Act contributed $4450, motor vehicle rule breakers 
$75, the fees from civil matters $6 and miscellaneous fines $185. 

Byron, July 8, 1925. — The 100-foot bridge over Big Slough on Vic- 
toria Island, on the Borden road to Stockton, went out early Wednesday 
morning, presumably breaking under a heavy truck, many of which have 
been using this highway. Engineer Quail of Stockton was immediately 
notified and it is expected the bridge will be replaced within forty-eight 
hours. In the meantime travel over the Borden road is held up. 

July 11, 1925. — Banner Refining Company, one of the large oil oper- 
ating syndicates in California, on Monday closed the deal for the purchase 
of the lands of the old refinery which has been operated at various times 
for years past at Rodeo. The sale was made by the Union Petroleum 
Corporation, and the revenue stamps indicate a $35,000 deal involving 
a little over thirteen acres of waterfront lands. 

The last operators of the plant were the Sinclair interests, operating 
under a lease on the lands and plant. 



360 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

July 11, 1925. — Fire, which raged a week ago Tuesday evening near 
Muir Station and was thought at first to be merely one of many grass 
fires, has proven to have been a blaze causing considerable destruction 
and heavy loss on the Phillips ranch, where a large quantity of fruit, 
packed and ready for shipment, was destroyed and where a part of the 
orchards was fire-swept, about 250 fine almond trees being damaged by 
the flames. 

The fire spread from the Santa Fe Railway's right of way, where a 
crew of men was burning dry grass and weeds, to the adjoining lands of 
the Phillips ranch. H. Wilson, operating the ranch, claims a loss of over 
$800 in ripe fruit entirely exclusive of trees, all of which were fine, 
healthy trees and bearing well. 

Adjusters for the Santa Fe are expected here Thursday to make an 
adjustment with Wilson to cover the loss sustained. 

July 11, 1925. — Bent Bros., Los Angeles contractors, started work 
Monday on the grading and construction of two of the largest oil res- 
ervoirs in the world at the plant of the Shell Company in Martinez. The 
reservoirs, which will hold over a million barrels of oil each, both larger 
than the heretofore largest storage tank at Avon, are to be rushed to 
completion to increase the oil storage facilities at the Martinez refinery. 

July 11, 1925. — With an increase in assessed valuation of city prop- 
erty, improvements and industries of more than $600,000, Martinez has 
the proud distinction fof this year of showing the greatest percentage of 
valuation increase of any corporated city or town in Contra Costa County. 
Martinez' assessment for 1925 reaches the grand total of $3,426,910, 
which incidentally puts this city in second place among Contra Costa mu- 
nicipalities, being topped only by Richmond. 

July 18, 1925. — Contract for the erection of the new manual training 
building as a part of the plant of the Alhambra Union High School was 
awarded by the trustees Wednesday morning to F. H. Cress. The new 
building and alterations to the gymnasium building, a part of which has 
been used for the manual training shop, will cost in the neighborhood of 
$15,500. 

The new manual training building will be approximately 60 by 96 
feet and will be completely equipped for manual training and mechanical 
drawing classes. The gymnasium building, from which the former depart- 
ment will be removed, will be altered to provide for a change of location 
of the boys' showers and the enlarging of the gymnasium proper for the 
better accommodation of athletic activities. 

July 18, 1925. — Federal hunters in the predatory animal control divi- 
sion have killed 167 coyotes, 72 wildcats and three other animals in Contra 
Costa, according to a detailed report of six months' operations ending 
June 30, submitted to the board of supervisors by Charles G. Poole, 
leader of the hunting division. 

The county, State and federal governments are dividing the cost of 
hunting down predatory animals. Poole's report shows that the federal 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 361 

government has paid $260, the State government $1135, and Contra 
Costa County $1036 for maintaining a corps of hunters over the six 
months' period. 

July 18, 1925. — The oldest double-ender side-wheel ferry boat on San 
Francisco Bay, the veteran El Capitan, which carried passengers from 
Oakland pier to San Francisco in the early eighties and which for years 
was on the Vallejo Junction-South Vallejo run, will spend her last days 
in the movies. 

Like humans, the ferry boat had to wait until it was ready for the 
"boneyard" to achieve world-wide renown and to get into the public eye. 
The old ferry that was always ready to operate, and which for a quarter 
of a century, despite its advanced age, relieved the newer and more modern 
ferries when they went out of commission, was sold last week to Thomas 
Crowley for $750, far below the actual "junk" value, and will in the 
future be used in motion picture production, in the filming of marine scenes. 

July 18, 1925. — A fire of unknown origin partly destroyed the plant 
of the Stauffer Chemical Company at Stege on Monday, damage of which 
is estimated at between $20,000 and $30,000. 

Both the Richmond and El Cerrito fire departments were summoned 
to help extinguish the blaze, which was confined to the "tower" where con- 
siderable nitric and sulphuric acid was stored. 

Officials of the company estimated that sixty days would be required 
to repair the damage. In the meantime the men employed in this part of 
the establishment will be out of work. 

July 25, 1925. — With the business of the local post office increasing 
nearly $1000 during the first six months' period of the current year, over 
that of last year, the outlook for a record year is bright. 

The total amount of business transacted the first six months of 1925 
in the post office was $11,656.87, as against $10,704.24 for the same 
period in 1924, and this in a year that is not inflated with election mail 
and voters' ballots, as was last year. 

July 25, 1925. — That the pear crop of the Alhambra Valley orchards 
this year is the heaviest and of the best grade of all pear-producing sec- 
tions of the State is the unqualified statement made this week by Frank T. 
Swett, general manger of the Pear Growers' Association and the man in 
the best position of all to know the status of crop conditions locally and 
throughout the State. 

July 25, 1925. — With the aid of Antioch Red Cross, War Mothers, 
Camp Fire Girls, Boy Scouts and Harding Post, American Legion, Mem- 
orial Hall, recently erected at an approximate cost of $20,000, has been 
completely furnished. 

August 8, 1925. — Contra Costa chickens are in demand in Chile. A 
second order has just been received by cable by James Dryden from the 
Chilean experimental station for a shipment of high-egg-record White 
Leghorns. The first order was shipped to Chile in January, which was 
received in good condition after a five weeks' voyage. 



362 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

August 8, 1925. — One of the largest second mortgages and deeds of 
trust ever recorded in Contra Costa County went on record Friday after- 
noon when the American Toll Bridge Company gave a two-million-dollar 
second mortgage on its Carquinez and San Joaquin bridges to the American 
Bank of San Francisco. 

This is to secure an additional loan in the above amount, to the 
$4,750,000 negotiated with the Bank of California as trustee, to complete 
the two bridge structures. The papers were filed here by the Contra Costa 
Abstract & Title Company. 

August 8, 1925. — Checks amounting to $2,239,106 including one for 
Contra Costa County for $233,764.72, have been mailed by the State De- 
partment of Agriculture to farmers who lost livestock in the campaign, 
about a year ago, to check the foot and mouth disease. The money needed 
for indemnification purposes was appropriated by the last legislature. 

Los Angeles County losses, totaling $897,443.23, were the heaviest; 
Merced was second, with a total of $508,319.56, and Contra Costa third 
with a near quarter-million loss. 

