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Stationers, Printers and Lithographers. 


In presenting the following pages to our subscribers we will draw 
their attention to the fact that reliability of data has been our aim, 
rather than the elegance of diction and the verbiage of language. 

It has in many instances been a matter of extreme difficulty, the 
compiling the facts we have here put together. Want of precision 
in the dates of the earlier occurrences in Solana county have been 
found a great stumbling block, while a sequence of events has been 
difficult to gain. Our task has been no easy one. What is there 
more depressing than to be told in one's researches, " Oh, there is 
nothing to write about here ;" or, " I have nothing to tell in my 
biography," forgetting that no more interesting records exist than 
those of the doings of the Argonauts of California, a record which 
each and all should feel proud in perpetuating in some form that 
will bear the brunt of time, and hand down their names and their 
doings, even unto the third and fourth generation ; hence, our 
Biographical Sketches will be found not the least interesting 
portion of our work. 

Doctor Levi Cornell Frisbie, of Vallejo, himself a pioneer of no 
ordinary experience, has spontaneously penned us the following 
letter, which we reproduce, not so much as a testimonial, but as a 
proof of how our labors are appreciated by men of profession and 

Vallejo, May 23d, 1879. 
Messrs. Wood, Alley & Co. : 

Dear Sirs. — Your enterprise in collecting, preserving 

and presenting in an enduring form facts and incidents connected 

with the early history of Solano county, is one that pre-eminently 

commends itself to the favor and support of all our people. Like 


all Californians, and especially Solanoites, we are very proud of 
our county, and believe we have the best climate, the most pic- 
turesque scenery, and most fertile soil within the borders 
of the State. So important was deemed this locality that 
under the old Mexican regime was located here, the National Rancho 
" Suscol," as being the finest grazing and best watered tract within 
the whole Province, while adjoining this magnificent domain was the 
extensive and fertile valley of Suisun, granted by the Mexican 
Government to the great Chief, Solano, for the use and benefit of 
his tribe, who were acknowledged to be by far the bravest and most 
intelligent of all the California Indians, and proved ever to be the 
staunch friend of the existing government, being often called upon 
by General Vallejo to protect the property of the National Rancho 
and the inhabitants of the adjoining Mission and town of 
Sonoma, repelling by force immensely superior numbers of the wild 
and savage tribes that inhabited the north as far up as the bound- 
aries of Oregon. 

Here, too, in early days, after the change of government, at the 
city of Benicia was located the headquarters of the Pacific division 
of our army, under command of General Persifer P. Smith ; and at 
a little later day, at the city of Vallejo, the United States Navy 
Yard, destined, when completed according to the projected plans, to 
be the finest naval station in the world. On the western borders 
of our county we have the beautiful land-locked harbors of Vallejo 
and Benicia, large enough to accommodate the shipping of the 
world, while along our eastern border runs the Sacramento river 
and its numerous tributaries, furnishing admirable shipping facilities 
for all the products of the county. The California Pacific Rail- 
road, a branch of the " Great Central," traverses the entire length 
of the county, and passes through all the considerable towns- 
There is known to exist large bodies of cinnabar, coal, iron, 
marble and building stone of superior quality. Medicinal springs, 
thermal, chalybeate, and alterative are numerous throughout the 


county, which have already become the resort of the invalid and 
pleasure-seeker from every part of the State. We cultivate suc- 
cessfully all the fruits and products of both temperate ■ and semi- 
tropical zones, and, " sitting thus under our own vine and fig-tree ' 
are, as we ought to be, par excellence a happy and contented people. 

Very respectfully yours, 

L. Cornell Frisbie. 

Of a necessity, where we were not afforded the requisite informa- 
tion, it has been impossible to produce histories, notably in the 
instances of those schools and churches under the rule of the 
Catholic body, and the large flour mill of Messrs. A. D. Starr & 
Co., the railroad corporations, and Wells, Fargo & Co's Express — 
their omission has been no fault of ours. 

In conclusion, we would tender our best thanks to those ladies 
and gentlemen of Solano county who aided us ; more especially do 
we offer our acknowledgements to Mrs. Thomas Brownlee and herrel- 
atives, who were the first to give us a regular start in our 
undertaking, while to the whole of the county officers, without 
exception, and to Messrs. Wendell & Richardson, of the Vallejo 
Chronicle, George Roe, of Ijhe Solano Times, C. F. Montgomery, of 
the Solano Republican, Alfred B. Nye, of the Dixon Tribune, and 
E. A. McDonell, .of the New Era of Benicia, for their kind assist- 
ance, while such names as those of Messrs. Fitch, County 
Surveyor, A. Dunn, County Clerk, G. A. Gillespie, Deputy County 
Clerk. S. C. Gray, of San Francisco, L. L. Palmer, of Suisun, and 
A. J. Dobbins, of Fairfield, should not be forgotten, nor indeed 
should those of our own staff, Messrs. W. A. Slocum, W. N. Bowen, 
and L. L. Bowen, to whom we are indebted for much valuable time 

and information. 

East Oakland, July 1, 1879. 

J. P. MuNRO FRASER, Historian. 




History of Solano County 17 

Geographical Situation and Area. 1 7 

Topography 20 

Geology 23 

Springs, Soil and Valleys 24 

Its Streams 25 

Organization 26 

Origin of the Township System 
in the U. S. and its Extension 

to California 26 

Montezuma. 30-40-44 

Suisun 39-42 

Green Valley 31-39-41 

Vacaville 31-42 

Benicia 32-41 

Vallejo 32-41 

Tremont 34_40_43 

County Seat Convention 34 

Maine Prairie 39-43 

Silveyville 42 

Rio Vista 43 

Denverton 44 

Elmira 44 

The Settlement 49 

The American Pioneers of Cali- 
fornia 53 

Agricultural Lands 74 

Grazing Lands 76 

Swamps and Overflowed Lands. . 76 

Mineral Lands 77 

Timber 77 

Live Stock 77 

Improvements 78 

Assessed Value of Property for 

1876 80 

Good Templars' Home for Or- 
phans 81 

White Sulphur Springs 88 

Tolenas Springs 91 

Marble Quarry 93 


Early Political History 103 

Table showing the State, County, 
and Township Officers from the 
year 1850 to 1879, inclusive. . 121 



Suscol 130 

Suisun 131 

Tolenas 133 

Los Putos 136 

Rio Los Putos 136 

Ulpinos 267 § 


The People vs. Edward Crocker. 137 
The People vs. William Kemp .,. 138 
The People vs. Beverley G. Wells 138 
The Killing of Jonathan Cook by 

George K. Mann 140 

The People vs. Robert B. McMil- 
lan 141 

The People vs. Philander Arnold 141 
The People vs. Joseph Zaesck. . . 142 
The People vs. Merrill James. . . 142 
The People vs. D. H. Fitzpatrick 143 
The People vs. Frank Grady. ... 143 
The People vs. William West- 

phal 143 

The People vs. D. G. Gordon. . . 144 
The People vs. James Campbell 

and Annie ' Robinson 144 

The People vs. Pancho Valencia 

and Guadalupe Valencia 144 

The People vs. James Mall on. . . 145 
The People vs. James Lawther. . 145 


Benicia 146 

Young Ladies' Seminary 171 

College of St. Augustine 1 75 

Benicia Lodge,No. 5,F. and A. M. 177 

Benicia Chapter, No. 7, R. A. M. 1 78 

Solano Lodge, No. 22, 1. O. O. F. 178 

Pioneer Tannery 179 

Benicia Tannery 180 

Brown's Tannery 181 

Pacific Cement Company 181 

Benicia Brewery 182 

Solano Hotel 182 

Historical. — continued. 


Vallejo 184 

Methodist Episcopal Church 203 

First Presbyterian Church 205 

Church of the Ascension 206 

First Baptist Church . 209 

Advent Christian Church 211 

Naval Chapter, No. 35, R, A. M. 212 

Naval Lodge, No. 87,F. and A. M. 212 
Solano Lodge, No. 229, F. and 

AM 213 

Golden State Lodge, I. O. 0. F. 213 

Washington Lodge, No. 7, K. of P. 214 
Sanioset Tribe, No. 22, I. O. of 

KM 214 

Farragut Post, No. 12, G. A. P. 215 
Vallejo Lodge, No. 75, A. O. U. 

W 216 

Society of California Pioneers ... 216 

Masonic Hall Association 217 

Masonic and Odd Fellows Ceme- 
tery 219 

St. Vincent's Benevolent Society. 220- 

Post Office 221 

Homestead Association 221 

Land and Improvement Co 222 

City Water Co 223 

Gas Light Co 224 

• Bank of Vallejo 225 

Savings and Commercial Bank. . 225 

Pioneer Brewery 225 

Empire Soda Works 226 

Foundry and Machine Works. . . 226 

Sash Factory 226 

Solano Brewery 227 

Pioneer Marble Works 227 

Farragut Hall 227 

Alert Boat Club 228 

Bernard House 229 

Howard House 230 

Vallejo Chronicle 230 

Solano Times 230 

Vallejo Elevator 231 

Carquinez Cemetery 235 

Military Organizations 235 

Fire Department 235 

San Pablo Engine Co. No. 1 236 

Vallejo Schools 236 

Mare Island 247 

Rio Vista 265 

Geology, etc 266 

Early Settlement 267 

Rio Vista 272 


Rio Vista Lodge, No. 208, F. 

and A. M 275 

Rio Vista Lodge, No. 180, I. O. 

O. F 275 

River View Encampment, No. 6. 

C. of R. C 275 

Rio Vista H. & L. Co 276 

Congregational Church 276 

M. E. Church 277 

Catholic Church 277 

St. Gertrude's Academy 277 

Public Schools 277 

Newspapers 278 

Business Directory 278 


Dixon 281 

Silveyville Lodge, No. 201, F. 

and A. M 282 

Dixon Chapter No. 28, R. A. M. 282 
Hyacinthe Rebecca Lodge, No. 

26 282 

Montezuma Lodge, No. 172, I. O. 

O. F 282 

Othello Lodge, No. 31, K- of P. 283 

Dixon Lodge, I. O. G. T 283 

Dixon Lodge, No. 50, A.O.U.W. 283 

Bank of Dixon 283 

Fire Company 283 

Qatholic Church 284 

M. E. Church South 284 

M. E. Church , 284 

Dixon Baptist Church 286 

Dixon Tribune 287 

Suisun 288 

Suisun City 290 

Fairfield 290 

Court House and Jail 291 

M. E. Church, Fairfield 294 

Grace Church 294 

St. Alphonsis Church, Suisun.. 295 

Congregational Church, Suisun. 295 

Suisun Lodge, No. 55, F & AM. 296 

Suisun Lodge, No. 78, I. O. O. F. 297 

Suisun Lodge, No. 49, A.O.U.W. 297 

Bank of Suisun 298 

Fire Department 298 

Water Company 299 

Suisun City Mills 299 

Suisun Glee Club 301 

Newspapers 301 

County Hospital 302 


Historical. — continued. 


Denverton 303 

Schools, Churches, etc 304 

Denverton Lodge, I. O. G. T. . . 305 

Maine Prairie 306 

Lodge of Good Templars 308 

Binghamton M. E. Church 309 

M. E. Church 309 

Cumberland Presbyterian Church 309 

Montezuma 311 

Collinsville 312 

Schools and Churches 313 

Vacaville 314 

Vacaville 317 

Vaca Valley and Clear Lake R. 

R. Co../ 318 


Baptist Church 318 

Seventh-Day Advent 319 

Christian Church " 319 

Davis Hotel 319 

California College 319 

Green Valley 322 

Cordelia 323 

Bridgeport -. . . 323 

Rockville 324 

Elmira' 325 

Elmira 325 

I. O. O. E. of Elmira 326 

A. O. U. W 326 



Alvord, Luke 

Anderson, M. D., Walter Duncan. 

Aspenall, William 

Ay 1 ward, Thomas 

Bergwell, Gustaf 

Bingham, George 

Brooks, William S 

Brown, Calvin 

Brown, Samuel 

Brownlie, Alexander J 

Brownlie, James 

Brownlie, John 

Brownlee, Robert 

Brownlee, Thomas 

Butler, O. H 

Callender, John 

Carman, A. S 

Colhoun, Edmund R., U. S. N. . 

Condon, James 

Connolly, Henry 

Dare, John T 

Deininger, F 

Derwin, Michael S 

Doyle, James 

Drake, Simon S 

Edwards, William P 

Egery, B. D 

Farnham, John 

Forstenfeld, M 

Frisbie, Eleazer 

Frisbie, Gen. John B 

Frisbie, Levi C 

Frost, James, M. D 


































Gookin, Thomas P 352 

Gorham, Abraham 352 

Hanks, J. G 353 

Harrier, Daniel W 353 

Harvey, Hon. Joel A 354 

Hilborn, Hon. S. G 355 

Hobbs, Isaac 355 

Hubbard, John E 357 

Hubbs, Hon. Paul K 357 

Hubbs, Charles H 364 

Hunter James 365 

Jefferis, P. E 366 

Jones, Rev. Edward J 366 

Kennedy, John E 367 

Kitto, Samuel 367 

Klink, Rev. K B 368 

Kloppenburg, D. W 368 

Lamont, James A 369 

Mallett, George F., U. S. N 370 

Much, George W., U. S. N 370 

MacDonald, Rev. David F 371 

McCudden, James 371 

McDermott, Robert 372 

McDonald, T. P 372 

McDonald, William 372 

McGettigen, Edward 373 

Mclnnis, J. A 373 

McKnight, Andrew 374 

McKnight, A. J 375 

McLeod, John C 375 

McPike, A. J 376 

Murphy, Charles 377 

North, John 378 


Biographical. — continued. 


O'Brien, Thomas . 378 

O'Grady, Frank 378 

Pearson, Gustavus C 379 

Powell, A 383 

Richardson, H. D. 385 

Robinson, A. T 386 

Roe, George 387 

Roney, .James 387 

Saunders, James 388 

Sheehy, Robert 389 

Shirland, Frank , 389 

Simonton, George W 391 

Smith, James G 392 

Steffen, J 392 

Taylor, W. E., M. D . 393 


Thompson, J. D 393 

Thompson, H. M 394 

Thornton, T. A 394 

Tobin, J. F. . . 394 

Vanderbilt, W. W 394 

Walker, W 395 

Ward, James 395 

Weniger, Charles 396 

Wentworth, John 396 

Wilson, E. J 397 

Wilson, John 397 

Wilson, Joseph 397 

Williston, J. E 398 

Young, A. J . . 398 


Alden, E. B ■ 399 

Barbour, Nathan 399 

Bateman, J. K 399 

Bafceman, John M. K 400 

Bauman, J. H 400 

Chrisler, P. J , 400 

Clayton, David J 401 

Coghlan, O. R 401 

Crocker, Asa 402 

Davisson, Obediah 402 

Davisson, W. G : 402 

Downing, M. D., W. G 403 

Dunn, Alexander 403 

Edwards, James G 403 

Fitch, William Wayne 404 

Gillespie, Edgar Ferguson 404 

Gillespie, George A 405 

Goodwin, B. H 408 

Gregory, John M 409 

Green, George. 409 

Haile, Hon.^R. C 4-10 

Hale, David 411 

Hammond, E. A 411 

Hooper, Thomas P 412 

Hoyt,W. K 412 

Hubbard, Henry 412 

Jones, John M 413 

Kennedy, W. T 414 

Kerns, J. W 414 

Kinloch, John G 414 

Lamont, George A 414 

Le Gro, Richard P 415 

Leithead, William 415 

Lemon, John B 415 

Manka, Christley 416 

Marshall, Charles Knox 416 

Maxwell, J. C 417 

Miller, Allen C 417 

Miller, John 4L7 

Miles, James L 418 

Murray, Alexander 419 

McCreary, D 419 

McDonald, D. C . 419 

Palmer, L. L 419 

Palmer, S. G 420 

Pangburn, G. H 420 

Pearce, John W 421 

Perkins, E. D 421 

Quick, W 421 

Rice, Harvey 422 

Richardson, J. B 422 

Bobbins, R D 422 

Robinson, W. H 423 

Rush, B. F 423 

Spence, M. D., A. P 424 

Staples, Earnest H 424 

Staples, F. O . 424 

Stockman, D. E. (deceased) 425 

Stockman, D. M 425 

Swan, Hon. T. M 425 

Turner, W. H 426 

Taylor, W. H 427 

Vance, M. D, James M 427 

Vest, John ■. . . 427 

Waterman, Robert H 428 

Wells, James T 428 

Wendell, J. F 428 

Wing, Joseph (deceased) 428 

Wing, Joseph Jr 429 

Wolf, William 429 

Wolfskill, Mathias 429 

Woods, John 430 

Berry, George M 430 


Biographical. — continued. 


Baldwin, J. M 431 

Bihler, Henry 431 

Hatch, A. T 431. 

Humphreys, James H 432 

Jewell, W. T 433 


Jones, F. S 433 

Pittman, C. J 433 

Pierce, Lewis 434 

Schultz, C. & Co 434 

Wilson, Curtis 435 


Bennett, William F 436 

Brown, John R ." 436 

Burns, James 436 

Chisholm, A 436 

Clyne, James 437 

Cummings, Francis 437 

Dalton, Alfred 437 

Demming, Captain John 438 

Dillon, Patrick W 438 

Durner, George Adam 439 

Enos, Joseph 441 

Fischer, Joseph 441 

Gray, Samuel C 441 

Hanbrick, Peter 441 

Hastings, D. N 442 

Hoyt, Joseph 443 

Kinstrey, Thomas T 443 

Kuhland, William 443 

McKay, Thomas 444 

McNally, Bernard 444 

Mizner, L. B 444 

Nichols, J. B 445 

Nichols, William H 446 

Opperman, Julius 446 

O'Donnell, John 446 

Peiin, Aaron 447 

Preston, William E 447 

Quigg, Charles 447 

Raum, E. C 447 

Riddell, George H 448 

Rose, Elisha L 448 

Rueger, John 448 

Ryerson, A. P 449 

Sage, Timothy 449 

Spalding, Charles 450 

Von Pfister, E. H 450 

Walsh, Captain John 452 

Westaby, Richard 453 


Ammons, Henry B 454 

Baker, Geo. H 454 

Bassford, H. A 454 

Bassford, J. M 455 

Brinck, H. W. . . , 455 

Buck L. W 455 

Campbell, Robt. G 455 

Connelly, James 456 

Cummons, John Harbert 456 

Davis, W. B 457 

Davis, I. F 457 

Day, M. D., Edward W 457 

Downey, D. M 458 

Dutton, David D 458 

Esquivel, A. M 459 

Eversole, H 459 

Elliott, J. M 459 

Getchins, W. W 460 

Johnson, W 460 

Kidd, W. B. R 461 

Korns, Levi 461 

Long, S. W 461 

Marshall, R C 462 

Morton, Henry 462 

Pena, Demetrio 462 

Pleasants, W. J 462 

Rogers, J. R 463 

Scarlett, J. E 463 

Seaman, H 463 

Smith, W. W 464 

Stahl, J 464 

Thissell, G. W 464 

Troutman, G. W 465 

Wooderson, G. F 465 

Elliot, G. T. 

466 | Tuck, J . 



Biographical. — continued. 


Beguhl, H 468 

Brown, D. B 468 

Bruning, J 469 

Butler, N. C 469 

Carter, R. C 470 

Currie, A 470 

Dozier, W. G 470 

Enrigh, T. P 471 

Ferguson, Wni 471 

Fiscus, J. B 472 

Gardiner, J. H 472 


Gurnee, J 473 

Johnson Capt. J 474 

Menzies, T 474 

Pietrzycki, M. D., Marcel 475 

Pond, D. A 475 

Sickal, M. T 475 

Sidwell, J. M 476 

Smyth, Hon. Michael 477 

Squires, W. K 477 

Stoll, C. M 478 


Barrett, J. H 479 

March, R. B 479 

Melbourn, T 479 

McMurtry, J 480 

Wells, J. C 480 

Wight, F. M 481 


Arnold, O. D 482 

Barkway, R H 482 

Buckley, T 482 

Fotheringham, J 483 


Kerby, C 483 

Nurse, S. K 484 

Prevost, L 4*5 

Arnold, J. W 486 

Bird, J 486 

Bond, J. C 486 

Donell, W 487 

Hooper, T. T 487 

Hosking, W 488 

Meins, R 488 

Page, W 48* 

Upham, E. J 488 

Winter, H. E 489 


Asee, C. C. 


Cloutman, J. F 490 

Foster, Geo. W 491 

Guthrie, B. J 491 

Hyde, S. F 492 

Hyland, W 492 

Snead, S. M 493 


Brown, C. P 494 

Coleman, N. B. S 494 

Cotten, J. W 495 

Currey, R. J 495 

Dashiell, W. A 495 

Dickson, T 496 

Dinsmore, Rev. J. M 496 

Dudley, J. M 496 

Ellis, J. A 49"/ 

Frahm, G 497 

Hall, R 498 

Mack, D 498 

Mayes, J. S 499 

Merryfield, J. C 499 

McKinley, G. C 499 

McPherson, A 500 

Nye, A. B 500 

Reddick, H 500 

Rohwer, H 501 

Silvey, E. S 501 

Simmons, Jr., Rev. J. C 501 

Smythe, P \ 502 

Timm, P 502 

Udel, Dr. O. C 503 

Weihe, E 503 




Brownlee, Robert 96 

Brownlie, John 208 

Dudley, J. M 240 

Dutton, D. D 80 

Frisbie, Gen'l John B 48 

Frisbie, M. D., L. C 160 

Gillespie, George A 192 

Hastings, D. N 272 

Hilborn, S. G 64 

Hobbs, Isaac 304 


Hunter, James. . .' 416 

McKinley, George C 176 

McPike, A. J : 288 

Mizner, L. B 144 

Nurse, S. K 352 

Palmer, L. L 336 

Pearson, G. C 256 

Powell, A 224 

Sheehy, Robert 320 

Vallejo, M. G 32 



Solano County has a position about midway between the northern and 
southern extremities of the State of California, lying between thirty-eight 
degrees, and thirty-eight degrees and thirty minutes north latitude, and 
between one hundred and twenty-one degrees thirty minutes, and one hun- 
dred and twenty -two degrees thirty minutes longitude west from Green- 
wich. It is bounded on the north by the Rio de Los Putos, commonly 
called Putah Creek — this stream beina; the dividing line between Yolo and 
Solano counties ; on the east, for twenty miles, by the fresh water tules, or 
marsh lands, adjacent to the Sacramento river, and in Yolo county. The 
remainder of its eastern, and the whole of its southern boundary, is an un- 
interrupted navigable water-front for the space of sixty-one miles — twenty- 
five miles of which are on the Sacramento river, eighteen on Suisun bay, 
six on the Carquinez straits, and twelve on Napa bay and creek. The 
dividing ridges of the Napa mountains bound Solano on the west, and 
separate it from Napa county. 

The origin of the name of the county is thus described in a report to the 
Legislature of California, in the year 1850, by General M. G. Vallejo, on the 
derivation and definition of the various counties of the State. He thus 
alludes to Solano: " This is the second name of the celebrated missionary, 
Francis Solano, and was borne by the great chief of the tribes originally 
denominated Suisuns, and scattered over the western side of the river Jesus 
Maria, now Sacramento. The residence of this chief was the valley of the 
Suisun, which is bounded by the hill near Suscol. Before receiving the 
baptismal name of Solano, the chief was called Sem-Yeto, which signifies 
the brave, or fierce hand. In 1817 a military expedition (under command 
of Lieutenant Jose Sanchez, and by order of the commandant of San Fran- 
cisco Jose Arguello), crossed the straits of Carquinez (on rafts made of 
rushes, as there were no regular ferries in those days), for the double pur- 
pose of exploring the country and reducing it to Christianity. On crossing 
the river they were attacked by the Suisun tribe, then headed by their 
chief, Malica, who caused them considerable loss. The Indians fought 


bravely and to the utmost extreme, but they were in turn attacked with 
such force and perseverance as to oblige them to retreat to their rancheria 
(somewhere in the present Suisun valley), where, being still hotly pursued 
and believing their fate sealed, these unfortunate people, incited by their 
chief, set fire to their rush-built houses and perished in the flames with 
their families. The soldiers endeavored to stay their desperate resolution, 
in order to save the women and children ; but even those preferred this 
doom to that which awaited. them from the hands of their enemies. Thus 
perished the chief, and thus was the hearth and the home of his people 

We are indebted to Mr. William Wayne Fitch, County Surveyor, for the 
following able remarks on the Topography, Geology, and other knowledge 
of Solano County. 

The Townships are twelve in number, and range as under: 


Fraction of Township 3 North, Range 4 West. 

South-east of Township 4 North, Range 5 West. 

South-east of Township 4 North, Range 4 West. 

South of Township 4 North, Range 3 West. 

West part of Township 3 North, Range 3 West. 


Fraction of North-east corner of . . Township 2 North, Range 3 West. 

Fraction of Township 2 North, Range 2 West. 

Eastern part of Township 3 North, Range 3 West. 

West part of Township 3 North, Range 2 West. 

South-west corner of Township 4 North, Range 2 West. 

South-east corner of Township 4 North, Range 3 West. 


Eastern part of Township 4 North, Range 3 West. 

West part of Township 4 North, Range 2 West. 

West part of Township 5 North, Range 2 West. 

Eastern part of Township 5 North, Range 3 West. 


Small part of North-east corner of . Township 3 North, Range 2 West. 

Fractional Township 3 North, Range 1 West. 

Fractional Township 4 North, Range 1 West. 

Most of Township 5 North, Range 1 West. 

East part of Township 4 North, Range 2 West. 

East part of Township 5 North, Range 2 West. 

Small part of Township 6 North, Range 2 West. 



West part of Township 6 North, Range 1 West. 

East part of Township 6 North, Range 2 West. 

Most of Township 7 North, Range 1 West. 

Most of Township 7 North, Range 2 West. 

South fraction of Township 8 North, Range 2 West. 


North fraction of Township 7 North, Range 1 West. 

South fraction of Township 8 North, Range 1 West. 

All of Township 7 North, Range 1 East. 

South part of Township 8 North, Range 1 East. 

North-east corner of Township 6 North, Range 1 East 

North-west corner of Township 6 North, Range 2 East. 

South-west corner of Township 7 North, Range 2 East. 


South part of Township 8 North, Range 2 East. 

North and East part of Township 7 North, Range 2 East. 

North-east fraction of Township 6 North, Range 2 East. 


North-east corner of Township 5 North, Range 1 West. 

North-west corner of Township 5 North, Range 1 East. 

West part of Township 6 North, Range 1 East. 

East part of Township 6 North, Range 1 West. 


South-west part of Township 6 North, Range 1 East. 

South part of Township 6 North, Range 2 East. 

Northerly part of Township 5 North, Range 1 East. 

North part of ,. . Township 5 North, Range 2 East. 

West part of Township 5 North, Range 3 East. 

North-west Township 5 North, Range 3 East. 


North part of Township 4 North, Range 1 East. 

West tier of Sections in Township 4 North, Range 2 East. 

South part of Township 5 North, Range 1 East. 

South-west part of Township 5 North, Range 2 East. 


South part of Township 5 North, Range 2 East. 

East part of Township 5 North, Range 3 East. 



VACAVILLE — continued. 

East part of Township 4 North, Range 2 East. 

North-west part of Township 4 North, Range 3 East. 

North-easterly part of Township 3 North, Range 2 East. 


Fractional Township 3 North, Range 1 East. 

West tier of Sections in Township 3 North, Range 2 East. 

South tier of Sections in Township 4 North, Range 1 East. 

And Section No. 31 in Township 4 North, Range 2 East. 

A glance at the following table will inform the reader as to the acreage of 
these individual townships, while appended thereto are remarks as to the 
portions of each which are under water : 


Name of Townships. 




32 ; 120 

Of which 19,000 acres are water. 


Of which 3,000 acres are water. 

Green Valley 



Of which 10,000 acres are water. 




Maine Prairie 



Rio Vista 

Of which 1,700 acres are water. 


Of which 3,000 acres are water. 

Total acres 


The total area of the county is therefore five hundred and seventy-six 
thousand five hundred and ten acres, including land and water ; of this 
amount ninety thousand acres are swamp and overflowed lands ; ten thous- 
and acres are mud flats left bare at low tide, leaving in the vicinity of four 
hundred and fifty thousand acres as land fitted for agricultural and pastoral 


Ten thousand acres of the county are swamp and overflowed land and 
mud flats bare at low tide. These lands border the Sacramento river in the 
south-easterly part of the county, and Suisun bay on the south boundary, 
with San Pablo bay on the south-west, and are ovei flowed a few inches in 
depth at ordinary high tides. 


The Montezuma hills occupy the south-eastern portion of the upland of 
the county, in Townships 3 and 4 N. R. 1 E. and 3 and 4N.R.2 E. These 
elevations are from fifty to three hundred feet above tide-water, and inter- 
sected by narrow ravines or hollows (so called), the water-shed being gen- 
erally in an easterly and southerly direction. 

The Townsend Hills, in the south-west part of Township 4 N. R. 1 E. 
occupy three or four sections, and are of a similar character. 

The Potrero Hills, in the northern part of Township 4 N. R. 1 W. 
occupy about eleven or twelve sections of land, and are surrounded by 
swamp and overflowed lands, except a narrow neck of low valley on the 
north side. The higher ridges are two hundred feet above tide-water, re- 
ceding in elevation as they approach the border of level land adjoining the 

Robinson's island is upland, rising out of the tides, on Section 13, in 
Suisun township, and contains one hundred and sixty acres of land. There 
are other small islands of upland rising from the swamp-land, in different 
localities, Suisun City, at the head of Suisun Slough, on Section 3G, Town- 
ship 5 N. R. 2 W. being located on hard land of this nature. 

Mostly all of that portion of the county embraced within a line drawn 
nearly east, following the border of the swamp-land eight miles to Denver- 
ton, and thence north-easterly six miles to Linda Slough, and north-easterly 
along the swamp-land, four miles to Maine Prairie village, at the head of 
Cache Slough, and thence easterly to the south-east corner of Section 36, 
in Township 6 N. R. 2 E. at the corner of Yolo county, and thence north 
along the east line of the county, fifteen miles to the old sink, or bed of 
Putah creek, and up the centre of the same, and up the centre of Putah 
creek westerly eighteen miles to the residence of S. C. Wolfskill, and thence 
nearly south, skirting the hills ten miles to the town of Vacaville, and thence 
south-westerly nine miles to the county seat at Fairfield, is level, with the 
exception of a slight ridge running across Section 3, and south-easterly a few 
miles through Township 5 N. R. 1 W. and other unimportant risings in a few 
localities. The land thus described embraces an area of about two hundred 
thousand acres, which may be properly called plains, having an average 
elevation of one hundred feet above tide-water. 

A spur of rolling hills extends from Vacaville, nearly north to Putah 
creek, which will average three miles in width, the slopes, benches, and 
small valleys being celebrated for early fruits and vegetables. West of 
these hills and running parallel with them, lies Pleasant Valley, extending 
to Putah creek ; this vale is also celebrated for its genial climate, early 
fruits and vegetables, it sending the first into market from any part of the 

The eastern portion of Sections 24, 25, and 36, in Township 6 N. R. 
2 W. and the western portion of Sections 19, 30, and 31, in Township 6 


N. R. 1 W. are usually called Lagoon valley, where is located the celebrated 
cherry orchards of Bassford & Sons. 

The north-west corner of Township 6 N. R. 2 W. is a high rocky region 
covered with dense chapparal, as is also the western portion of township 
7 N. R. 2 W. and the western part of Township 8 N. R. 2 W. 

The crest of the Vaca mountains, beginning on the first standard, north 
of Mount Diablo, at a point fifteen chains west of the south-east corner of 
Section 34, Township 6 N. R. 2 W. and running northerly to the centre 
of Putah creek, is the boundary line between Solano and Napa counties, 
and rises gradually, proceeding northerly, which, on Section 15, in Township 
6 N. R. 2 W. becomes a perpendicular cliff on the west side, the vertical 
part varying from fifteen to fifty feet in height. The greatest altitude of 
this ridge of the Vaca mountains is that portion lying in Sections 5, 7 and 
8, in township 7 N. R. 2 W. called the Blue mountain, and is about three 
thousand feet above the ocean. From this position the ridge descends 
towards Putah creek, while immediately south of the creek, on the east side 
of the ridge, are cliffs, nearly perpendicular, of from three to five hundred 
feet high. On Section 20, in Township 8 N. R. 2 W. the Rio de los Putos 
breaks through the chain in a rough, rocky chasm, called Devil's Gate. 
The lower portions of the sand-rock here change their clayey color, become 
blue and hard, and are traversed by divisional planes or joints dividing the 
rock into rhomboidal blocks of considerable regularity, a feature which is 
common to the great overlying mass of sand-rock in Solano and the ad- 
joining counties. 

The Suscol Hills, or Sierra de Napa, occupying Townships 3, 4 and 5 N. 
R. 3 W. in the south-west part of the county, are a series of rolling 
highlands, in some places rising to rocky peaks and precipitous crags. 
Among the most prominent of these is the Sulphur Spring mountain, 
which attains an elevation of five hundred feet above the bay, and is situated 
about five miles east of the city of Vallejo. The Elkhorn, or Ramsay's 
Peaks, on Section 33, in Township 5 N. R. 3 W. twelve miles north- 
easterly from Vallejo, rises to the height of one thousand feet. The 
Sisters Peaks, eight miles north-west of Fairfield, are sixteen hundred feet in 
height ; while Millers Peak, fifteen miles north of the county seat, on the 
crest of the hills separating Pleasant Valley from the plains, is the sharpest, 
most abrupt, and best defined summit in the county ; it is one thousand feet 
high. The Suscol range embraces an area of sixty thousand acres, it being 
interspersed with beautiful glens skirted with live oak, willow, and Cal- 
ifornia laurel ; at their western base lies a border of valley land of an 
undulating surface, a few miles wide, and extending from Vallejo north to 
Napa county. The crest or divide of these hills forms the western boundary 
of the county, from Section 33, in Township 4 N. R. 3 W. north twelve 
miles to the first Standard North. 



The great overlying mass of rock in the hilly portions of the county, is a 
massive siliceous sandstone, in many localities changing to arginaceous sand- 
rock, with the divisional plains or joints less defined. 

The erosion of this rock sends down to the benches and valleys large 
quantities of debris, which, mingled with the harder clayey deposits, makes 
a light, loose, and warm soil,' particularly healthy, producing the earliest 
fruits and vegetables in the State. On the lower slopes in several localities, 
are found extensive areas of alluvial sandstone, formed by beds of sand 
cemented by iron and carbonate of lime. 

Below the massive sandstone first named, beds of clay slate, alternate 
with slaty schistose sandstone, as seen in the face of the bluff at South 
Vallejo, and in those along the Straits of Carquinez, in the ravines of the 
Suscol hills, and on the slopes of the Vaca mountains. 

Underlying the above are vast beds of Volcanic Tufa, composed of 
cemented, volcanic earth, light and porous, containing a large percentage of 
magnesia, giving the rock a light gray color, which hardens by exposure, is 
a perfect firestone, and of sufficient durability for building purposes, as has 
been proved by the erection of the following structures : the dwelling of 
Colonel Charles Ramsay, in Green Valley ; that of Samuel Martin, L. B. 
Abernethie, and W. W. Scarlett, in Suisun Valley, which are all constructed 
of this material ; as is also the Stone Church at Rockville, and an exten- 
sive barn, the property of J. M. Baldwin, near that place. There is a fine 
quality of this rock in the hills, on the lands of J. R. Wolfskill, whose 
spacious dwelling-house is built of it. It is absolutely fire-proof. 

The lowest formation necessary to mention, are alternating strata of sand- 
stone, shale, slaty sandstone, and coal. Subjacent to the foregoing is a bed 
of hard blue clay. 

Black basalt, or dolerite, occurs on some points of the hills and ridges in 
the vicinity of Brideport, in the Lomas de Suisun, and on the hills east and 
west of Green Valley ; also on the old Dorris Farm, five miles north-east of 
Benicia, and on the land of Lewis Pierce, nine miles from there, on the 
Bridgeport road. It is extensively quarried and sent to San Francisco for 
paving purposes. 

At the Soda Springs, on Section 2, Township 5 N. R. 2 W. five miles 
north of the County seat, there is a quarry of beautiful white Crystal- 
line marble, which proves to be a chemical deposit ; the strata is made up of 
waived or undulating laminre, showing that the deposition was made upon 
an uneven surface. Where the laminae are corrugated and tortuous, it shows 
a beautiful finish, similar to bird's-eye maple. On Section 8, in Township 
5 N. R. 2 W. four miles north-east of Fairfield, there is a quarry of varie- 
gated marble, the coloring matter of which is for the most part oxide of iron. 


Hydraulic limestone, or cement-rock, is found in abundance in the hills 
near Benicia, and at the bluffs on the north side of Carquinez Straits. 

Sulphur Spring Mountain is the termination of the Sierra de Napa, and 
of the great quicksilver range, and contains large deposits of cinnabar-rock, 
the most extensive being at the St. John mine, six miles northeast of Val- 
lejo; the John Brownlie mine, six miles east of Vallejo; and various other 
localities show outcrops of this rock. 

Serpentine, micaceous schistase, sandstone, hornblende, and several others 
of the class of rocks, usually accompanying this mineral are found on and 
along the slopes of this ridge. 


The Soda and Sulphur Springs, in the Armijo Kancho, five miles from 
Fairfield, and the White Sulphur Springs, hear Vallejo, are beginning to be 
appreciated for sanitary purposes. 


The soil of the swamp and overflowed lands is composed of decayed 
vegetation ; guano, sedimentary deposits from overflow of streams, mixed 
with a large percentage of preserved roots, the principal preservative agent 
being tannic acid, of which considerable beds occur, resembling peat, and 
when cut and dried makes excellent fuel. These lands produce abundantly 
when reclaimed, there being about thirty thousand acres leveed in, and 
several thousands under cultivation. 

The Montezuma hills are not excelled as natural grain land. Some por- 
tions of the plains district are alkaline soil, and poor. Other sections are 
dead soil, without much organic matter. The rolling hills, to the summit, 
are excellent grain or grazing lands. Indeed the greater portion of the un- 
dulating lands and the plains may be denominated as one vast grain field. 


Suscol Valley lies west of the Suscol hills, runs from the city of Vallejo 
to the northern part of the county, eight miles long and three in breadth, 
Napa bay washing its whole length. 

Sulphur Spring Valley runs up from Suisun bay, two miles north of 
Benicia ; has a width of from one to four hundred yards, and winds through 
the Suscol hills for five or six miles. 

Green Valley lies to the eastward of the Suscol hills, four miles east of 
Suscol valley; is six miles in length, one and a half in width, and derives 
its name from their being a large portion of it always green. 

Suisun Valley is about six miles square, and lies to the north of Suisun 
bay and east of Green Valley. It opens out on the east into the valley of 
the Sacramento, and has an exceedingly fertile soil. 


Vaca Valley, formerly known as the Ulattis valley, lies to the north- 
east of Suisun ; it is five miles in length, and one and a half in breadth, 
runs between two ranges of hills of considerable altitude, and opens out 
into the great Sacramento Valley. It, and its two offshoots, Laguna or 
Lagoon Valley and Pleasant Valley, are the admiration of all travelers. 

Sacramento Valley extends as far as the eye can reach, and is in' a few 
words the farmer's paradise. 


Rio de los Putos, or Putah Creek, rises in Lake county, and flows in 
an easterly direction, winding through a rich, lovely, fertile plain, for 
twenty miles, and loses itself in the extensive tides which lie between the 
plains and Sacramento river. It is not navigable, but affords great facilities 
for the watering of stock, while in certain parts it is noted for the magnifi- 
cence of its scenery. 

Sweeny Creek rises in the Vaca hills, six miles north of the town of 
Vacaville ; flows in a north-easterly direction for the distance of eight 
miles ; thence in a south-easterly course to the vicinity of Maine Prairie, 
and empties itself into Cache Slough. 

Ulattis Creek rises in the Vaca hills, about five miles west of Vacaville ; 
flows through that town in an easterly direction, and empties into the. west 
branch of Cache Slough. 

Alamo Creek rises about four miles west of Vacaville ; runs in a south- 
erly direction, through Elmira, and enters Ulattis creek, near Binghampton. 

Pleasant Valley Creek rises »about two miles west of Mr. R. Miller's 
property; runs in a north-easterly direction through Pleasant valley, and 
empties into Putah creek. 

Suisun Creek rises in Napa county, flows in a south-easterly direction, 
and empties into the Salt Marsh, about one and a half miles east of Bridge- 

Green Valley Creek rises in the south-west corner of Township 5 N. 
R. 2 W. and runs in a south-easterly course about eight miles, emptying into 
Cordelia slough, at Bridgeport. 

Sulphur Springs Valley Creek rises near the centre of Township 5 
N. R. 3 W. runs in a south-easterly course through Sulphur Springs valley, 
and empties into the salt marsh two miles north of the United States 
barracks at Benicia. 

Sulphur Springs Creek has its source at the White Sulphur Springs, 
three miles north-east from Vallejo ; runs in a north-easterly course, and 
empties into Napa bay three miles north of Vallejo. 

In addition to these water-courses there are several estuaries, such as 
Cache Slough, with its tributaries of Bounds, Linda, Prospect, Miner's, and 
Elkhorn sloughs ; Grizzly Slough, Roaring River, in Montezuma township, 
with a host of others too insignificant to enumerate. 




The first organization of counties in the United States originated in Vir- 
ginia, her early settlers becoming proprietors of vast amounts of land, liv- 
ing apart in patrician splendor, imperious in demeanor, aristocratic in feeling, 
and being in a measure dictators to the laboring portion of the population- 
It will thus be remarked that the materials for the creation of towns were 
not at hand, voters being but sparsely distributed over a great area. The 
county organization was, moreover, in perfect accord with the traditions 
and memories of the judicial and social dignities of Great Britain, in 
descent from whom they felt so much glory. In 1634, eight counties were 
established in Virginia, a lead which was followed by the Southern and 
several of the Northern States, save in those of South Carolina and Louis- 
iana, where districts were outlined in the former, and parishes, after the 
manner of the French, in the latter. 

In New England, towns were formed before counties, while counties were 
organized before States. Originally, the towns or townships exercised all 
the powers of government swayed by a State. The powers afterward as- 
sumed by the State governments were from surrender or delegation on the 
part of towns. Counties were created to define the jurisdiction of Courts 
of Justice. The formation of States was by a union of towns, wherein 
arose the representative system ; each town being represented in the State 
Legislature, or General Court, by delegates chosen by the freemen of the 
town at their stated town meetings. The first town meeting of which we 
can find any direct evidence, was held by the congregation of the Plymouth 
colony, on March 23, 1621, for the purpose of perfecting military arrange- 
ments. At that meeting a Governor was elected for the ensuing year ; and 
it is noticed as a coincident, whether from that source or otherwise, that the 
annual town meetings in New England, and nearly all the other States, 
have ever since been held in the spring of the year. It was not, however, 
until 1635, that the township system was adopted as a quasi corporation 
in Massachusetts. 

The first legal enactment concerning this system provided that whereas : 
" Particular towns have many things which concern only themselves, and 


the ordering of their own affairs, and disposing of business in their own 
towns ; therefore, the freemen of every town, or the major part of them, 
shall only have power to dispose of their own lands and woods, with all the 
appurtenances of said towns ; to grant lots, and to make such orders as may 
concern the well ordering of their own towns, not repugnant to the laws 
and orders established by the General Court. They might also impose fines 
of not more than twenty shillings, and choose their own particular officers, 
as constables, surveyors for the highways, and the like." Evidently this 
enactment relieved the General Court of a mass of municipal details, with- 
out any danger to the powers of that body in controlling general measures 
of. public policy. Probably, also, a demand from the freemen of the towns 
was felt, for the control of their own home concerns. 

The New England colonies were first governed by a " general court," or 
legislature, composed of a Governor and Small Council, which court con- 
sisted of the most influential inhabitants, and possessed and exercised both 
legislative and judicial powers, which were limited only by the wisdom of 
the holders. They made laws, ordered their execution, elected their own 
officers, tried and decided civil and criminal causes, enacted all manner of 
municipal regulations ; and, in fact, transacted all the business of the 

This system, which was found to be eminently successful, became general, 
as territory was added to the Republic and States formed. Lesser divisions 
were in turn inaugurated and placed under the jurisdiction of special 
officers, whose numbers were increased as time developed a demand, until 
the system of township organization in the United States to-day is a matter 
of just pride to her people. 

We will now consider this topic in regard to our special subject. 

On the acquisition of California by the Government of the United States, 
under a treaty of peace, friendship, limits and settlement with the Mexican 
Republic, dated Guadalupe Hidalgo, February 2, 1848, the boundaries of 
the State were defined. This treaty was ratified by the President of the 
United States, on March 16, 1848; exchanged at Queretaro, May 30, and 
finally promulgated July 4th, of the same year, by President Polk, and 
attested by Secretary of State. James Buchanan. In 1849, a Constitutional 
Convention was assembled in Monterey, and at the close of the session on 
October 12th, a proclamation, calling upon the people to form a government, 
was issued " to designate such officers as they desire to make and execute 
the laws ; that their choice may be wisely made, and that the Government 
so organized may secure the permanent welfare and happiness of the people 
of the new State, is the sincere and earnest wish of the present executive, 
who if the Constitution be ratified, will, with pleasure, surrender his powers 
to whomsoever the people may designate as his successor." This historic 
document bore the signatures of " B. Riley, Bvt. Brig. Genl. U. S. A., and 


Governor of California," and " Official — H. W. Halleck, Bvt., Capt. and 
Secretary of State." 

In accordance with Section Fourteen of Article Twelve of the Constitu- 
tion, it was provided that the State be divided into counties, and Senatorial 
and Assembly Districts, while the First Session of the Legislature, which 
began at San Jose on December 15, 1849, passed on February 18, 1850, "An 
Act subdividing the State into counties and establishing seats of justice 
therein." The boundaries of Solano county being as follows : 

" Beginning at the mouth of Napa creek and running up the middle of 
its channel to the mouth of the Suscol creek ; thence following up said 
creek to the eastern boundary line of Napa county ; thence along said 
boundary line to the northeast corner of Napa county ; thence in a direct 
line to the nearest point of Putah creek ; thence down the middle of said 
creek to its termination in the Tule marsh ; thence in a direct line to the 
head of Merritt's slough ; thence down the middle of said slough to its 
mouth ; thence down the middle of Sacramento river to its mouth ; thence 
down the middle of Suisun bay to the Straits of Carquinez ; and thence 
through the middle of said straits to the place of beginning." It was 
ordered that Benicia should be the seat of justice. 

Prior to this time the county had been included in the District of Sonoma> 
a division which had originated with the Mexican authorities during their 
power ; it had not been interfered with on the accession of American rule, 
but retained the official nomenclature given by the Spaniards ; their being 
no law, the government was administered as it seemed best to the holders 
of office. 

To Judge Joseph Winston is the honor of first dividing Solano into 
townships, the county being partitioned in order to determine the limits 
wherein two Justices of the Peace and two Constables should be voted for 
at an election to be held on May 25, 1850. The order directing the dimidi- 
ation reads : " The line of division commencing at the Suisun embarcadero 
and running thence in a direct line to Suscol creek, by way of what is called 
Suscol ranch; thence down Suscol creek to Napa creek; thence down Napa 
creek to the middle channel of Carquinez straits ; thence up the middle of 
Carquinez straits to Suisun bay at a point opposite the embarcadero; 
thence up the middle channel of the Suisun bay to the Suisun embarcadero, 
the place of beginning; and it is further ordered that the district of county, 
composed within the boundaries above set forth, be designated and known 
as Benicia township, and that all the residue of the territory of said county 
lying between said boundary lines of Benicia township and the boundary 
lines of said county, in every direction, be known and designated as Suisun 

On April 11, 1850, An Act of the Legislature was passed organizing a 
Court of Session and defining its composition to be as follows : The Court 


consisted of the County Judge, who should preside at its sessions, assisted 
by two Justices of the Peace of the county as Associate Justices, they being 
chosen by their brother justices from out of the whole number elected for 
the county. The duties imposed upon this organization were multifarious. 
They made such orders respecting the property of the county as they 
deemed expedient, in conformity with any law of the State, and in them 
were vested the care and preservation of such property. They examined, 
settled, and allowed all accounts chargeable against the county ; directed 
the raising of such sums for the defraying of all expenses and charges 
against the county ; by means of taxation on property, real and personal, 
such not to exceed, however, the one-half of the tax levied by the State on 
such property ; to examine and audit the accounts of all officers having the 
care, management, collection, and disbursement of any money belonging to 
the county, or appropriated by law, or otherwise, for its use and benefit. 
In them was the power of control and management of public roads, turn- 
pikes, ferries, canals, roads, and bridges within the county, where the law 
did not prohibit such jurisdiction, and made such orders as should be neces- 
sary and requisite to carry such control and management into effect ; to 
divide the county into townships, and to create new townships, and change 
the division of the same as the convenience of the county should require, 
was among their duties. They established and changed election precincts ; 
controlled and managed the property, real and personal, belonging to the 
county, and purchased and received donations of property for the use of 
the county, with this proviso, that they should not have the power to pur- 
chase any real or personal property, except such as should be absolutely 
necessary for the use of the county. To sell and cause to be conveyed, any 
real estate, goods, or chattels belonging to the county, appropriating the 
proceeds of such sale to the use of the same. To cause to be erected and 
furnished, a court-house, jail, and other buildings, and to see that the same 
be kept in repair, and otherwise to perform all such other duties as should 
be necessary to the full discharge of the powers conferred on such court. 
Terms were ordered to be held on the second Monday of February, April, 
June, August, October, and December, with quarterly sessions on the third 
Monday of February, May, August, and November of each year. 

In conformity with this enactment, the court held a special term on 
March 13th, 1851, when it was decreed that Benicia township, which was 
of an unwieldy size, should be divided into two portions, the division line 
to commence where the western corner of the town tract of Benicia strikes 
the bay, thence to the north-western corner of said town tract of Benicia, 
thence due north to the boundary line of the county of Solano, and all the 
territory lying east of said division line, shall hereafter be known as 
Benicia township; and all the territory lying west of said division line shall 
hereafter be known as Vallejo township. This is the first mention we 


have of the Vallejo township; at the time, the city of that name was 
known as Eden, but on account of the strenuous efforts made by General 
Vallejo to have the seat of government removed thither from San Jose, the 
claims of the spot made itself felt, and it was therefore given township 

In 1852 emigration had set into the fertile valley of the county ; it was 
therefore found necessary to apportion once more the large extent of terri- 
tory comprised in the Suisun township into two divisions ; to this end, the 
Court of Sessions, at a special term held at Benicia on November 1st, 
directed that Suisun should be partitioned off into two townships, the lines 
to run as follows : " Commencing at the southwest points of the Potrero 
Hills ; thence in a direct line to the branch opposite (on the west side) the 
house of Mr. Cutler ; thence up said branch to its source ; thence in a north- 
west direction to the county line, and all the county east of said line, and 
south and south-west of Putah creek, is called Vacaville township. With 
this last apportionment, Solano county was divided into four parts, but 
still it was found to be of too vast proportions for official purposes ; there- 
fore, we find the court once more holding a sederunt, on August 8th, 1853, 
and establishing a new township, to be taken off those of Benicia and 
Suisun. The limits were described and designated as follows : 

" To commence at the Tule, on the southwest end of Mr. Thompson's 
farm, and running in a direct line to the Jerry House, as it is called, on the 
south-west edge of Green Valley ; thence following the edge of the Tule, 
east to the mouth of the Suisun creek ; thence up said creek to the cross- 
ing of the county road, near L. Alford's ; thence along said road west to the 
house of Mr. S. Martin ; thence due north to the county line ; thence fol- 
lowing said county line west to place of beginning." This tract was named 
the Green Valley Township. 

Affairs had not yet, however, righted themselves ; the districts were still 
too unwieldy in size. A further contraction had therefore to be inaug- 
urated ; hence we find the Court of Session ordering, on August 15th, 1854, 
that Solano county shall be divided into townships, as follows : 


" A new township is hereby created and established, to be called Mont®*- 
zuma township, which said township is designated and bound as follows : 
Commencing at a point in Suisun bay, where the meridian line running 
north from Monte Diablo crosses the line of Solano county; thence north 
with the meridian line to the north-east corner of Section 25 of Township 
5 N. R. 1 W. according to the government survey ; thence due east to 
Cache Creek Slough, or the eastern boun dary of the county or Cache 
Creek slough to the Sacramento river ; thence down said river and Suisun 
bay with the line of the county to the place of beginning." 



"And the township heretofore known as Suisun township is hereby 
changed in its boundaries so as to conform to the following description, 
to-wit : Commencing at the point where the meridian line running north 
from Monte Diablo crosses the county line of said county ; thence north 
with said line to the north-east corner of Section 25 of Township 5 
N. R. 1 W. thence in a direct line to the white point of Long's mountain ; 
thence in a direct line to the residence of E. B. Witt, including his resi- 
dence ; thence in the same direction to a direct line to the northern 
boundary of the said county ; thence with said northern boundary in 
a westerly direction to the foot of the hills on the west side of Suisun 
creek ; thence down said creek along the foot of said hills to a point 
opposite the residence of William B. Brown, in Suisun Valley; thence 
down the middle of Suisun creek to its mouth ; thence continuing the 
same general course to the southern boundary of the county in Suisun bay; 
thence up said bay with the line of the county to the point of beginning." 


" And the township known as Green Valley township is hereby changed 
in its boundaries so as to conform to the following description, to-wit : 
Commencing at the mouth of Suisun creek and running from thence up 
the middle of said creek to a point opposite the residence of William B. 
Brown; from thence in a northerly direction running with the foot of the 
hills on the west side of Suisun creek to the boundary line between 
Solano and Napa counties; thence in a south-west direction, following said 
boundary line to the point where the public road leading from Benicia to 
Napa City crosses Suscol creek ; thence easterly to the house near the tule 
on Suisun bay, and on the road leading from Benicia to Suisun Valley, 
known as the ' Jerry House ; ' thence east to the county line in Suisun bay 
to the southwest corner of Suisun township ; thence in a direct line to the 
mouth of Suisun creek, the place of beginning." 


" And the township known as Vacaville township is hereby changed 
in its boundaries so as to conform to the following description, to-wit : 
commencing at the north-east corner of Section 25 of Township 5 N. R. 
1 W. according to the government survey, being the north-west corner of 
Montezuma township, running from thence to the white point on Long's 
mountain ; thence in a direct line to the residence of E. B. Witt ; thence 
in the same direction in a direct line with the eastern boundary of Suisun 
township to the northern boundary of the county ; thence north-easterly 
with the boundary of the county to Putah creek ; thence down said creek 


to its sink in the tule, and continuing with the line of the county in a 
south-easterly" direction to a point due east of the point of beginning ; 
thence west to the point of beginning." 


" And the township known as Benicia township is hereby changed in its 
boundaries so as to conform to the following description, to-wit : commenc- 
ing at the south-west corner of a tract of land purchased by Robert Semple 
and Thomas 0. Larkin, from M. G. Vallejo, and on a part of which is situ- 
ated the city of Benicia ; from thence with the western boundary of said 
tract of land to the north-west corner of the same; from thence due north to 
the line of Green Valley township ; thence in a south-easterly direction on 
said boundary line to the ' Jerry House,' so called, near the tule on Suisun 
bay ; thence due east to the boundary line of the county in Suisun bay ; 
thence down said bay and the Straits of Carquinez to a point due south of 
the point of beginning ; thence due north to the point of beginning." 


" And the township known as Vallejo township is hereby changed in its 
boundaries so as to conform to the following description, to-wit : commenc- 
ing at the south-west corner of a tract of land purchased by Robert Semple 
and Thomas 0. Larkin, from M. G. Vallejo, and commonly known as the 
Benicia tract ; thence with the western boundary line of said tract to the 
northwest corner of the same ; thence due north to the boundary line of 
Green Valley township ; thence in a north-westerly direction with said 
boundary line of Green Valley township to the boundary line between 
Solano and Napa counties, at the point where the public road crosses the 
Suscol creek ; thence with said creek to Napa bay ; thence down said bay 
and up the Straits of Carquinez, including Mare Island, to the southwest 
corner of Benicia township ; thence due north to the place of beginning." 

In 1855 a change had come o'er the spirit of the governmental dream of 
the county. The Court of Session was abolished and an Act passed on 
March 20th, entit]ed " An Act to create a Board of Supervisors in the 
counties of this State, and to define their duties and powers." For better 
reference the ninth section of the above Act is quoted in full : " The Board 
of Supervisors shall have power and jurisdiction in their respective counties: 
First, to make orders respecting the property of the county, in conformity 
with any law of this State, and to take care of and preserve such property. 
Second, to examine, settle, and allow all accounts legally chargeable against 
the county, and to levy, for the purposes prescribed by law, such amount of 
taxes on the assessed value of real and personal property in the county, as 
may be authorized by law : provided the salary of the County Judge need 


not be audited by the Board; but the County Auditor shall, on the first 
judicial day of each month, draw his warrant on the County Treasurer in 
favor of the County Judge for the amount due such j udge as salary, for the 
month preceding. Third, to examine and audit the accounts of all officers 
having the care, management, collection or disbursement of any money 
belonging to the county, or appropriated by law, or otherwise, for its use 
and benefit. Fourth, to lay out, control and manage public roads, turnpikes, 
ferries, and bridges within the county, in all cases where the law does not 
prohibit such jurisdiction, and to make such orders as may be requisite and 
necessary to carry its control and management into effect. Fifth, to take 
care of and provide for the indigent sick of the county. Sixth, to divide 
the county into townships, and to change the divisions of the same, and to 
create new townships, as the convenience of the county may require. 
Seventh, to establish and change election precincts, and to appoint inspectors 
and judges of elections. Eighth, to control and manage the property, real 
and personal, belonging to the county, and to receive by donation any pro- 
perty for the use and benefit of the county. Ninth, to lease or to purchase 
any real or personal property necessary for the use of the county; provided 
no purchase of real property shall be made unless the value of the same be 
previously estimated by three disinterested persons, to be appointed for that 
purpose by the County Judge. Tenth, to sell at public auction, at the 
Court-house of the county, after at least thirty days' previous public notice, 
and cause to be conveyed, any property belonging to the county, appropri- 
ating the proceeds of such sale to the use of the same. Eleventh, to cause 
to be erected and furnished, a court-house, jail, and such other public build- 
ings as may be necessary, and to keep the same in repair \ provided that the 
contract for building the court-house, jail, and such other public buildings, 
be let out at least after thirty days' previous public notice, in each case, of a 
readiness to receive proposals therefor, to the lowest bidder, who will give 
good and sufficient security for the completion of any contract which he 
may make respecting the same ; but no bid shall be accepted which the 
Board may deem too high. Tivelfth, to control the prosecution and defense 
of all suits to which the county is a party. Thirteenth, to do any and per- 
form all such other acts and things as may be strictly necessary to the full 
discharge of the powers and jurisdiction conferred on the Board. To these 
various duties, in themselves of a most difficult nature, were added the oner- 
ous responsibilities of canvassers of election returns the investigation of 
bonds required to be given by newly elected officers, and a general superin- 
tendence of all the monetary transactions in which the county, through her 
officers, has any interest. The members of these supervisors were three, and 
held their first meeting at Benicia, on May 7, 1855. 

On August 11th, 1855, the Board of Supervisors directed that yet another 
township be formed, to be named 




to be made, formed, and constituted on Putah creek, in Solano county, 
bounded as follows, to-wit : commencing at and including the farm of Mr. 
Priddy, on Putah. creek, about two miles above the crossing of said creek, 
near Manuel Vaca's; thence running south on the township line to the inter- 
section of the dividing line between Montezuma and Vacaville townships ; 
thence east to the boundary line of Solano county ; thence in a northerly 
direction, following the boundary line of Solano county, to the sink of Putah 
creek; thence up Putah creek to the place of beginning. The county was 
now divided into seven townships, and on August 21, were apportioned into 
supervisorial districts, as under: 

District No. 1, comprised the townships of Vallejo and Benicia. 
District No. 2, comprised the townships of Green Valley and Suisun. 
District No. 3, comprised the townships of Vacaville, Montezuma, and 

In the following years the upper part of the county had become thickly 
populated, while the towns of Suisun and Fairfield had commenced to 
spring into prominence, and some feeling had begun to evince itself in res- 
pect to a new location for the county seat. Benicia was found to be at too 
great a distance from the townships of Vacaville and Tremont ; a more cen- 
tral position was therefore sought, and a County Seat Convention was 
formed, which, having appointed delegates to canvass the matter, held a 
meeting, a report of which is now extracted from the Solano County Herald, 
of August 14th, 1858. 


Pursuant to notice, the delegates elected met at Suisun City, August 7, 
1858, for the purpose of selecting some suitable and central location, to be 
voted for at the next election, for the County Seat of Solano County. 

" The convention organized by electing the following temporary officers : 
H. G. Davidson, President ; Phillip Palmer, Vice-President ; Geo. A. Gilles- 
pie and H. B. Amnions, Secretaries. 

" Upon motion of A. M. Stevenson, the Chair appointed a committee on 
credentials, one from each township. The committee consisted of P. Palmer, 
E. A. Townsend, Wm. G. Fore, Samuel Martin, and R S. Phelps. Having 
retired for a few moments they returned into the convention and reported 
the following named gentlemen as duly elected delegates to this convention: 

" Suisun Township. — Phillip Palmer, R. D. Pringle, H. Russell, P. 0. 
Clayton, John Wayman, John Smithers, John A. Payton, V. Hawkins, 
Frank Aldridge, and J. P. McKissick. 

" Vacaville Township.— H. B. Ammons, F. J. Bartlett, W. G. Fore, H. G. 


Davidson, E. L. Bennett, E. S. Silvey, Mason Wilson, J. M. Dudley, J. W. 
Anderson, and Geo. A. Gillespie. 

"Montezuma Township.— E. A. Townsend, C. J. Collins, and John B. 

" Tremont Township.— R. S. Phelps and J. B. Tufts. 

Green Valley Township. — G. B. Stevenson, A. M. Stevenson,, Samuel G. 
Martin, W. P. Durbin. 

" Upon motion, report received and committee discharged. 

" On motion of A. M. Stevenson, the temporary officers were declared the 
permanent officers of the convention. The following resolution was then 
offered and adopted : 

"Resolved, That we, the delegates assembled in convention, for the pur- 
pose of selecting a suitable location, to be voted for at the next annual 
election, hereby pledge our votes and influence for whatever place the 
convention may select. 

" The following places were put in nomination : Mr. Stevenson nominated 
Fairfield ; Mr. Palmer, Suisun City ; Mr. Bartlett, Vacaville ; Mr. Carring- 
ton, Denverton. 

" The following propositions were submitted in writing to the convention: 
Suisun City, through Mr. A. P. Jackson, proposed giving $5,550 in money 
and a certain lot 100 by 120 feet, known as ' Owen's Tavern Stand.' He 
offered to enter into good and sufficient bonds for the performance of the 
same, provided the county seat should be located at Suisun City. 

" Fairfield, through Mr. R. H. Waterman, proposed, in case the county 
seat should be located at that place, to deed to the Board of Supervisors of 
Solano county a certain piece of land containing about sixteen acres, known 
upon the plat of the town of Fairfield as ' Union Park ;' also, four blocks, 
each block containing twelve lots, to be selected as follows : two from the 
north and two from the south, or, two from the east and two from the west 
of ' Union Park ;' he offering to enter into bonds for the performance of the 

" Vacaville, through Mason Wilson, offered to give four blocks of lots, 
$1,000 in money, provided the county seat should be located there. 

" Denverton, (Nurse's Landing) through Mr. Carrington, proposed to run 
upon its own merits. After a long and animated discussion, the convention 
proceeded to take the vote, when Mr. Clayton, of Suisun, was appointed 
teller to assist the secretaries. The Chair announced the result to be as 
follows : 

" Fairfield, sixteen votes ; Suisun City, twelve votes ; Denverton, one 
vote. Whereupon Fairlield was declared the unanimous choice of the con- 


vention. Upon motion of G. A. Gillespie, a committee of five, consisting of 
one from each township, were elected to act in connection with the Board 
of Supervisors in receiving proper bonds from Mr. Waterman for the faith- 
ful performance of his proposition. This committee consisted of Phillip 
Palmer, Mason Wilson, J. B. Tufts, J. B. Carrington, and A. M. Stevenson. 

" Upon motion, it was resolved that the ' Solano County Herald ' be 
requested to publish the proceedings of the convention. 

"Upon motion, the convention adjourned sine die. 

H. G. Davidson, President. 

Geo. A. Gillespie, j^.,, 
H. B. Ammons, I secretaries. 

In pursuance of Mr. Gillespie's motion Mr. R. H. Waterman entered into 
the following bond : " Know all men by these presents, that I, Robert H. 
Waterman, of Fairfield, in the county of Solano, and State of California, am 
held and firmly bound unto the Supervisors of Solano county, in the sum 
of ten thousand dollars lawful money of the United States, for which pay- 
ment will and truly be made. I bind myself, my heirs, executors, and 
administrators, firmly by these presents. Sealed with my seal and dated 
the twelfth day of August, 1858. 

" The condition of this obligation is such, that whereas, the said Robert 
H. Waterman did agree to donate to the county of Solano, for the use of 
the people thereof, free of charge or cost, the following described land, 
situated in the town of Fairfield, county of Solano, State of California, and 
further described as Union Park, a public square in the town of Fairfield, 
and also four blocks, containing each twelve lots adjoining said park, 
according to plat of said town, as surveyed by E. H. D'Hemecourt, County 
Surveyor; these blocks to be selected by the Supervisors of the county, 
either on the north, east or south side of said park ; and further, the said 
park shall be kept open and free for the use of the public ; and further, the 
proceeds of sales of the four blocks shall be appropriated to the erection of 
the public buildings of the county ; and further, that the County seat of 
Solano county shall be lawfully located at Fairfield. 

Now, therefore, if the said county seat of Solano county shall be lawfully 
located at said town at the coming election in September next, after date 
hereof, and if the said Robert H. Waterman shall, and does procure and 
deliver to the Supervisors of said county a good and sufficient deed to the 
said Union Park and lots herein described, according to the conditions of 
this obligation, then, and in that case, the above obligation shall be void; 
otherwise, of full force. 

(Signed) R. H. Waterman. [seal."] 

On the second day of September, 1858, the general election took place, 


when the following locations for the county seat were put forth for candi- 
dature, with the following result : 

Total votes cast 1,730 

Number of votes for Benicia 625 

Fairfield 1,029 

Denverton 38 

Vallejo 10 

Eockville 2 

Suisun 26 

Total votes 1,730 

The consequence, therefore, was the triumph of Fairfield over Benicia. 
It is supposed, and with much reason, that Vallejo in her inmost heart had 
long borne a grudge against Benicia, for having in 1852 deprived her of the 
capital and its attendant glories ; now, there opened a chance for vengeance, 
and the votes of the Vallejoites went to swell the list of the voters for 
Fairfield, notwithstanding that by so doing they moved the county seat 
further away from them than if they had permitted it to remain at Benicia. 
In this regard, the Solano Herald, then published in that city, announces 
the disaster in these words : 

" In every general engagement, however glorious the bulletin of victory, 
there necessarily follows the melancholy supplement of casualties. 

In the list of killed and wounded in Wednesday's battle, our eye falls 
mournfully on the name of Benicia — Benicia ! the long suffering, mortally 
wounded, if not dead — killed by Vallejo's unsparing hand ! That the 
people of Suisun and the adjoining region should have desired a removal of 
the county seat, was by no means surprising ; but Vallejo ! et tu Brute ! 
In the house of our friends we were wounded. 

While we hold in grateful remembrance the majority of the citizens of 
Vallejo, let us not forget those aspiring gentlemen who dealt us the deadly 
blow. ' Lord keep our memory green,' for good and evil. " 

The grass was not allowed to grow under the feet of the Supervisors. 
In October following, a brick building erected at Fairfield, by Captain 
Waterman, for County Clerk and Treasurer's offices, was completed and 
handed over to them, and at once occupied ; while at the Board meeting 
held January 22, 1859, Mr. Waterman's bond, quoted above, with all its 
provisions, was accepted. Tenders were at once advertised for to construct 
the necessary edifices, when, at a Supervisoral sederunt held on March 14th 
of that year, the undermentioned bids were ratified : 

For Court-house and Jail, Larkin Richardson .... 824,440 00 
For Court-house for temporary use of County. . . . 1,373 00 


And on September 1st, the county buildings were handed over to the 
Board of Supervisors. 

In 1862 "An Act to organize townships and regulate their powers and 
duties, and submit the same to the vote of the people," was approved by 
the Legislature on May 15th. The provisions of the act were that town- 
ships should be corporate bodies and have capacity : 

First — To sue and be sued in the manner prescribed by law. 

Second — To purchase and hold lands within its own limits for the use of 
its inhabitants, and for the promotion of education within the limits of the 

Third — To make such contracts, and to purchase and hold such personal 
property as may be necessary to the exercise of its corporate and adminis- 
trative powers. 

Fourth — To make such orders for the disposition, regulation or use of its 
corporate property as may be deemed conducive to the interests of its 

The corporate powers and duties of these townships were to be vested in 
a Board of Trustees, to consist of three qualified electors of the township, 
to be voted for by qualified electors within said township, when, at the 
same time, were to be elected certain officers for especial service within the 
township. Such trustees were to be endowed with powers appertaining to 
the peace, order and good government of the townships to which they were 
chosen by the public vote, and were to collect taxes, which were to be paid 
into the office of the County Treasurer. The Act was ordered to be sub- 
mitted to a vote of the people at the general election. In those counties in 
which the affirmative should have the majority, the law should take effect ; 
but in those (like Solano, where the majority against it was sixty-one) in 
which the negative has the preponderance of votes, the act should not 
apply or be in force. 

At the same election, September 3, 1862, the proposed amendments to 
the Constitution of California, suggested in the following : 

Article IV — The Legislative Department. 
" V — The Executive Department. 

'• VI — The Judicial Department. 

IX— Education. 

were put to the popular voice, with the result as stated below : 

Yes 4,800 : 

No 657 

Majority for the yeas 4,143 


On August 12, 1863, a petition from 0. Bingham and others was pre- 
sented to the Board of Supervisors, when, in conformity with the prayer 
therein set forth, it was ordered that a new township be formed, to be 


to be bounded as follows, to wit : commencing at the corners of Sections 
7, 8, 17 and 18, in Township 5 N. R. 1 E. of Monte Diablo meridian, and 
running thence north to the corners of Sections 5, 6, 7 and 8, in Township 
6 N. R. 1 E.; thence running east to the eastern limit of Solano county, on 
the line between ranges 2 and 3 east ; thence with said line south to the 
township line between Townships 5 and 6 north ; thence with said line 
east, to the centre of Sacramento river, the eastern limit of Solano county ; 
thence down Sacramento river and Steamboat or Merritt slough to where 
the line between townships 4 and 5 crosses said slough ; thence with said 
line west to the centre of Cache Creek slough ; thence up said slough to 
the mouth of Linda slough to the line between ranges 1 and 2 east ; thence 
with said line north to the north-west corner of Section 18, in Township 
5 N. R. 2 E. ; thence west to the place of beginning. 


The township heretofore known as Suisun township, is hereby changed to 
conform to the following description, to-wit : beginning at a point on the 
southern boundary of Solano county, in Suisun bay, where a section line 
two inches west of the meridian line, passing over Monte Diablo and run- 
ning with said line north to the township line between townships 5 and 6 
north ; thence with said line west to the east boundary of Green Valley 
township, as previously established ; thence with said boundary, southerly, 
to the south boundary of the county, in Suisun bay ; thence with said 
boundary, easterly, to the place of beginning. 


The township heretofore known as Vacaville township is hereby changed 
to conform to the following description, to wit : commencing at a point on 
the Putah creek where the line between ranges 1 and 2 east, crosses said 
creek, and running thence with said range line south to the southeast 
corner of Section 1, Township 6 N. R. 1 E. ; thence west to corners of 
sections 5, 6 and 7 and 8 of said township and range ; thence south to 
the corners of Sections 7, 8, 17 and 18, in Township 5 N. R. 1 E. ; thence 
west to the corner of Sections 10, 11, 14 and 15, in Township 5 N. R. 
1 W. ; thence north to the township line between townships 5 and 6 
north ; thence with said line west to the western boundary of Solano 


county, on the ridge of the Vaca mountains ; thence northerly with said 
ridge to the centre of Putah creek ; thence down said creek, and following 
its sinuosities to the place of beginning. 