The disbursement of the fund by counties was as follows : 

Alameda $99,618.43; Contra Costa $233,764.72, Fresno $19,657.25, 
Kern $4,058.48, Los Angeles $897,443.23, Madera $148,285.60, Mari- 
posa $43,957.64; Merced $508,319.56; Orange $28,972.56, San Bernar- 
dino $8,125.18, San Francisco $141.71, San Joaquin $9,157.15, San 
Mateo $51.25, Stanislaus $3,319.21, Tulare $16,1 10.35, Tuolumne $190,- 
329.19. 

August 15, 1925. — School funds allocated to this county from the 
State amount to $348,236.00, according to notification which has been re- 
ceived in the office of Superintendent of Schools William H. Hanlon from 
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Will C. Wood. 

Division of these funds, with the attendance, is as follows: 

Nine thousand forty-one average attendance, elementary schools — 
$269,105.50. 

Two thousand two hundred twenty-three, average attendance, high 
schools— $79,130.50. 

Various other methods of apportioning funds are also used. Each 
high school district receives $550 for each year it is maintained. Spec- 
ial day and evening classes receive from the State $7,240, and the part 
time classes of the county $2,600, for their maintenance. 

August 15, 1925. — Tremendous recent increase in the demand for 
higher education in Crockett has far outstripped the capacity of the John 
Swett High School in that community, with the result that the school 
trustees and prominent citizens of Crockett are planning a campaign for 
the voting of $450,000 in bonds for the building of a new high school. 

The proposed new John Swett High School will be a vocational insti- 
tution equipped with workshop, automobile repairing department, and a 
department for household economics, in addition to the usual subjects em- 
braced in a high school course. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 363 

Crockett only recently voted $300,000 in bonds for the erection of 
a new grammar school. 

August 22, 1925. — Crops in the San Joaquin delta this year will aggre- 
gate in value about $2,000,000 more than in 1924, according to latest 
estimates. The 1925 yield is estimated at $20,000,000, with last year's 
$18,000,000. The leading delta crops this year are potatoes, onions, 
beans, corn, barley, asparagus and sugar beets. Practically all the sugar 
beets grown in the lower river district are consumed at the sugar manu- 
facturing plant at Tracy. 

September 5, 1925. — One of the two ancient oaks that have stood 
for a century or more — at least they were massive trees when the first 
settlers came to the San Ramon Valley — on the Flournoy ranch, collapsed 
two weeks ago and in falling was shattered to bits. When the white man 
first came to the San Ramon Valley the companion oaks stood as majestic 
sentinels overlooking the beautiful sweep of valley and hill, but the ravages 
of time and the passing of the years so deadened and weakened the oaks 
that during the recent heat wave in the valley one of the trees collapsed, 
leaving the other "standing guard" until such time as it too must succumb. 

September 5, 1925. — Regarded as an assurance of development of the 
Burgess Tract lands from Concord to the United States mail base and 
Clayton Valley sections, Lee Harris, Concord rancher, brought in a 118- 
foot well, proving the possibilities of the district for irrigation projects. 
Well borers struck gravel strata at ninety-five feet. The short distance 
of good water surprised farmers of the entire section. 

September 5, 1925. — With a sugar content of twenty per cent, the 
vineyard of Harold Bloomfield near Knightsen will yield forty tons, 
according to estimates just made. Bloomfield has sixteen acres in the 
Tokay vineyard, of which ten are three-year-old vines and six acres, two 
years old. 

September 26, 1925. — The Associated Chambers of Commerce of 
Contra Costa County have published a booklet which extols the agricul- 
tural wealth and industrial activity of the county. Each section of the 
county is adequately described, and the articles are profusely illustrated. 
The booklet has been issued primarily to interest prospective settlers in 
Contra Costa County. The booklet is prefaced with the following: 

"Whether in agriculture or in industry, human effort seeks its maxi- 
mum activity. Contra Costa County, bordering on the great Bay of San 
Francisco, and with seventy miles of its own water front, offers a wide 
range of selection to those who desire to live and work amid pleasing sur- 
roundings and under conditions that are well-nigh ideal. Practically all 
fruits, grains and garden crops of the temperate zone are profitably raised 
in Contra Costa County; live stock is an important industry, and the total 
value of manufactured products runs over $425,000,000 a year. 

"It is the combination of industry and agriculture, with unusually 
attractive living conditions, that has made so great an opportunity not 
only for financial advancement, but also for comfort and contentment." 



364 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Contra Costa County leads all counties in the United States in per 
capita wealth. There is an average of $5418 for every person in Contra 
Costa County, as opposed to the next highest county, with a per capita 
wealth of $3300. 

Walnut Creek, September 29, 1925. — -Again has Walnut Creek's prize 
walnut tree contributed the limit of one-tree production. It produced 
this year 282 pounds of nuts, the production last year being the record 
up to that time, 274 pounds. Nuts from this tree won sweepstakes and 
seven first prizes at the State fair. 

Port Costa, September 30, 1925. — The steamer Alchiba is docked 
at the Port Costa warehouses, taking on 8000 tons of barley for European 
points. This is one of the largest single grain cargoes to be shipped 
this year. 

October 3, 1925. — Smith Brothers, Incorporated, of Dallas, Texas, 
will build the three-mile Lafayette Tunnel of the East Bay Municipal 
Utility District, running from a point near the town of Lafayette to the 
San Pablo Creek in the hills back of Berkeley. They were awarded the 
contract for $1,101,822. E. H. Reeder, chief engineer for Smith Broth- 
ers, will have general engineering supervision on the Lafayette Tunnel. 
The Smith Brothers Company is one of the large contracting firms of the 
country. Their largest California jobs have been for the State of Cali- 
fornia on the Sutter By-Pass Levee. 

The time limit of the Lafayette Tunnel is eighteen months. The con- 
tractors will work from both ends and from headings from one or more 
shafts simultaneously. They will employ from 600 to 1000 men and 
will drive the job through on three eight-hour shifts. 

October 10, 1925. — Construction of the mammoth million-barrel oil 
storage reservoir at the Shell refinery in Martinez has progressed to a point 
where the largest and most needed of the reservoirs being constructed 
will be ready for use within a fortnight. Bent Brothers are building 
two reservoirs at the Shell, one of a million barrels capacity and the other 
half that amount. The same contracting firm is building the first of twelve 
proposed two-million-barrel storage reservoirs for the Standard Oil be- 
tween Pittsburg and Antioch. 

October 7, 1925. — The harvesting of over eighty tons of cucumber 
seed in Diablo Valley started Tuesday. Three hundred and fifty acres 
of cucumbers have been planted in Diablo Valley, being grown exclusively 
for seed. These are grown as an intercrop in the young orchards and, 
with 350 acres planted producing better than 500 pounds of seed per acre, 
will bring in a revenue of crop close to fifty thousand dollars. 

This is the first year cucumber seed has been grown in Diablo Valley, 
and it is expected several times this acreage will be planted in 1926. The 
principal growers are: George Allan, R. C. Christiansen, and the Kirk- 
man Nurseries. 

In harvesting the seed the cucumbers are picked from the vines and 
thrown in windrows, after which a separating machine drawn by horses 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 365 

pulps the cucumber and separates the seed, which is afterwards washed 
and dried. Many of the cucumbers grown are weighing in excess of five 
pounds each. 