The township heretofore known as Montezuma township, is hereby 

changed to conform to the following boundaries, to-wit : commencing on 

the south line of the county of Solano, in Suisun bay, where the section 

lines two miles west of the meridian line passing on Monte Diablo would 

intersect said limit, and running thence north to the north-west corner of 

section number 14, in Township 5N. R. 1 W. ; running thence east to 

the line between ranges 1 and 2 east ; thence south on said line until it 

intersects the first slough or fork of Linda slough ; thence down said slough 

to Cache Creek slough ; thence down Cache Creek slough to where the line 

between townships numbers 4 and 5 north, intersects said slough ; thence 

with said line east to the eastern boundary of the county, on Steamboat, or 

Merritt slough ; thence with said boundary and following its sinuosities to 
the place of beginning. 


The township heretofore known as Tremont township, is hereby changed 
to conform to the following description : commencing at the south-west 
corner of Section number 6, Township 6 N. R. 2 E. of the meridian and 
base of Monte Diablo, and running thence north on the line between 
ranges 1 and 2 east, to the centre of Putah Creek, the northern limit of 
Solano county; thence with said limit eastward, to the eastern limit of said 
county, in the line between ranges 2 and 3 east ; thence with said limit 
south, to the south-east corner of Section number 1, in Township 6 N. 
R. 2 E. ; thence east to the place of beginning. 

There was still some difficulty in conforming the townships into some- 
thing like natural and equable divisions ; the supervisors, therefore, on 
February 6, 1866, ordered " that the following described portion of Tre- 
mont township be set off and attached to Vacaville township, and the bound- 
aries of said townships hereafter shall conform to this change. Said por- 
tion is described as follows : beginning on the eastern boundary line of 
said Vacaville Township 7 N. R 2 E., and running thence east on the 
Government line two miles ; thence north six miles ; thence west two miles, 
to the north-west corner of said township 7, on said boundary line of said 
Vacaville township, and thence south on said line six miles to the point of 

On June 27th of the same year the county was again distributed into 
townships, as under : 



The township known as Benicia township is hereby laid down so as to 
conform to the following boundaries, to wit : commencing at the south-west 
corner of a tract of land purchased by Robert Semple and Thomas 0. Larkin 
from M. G. Vallejo, and on a part of which is situated the city of Benicia, 
from thence with the western boundary of said tract of land to the north- 
west corner of the same ; thence in an easterly direction to where the line 
of said tract intersects the boundary of the stone purchase known as the 
stone line ; thence along said stone line in a northerly direction until the 
same intersects the north line of Section 34, Township 4 N. R. 3 W. ; thence 
east on north line of Sections 31 and 32, Township 4 N. R. 2 W., contin- 
uing east to Cordelia slough ; thence down said slough to Suisun slough ; 
thence down Suisun slough to Suisun bay ; thence down said bay and 
Straits of Carquinez to a point due south of the point of beginning. 


The township known as Vallejo township is hereby laid down so as to 
conform to the following boundaries, to-wit : commencing at the south-west 
corner of a certain tract of land purchased by Robert Semple and Thomas 
O. Larkin from M. G. Vallejo, and commonly known as the Benicia tract ; 
thence with the western boundary line of said tract to the north-west corner 
of the same ; thence easterly to where the line of said tract intersects the 
boundary of the stone purchase known as the stone line ; thence along said 
stone line in a northerly direction until the same intersects the north line of 
Section 34, Township 4 N. R. 3 W. ; thence west on said north line 
to the intersection of said line with the boundary line of Napa and Solano 
counties ; thence south along said county boundary line to a mound of stones 
established by R. Norris ; thence due west along said boundary line between 
Napa and Solano counties to Napa bay ; thence down said bay and up the 
Straits of Carquinez, including Mare Island, to the south-west corner of 
Benicia township ; thence due north to the place of beginning. 


The township known as Green Valley township, is hereby laid down so 
as to conform to the following boundaries, to-wit : Commencing at a rock 
mound on the crest of hills on Section 34, Township 4 N. R. 3 W. 
established by R. Norris for a boundary between Napa and Solano counties ; 
thence northerly along the boundary line of said counties, to the north line 
of Township 5 N. R. 3 W. ; thence east along said township line to the 
dividing ridge running to the peak called " Twin Sisters ;" thence south- 
erly along said divide to Suisun creek, passing on the line of A. Blake and 
William Brown's land ; thence down said creek to the south-east corner of 


Hiram Macy's land ; thence south to the north line of Section 16, Townshid 
4 N. R. 2 W. ; thence west to Cordelia slough ; thence down said slough 
to the north line of Sections 31 and 32, Township 4 N.R2W.; thence 
west along said north line to the boundary line of Solano and Napa 


The township known as Suisun township is hereby laid down so as to 
conform to the following boundaries, to-wit : Beginning at the mouth of 
Cordelia slough, thence up said slough to a point due west of the north line 
of Section 16, Township 4 N. B. 2 W. ; thence east to a point due south 
of the south-east corner of Hiram Macy's land ; thence north to the 
mouth of the Suisun creek ; thence up said creek to the line of Alexander 
Blake's and William Brown's land ; thence northerly along the ridge or 
divide running to the peaks called " Twin Sisters ;" thence northerly 
along said divide to the county line ; thence easterly along the county line 
to the top of the ridge at the south-east corner of Napa county ; thence 
easterly on the boundary of the Armijo rancho to the north-east corner of 
Section 3, Township 5 N. B. 1 W. ; thence south on section lines to the 
main Suisun bay ; thence westerly along said bay to the mouth of Sui- 
sun creek ; thence up said creek to the mouth of Cordelia slough, the place 

of beginning. 


That a township be established to be known as the Vacaville township, 
commencing at the north-east corner of Section 18, Township 5 N. B. 1 
E. ; thence west on section lines to the south-west corner of Section 3, 
Township 5 N. B. 1 W. ; thence north to the north-east corner of Section 
3, Township 5 N. B. 1 W ; thence west on the township line to the 
boundary of the Armijo rancho at the north-west corner of said township ; 
thence north and west, following said boundary to the county line at the 
south-east corner of Napa county ; thence northerly along the boundary 
between Napa and Solano counties to Butah creek ; thence down said creek 
to a point one mile west of Mount Diablo meridian ; thence south on section 
lines to the south-west corner of Section number 1, Township 6 N. B. 1 
W. ; thence east two miles ; thence south to the place of beginning. 


That a township be established to be known as the Silveyville township, 
and to conform to the following boundaries, to wit : Beginning at the south- 
east corner of Section number 5, Township 6 N. B. 2 E. ; thence west 
to the south-west corner of Section number 1, Township 6 N. B. 1 W. ; 
thence north to the county line, centre of Butah creek ; thence easterly 
down said creek to the line between ranges 1 and 2 east ; thence south on 


said line to the northwest corner of Section 7, Township 7 N. R. 2 E. ; 
thence east to the north-east corner of Section number 8, Township 7 
N. R. 2 E. ; thence south to the place of beginning. 


That a township be established to be known as Tremont township, and 
to conform to the following boundaries, to wit : Beginning at the south-east 
corner of Section number 5, Township 6 N. R. 2 E. ; thence north six 
miles to the south-east corner of Section number 5, Township 7 N. R. 2 
E. ; thence west two miles to the line between ranges 1 and 2 E. ; 
thence north to the centre of Putah creek at the county line ; thence 
easterly down said creek to the east line of the county on the line between 
ranges 2 and 3 east ; thence with said line south to the south-east corner of 
Section 1, Township 6 N. R. 2 E. ; thence west to the place of beginning. 


That a township be established to be known as Maine Prairie township, 
and to conform to the following boundaries, to wit : Beginning at the north- 
west corner of Section 17, Township 5 N. R. 1 E. ; thence north to the 
north-west corner of Section 8, Township 6 N. R. IE.; thence east to 
the east line of Solano county ; then with the said county line south to 
the line between townships 5 and 6 north ; thence along said line east to 
the north-west corner of Section number 4>, Township 5 N. R. 3 E. ; thence 
south to the southwest corner of Section number 21, Township 5 N. R. 
3 E. ; thence west to Prospect slough ; then up Cache slough to Linda 
slough ; then up Linda slough to the line between ranges 1 and 2 east ; 
thence north on said line to the north-west corner of Section number 18, 
Township 5 IS . R. 2 E. ; thence west to the place of beginning. 


That a township be established to be known as Rio Vista township, and 
to conform to the following boundaries, to wit : Commencing on the Sacra- 
mento river at the point where the section line, one mile east of the 
township line between Townships 1 and 2 east, intersect the river ; thence 
running north on said line until it intersects Linda slough ; thence down 
said slough to Cache slough ; thence down said slough to Prospect slough ; 
thence up Prospect slough to the section line of Section 17, Township 5 
N. R. 3 E.; thence east to the south-east corner of said section; thence 
north on said section line to the Yolo county line ; thence east on said 
county line to the Sacramento river; thence down the river to the place 
of beginning. 



That a township be established to be known as Montezuma township, 
and to conform to the following boundaries, to wit : Beginning at the 
Sacramento river on the line between ranges 1 and 2 east, Mount Diablo 
meridian; thence down said river and Suisun bay to the line between 
Sections 22 and 23, Township 3 N. R. 1 W. ; thence north on section lines 
to the north-west corner of Section number 35, Township 4 N. R. 1 W.; 
thence east to the north-west corner of Section 32, R. 2 E. ; thence south 
to the Sacramento river ; thence down said river to the place of beginning. 


That a township be established to be known as Denverton township, and 
to conform to the following boundaries, to wit : Beginning at the north- 
west corner of Section number, 32, Township 4 N. R. 2 E. ; thence west on 
section lines to the north-west corner of Section 35, Township 4 N. R, 1 
W. ; thence north to the north-west corner of Section number 14, town- 
ship 5 N. R. 1 W. ; thence east to the north-west corner of Section number 
18, Township 5 N. R. 2 E.; thence south to the south fork of Linda slough; 
thence down said slough to the east line of Section number 19, Township 5 
N. R. 2 E. ; thence south to the place of beginning. 

The western boundary line of this township was, however, subsequently 
changed on May 4, 1868, to the Mount Diablo meridian line, and on 
November 10, 1870, it was ordered by the Board of Supervisors that 
" Robinson's Island, and being a portion of Sections numbers 3 and 24, in 
Township 4 N. R. 1 W., Meridian of Mount Diablo, be and is set over as 
part of Denverton township," while on May 22, of the following year the 
under mentioned district was planned and authorized. 


It was ordered that a new township be formed out of portions of 
Vacaville, Silveyville, and Maine Prairie townships as follows, to wit : 
"Beginning at the south-west corner of the south-east quarter of Section 
number 3, Township 5 N. R. 1 W., Mount Diablo meridian and base ; 
running thence north seven miles to the quarter-section corner on the 
north line of Section 3, Township 6 N. R. 1 W. ; thence along said town- 
ship line six miles ; thence along quarter-section lines south seven miles 
to the quarter-section corner on the south line of Section number 3, Town- 
ship 5 N. R. 1 E. ; thence west six miles along the section lines to the point 
of beginning. And it is further ordered that the said township be known 
and designated as Elmira township." 

On August 8, 1872, the boundary line between Silveyville and Vacaville 
townships was changed to conform to the following : " Commencing at a 


point on the north and south line between Silveyville and Vacaville town- 
ships, and at the corner of Sections numbers 1, 2, 11, and 12,' in Town- 
ship number 7 N. R. 1 W., Mount Diablo meridian ; thence west five 
miles to line between ranges 1 and 2 west ; thence north one mile, more 
or less, to Putah creek ; thence along and down said creek to where the 
present line of Silveyville township intercepts the same ; be and the same is 
hereby set over to and become part of said Silveyville township." It was 
then also ordered that the western boundary of Suisun township be and 
the same is as follows, to wit : " Commencing at a point on the north line 
of Section 3, Township 5 N. R. 1 W., which point is the intersection of the 
boundary line of Elmira township ; thence south on half -section line one 
mile to the southern line of Section 3, Township 5 N. R. 1 W. ; thence 
east on section line two and one-half miles to Mount Diablo meridian line ; 
thence south on said meridian line to the southern boundary line of Solano 

With this last adjustment of the boundaries the distribution of townships 
was so far completed, and leaves these twelve districts as the present parti- 
tion of the county. 

In 1873 Vallejo had a sudden accession of success, and the conception of 
having the county seat moved thither took permanent shape by the pre- 
sentation of a petition by E. H. Sawyer and others to the Board of 
Supervisors on September 23, praying that a public vote should be taken 
in this regard. On the sounding of Vallejo's trumpet the other towns and 
cities sniffed the battle from afar, champed their bits and tossed their flow- 
ing manes. A bitter fight waged between the newspapers of the county, 
while Benicia and her cohorts vented every conceivable argument, not so 
much that she might be once more endowed with the county honors, but 
that she should prevent. the acquisition of so great a triumph to her former 
enemy. She had not forgotten the stormy days of 1858. Leader after 
leader and argument upon argument appeared in the public prints; meet- 
ings were held all over the county, while in Vallejo an executive county 
seat committee was appointed, having as its officers Messrs. J. B. Frisbie, 
President ; E. H. Sawyer, Vice-President ; J. B. Robinson, Secretary ; J. K. 
Duncan, Treasurer, who framed the following address to the citizens of 
Solano county, which we cull from the columns of the " Solano Democrat " 
of that period: 

Your attention is invited to the following reasons why the county seat 
of Solano county should be removed from Fairfield to Vallejo : 

First — It is evident to all who have given the matter any thought, that 
Fairfield cannot be the permanent county seat of a great and growing 
county like Solano. 

The entire lack of accommodations for the persons attending court, and 


the fact that those accommodations are growing worse as the town con- 
tinues to decay, and that there is no hope of any improvement, is a matter 
of consideration. 

We cannot compare the dreary, treeless plain upon which our county 
seat is located, and meagre accommodation for visitors, with the pleasant 
location and ample quarters provided by other counties, without a feeling 
of shame. The great county of Solano will not always endure this. 

Second — Assuming, then, that a change in the county seat must ulti- 
mately come, we say that it should come now. An immediate expenditure 
of many thousand dollars will be necessary to make the present county 
buildings answer the purpose for which they were designed. Fire-proof 
rooms or vaults must be provided for the county records, and the papers 
and records of the courts. It is criminal to neglect this longer. Consider 
the confusion, the litigation, the utter ruin that would result from the 
destruction of the records of our courts and of our titles. And yet at pre- 
sent they are scarcely more secure than they would be in an ordinary 
frame-house. Is it wise to make these extensive improvements upon build- 
ings which in a few years at most must be abandoned ? Is it not best that 
the change should be made now, and a new location selected which shall be 
permanent, that the county may derive some lasting advantage from the 
expenditure of its money ? 

Third — If the location of a county seat for our county was a new ques- 
tion, there would be no doubt of the propriety of adopting Vallejo. A line 
of railroad traverses the whole length of i^he county, terminating at Vallejo. 
Regular water communication can always be had from Rio Vista, Collins- 
ville, and Benicia, to Vallejo, enabling the inhabitants of these places to 
reach the county seat at all seasons of the year without interruption from 
floods or impassable roads ; and that other and large -class of tax-payers and 
property-owners of our county, who reside in San Francisco and other 
counties, would be best accommodated at Vallejo. 

Vallejo is now, and promises in all future to be, the leading town in the 
county. It has good streets and sidewalks, convenient means to travel and 
good hotels, and is, indeed, the only place in the county capable of furnish- 
ing accommodations for the large number of people who are at any time 
liable to be called together by an important term of our District Court. 

The only two arguments that can be urged in favor of retaining the 
county seat at Fairfield, are these : 1st. That it is near the geographical 
center of the county. 2nd. The expense of its removal. The first of these 
reasons, to-wit, its central position — if it was good at the time the county 
seat was located at Fairfield, when people came from all parts of the county 
in carriages or on horseback, no longer holds good. The days of stage- 


coaches are passed. New means of travel have sprung up, and geographical 
centers have given way to centers of travel. The whole population of the 
county could rally at Vallejo at less expense, and greater ease and comfort, 
than at any other point in the county, and could live more comfortably 
while here. As a rule, county seats are not located in the center of coun- 
ties. Sacramento City, Stockton, Oakland, Marysville, Yuba City, Napa 
City and San Rafael, are not situated at the geographical centers of the 
respective counties of which they are the county seats. 

As to the second objection, in respect to the cost of removal. The pre- 
sent county buildings are said to have cost forty thousand dollars, and 
cannot be estimated at present at a higher valuation than twenty-five 
thousand dollars. The City of Vallejo and its citizens have bound them- 
selves by proper guarantees : 1st. To furnish, free of cost, suitable office 
room for county officers, court-rooms and jail, until the permanent county 
buildings are built. 2nd. That they will donate to the county the neces- 
sary grounds for the location of county buildings, to be selected by the 
Board of Supervisors of Solano County. 3rd. They pledge themselves 
to use all their influence with the Board of Supervisors to restrict the 
expenditure for the erection of county buildings (which will be the sole 
expenditure of the county) to fifty thousand dollars ; and they offer the 
guarantee of their most responsible citizens, and the City of Vallejo, that 
buildings shall be built (according to a plan now on exhibition at the City 
Hall, in Vallejo, copies of which will be sent to each precinct in the county), 
suitable for the county for many years to come, and vastly superior to the 
present buildings, for the sum of fifty thousand dollars. And the payment 
of this small amount need not be made at once. Bonds may be issued 
bearing seven per cent, interest, payable in twenty years, and an annual 
tax of five thousand dollars will pay the interest and leave a large surplus 
towards the extinguishment of the debt. Estimate the taxable property 
in the county at ten millions of dollars, which is about the present figure, 
the man who owns a thousand dollars worth of property will be taxed the 
sum of fifty cents per annum for the removal of the county seat. How 
insignificant is this sum compared with the great advantages to be derived. 

All that we ask of the voters of Solano county is, that they will consider 
this question dispassionately and without prejudice, looking only to the 
best good of the whole county in the future, and we are satisfied they will 
agree with us that the county seat should be immediately removed to 

On the 9th of October, 1873, the question of removal was brought before 
the Board of Supervisors, but there being a question existing of how many 
of the names which were annexed to the petition were those of bona fide 
voters, forty or fifty names were selected, making the total number of sig- 
natures 1,097, leaving 300 to be still examined. 



Naturally, Suisun, from its proximity to Fairfield, was on the side of 
non-removal; therefore, every stone was turned to gain their point. Coun- 
sel was engaged on her side who urged, under the provisions of the law, in 
the event of the county seat being once removed, a petition for a second 
removal must contain a number of signatures equal to one-third the names 
on the great register ; that the county seat of Solano had been already 
removed from Benicia to Fairfield, and that the present case came within 
the provisions of the law. The examination of the last great register of 
the county, they stated, shows a total of 5,600 names, one-third of which 
was 1,867. The counsel, therefore, submitted that the number of signatures 
was inadequate, and that in consequence, the petition was invalid. 

It was finally decided by the Board that the number already passed upon 
was sufficient, and an order was made premising with the recitation that a 
petition had been presented to their body, praying that an election, to de- 
termine the place of the county seat, might be held ; that said petition con- 
tained 1,325 names; and that so far as examined, they had found upon it 
1,097 legal names; and that the same being more than one-third of the 
number of votes, they therefore ordered, in accordance with the prayer of 
the petitioners, an election to be held on the last Wednesday in November. 
A protest from the counsel for Suisun was spread upon the minutes, stating 
in substance, that on such a day the county seat was removed from Benicia 
to Fairfield : that the archives of the county and county officers were 
ordered there ; that the Great Register of the county contained 5,000 uncan- 
celled names at the time, and that it required one-third of that number of 
signatures to constitute a legal petition for an election, which number was 
not on the petition upon which the Board had taken action. 

The " Weekly Solano Republican," published at Suisun, writing on Octo- 
ber 30, 1873, remarks : "We object to the removal, because — 

First — The county seat is centrally located now, which makes the expense 
and trouble of reaching the seat of justice more nearly equal to all than 
any other location can ; and we deny the justice of any arrangement which 
makes any man pay two dollars, or travel two miles, in order that two, or 
ten other men, may save one dollar each, or avoid travelling one mile each. 

Second — The county now possesses, unincumbered by debt, buildings 
fully adequate to its wants for the next ten years ; and we denounce the 
policy which will add the cost of even less serviceable buildings to the 
heavy debt the county is now carrying and groaning under. 

Third — The removal of the county seat will work a huge injustice to a 
very large majority of the tax-payers of the county, whether the cost of 
removal be much or little. Vallejo contains half of the population of the 
county, but only one-third of the taxable property ; and whatever may be 
the cost of removal, two-thirds of that expense will be paid by that half of 
the population, whose interest will be injured by the removal." 


At length the long looked for election day — November 26, 1873 — arrived 
and ended, the ballot showing at its close, a majority for Vallejo over Fair- 
field, of 333. Benicia's rancor was of no avail ; but retribution was near 
at hand. It was directed that the county offices should be removed on Feb- 
ruary 9, 1874, to Vallejo, and that that city be declared the county seat, 
through the public newspapers. In time a few of the offices were carried 
thence, notably those of residents in that city, when arrangements were 
made for the temporary location of the several departments. 

But the northern part of the county had conceived the reasonable idea 
that the election of Vallejo was not carried out in as clear and straightfor- 
ward a manner as it should have been ; they, therefore, proceeded to Sacra- 
mento, and while the Legislature was in session, had a bill passed through 
both the Assembly and Senate, creating Vallejo into a county seat in its 
own right, since it was so ambitious of provincial honors. This, to the 
eyes of the Governor, seemed too preposterous a scheme, acknowledging at 
the same time the justice of the objections, he, therefore, vetoed the bill, 
but informed the complainants that another one, locating the county seat 
at Fairfield, would be favorably considered. Thus, for the present, all 
heart-burnings were ameliorated, and ruffles smoothed, and the question 
finally set at rest by the Act of the Legislature, approved March 28, 1874, 
whose first section pronounces the doom of Vallejo, in the following ver- 
dict : " Tii£ county seat of Solano County shall be Fairfield, in said county." 


In the old days, long ago, somewhere in the year 1817, as has been shown 
in another part of this work, Jose Sanchez, then a Lieutenant in the Span- 
ish Army, was despatched with a small force to subjugate the Suisun tribe 
of Indians, an expedition which was attended with but little loss on one 
side, and sad havoc on the other. As time dragged out its weary course, 
but little was gained ; the aboriginals were coerced into the service of their 
taskmasters, and without doubt endured many a torture of mind and body, 
when brought under the yoke of the Mexican Government. It is not for a 
moment to be- imagined that, though the savages were driven into bondage, 
they suffered all the distress supposed to be a part and parcel of their thral- 
dom ; this is not the case ; for General Vallejo, who had the lands of Suscol 
granted to him, held as lenient a sway over his aboriginal vassals as was 
possible under the circumstances ; and, indeed, was the first to prove the 
soothing influences of even a partial civilization ; yet, these people have 
now vanished, whither it is impossible to trace ; the advent of a dominant 
race was more than they could cope with; hence, they are nowhere to be 



found ; and it is only at distances, few and far between, that traces of their 
former locations are to be discovered. It is believed that those who inhab- 
ited the valleys with which we have especially to deal, were thinned by the 
hostilities in which they were engaged with the Spaniards, materially aided 
by a djecimating scourge of small-pox that carried off numbers of the half- 
fed and ill-clothed savages. This epidemic broke out in the year 1839, and 
such was the devastation which ensued that almost an entire race was ship- 
wrecked, leaving but few survivors of the catastrophe. They died so rap- 
idly that the usual funeral rites were abandoned: huge pits were dug, and 
the pestilential corpses placed therein by twenties while they were covered 
up, when filled, with a rude mound of earth ; many of them forsook the 
land of their birth, now become accursed on account of the presence of the 
odious intruder ; their wives and daughters, by the maltreatment received 
at the hands of these half -civilized soldiers from the Spanish Main, had 
ceased to bear children, and thus they drifted out of ken, until now they 
are a thing of the past, their presence in Solano County being at best but a 
memory which only lingers in the mind of the early pioneer. 

A short distance from the small town of Rockville, situated at the foot of 
Suisun valley, on the property of Lewis Pierce, stood a rude cross, which 
was popularly believed to mark the resting place of Sem-Yeto, otherwise 
Francis Solano, the Chief of the Suisuns. It is said that this tribe removed 
in 1850 to Napa county, taking with them all their grain, to the amount 
of several hundreds of bushels which had been held in reserve in their rude 
granaries near the above-mentioned site. This exodus would appear to 
mark the arrival of the hated white man. 

It has long been, and in all human probability, it will be many a year 
before it shall be authentically decided who was the first settler in Solano 
county. That General Vallejo and his troops were the actual pioneers of 
the district now known as Solano, is conceded on every hand ; but they 
can scarcely be classed among the settlers, for though a great district of 
some ninety thousand acres had been granted to him by the Mexican Gov- 
ernment, still, he never had, until later, any actual domicile in the county, 
his residence being at Sonoma, whither he had been ordered to fix his head- 
quarters, and lay out a town. 

The people immediately succeeding the aboriginal Indians were Span- 
iards ; or, more properly speaking, natives of Mexico, a race who were by 
no means calculated to improve and lay out a new country. Born in a warm 
and enervating climate, they were prone to pass their days in indolence. 
To be able to get sufficient food to allay the pangs of hunger and enough 
of water to assuage their thirst was to them satiety. In their own land 
they had made no change, nor in any way advanced their home interests by 
any civilizing influence save that of a forced Christianity, since the days 
when Montezuma was so barbarously and treacherously murdered by Cortez 


and his pirate crew ; therefore, this country wherein they had cast their lot, 
was allowed to rest in its state of tangled confusion. Happily all of those 
who came from this southern clime were not of this somniferous kind, as 
the following remarks will show. The Baca (now pronounced Vaca, and in 
some law deeds Americanized into Barker) and Pefia family arrived in Los 
Angeles, and after a residence of one year, came, in 1841, to the valley 
which now bears the name of the former, and there settled, building adobe 
houses for themselves ; that of Juan Felipe Pefia being constructed in 
Laguna (Lagoon) valley, and Manuel Baca's about one mile north-east there- 
from. These structures still stand on their original sites, the former being 
occupied by the widow of Pefia, while the latter is the dwelling of Westley 
Hill. In the succeeding year (1842) there arrived the Armijo family, who 
took up their grant in the Suisun valley, built an adobe, and entered into 
residence about five miles north-west of Fairfield, the present county seat. 
With these three families to take the lead, others, as a matter of course, 
followed, not so much to labor in their own interests and toil for their 
wealthier fellows, but that they loved the dolce far niente mode of living 
to be found on the Haciendas of the rich. A certain amount of state was 
maintained by the rancheros of those days, which they had learned from 
the splendor-loving cavaliers of old Spain ; they seldom moved abroad ; 
but when they did, it was upon a handsomely caparisoned horse, with at- 
tendant out-riders, armed, to protect their lord from wild animals, which 
infested the country. The earlier locators of land brought with them herds 
of cattle, which, in the natural sequence of things, became roving bands of 
untamed animals that provided the Spanish master and his servile crew 
with meat ; while enough grain was not so much cultivated as grown, to 
to keep them in food, as it were, from day to day. Their mode of travel- 
ing was entirely on horseback ; accommodation there was none ; when 
halting for the night, an umbrageous tree was their roof ; the fertile valleys 
their stable and pasture ; while, when food was required, to slay an ox or a 
deer, was the matter of a few moments. 

Mention has been made of the adobe houses of the early Californians. 
Let us consider one of these primitive dwellings : Its construction was 
beautiful in its extreme simplicity. The walls were fashioned of large 
sun-dried bricks, made of that black loam known to settlers in the Golden 
State as adobe soil, mixed with straw, with no particularity as to species, 
measuring about eighteen inches square and three in thickness ; these were 
cemented with mud, plastered within with the same substance, and white- 
washed when finished. The rafters and joists were of rough timber, with 
the bark simply peeled off and placed in the requisite position, while the 
residence of the wealthier classes were roofed with tiles of a convex shape, 
placed so that the one should overlap the other and thus make a water- 
shed ; or, later, with shingles, the poor cententing themselves with a thatch 


of tide, fastened down with thongs of bullocks' hide. The former modes of 
covering were expensive — the Pena family, it is said, having given a man a 
considerable piece of land for shingling their house — and none but the 
opulent could afford the luxury of tiles. When completed, however, these 
mud dwellings will stand the brunt, and wear and tear of many decades, as 
can be evidenced by the number which are still occupied in out-of-the-way 
corners of the county. 

Thus were these solitary denizens of what is now the prolific garden 
known as Solano county, housed in the midst of scenery which no pen can 
describe nor limner paint. The county, be it in what valley soever we wot, 
was one interminable grain field ; mile upon mile, acre after acre, the wild 
oats grew in marvelous profusion, in many places to a prodigious height — 
one great glorious green of wild waving corn — high over head of the way- 
farer on foot and shoulder high with the equestrian. Wild flowers of every 
prismatic shade charmed the eye, while they vied with each other in the 
gorgeousness of their colors and blended into dazzling splendor. One breath 
of wind and the wide emerald expanse rippled itself into space, while with 
a heavier breeze came a swell whose waves beat against the mountain sides, 
and, being hurled back, were lost in the far-away horizon. Shadow pursued 
shadow in a long merry chase. The air was filled with the hum of bees, 
the chirrupping of birds, an overpowering fragrance from the various 
plants, causing the smallest sounds, in the extreme solitude, to become like 
the roar of the ocean. 

The hill-sides, overrun as they were with a dense mass of almost impene- 
trable chapparal, were hard to penetrate ; trees of a larger growth struggled 
for existence in isolated sterile spots. On the plains but few oaks of any 
size were to be seen, a reason for this being found in the devastating 
influence of the prairie fires, which were of frequent occurrence, thus 
destroying the young shoots as they sprouted from the earth ; while the 
flames, with their forked tongues, scorched the older ones, utterly destroying 
them, leaving those only to survive the rude attack which were well ad- 
vanced in years. 

This almost boundless range was intersected throughout with trails 
whereby the traveler moved from point to point, progress being, as it were, 
in darkness on account of the height of the oats on either side, and rendered 
dangerous in the lower valleys by the bands of wild cattle, sprung from the 
stock introduced by the first settlers. These found food and shelter on the 
plains during the night; at dawn of day they repaired to the higher grounds 
to chew the cud and bask in the sunshine. At every yard, cayotes sprang 
from the feet of the voyager. The hissing of snakes, the frightened rush of 
lizards, all tended to heighten the sense of danger; while the flight of 
quail, the nimble run of the rabbit, and the stampede of antelope and elk, 
which abounded in thousands, added to the charm, making him, be he 


whosoever he may, pedestrian or equestrian, feel the utter insignificance of 
man, the " noblest work of God." 

At this time, as now, the rivers, creeks, and sloughs swarmed with fish 
of various kinds that had not, as yet, been rudely frightened by the whirl 
of civilization. The water at the Green Valley Falls, that favorite picnic 
resort of to-day, then leaped as it e'en does now from crag to crag, splashing 
back its spray in many a sparkle. Then, the shriek of the owl, the howl of 
the panther, or the gruff growl of the grizzly was heard. Now, the scene 
is changed ; it has ceased to be the lair of the wild beast, but civilization 
has introduced the innocent prattle of children, and the merry tones of 
womanhood, causing one to stay and ponder which be best, the former wild 
solitude, or the pleasing pleasant present sunshine of sparkling voices and 
sparkling water. 

Let us here introduce the following interesting resume of the experiences 
of the first of America's sons who visited California : 


The following: interesting: record of the adventures of the first American 
argonauts of California is abridged from an article which appeared in " The 
Pioneer" in the year 1855 : 

The first Americans that arrived in California, overland, were under the 
command of Jehediah S. Smith, of New York. Mr. Smith accompanied the 
first trapping and trading expedition, sent from St. Louis to the head 
waters of the Missouri by General Ashley. The ability and energy dis- 
played by him, as a leader of parties engaged in trapping beaver, were 
considered of so much importance by General Ashley that he soon proposed 
to admit him as a partner in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. The 
proposal was accepted and the affairs of the concern were subsequently 
conducted by the firm of Ashley & Smith until 1828, when Mr. William L. 
Sublette and Mr. Jackson, who had been engaged in the same business in 
the mountains, associated themselves with Mr. Smith and bought out 
General Ashley. They continued the business under the name of the 
Rocky Mountain Fur Company until the summer of 1830, when they 
retired from the mountains, disposing of their property and interest in the 
enterprise to Messrs. Fitzpatrick, Bridger, Solomon, Sublette, and Trapp. 
Mr. W. L. Sublette subsequently re-engaged in the business. 

In the spring of 1826 Mr. Smith, at the head of a party of about twenty- 
five men, left the winter quarters of the company to make a spring and fall 
hunt. Traveling westerly he struck the source of the Green river, which 
he followed down to its junction with Grand river, where the two form the 
Colorado. He there left the river and, traveling westerly, approached the 
Sierra Nevada of California. When traveling in that direction in search of 
a favorable point to continue his exploration towards the ocean, he crossed 


the mountains and descended into the great valley of California near its 
south-eastern extremity ; thus being not only the first American, but the 
first person who, from the east or north, had entered the magnificent valleys 
of the San Joaquin and Sacramento, or who had ever seen or explored 
any of the rivers falling into the bay of San Francisco. 

The following winter and spring he prosecuted with success the catching 
of beaver, on the streams flowing into the lakes of the Tulares, on the San 
Joaquin and tributaries, as also on some of the lower branches of the Sac- 
ramento. At the commencement of summer, the spring hunt having closed, 
he essayed to return, by following up the American river ; but the height 
of the mountains, and other obstacles which he encountered, induced him 
to leave the party in the valley during the summer. He accordingly re- 
turned ; and, having arranged their summer quarters on that river, near the 
present town of Brighton, prepared to make the journey, accompanied by a 
few well tried and hardy hunters, to the summer rendezvous of the Rocky 
Mountain Fur Company, on the eastern slope of the Rocky mountains. 
Selecting favorite and trusty horses and mules, Mr. Smith, with three com- 
panions, left camp to undertake one of the most arduous and dangerous 
journeys ever attempted. Ascending the Sierra Nevada, he crossed it at a 
point of elevation so great, that on the night of the 27th of June, most of 
his mules died from intense cold. He descended the eastern slope of the 
mountains, and entered upon the thirsty and sterile plains that were spread 
out before him in all their primitive nakedness ; but his horses were unable 
to accomplish the journey. 

Next to the Bedouin of the great African desert, if not equally with 
him, the trapper of the wilds of the American continent worships the noble 
horse, which not only proudly carries his owner up to the huge bison, when 
hunger presses the hunter, and swiftly flees from the overpowering horde of 
savages who seek his life ; but while the solitary, benighted, and fatigued 
hunter snatches a few shreds of repose, stands a trusty sentinel, with ears 
erect and penetrating eye, to catch the first movement of every object 
within its view, or with distended nostril, to inhale the odor of the red man 
with which the passing breeze is impregnated, and arouse his affectionate 
master. What, then, were the feelings of these men, as they saw their 
favorite steeds, which had long been their companions, and had been 
selected for their noble bearing, reeling and faltering on those inhospitable 
plains. Still worse when they were compelled to sever the brittle thread 
of life, and dissolve all those attachments and vivid hopes of future com- 
panionship and usefulness by the use of the rifle, which, at other times, 
with unerring aim, would have sent death to the man who should attempt 
to deprive them of their beloved animals. 

They hastily cut from the lifeless bodies a few pieces of flesh, as the only 
means of sustaining their own existence ; and in this manner they supported 
life until they passed the desert and arrived on foot at the rendezvous. 


A party was immediately organized, and, with such supplies as were 
required for the company, left for California, Mr. Smith hastening his de- 
parture. Traveling south, to avoid in some degree the snow and cold of 
winter, he descended and crossed Grand river, of the Colorado, and, contin- 
uing south-westerly, he approached the Colorado river from the east, near 
the camp of the Mohave Indians. In the attempt to transport his party, 
by means of rafts, over this river, in which he was aided by the Mohaves, 
who professed great friendship and hospitality, he was suddenly surprised 
by the treacherous Indians, who, upon a pre-concerted signal, simultaneously 
attacked the men who were on each bank of the river, and upon a raft then 
crossing, massacred the party, with the exception of two men and Mr. 
Smith, who escaped, and after great suffering arrived at the Mission of San 
Gabriel, in California. They were immediately arrested by the military 
officer at that place, because they had no passports. This functionary 
forwarded an account of the arrival and detention of the foreigners to the 
commandant of San Diego, who transmitted the same to General Echandia, 
then Governor and Commander-in-Chief of California. 

After a harassing delay Mr. Smith was permitted to proceed to Monterey, 
and appear before the Goverrior. Through the influence and pecuniary 
assistance of Captain John Cooper, an American, then resident of Monterey, 
he was liberated, and having procured such supplies as could be obtained in 
that place, partially oh account of beaver-fur to be sent from the summer 
quarters on the Sacramento river, and partly on credit, he hired a few men 
and proceeded to the camp of the party which he had previously left in the 
Sacramento valley. After forwarding the fur to Monterey, he travelled up the 
Sacramento, making a most successful hunt up this river and its tributaries 
within the valley. Ascending the western sources of the Sacramento, he 
passed Shasta mountain, when he turned westerly and arrived on the coast, 
which he followed south to the Umpqua river. While Mr. Smith and two men 
were in a canoe, with two or three Indians, engaged in examining the river 
to find a crossing, his camp was unexpectedly surprised by the Indians, who 
had, up to this time, shown the most friendly disposition, and the entire 
party, with the exception of one man, were murdered. Mr. Smith and the 
men with him in the canoe, after wandering many days in the mountains, 
where they were obliged to secrete themselves by day and travel by night, 
to avoid the Indians, who were scouring the country in pursuit, succeeded 
in escaping from their vicinity, and arrived at Fort Vancouver, a post of 
the Hudson's Bay Company, on the Columbia river. The man who escaped 
from the camp at the massacre of the party was badly wounded, and without 
arms to defend himself or procure food, succeeded in sustaining life and 
making his way through many vicissitudes for a period of thirty-eight days, 
when he reached Fort Vancouver. On his arrival there Mr. Smith con- 
tracted with the superintendent to sell him the large quantity of fur which 


had fallen into the hands of the Indians on the Umpqua, provided he would 
assist in recovering it, and to furnish a guide to lead a trapping party into 
the Sacramento valley. A company was fitted out under the command of 
Lieutenant McLeod, which proceeded to the scene of disaster, and after re- 
covering the fur, with which Mr. Smith returned to the fort, continued 
south, under the guidance of one of Smith's men, to the Sacramento valley, 
where a most valuable hunt was made. A large number of horses from 
California were also obtained, with which the party attempted to return in 
the fall of 1822. In crossing the mountain they were overtaken by a violent 
snow-storm, in which they lost all their horses. From the hasty and un- 
suitable manner in which they attempted to secrete their valuable stock of 
fur from the observation and discovery of the Indians or other body of 
trappers, it was found in a ruined state by a party sent to convey it to the 
fort in the following spring, and McLeod was discharged from the service of 
the company for his imprudence in attempting to cross the mountains so 
late in the fall. 

Another band was fitted out from Fort Vancouver, by the Hudson 
Bay Co., under Captain Ogden, of New York, who for some time had been 
in the employ of that corporation, with which Mr. Smith left the fort on 
his final departure from the Pacific shore, for the rendezvous of the Rocky 
Mountain Fur Co. This company traveled up Lewis river, in the direction 
of the South Pass, when Mr. Smith pursuing his journey with a few men, 
Captain Ogden turned south, and traveling along the eastern base of the 
Sierra Nevada, entered the valley of the Tulares, on the trail which Smith 
had made in 1826. McLeod having left the valley before he was en- 
countered by Ogden, who spent the winter of 1828-9, and the following 
summer returned to the Columbia river with a valuable hunt. 

One of the survivors of the massacre of Smith's party on the Rio Colorado 
remained in California. He was a blacksmith by trade, and obtained em- 
ployment at the Missions of San Gabriel and San Luis Key. His name was 
Galbraith, and while in the mountains previous to his advent to California, 
was recognized as the most fearless of that brave class of men with whom 
he was associated. His stature was commanding, and the Indians were 
awed by his athletic and powerful frame, while the display of his Herculean 
strength excited the surprise of all. Many were the incidents that occurred 
in California during his residence, of which he was the principal actor. On 
one occasion, while employed at the Mission of San Luis Bey, he became 
riotous while under the exciting influence of agwadiente, and was warned 
that unless he conducted himself with greater propriety it would be necessary 
to confine him in the guard-house. This served to exasperate instead of to 
quiet his unruly passions. A corporal with two men were ordered to arrest 
Galbraith. On their arrival at the shop, they found the follower of Vulcan 
absorbed in anathemas, which he was pouring fprth in rapid succession 


against the Reverend Father, soldiers, and neophites. Having delivered 
himself he enquired what they wanted. On the corporal's replying that he 
had been sent to conduct him to the guard-house, Galbraith seized a sledge, 
and swaying it above his head rushed upon the soldiers, who, intimidated at 
the gigantic size of the blacksmith, whose broad and deep chest was swell- 
ing with infuriated passion, horror stricken fled in dismay. With uplifted 
hammer he pursued them across the court of the Mission, and to the guard 
house in front of the Mission, where the affrighted corporal and soldiers 
arrived among their comrades, closely followed by the terrific mountaineer, 
who, alike fearless of Spanish soldiers as he had ever been of Indians, drove 
the trembling forces, a sergeant and twelve men, to their quarters, where 
they were imprisoned. He then hastily loaded with grape shot a fine piece 
of artillery which stood in front of the quarters, and directing its mouth 
towards the Mission, he gathered up the arms which the soldiers in the 
confusion had abandoned, and prepared to act as exigencies might require. 
The priest, seeing the course events were taking, sent a messenger to open 
communications with the victor, who, from the sudden burst of passion and 
violent exercise had dispelled the effects of the brandy, and with its removal 
his choler had subsided. 

In the early part of 1839 a company was made up in St. Louis, Missouri, 
to cross the plains to California consisting of D. G. Johnson, Charles Klein, 
David D. Dutton and William Wiggins. Fearing the treachery of the 
Indians this little party determined to await the departure of a party of 
traders in the employ of the American Fur Company, on their annual tour 
to the Rocky Mountains. At Westport they were joined by Messrs. Wright, 
Gegger, a Doctor Wiselzenius and his German companion, and Peter Lasson, 
as also two missionaires with thier wives and hired man, bound for Oregon, 
as well as a lot of what were termed fur trappers, bound for the mountains, 
the entire company consisting of twenty-seven men and two women. 

The party proceeded on their journey and in due time arrived at the 
Platte river, but here their groceries and breadstuff gave out ; happily the 
county was well stocked with food, the bill of fare consisting henceforward 
of buffalo, venison, cat-fish, suckers, trout, salmon, duck, pheasant, sage-fowl, 
beaver, hare, horse, grizzly bear, badger and dog. The historian of this expedi- 
tion thus describes this latter portion of the menu. " As much misunderstand- 
ing seems to prevail in regard to the last animal alluded to, a particular 
description of it may not be uninteresting. It is, perhaps, somewhat larger 
than the ground squirrel of California, is subterranean and gregarious in its 
habits, living in ' villages ; ' and from a supposed resemblance in the feet, 
as well as in the spinal termination, to that of the canine family, it is in 
popular language known as the prairie dog. But in the imposing technology 
of the mountain graduate it is styled the canus prairie cuss, because its 
cussed holes so often cause the hunter to be unhorsed when engaged in the 


After enduring a weary journey, accompanied by the necessary annoy- 
ances from treacherous and pilfering Souix, hail-storms, sand-storms, rain 
and thunder-storms, our voyagers arrived at Fort Hall, where they were 
disappointed at not being able to procure a guide to take them to California- 
This was almost a death-blow to the hopes of the intrepid travelers ; but 
having learned of a settlement on the Willamette river, they concluded to 
proceed thither in the following spring, after passing the winter at this fort- 
Here Klein and Doctor Wiselzenius determined to retrace their steps ; thus 
the party was now reduced to five in number — Johnson going ahead and 
leaving for the Sandwich Islands. In September, 1839, the party reached 
Oregon, and sojourned there during the winter of that year ; but in May, 
1840, a vessel arrived with Missionaries from England, designing to touch 
at California on her return, Mr. William Wiggins, now of Monterey, the 
narrator of this expedition, and his three companions from Missouri, among 
whom was Mr. David D. Dutton, now a resident of Vacaville township, in 
Solano county, got on board ; but Mr. W., not having a dollar, saw no hope 
to get away ; as a last resort, he sent to one of the passengers, a compara- 
tive stranger, for the loan of sixty dollars, the passage-money, when, to his 
great joy and surprise, the money was furnished — a true example of the 
spontaneous generosity of those early days. There were three passengers 
from Oregon, and many others who were " too poor to leave." In June, 
they took passage in the " Lausenne," and were three weeks in reaching 
Baker's bay, a distance of only ninety miles. On July 3rd, they left the 
mouth of the Columbia, and, after being out thirteen days, arrived at Bo- 
dega, now in Sonoma county, but then a harbor in possession of the Russians. 
Here a dilemma arose of quite a threatening character. The Mexican Com- 
mandant sent a squad of soldiers to prevent the party from landing, as they 
wished to do, for the captain of the vessel had refused to take them farther 
on account of want of money. At this crisis, the Russian Governor arrived, 
and ordered the soldiers to leave, be shot down, or go to prison ; they, there- 
fore, beat a retreat. Here were our travelers, at a stand-still, with no means 
of proceeding on their journey, or of finding their way out of the inhospit- 
able country ; they, therefore, penned the following communication to the 
American Consul, then stationed at Monterey : 

" Poet Bodega. July 25, 1840. 

" To the American Consul of California : 

" Dear Sir — We, the undersigned citizens of the United States, being 
desirous to land in the country, and having been refused a passport, and 
been opposed by the Government, we write to you, sir, for advice, and claim 
your protection. Being short of funds, we are not able to proceed further 
on the ship. We have concluded to land under the protection of the Rus- 
sians ; we will remain there fifteen days, or until we receive an answer from 


you, which we hope will be as soon as the circumstances of the case will 
permit. We have been refused a passport from General Vallejo. Our ob- 
ject is to get to the settlements, or to obtain a pass to return to our own 
country. Should we receive no relief, we will take up our arms and travel, 
consider ourselves in an enemy's country, and defend ourselves with our 

" We subscribe ourselves, 

" Most respectfully, 

David Dutton, 
John Stevens, 
Peter Lasson, 
. Wm. Wiggins, 
J. Wright." 

To John R. Wolfskill is the honor due of being the first American settler 
in Solano county. In 1838, his brother William and himself came to Los 
Angeles, and there remained until 1842, when the former received a grant of 
four leagues of land, situated on both sides of the Rio de los Putos, which, 
under a family arrangement, the latter located on in that year. John R. Wolf- 
skill, being, therefore, the actual American pioneer of the county, we have made 
it our duty to personally consult him by visiting him at his magnificent man- 
sion on Putah creek. Having ridden on horseback from Los Angeles, where 
he had been laboring for years for a miserable pittance, he drove with him 
ninety head of cattle, and ultimately arrived at his destination after a weary 
journey, cheered by no society save the growling of wild beasts and the low- 
ing of his own kine. When he arrived on the northern side of the bay of San 
Francisco, he made for Napa, and here procured a horse from George Yount, 
the pioneer of that county, and crossing the mountains, struck into Green 
valley, and thence into that of Suisun, and thus travelling, passed through 
the present site of Vacaville, and arrived on the banks of the Putah. On 
his attaining his haven, the country had the appearance of never having 
known the foot of man ; Indians there were none ; cattle there were none 
save those which he had brought with him ; but there were evidences on 
every hand of bears, and other wild animals. Mr. Wolfskill, inured as he 
had been to hardship almost from his birth, thought little of these things ; 
he had early served a hunter's craft in the wilds of unsettled Missouri, 
whither he had accompanied his father in the year 1809, from his native 
State of Kentucky; had learned the bitterness of being cooped up in 
Cooper's Fort, now Howard County, Mo., during the war of 1812, and 
could check-mate the tricky savage at his own game, and prove a match for 
the ferocious grizzly on his own ground. The first night on his new domain 
the lonely voyager passed high up on the fork of a tree away from the 
possible hug of prowling bears and the presence of creeping things ; the 


dawn found him with gun on shoulder on the search for food ; no time was 
lost in making arrangements for a permanent location. A position for his 
future home was chosen on a site near to that where now stands the house 
of his brother, Sarshel Wolf skill, and, half a mile from his own present 
dwelling ; what timber was necessary was cut, and in a short time, with 
the assistance of a stray Indian or Mexican, the pioneer hut was completed, 
and the energetic backwoodsman had once more the comfort of a roof over 
his head, with more ample security from the lurking animals without. 

At this time Wolfskill's nearest English-speaking neighbors were, on the 
one hand, at Napa, on the other, at Sutter's Fort, now Sacramento ; dis- 
tances of forty-five and thirty miles, respectively. Many a time was the 
never-ending solitude broken by a ride and return on the same day to these 
places, undertaken simply for the pleasure of a short conversation, which, 
when accomplished, again would recur a season of prolonged lonesomeness, 
varied only by the toil of clearing ground, the pursuit of game, and the 
prosecution of a deadly war with grizzlies, of which Mr. Wolfskill has killed 
a large number. One evening alone he having, in a distance of a mile and 
a half, while riding along the course of the Putah creek, sent five to their 
long account. 

Uncle John Wolfskill, as he is familiarly spoken of in the district in 
which he resides, carries his seventy-five years well, and, but for the extreme 
whiteness of his beard and a slight bend of his shoulders, would still be 
considered a man in the prime of life. Fortune has smiled upon him in the 
fullness of his years. Portions of his estate he has sold or rented, but he, 
with his son and brother, have a large tract under cultivation. His resi- 
dence stands nearly three hundred yards from the banks of the Putah creek, 
surrounded on every side by a splendid orchard of fruit trees of every 
variety, including oranges, olives, figs, and grapes, one vine having tendrils 
of forty feet in length that form a magnificent arbor ; while the building- 
is of fine, soft, smooth stone, found on the property in considerable quanti- 
ties, which has a beautiful appearance, and combines all the comfort of an 
old country establishment, with the advantages of habitation, which a 
glorious climate affords. 

Thus we have satisfactorily traced the establishment of the first American 
in Solano county, but emigration had not, as yet, come into California, for 
no sign of gold had then been found, nor, indeed, had the remarkable adapt- 
ability of the soil for agricultural as well as pastoral purposes been given 
to the world. Those who occupied the lands did so in peace, and continued 
so to do for years. It was not until 1846 that any positive influx in the 
population of the county made itself apparent. In this year Benicia was 
first settled, but ere relating this portion of Solano's history, let us draw 
attention to the circumstances which induced to the selection of the site by 
Doctor Robert Semple. 


In the early part of 1846 the United States and Mexico were at war. A 
fine fleet of the best ships of the Union proudly bore the flag on the Pacific 
ocean and along its coast. Fremont, the intrepid, with a small force of 
regulars, were engaged on the frontier of California on a supposed scientific 
survey. Great Britain and France, through their representatives, were 
watching with keen anxiety the out-turn of affairs, being ready at a 
moment's notice to take advantage of any loop-hole that might present 
itself, and assume a protectorate over the coast, or take forcible- possession 
of the country. The native Californians were not numerous ; those were 
divided in council, scattered over a vast territory and poorly equipped with 
defensive weapons. At this juncture affairs culminated to a point, and the 
little town of Sonoma was called upon to play a part in the history of the 
west, which was finally settled by the acquisition of California to the 
United States. 

On the morning of June lGth a band of thirty-three Americans, recruited 
from Sutter's Fort and the adjacent .districts, marched into the town of 
Sonoma, captured the garrison and took General Vallejo, the officer com- 
manding the Province of California, a prisoner. The company who carried 
out this hiffh-handed action were under the orders of one of their number 
named Merritt, whom they had elected to the position of Captain. They 
proceeded entirely on their responsibility, committed no excess, but still 
were determined in their policy. 

Being without authority/ to use the flag of the United States, a banner of 
their own was therefore resolved upon, and three men, Ben Duell, (now of 
Lake county) Todd, and Currie, manufactured the standard, the two former, 
who were saddlers it is believed, sewing the stripes of red, white, and blue 
together, while they with the bear, from which the color received its name, 
were painted by the latter. A narrator of these events naively remarks : 
" The material of which the stripes were made was not, as has been stated, 
an old red flannel petticoat, but was new flannel and white cotton, which 
Duell got from Mrs. W. B. Elliott, who had been brought to the town of Sono- 
ma, her husband, W. B. Elliott, being one of the bear-flag party. Some blue 
domestic was found elsewhere and used in making the flag. The drawing 
was rudely done, and, when finished, the bear resembled a pig as much as 
the object for which it was intended." The idea of adopting the insignia of 
a bear was that having once entered the fight, there should be no surrender 
until the thorough emancipation of California was accomplished. The 
bear-flag is still preserved as a choice relic by the Society of California 
Pioneers, and on notable occasions it sees the light in a procession by the 

In the meantime after a few fights, and the murder of one or two of the 
independents, Fremont made his appearance on the scene, and fitted out an 
expedition to pursue the Californians whicn he did with much vigoi', finally 


driving Castro, their commander, with his forces, out of the district. While 
these events were being enacted, the American flag was hoisted at Monterey 
on July 7th, by direction of Commodore Sloat ; on the following day it was 
opened to the breeze on the plaza at Yerba Buena, and, on July 10th, the 
revolutionists received one with every demonstration of joy ; down came the 
flag of independence, the inartistic bear-flag, and up went the stars and 
stripes, thus completing the conquest of the district of Sonoma of which 
Solono county then formed a portion. 

The detachment to escort General Vallejo to Sutter's Fort, wherein he 
was to be held as a prisoner of war, was placed under the command of 
Doctor Robert Semple, then a captain serving under the bear flag, who, 
while proceeding by boat along the shores of the Carquinez straits, casually 
observed to the general on the remarkable eligibility of the present site of 
Benicia as one on which to found a city. At the time the matter was 
referred to simply as a topic of conversation; on the return journey, how- 
ever, after the short detention of the- General, he once more brought up the 
subject, which terminated in his promise to make a concession for that 
purpose of five miles of water front and one in depth ; this we find on 
reference to the county records was finally carried out, by deed of gift, on 
May 19th, 1847, the name of Thomas 0. Larkin, consul for the United State 
at Monterey, being associated with those of General Vallejo and Doctor 
Robert Semple, the deed containing certain provisions which will be treated 
on in the history of the city of Benicia. 

Thus the first town in Solono county was located and soon after settled. 

We must now return to the doings of the year 1846. In this year 
immigration was greater than on any previous one, among those arriving 
being Landy Alford and Nathan Barbour. What their experiences were let 
us here relate. Starting from Andrews county, Missouri, for this, then 
almost " undiscovered country," they crossed the plains and came to the 
banks of the Feather river in October, 1846. The waters being in flood it 
was too deep to ford, they, therefore, with that wit which becomes sharpened 
by a stern necessity, devised the following mode of reaching the opposite 
bank. Taking the box, or bed of their wagons, they fastened to each corner 
an empty keg, thus making a raft or float ; in this they conveyed, not only 
all their household goods, but also their entire families, the live stock which 
they were bringing with them being compelled to swim across. Not long 
after this our party found themselves at Wolfskill's ranch, already referred 
to, and here they divided, the Alford's going to Sonoma accompanied by 
Barbour's wife, while Barbour remained behind for a few days, and finally 
enlisted in the battalion that Fremont was at the time recruiting, with 
which he went to Sacramento and served five months. In the end of March, 
1847, Mr. Barbour followed his friends to Sonoma where he, with Alford, 
framed two houses which they intended erecting on a couple of lots given 


them for the purpose. On one occasion while at work shaping out their 
posts and beams, they were found by Thomas 0. Larkin who made them an 
offer of a startling nature, this being no less than a proposal to take both 
their houses to Benicia free of charge, to give them one thousand dollars 
each for them, they having the privilege of living in them during the 
winter, only with this simple proviso, that they should be erected on certain 
specified lots in that city. The offer was accepted and they moved to 
Benicia in October, 1847. With the same train in which started for Cali- 
fornia those mentioned above, traveled Daniel M. Berry, who with his 
family arrived in September, 1846, and at once proceeded to Rio Vista, but 
in the following spring removed from there and came into the Suisun valley 
and pitched a tent on what is now the farm of Joseph Blake, situated about 
six miles west of Fairfield. In this year there also located in Vaca valley, 
Albert Lyon, John Patton, J. P. Long, Willis Long, and Clay Long, who 
commenced the business of stock-raisers. At this time there also lived in 
the adobe at Rockville, formerly occupied by Solano, the proselytized chief 
of the Suisuns, one Jesus Molino, an Indian who farmed some land. 

Captain Von Pfister, a most worthy gentleman of Benicia, who arrived in 
that city in the month of August, 1847, possesses a set of books, a day-book 
and journal, used in his business, which impart a fund of information in 
regard to the early settlement of the county, and in a measure serves as a 
directory for that year. When the captain landed in Benicia, one William 
McDonald was then building an adobe, which Von Pfister rented on com- 
pletion, and opened the first store in the county. From this establishment 
the neighborhood for many miles around was supplied, including residents 
in Contra Costa, notably the Spanish family of Martinez, who founded the 
pleasant town of that name on the opposite shore of the Carquinez Straits. 
The books above referred to inform us that there then lived in the county the 
following gentlemen — of course there were others whom it has been impos- 
sible to trace — all of whom did business at this pioneer emporium. Robert 
Semple, Edward Higgings, Charles Hand, Benjamin Furbush, David A* 
Davis, William Bryan, George Stevens, James Thompson, Stephen Cooper, 
F. S. Holland, Landy Alford, Benjamin McDonald, William Russell, William 
Watson, William I. Tustin, Henry Mathews, while Ward & Smith, and 
Robert A. Parker, then the principal merchants of Yerba Buena, were the 
wholesale establishments with which Von Pfister did business. 

The foregoing names are produced merely to give a sort of general idea 
of who some of the original settlers were, but it must be by no manner of 
means inferred that they were the first to locate in that section. It is fair 
to assume that Doctor Robert Semple was the first to appear with any 
defined ideas of taking up a permanent residence on the spot, for to him 
and two others did the land belong ; there were no houses wherein to live ; 
so those who came were per force content to dwell in their wagons and 


tents. Yet this was for no lengthened period, as in 1847 we find on record 
that houses were constructed by William I. Tustin, now of San Francisco. 
Robert Semple, William Bryan, William Russell, Thomas O. Larkin, Stephen 
Cooper, Nathan Barbour, Landy Alford, and a man named Benedict. 

In this year, too, Samuel Green McMahon arrived in the northern part of 
the county and located on certain lands in the WolfskiD grant, on Putah 
creek, while in the previous year Don Juan Bidwell, an American, who had 
adopted a Spanish synonym of his name, and had served against the Bear- 
flag party with the Spaniards, received a grant of land in what is now Rio 
Vista township. About this time William McDonald, of Benicia, purchased 
a farm in the Sulphur Spring valley, on what was for many years after 
known as the Wood's ranch, and there broke the first ground in the south- 
ern portion of the county, and produced crops, principally of vegetables, 
which were a marvel to those early residents who had come from the 
Eastern agricultural States. 

In the fall of the year 1847, Captain Von Pfister, traveling overland, 
visited the site of the present State Capital. His journey was made through 
that portion of the district now known as Solano County, he having started 
from Benicia and forded the Rio de los Putos, somewhere between Wolf- 
skill's house and that portion of the marsh where the creek loses itself in 
the tules, presumably at the point where the old Spanish trail crossed that 
stream. There were then only five houses between these two points, at 
four of which the captain visited. The first was that of the Indian, Jesus 
Molino, at Rockville ; here he found about one hundred acres of ground 
under cultivation, producing beans, peas, wheat, barley, and other cereal and 
bulbous plants with which the producer was wont to purchase his necessary 
stores ; his farming implements were of the most primitive kind, the plough 
used being the crooked limb or elbow of a tree, armed with a pointed, 
rough, iron socket, which was unevenly dragged through the soil. He next 
visited the Berry ranch, in Suisun valley, and here found a clap-board house, 
the only one in the district of the kind ; and hence he proceeded in turn 
to the ranches of Armijo and Vaca and Pena, and made his exit from the 
county as already described. 

This year of 1847 may be said to close the pre-historic days of the State, 
for it was not until the following year that California became a household 
word and had her name tremblingly and hopefully pronounced by eager 
lips. As things were then, matters progressed smoothly, but it was little 
calculated what was in store for the county in the future ; what there was 
we shall attempt to define as we go on. 

The year 1848 is one wherein reached the nearest attainment of the dis- 
covery of the Philosopher's stone, which it has been the lot of Christendom 
to witness : on January 19th gold was discovered, at Coloma, on the 
American river, and the most unbelieving and cold-blooded were, by the 

> -«>*« 

(^^ ^ 




middle of spring, irretrievably bound in its fascinating meshes. The wonder 
is that the discovery was not made earlier. Emigrants, settlers, hunters, 
practical miners, scientific exploring parties, had camped on, settled in, 
hunted through, dug in and ransacked the region, yet never found it ; the 
discovery was entirely accidental. Franklin Tuthill, in his History of Cal- 
ifornia, tells the story in these words : Captain Sutter had contracted with 
James W. Marshall, in September, 1847, for the construction of a saw-mill, 
in Coloma. In the course of the winter a dam and race were made, but 
when the water was let on, the tail-race was too narrow. To widen and 
deepen it, Marshall let a strong current of water directly into the race, 
which bore a large body of mud and gravel to the foot. 

On the 19th of January, 1848, Marshall observed some glittering particles 
in the race, which he was curious enough to examine. He called five car- 
penters on the mill to see them ; but though they talked over the possibility 
of its being gold, the vision did not inflame them. Peter L. Weimar claims 
that he was with Marshall when the first piece of the " yellow stuff " was 
picked up. It was a pebble, weighing six pennyweights and eleven grains. 
Marshall gave it to Mrs. Weimar, and asked her to boil it in saleratus water 
and see what came of it. As she was making soap at the time, she pitched 
it into the soap kettle. About twenty-four hours afterwards it was fished 
out and found all the brighter for its boiling. 

Marshall, two or three weeks later, took the specimens below, and gave 
them to Sutter, to have them tested. Before Sutter had quite satisfied 
himself as to their nature, he went up to the mill, and, with Marshall, made 
a treaty with the Indians, buying of them their titles to the region round 
about, for a certain amount of goods. There was an effort made to keep the 
secret inside the little circle that knew it, but it soon leaked out. They had 
many misgivings and much discussion whether they were not making 
themselves ridiculous ; yet by common consent all began to hunt, though 
with no great spirit, for the " yellow stuff " that might prove such a prize. 

In February, one of the party went to Yerba Buena, taking some of the 
dust with him. Fortunately he stumbled upon Isaac Humphrey, an old 
Georgian gold-miner, who, at the first look at the specimens, said they were 
gold, and that the diggings must be rich. Humphrey tried to induce some 
of his friends to go up with him to the mill, but they thought it a crazy ex- 
pedition, and left him to go alone. He reached there on the 7th of March. 
A few were hunting for gold, but rather lazily, and the work on the mill 
went on as usual. Next day he began " prospecting," and soon satisfied 
himself that he had struck a rich placer. He made a rocker, and then com- 
menced work in earnest. 

A few days later, a Frenchman, Baptiste, formerly a miner in Mexico, 
left the lumber he was sawing for Sutter at Weber's, ten miles east of 
Coloma, and came to the mill. He agreed with Humphrey that the region 



was rich, and, like him, took to the pan and the rocker. These two men 
were the competent practical teachers of the crowd that flocked in to see 
how they did it. The lesson was easy, the process simple. An hour's 
observation fitted the least experienced for working to advantage. 

Slowly and surely, however, did these discoveries creep into the minds of 
those at home and abroad ; the whole civilized world was set ao-oof with the 
startling news from the, shores of the Pacific. Young and old were seized 
with the California fever ; high and low, rich and poor, were infected by it ; 
the prospect was altogether too gorgeous to contemplate. Why they could 
actually pick up a fortune for the seeking it ! Positive affluence was within 
the grasp of the weakest ; the very coast was shining with the bright metal 
which could be obtained by picking it out with a knife. 

Says Tuthill : Before such considerations as these, the conservatism of 
the most stable bent. Men of small means, whose tastes inclined them to 
keep out of all hazardous schemes and uncertain enterprises, thought they 
saw duty beckoning them around the Horn, or across the plains. In many 
a family circle, where nothing but the strictest econonomy could make the 
two ends of the year meet, there were long and anxious consultations, 
which resulted in selling ofT a piece of the homestead or the woodland, or 
the choicest of the stock, to fit out one sturdy representative to make a for- 
tune for the family. Hundreds of farms were mortgaged to buy tickets for 
the land of gold. Some insured their lives and pledged their policies for an 
outfit. The wild boy was packed off hopefully. The black sheep of the 
flock was dismissed with a blessing, and the forlorn hope that, with a 
change of skies, there might be a change of manneis. The stay of the 
happy household said " Good-bye, but only for a year or two," to his charge. 
Unhappy husbands availed themselves cheerfully of this cheap and reput- 
able method of divorce, trusting Time to mend or mar matters in their 
absence. Here was a chance to begin life anew. Whoever had begun it 
badly, or made slow headway on the right course, might start again in a 
region where Fortune had not learned to coquette with and dupe her 

The adventurers generally formed companies, expecting to go overland or 
by sea to the mines, and to dissolve partnership only after a first trial of luck 
together in the " diggings." In the Eastern and Middle States they would buy 
up an old whaling-ship, just ready to be condemned to the wreckers, put in 
a cargo of such stuff as they must need themselves, and provisions, tools, or 
goods, that must be sure to bring returns enough to make the venture pro- 
fitable. Of course, the whole fleet rushing together through the Golden 
Gate, made most of these ventures profitless, even when the guess was 
happy as to the kind of supplies needed by the Californians. It can hardly 
be believed what sieves of ships started, and how many of them actually 
made the voyage. Little river-steamers, that had scarcely tasted salt water 


before, were fitted out to thread the Straits of Magellan, and these were 
welcomed to the bays and rivers of California, whose waters some of them 
ploughed and vexed busily for years afterwards. 

Then steamers, as well as all manner of sailing vessels, began to be adver- 
tised to run to the Isthmus ; and they generally went crowded to excess 
with passengers, some of whom were fortunate enough, after the toilsome 
ascent of the Chagres river, and the descent either on mules or on foot to 
Panama, not to be detained more than a month waiting for the craft that 
had rounded the Horn, and by which they were ticketed to proceed to San 
Francisco. But hundreds broke down under the horrors of the voyage in 
the steerage, contracted on the Isthmus the low typhoid fevers incident to 
tropical marshy regions, and died. 

The overland emigrants, unless they came too late in the season to the 
Sierras, seldom suffered as much, as they had no great variation of climate 
on their route. They had this advantage, too, that the mines lay at the end 
of their long road ; while the sea-faring, when they landed, had still a 
weary journey before them. Few tarried longer at San Francisco than was 
necessary to learn how utterly useless were the curious patent mining con- 
trivances they had brought, and to replace them with the pick, shovel 
pan, and cradle. If anyone found himself destitute of funds to go farther, 
there was work enough to raise them by. Labor was honorable ; and the 
daintiest dandy, if he were honest, could not resist the temptation to work 
where wages were so high, pay so prompt, and employers so flush. 

There were not lacking in San Francisco, grumblers who had tried the 
mines and satisfied themselves that it cost a dollar's worth of sweat and 
time, and living exclusively on bacon, beans, and " slap-jacks," to pick a 
dollar's worth of gold out of rock, or river bed, or dry ground ; but they 
confessed that the good luck which they never enjoyed abode with others. 
Then the display of dust, slugs, and bars of gold in the public gambling- 
places ; the sight of men arriving every day freighted with belts full, which 
they parted with so freely as men only can when they have got it easily ; 
the testimony of the miniature rocks ; the solid nuggets brought down from 
above every few days, whose size and value rumor multiplied according to 
the number of her tongues. The talk, day and night, unceasingly and 
exclusively of " gold, easy to get and hard to hold," inflamed all new 
comers with the desire to hurry on and share the chances. They chafed at 
the necessary detentions. They nervously feared that all would be gone 
before they should arrive. 

The prevalent impression was that the placers would give out in a year 
or two. Then it behoved him who expected to gain much to be among the 
earliest on the ground. When experiment was so fresh in the field, one 
theory was about as good as another. An hypothesis that lured men per- 
petually farther up the gorges of the foot-hills, and to explore the canons 


of the mountains, was this : that the gold which had been found in the 
beds of rivers, or in gulches, through which streams once ran, must have 
been washed down from the places of original deposits farther up the 
mountains. The higher up the gold-hunter went, then, the nearer he 
approached the source of supply. 

To reach the mines from San Francisco, the course lay up San Pablo and 
Suisun bays, and the Sacramento — not then, as now, a yellow, muddy 
stream, but a river pellucid and deep — to the landing for Sutter's Fort; 
and they who made the voyage in sailing vessels, thought Mount Diablo 
significantly named so long it kept them company and swung its shadow 
over their path. From Sutter's the most common route was across the 
broad, fertile valley to the foot-hills, and up the American or some one of 
its tributaries ; or, ascending the Sacramento to the Feather and the Yuba, 
the company staked off a claim, pitched its tent or constructed a cabin, and 
set up its rocker, or began to oust the river from a portion of its bed. Good 
luck might hold the impatient adventurers for a whole season on one bar ; 
bad luck scattered them always farther up. 
* * * * * *** 

Hoards sought the mining camps, which did not stop to study roads. 
Traders came in to supply the camps, and, not very fast, but still to some 
extent, mechanics and farmers to supply both traders and miners. So, as 
if by magic, within a year or two after the rush began, the map of the 
country was written thick with the names of settlements. 

Some of these were the nuclei of towns that now flourish and promise to 
continue as long as the State is peopled. Others, in districts where the 
placers were soon exhaused, were deserted almost as hastily as they were 
begun, and now no traces remain of them except the short chimney-stack, 
the broken surface of the ground, heaps of cobble-stones, rotting, half- 
buried sluice boxes, empty whisky bottles, scattered playing cards, and 
rusty cans. 

The " fall of '49 and spring of '50 " is the era of California history, which 
the pioneer always speaks of with warmth. It was the free-and-easy age 
when everybody was flush, and fortune, if not in the palm, was only just 
beyond the grasp of all. Men lived chiefly in tents, or in cabins scarcely 
more durable, and behaved themselves like a generation of bachelors. The 
family was beyond the mountains ; the restraints of society had not yet 
arrived. Men threw off the masks they had lived behind and appeared out 
in their true character. A few did not discharge the consciences and con- 
victions they had brought with them. More rollicked in a perfect freedom 
from those bonds which good men cheerfully assume in settled society for 
the good of the greater number. Some afterwards resumed their temperate 
and steady habits, but hosts were wrecked before the period of their license 


Very rarely did men, on their arrival in the country, begin to work at 
their old trade or profession. To the mines first. If fortune favored they 
soon quit for more congenial employments. If she frowned, they might 
depart disgusted, if they were able ; but oftener, from sheer inability to 
leave the business, they kept on, drifting from bar to bar, living fast, reck- 
less, improvident, half -civilized lives ; comparatively rich to-day, poor 
to-morrow ; tormented with rheumatisms and agues ; remembering dimly 
the joys of the old homestead ; nearly weaned from the friends at home, 
who, because they were never heard from, soon became like dead men in 
their memory ; seeing little of women and nothing of churches ; self-reliant, 
yet satisfied that there was nowhere any " show " for them ; full of enter- 
prise in the direct line of their business, and utterly lost in the threshhold 
of any other ; genial companions, morbidly craving after newspapers ; good 
fellows, but short-lived. 