October 17, 1925. — With the granting of a contract by the Richmond 
City Council to the Tibbetts Pacific Company for $64,770 for the con- 
struction of an open wharf on the inner harbor, a program of harbor im- 
provement adopted in 1920 was finally put into effect. The contract calls 
for the construction of an open wharf with creosoted piling on property 
owned by the City of Richmond on the inner harbor channel. This chan- 
nel, dredged as a part of the United States government program of de- 
velopment of Richmond harbor, was recently improved by the City of 
Richmond, which dredged a turning basin at the site of the wharf. Bonds 
for the present wharf construction were voted by the city at an election 
in 1920. 

October 17, 1925. — Firmly convinced that the business interests and 
citizens are a unit in supporting their compliance with the fire depart- 
ment's request for additional fire fighting equipment of the most advanced 
type, the city trustees at a special meeting Monday night unanimously 
voted the purchase of a $12,500 American-La France fire engine, a 750- 
gallon pumper fully equipped. 

October 23, 1925. — The steel lift span of the Antioch-Sherman Island 
Bridge has been completely installed and with a few minor adjustments 
will be ready for service within a fortnight. O. H. Klatt, general manager 
of the American Toll Bridge Co., in Martinez Wednesday afternoon en 
route to the bridge site, stated that the company expects to have the 
bridge completed and handling traffic early in December. 

October 23, 1925. — The dreaded puncture vine, so deadly to auto- 
mobile tires and destructive to farm land, which some years ago ravaged 
one of California's counties and which has been found in three places in the 
eastern part of this county, was detected this week getting a start beside 
the Southern Pacific tracks at Pittsburg. Farm Advisor A. M. Burton 
was immediately notified and a determined war on the pest with the aid 
of kerosene is being waged. 

October 17, 1925.« — P. D. Busch, superintendent of the Concord air- 
mail base, returned from an extensive tour of inspection, covering the en- 
tire western division of the federal air-mail service. 

"No two air stations are operated the same," declared Busch, "and 
we are endeavoring to unify the entire western section." Mechanical 
operations are to be improved here, he said. Additions will be made to the 
machine shop at the Concord terminal. 

Reports have been received from Japan, stating that messages over 
low-wave radio station in Concord were heard the last week. Dante Cor- 
dano and T. K. Johnson are in charge of the Concord sending station. 

November 7, 1925. — David Macartney, pioneer of Antioch, who 
confesses to having weathered seventy-six winters, became a bridegroom 
Friday in Martinez when Mrs. Rebecca Davis of Los Angeles became his 



366 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

wife. For nearly a half century "Uncle" Dave Macartney has resided in 
Antioch, where he conducts a stationery and notion store and where, being 
a stanch disciple of Thomas Jefferson, he has served as postmaster for 
numerous terms. His friends in eastern Contra Costa are numbered 
by hundreds, and from each and every one congratulations and best wishes 
will be forthcoming. 

November 7, 1925. — Pinole has had some banner natal days, and 
discovers claim to distinction in the fact that ten sets of twins have been 
born in the town from 1914 to 1924, inclusive, as follows: 

To Mrs. Antone Light, March 4, 1914; Mrs Manuel Marcos, July 
25, 1914; Mrs. John Chattelton, August 17, 1914; Mrs. William Quili, 
April 14, 1915; Mrs. Thomas Atkinson, January 23, 1917; Mrs. C. H. 
Drysdale, October 29, 1918; Mrs. Frank Maddox, September 7, 1920; 
Mrs. Burton F. Wills, May 19, 1923; Mrs. M. F. Goularte, December 
23, 1923; Mrs. John Catrino, November 29, 1924. 

November 7, 1925. — Breaking all records for the production of 
fruit, growers of central Contra Costa County sent out upward of 6500 
tons of pears, grapes, peaches and apricots during the season just closed, 
according to a report by L. H. Rodebaugh, traffic manager of the Sacra- 
mento Short Line, to the directors of the company. Rodebaugh's report 
showed that in all 500 cars of fruit had been shipped over his line. Of 
this total 283 cars were pear shipments. There were 197 cars of grapes, 
twelve cars of apricots and eight cars of peaches. Most of the shipments 
were from Walnut Creek, Concord, Meinert, Alamo and Moraga. Prac- 
tically the entire crop went to the east, where Contra Costa fruit is eagerly 
sought in the better markets, the report stated, though some of the crop 
was disposed of to the local canneries. The shipment shows a decided in- 
crease over that of last year. 

December 5, 1925. — For over two years Grant D. Miller, coroner of 
Alameda County, has been boring hole after hole in hope of striking water 
on his ranch near Lafayette, but without results until Monday, when at a 
depth of 308 feet, the borers struck a flow which for three days has shot 
three feet over the top of the well. 

December 5, 1925. — Workmen engaged in clearing the old McNamara 
property on Main Street, preparatory to erecting a new building for the 
j. C. Penney Company, on Monday uncovered one of the town's oldest 
drinking founts, where the town pump may have stood in the olden days. 
The old plank sidewalk hid a deep well of clear, cold water. The well is 
encased with rock and doubtless gave way to the modern water system. It 
will be filled in and abandoned. 

December 19, 1925. — Crockett, December 14, 1925. — Free city de- 
livery of mail, numbering of houses and naming of streets, a new rail- 
road depot and lower fire insurance rates are the major projects which 
the Crockett-Valona Business Men's Association has mapped out for con- 
summation the coming year. 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 367 

December 19, 1925. — Rodeo to vote on $80,000 issue of bonds for 
new school at the January election. The school conditions in Rodeo are 
in a deplorable state, owing to the overcrowded condition of the class 
rooms, and it is hoped that the bond issue will carry. 

January 2, 1926. — Deed of the Lanteri shipyards at Pittsburg from 
Annie Lanteri to H. F. Lauritzen and H. F. Bundesen was filed in the 
county recorder's office Thursday, the consideration being $25,000. 

January 2, 1926. — Crockett Signal, January 1 — With 119 cabin pas- 
sengers and a heavy cargo, the Matson liner Matsonia, Capt. John T. 
Diggs, arrived Tuesday morning from Honolulu. She had 112,926 bags 
of the 1926 sugar crop for the Crockett refinery. 

The Matson freighter Mauna Ala is due to arrive Wednesday with 
119,285 bags of raw sugar; the Mahukona with 53,840 bags; and the 
Enterprise, with 22,983 bags. 

The opening days of 1926 have been the coldest in the memory of old- 
timers, who unhesitatingly state that for sixty years they have not exper- 
ienced such penetratingly cold weather. For eleven straight days a miser- 
able cold tule fog sent its chilling mists o'er land and water, day and 
night. A light fall of rain broke this up, only to let the ocean fog hold 
sway. And when the ocean fog is not operating, there is an east wind 
which brings down piercing cold blasts from the mountains. 

January 16, 1926.— John Miller, of Richmond, stated that at the 
top of Barry Hill, on the Franklin Canyon Highway, ice formed on the 
telephone wires fully an inch in diameter. He stated that north and east 
winds were meeting at the top of the hill and the heavy fog was freez- 
ing to whatever it touched. Icicles several inches long hung on the trees 
and bushes, where the fog had drifted in. 

January 16, 1926. — Crockett Signal, January 15 — Weighted down 
with ice, which incrusted the poles in some places fully six inches thick, 
the transcontinental lines of the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Com- 
pany, for a distance of two miles across the hills between Crockett and 
Luzon station in Rodeo Valley, have been wrecked, the weight of the 
ice bearing down so heavily on the wires that the poles have been snapped 
off, leaving the ninety individual wires through Contra Costa County a 
mass of tangled wreckage. Four extra crews are rushing the work of re- 
pairing the lines. It may be days or even weeks before the circuits are 
restored and service resumed. 

January 23. — Crockett Signal, January 22. — The steamer Monoa, of 
the Matson Line, arrived Wednesday from Honolulu. She brought 
65,720 bags of raw sugar for the refinery. 

Hawaii's 1926 sugar crop is ripening so fast that every vessel of the 
Matson Line's fleet, with the exception of the motor ship Annie Johnson, 
is being placed into service again. 

The big 14,000-ton freighter, Manukai, is en route from Hawaiian 
Island ports to San Francisco with 203,492 bags of raw sugar, which 
comes to Crockett. 



368 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

January 23, 1926.- — Sixty-four industrial plants in Contra Costa 
County annually produced manufactured or plant products conservatively 
valued at $404,123,620, two and a half times the production valuation of 
ten years ago, when the totals were only $161,332,100, figures thought at 
that time to be stupendous. These sixty-four plants employ 17,428 men 
and women, and each year pay these workers the sum of $26,424,500 in 
salaries. 

February 13, 1926. — What engineers say will be the highest electric 
transmission tower in the world is being erected by the Pacific Gas and 
Electric Company as a part of the new 220,000-volt line now being built 
from Vaca-Dixon substation to Antioch. The record-breaker, which will 
be at the crossing of the Sacramento River, near Rio Vista, will be 459 feet 
high, rising thirty feet higher than the new telephone headquarters, San 
Francisco's tallest building. 

To get its lines across the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers and at 
the same time comply with the Federal Government's clearance require- 
ment for navigable streams, the company must put up five steel towers 
ranging in height from 269 to 459 feet, two at the Sacramento crossing 
and three at the San Joaquin crossing. The tallest tower of the latter span 
will be 359 feet. 

Without a splice in the wire, six copper-clad steel cables will stretch 
from anchorage to anchorage, 7029 feet, nearly a mile and a third, across 
the Sacramento, 8835 feet, more than a mile and two-thirds across 
the San Joaquin. Supporting towers will be necessary to maintain the pre- 
scribed clearance height, but there is to be a single unbroken span of 4135 
feet over the Sacramento River and one of 3175 feet over the San 
Joaquin. 

The line will end three miles south of Antioch, where the company is 
building its Contra Costa substation. With the new line operating at 
world's record voltage it will be possible to carry directly a larger block of 
power to the industrial district centering around Pittsburg and Antioch. 

February 19, 1926. — Did you know that Martinez was at one time, 
and for many years, the principal place of business of the Pacific States 
Telephone Company? It was; and to the central exchange, built over 
twenty years ago at Ferry and Ward Streets, the directors and stock- 
holders of the company came once a year to hold their annual meeting. A 
special train was chartered annually to bring the party to Martinez, where 
Manager P. B. Borland was always waiting to receive the high officials of 
the company. 

February 19, 1926. — Pittsburg — A smokestack weighing nearly 
twelve tons and standing 145 feet high, the largest ever erected in a 
single unit on the Pacific Coast, was hoisted into position at the blooming 
mill of the Columbia Steel Works on Monday. Crews are rushing work 
day and night to complete the mill, which will cost $380,000. 

Record-Herald, February 24. — The new Methodist Episcopal Church 
at El Cerrito was dedicated Sunday. The handsome new structure at 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 369 

Stockton and Everett Streets was officially opened when morning, after- 
noon and evening services were held. 

Walnut Creek, March 4, 1926. — Walnut Creek's first playground 
commission was appointed Wednesday by the city trustees. The members 
are Mrs. Herbert Vaughn Brooke, Mrs. J. McGeehon, S. Quigley, C. 
P. Howard and William Miles. 

Crockett Signal, March 5, 1926. — The Carquinez Women's Club will 
be twelve years old Wednesday, it having been organized March 10, 1914. 
It has prospered under its various presidents, but no set of officers has 
ever achieved more in the way of beautifying the town than the first of 
the organization. May continued success attend the workings of the 
Women's Club. 

March 5, 1926. — For the first time in the history of the municipality, 
Martinez is about to foreclose and sell a piece of property for taxes. It 
is Lot 3 in Block 3, Fairview Addition, and is assessed in name of Maria 
Berterini. The taxes have not been paid on the property for five years, 
and a deed was recorded to the town "for taxes." The amount of the 
tax bill is $4.41. 

March 5, 1926.- — Concord, March 2 — Airplanes constructed at the 
Douglas airplane plant at Santa Monica, assembled here, and later tried in 
Chicago, will be used in the air service between San Francisco and Eastern 
points. The new planes have a capacity of 1000 pounds, as against 350 
pounds of the army ships. Service between Los Angeles and Seattle, 
with Concord as a base, is expected to be in operation by April 1. 

March 13, 1926. — Pinole, March 8 — The first building of the civic 
center planned for Pinole was dedicated Saturday afternoon and evening, 
when the fire house and library were accepted by Mayor E. M. Downer. 

March 10, 1926. — Crockett Signal — Simultaneously with the floating 
of Old Glory from the flagpole at the top of the seven-story refinery this 
morning at 10:25, the machinery of the mill was set in motion as the 
converting of the first charge of raw sugar into the marketable article was 
commenced. Passing river crafts, and train and church bells joined in 
making a din. It is three years since the refinery closed. It is estimated 
the output of the refinery during the ten months will reach 180,000 tons. 
Before this the output ranged between 60,000 and 70,000 tons. 

March 13, 1926. — The largest single deal in Martinez business prop- 
erty in recent years was negotiated Friday afternoon when a number 
of Oakland men headed by C. L. Philliber, George A. Lewis and A. R. 
Mitchell acquired title, by purchase, to the entire Fernandez estate hold- 
ings in the Court Block, bounded by Main, Las Juntas, Escobar and Court 
Streets, for $32,500, and at the same time obtained agreement for the 
purchase of the Brown property, southwest corner of Main and Las Juntas 
Streets, for $17,500. 

March 27, 1926. — Regarding the recent survey of social and indus- 
trial conditions in the county, we find that of the 65,000 population, 44,000 
reside in the cities. There are estimated to be 16,774 foreign-born whites 



370 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

and 43,787 native-born, of whom thirty-one per cent are of foreign par- 
entage. Approximately 15,000 people live on farms, 5000 being distrib- 
uted on the 2000 individual farms, of which 1561 are owned by the men 
who are occupying or farming them. There are estimated to be 28,000 
head of cattle, worth $7,815,084, in the county, and in 1924 the poultry 
industry represented an investment of $396,517. 

March 27, 1926. — Crockett, March 23 — A total of 394,916 bags of 
sugar will be received at the California & Hawaiian Sugar Refining Cor- 
poration this week. On Sunday the Manukai arrived with 188,405 bags 
of raw sugar; Tuesday the Maui arrived with 103,311 bags; and Friday 
the Lurline is due with 103,200 bags. 