Such was the maelstrom which dragged all into its vortex thirty years 
ago ! Now, almost the entire generation of pioneer miners, who remained 
in that business, has passed away, and the survivers feel like men who are 
lost and old before their time, among the new comers, who many be just as 
old, but lack their long, strange chapter of adventures. 

No history of a county in California would be complete without a record 
of the rush to this coast at the time of what is so aptly named the " gold 
fever;" hence use has been made of the graphic pen-picture quoted above. 
Where there were so many homeless, houseless wanderers, the marvel is 
not so much that thousands should have succumbed to sickness, as that 
there was no epidemic to sweep off the entire reckless population. 

In the winter of 1849-50 large numbers of miners repaired to Benicia> 
and there pitching their tents, plunged into the most head-long dissipation. 
Saloons and gambling hells were in full blast, large sums of money being 
spent on and in these canvass palaces, ornamented and embellished with the 
wildest display of meretricious splendor. In the spring of the year, when 
the weather opened, the majority returned to their will-o'-the-wisp pursuit 
after wealth in the mines, while those who remained, heart-sick at hope 
deferred, cast aside their rockers and picks, and betook themselves to the 
ploughshare, so to try their luck at fortune-making by the production of 
golden grain, as against the acquiring it from golden sand. In these years 
commenced the arrival, in numbers, of settlers in Solano county, a goodly 
share of her oldest and most worthy residents having each had, at one time 
or another, a long or a short spell at the mines, and truly do they love to 
narrate their experiences in these eventful years, which is usually done 
with a simplicity at once " child-like and bland." 

But to return to the settlement of Solano county : In 1848, John Stilts, 
who had two years previously visited the district, returned and settled in 
Green Valley, where he was shortly after followed by W. P. Durbin and 


Charles Ramsey. In the following spring came Landy Alford from Benicia 
to the Suisun Valley, and located on the farm now owned by Lewis Pierce. 
Alford was of that class of whom the most stolid citizens are made. He 
was a man brought up on the frontier, and, as usual with such characters, 
lacked those more refined qualities which education and contact with society 
brings. A man who was passionately fond of hunting, and when not 
engaged in the pursuit of deer, bear, or other wild animals, or recounting 
his exploits to interested listeners, was silent, reserved, and almost moody. 
After his coming to this township, and when civilization became more 
advanced and game became sparse, he pushed on to the valley of the San 
Joaquin, where he died a few years ago. He, with many of the early set- 
tlers, have been gathered to their fathers on the brighter shores of the Great 
Beyond. A few are left awaiting the summons to join those who have gone 
before, but who shared with them the hardships and privations incident to 
pioneer life in this part of the Pacific slope, erst the home of Solano and 
his tribe of Suisuns. 

In this year, too, there established themselves in Yaca valley, J. H., W. 
B., and Garard Long, who were soon after followed by Marshall M. Basye ; 
General J. B. Frisbie, too, at this time arrived in Benicia : while there were 
others, who it has been impossible to trace, arriving almost daily. Most of 
these have been gathered to their fathers ; while some have left the county 
to reside in other parts of the State. In the fall of 1850, John R. Wolfskill 
was joined by his brother Mathias, on his grant on Putah creek ; the same 
season Nathan Barbour transferred his residence to Suisun valley ; while in 
that year, among the arrivals in the county, were J. H. Bauman, W. A. 
Dunn, and his family (among whom was Alexander, the present County 
Clerk of Solano), who located in Fairfield in December, but afterwards 
moved permanently to Vaca valley ; Dr. Frisbie, and Paul K. Hubbs and 
his family, in Benicia ; S. W. Long, in Vacaville ; and Harvey Rice, of 

In 1850, Benicia had assumed considerable proportions as a city ; while, 
through the auspices of General Vallejo, another town, within seven miles 
of it, was commencing to spring into existence. This is now the city of 
Vallejo, which was to have been called Eureka, and at one time actually 
bore the name of Eden. It is known to all how this county became the 
possessor of the legislature — it fluctuating between Vallejo and Benicia, 
until it was gobbled up by Sacramento — the full history of these doings 
appear in another portion of the work ; and also to this period belongs the 
credit of seeing the erection of the first two-storied frame building in the 
county. This was built by Daniel M. Berry, in the summer of 1850, and is 
now occupied by his son, Elijah Berry ; it being located on the farm of 


Joseph Blake. The following years still saw the population on the increase ; 
in 1851, came E. F. Gillespie, to the upper end of Suisun valley, where he 
commenced farming and haying ; Robert and Thomas Brownlie, with their 
families, to Vallejo ; James G. Edwards, to Suisun, locating on the farm now 
owned by John McMullen ; Charles Ramsey, to Green valley ; about this 
time there settled, also, Captain Wing. In the following year, among those 
who cast their lot in the county, were W. G. Davisson, George A. Gillespie, 
the present Deputy County Clerk, a most worthy gentleman, and a complete 
encyclopaedia of information in the various affairs of the country since the 
date of his location in it ; J. B. Lemon, the present County Treasurer, in 
Green valley ; Christley Manka, in Suisun township ; Elijah S. Silvey, in 
Silvey ville, from whom that village and township takes its name ; and Dr. 
O. C. Udell, on Putah creek. At this epoch of the county's history, there 
was only one blacksmith shop ; it was situated at the foot of Suisun valley, 
and kept by J. M. Perry ; to this establishment had the farmers from miles 
around to come to get their ploughs repaired, their harrows mended, and 
horses shod, consuming, in many instances, two entire days. In 1852, the 
first store was opened in the Suisun valley, by J. W. Seaver, on the ground 
now occupied by Sam. Martin, which lessened the distance to procure the 
necessary commodities for existence. The country had now become well 
populated ; the wild oats of earlier years showing a commencement of van- 
ishing before the enterprise of the new-comers ; they for the while contented 
themselves with but scant covering from the rude winds ; a log cabin, of 
proscribed dimensions and primitive build, was all that the greater number 
could afford. True, John R. Wolf skill had already built a fine frame dwell- 
ing on the banks of Putah creek, the timber for which he had procured 
from Benicia, a distance of forty miles, which cost him a " bit" a foot, and 
for transporting which, he providing horses and wagons, he paid a driver 
sixteen dollars a day. The later arrivals were not thus blessed ; their mode 
of getting along was different. A few acres would, at the outset, be enclosed 
by a ditch and mound, with brushwood heaped on top, to protect the rising 
crops from the depredations of the wild oxen and other animals ; timber 
was not to be procured save under disadvantageous circumstances of fatigue 
and risk ; while a still greater enemy was ever to be feared in the firing of 
the uncut portions of the wild oats, which, when ignited, burned with 
fearful rapidity. Civilization had, however, made its impress upon the 
land. Hay was made ; grain was grown ; and though the markets were at 
a long distance from the producer, even at this early date small crafts found 
their way to the Suisun embarcadero, and transported the freight, to what 
was then, the thriving city of San Francisco. 


We quote from the abstract of the census of 1852, of the State of Cali- 
fornia, the following return, having reference to Solano county : 

Population 2,835 

Whites, male 2,324 

Whites, female 402 

Citizens, United States, over 21 years of age 1,298 

Negroes, male 26 

Negroes, female 2 

Mulattoes, male 35 

Mulattoes, female None. 

Indians, male 31 

Indians, female 15 

Foreign residents, male 790 

Foreign residents, female 101 

The quantity of land under cultivation in 1852, was five thousand nine 
hundred and forty-nine acres, which was situated chiefly in the Suscol, 
Sulphur Spring, Green, Suisun, Ulattis, Vaca, and Putah valleys. 

The number of horses, cattle, and live stock generally, is appended : 

Horses 1,957 

Mules 187 

Milch Cows 2,185 

Beef Cattle 1,085 

Hogs 2,264 

Sheep 2,000 

Oxen 1,149 

The quantity of produce raised in the county was : 

Bushels of Barley 105,630 

Bushels of Oats 13,870 

Bushels of Corn 3,555 

Bushels of Wheat 8,395 

Bushels of Rye 100 

Bushels bf Potatoes 25,905 

Tons of Hay ••••.. 2,146 

Number of Grape Vines 5,811 

Number of Fruit Trees 1,961 

Thus is seen what gigantic strides had been made towards the establish- 
ment of Solano county as a centre of agricultural production, and with 
what just pride may we now refer to those of our relations and friends who 
are still alive, who did so much towards bringing the valleys, and now some 
of the mountains, within the influence of the plough. Jt is not within the 


province of this work to follow individual by individual in his location in 
the county ; it has been a sufficiently intricate task to particularize those 
few whom we have enumerated ; how much more difficult, therefore, would 
it be, were it possible, even to account for the two thousand and more who 
were already settled in the county in the year 1852. As year followed 
year, the cry of immigration was "still they come;" as month succeeded 
month the wants of the communities were supplied. Churches were built, 
schools established; peace, order and good government were maintained as 
effectively as could be ; while the judicial system had been put into practi- 
cal operation. 

The first hotel opened in the county was naturally at Benicia, the then 
metropolis of Solano. It was carried on in an adobe house, by Major 
Stephen Cooper, and named the " California House." The Major kept it 
but for a short time, when it passed into the hands of Captain E. H. Von 
Pfister, at a rental of five hundred dollars a month. The first church was 
one for the Presbyterian order, constructed by the residents in 1849, the 
frame having been imported from one of the Eastern States, and occupied 
by Doctor Sylvester Woodbridge, now of San Francisco. The first school 
was opened in 1849. The first birth was that of a daughter to the wife of 
Nathan Barbour; the first marriage occurred on December 16, 1847, being 
that of Doctor Robert Semple to Miss Fannie Cooper, daughter of the Judge 
of the Court of First Instance, Major Stephen Cooper, at which there was 
considerable merriment ; and the first record of a death, is that of John 
Semple, a young man of twenty-one years of age, and son of the Doctor by 
a former marriage. 

In December, 1851, the plat of the town of Vacaville was filed, the origi- 
nal grantors of the land being sponsors for the same ; while in every portion 
of the county immigrants arrived, and locations taken up on all sides. Such, 
indeed, was the influx of settlers into these valleys, the fertility of which 
had already been noised abroad, that we find, in the year 1853, the estab- 
lishment of a post-office at Cordelia, a small village, which now only exists 
in name. In this year, Doctor S. K. Nurse established himself at a spot, 
which he named Nurse's Landing, now known as Denverton, where he 
built a residence, and in 1854, continued his enterprise by building a wharf 
of considerable size, and a store as well. 

Let us now consider what the prospects of the county were in 1855, 
as we gather from statistics. In that year the amount of land within the 
county, was 535,000 acres, of which there were under cultivation, 18,500 
acres, divided as follows : 

Mowed for Hay 4,000 acres— yield 6,000 Tons. 

Planted in Wheat 7,500 acres— yield 150,000 Bushels. 

Planted in Barley 5,200 acres— yield 156,000 Bushels. 

Planted in Oats 700 acres— yield 28,000 Bushels. 


Planted in Com 700 acres — yield 21,000 Bushels. 

Planted in Potatoes . . 200 acres — yield 30,000 Bushels. 

Planted in Onions ... 50 acres — yield 50 Tons. 

Planted in Broom-corn 135 acres — yield 

Planted in other crop. 26 acres — yield 

The estimated stock of animals was : 

Horses 3,000. 

Cattle 24,000. 

Mules 300. 

Sheep. 18,000. 

Goats 200. 

Hogs 17,000. 

While the value of animals slaughtered was approximately stated to be 
$100,000, an emphatic proof of the increase of population. This, however* 
did not rest here, railways were mooted, steamboats already plied to Suisun, 
which daily left loaded to the water's edge with produce for the San Fran- 
cisco market. Early every morning strings of wagons, sometimes of forty 
or fifty in number, arrived with large loads of grain and vegetables, which 
were borne down the muddy slough and through the vast bleak expanse of 
tule to the centre of traffic. Suisun was then the outlet for all the surroud- 
ing country ; the county, through the energies of successive governments? 
had been intersected in every direction by good roads, making travel easy 
and pleasant ; the fertile valleys were becoming more thickly peopled as 
day succeeded day ; a ready market was found for produce, and all went 
" merry as a marriage bell." The attention of the reader is called to the 
following report of the County Assessor in 1862 as an example of what 
remarkable progress was made in the first ten years of the agricultural 
history of Solano. 

Description. No. Acres. 

Valley Land adapted to tillage 292,000. 

Mountain and Hill Land suitable for grazing purposes.. . 118,440. 

Swamp and Overflowed Lands, lying principally on the 

eastern and southern side of the county, about 92,000. 

The Bays and Estuaries within the borders of the county 

cover the surface of 43,000. 

Total 545,440. 


Of the two hundred and ninety-two thousand acres of tillable land, 
there is not probably upon the face of the globe, so large an amount of 


farming land, lying in a compact form, that presents more alluring induce- 
ments to the husbandman than this. Experiments have proven it to be 
susceptable of the highest state of cultivation, yielding abundant harvests 
of the grains and fruits indigenous to every zone. Wheat, barley, oats, rye, 
corn, buckwheat, peas, beans, potatoes, yams, onions, etc., flourish luxuriantly 
while the growing of flax, hemp, tobacco, cotton, rice, broomcorn, and 
Chinese sugarcane, has been pronounced a success. Here also grow beauti- 
fully, the apple, peach, pear, plum, cherry, nectarine, quince, apricot, fig, 
orange, olive, pomegranite, pineapple, almond and prune trees ; and goose- 
berry, raspberry, strawberry, and grape vines, are yearly laden with fruit. 
We have according to statistics : 

Description. No. Acres. 

Land enclosed 115,774. 

Cultivated 44,454. 

In Wheat 14,256. 

Barley 15,687. 

Oats 580. 

Rye 320. 

Corn 970. 

Buckwheat 36. 

Peas 120. 

Potatoes 1,473. 

Onions 462. 

Hay 42,160. 

Alfalfa 23. 

Broom Corn 170. 

Of fruit trees and vines, we have : 

Description. Number. 

Apple trees, acres 15,996. 

Peach trees 32,381. 

Plum trees 1,592. 

Pear trees 3,573. 

Cherry trees 1,486. 

Apricot trees 2,144. 

Fig trees 1,772. 

Grape vines 520,630. 

Wine, manufactured, gallons 10,580. 

Brandy, manufactured, gallons 460. 

It will thus be seen that the inhabitants of Solano are not unmindful of 
the comforts that surround civilization, and make happy homes ; and as the 
great drawback on California, the land titles, are becoming adjudicated, new 
evidence of thrif tiness and industry are being added to those already inau- 



This portion of the county (one hundred and eighteen thousand four 
hundred and forty acres) consists of the mountain spurs of the Coast 
Range, and lie on the eastern side of the dividing ridge between this county 
and Napa, and the low hills that are adjacent to, and form a portion of the 
shores of the Suisun bay. The surface is covered with a dense growth of 
" bunch grass " and wild oats, the former growing upon the summits and 
the north sides of the highest peaks, being green nearly the whole year, and 
a grass of hardy growth, nourishing best upon the most sterile hills. It is 
valuable to the farmer, being very nutritious for stock. 

Of the wild oats it would seem almost superfluous to speak, being indig- 
enous to the soil, and familiar to nearly every inhabitant of California. 
But, lest there were some who -have not visited this portion of the State 
when its growth is most abundant, I will endeavor to describe it : The seed 
bears a strong resemblance to the tame black oats, with this difference: it 
is smaller, and has a hirsute appendage that grows upon the base of the 
grain and nearly envelops it. This seemingly useless appendage has its 
uses. In the fall, the soil, after many months of uninterrupted sunshine, is 
hard and impenetrable, and would be impossible to seed were it not for the 
cracks that are produced by contraction. The oats ripen in the months of 
July and August, and are shattered by the action of the wind. 

Falling upon the hard and impervious earth, they could not take root if 
they did not make their way to these cracks, which they do in two ways : 

First. — The heavy fibres that surround it act as legs, and prevent the 
grain from lying close to the earth, at the same time being a sort of sail 
that catches the lightest breeze that blows, thus turning it over and over 
until it is safely lodged in the nearest crack, to await the coming rains of 

Second. — The action of water upon these fibres has a singular and novel 
effect. The first rains falling upon the seed, produce a desire for locomo- 
tion, or a crawling propensity, and, by a curious process, the grain will 
move itself several inches, thereby falling into cracks that are yawning to 
receive and nourish it. Early in the winter, the oats, sprouting from these 
cracks, give the earth the appearance of being spread with a beautiful net- 

This grass is the stand-by of the farmer. It nourishes his stock in the 

spring, fattens them in summer and fall, and sustains them in winter. From 

it he makes his hay, which is pronounced by good judges to be the best that 

is used. 


As before remarked, our estimate of the quantity of this land laying in 
this county is about ninety-two thousand acres. A few years since, this 


portion of our State was deemed valueless ; but more enlightened and recent 
experiments are awakening the public mind to the fact that it will be quite 
an important element in enhancing our future wealth. The manner of its 
disposal, as marked out by the Legislature of 1858, in a law enacted during 
that session, was a wise termination of this previously mooted question. 
Since the passage of that law, these lands are being rapidly taken up, and 
are yielding an increasing revenue to the State. Moreover, there is no one 
now who doubts the fact that these lands are a more speedy way to reclam- 
ation by private energy and enterprise than they would have been had they 
been jobbed out in large quantities to corporate associations and irrespon- 
sible parties. The more elevated portions of these lands in our county are 
being tilled to good advantage, and the day is certainly not far distant 
when this now neglected soil will be made .to furnish support and susten- 
ance to thousands of immigrants arriving upon our shores. 


This county has long since been denominated a " cow county ;" therefore 
little will be expected under this head. Gold has been found, however, 
within our borders. There are about seven thousand acres of mountain 
and hill laying on the north of Township No. 7 N. R. 2 W., and on the 
south side of Township 8 N. R. 2 W., in the vicinity of Putah creek, from 
which gold dust has been taken to the amount of fifteen hundred dollars, in 
the past year. 

Stone has been found in several localities suitable for building purposes. 
Still, our quarries are inferior to those of Folsom. Our marble quarries 
have gained considerable celebrity, furnishing a peculiar kind of striped, 
variegated marble, that admits of the highest polish, and is elegantly 
adapted for ornamental uses. These quarries are located upon the summits 
of the hills that surround Suisun valley. 


The timber of Solano comprises several species of oak, pitch-pine, ash, 
cotton-wood, etc., growing upon the mountains, in some of the valleys, and 
on the margin of streams. It is worthless for any mechanical use, and 
serviceable only for fuel. It is the opinion of many, that as soon as the 
land is all fenced, and the annual fires prevented from ravaging the country, 
timber can be grown here as successfully as upon the prairies of Illinois or 


We come now to a branch of industrial pursuit that, next to our agricul- 
tural interests, surpasses all others in point of importance. The rearing of 
stock of every species has occupied the attention of our citizens for years ; 


and upon no other avocation has the same amount of money been expended 
as upon this. Stallions, bulls, jacks, and rams of the choicest breeds, have 
been imported from Europe and the older States. If the same interest that 
is now taken in regard to the improvement of our breeds of stock, remain 
unabated, with the healthful climate we possess, the time is not far distant 
when we will proudly take rank with the stock-raising localities of the 
East. According to our statistics, we have as follows : 

Description. Number. 

Horses, American 1,343 

Horses, Spanish 2,667 

Mules 269 

Cattle, American 25,652 

Cattle, Spanish • 3,634 

Oxen (Yoke) 169 

Sheep 132,000 

Hogs 11,737 

Chickens 12,960 

Turkeys 2,452 

Ducks 560 

Geese 128 

Wool, American, pounds 154,000 

Wool, Spanish, pounds 220,000 


Our buildings are beginning to assume an appearance of stability. Red- 
wood shanties are being supplanted by comfortable frame and brick dwel- 
lings ; substantial plank fences are taking the place of the miserable ditches 
so long used ; and barns and stables are becoming indispensable to every 

Of our public improvements we have : First — The United States Navy 
Yard, at Mare Island. This island lies near the southern shore of the 
county, opposite the town of Vallejo. It was formerly the property of 
General Vallejo, and was purchased by Government of Wm. H. Aspinwall, 
for the sum of eighty thousand dollars. The immense sum of four millions 
five hundred thousand dollars has been expended in building docks capable 
of raising vessels of the largest class, and the following named buildings, 
which are constructed in the most durable manner, of brick and stone : 
four naval store-houses, sixty-five by four hundred feet each ; blacksmith 
shop, two hundred by two hundred and fifty feet ; foundry, five hundred by 
nine hundred feet — said to be the largest building of the kind in the United 
States ; thirteen elegant residences for officers ; a magazine, sixty-five by 
one hundred feet, and a sea-wall or bulkhead four hundred feet long. 

The Pacific Mail Company. — This company has, at Benicia, two build- 


ings of large dimensions, used as a foundry and machine shop. Here they 
repair and coal their steamers, besides doing an immense amount of work 
for other parties. 

Marysville and San Francisco Railroad. — Of this road, forty-eight 
miles are located in Solano county. Twenty-two miles — from Putah creek 
to Suisun — are graded at a cost of about one thousand dollars per mile- 
Our county owns stock in this road to the amount of two hundred thousand 

Court House and Jail. — Our county has recently completed a new 
Court House and Jail, at a cost of thirty-five thousand dollars. The 
amount was raised by special assessment. 

Grist Mills. — We have two grist mills — one built of stone, and not yet 
finished ; is to have four run of stone, and to cost fifteen thousand dollars. 
The other is built of brick, at a cost of twenty-five thousand dollars. It 
has three run of stone, and is propelled by a forty-horse-power engine ; has 
ground two thousand five hundred and twelve tons of grain during the past 
year, and is capable of making seven hundred and eighty barrels of flour per 


Assessed value of real estate 1860 $1,217,472.48 

Assessed value of improvements 704,516.00 

Assessed value of personal property 1,960,712.50 

Total $3,882,700.98 

It can be gathered from the foregoing report how much the prosperity 
of Solano county had increased. With the establishment of the Navy Yard 
on Mare Island, a full account of which will be found elsewhere, a new line 
of labor was imported, whereby the skilled mechanic was introduced to this 
portion of the State, who brought a variety of excellent qualities which 
have made many of them citizens worthy of the best confidence of their 
fellow residents. Among these may be named Messrs. A.' Powell, John 
Wentworth, Honorable C. B. Denio, and others, who have taken prominent 
positions in the supervisoral chair, county offices, and the political rostrum. 

In later years the Pacific Mail Company have almost entirely withdrawn 
their interests from Benicia ; these works, therefore, have fallen into disuse. 

Let us now present the statistical report for the year 1876 furnished to 
the Surveyor-General by the Assessor for Solano county, which shows a 
most flourishing condition of afl'airs when taken in contradistinction with 
those which we have already alluded to : 


Description. Number. Number. 

Land inclosed — acres M 9,652 

Land cultivated — acres 109,394 

Wheat — bushels and acres 1,965,175 93,575 

Barley — bushels and acres 553,665 15,819 

Oats — bushels and acres 4,700 145 

Corn — bushels and acres „ 5,980 237 

Beans — bushels and acres 400 25 

Potatoes — tons and acres 60 20 

Sweet potatoes — tons and acres 23 11 

Hay — tons and acres 19,515 13,502 

Butter — pounds 118,800 

Wool — pounds 427,240 

Value of fruit crop — dollars 112,000 

Bearing orange trees 264 

Grape vines — acres 1,387 

Wine— gallons 149,710 

Brandy — gallons 2,200 

Breweries 3 

Beer— gallons 180,000 

Horses 5,476 

Mules 622 

Horned cattle 12,790 

Sheep 71,146 

Cashmere and Angora goats 35 

Hogs 8,322 

Grist mills (steam power) 3 

Flour made — barrels 312,000 

Corn ground — bushels 1,000 

Miles of railroad 56 


Description. Value. 

Real estate $6,350,519 

Improvements . 1,560,895 

Personal property 1,327,248 

Total valuation $9,238,662 

Estimated total population 20,750 



Among the many improvements that have been worked in the county, 
more especially those of a public nature, which attract the largest share of 
attention, is the 


This beautiful structure is situated on an eminence commanding a fine 
view of the city of Vallejo, Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo and Napa bays, 
the Straits of Carquinez, and the varied and beautiful mountain scenery 
adjacent thereto, including Mounts Diablo and Tamalpais. It' is a frame 
building 110x71 feet, three stories high, with a Mansard roof, and will 
accommodate about three hundred inmates. The rooms in each story are 
lofty and well ventilated, the general plan being well adapted for the pur- 
poses for which it was designed ; while the interior and exterior archi- 
tectural design and finish are highly beautiful. 

This noble work is the property of the Good Templars of California and 
Nevada, and will ever stand as a monument of their enterprise, disinter- 
ested benevolence, and charity. Its doors are open to all orphans under 
fourteen years of age, without distinction. The origin of this orphanage is 
ascribed to Mrs. Elvira Baldwin, of Sacramento. 

In December, 1867, W. H. Mills, then the Grand Worthy Secretary of the 
Order of Good Templars, being inspired with the idea suggested, visited 
George W. Simonton at Vallejo, and they formed the plan, and were the 
originators of the Orphans Homestead scheme. On December 3d, by request 
of Mr. Mills, Mr. Simonton introduced the subject to the officers and mem- 
bers of Vallejo Lodge No. 64, I. O. G. T., at which time the following 
committee was appointed to consider the matter : George W. Simonton, A. 
D. Wood, and S. C. Baker. This committee immediately placed itself in 
communication with the Executive of the Grand Lodge, Messrs. R. R. Mer- 
rill, G. W. C. T. ; W. H. Mills, G. W. S. ; Mrs. F. L. Carlton, G. W. V. T. ; 
A. C. McDougal, G. W. Counsellor. After considerable correspondence 
between the two committees, that first named proposed to " incorporate a 
Homestead Association, purchase a tract of land, donate twenty acres to the 
Grand Lodge as a site for a Home for Orphans, divide the remainder of the 
tract into lots for the Homestead, to be sold at $100 each, and, after paying 
for the land and all incidental expenses, the excess of money should be 
placed in the hands of the Trust Committee of the Grand Lodge and the 
Directors of the Association, to be expended in the erection of suitable 
buildings on the site donated for the Home." The propositions were 
accepted by the Executive Committee of the Grand Lodge and one hundred 
and three acres were immediately purchased of John B. Frisbie, Edward 
Frisbie, and A. D. Wood ; Messrs. Wood, Simonton, Mills, Baker, E. H. M. 
Bailey, and C. A. Kidder, perfecting the Articles of Incorporation, Associa- 
tion, By-Laws, etc., with the following named persons as the original 
incorporators : A. D. Wood, W. H. Mills, George W. Simonton, Mary F. 


Carlton, S. C. Baker, Harriet T. Hildreth, E. H. M. Bailey, and C. A. Kidder. 

On January 22, 1868, a meeting of the Directors was had at the office of 
S. G. Hilborn, Esq., when A. D. Wood was elected interim President, and G. 
W. Simonton, Secretary pro tern. At a subsequent meeting had, January 29, 
1868, the same gentlemen, with E. H. M. Bailey as Treasurer, were named 
the permanent officers of the Association. 

On May 4, 1868, the stockholders held their first meeting, at which time 
the same officers were selected, and S. C. Baker, C. A. Kidder, E. Giddings, 
J. F. Coffey, C. S. Haswell of California, and Adolphus Waitz of Nevada, 
were chosen Directors of the Association. 

The enterprise was liberally supported by the members of the Order 
throughout the jurisdiction, many paying up the full price of the lot or 
shares subscribed for, viz., $100, at once. In the report of the Secretary, 
G. W. Simonton, presented September 23, 1868, the following interesting 
statistics appear : 

Total number of shares in the Association 334 

Total number of shares sold 242 

The following named stockholders have paid for their shares in full : 


Elijah Wadsworth. . . . Yreka 1 

J. N. Chappelle Sacramento 2 

Henry Miller Sacramento 2 

Henry Ashcroft Sacramento 2 

W. C. Ralston San Francisco 1 

Horace L. Hill San Francisco 1 

Alexander Badlam . . . San Francisco 1 

G. H. Greenwood Vallejo 1 

N. Smith Vallejo 1 

Benjamin F. Cole Folsom 2 

The following Lodges of Good Templers also subscribed for stock, as follows : 


Pacific Lodge No. 1, of Santa Cruz, California. . 1 

Union Lodge No. 4, of Carson City, Nevada. ... 2 

Rainbow Lodge No. 9, of Washoe City, Nevada... . 2 

Roseville Lodge No. 255, of Roseville, California. . 1 

Morning Star Lodge No. 25, of Marysville, California. . 1 

California Lodge No. 7, of San Francisco, California. 2 

Reform Lodge No. 287, of Lincoln, California. ... 1 

Vallejo Lodge No. 64, of Vallejo. California 1 

Maine Lodge No. 100,of Binghampton,California. 2 

Sylvania Lodge No. 12, of Grass Valley, California. 2 

Red Bluff Lodge No. 1 92, of Red Bluff, California. . 1 

Evening Star Lodge No. 114,of SanFrancisco,California. 1 

Taylor Lodge No. 222, of Forbestown, California. 1 

Grand Lodge of California 20 


In his annual address delivered before the Grand Lodge at its ninth 
session in 1868, G. W. C. Templar, R. R. Merrill, speaking of this matter 
said : " This enterprise needs no vindication at my hands. It bears upon 
its face its own recommendations ; its affairs have been faithfully and 
honorably conducted and its merits are so patent to the common sense of 
all men, that I feel confident it will be fully appreciated without further 
encomium. The thanks of this Grand Lodge are due in an eminent degree 
to Brothers W. H. Mills, George W. Simonton, A. D. Wood, and others, for 
their energy, enterprise and zeal, in conducting its affairs to its present 
gratifying state of success." 

It should have been mentioned that at the eighth annual session of the 
Grand Lodge in 1867, a resolution was adopted authorizing a levy of one 
dollar for each member of the Order for the support of the Home. This 
appears to have been the first action taken towards raising money for the 
purpose of meeting the current expenses of the institution. At the ninth 
session the Constitution of the Grand Lodge was amended by the adoption 
of Article XVII, whereby the financial system of the Home was perfected. 
At this session the following persons were elected to serve as the first Board 
of Trustees for the Home : for the long terms, Doctor C. S. Haswell of 
Sacramento, George F. Mallett of Vallejo, and Joseph Middlemiss of Sacra- 
mento, those for the short terms being the Rev. N. B. Klink of Vallejo, J. 
A. Albertson of San Francisco, F. A. Hornblower of Sacramento, and M. H. 
Eastman of Marysville. At this session also the plans and specifications 
reported by the committee were approved by the Grand Lodge, and adver- 
tisements soon appeared for proposals to construct the building ; when the 
time expired, however, the committee or Board of Trust found themselves 
without a single bid ; under these circumstances it was resolved by the 
Board after due consideration, to build the Home by day work, and it was 
unanimously agreed to employ Bro. E. M. Benjamin to superintend the 
same ; and as soon as practicable a force was set to quarry and supply stone 
for the foundation, which, fortunately, was obtained in the vicinity of the 
Home grounds. On May 11, 1869, the corner-stone was laid with appro- 
priate ceremonies and the construction of the building progressed very 
rapidly. In his annual address to the Grand Lodge at its tenth session, 
held in the Assembly Chambers at Sacramento, September 28th of that 
year, the G. W. C. T., A. D. Wood, speaking of the Home said : " But few 
can realize the labor which the successful prosecution of this enterprise has 
involved. The Order and the Cause owes a debt of gratitude to the pro- 
jectors of this scheme, and when its history is referred to, the names of 
Brothers Mills, Wood, Simonton and Benjamin should be remembered ; nor 
should the names of Carrington, Hornblower, and others be forgotten." At 
the same session the Grand Secretary, W. H. Mills, closed his report on 
Orphan's Home matters in the following language : " In closing my official 


relations with this institution, I may be indulged in the reflection that its 
existence and interests have occupied much of my time and thought, and I 
feel assured that its importance to our Order will be better understood and 
more fully appreciated in coming years. I indulge no fears of its failure 
and decline, for the Orphan's Home is in the line of true policy. If there 
are any who regret this and kindred undertakings, they are destined to be 
numbered with those who are to be forgotten when the true actors of this 
temperance reform come upon the stage. That reform will not go back- 
wards. Men may desert it ; they may renounce it ; they may fall by the 
wayside ; they may prove wanting in faith to believe, or courage to endure ; 
but others will arise to take their places, and the cause will finally triumph. 
In success or failure our Orphan's Home will be a proud landmark in the 
history of our cause. Greater achievements than this are yet to be accom- 
plished before this warfare is over ; greater labors are to be endured ; 
greater sacrifices made than any we are proposing to ourselves to-day, so, 
whatever may be the fate of our Home, it will have served a grand purpose, 
and one which cannot now be defeated." 

During the session of 1869, Brothers W. H. Mills, R R. Merritt, and F. 
A. Hornblower, were appointed a Committee to memoralize the Legislature 
at its next session, praying for a portion of such moneys as the State may 
set apart for the maintenance of orphans, in the State of California. This 
seems to have been the first step taken to secure State aid. At this session, 
G. W. Simonton, M. J. Wright, of Vallejo, W. H. Mills, and Brother East- 
man, of Sacramento, and C. B. Proctor, of Healdsburg, were elected trustees 
of the Home. In accordance with a resolution passed by the Grand Lodge, 
on September 29, 1869, the Home was declared open for the admission of 
children ; on and after October 1st, when it was dedicated, with imposing and 
impressive ceremonies Doctor C. S. Haswell, P. G. W. C. T., delivering the 
address in the presence of a large number of the friends of the institution. 

To convey some idea of the deep interest taken by the members of the 
Order in this admirable undertaking, it may not be out of place to state 
that on the third day of the Grand Lodge Session, September 29th, Mrs. 
Tlomteaux and Mrs. Hayden were appointed a committee to raise a collec- 
tion in the Grand Lodge, for the benefit of the Home. In a very short 
time they reported as collected : 

Gold ' $248 50 

Currency 25 00 

And the following individual pledges : 

A. D. Wood $ 100 00 

J. Bartlett 50 00 

F. A. Hornblower 50 00 

J. V. B. Goodrich 20 00 

J. T. Counts 20 00 


N. V. Wagner 15 00 

R Swarbrick 10 00 

E. G. Houston 10 00 

T. H. Woodworth 10 00 

And others 20 00 

Vallejo Lodge, No. 64 1,000 00 

Sacramento 500 00 

Brooklyn Lodge, No. 384 100 00 

Star of Hope Lodge, No. 32 100 00 

California Lodge, No. 7 100 00 

Athens Lodge, No. 286 100 00 

Union (of Nevada), No. 4 100 00 

Woodland, No. 237 100 00 

Eleven other lodges, $50 each 550 00 

San Francisco Dramatic Club 50 00 

Thirteen lodges 340 00 

Making a total of $3,618 50 

At every succeeding session of the Grand Lodge, liberal donations and 
pledges were made in support of this noble charity. From 1867 to 1878, 
inclusive, the donations and pledges thus made and paid into the Home 
treasury have amounted to $31,003 61, besides $12,504 75, per capita, 
tax raised by the Grand Lodge, for the same purpose. 

While touching on the financial history of the Home, it will be proper 
here to repeat the closing remarks of Bro. George W. Simonton, Secretary 
of the Orphan Homestead Association, in his report under date September 
19th, 1870 : " In conclusion, permit me to say, that at the time the associa- 
tion was organized, we claimed the benefits to be derived from the associa- 
tion, to the Grand Lodge, for the Orphans' Home, would be twenty acres of 
land, and $20,000. Our figures above show twenty acres of land and 
$23,120 76, $3,500 of which is represented by thirty-five lots remaining 

The following Table will clearly explain the financial position of the 

Orphans' Home : 

Nucleus of the Home Building Fund was $23,120 76 

Donations from members of the Order to 1878.. . . 31,003 61 

Per capita tax paid by Grand Lodge 12,504 75 

Earnings of the Home, by fees, farm, etc 27,509 77 

Aid from the State 24,186 02 

General Bi dwell, Chico (donation) 1,000 00 

Sundry donations 149 25 

Making a grand total of $119,474 16 

raised for the erection and maintenance of the institution, up to September 
30th, 1878. 


At the Twelfth Annual Session of the Grand Lodge, held in 1871, G. W. 
Simonton, W. H. Mills, A. G. Clark, and J. B. Carrington, were elected 
trustees of the Home. It was at this session also that Grand Secretary W. 
H. Mills, in his report, advised the creation of a Board of Lady Managers 5 
to have charge of the domestic affairs of the Home ; and the Grand Lodge, 
acting on the suggestion, elected the following as a Board of Lady Managers : 
Mrs. E. J. Wilson, Mrs. N. B. Klink, Mrs. G. W. Simonton, Mrs. E. M. Ben- 
jamin, of Vallejo ; Mrs. E. C. Fowler, Valley Ford; Mrs. M. M. Carpenter, 
of San Francisco, and Mrs. C. P. Huntoon, of Sacramento. 

The first Board of Trustees chosen by the Grand Lodge, at its Ninth 
Session (the subsequent Boards are given seriatim), were elected in : 

1868 — Doctor C. S. Haswell, Joseph Middlemiss, of Sacramento ; George 
F. Mallett, Rev. N. B. Klink, of Vallejo; J. A. Albertson, F. A. Hornblower, 
and M. H. Eastman. 

1869— W. H. Mills, G. W. Simonton, M. J. Wright, F. A. Hornblower, 
C. B. Proctor, G. F. Mallett, and Joseph Middlemiss. 

1870— C. S. Haswell, G. W. Simonton, M. H. Eastman, William Carpenter' 
M. J. Wright, Joseph Middlemiss, and G. F. Mallett. 

1871— G. W. Simonton, G. F. Mallett, C. S. Haswell, A. G. Clark, J. B. 
Carrington, H. dwell, and W. H. Mills. 

1872— G. W. Simonton, President; W. H. Mills, C. S. Haswell, A. G. 
Clark, I. S. Haisey, J. B. Carrington, and Rev. N. B. Klink. 

1873— W. H. Mills, S. Kitto, C. S. Haswell, G. W. Simonton, I. S. Haisey, 
J. B. Carrington, and A. G. Clark. 

1874 — W. H. Mills, President ; George B. Katzenstein, Secretary; I. S. 
Haisey, treasurer ; S. Kitto, C. S. Haswell, G. W. Simonton, J. B. Carring- 
ton, and A. G. Clark. 

1875 — J. B. Carrington. President ; W. Crowhurst, Secretary ; I. S. Haisey, 
treasurer; W. H. Mills, C. S. Haswell, A. G. Clark, and S. Kitto. 

1876 — A. G. Clark, President; W. Crowhurst, Secretary; I. S. Haisey, 
treasurer ; A. D. Wood, R. Thompson, W. H. Mills, and S. Kitto. 

1877— AG. Clark, President; C. H. Haile, Secretary; I. S. Haisey, 
Treasurer; W. H. Mills, Robert Thompson, J. B. Carrington, and S. Kitto. 

1878 — George B. Katzenstein, President ; C. H. Haile, Secretary ; I. S. 

Haisey, Treasurer ; W. H. Mills, S. Kitto, A. G. Clark, Bagley, of 

Stockton, and T. T. Heald. 

The G. W. C. Templar and G. W. Secretary are ex officio members of all 
meetings of the Board of Trustees. 


The first Board of Lady Managers chosen by the Grand Lodge (the sub- 
sequent Boards are given seriatim) was composed of the following ladies, 
who were elected in the year 

1871 — Mesdames N. B. Klink, President; G. W. Simonton, Secretary; 

E. J. Wilson, E. M. Benjamin, of Vallejo; C. E. Fowler, Valley Ford; and 
C. P. Huntoon, of Sacramento. 

1872 — Mesdames Klink, President ; Benjamin, Secretary ; Wilson, Fowler, 

F. L. Carlton, Huntoon, and Alsip. 

1873 — Mesdames Wilson, President ; Robbins, Secretary; Huntoon, Alsip, 
Carlton, C. B. Thompson, and Benjamin. 

1874 — Mesdames Carlton, President ; Robbins, Secretary ; Wilson, Ben- 
jamin, Thompson, A. G. Clark, of Napa, and M. M. Carpenter, of* San 

1875 — Mesdames Carlton, President; J. Macarty, Secretary; Wilson, 
Alsip, Benjamin, Carpenter, and M. E. Partridge, of Oakland. 

1876 — Mesdames Carlton, President; Klink, Secretary; Wilson, Car- 
penter, Alsip, Partridge, and Clark. 

1877 — Mesdames Klink, President; Carpenter and Partridge, Secretaries; 
Clark, Thompson, Alsip ; V. A. Rix, of Washington Corner ; and M. G. 
Morris, of Vallejo. 

1878 — Mesdames Klink, President ; Carpenter and Thompson, Secretaries ; 
Aslip, Clark. Rix, and Partridge. 

The first matron was Mrs. R. C. Armitage ; the second matron was Mrs. 
M. L. Pexton ; the third matron was Mrs. H. M. Chandler ; the fourth ma- 
tron was Mrs. Geo. Morris, (nee Mattie Parker) ; the fifth matron was Mrs. 
B. Derby ; the sixth and present one, Mrs. L. Stewart. 

The teachers are Mr. and Mrs. N. Smith. The average number of child- 
ren who have been admitted to the Home for Orphans since its foundation, 
is about four hundred ; while the approximate yearly attendance has been 
in the vicinity of fifty and sixty. Present number one hundred and three. 

The school is managed under the direction of the Board of Lady Man- 
agers, and the Vallejo Board of Education, with a daily attendance of about 
eighty pupils, twenty of whom are admitted from the outside. The school- 
rooms have been newly furnished with the best double desks, at a cost of 
about three hundred and fifty dollars, and paid for by voluntary subscrip- 
tions of members of the Grand Lodge, while visiting the Home in October 
last. We next draw attention to the 



Was incorporated on June 24, 1872, under the Presidentship of M. R. 
Miller, with Messrs. J. B. Frisbie, and John M. Gregory, Jr., as Treasurer 
and Secretary, respectively ; and has for its object the holding of a District 
Fair, embracing the counties of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Lake, Mendocino, So- 
noma, and Marin, when premiums are offered in the following departments : 
Live Stock, Cereals, Fruits, Wines, and Dairy Products, as well as for all 
manner of Agricultural Implements made in the district ; Domestic Manu- 
factures ; Carriages, Buggies, etc.; Saddlery, Harness, etc.: Painting, Orna- 
mental Work, etc.; Embroidery, Needlework, etc.; Bread, Crackers, etc.; 
Plants, Bouquets, etc.; with a special class where prizes are offered to child- 
ren. Special premiums are open to competitors ; while there is a speed 
programme which is carried out on each of the days during which the fair 
is held. The exhibition grounds and park are situated on the Napa road, 
about three miles from Vallejo, and cover an area of sixty acres, having 
buildings for the benefit of exhibitors ; while there is accommodation for 
from two to three hundred animals. The hotel is a two-storied erection of 
handsome appearance ; the sheds are all in the very best condition ; while 
nothing is wanting that may ensure the comfort of the visitor. The race track 
is declared to be, by men of experience, one of tbe very best in the country 
for speed, while it possesses many other advantages. Up, until last year, 
the Society was more or less a private one ; but by operation of the Legis- 
lature last session, a sum of fifteen hundred dollars was granted to them, 
which now officializes their position, and calls for a yearly report from them 
to the State Board of Agriculture. The officers for the present year are : 
President, John B. Carrington ; Vice-President, John T. Dare ; Secretary, 
A. J. McPike ; Treasurer, J. K. Duncan ; Directors, John E. Williston, L. B. 
Abernethie, Robert Brownlee. W. P. Durbin, John Neate, John Callender, 
J. B. Hoyt, Stephen Eaton, John Wilson, William Carter, H. Connolly, John 
Brownlie, D. W. Harrier, C. Hartson, Luke Kelly, A. Goodyear, W. A. Fisher, 
J. C. Wolfskill, John Farnham, J. M. Thompson, S. S. Drake. 

Meetings are usually held in September of each year. 

We have, in the commencement of this chapter, entered upon the appear- 
ance of the county in the days when but few white men had penetrated 
into its wilds. A faint attempt was made to picture the beauties of the 
wild waste, as described by the first settlers in Solano ; we now select a 
spot whither to allure the reader, namely, the 


Of all the spots worthy of a visit in the vicinity of Vallejo, none can, 
probably, compare with the White Sulphur Springs in regard to the beauty 


of its surroundings. Originally being included in the grant to General 
Vallejo, he disposed of them to Milton Brockman, who, in turn, sold them 
to Henry Connolly, from him they were purchased by General J. B. Frisbie, 
and latterly, falling into the hands of the Vallejo Land and Improvement 
Association, the property was bought by James Kelly, the present proprie- 
tor, for the trifling sum of twenty-five thousand dollars. When the Springs 
became the property of General Frisbie he, with a taste which it would be 
next to impossible to excel, ornamented the grounds in the most lavish 
manner, expending no less a sum than one hundred and thirty thousand 
dollars in beautifying the property which consists of about one hundred 
and sixty acres. The management of the White Sulphur Springs is now 
vested in Mr. James Condon, than whom no more hospitable a host exists. 
These Springs lie in a north-easterly direction from Vallejo, with which 
city they are connected by coach, which runs the distance of four miles, 
direct from the railroad depot, and are situated in a hollow of the hills, 
which rise in easy slopes, surrounding them on all sides and protecting the 
grounds from the rough breezes of the bay. The road passes through a 
country of rare cultivation, cattle may be seen browsing on a thousand 
hills ; while the residences of the thriving farmers, with the bright sun 
glittering on their whitened walls, add an appearance of life to the scene, 
which goes a great way towards enlivening the prospect. For rare beauty 
the environs cannot be surpassed. In spring and summer the flowers and 
foliage attain their truest perfection ; the former in their brilliant colors, 
forming a charming contrast against the darker leaves of the trees. A small 
lake has been excavated, around which are secluded walks and cosy seats, 
placed within the shadow of the spreading weeping willow. An island in 
the centre, which is gained by a bridge or boats, is laid out with marvelous 
skill, revealing many a gorgeous vista of color ; here, again, the weary may 
find rest, the social enjoy their tete-a-tete, or the book- worm be free from 
intrusion. Summer houses and kiosks are built along the margin of the 
water, arranged with tables and rustic chairs, where the merry tea or enchant- 
ing kettle-drum may be partaken ; while labyrinthine walks traverse the 
grounds in all directions, amply shaded by umbrageous trees, offering seclu- 
sion to those who may wish to converse with " ling' ring sweetness long- 
drawn out." Canopied bowers and bosky dells, evergreen shrubbries, flower 
gardens and vineyard, diversify the sloping surface and give a fairy-like 
effect to the landscape that cannot well prove otherwise than enchanting to 
the visitor. Nature has given the White Sulphur Spring a magnificence of 
position which recalls the most perfect spots of Swiss scenery, and forms a 
watering place where the votary of pleasure may find delight, and the hard- 
worked city merchant obtain relaxation from the cares of business. 



Are cosily placed in a recess in the mountain side forming a small pond of 
about forty feet in circumferrence and built around with a rockery over 
which creepers and lichens cling in tangled confusion. The water presents 
a pale bluish color, imparting at first a slightly unpleasant odor, and is 
protected from the rays of the sun by a large weeping willow, while con- 
tiguous to it is a circular seat and table whereat the invalid or the curious 
may take the waters, which is not by any means unpleasant to the palate. 
The liquid it is believed has never been properly analyzed but it is princi- 
pally composed of sulphur with a very slight proportion of iron. To prove 
that there is nothing obnoxious in its flavor, this water is generally used on 
the premises, while the stock on the ground drink it with great relish. 
Adjacent to those already described there is a sweet water spring bubbling 
forth the clearest and most delicious beverage for those who may not appre- 
ciate the medicinal properties of the former. 


On the grounds are all of framework and of elegant design approached by 
a well kept carriage drive. The first erection which is passed on arrival 
is a kind of bachelors' home, for on the first floor is the saloon, containing 
bar and billiard room which connects by an archway ; the appointments in 
these appartments are of the first order and in themselves should be an 
inducement to visitors. Off these there are lesser rooms, one being fitted 
up with a telegraphic apparatus, the wires of which connect with Vallejo 
and thence to San Francisco, while the other is used as a barber's shop and 
office. The second story is divided into one parlor or club-room, seven bed- 
rooms and a large and convenient bath-room with all the necessary improve- 
ments. Some fifty yards from this building stands the main structure, of 
two stories in height and protected on three sides by a spacious verandah. 
A wide flight of steps flanked on either side by well laid out parterres of 
flowers leads to the piazza from which entry is made into a dining room of 
grand proportions capable of accommodating one hundred and fifty guests, 
while adjoining it are spacious and well furnished sitting parlors. The 
upper floor is entirely devoted to bed chambers of which there are sixteen 
of various sizes and all furnished with a view to the comfort of the occu- 
pants. Near the lake there is a neat detached building called Knoll Cottage, 
while in close proximity to the sulphur spring there are two others named 
respectively Spring and Linda Vista Cottages. These detached residences 
each contain one large room with alcove for bed, and three small single 
rooms, with lavatory, all furnished and carpetted with every regard to com- 
fort. These tenements are also provided with verandahs, those of the two 


latter commanding a prospect of the most ravishing order, situated as they 
are, half-way up the mountain, a panorama of the country is had, with all its 
variations of hill and dale, light and shadow ; while in the distance a glimpse 
is caught of the church towers and higher situated houses of Vallejo, backed 
in the distance by the expanse of water of the San Pablo bay and the coast 
range of mountains. The cottages are all that could be desired for families, 
or a party of friends. 

The Baths are eight in number, and are connected with the Springs 
by means of pipes, and thence distributed into the different rooms, where 
the receptacles are tin-lined. In a large room attached, is a monster boiler 
from which hot water is conveyed, which may, with a shower in each, be 
used at will. 

The Stables, too, are a feature on the premises, there being stalls for 
twenty-five horses ; sheds for buggies, and the necessary harness-rooms, 
with water laid on throughout. 

Gas is the means by which the different buildings are illuminated, which 
is manufactured in a gasometer, some distance off, and which answers ad- 

No description of the White Sulphur Springs can be considered complete 
without reference to the high mountain at the foot of which it stands. 
Capped, as it is, by large, unwieldy boulders, heaped upon each other in 
utter chaos, the ascent to which is gradual and smooth, and will well repay 
the adventurer to its summit; for from thence a grand and magnificent view, 
which brings, on a clear day, the city of San Francisco within its ken, is to 
be obtained. Nowhere within such easy distance of the coast metropolis 
does there exist so pleasant a locality for recreation ; and with the many 
advantages of comfort and accessibility, which the Springs now possess, 
their is no reason why it should not be the most fashionable resort in Cali- 


Among the various wonders that nature has so lavishly bestowed upon 
California, but few are more deserving of notice than her Mineral Springs. 
As though intending that every physical ill should be provided with an 
antidote, healing waters are made to rush forth from the bowels of the 
earth, and bubble up on the tops and sides of mountain chains. In these, 
the counties of Solano and Napa seem to be the most favored. 

The Solano, or Tolenas Springs — to the description of which the attention 


of our readers will now be confined — are situated about five miles north of 
Suisun City, at an elevation of eleven hundred feet above the level of the 
sea, and in the midst of the most beautiful climate and romantic scenery. 
For more than half the distance the road from Suisun runs across the level 
valley, that, in the spring, is carpetted with green turf and variegated with 
flowers of every hue. Groves of dark green oaks, with an occasional farm- 
house peeping from among the foliage, and here and there live stock quietly 
reposing, or eagerly feeding, display a scene of beauty which can be rarely 

Ascending the steep but smoothly sloped and gently rounded hills, 
dotted with trees, a panorama of vast extent and great beauty is 
rolled out before you. To the south-east a broad plain extends as far as the 
eye can reach ; to the south Mount Diablo is the crowning point of a long 
chain of hills ; to the east, and north-east, the shimmering tops of the snow- 
covered Sierra Nevadas shine through the deepening haze, with a richer 
glow than the glittering gold that is hidden deep beneath their icy crest. 

Arriving at " Empire Spring," and looking down the canon, is the " White 
Sulphur Spring." Before going further perhaps it ought to be mentioned 
that there are several mineral springs in this chain of hills, the principal of 
which seem to be the Empire, White Sulphur, Seltzer, and Congress. The 
former is located near the head of a ravine, on the south side of Soda 
Spring Canon. This spring furnishes a considerable volume of water, that 
issues in a jet, with a gurgling noise at intervals of from one to two seconds. 
The numerous bubbles that rise to the surface would indicate the pressure 
of a larger amount of carbonic acid gas in this than in any of the other 
springs ; but a careful analysis has failed to confirm it. 

The White Sulphur Spring, as I have said, is near the foot of the canon, 
some 200 feet above the bed of the small stream that runs through the 
latter. The flow of water from this spring is small, probably not more 
than from three to four gallons daily, but it is highly impregnated with 
sulphur, the smell of which is perceptible for some- distance. From this 
spring can be seen the famous Suisun marble quary. 

The Congress Spring is but a short distance from the Empire, and very 
much resembles the latter, except that the escapement of gas is less. 

The Seltzer Spring is on the west side of the divide, overlooking the 
upper portion of Suisun valley. Its pellucid and sparkling waters are equal 
in taste to the best soda water ever drank, eclipsing in flavor at least, the 
more celebrated Congress and Empire. Each of the springs, with the 
exception of the White Sulphur, issues from the tissues of a light, porous 
calcareous rock, of singular formation. 

These mineral waters have been known to, and even the resort of native 
Californians, for many years; but they have received but little attention 
until recently, when the following careful analysis of two of the springs by 


Dr. Hewston of San Francisco, discovered the valuable medicinal properties 
they contain. 

Component Parts. Congress. Empire. 

Specific gravity 1.0056 1.0132 

Iodide of Potassium 0.24 1.64 

Chloride of Potassium 0.71 1.66" 

Chloride of Sodium 26.90 90.83 

Carbonate of Soda 6.67 14.38 

Biborate of Soda 2.57 6.44 

Carbonate of Lime 6.04 4.46 

Carbonate of Magnesia 1.36 4.57 

Carbonate of Iron 0.08 0.09 

Alumina 0.12 trace. 

Selica 0.20 0.40 

Dry solid matter in 1 pint 45.00 124.47 

Free Carb. Acid gas, cub. in 33.735 26.297 

Their value will be better appreciated by the persual of the following 
note from Drs. I. Powell and B. A. Sheldon, and with which we shall close 
this description. 

" We have carefully examined the results of Doctor Hewston's analysis 
of the waters of the Congress and Empire Springs, and believe them 
possessed of remedial virtues superior to any other of the vaunted waters 
of California, and equal to any in the world. Their tonic, alterative, 
antacid and aperient qualities render them invaluable, when judiciously 
administered, in the treatment of various chronic affections." 

The consumption of these waters is becoming general throughout the 
State, superseding in a great measure that from Napa county. 

Mention has elsewhere been made of the 


Near Suisun, the property of Judge Swan. We append verbatim the report 
to that gentleman of a Geological Survey of the locality, made by Mr. 
Charles Pueger in 1876. 

" From the examination of your property above specified, as made in 
your company, I have come to the following conclusions ; of course such a 
local examination of the grounds specified, does not enable me to give a 
correct picture of the geology of the entire vicinity, or an idea of the 
mineralogical value of lands adjoining near and far. My problem has been, 


as I conceived, merely to determine what of useful mineral is to be found 
on your property, above specified. That is to say, what I have not examined 
I cannot judge of. 

The rock formation on the above lands consist of alternating strata or 
layers of sandstone, limestone and argillaceous shale with an abundant 
variety of transition rocks ; particularly of marls. 

The strata have the strike, or course, of the Coast Range, the eruption of 
which was evidently . the cause of their upheaval in ages past. Their dip 
is therefore naturally to the north-east, the strike being N.W. — S.E. This 
agrees with the general position of the stratified rocks of the slate, and 
therefore serve as to guide the identification of strata in their continuation 
at a distance. 

There are many peculiarities in these strata that point to the coal forma- 
tion as the one to which they are probably to be ranked, even if they did 
not stand in line with the Mount Diablo coal deposits. Nothing of a fossil 
nature was found, however, to support or confirm such an opinion. Of 
course even the presence of strata, incident to the coal formation, would not 
necessitate the presence of coal strata, but merely makes it possible. The 
experience and geology of many regions shows this, and more. In Switzer- 
land, for instance, the coal formation is largely represented, and coal found 
in many places, but a number of companies have failed in the vain effort 
to find a paying deposit. They have been found invariably to be of limited 
extent, though often of good quality. 

In order to make my remarks better understood, I subjoin an outline ot 
the topography of the locality from the county map, and have sketched in 
the approximate position of the various strata, as observed* The figures 
give the source of the specimens of corresponding number, as accompanying 
this report. The dotted lines show the courses taken in three days' exami- 
nation of the ground. 

The course over the Marble Quarry Hill, gave the following observations 
of importance : 

The hill consists mainly of sandstone strata forming the north-east side 
and a limestone strata on the south-west side, inter-stratified with sand- 
stone. The hill in which the old quarry and the lime-kilns are situated, 
seems to be, partially, at least, a pile of debris, agglomerated by a calcareous 
deposit of speml. 

The variegated marble in the quarry, occurs in disconnected masses in the 
debris, which, although facilitating, on account of its looseness, the quarry- 
ing work, predominates to an extent, and is in itself so worthless as to 
outweigh the advantage mentioned. 

These detached blocks of variegated marble would probably lead ulti- 

*The sketch referred to above, is, unfortunately, not procurable. 


mately to a continuous main deposit. This, I think, would be found some- 
what higher on the slope, or farther east, and prove to be a contiuuation of 
the marble vein, which is found abruptly cut off or dislocated, near the 
boulders and cliffs forming the brow of the hill adjoining on the north. 

Following our course, we find on the west slope of the hill, the dense, red- 
rish-yellow limestone No. 2. This will burn pretty white, and make a good 
mortar lime. 

On the point of the north-west slope of the hill, we find the dense, cream- 
colored limestone No. 3, distinguishable from a distance by its marked light 
color. This is certainly the best limestone found by me on the whole 
ground. It burns very white, slacks very readily, and makes a rich lime. 

The value of the limestones, Nos. 2 and 3, is enhanced by the fact that, 
in them is situated the well defined ledge or vein of variegated marble 
No. 4. This, together with the situation on the slope of the hill, would 
make it possible to combine the quarrying of the two, and, therefore, render 
the operation, more profitable than if they were apart. 

The vein of variegated marble above spoken of, runs in a line from there 
to the top of the hill in a south-easterly direction, dipping No. 3, and is two- 
fourths feet thick. It is distinctly defined for a distance of several hundred 
feet, and, I have no doubt, reaches to a considerable depth. The marble, 
when polished, is of great beauty, and would be made of considerable 
value in countries where labor is cheap. It is only fit, however, for inside 
ornamental purposes, such as mantles for fire-places, etc.; is a fissured struct- 
ure, favoring destruction by atmospheric action. At the marble works of 
Mr. Heverin, on Jackson street, between Montgomery and Lawrence, in this 
city (San Francisco), specimens of finished work from this marble can be 
seen in form of a fire front, and a block for the Vienna Exposition, both of 
which show the peculiarities and great beauty of this marble to the best 

At the top of the hill this marble vein strikes the sandstone strata, which 
then forms the wall-rock of another smaller vein of the same marble, strik- 
ing in from the north-east. This vein cuts off or dislocates, the main vein ; 
at any rate, they are both lost in the boulders and precipitous cliffs forming 
the south side of the brow of the hill. It is probable, however, their con- 
tinuation will be found on the south-west slope, and that the quarry marble 
is from this continuation. The dislocation is also apparent in the sandstone 
and limestone strata. 

Crossing the sandstone in an easterly direction, we find on the east slope 
of Quarry Hill a number of soda springs. One of these — the highest up 
on the hill — shows an oily scum floating on top of the water. This is the 
only acknowledged indication of the presence of coal that I have found on 
the premises. That this indication is too indefinite to be of any value, 
needs, I think, no explanation to any one at all acquainted with the origin, 


fibrous powder, assuming, at the same time, a permanent brownish-gray 
color. This powder, when treated with water, shows no sign of slacking. 
These reactions would indicate the mineral to be dolomite ; but this is belied 
by its form, its inferior hardness, and the readiness with which . it emits its 
carbonic acid and dissolves in coal muriatic acid. It may be classed, there- 
fore, a dolomitic, calcite or magnesian limestone. 

It has been satisfactorily proven that certain magnesian limestones make 
excellent hydraulic mortar and cement, particularly adapted for salt water 
work. I, therefore, at once tested the mineral for its qualities in this direc- 
tion, but with unsatisfactory results. It is lacking in the proper proportion 
of magnesia. With the discovery of a magnesia deposit of suitable nature, 
the rock could be made valuable — not otherwise, to my knowledge. 

It is needless for me to express my opinion in regard to the mineral or 
soda springs in this section of your premises ; anyone who has seen them 
and tasted the water must bear witness to their good qualities. 

As regards its practical value, I can form but an imperfect opinion. It 
seems to me its best day is past, and that now it is merely a question of 
successful competition and, perhaps, attraction of locality. The experience 
of European springs of note, has shown that after their situation, other 
chance circumstances determine their fate, ahead of their intrinsic qualities. 
I cite Carlsbad, Ems, Wiesbaden, Baden-Baden. In dreams of the future 
and its possibilities, I cannot indulge. 

Following our course of examination in a southerly direction, the extent 
of the deposit of dolomitic limestone was evident, from the pieces of it 
strewn over the hills, within the boundaries of the limestone strata, for a 
distance of over a quarter of a mile. Crossing, then, the limestone going 
east, there is found on the southern slope 'of the hills, a top-ground of 
decomposed limestone containing, however, considerable clay. This, on 
account of its softness, would probably make excellent material for agricul- 
tural purposes, to mix with soils requiring lime — tule lands, for instance. 
No. 11. 

My attention was then drawn by Judge Swan to lumps of the radical 
fibrous mineral, No. 12, which, at first sight, I thought might be fibrous 
gypsum. This, however, was at once disproved by its hardness ; gypsum 
yielding to the nail, this barely to the knife. It is arognite — a peculiar 
quality of carbonate of lime — and of no value except for a mineral collec- 

The further examination elicited nothing more of interest. 

The third day's course of examination began at about D, and was made 
with a particular view to the discovery of coal indications. 

Following up the creek bed, from the point where it is claimed specimens 
of coal were found in 1862, I crossed the limestone, sandstone, and clay 
shale strata, common to the locality, without discovering in the drift any- 



thing new except specimens of hornblendic rock — a peculiar conglomerate — 
and some new varieties of argillaceous limestone or marl, similar to those 
found on marble-quarry hill; Nos. 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, are specimens from 
both places, having, more or less, the characteristics of what is termed 
cement rock than any other found. My examination of it has shown it to 
be such, of serviceable quality. All of the other rocks, of the same class 
enumerated, could be made serviceable for the manufacture of cement, 
though it would probably need judicious mixture of different varieties to 
attain good results. Nothing but experiments on a large scale could settle 
these points satisfactorily, since it is a well-known fact to cement manu- 
facturers of experience, that a material may contain all the necessary 
constituents of cement in proper quantity, and yet not make good cement. 

My course was thence taken to the east, as far as the road, to visit another 
point, where coal is claimed to have been found in digging a well ; thence 
up the ravine to the north, going west, crossing the sandstone and shale 
strata both ways. The course, from the top of the hill, was taken south- 
ward, down the deep ravine, forming the main branch of the creek in which 
the coal was found. At the head of this ravine are found thick beds of a 
sandy shale, in their distorted laminae, No. 20, indicating an irruptive action 
in the vicinity. Further down was found the bed of peculiar conglomerate 
before mentioned, No. 21. I speak of this because such conglomerates, of 
the most varied kind, are oftenest met in the coal formations, and are 
valuable as giving a clue to the nature of the rocks of the less immediate 
vicinity. The shells in this specimen are not perfect enough to be deter- 
minejd, otherwise they would be a clue. 

Farther down, I found boulders of synite, and the solid rock itself, 
protruding on the east side of the ravine. This explains the distortion of 
the strata in the vicinity — Nos. 22 and 23. 

Part of this synite is exceedingly rich in hornblende ; more so than the 
small piece attached. May not such massive hornblende have been mista- 
ken for coal, since the latter seems to have been found (12) only in the 
vicinity of this hornblendic rock ? I, at least, can find no indication of its 
presence than the vagueness mentioned. 

Cinnabar, or other quicksilver ore, will not be found, I think, on your 

The examination developed nothing more of interest. 

Resume. — The materials on your premises, which may be considered in 
the question of value, are : The limestones, Nos. 2 and 3 ; the variegated 
marble, No. 4 ; the soda springs, and some of the varieties of cement rock 

In considering the cost of burning limestone, it may be mentioned that 
Santa Cruz lime, of superior quality, is sold here (San Francisco) at the rate 
of $2 per barrel of 250 pounds, gross — say 230 pounds, net. 


In regard to the cost of production, I have tried to obtain notes on the 
experience in this State, but, as might be expected, did not succeed. T can 
only give the following : 

In the best kilns at present used in Germany, the results are :. 

For 3 J tons lime, 1| cords wood, (kind not given) or 1 ton of good coal. 

Production about 10 tons per day in kilns of the largest build. As much 
as 3f tons of lime is burned in some places with the above proportion of 

Kilns of the foregoing kind, as were generally used, burn only 6-7 tons 
lime per twenty-four hours. 

A somewhat different kind — simpler — kiln used near the Rhine, is only 
about half as large, and turns out per day one and a half and one and three 
quarters tons of lime, with a consumption of say one cord of good, dry pine 

The patent furnaces of Hoffman & Licht, such as are used by the Patent 
Brick Company of San Francisco, to burn brick, will .turn out 6-8 tons lime 
per day, consuming only 2,900 to 3,900 pounds good coal. 

These furnaces are all expensive to build, especially the first and last 
mentioned . 

A cheap form of kiln is also much used, in which the fuel is mixed with 
the limestone, as in burning cement at Benicia. It will turn out 5-5 \ tons 
lime, with a consumption of two tons of coal. 

Taking the last form of kiln as a basis, an approximate calculation of the 
total cost of delivering lime to market, I calculated it to be 50 to 60 dollars 
for five tons, or, say 40 barrels. This makes $1.25 to $1.50 per barrel. 
Santa Cruz lime, as above, selling at $2.00, it would not be safe to count on 
more than $1.75. 

From this I judge that with the use of coal as fuel, and a good kiln, lime 
burning could be carried on with good profit on your premises at the point 
specified. I do not think it would be more than a profitable business. 

In respect to the value of marble, I can give the following : 

Italian marble, per cubic foot $3 00 to $12 00 

Vermont " " " 5 00" 5 50 

Variegated foreign marble, per cubic foot .... 3 00 " 5 00 

Suisun marble, per cubic foot 1 00 " 1 50 

I have been to a number of marble yards in this city, but could get no 
offer or estimate out of anyone for the Suisun marble, though they all 
admitted that it was a fine stone, etc. Mr. Heverin seems to be the only 
one that takes any interest in the matter, and he will therefore be best able 
to determine what can be done with the marble. The marble, it seems, is 
more difficult to work than the imported, and the preference of the product 
to others is a matter of taste, and therefore a high price asked. These con- 


siderations limit the market for it, and make its intrinsic value more ques- 
tionable than in the case of a large deposit of a less rare material. As I 
said before, Mr. Heverin is at present best able to give positive information 
on this. 

Although the material is abundant for the manufacture of Portland 
cement, it "Would be difficult at present to compete with the factory at Benicia, 
I think, since they have also found an abundance of rock near their factory." 

We will now draw this already lengthy chapter to a close ; it has been 
impossible to follow every outline of the settlement of Solano county up to 
its present state of prominent prosperity, while it has been a hard task to 
verify the dates of the earlier arrivals. All would appear to have gone 
through the earlier toils of pioneer life without any special regard to the 
flight of time, save wherein it was to bring them to their desired goal ; 
hence it has been no easy task to arrive at the information we now lay 
before the reader. In bidding adieu to the subject of settlement, therefore, 
the sad story of the Donner party may not be uninteresting, especially as 
some of the survivors are well known to residents of Solano. 

Tuthill's History of California tells us : " Of the overland emigration to 
California, in 1846, about eighty wagons took a new route, from fort 
Bridger, around the south end of Great Salt Lake. The pioneers of the 
party arrived in good season over the mountains ; but Mr. Reed's and 
Mr. Donner's companies opened a new route through the desert, lost a 
month's time by their explorations, and reached the foot of the Truckee 
pass, in the Sierra Nevada, on the 31st of October, instead of the 1st, as 
they had intended. The snow began to fall on the mountains two or three 
weeks earlier than usual that year, and was already piled up in the Pass 
that they could not proceed. They attempted it repeatedly, but were as 
often forced to return. One party built their cabins near the Truckee Lake, 
killed their cattle, and went into winter quarters. The other (Donner's) 
party, still believed that they could thread the pass, and so failed to build 
their cabins before more snow came and buried their cattle alive. Of course 
these were soon utterly destitute of food, for they could not tell where the 
cattle were buried, and there was no hope of game on a desert so piled with 
snow that nothing without wings could move. The number of those who 
were thus storm-stayed, at the very threshold of the land whose winters are 
one long spring, was eighty, of whom thirty were females, and several 
children. The Mr. Donner who had charge of one company, was an Illino- 
isian, sixty years of age, a man of high respectability and abundant means. 
His wife was a woman of education and refinement, and much younger 
than he. 

During November it snowed thirteen days ; during December and Janu- 
ary, eight days in each. Much of the time the tops of the cabins were 
below the snow level. 


It was six weeks after the halt was made that a party of fifteen, includ- 
ing five women and two Indians who acted as guides, set out on snow-shoes 
to cross the mountains, and give notice to the people of the California 
settlements of the condition of their friends. At first the snow was so light 
and feathery that even in snow-shoes they sank nearly a foot at every step. 
On the second day they crossed the " divide," finding the snow at the sum- 
mit twelve feet deep. Pushing forward with the courage of despair, Ihey 
made from four to eight miles a day. 

Within a week they got entirely out of provisions ; and three of them, 
succumbing to cold, weariness, and starvation, had died. Then a heavy 
snow-storm came on, which compelled them to lie still, buried between their 
blankets under the snow, for thirty-six hours. By the evening of the tenth 
day three more had died, and the living had been four days without food. 
The horrid alternative was accepted — they took the flesh from the bones of 
their dead, remained in camp two days to dry it, and then pushed on. 

On New Years, the sixteenth day since leaving Truckee Lake, they were 
toiling up a steep mountain. Their feet were frozen. Every step was marked 
with blood. On the second of January, their food again gave out. On the 
third, they had nothing to eat but the strings of their snow-shoes. On the 
fourth, the Indians eloped, justly suspicious that they might be sacrificed for 
food. On the fifth, they shot a deer, and that day one of their number died. 
Soon after three others died, and every death now eked out the existence 
of the survivors. On the seventeenth, all gave out, and concluded their 
wanderings useless, except one. He, guided by two stray friendly Indians, 
dragged himself on till he reached a settlement on Bear river. By midnight 
the settlers had found and were treating with all Christian kindness what 
remained of the little company that, after more than a month of the most 
terrible sufferings, had that morning halted to die. 

The story that there were emigrants perishing on the other side of the 
snowy barrier ran swiftly down the Sacramento Valley to New Helvetia, 
and Captain Sutter, at his own expense, fitted out an expedition of men and 
of mules laden with provisions, to cross the mountains and relieve them. It 
ran on to San Francisco, and the people, rallying in public meeting, raised 
fifteen hundred dollars, and with it fitted out another expedition. The 
naval commandant of the port fitted out still others. 

The first of the relief parties reached Truckee Lake on the nineteenth of 
February. Ten of the people in the nearest camp were dead. For four 
weeks those who were still alive had fed only on bullocks' hides. At 
Donner's camp they had but one hide remaining. The visitors left a small 
supply of provisions with the twenty-nine whom they could not take with 
them, and started back with the remainder. Four of the children they 
carried on their backs. 