Crockett Signal, April 3, 1926. — The first truss span of the long ap- 
proach for the viaduct of the Carquinez bridge was swung into position 
yesterday, marking the starting of the actual steel erection on the largest 
highway bridge in the West. In eighteen minutes the giant mass of steel 
work was swung into place, after being assembled on the ground. The 
steel and other materials that are arriving daily are taxing the warehouse 
and storage facilities. 

April 8, 1926. — Sixty-seven years ago today, on April 8, 1859, the 
first telegraph cable was laid across Suisun Bay between Martinez and 
Benicia, and California's second capital and Contra Costa's county seat 
were joined by wire for the first time. Laying down of the submarine 
telegraph cable at that time was a notable feat. 

April 9, 1926. — Martinez Standard — The fertility of Contra Costa 
soil was shown when it became known that at the wharf of the Martinez- 
Benicia Ferry Company, where piling was driven into salt water several 
months ago, shoots several inches in length are developing on the piling 
made of eucalyptus trees. D. Joselin of Martinez made the discovery. 
"Some fertile land, I'll say," Joselin commented. "But what I can't under- 
stand is that the piles are all driven root end up, and that's no April-fool 
joke either." 

Pinole, May 6, 1926. — The old Alvarez homestead was destroyed 
by fire Monday night. This building was one of the old landmarks of 
Pinole, having been built about seventy years ago. 

Brentwood, May 28, 1926. — Mrs. Elizabeth Shafer celebrated her 
eighty-third birthday at her home in Brentwood on Wednesday by enter- 
taining a number of friends who called during the day. Mrs. Shafer 
crossed the plains in a prairie schooner when about sixteen years old and 
has resided in Contra Costa county for the past fifty-eight years. 

June 5, 1926. — Twenty Contra Costa pioneers gathered over the 
holidays at Pacheco's pioneer schoolhouse to glimpse for the last time 
scenes and associations of childhood days before the structure is torn 
down to make way for the modern school recently authorized by the 
school trustees and for which $14,000 bonds have been voted. Mrs. Edna 
D. Thurber of Concord and Mrs. S. J. de Soto were hostesses at the af- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 371 

fair, which has been an annual event since the organization of the reunion 
five years ago by Mrs. Robert Wallace of Brentwood. 

Those invited to the reunion included: Mrs. Nannie Oliver Thiel, 
Mrs. Maud O. Wentworth, Miss Ella Ashley, Mrs. Julia V. Thurber, 
Mrs. Ella Eimonson, all of Berkeley; Mrs. Lottie H. Standish, of 
Crockett; Mrs. Fannie Dager, Mrs. Carrie Anderson, Mrs. Nellie R. 
Gorham, Miss Jessie Rowley, Mrs. Belle Loucks Sears of Porterville; 
Mrs. Alice M. Wallace of Brentwood; Miss Dollie Anderson and Miss 
Annie Loucks of Pacheco; Miss Ida Hall of Alamo; Mrs. Mary Hen- 
dricks Alexander of Napa (whose father built the first flour mill in Pa- 
checo) ; Mrs. Martha S. de Soto, Mrs. Lena McLean, Mrs. Mary Gehr- 
inger, Mrs. Nellie Dunn Thurber, Mrs. Margaret Anderson Randall, 
and Mrs. Susan Dunn de Soto, all of Concord. 

July 10, 1926. — Announcement of the purchase of the Lauritzen 
Ferry Company operating between Contra Costa County and Sherman 
Island, just east of Antioch, was made by the American Toll Bridge Com- 
pany. Frank E. Reynolds, engineer for the bridge company, stated that 
the sale includes all franchises, good will, etc., of the ferry company. The 
ferry immediately parallels the new Antioch-Sherman Island bridge. Ferry 
service has been discontinued. 

July 10, 1926. — The opening to travel of the widened and much im- 
proved tunnel road between Oakland and Walnut Creek and the existence 
of the new steel bridge at Antioch, which eliminates all ferrying between 
the bay and Sacramento, stimulated holiday travel between the bay cities 
and Sacramento. During the three days a mechanical count of machines 
crossing the bridge showed a total of 6500 cars. 

Topping last year's Fourth of July traffic record by 540 automobiles, 
the Martinez-Benicia Ferry carried more than 5200 cars on Saturday, 
Sunday and Monday. Manager A. J. Pometta stated that none were 
forced to wait longer than forty minutes at any time. 

July 17, 1926. — Last Monday, jelly boiled over at Danville, causing 
a $20,000 fire. The buildings destroyed are: Danville Emporium, owned 
by the Fosters; residence of N. A. Andreasen, occupied by Ed. Fingersen 
and family; residence of Mrs. Ella Case; and residence of A. B. Cabral. 

July 31, 1926. — Working three eight-hour shifts a day, contractors 
are rushing the construction of the $1,375,000 Claremont tunnel, the 
longest underground link in the Mokelumne water project. Extending for 
three and one-half miles in a straight line, from Orinda to Rockridge, the 
bore is being cut through hills which are 1650 feet above sea level at the 
highest point. Starting at a height of 340 feet above sea level at Orinda, 
the tunnel will gradually slope to the 328 foot level at Rockridge, giving 
a daily flow of 200,000,000 gallons. 

Workmen will have to remove 100,000 cubic yards of dirt in order 
to complete the bore. These men will be closely followed by another 
gang which will construct the concrete pipe line, nine feet in diameter. 



372 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

Twenty-two thousand cubic yards of concrete will be required to complete 
this phase of the work. 

The contract for the Claremont tunnel was signed June 15, and work 
on the project was begun immediately. It is estimated by engineers that 
it will take 950 days to completely finish the work. 

July 31, 1926. — For the first time since the old Martinez-Clayton 
horse-drawn stage suspended and abandoned its service, Martinez and 
Concord are to be linked by direct stage commencing next Sunday, when 
Robert Miller inaugurates a daily automobile stage service. 

August 7, 1926. — With a vote of seventy-two to fifty-four in favor of 
the proposition, residents of San Pablo decided to form a fire district to 
protect their buildings. As the result of the election equipment including 
hydrants, hose and ladders will be purchased to be used by the volunteer 
fire department. 

August 7, 1926. — Brentwood, August 4 — By an overwhelming vote 
the residents of Brentwood yesterday established the first Contra Costa 
County water district to serve the town with a domestic water supply. 
With 122 registered voters a total of 107 votes were cast, of which 101 
were in favor of a $20,000 bond issue to purchase existing equipment, in- 
stall complete fire protection, and develop new wells for local supply. 
This is the first district in Contra Costa County under the county water 
district act. 

Martinez Standard, August 9, 1926. — The Martinez-Benicia Ferry 
Company transported 438,023 passengers in the fiscal year ending June 
30, according to a ferry traffic report just made public by John K. Bulger 
of San Francisco, United States inspector of steam vessels. Bulger's 
figures show that more than 58,000,000 persons were transported across 
San Francisco Bay and its branches during the year, and that 29,310,985 
passengers were handled by Southern Pacific lines. The Rodeo-Vallejo 
Ferry Company handled 1,437,527 passengers and the Richmond-San 
Rafael Ferry Company 736,644. 