Another of the relief parties reached Truckee Lake on the first of March. 


They immidiately started back with seventeen of the sufferers ; but, a heavy 
snow storm overtaking them, they left all, except three of the children, on 
the road. Another party went after those who were left on the way; 
found three of them dead, and the rest sustaining life by feeding on the 
flesh of the dead. 

The last relief party reached Donner's camp late in April, when the snows 
had melted so much that the earth appeared in spots. The main cabin was 
empty, but some miles distant they found the last survivor of all lying on 
the cabin floor smoking his pipe. He was ferocious in aspect, savage and 
repulsive in manner. His camp-kettle was over the fire and in it his meal 
of human flesh preparing. The stripped bones of his fellow-sufferers lay 
around him. He refused to return with the party, and only consented 
when he saw there was no escape. 

Mrs. Donner was the last to die. Her husband's body, carefully laid out 
and wrapped in a sheet, was found at his tent. Circumstances led to the 
suspicion that the survivor had killed Mrs. Donner for her flesh and her 
money, and when he was threatened with hanging, and the rope tightened 
around his neck, he produced over five hundred dollars in gold, which, 
probably, he had appropriated from her store." 

In relation to this dreary story of suffering, this portion of our history 
will be concluded by the narration of the prophetic dream of George Yount, 
attended, as it was, with such marvelous results. 

At this time, (the winter of 1846) while residing in Napa county, of 
which, as has been already remarked, he was the pioneer settler, he dreamt 
that a party of emigrants were snow-bound in the Sierra Nevadas, high up 
in the mountains, where they were sufhering the most distressing privations 
from cold and want of food. The locality where his dream had placed 
these unhappy mortals, he had never visited, yet so clear was his vision 
that he described the sheet of water surrounded by lofty peaks, deep-covered 
with snow, while on every hand towering pine trees reared their heads far 
above the limitless waste. In his sleep he saw the hungry human beings 
ravenously tear the flesh from the bones of their fellow creatures, slain to 
satisfy their craving appetites, in the midst of a gloomy desolation. He 
dreamed his dream on three successive nights, after which he related it to 
others, among whom were a few who had been on hunting expeditions in 
the Sierras. These wished for a precise description of the scene foreshad- 
owed to him. They recognized the Truckee. now the Donner Lake. On 
the strength of this recognition Mr. Yount fitted out a search expedition, 
and, with these men as guides, went to the place indicated, and, prodigious 
to relate, was one of the successful relieving parties to reach the ill-fated 
Donner party. 





1850 TO 1877 — TABLE OF OFFICERS FROM 1850 TO 1877. 

The early political history of Solano county is enveloped in considerable 
mystery. Prior to the acquisition of California by the Government of the 
United States, the large District of Sonoma, which included all the territory 
between the Sacramento river and the ocean, and Oregon and the Bay of 
San Francisco, was under the rule of the Mexican Government, who pro- 
mulgated their laws after the year 1835, when General Vallejo took 
command, from Sonoma. The District was apportioned into Prefectures, 
amenable to a grand council at that town, the holders of office being known 
as Alcaldes. 

The first civil officer commissioned, after the American occupation, was 
John Nash. He had a very exalted idea of the dignity of his office ; 
assumed ministerial as well as judicial powers ; signed himself " Chief 
Justice of California," and otherwise made himself and his office ridiculous. 
Squire Nash, as his neighbors called him, was a good-natured, illiterate, but 
honest man, who was employed by several persons to proceed to the mines 
on the discovery of gold in 1848. He returned with gold dust to the value 
of eight hundred dollars, and shortly after, going to Mormon Island with a 
company of Sonoma miners, he died there during the winter. He was 
succeeded in office by Lilburn W. Boggs, Ex-Governor of Missouri, in the 
office of Alcalde ; a like appointment being made for Benicia City, as will 
be seen by the accompanying commission : 

" Know all men by these presents, that I, Richard B. Mason, Colonel 1st 
Regiment of Dragoons, United States Army, and Governor of California, by 
virtue of authority in me vested, do hereby appoint Stephen Cooper an 
Alcalde at Benicia City, at present in the District of Sonoma. 

" Given at Monterey, the Capital of California, this third day of January, 
A. D. 1848, and of the Independence of the United States the 72d. 

(Signed) "R. B. Mason, 

[official seal.] " Col. 1st Dragoons, 

"Governor of California." 

Let us see what was the state of the political horizon at that time. 
According to Tuthill — as to civil law, the country was utterly at sea. It 
had a governor in the person of the commandant of the military district it 
belonged to, but no government. While the war lasted California, as a 


conquered province, expected to be governed by military officers who, by 
virtue of their command of the Department, bore sway over all the territory 
that their Department embraced. But after peace had come and the suc- 
cession of military governors was not abated, a people who had been in the 
habit of governing themselves, under the same flag and the same constitu- 
tion, chafed that a simple change of longitude should deprive them of their 
inalienable rights. 

General Persifer F. Smith, who assumed command on arriving by the 
California, the first steamship that reached San Francisco (February 28, 
1849), and General Riley, who succeeded him (April 13, 1849), would have 
been acceptable governors enough, if the people could have discovered any- 
where in the Constitution that the President had power to govern a territory 
by a simple order to the commandant of a military department. The power 
was obvious in time of war • but in peace it was unprecedented. Left en- 
tirely to themselves, the people could have organized a squatter sovereignty, 
as Oregon had done, and the way into the sister-hood of States was clear. 

They felt that they had cause for complaint, but in truth they were too 
busy to nurse their grievance and make much of it. To some extent they 
formed local governments, and had unimportant collisions with the mili- 
tary. But, busy as they were, and expecting to return home soon, they 
humored their contempt for politics, and left public matters to be shaped at 
Washington. Nor was this so unwise a course under the circumstances, for 
the thing that had hindered Congress from giving them a legitimate con- 
stitutional government was the ever-present snag in the current of American 
political history, the author of most of our woes, the great mother of mis- 
chief on the Western continent — Slavery. 

When it was found that Congress had adjourned without doing anything 
for California, Brigadier-General Piley, by the advice, he said, of the Presi- 
dent, and Secretaries of State and of War, issued a Proclamation,- which 
was at once a call for a convention, and an official exposition of the Admin- 
istration's theory of the anomalous relations of California, and the Union. 
He strove to rectify the impression that California was governed by the 
military arm of the service ; 'that had ceased with the termination of hostili- 
ties. What remained was the civil government, recognized by the existing 
laws of California. These were vested in a governor, who received his ap- 
pointment frftn the supreme government or, in default of such appoint- 
ment, the office was vested in the commanding military officer of the de- 
partment, a secretary, a departmental or territorial legislature, a superior 
court with four judges, a prefect and sub-prefect, and a judge of the first 
instance for each district, alcaldes, local justices of the peace, ayuntanien- 
tos, or town councils. He moreover recommended the election, at the same 
time, of delegates to a convention to adopt either a State or Territorial Con- 
stitution which, if acquiesced in by the people, would be submitted for ap- 
proval to Congress. 


In accordance with these announcements we find that the " Superior 
Tribunal of California " existed at Monterey in 1849, for in September of 
that year a " Tariff of Fees for Judiciary offices " was published, with the 
following order of the Court : " That the several officers mentioned in this 
order shall be entitled to receive for their services, in addition to their 
regular salary, if any, the following fees, and none other, until the further 
order of this Court." Here is added a list of the fees to be appropriated by 
Judges of First Instance, Alcaldes and Justices of the Peace, Clerks of the 
several courts, Sheriff, or Comisario, District Attorney, and Notaries Public. 

Stephen Cooper, already alcalde of the city of Benicia, was appointed by 
General Riley, in August, Judge of First Instance, and commenced his 
labors in that function in October, 1849, as appears in the only record of the 
proceedings of that Court extant in the office of the county clerk, at Fair- 

The record of one of the cases tried is reproduced as an instance of the 
short but quick justice that was doled out in 1849 : 

" The People of California Territory, 
George Palmer. 

" And now comes the said people by right their attorney, and the said de- 
fendant by Semple and O'Melveny, and the prisoner having been arraigned 
on the indictment in this cause, plead not guilty. Thereupon a j ury was 
chosen, selected, and sworn, when, after hearing the evidence and argument 
of counsel, returned into Court the following verdict, to wit : 

" The jury, in the case of Palmer, defendant, and the State of California, 
plaintiff', have found a verdict of guilty on both counts of the indictment, 
and sentenced him to receive the following punishment, to wit : 

" On Saturday, the 24th day of November, to be conducted by the sheriff 
to some public place and there receive on his bare back seventy-five lashes, 
with such weapon as the sheriff may deem fit, on each count respectively, 
and to be banished from the district of Sonoma within twelve hours after 
whipping, under penalty of receiving the same number of lashes for each 
and every day he remains in the district, after the first whipping. 

"(Signed) Alexander Riddell, 

" Foreman. 

" It is therefore ordered by the Court, in accordance with the above ver- 
dict, that the foregoing sentence be carried into effect." 

The manifesto calling a Constitutional Convention divided the electoral 
divisions of the State into ten districts ; each male inhabitant of the 
country, of twenty-one years of age, could vote in the district of his resid- 
ence, and the delegates so elected were called upon to meet at Monterey, on 
the 1st day of September, 1849. The number of delegates was fixed at 
thirty-seven, five of which were apportioned to San Francisco. Those 
elected from the district of Sonoma, were General Vallejo, Joel Walker, R. 



Semple. L. W. Boggs was also elected, but did not attend. As resolved, 
the Convention met at Monterey on the date above named, Robert Semple, 
of Benicia, one of the delegates from the district of Sonoma, being chosen 
president. The session lasted six weeks ; and notwithstanding an awkward 
scarcity of books of reference and other necessary aids, much labor was per- 
formed, while the debates exhibited a marked degree of ability. In framing 
the original Constitution of California, slavery was forever prohibited 
within the jurisdiction of the State; the boundary question between 
Mexico and the United States was set at rest ; provision for the morals and 
education of the people was made ; a seal of State was adopted with the 
false Greek, though now more famous motto of Eureka, and a quantity of 
other matters discussed. It was submitted to the people in English and 
Spanish ; and on November 13th, was ratified by them. 

The Constitution was adopted by a vote of twelve thousand and sixty- 
four for it, to eight hundred and eleven against it ; there being, besides, over 
twelve hundred ballots that were treated as blanks, because of an inform- 
ality in the printing. 

The following are two of the tickets which were voted at the time and 
were destributed in and around Sacramento and the upper portion of the 

people's ticket. people's ticket. 



John A. Sutter. 


John McDougal. 


William E. Shannon, 
Pet. Halsted. 


John Bidwell, Upper Sacramento, 
Murray Morrison, Sacramento City, 
Harding Bigelow, Sacramento City, 
Gilbert A. Grant, Vernon. 


H. C. Cardwell, Sacramento City, 
P. B. Cornwall, Sacramento City, 
John S. Fowler, Sacramento City, 
J. Sherwood, 
Elisha W. McKinstry, 
Madison Walthall, Coloma, 
W. B. Dickenson, Yuba, 
James Queen, South Fork, 
W. L. Jenkin, Weaverville. 



Peter H. Burnett. 


John McDougal. 


Edward Gilbert, 
George W. Wright. 


John Bidwell, Upper Sacramento, 
Murray Morrison, Sacramento City, 
Harding Bigelow, Sacramento City, 
Gilbert A. Grant, Vernon. 


H. C. Cardwell, Sacramento City, 
P. B. Cornwall, Sacramento City, 
John S. Fowler, Sacramento City, 
H. L. Ford, Upper Sacramento, 
Madison Walthall, Coloma, 
W. B. Dickenson, Yuba, 
James Queen, South Fork, 
Arba K. Berry, Weaverville. 


The result of the election was : Peter H. Burnett, Governor ; John Mc- 
Dougal, Lieutenant Governor ; and Messrs. Wright and Gilbert were sent to 
Congress. In regard to our especial subject General Vallejo was then elected 
to the Senate, his seat, however, was first given to Jonas Spect, but on the 
22d of December the official return from one of the polls gave' Spect but 
two votes instead of twenty-eight, a total of but one hundred and eighty- 
one votes against General Vallejo's one hundred and ninety-nine. Mr. Spect 
then gave up his seat to the General, who during that session of the Legis- 
lature, made his memorable report on the derivation and defination of the 
names of the several counties of the State ; a report unsurpassed in its style 
and its store of interesting and valuable information. 

On Saturday, December 15, 1849, the first Legislature of the State met — 
it will, however, be unnecessary here to enter into its movements until finally 
located at Sacramento, such will be found fully discussed in the history of 
the city of Vallejo. 

The earliest record of an election in Solano is one held on April 1> 
1850, to chose the following State and county officers, viz.: Clerk of the 
Supreme Court, District Attorney, County Judge, Clerk, Attorney, Surveyor 
Sheriff, Recorder, Assessor, Coronor, and Treasurer. L. B. Mizner being 
appointed Inspector ; William McDaniel and Sarshel Cooper, Judges ; with 
Joseph Winston and W. Rowe, Clerks. The officers being duly sworn by 
Stephen Cooper, Judge of the District of Sonoma, the polls were opened, 
and one hundred and seventy-six duly qualified electors deposited their 

The result of the election was : 


For Clerk of Supreme Court E. H. Tharp 142 

For District Attorney R. A. Maupin 107 

For County Judge James Craig 88 

For County Clerk Sarshel Bynum 107 

For County Attorney D. R. Wright 94 

For County Surveyor Benjamin W. Barlow. . 137 

For County Sheriff Frank Brown 86 

For County Recorder Sarshel Bynum 143 

For County Assessor Stephen Cooper 174 

For County Coroner W. F. Peabody 178 

For County Treasurer David F. Beveridge 100 

The foregoing poll included the votes of officers and soldiers of the United 
States Army, and the officers and sailors of the Navy, to the number of 
forty-three, as is shown by the statement submitted by the President and 
Canvasser, on April 8th. The election was held pursuant to an Act of the 
Assembly of the State, approved March 2d, 1850. 


It was found, however, that James Craig, the nominee for the County 
Judgeship, had failed to qualify according to law ; the office was therefore 
declared vacant, and a new election called in accordance with the above 
quoted Act, by F. M. Warmcastle, Judge of Contra Costa County, to be held 
on May 11, 1850, at two precincts in Solano County, which he had named, 
viz., the Court House at Benicia, and the residence of Daniel M. Berry, 
in Suisun Valley, the Inspectors being respectively George H. Riddell, 
of Benicia, and D. M. Berry. The result was the election of Joseph 
Winston, with sixty-six votes, as against forty-seven for William McDaniel. 
Thus, Judge Winston was the first Judge for Solano County who actually 
took his seat; and on the assumption of his office, almost his first duty was the 
organizing of the county into the two townships of Benicia and Suisun, and 
fixing certain boundaries, consequent on the necessity to elect two Justices 
of the Peace and one Constable for the newly partitioned districts. This 
election was called for May 25th, and on June 1st the elected Justices were 
directed to meet at the City Hall, in Benicia, for the purpose of electing two 
of their number as Associate Justices, to sit with the County Judge, to form 
the Court of Sessions of said County of Solano. There is, unfortunately, no 
record of the names of the Justices then elected. In the meantime, the 
office of County Attorney was declared vacant, and C. Gillis, being the 
only candidate, was duly elected July 22, 1850. On October 7, 1850, 
another election was held for the appointment of a Clerk to the Supreme 
Court ; Superintendent of Public Instruction ; Attorney General ; District 
Attorney, for the district composed of the counties of Marin, Sonoma, Napa, 
Solano and Mendocino ; Senator for the district composed of the counties of 
Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Mendocino, Yolo, Colusa, and Trinity ; and a 
Member of the Assembly, for the District composed of the counties of 
Marin, Sonoma, Napa, and Solano, while the votes of the people were called 
to settle the location of the seat of government, with the following result : 


For Clerk of the Supreme Court E. H. Tharp 96 

For Superintendent of Public Instruction. .Fred. P. Tracy 56 

For Attorney General James A. McDougal ... 98 

For District Attorney J. D. Bristol 132 

For Senator Martin E. Cook 101 

For Member of Assembly. . John S. Bradford 113 

While, for the location of the seat of government, Vallejo received one 
hundred and eighty-six votes, as against one for each of the cities of San 
Jose and Monterey. Shortly after this, the offices of Sheriff and County Sur- 
veyor, held by Messrs. Francis Brown and Benjamin W. Barlow, had become 
vacant ; another election was held on December 21st, when B. C. Whitman 
was chosen for the first named office, and A. F. Bradley for the latter. 



Thus the electoral interests for the year 1850 were brought to a close. 
In this year party spirit had not yet run very high. The bulk of the early 
settlers were pretty evenly divided between the Whigs and Democrats, 
while of the officers elected, the opposing factions shared the honors more 
or less equally. 

On January 25, 1851, Calvin Brown and J. G. Dennis were respectively 
elected to the offices of Justice of the Peace and Constable for Benicia 
Township, while, in March, two more vacancies occurred in the offices of 
Sheriff and County Attorney, consequent on the resignation of Messrs. B. C. 
Whitman and C. Gillis. To fill these offices a special election was called, as 
also to choose two Justices of the Peace and one Constable for each of the 
townships of Vallejo, which would appear from the Petition of Electors to 
have then been named Eden and Suisun. At this epoch of the county's 
history, the list of votes was : For Benicia Township, 174 ; for Vallejo, 
29 ; and for Suisun, 72. The result of this election, which was held on 
March 24th, was : 


For County Sheriff Paul Shirley 83 

For County Attorney Thomas M. Swan . . 128 

For Justice of the Peace, Vallejo Township. >- j ! ^ ai ,^ e " ' ' 

For Justice of the Peace, Suisun Township. \ TT ^ ^ ' rr ^' " no 

r ( U. P. Degman 63 

For Constable for Vallejo Township. . ..William E. Brown, D. C. . 28 
For Constable for Suisun Township . . . .William Munn 69 

On the 9th September, 1850, California was admitted into the Union, 
and the pleasing, though foreordained intelligence, was hailed with much 
enthusiasm when brought to San Francisco, on the 18th October, 1850. On 
September 3, 1851, the first gubernatorial election was held under the new 
order of things. The event being so important a one, we reproduce the 
entire vote throughout Solano County, as gleaned from the official records 
of the county. 




Reading, Pierson B. 

No. of Votes. 

Benicia. . 182 

Vallejo 93 

Suisun 67 

Vacaville 51 

Bigler, John. 

Benicia 98 

Vallejo 77 

Suisun . .„-„-.;-. .... 41 

Vacaville-. 17 


Baldwin, Drury P. 

Benicia. . 166 

Vallejo 91 

Suisun 67 

Vacaville 49 

Purdy, Samuel. 

Benicia 112 

Vallejo 78 

Suisun 41 

Vacaville 17 

justice supreme court. 

Heydenfeldt, Solomon. 

Benicia 110 

Vallejo 77 

Suisun 43 

Vacaville 17 

Robinson, Todd. 

Benicia 159 

Vallejo 92 

Suisun 65 

Vacaville 50 





Hastings, S. C. 

No. of Votes. 

Benicia 114 

Vallejo 78 

Suisun 44 

Vacaville 16 

Fair, W. D. 

Benicia 162 

Vallejo 90 

Suisun 64 

Vacaville 50 

state comptroller. 


- 248 

Pierce, Winslow T. 

Benicia Ill 

Vallejo 78 

Suisun 42 

Vacaville 17 

Abell, A. G. 

Benicia 166 

Vallejo 90 

Suisun 64 

Vacaville 49 

Houston, John S. 

Benicia 1 




Eddy, Wm. M. 

Benicia 119 

Vallejo 77 

Suisun 41 

Vacaville 17 

Herron, Walter. 

Benicia 159 

Vallejo 89 

Suisun 66 

Vacaville 49 











Roman, Richard. 

No. of Votes. 

Benicia 118 

Vallejo 130 

Suisun 43 

Vacaville 27 

Burt, J. M. 

Benicia 159 

Vallejo 38 

Suisun 65 

Vacaville 39 

Gift, Col. W. 

Benicia 2 



Benicia 107 

Vallejo 82 

Suisun 42 

Vacaville 19 


Marshall, E. C. 

Benicia 118 

Vallejo 86 

Suisun 43 

Vacaville 27 

Kewen, E. J. C. 

Benicia 170 

Vallejo 87 

Suisun 65 

Vacaville 49 

Moore, B. F. 

Benicia 157 

Vallejo 88 

Suisun 64 

Vacaville 38 

Bryan, D. C. 

Benicia 34 

Vallejo 4 

Suisun 18 

Va aville 7 









Dorland, James. 

No. of Votes. 

Benicia 48 

Vallejo 8 

Suisun 47 




STATE senator to represent the 


Bradford, John S. 

Benicia 157 

Vallejo 9 

Suisun 50 

Vacaville 5 

Estell, James M. 

Benicia 129 

Vallejo 147 

Suisun 52 

Vacaville 46 

Long, James H. 

Vacaville 2 

Sawyer, Jesse. 

Benicia 1 

Vacaville 1 

Semple, Rorert. 

Vacaville 1 




memrers of assembly to represent 
solano county. 

Graham, James S. 

Benicia 122 

Vallejo 117 

Suisun 28 

Vacaville 45 

Semple, Robert. 

Benicia 85 

Vallejo 28 

Suisun 17 

Vacaville 15 






Shirley, Paul. 

No. of Votes. 

Benicia 195 

Vallejo 122 

Suisun 84 

Vacaville 62 

Stocker, James. 

Benicia 91 

Vallejo 38 

Suisun 26 

Vacaville 6 


Bynum, Sarshel. 

Benicia 259 

Vallejo 148 

Suisun 107 

Vacaville 65 

Jones, J. W. 

Benicia 1 


Swan, Thos. M. 

Benicia 145 

Vallejo 102 

Suisun 65 

Vacaville 43 

Blair, J. D. 

Benicia 134 

Vallejo 48 

Suisun 35 

Vacaville 14 


Peabody, Wm. F. 

Benicia 169 

Vallejo 18 

Suisun 57 

Vacaville 45 








Hamm, Samuel F. 

No. of Votes. 

Benicia 109 

Vallejo 122 

Suisun 41 

Vacaville 14 


Evans. O. H. 

Benicia 194 

Vallejo 77 

Suisun 73 

Vacaville 43 

Hayden, C. W. 

Benicia 73 

Vallejo 52 

Suisun 21 

Vacaville 14 

Leviston, Geo. 

Benicia 1 


Loring, F. R. 

Benicia 153 

Vallejo 76 

Suisun 67 

Vacaville 43 

Bradley, A. F. 

Benicia 124 

Vallejo 56 

Suisun 34 

Vacaville 14 


Vaughan, Singleton. 

Benicia 192 

Vallejo 78 

Suisun 47 

Vacaville 33 











Howell, E. P. 

No. of Votes. Total Votes. 

Benicia 69 

Vallejo 53 

Suisun 54 

Vacaville 25 


Cooper Stephen. 

Benicia 16 

Suisun 7 



Currey, John 

Benicia 136 

Vallejo 76 

Suisun 71 

Vacaville 43 

Leviston, Geo. 

Benicia 135 

Vallejo 51 

Suisun 24 

Vacaville 14 


Luce, S. W. 
Benicia . 



Riddell, Alexander 
Wetmore, C. E. . 
Gillis, Calvin . . . 
Hyam, B. D . . . . 
McDougal, John 
Lowry, Dick. . . 
Bennett, Bill . . . 


Brown, A. W . . 
Brown, Jno. S. 
Siddons, Wm. . 
Mitchell, I . . . . 
Jones, John W 
Brown, W. C. . 
Andrews, J. H . 










Total Votes. 

Hopkins, Robert 1 

Boggs,T. J 1 

Whitman, B. C : 1 

Lee, Harvey 1 


Hook, Henry 101 

Tierney, E. P 36 

Leslie, Lyman 77 

Shipley, David 31 

Veeder, Charles 13 

Loveland, J. E 3 


Brown, W. A .....116 

Bryant, W. T 87 

Dupaix, Henry 13 


Berry, D. K. 

Suisun 67 

Vacaville 9 

Degman, U. P. 

Suisun 50 

Vacaville 49 

Beveridge, David F. 

Suisun 54 





Stevenson, G. B. 



. . 62 



Munn, Wm. 


.. 49 



. . 

.. 23 


.. 6 



On September 11th, notice was given in accordance with the Fourth 
Article of the Constitution of California, by Robert Semple, of his intention 
to contest the election of James S. Graham to the seat in the Assembly ; 
there is no reason to believe, however, that the case ever came to a recount. 

The division of votes showed a democratic preponderance for the State 
offices ; while for those of the county, the Whig party had the majority of 

In this contest, Bigler, who received twenty-three thousand seven hun- 
dred and seventy-four votes in the State ; while Pierson B. Reading, his 
Whig opponent, got twenty-two thousand seven hundred and thirty-three, 
had the assistance of that new power which had commenced to creep into 
the State, in the shape of the squatting element. He was Democratic in 
his manners, being " hale fellow " with all. Not so his opponent, who was 
a gentleman of more genteel bearing than the kind-hearted, unambitious, 
landless Governor, who was always mindful of his friends. Bigler, in all 
his messages, urged economy, but found it difficult to prevent an office being 
made for a friend. Tuthill remarks: "It was his pet project to unite the 
Southern and Western men of his party, and let the free-soilers shift for 
themselves ; but it is not in that direction that party cleavage runs. The 
Southeners scorned the alliance. They were ' high-toned,' and looked down 
upon a Missourian as little better than a man from Massachusetts. The 
Governor's project would not work. He carried water on both shoulders, 
and spilt very little on either side." 

In regard to the election of officers to fill the positions required in those 
years, it was very hard to find those willing to, or capable of, undertaking 
the arduous duties : besides, everyone was on the qui vive for news of gold 
on the first receipt of which, judges and constables alike, would leave their 
more dignified duties, and make for the mines, caring not who their succes- 
sors might be, or how they were appointed. 

But few changes of any political moment occurred in 1852, save the 
establishment of a polling precinct at the Suscol rancho, at the residence of 
L. Curtis ; and the Presidential election of November 2nd, when we find 
the three well-known names among the successful candidates for county 
honors, of Judge E. W. McKinstry, now of the Supreme Bench of Califor- 
nia, then elected for his first term as Judge of the Seventh Judicial District; 
Andrew J. Bryant, the present Mayor of San Francisco, then a Constable 
of Benicia township ; and Dr. Sylvester Woodbridge, Junior, the eloquent 
pastor of a Presbyterian Chuich, in San Fiancisco, at the time of which 
we write, a resident of Benicia, and the first Commissioner of Common 
Schools in the county. 

On February 19th, of the following year, Sarshel Bynum, resigned his 
office, when Joseph P. Vaughn was appointed interim County Clerk, in 
which charge he was confirmed, at the general election of 7th September. 


On May 18th, an Act, apportioning the State into certain Senatorial and 
Assembly districts, was passed ; the " Tenth Senatorial District," being com- 
prised in the counties of Solano, Napa, and Yolo, with power to elect one 
Senator, while one member of Assembly was to be returned from each. 

It would appear that at this juncture the number of residents in the 
county had so increased, that greater facilities had to be given to the public 
for recording their votes. The distances from the principal locations of the 
townships being so great, new precincts were made ; the city of Benicia 
being divided into two wards ; the headquarters of one being at the Pacific 
Works, and the other at the Court House. The Vallejo township comprised 
Vallejo and Suscol. Wolf skill's and Montezuma belonged to Vacaville ; 
while Suisun and Green Valley each had their polling places. At their De- 
cember term, the Court of ^Sessions ordered that the salary of the District 
Attorney should be fixed at one hundred and twenty-five dollars per month, 
or fifteen hundred dollars per annum,, commencing from the first Monday 
in October. 

In the year 1855, a vacancy occurring in the office of County Treasurer, 
by the death of John C. Gulick, Jabez Hatch was appointed in his stead. 
In this year, too, the Court of Sessions was abolished, and a Board of Su- 
pervisors created in lieu thereof. The first Board consisting of Lloyd A. 
Rider, A. W. Rodgers, and John C. Fisk, met at Benicia on May 7th, under 
the Presidentship of the first-named gentleman, when they appointed 
George Leviston to be a Justice of the Peace, vice Alexander Rid dell 

On May 4, 1855, an Act of the Legislature was approved, "to take the 
sense of the People of the State, at the General Election in A. D. 1855, on 
the Passage of a Prohibitory Liquor Law ;" the provisions of which were, 
that the manufacture and sale of all spirituous and intoxicating liquors, 
except for mechanical, chemical, medicinal and sacramental purposes, should 
be prohibited. On being put to the vote in Solano county, the result was : 

Yes 143 votes. 

No 378 " 

The precincts for polling purposes were divided by the Supervisors in 
this year, to be as under : 

Green Valley 1 

Suisun 2 

Vacaville 2 

Montezuma 1 

Tremont 1 

Benicia 1 

Vallejo 1 

On November 13, J. W. Jones was appointed to the position of County 


Coroner, vice Larkin Richardson, who had failed to file his certificate of 
election. On August 21, 1855, it was directed by the Board that the Su- 
pervisoral districts be changed, as under : 

( Benicia. 

District No. 1 < 

( Vallejo. 

C Green Valley. 

District No. 2 < 

( Suisun. 

f Vacaville. 

District No. 3 < Montezuma. 

( Tremont. 


In the years 1856 and '57, nothing of any moment occurred in the county, 
in regard to its political aspect. In 1858 the removal of the county seat 
occurred, a full account of which will be found in the chapter on County 
Organizations, in this work. On January 22, 1859, the Board of Supervis- 
ors accepted the Bond of Captain Waterman, in respect to the handing 
over certain lands in Fairfield, for county purposes. On March 14th, they 
opened the bids for the erection of the Court House and Jail there, viz : 

Larkin Richardson, for Court House and Jail $24,440 

J. D. Perkins, for temporary Court House, etc 1,373 

And on September 1st, the buildings were handed over by the contractors. 
By an Act of the Legislature, approved April 28, 1857, the Supervisors 
of the county of Yuba were authorized to subscribe a sum of $200,000 to a 
railroad company which should connect the city of Marysville, and either 
the city of Benicia or any point on the Sacramento River, at or near 
Knight's Ferry or Sacramento City. In May, of the same year, the Super- 
visors of Solano county proposed that $250,000 worth of stock should be 
taken in the Sacramento and San Francisco Railroad, another company 
which had been started with warm advocates in Benicia. The newspapers 
of the time ardently urged the adoption of this scheme, and its submission 
to the vote of the people, which was afterwards done, and carried by a large 
majority. In a little while the Marysville company awoke to a sense of their 
danger in the opposition of the contemplated Sacramento road, when the 
former association filed their articles of incorporation forthwith, and 
commenced operations. The road is set forth as commencing at Marysville, 
and extending through Yuba, Sutter, Yolo, and Solano counties, to a point 
on the San Pablo Bay, near Vallejo, eighty -five miles in length, which was 
expected to cost $3,000,000. The bill was duly introduced into the Senate, 
and approved. On April 16, 1859, an Act authorizing the county of Solano 
to subscribe $200,000 to the capital stock of this railroad, was approved, 


subject to the accepting thereof by the people, which was submitted to their 
vote at the general election of 1859, with the following result : 

Yes 796 

No 661 

The Supervisors were empowered to issue bonds bearing interest at the 
rate of seven per cent per annum from date of issue, payable half-yearly. 
Only $100,000 of these bonds were paid, however, to the company, who, not 
having fulfilled the contract under which the amount was subscribed, 
an amended Act was submitted to the Legislature, during the regime of 
Messrs. Mizner and J. B. Frisbie, as Senator and Assemblyman respectively, 
and approved March 26, 1868, by which the California Pacific Railroad 
Company, a new corporation which had been started and duly incorporated 
under the general laws of the State, were to have assigned and transferred 
to them all stock subscribed for the San Francisco and Marysville Railroad 
Company. This was not to be limited to the first named corporation, how- 
ever, for section 14 of the Act directs : " The said Supervisors are hereby 
authorized and empowered to issue and deliver to the proper officers of any 
railroad company which may, within two years from the passage of this 
Act, complete and have in running order a railroad from the Straits of 
Carquinez, or Vallejo Bay, to the northern boundary line of said Solano 
county, the same amount of bonds as the said San Francisco and Marysville 
Railroad Company would have been entitled to, had its said road have been 
fully completed in the year 1861, less the amount already issued." Of the 
original stock there is still $112,000 outstanding, which is being reduced at 
the rate of $9,000 a year. 

An Act, approved May 13, 1861, to separate from the office of County 
Clerk, the office of County Recorder took effect on the first Monday of Octo- 
ber, and an election for the latter office was also ordered to be held at every 
succeeding general election. To the duties of Recorder were added those of 
Auditor. An Act was also approved on the 14th of May, in which it was 
provided that Road Masters be elected, so soon as the County shall have 
been divided into Road Districts, at the general election of Sept. 4th, whose 
duties were " to have the care and general supervision of the public roads 
within the district, to maintain them in as good repair and to erect such 
necessary bridges and culverts as the means at his command will permit ; 
and he shall also, by direction of the Supervisors, cause suitable guide- 
boards to be erected at the intersection of inrportant roads. He shall 
oversee and direct the labor expended upon the roads, and see that teams, 
ploughs, scrapers and other implements, are furnished for the road service. 
He shall, between the first day of October and the first day of June, in 
each year, give to each person in his road district, who is liable to pay road 
tax, at least three days notice of the time and place at which such person 
shall appear for the purpose of working on the public roads," etc. 


In February, 1867, the county was divided into assessment districts con- 
forming to those which elected Supervisors, offices which were afterwards 
discontinued as being unwieldy. 

Nothing of any particular importance to affect the county occurred in the 
few following years until 1871 — the year of the Tapeworm ticket; the 
following history of which has been kindly supplied by Mr. George A. 


Republican State Ticket. — For Governor, Newton Booth. For Lieutenant Governor, Roraualdo Pacheco. For Secretary of State, Prury Melone. 
For Controller, James J. Green. For State Treasurer, Ferdinand Baehr. For Surveyor-General, Robert Gardner. For Attorney-General, John L. 
Love. P'or Clerk of the Supreme Court, Grant I. Taggart. For State Printer, Thomas A. Springer. For Harbor Commissioner, John A. McGlynn. 
For Amend, to Art. 1 of the Const.— Yes. Refund Debt.— No. For Congressman— Third District, John M. Coghlan. For Assemblyman, M. J. Wright. 
For Sheriff, Joseph Jacobs. For Treasurer, E. D. Perkins. For Recorder, Geo. C. McKinley. For Clerk, Chas. A. Kidder; For District Attorney, J. F. 
Wendell. For Assessor, Joseph Hoyt. For Surveyor, Win. W. Fitch. For Supt. of Schools, Wm. H. Fry. For Pub. Administrator, Hazen Hoyt. 
For Coroner, C. E. Holbrook, For Supervisor, 1st Dist., A. D. Starr. For Constables, Ed. Longan and W. Markey. For Roadmaster, A. E. Thurber. 