August 12, 1926. — Brentwood, August 12 — The election called for 
the purpose of consolidating the Lone Tree, Knightsen and Brentwood 
districts cast a heavy vote Tuesday for the consolidation. The new district 
will be known as the East Contra Costa Irrigation District; and by this 
election the East Contra Costa Company, which formerly supplied the 
water for the three districts, will cease to exist, as will the Brentwood, 
Knightsen and Lone Tree Irrigation Districts. The new district will 
maintain its headquarters in Brentwood. The consolidation will reduce 
the operating expense of the district by close to $5000 annually. 

August 7, 1926. — Sale of the Port Costa Water Company, founded 
and operated for many years by the George W. McNear interests, to a 
group of investors represented by the bond house of Pierce, Fair & Co., 
was announced jointly Tuesday afternoon by E. H. Shibley, manager of 
the system for years, and Harry Reinhardt of Berkeley, who succeeds 
Shibley as manager of the water company. Neither Shibley nor Reinhardt 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 373 

was in a position to make public the price paid the McNears for their 
controlling interest in the water company, but it is understood to have 
been a sum of sizeable proportions. The deal involves all lands, wells, 
pumping plants, pipe lines and storage reservoirs owned, controlled or 
operated by the Port Costa Water Company. 

September 18, 1926. — The Contra Costa Gazette, the first newspaper 
established in Contra Costa County and one of the few of the early-day 
newspapers of the State to have continued without change of name through 
all the years from 1858 to the present day, and never having missed a 
single issue, today celebrates its sixty-eighth birthday. 

And on this, its sixty-eighth birthday, it is with pardonable pride we 
announce the passing of the old reliable Contra Costa Gazette from the 
weekly to the daily field, thus taking the place of the Daily Gazette which 
holds the distinction of being the oldest daily newspaper now published in 
Contra Costa County. Hereafter the Contra Costa Gazette will be pub- 
lished daily, excepting Sundays and legal holidays. 

On September 18, 1858, Vol. 1, No. 1 of the Contra Costa Gazette 
made its appearance in Martinez, then a village of a mere handful of souls. 
Some years later, when Pacheco became the principal business center of the 
county, the Gazette was moved to that town and published there for a 
number of years, returning to Martinez when the county seat again took 
precedence and became the principal seat of business for the central part 
of Contra Costa County. 

The management of the Gazette points with justifiable pride to the 
long career and enviable reputation which this old-established pioneer 
journal has enjoyed for more than half a century and still holds. And in 
announcing this change in publication policy the Gazette celebrates its 
birthday by the installation of a specially built press room of the latest 
model Goss-Comet perfecting web press, shipped directly from the factory 
in Chicago. The Gazette's new Goss-Comet press operates at high speed, 
being fed from great rolls of print paper, and has a capacity of four, six or 
eight pages printed simultaneously, and being delivered from the press 
folded and ready for the carriers at a speed of several thousands an hour. 

With its new press and two of the latest model linotype machines, with 
other modern equipment, the Gazette finds itself on this, its sixty-eighth 
birthday, in a position of being able to give to the people of Martinez and 
all Contra Costa County a newspaper chronicling local and county events, 
second to none in its field, it being the aim of this newspaper in future as 
in the past to furnish the reading public with a true, accurate and depend- 
able account of the events of the day and concerning people and affairs in 
which they are most interested. 

The Contra Costa Gazette, published daily, will be a bigger and better 
paper than ever before in its history, if the ambitions of the management 
and staff meet with successful fulfillment. All the news that's fit to print 
all the time will continue to be found in the Gazette with such features as 
are aimed to please and interest both young and old. 



"GOLD STAR' 


' HEROES OF THE 


WORLD WAR 


Following are the names of 


the seventy-six from Contra Costa 


County who gave their lives in the World War: 


Anderson, Simeon M. 


Keenan, Patrick J. 


Bauer, Adolph C, Jr. 


Kennedy, Lawrence S. 


Beyer, Peter 


Lacey, Howard F. 


Brandon, Hazel L. 


Latkoski, Joseph 


Brown, Elmer B. 


Lee, George M. 


Brown, William J. 


Lorentson, Oscar 


Carroll, J. R. 


Luchsinger, Fred W. 


Catelini, B. L. 


McNamara, Henry A. 


Crowley, Dennis 


McQuarrie, John E. 


Damiano, Leo L. 


MacDiarmid, Orvis R. 


Davidson, John T. 


Magreil, Thomas 


Del Zotto, Caesar 


Miller, James P. 


Depianti,' Domenico 


Morgan, Albert J. 


Dias, Edward M. 


Nesbitt, R. J. 


Dingman, R. L. 


Parenti, Ameda 


Doglio, Joseph J. 


Parkinson, Royal A. 


Duncan, Henry C. 


Peterson, William 


Dunn, V. L. 


Prestridge, John B. 


Dunn, W. E. 


Redding, Earl W. 


Eryavich, Joseph F. 


Remani, Frederick W. 


Fleming, William J. 


Ross, G. W. 


Flinn, Roy E. 


Roveda, Pompeo 


Franco, John 


Rumble, Ernest 


Freitas, George 


Secor, B. A. 


Freml, Wesley, Jr. 


Sievers, M. H. 


Frerichs, Melvin L. 


Severns, Sydney 


Gatto, Pietro 


Solari, David A. 


Gavin, Raymond F. 


Spears, Matthew J. 


Glum, William 


Springer, Charles E. 


Granzella, Agripino 


Stone, William E. 


Hagen, Louis C, Jr. 


Studebaker, Floyd A. 


Hampton, Robert B. 


Sweet, Ora A. 


Harding, Stacy L. 


Trelut, Frank 


Harper, Richard J. 


Turner, Guy A. 


Hartnett, James 


Vargus, George B. 


Henegar, Hugh M. 


Walsh, Martin 


Hoey, Matthew J. 


Wilkinson, Charles 


Johnstone, William H., 


Jr. Wood, Lloyd 



BIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW 
PIONEERS, PAST AND PRESENT 



BIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW 



PIONEERS, PAST AND PRESENT 

THOMAS ALLEN BROWN.— A pioneer of the Pacific Coast coun- 
try, Thomas Allen Brown first came to Oregon in 1843, and it was he 
who laid out the city of Portland in 1844, before gold was discovered 
in California. He was born on October 16, 1823, in Greene County, 111., 
and was the oldest of four children born to Squire Elam Brown, a sketch 
of whom appears on another page of this history. When he was four- 
teen years of age the Brown family settled in Platte County, Mo., and 
six years later, when he was twenty years old, young Brown joined a party 
of emigrants and crossed the plains and mountains to Oregon. He had 
had the advantages of a good education and had chosen the profession 
of the engineer, which he followed in Oregon. When he was only twenty- 
one he was chosen to make the original survey and plats of the city of 
Portland. 

His advent to California came in 1847, when he made a visit to his 
parents, who had come to California in 1846 and stopped at Mission San 
Jose until Squire Brown could find a location for a home, which was soon 
found in the Moraga Valley. In 1848 T. A. Brown went back to Ore- 
gon to settle up his affairs, and then at once returned and for a short time 
was in the mining districts, after which he came direct to what is now the 
city of Martinez. In 1849 he was appointed alcalde of this district, and 
held office till April, 1850, when he was elected county clerk and recorder 
under the new county government. In 1849, before California was ad- 
mitted as a State, Mr. Brown was selected by Col. William Smith, agent 
for the Martinez family who were owners of all the land lying west of 
Alhambra Creek, to survey a townsite and lay out 120 acres. The lots 
were quickly sold, and then the heirs of the Welch Rancho, on the east 
side of the creek, employed Mr. Brown to survey and plat about 500 
acres, which he did in 1850-1851, and this is known as the Additional 
Survey. Mr. Brown erected a building that stood about on the spot where 
the present Scott Hotel is located, and here, with his brother Warren and 
N. B. Smith, he conducted the first store in Martinez, the town being 
named after the owners of the grant on which it was located. He next 



380 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

served as a supervisor one year, and then took up the study of law 
while acting as county clerk. He was admitted to practice in 1860, and 
from that date until his death he was considered one of the brightest men 
in the legal profession in Contra Costa County. 

Mr. Brown was elected county judge in 1856 and served until 1864. 
In 1865 he was elected to the State Assembly, and served during two ses- 
sions. He practiced his profession in Martinez; and in 1874, upon the 
death of Judge Lander, he was appointed county judge, and held that 
office until the State constitution went into effect and created the superior 
court, when he became the first superior judge. He remained in this of- 
fice until he resigned a very short time before his death. 

Thomas Allen Brown was united in marriage in 1851 with Miss Caro- 
line Thelia Cameron, born in Fulton County, 111., on January 5, 1834. 
She was the daughter of Rev. John M. and Polly Cameron, and came 
with them to California across the plains with ox-teams in 1849 and lo- 
cated for a short time in Sacramento. The family then came to Contra 
Costa County and Mr. Cameron erected the first brick house in Martinez, 
at the corner of Las Juntas ancii Green Streets. There were eleven girls 
in the Cameron family and one son, Thomas M. W. W. Cameron, who 
married Alice Marsh, daughter of Dr. John Marsh, was the son of this 
Thomas M. Cameron. Later, after his family had all married, Rev. and 
Mrs. Cameron went to Sonoma County and settled near Sebastopol, where 
they both passed away. About the time of his marriage to Miss Cameron, 
Thomas A. Brown erected a brick house just north of the creek, above 
what is now the State Theatre, and this was their first home here. Three 
sons were born of their union: Elam C, who is mentioned on another 
page of this history; Wallace, born in 1857, who died in 1921, unmar- 
ried; and Byron Brown, now the only survivor of the entire Brown family. 

Thomas Allen Brown was one of the most public-spirited citizens of 
this county, and was always doing his share to advance the best interests 
of his fellow citizens. His wife was an accomplished woman, and was en- 
deared to her family and a large circle of friends. Mrs. Brown died on 
January 14, 1922; and Judge Thomas A. Brown died on August 5, 1889. 
As surveyor, engineer, merchant, lawyer and jurist, he was recognized as 
the leading citizen of Contra Costa County, and was known and respected 
throughout the entire State. 

DR. JOHN MARSH. — The most conspicuous character of Contra 
Costa County was the late Dr. John Marsh, the first white man to locate 
within the county, and here to begin farming and stock-raising. He 
it was who first extolled the wonders of this far western country as 
a farmer's paradise and, as the pioneers wended their way across the 
plains in search of gold or a home, he made it a particular duty to welcome 
all of those that came within his boundaries. Dr. Marsh had about 6000 
head of cattle on his broad acres at all times and their increase was about 
1500 head each season. His only help were the Indians of this region and 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 381 

these he taught to speak English so they could be understood. He found 
them very willing to do whatever tasks they were set to perform and he 
was always humane in his treatment of them. 

John Marsh was born in Danvers, Mass., on June 5, 1799, and was 
a son of John and Mary (Brown) Marsh. He prepared for college 
with the Reverend Doctor Eaton, of Boxford, Mass., and finished at the 
Phillips Academy at Andover. At the age of eighteen he entered Harvard 
University and while attending college taught in his native town to defray 
his expenses. As a youth he was fond of hunting and trapping. After he 
had graduated he went to Fort Snelling (now St. Paul), Minn., where he 
had been appointed instructor to the children of the officers at that post. 
Leaving there after two years, he went to Detroit, Mich., and with Gov- 
ernors Schoolcraft and Cass, he went to Prairie du Chien, Wis., and for 
three years was Indian agent at Fort Crawford, near there. From 
1828 to 1835 he was engaged in the mercantile business at St. Joseph, 
Mo., then he sold out and started West on horseback, with an exploring 
expedition. He entered California at its southern end and stopped for a 
time in the pueblo of Los Angeles. It was while there that he obtained 
from the Mexican government a grant of land at the base of Mount 
Diablo, in northern California. Immediately proceeding to this location 
he made a settlement and began raising cattle, his only assistants being 
the native Indians. He was the first white man to raise grain in what is now 
Contra Costa County. 

The land secured by Doctor Marsh was known as the Los Meganos 
Rancho and was ten by twelve miles in extent. He settled there in 1837 
and named his ranch "Rancho de los Pulpunes." With the aid of the 
Indians be built an adobe house and after carrying on farming with 
success for several years, began to write to his friends in the East, and 
to the newspapers, describing the wonders and possibilities of the soil. 
In fact his were the first letters that "boosted" California lands. In 
later years when settlers began coming into the State he always extended 
to them the hospitality of his home and did what he could to show them 
a welcome fitting his position. 

Upon the discovery of gold his lands advanced in value, and soon 
afterward his property was confirmed to him by the United States govern- 
ment. He had a landing on the San Joaquin River above what is now 
Pittsburg, then known as New York of the Pacific. His land was dotted 
with live-oak trees, and Marsh Creek traversed the entire length of 
the property. From plans drawn by Thomas Boyd, he began the con- 
struction of a stone house 60 by 40 feet in dimensions and three stories 
high. It was made from the native stone found on the ranch, which 
when exposed to the air materially hardened. There was a piazza on three 
sides that was ten feet wide.- The cost of the building was about $20,000. 
The house stands to this day, but Dr. Marsh never lived to enjoy his new 
home for he was killed the year it was completed, 1856. He experimented 



382 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

with fruits of all kinds, had several vineyards, and orchards of apples, 
plums, figs, almonds and pears. The famous stone house was damaged 
by the earthquake of 1868, but was restored. 

Dr. Marsh was married on June 24, 1851, to Miss Abbie Tuck, born 
in Massachusetts, who left her home in 1850, and upon arriving in Cal- 
ifornia located in Santa Clara. She passed away leaving one daughter 
Alice, who married W. W. Cameron, of Martinez. Dr. Marsh met his 
death at the hands of Jose Olivas, Juan Garcia and Felipe Moreno, on 
September 24, 1856, while en route to San Francisco to meet with his 
attorney there. He was intercepted before reaching Martinez and brutally 
murdered. His driverless horse continued into Martinez and was 
found by some citizens who went back and found his body a few miles 
out of town. The Doctor was a man of commanding appearance, a 
keen observer of men and things, and a man of wide information gained 
through his extensive travels. He was a good French and Spanish scholar 
and was familiar with the habits and manners of each race. In the report 
of the U. S. Exploring Expedition he was considered the best authority 
for information of the country traveled over. He had made several pri- 
vate expeditions into various parts of the country. To Dr. John Marsh 
all honor is due for the early settlement and development of the resources 
of Contra Costa County and his name will ever be held in reverence by 
posterity. 

HON. ELAM BROWN.— The second American in Contra Costa 
County was Hon. Elam Brown, who was born in Herkimer County, N. Y., 
on June 10, 1797. His father was a farmer and had married a Miss 
Lyons, both of whom were of Scotch descent. They had three sons 
and four daughters, Elam being the oldest son. When he was one year of 
age, his parents moved to Berkshire County, Massachusetts, and six years 
later they migrated to Ohio, which was at that time a vast timbered 
wilderness. It was a long hard journey of 700 miles, through a thinly 
settled country, but after many days of weary traveling through the 
rugged Alleghany Mountains, and being almost worn out by fatigue and 
exposure, they came in sight of the broad Ohio River. As they stood upon 
an elevation and looked upon the grand scene before them, they forgot 
for a time all about the pleasant home they had left; they thought no 
more of their weary traveling, but gazed with pleasure upon the beautiful 
scene spread before them. Below them, on the bank of the beautiful 
river, stood the little village of Wheeling, while far beyond extended the 
wild forests of the land to which they were bound. From Wheeling they 
crossed the river into Ohio. There was at that time but one house on 
the river opposite Wheeling. 

Leaving the river at that point, and traveling thirty miles through 
the dense forest, they reached Zanesville, a village of eight or ten cabins; 
thirty miles from Zanesville was Newark, which consisted of only four or 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 383 

five cabins; and about five miles from Newark they came to a cabin on 
the spot where Granville now stands. There they came to a stop, for 
twenty-five miles of dense forest lay between them and the destined settle- 
ment, with not so much as a dim trail through it. The only chance they 
had to reach the settlement was to open a road, which was a hard undei- 
taking; but the pioneer knows no discouragement. They opened the road 
and reached the settlement in safety. Their family increased the settle- 
ment to nine families, four of which were from Berkshire County, Mass- 
achusetts, and from that it was named the Berkshire settlement. The 
nearest white settlement north of them was on Lake Erie, about 100 miles 
distant, and fifteen miles south was the Worthington settlement. 

There it was, at seven years of age, that Mr. Brown entered upon a 
frontier life, with all its hardships and pleasures. There he learned 
all the inconveniences to be encountered by the pioneer. The first school 
building in the settlement was a log cabin furnished with seats and desks 
composed of logs split, and the flat sides hewn off smoothly. It was there 
that Mr. Brown and his brothers received their first lessons in school. 
Elam being the oldest son, had to give so much time to the labors of the 
farm that his educational advancement was very much retarded. Early 
in life he became deeply interested in history and geography, and made 
those branches his chief study. 

His father died in 1815, and the care of the estate rested on this son, 
who discharged this duty until 1818. He then left Ohio and went to 
St. Louis, at that time a French trading post. From St. Louis he traveled 
on foot 100 miles up the Missouri River, but becoming dissatisfied, he 
returned, and in company with Charles Gregory, went to Madison County, 
111., where he remained one year, then went fifty miles north to a new 
settlement on Apple Creek, afterwards organized into Greene County. 
He married, January 10, 1823, Sarah Allen, the daughter of Thomas 
Allen, and settled on the first farm he ever owned. He soon sold his farm 
and moved forty miles north to a new settlement, afterwards organized 
into Morgan County, 111., where he resided for fourteen years, twelve of 
which he served as justice of the peace. He spent the summers of 1826- 
1827 in the lead mines of Wisconsin. It was not known at that time 
whether they were in Illinois or in an unorganized territory. The children 
of Elam Brown and his wife were : Thomas Allen, born in 1 823 ; Warren ; 
Margeline Smith; and Lawrence Myers. 

In 1837 Mr. Brown moved from Illinois to the Platte Purchase, a 
tract of land bordering on the Missouri River, purchased by the United 
States from the Indians in 1836. There he located and cleared a farm 
of 180 acres, upon which he resided until 1846, and here his wife died in 
1845. He sold his farm and made preparations to emigrate to the Pacific 
Coast. Early in the spring of 1846 a company of fourteen families, in- 
cluding sixteen wagons, was organized, with Mr. Brown as captain. On 
the first day of May, 1846, the company crossed the river at St. Joseph, 



384 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 

moving forward as rapidly as was consistent, with nothing to interrupt 
their progress until they reached the South Platte. They had in the 
meantime fallen in with other companies, so the train at that time con- 
sisted of about thirty wagons. 

They had been travelling up the river and had camped at the junction 
of the two tributaries. Soon after dark the cattle stampeded and after 
a delay of one week spent in searching for them, they succeeded in finding 
all except 120 head, of which 62 were oxen. This was a serious loss. It 
left their teams very much broken up, but they managed to buy some cows 
from other trains, and by working those and what cows and oxen they had, 
they were enabled to proceed on their journey. 

When they came within a few miles of Fort Laramie, Mr. Brown, with 
five companions, started on ahead of the train in order to make some 
arrangements for more oxen, and to have some blacksmith work done 
at the fort by the time the train came up. They had gone but a short 
distance when an Indian met them and seemed very anxious to communi- 
cate something to them, but they were unable to understand him, so he 
turned and accompanied them. They had gone but a short distance when 
they reached an elevation from which they could look down on the 
Platte, about two miles distant; there, to their amazement, they saw 
about three hundred well mounted Indians. The Indian with them 
waved his blanket as a signal and the others advanced towards them in 
solid column, on a cavalry trot, their arms and dress glittering in the 
bright sunshine. 

Mr. Brown says that he never saw a better parade by well trained 
cavalry than he witnessed by those red men of the plains. He judged 
the signs to be favorable, and on being asked by Mr. Crowly, who exhib- 
ited considerable fear and anxiety, what it all meant, told him to go back 
and give instructions to the trains to come up in two lines, so that 
they could swing together in case of an emergency, and to look well 
to their arms. Mr. Brown was left with one companion, Mr. Scott, the 
others having gone back on the first appearance of the Indians. 

When they came within twenty-five feet of Mr. Brown he raised his 
hand as a signal for them to halt; they did so. The chief dismounted 
from his horse and walked back and forth in front of the line, addressing 
them. After he finished he advanced and extended his hand to Mr. 
Brown; then eleven others came forward and presented their hands to 
him. By this time the train had almost reached them, and Mr. Brown 
sent for some tobacco; when it was brought he sat down on the ground 
and motioned to the chiefs to be seated; they did so, forming a circle. He 
handed the tobacco to the head chief, who distributed it and lighted a 
pipe, and after taking a whiff, he passed it to Mr. Brown, who did the 
same, and passed it to the next, and so on until it was passed around the 
circle. The oxen became very restless and Mr. Brown motioned to the 
chief to have the lines opened so that the teams could pass on. The re- 



CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 385 

quest was immediately granted, and the train passed on by the fort and 
camped on the North Platte. The Indians came on and camped near the 
emigrants. Other trains, on hearing of the appearance of Indians, pushed 
forward as rapidly as possible to join Mr. Brown's train. During the 
evening some of the Indians came into camp and began to meddle with 
things in the wagons. Complaint was made to the chief, who mounted 
a wagon and made a speech, and the Indians left the camp of the Ameri- 
cans and bothered them no more. 

Mr. Brown was informed by a French trader that the Indians de