The so called " Tape-worm Ticket," the use of which at Vallejo, at the 
election of 1871, caused so much comment and adverse criticism, both in 
and without the State, and even in the United States Congress, had its 
origin in this wise : The Navy Yard, at Mare Island, after the election of 
Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency, passed into the control of the Republi- 
can party, and, especially during the war, a very large number of mechanics 
and laborers were given employment there. These men, or a large majority 
of them, prior to each general election, became enrolled members of Repub- 
lican clubs, and were to all ajjpearances, supporters of the Republican ad- 
ministrations, but it was found at the counting of ballots at each election 
there were an uncomfortably large number of Democratic votes in the 
ballot boxes. To remedy this, various kinds of " non-imitative " and " non- 
scratchable " ballots were devised, both printed and engraved, but in every 
case the Democrats, by the use of tissue-paper " pasters," and other devices 
circumvented the vigilance and craft of the administration politicians and 
managed to have a large number of Democratic votes put into the ballot 
boxes by these professed Republicans. At a meeting of the Republican 
County Central Committee of Solano in August, 1871, after it had made 
arrangements to supply all the precincts of the county with a sufficient 
quantity of Republican ballots — save Vallejo, the members from that 
section announced to the committee that it would be necessary to have a 
new and different style of ballot for that precinct in order to prevent 
imitation, pasting and scratching. After some deliberation the matter was 
left to a sub-committee of two persons, with orders to have printed three 
thousand ballots of a design which it should adopt. This sub-committee 
subsequently went to San Francisco, and applied to the printing stationers, 
William B. Cooke & Co., to have the proposed ballots printed. They were 
not decided as to the plan or style of the ballots needed, so Mr. Cooke 
suggested to them that he would have several different designs prepared by 
his foreman-printer during the day, and if they would call on the following 


morning they could make their selection as to which they would order. 
Four or five designs were prepared, and among the lot was this " tape-worm 
ticket," which in the judgment of the committee seemed specially designed 
" to fill the bill," and it was selected by them and an order given to print 
the required three thousand. These ballots were sent to Vallejo, and on the 
night previous to the day of election they were parcelled out to the Navy 
Yard foremen, who in turn reparcelled them out to their workmen, and they 
were very extensively voted during the day, carrying the precinct largely 
for the Republican party. But even with all the intricacy of its design 
and make up, one hundred and twenty-eight of these ballots were scratched 
and pasted by Democratic voters. Hundreds of these ballots were preserved 
by the curious as mementoes of political intimidation, and one of them in 
the hands of Senator Casserly, found its way to the United States Senate 
where it was exhibited to the gaze of astonished Senators as the acme 
of " bull-dozing " acumen. This episode in Solano's political history, dis- 
graceful as such proceedings were claimed to be, was not without a benefi- 
cial result, for beyond 'a doubt, to this tape-worm ticket and its use are we 
indebted for our present wise, and satisfactory uniform ballot law. 

On May 7, 1873, the offices of Recorder and Auditor were consolidated, 
by direction of the Board of Supervisors, whose numbers were in this year 
increased from three to five, while the new office of Commissioner of High- 
ways was created ; but after one term it was abrogated, the duties of the 
office lapsing into the hands of road-masters, as before. At the Judicial 
Election, held on October loth, the votes for County Judge resulted in a tie, 
as under : 

O. B. Powers receiving 1,241 votes ; John M. Gregory, Jr., receiving a 
like number. A new election was therefore called for December 16th, when 
Judge Gregory received 1,286 votes, as against 1,212, obtained by Mr. 

An Act to permit the voters of every township or incorporated city in 
the State to vote on the question of granting licences to sell intoxicating 
liquors was approved by the Legislature, March 18, 1874. It was famil- 
iarly known as the " Local Option Law," and was put to the voters of 
Solano County on May 30th of that year, showing : 

For liquor license 1,022 

For no liquor license 904 

Majority of 118 for license. 

The office of Auditor was established and made separate from that of 
Recorder by Act of the Legislature, approved March 30th, T. P. Hooper 
being the first incumbent of the former office. The same Act also pro- 
vided that the County Treasurer should be ex ojficio Tax Collector, thus 


abolishing that office, while the offices of Public Administrator and County 
Coroner were united and consolidated on May 11th, 1875. 

We now come to the last great event in the political history of Solano 
county, namely, the order for a new Constitution of the State, and its ulti- 
mate passage by an immense majority, that in Solano being two hundred 
and ninety -three. 

It was found that the provisions in regard to taxation and property were 
of too vague a nature to be allowed to hold at this period of progress. At 
the time when the old Constitution was framed in Monterey, it was never 
contemplated that the State would be ever anything but a purely mining 
country ; and as each mining section had its own local laws, more distinct 
terms in regard to what was legally meant by property and taxable pro- 
perty, were not thought to be necessary. At last the day came when a de- 
cision of the Supreme Court ruled that credits are not property in the 
sense in which the word property is used in Section 13 of Article XI of the 
Constitution, and cannot be assessed for taxes, or taxed as property, even if 
secured by mortgage. (The People vs. Hibernia Bank, Cal. Exports, 51.) 

The popular voice became clamorous on this decision for a change of rule ; 
and though having been before mooted, and successfully balked by former 
sessions of the Legislature, an Act to provide for a Convention to frame a 
new Constitution for the State of California was approved on March 30, 
1878 ; and by a Proclamation of the Governor an election throughout the 
county of Solano was ordered to be held on June 19, 1878, for the pur- 
pose of electing delegates to a Constitutional Convention, to meet at Sacra- 
mento, on September 28th. Thirty-two delegates were to be elected by the 
State at large, of whom not more than eight should be residents of any one 
Congressional District. One delegate was allowed for the counties of 
Solano and Yolo, jointly, and three for Solano county alone. The result 
was : 

Delegate for Solano and Yolo counties, jointly : 

C. F. Reed (of Yolo) 741 votes. 


For Solano county : 

Joel A. Harvey 859 votes. 

J. M. Dudley 821 " 

S. G. Hilborn 769 " 

The election for the adoption or rejection caused a deep seated feeling 
throughout the entire State, and for months the county was in a perfect 
ferment ; at last the 7th of May arrived ; the following morning the news 
was flashed throughout the length and breadth of the land of the adoption 
of California's new organic law ; and now nothing but Time can solve the 
riddle as to whether the decision was a wise one or not. 




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When California was acquired by the United States by treaty with the 
Mexican Government, the larger portion of the five hundred and forty-five 
thousand four hundred and forty acres included in the present boundary 
lines of Solano county was covered by, and claimed under, six Mexican 
grants, distributed as follows : 

" The Suscol," lying in the southern and western portion of the county, 
including the townships of Vallejo and Benicia, and containing about eighty- 
four thousand acres. 

The " Suisun," lying to the eastward of the Suscol, including within its 
limits the whole of Suisun valley, together with the towns of Suisun and 
Fairfield, and containing seventeen thousand seven hundred and fifty-two 

The " Tolenas," or " Armijo," lying to the north and east of the Suisun, 
and containino- thirteen thousand three hundred and fourteen acres. 

The " Los Putos," or Vaca and Pena, lying to the northeast of the Armijo, 
covering the town of Vacaville and the whole of Vaca valley, and contain- 
ing forty-four thousand three hundred and eighty acres. 

The " Eio Los Putos," or Wolfskill, lying to the northwest of the Los 
Putos, and on both sides of Putah creek, in both Solano and Yolo counties. 
That portion situated in Solano county, containing eight thousand eight 
hundred and eighty acres. 

The " Ulpinos," or Bidwell, located in the eastern portion of the county, at 
the junction of the Sacramento river and Cache Slough, covering the town 
of Rio Vista and the Montezuma hills, and containing seventeen thousand 
seven hundred and fifty -two acres. 

By the terms of the treaty of Guadaloupe Hidalgo, the United States, 
upon proper showing of titles by grantees of the Mexican and Spanish 
Governments, was found to confirm them, and not only were perfect titles 
acquired by the inhabitants under Mexican domination agreed to be 
respected, but also such equitable claims as had their origin in the action 
of the Mexican Government, but were undeveloped and incomplete at the 
date of the treaty ; and it was stipulated that such steps should be taken 
as were necessary to protect the same. The rights of property of the 
citizens of the ceded territory were to remain unchanged. By the law of 


nations those rights were sacred and inviolable, and the obligation passed 
to the Government of the United States to protect and maintain them by 
proper legislative action when the requisite protection could not be afforded 
by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings in the established tribunals 
or by existing legislation. 

In many instances, however, the boundaries of the grants were indefinite, 
and the titles to some being imperfect, for years the affairs of the county 
were in an unsettled condition, consequent upon the frequent recurrence of 
acts of violence and bloodshed growing out of the litigation of land titles. 
Surveying parties were frequently forced to desist and driven off by armed 
gangs of squatters, who destroyed and removed monuments and land-marks, 
obstructed the officers of the law in the discharge of their official duties, and 
who carried their lawlessness to such an extent that many bona fide pur- 
chasers willingly disposed of their claims for a nominal sum and betook 
themselves to some more quiet county, where the danger of loss of life or 
limb was not a necessary concomitant upon the ownership of real estate. 

The bitter and protracted controversy which arose out of the dispute as 
to the location of the line between the Suisun and the Armijo Grants, pre- 
sents a striking illustration of the indefinite and uncertain manner in which 
these grants were located by the original grantees, at a time when the 
question of a few hundred, or even thousand, acres was a matter of so little 
importance as to be unworthy of attention. But, subsequently, as the years 
rolled on, and the increase in values required the boundary lines to be 
distinctly and permanently settled, the latitude which had formerly been 
allowed to the original grantees in locating their grants, as necessity or 
convenience dictated, proved a source of almost interminable annoyance 
and vexation, as well as a heavy expense to those who purchased under 

On the 16th of January, 1837, Francisco Solano, the chief of the tribe of 
Indians known as the Suisunes, presented to Commandant-General M. G. 
Vallejo a petition for a grant of land in the following terms : 

" To the Commandant-General : 

" Francisco Solano, principal chief of the unconverted Indians and born 
captain of the ' Suisun,' in due form before your Honor represents ; 

" That, being a free man, and owner of a sufficient number of horses and 
cattle to establish a rancho, he solicits from the strict justice and goodness 
of your Honor, that you be pleased to grant him the land of the Suisun, 
with its known appurtenances, which are a little more or less than four 
square leagues from the ' Portzuela to the Salina de Sacha.' Said land 
belongs to him by hereditary right from his ancestors, and he is actually in 
possession of it, but he wishes to revalidate his rights in accordance with 
the existing laws of our Republic and of the order of colonization recently 
decreed by the Supreme Governement. 


" He, therefore, prays that your Honor be pleased to grant him the land 
which he asks for, and procure for him, from the proper sources, the titles 
which may be necessary for his security, and that you will also admit this 
on common paper, there being none of the corresponding stamp in this 

(Signed) " Francisco Solano. 

" Sonoma, January 16, 1837." 

To this petition the Commandant-General responded by issuing a decree, 
in which he granted to Solano, temporarily and provisionally, the use of 
the land petitioned for, to the amount of four square leagues, at the same 
time instructing the grantee to ask from the governmental of the State the 
usual titles, in order to make valid his rights in conformity with the order 
of colonization. 

Accordingly, on the 15th of January, 1842, Solano presented a petition to 
Governor Juan B. Alvarado, accompanying it with the above petition to the 
Commandant-General, together with the temporary grant made by that 
officer, and asked for a permanent and perpetual grant of the premises. 

In answer to this petition, Governor Alvarado, on the 21st of January, 
1842, issued a grant in due form, of which the following is a copy : 

[seal.] " Juan. B. Alvarado, 

" Constitutional Governor of the Department of the Californias. 
" Whereas, The aboriginal, Francisco Solano, for his own personal benefit 
and that of his family, has aske*d for the land known by the name of Suisun, 
of which place he is a native, and chief of the tribes of the frontier of Sono- 
ma, and being worthy of reward for the quietness which he caused to be 
maintained by that unchristianized people ; the proper proceedings and 
examinations having previously been made as required by the laws and 
regulations, using the powers conferred on me in the name of the Mexican 
nation, I have granted to him the above mentioned land, adjudicating to 
him the ownership of it, by these presents, being subject to the approbation 
of the most excellent Departmental Junta, and to the following conditions, 
to- wit : 

1. " That he may inclose it, without prejudice to the crossings, roads, and 
servitudes, and enjoy it freely and exclusively, making such use and culti- 
vation of it as he may see fit ; but within one year he shall build a house 
and it shall be inhabited. 

2. " He shall ask the magistrate of the place to give him Juridical posses- 
sion of it, in virtue of this order, by whom the boundaries shall be marked 
out ; and he shall place in them, besides the land-marks, some fruit or forest 
trees of some utility. 

3. " The land herein mentioned is to the extent of four ' sitios de ganado 
mayor,' (four square leagues) with the limits, as shown on the map, accom- 
panying the respective expediente. The magistrate who gives the possession 


will have it measured according to ordinance, leaving the excess, that may 
result, to the nation for its convenient uses. 

4. " If he contravene these conditions he shall lose his right to the land 
and it may be denounced by another. 

" In consequence, I order that these presents be held firm and valid ; that 
a register be taken of it in the proper book, and that it be given to the 
party interested, for his voucher and other purposes. 

" Given this twenty-first day of January, one thousand eight hundred 
and forty-two, at Monterey. 

(Signed) "Juan B. Alvarado. 

(Signed) " Manuel Jimeno, Secretary." 

In September, 1845, the Committee on Vacant Lands submitted to the 
Departmental Assembly a report in which the approval of the grant was 
recommended ; and, thereupon, in the following month, that body issued 
the following order : 

"Angeles, Oct. 3, 1845. 
" In session of this day. the proposition of the foregoing report was 
approved by the most excellent Departmental Assembly, ordering the 
original expediente to be returned to His Excellency, the Governor, for 
suitable purposes. 

(Signed) " Pio Pico, President. 

(Signed) " Augustin Olona, Secretary." 

A copy of the order of approval was issued to Solano on the same day. 
The first application of Armijo for his grant was made some two years 
subsequent to that of Solano, and was in the following language : 

" Senor Commandant- General : 

" Jose Francisco Armijo, by birth a Mexican, before your Honor, in the 
manner which may be best for me in the law, say : That having four 
sons, natives of the same country, without owning any lands to cultivate, 
finding myself owner of about one hundred head of cattle, the product of 
which I annually lose, supplicate that your Honor will be pleased to con- 
cede to me the place known to ine by the name of Tolenas. That in 
company with my son, Antonio Maria, I dedicate myself to the cultivation 
of my own land and the breeding of cattle, with the understanding that the 
land which I solicit is from the place already mentioned to Ololatos creek, 
containing about three leagues of land, more or less, and it joins with the 
Suisun rancho. 

" For this I pray that you will be pleased to decree as 1 have petitioned, 
for which I respectfully forward, herewith, the map. 

" This favor I shall perpetuate on my memory. 

[Does not know how to sign.] 
" Sonoma, Nov. 22d, 1839." 


Immediately upon the receipt of the petition the Commandant-General 
made an order upon its margin, in which permission was given to Armijo 
to occupy the premises described therein upon condition that he should not 
in any manner molest or disturb the wild Indians who lived upon it ; but, 
on the contrary, he should endeavor to inspire them with confidence in the 
whites ; and should any act of rebellion occur among them he should imme- 
diately communicate the same to Solano, the chief of the " Suisunes," with 
whom, by reason of his proximity with both parties, it would be convenient 
to advise as to whatever might conduce to the lives and tranquility of the 
settlers. Armijo, upon this order, entered into the possession of the land, 
and subsequently presented a petition substantially the same as the one to 
the Commandant- General, to Jose Castro, the Prefect of the First District, 
asking for a permanent grant, in accordance with the law of colonization. 

This petition the Prefect referred to the Governor, together with his 
Report upon the same, as follows : 

" Most Excellent Senior Governor : 

" The Prefecture being informed of the petition which Jose Francisco 
Armijo makes in claiming the land which he indicates, and of the order 
of the Senor Commandant-General, no objection is found to the concession 
which the Government ought to decree, provided the party interested ob- 
tains the necessary requisites to be attended to, and that the place which he 
solicits is found to be entirely vacant. 

(Signed) Jose Castro." 

In response to the petition, Governor Alvarado, on the 4th of March, 
1840, issued a grant to Armijo for the three square leagues, to which grant 
the same conditions were annexed as were contained in the grant to Solano, 
relative to the manner of acquiring possession, establishing boundary lines, 
and the planting of trees within its limits, to which an additional condition 
was annexed that through no motive whatever should he in any manner 
molest the Indians who were there located, nor the immediate neighbors 
with whom he would adjoin. 

The grant was issued in all respects with due regard to form, with the 
single exception that it never received the approval of the Departmental 
Assembly, as was the case in the Suisun grant. However, it was subse- 
quently decided by the Supreme Court of this State that such lack of ap- 
proval did not in any way impair its title. 

Solano's title to the Suisun grant was subsequently acquired by M. G. 
Vallejo, by purchase, and that of Armijo to the Tolenas, upon his death, in 
1849, by his son Antonio. 

Before the death of the elder Armijo, some time in the year 1847, a dis- 
pute arose between M. G. Vallejo, Solano's grantee, and Armijo, concerning 


the location of the boundary line between the two grants, which resulted in 
the institution of an action of tresspass by Vallejo against Armijo, before 
Alcalde L. W. Boggs, Armijo claiming that a certain arroyo seco, or dry 
gulch, formed the line, and Vallejo placing it some distance to the north- 
ward, the difference in question involving several thousand acres- of land. 
It was finally, agreed, however, that the matter be submitted to two arbi- 
trators, whose decision should be final. Accordingly one Cajetano Juarez 
was selected as arbitrator on the part of Vallejo, and one Salvador Vallejo, 
on the part of Armijo. 

The arbitrators held a meeting in August, 1847, at which time proofs and 
documents on both sides were presented to them, and on the 16th of that 
month they submitted the following award : 

" We, the undersigned, appointed arbitrators by and for Mariano G. Vallejo, 
and Francisco Armijo, to decide upon the question existing between them 
for having the last trespassed his limits, and usurping part of the land be- 
longing to the farm of the first, as it is expressed in the complaint presented 
before the Alcalde of the jurisdiction, L. W. Boggs ; and after hearing the 
declaration of both parties, and examination made of the proofs and docu- 
ments presented to us, we find that the limits of each farm are clearly deter- 
mined, in their respective titles, being those of the Tolenas farm, according 
to the said, the Suisun creek, which runs to the N. N. E. of Suisun, and be- 
ginning from thence, at the first limits mentioned there are to be measured 
three leagues running at E. N. E. as the ridge (Sierra) runs ; leaving the said 
ridge the natural limits lying between the two farms, separate them, leaving 
one at the north and the other at the south. Thus neither of the both 
parties is prejudicated, and the titual meaning of the respective titles to 
both farms are fulfilled with, and in order to so not burden one part more 
than another, the costs of the judgment and those of the tribunal ought to 
be paid equally by both parties. 

"And for the fulfillment of the contents of this present writing, we sign it 
by our hands and seals before the Alcalde of this jurisdiction, on the 16th 
day of August, A. D. 1847. 

(Signed) Cajetano Juarez, 

Arbitrator for M. G. Vallejo. 

(Signed) M. G. Vallejo. 

(Signed) Salvador Vallejo, 
Arbitrator for Francisco Armijo. 

(Signed) Francisco Armijo." 

This award as before stated, was made upon proofs and documents pre- 
sented by both parties, and was recived as a victory for the Armijo faction. 
For a time the matter was regarded as settled ; but the question subse- 
quently came again into dispute between purchasers under the respective 
claimants, in which the Armijo faction claimed that the award was final 


and conclusive of the action in their favor, and they also offered testimony 
to show that Vallejo and others claiming under him had stated to certain 
parties that the arroyo seco, or dry gulch, in reality formed the north line 
of the Suisun grant, and contended that such admissions fixed the boundary 
at that point. 

One Archibald A. Ritchie had in the meantime purchased Vallejo's in- 
terest, and procured a United States Patent for a large tract of land, which 
included in its limits that in controversy. The Ritchie purchasers claimed 
that the patent was in effect superior to the award made by the arbitrators, 
though issued at a later date, and for a time a bitter warfare, not un- 
attended with frequent acts of violence and bloodshed, was waged both in 
and out of Court. The matter finally culminated in the celebrated case of 
Waterman vs. Smith, in which it was decided upon appeal to the Supreme 
Court that the award was only conclusive until the action of the General 

The dispute was continued for several years, however, until all the land 
in controversy was finally settled by compromise, or otherwise, and the 
danger which had formerly been attendant upon its ownership being 
removed, it rapidly increased in value, amply repaying those who had suc- 
ceeded in retaining their claims after so many years of stubborn and tena- 
cious warfare. 

The most noted litigation almost in the annals of the State, grew out of 
the Suscol and the so-called " El Sobrante," or Luco grants. In the case of 
the former, it was claimed that General M. G. Vallejo had at various times 
during the Mexican troubles furnished the Government with large sums of 
money and other supplies ; and in consideration of these favors and in part 
payment for his services as an officer in the Government employ, the Suscol, 
an eleven leagued grant, had been deeded to him. The title subsequently 
came into dispute ; and after a most vexatious and expensive contest in the 
Courts, the grant was declared invalid and became public land. The Con- 
gress of the United States came to the relief of purchasers under the Vallejo 
title by the enactment of a special Pre-emption Act, allowing them to enter 
such lands, at $1.25 per acre. 

In the case of the " Sobrante," one Juan Luco claimed to have purchased 
from a Mexican vaquero a grant which he had received from the Mexican 
Government, of the stupendous quantity of two hundred and eighty-four 
thousand acres ; but this grant, after a number of years of litigation, was 
rejected by the Courts, and that vast extent of territory added to the public 

In respect to the Vaca and Pena grant, nearly the entire property has 
gone out of the hands of the original grantees, they farming and owning but 
a very small portion of the original estate, while a history of the Los Ulpino 
grant will be found in the description of the township of Rio Vista. 




Mention has been made in another portion of this volume, of the estab- 
lishment of Perfectures, and a Judge of First Instance; while the judg- 
ment decreed in a suit heard in the court of the latter, has been copied 

With the acquisition of California by the Government of the United 
States, and the increase of population, better provision was made for carry- 
ing out the law. County Courts were established, and the Seventh Judi- 
cial District Court, among others, inaugurated. The first Judge of this 
Court was Robert Hopkins, who was succeeded by E. W. McKinstry, now 
of the Supreme Court. 

In the following resume of the chief trials which have taken place in 
Solano county, we have confined ourselves to those of individuals who have 
been arraigned for the crime of murder. It has, however, been deemed best 
to refer to the following curious case as a starting point. 

The People v. Edward Crocker. — This was a case instituted at the 
instance of S. G. Hastings, Attorney-General, complaining that the defend- 
ant had intruded himself into the office of County Treasurer, and un- 
lawfully held and exercised the duties of said office, and received the 
emoluments thereof. The plaintiff represented the different appointments 
to the office from its incipience in 1851, until the election of November, 
1852, when George Leviston was preferred to fill the unexpired term for 
which Osgood H. Evans, the original Treasurer, since dead, had been 
elected. That in due time his certificate of election had been granted 
and bond filed ; but, on demanding the books from S. C. Gray, the ap- 
pointee of the Court of Session as the locum tenens of Evans, prior 
to the general election, he refused to deliver them to the said Leviston, and 
continued to exercise the duties of the office and receive the emoluments 
until the 14th of December, 1852, when he left the county. That on or 
about the 16th of December, the defendant, Crocker, intruded himself into 
the office without legal authority, and unlawfully held the books and papers 
from Leviston, to the detriment of the public interests. 


In answer, the defendant gave a general denial to the case as set forth in 
the complaint, which, on going to trial, Judge McKinstry, on February 3, 
1853, found for the plaintiff with costs. » 

The People v. Peter William Kemp. — The first murder trial in Solano, 
county was that of Peter William Kemp, for the killing of Thomas Sullivan 
on the night of February 1, 1855. The victim was a fireman on board of 
one of the steamers then lying in the port of Benicia, while the slayer was 
a workman in the blacksmith's shop of the Pacific Works there. From the 
evidence adduced at the trial, it would appear that Sullivan and Kemp, 
who lived together, had a quarrel as to which of the two should cook their 
supper, and that the latter took up a Mississippi rifle which was within 
reach, and followed the former into a room, in the act of doing which the 
piece exploded, killing Sullivan. The verdict at the trial was one of not 

Among the witnesses examined in this case for the prosecution were Bev- 
erley Wells, whose trial for murder immediately follows this, and that of his 
boon companion, John C. Heenan, the " Benicia Boy," of prize-fighting fame. 

The People v. Beverley T. Wells. — The facts of this distardly deed 
are these : James H. Dunn, was Third Assistant Engineer of the Pacific 
Mail Steamer " Golden Gate ;" he was killed by Beverley Wells, under the 
following circnmstances : It appears that Dunn and Wells had been inti- 
mate friends for some time ; that whenever the " Golden Gate " was in port 
they were constant companions, and never had any difficulty previous to 
the 17th February, 1856. On that morning they went out together to take 
a pleasure ride in a buggy. In the evening they returned and proceeded to 
the steamboat landing. After remaining there a short time, Wells got into 
the buggy, and started up town ; Dunn ran after him, saying, " Hold on ! " 
what, are you going without me ?" and caught the horse by the head. Some 
angry words passed between them, when W T ells proceeded to the stable of 
the American Hotel with the buggy, and paid the bill. He then went to 
the store of Mr. T. Pander, and purchased a large knife, and then walked 
down towards the wharf. When about half-way along the plank road lead- 
ing from the ferry house to the landing, he was met by Dunn and a man 
named James Morgan. Dunn said : " Hallo Beverley ;" and immediately 
Wells struck him with the knife several times in quick succession. Dunn 
fell, crying : " Morgan, run for a doctor — I'm stabbed ; Oh, Mother ! Mother ! 
Mother ! " He expired in about ten minutes. On examining the body, four 
ghastly wounds were found, one in the abdomen at least six inches long, 
through which the bowels protruded ; one in the right breast ; one in the 
right thigh, six or eight inches long, and another on the right arm, near the 
right shoulder, completely severing the muscles. Wells was a large, power- 


ful man : Dunn, about the medium size, slightly built. The murderer was 
at once arrested ; but there being no jail in Benicia, where the foul deed 
was perpetrated, he was confined in Martinez prison, Contra Costa County. 

The trial of the accused commenced on June 17th, and lasted the two 
following days; and was fully argued on both sides, when on the 19th the 
following verdict was brought in : " The jury in the case of the People of 
the State of California vs. Beverley T. Wells, find the said Beverley T. 
Wells guilty of the crime of murder. John Doughty, Foreman." 

Monday, the 23rd of June, was fixed by the Court to pronounce sentence, 
which was done as follows : It is ordered, adjudged and decreed by this 
Court, that the said Beverley T. Wells be remanded to jail in charge of the 
Sheriff, from whence he be taken to some suitable place, to be selected by 
said Sheriff, in Solano county, on Friday, August the eighth, A. D. 1856, 
between the hours of ten A. M. of that day, and four P. M. of the same 
day, and then hung by the neck until he be dead. 

As the execution of Wells was the first to take place in Solano county, 
we reproduce an account of it from the " Herald " of August 9th, 1856 : 

" Upon examination, it was found that our jail did not afford the neces- 
sary room, and no other place could be procured in town (Benicia) for the 
purpose. It was, therefore, necessary to have the scaffold erected in as 
secluded a spot as possible, in the hills adjacent to the town. « 

' The ferry-boat, ' Carquinez,' being laid up, repairing, the Sheriff found 
it necessary to provide a small vessel to transport the prisoner from Marti- 
nez (where he had been confined). An escort of twenty men was detailed 
from the Solano Engine Company, at the request of the Sheriff, to perform 
guard duty, and all left at an early hour for Martinez. The prisoner had 
been attended by the Rev. Mr. McDonald (at present writing, pastor of the 
Church of the Ascension, at Vallejo), and he was immediately taken on 
board the vessel, which arrived at the wharf at half -past eight — Rev. Mr. 
Woodbridge met them there. The prisoner appeared quite weak from loss 
of blood, but was calm, and expressed himself as prepared to die. He had 
a short interview with one of his counsel, to whom he renewed his assur- 
ance of the truth of his former statements of the affair, and referring to a 
letter he had written about the time of his first attempt to commit suicide, 
requested that it might be published after his death. 

" At precisely ten o'clock the procession moved to the place of execution, 
accompanied by a large number of people. On arriving at the place, 
he ascended the scaffold, attended by the Rev. Messrs. Woodbridge and 
McDonald, Mr. Sheriff Shirley, and one of his deputies. 

' The Sheriff immediately proceeded to read the warrant, and, upon its 
conclusion, informed the prisoner that he could then have an opportunity 
to say anything he might wi.-:h Whereupon, he stepped forward firmly, 
and in a clear, unbroken voice, spoke, substantially as follows : 


" ' Gentlemen — This is a malicious murder ! James Morgan has perjured 
himself on the trial, not once, but fifteen or twenty times ! He is my mur- 
derer ! The homicide of Dunn, I am sure was justifiable ! I forgive Morgan. 
I am about to die like a man. I commit myself to God, and die on ami- 
cable terms with all men.' 

" He then stepped forward on the drop ; his arms and limbs were tied by 
the Sheriff, and the prayers of the Episcopal Church were read by the Rev. 
Mr. McDonald; at their conclusion, and at the given signal, the drop fell. 
To all appearances he died instantly ; and after one or two slight convulsive 
struggles, all was still. 

" The execution was witnessed by about four hundred people, all of whom 
seemed deeply affected, and throughout the entire scene the most perfect 
decorum prevailed. Mr. Paul Shirley, the Sheriff, and Messrs. Estell and 
A. J. Bryant, Under and Deputy- Sheriffs, respectively, performed their re- 
spective duties in a highly satisfactory manner." 

The following is a letter which Wells wrote while in Martinez jail at the 
time when suicide was contemplated by him : 

" To the Public — Gentlemen : My life is a burden to me at this present 
time ; and being of a proud spirit, and the way that I have been so unjustly 
dealt with, I have come to the conclusion to dispose of myself in the man- 
ner which you here observe. I think that I am in my rational mind, al- 
though sorely afflicted with my present position, together with the false 
heart and flattering tongue of James Morgan, has caused me to commit 
myself in the manner that I have, and to present my soul to Almighty God 
for forgiveness of the so-called unpardonable sin. My exposition on the 
23rd of June, in the Court House, at Benicia, was the truth, and is my 
dying declaration. I die, knowing that he, James Morgan, has swoi'n to 
several malicious and absolute falsehoods knowingly ; but yet I forgive him. 
I hope that I leave this world on amicable terms with all mankind. After 
this publication let my name be ignored. 

" Beverley T. Wells. 

" Martinez Jail, July, 1856." 

It may be interesting here to note that Sheriff Shirley is now Senator 
from Contra Costa county ; Under-Sheriff Estell is Under-Sheriff of Sacra- 
mento county ; and Deputy-Sheriff Bryant, the Mayor of San Francisco. 

It should here be observed, that as early as 1854 a case of homicide 
occurred in the count}^. when Jonathan Cook was killed by a gun-shot from 
George K. Mann ; but, owing to the absconding of the culprit, with Sifford, 
an accomplice, the case was never brought to trial. The facts are these : 
Cook, it appeared, had missed a considerable amount of money, and charged 
Mann with the theft of it, which was indignantly denied ; while Cook was 
warned not to repeat such an accusation. He disregarded the warning ; 


angry words ensued, which was followed by the killing of Cook as above 
described. This deed was done in the presence of a Justice of. the Peace, 
and others ; yet the prisoner escaped. 

The People v. Robert B. McMillan. — This was a case of killing which 
occurred in Vacaville, whereby the defendant was indicted for the murder 
of John Parks, by reason of a dispute which took place through the alleged 
trespass of certain stock, the property of the defendant. The case was 
brought for trial before the District Court; but on September 30, 1859, the 
venue was changed to Yolo county, on motion of the attorney for the 

The People v. Philander Arnold. — The defendant was indicted and 
tried for feloniously killing one John M. Sweeney, at a certain corral in the 
township of Montezuma, in Solano county. The plea put in was that the 
homicide was in self-defense. The testimony, was, however, somewhat con- 
flicting as to the facts occurring at the time of the killing ; or, at least, was 
claimed to be so by the defendant. The reason for the shooting would 
appear to have been, that a difficulty occurred on the 24th of August, 1859, 
between Philander Arnold and Sweeney, in the course of which the former 
discharged a double-barrelled shot-gun at the latter, the charge taking effect 
in his thigh, causing Sweeney to fall forward, from the effects of which he 
died on August 27th. At the time of the charge of murder being brought 
against the defendant, the charge of aiding and abetting was preferred 
against Oscar D. Arnold, the son, who had brought the weapon to his father. 
The Court, in its instructions to the jury, took occasion to make the follow- 
ing logical remarks, which for forcible diction, cannot well be surpassed : 
" When you were being impanelled, certain of your number declared that 
they were strongly opposed to the infliction of capital punishment, but were 
not prepared to say that this opposition would preclude them from finding 
a verdict of guilty. I understood them to indicate only that as citizens — 
by vote and influence — they would endeavor to bring about such a change 
of legislative policy as would abrogate the death penalty, and substitute 
another punishment in its stead. This repugnance to taking part in a pro- 
ceeding which may result in depriving a human being of that life which we 
can never recall, is natural. I am not prepared to say that it is not highly 
proper ; at least, when it is not indulged in to such an extent as to cause 
us timidly to shrink from one of the duties which, as freemen, are imposed 
upon us as the means of preserving our liberties, among which, trial by 
jury, has ever been regarded as one of the most valuable of our privileges. 
I trust that, not only those of your number who are opposed to capital 
punishment, but all of the jurymen, have well considered the consequences 
to this defendant, of a verdict of murder in the first degree. Upon such 
verdict will follow an ignominious execution — the disgrace of an interesting 


family — and, whether or not, he be prepared for the awful separation — the 
dissolution of those mysterious bonds which unite the soul to its earthy 

" Logically, it might be argued that the jury have nothing to do with all 
this ; that their task is simply to ascertain whether the prisoner at the bar 
be guilty or not guilty of the offense charged in the indictment. But it 
would be demanding too much of human nature, as it is constituted, to ask 
that these incidents shall be disregarded ; nor do I think it desirable to 
require twelve rational men to shut their eyes to the consequences of their 
own acts. Accord them all due importance to these considerations. They 
can do no harm ; while they operate to urge you on to a full and candid in- 
vestigation into the facts of this case. I would have you feel the weight of 
the responsibility imposed upon you. But I would also have you summon 
all the faculties of your mind— especially all your moral courage — that you 
may make yourselves equal to the responsibility. I would have you prove 
yourselves worthy of the position you occupy — worthy of the confidence 
reposed in you, not only by the prisoner and the Court, but also by the 
District Attorney, the representative of the People. Remember the evil 
consequences, if you permit a mistaken clemency to overwhelm the dictates 
of reason. Although they may not seem so distinctly visible and immediate, 
they are no less certain than those which flow from an error in the opposite 
direction. If, through your instrumentality, an innocent man should suffer, 
or a guilty man escape, you may not cast the fault upon the court, the 
counsel, or even upon the witnesses ; for you must say whether the latter 
are to be believed or not. You must endeavor in such case to satisfy your 
own violated consciences, and make peace with the offended God, in whose 
name you have sworn ' a true verdict to render, and true deliverance to 
make: — according to the evidence.' " 

After a full trial, the jury brought in a verdict of manslaughter. 

The People v. Joseph Zaesck. — The above case is another of those of 
trespass, with a resort to violence, to enforce what was thought to be right. 
It would appear that the defendant had ordered off Daniel Thompson, and 
his brother, Ole, the man killed by Zaesck, off certain grounds, situated on 
the Montezuma hills, and also refused to give up certain sheep, their prop- 
erty, which had strayed into the flock of one Ambrose, for whom defendant 
had been a herder. A dispute ensued, which resulted in the stabbing of 
Ole Thompson, by Zaesck, inflicting a wound, from the effects of which he 
died on the 14th day of November, 1861, the day succeeding the commis- 
sion of the crime. A verdict was rendered of guilty, on May 20, 1862, 
and he was finally sent to the State prison for four years. 

The People v. Merrill James. — This was a case in which the defendant 
shot one Ashford Ashbrook, when at a dance at Mr. Fowler's in Green 
valley. James effected his escape, and has never been brought to trial. 


The People v, D. H. Fitzpatrick. — This was one more of those cases 
arising out of a trespass, where the use of firearms was resorted to by Fitz- 
patrick, to assert his rights, resulting in the shooting of one Croesdale, a 
squatter, on the Potrero Hills. The trial was had in due course, and on 
Saturday, May 21, 1864, defendant was sentenced to ten years in the 
State prison : but, after serving two years, through the indomitable perse- 
verance and energy of his wife, he was pardoned. 

The People v. Frank Grady. — This was a cutting affair which occurred 
at the election polls at Bridgeport, on the 6th of September, 1865, in which 
a man named English was killed and two others fearfully wounded, while a 
third received two shots in his breast and shoulder from a pistol. The cir- 
cumstances attending the emeute are briefly these : About this time 
English aud his two sons, Charles and Perry, were cutting wood on land 
owned by Perry Durbin, and the latter restrained them by injunction, on 
account of which, it is supposed Charles English made complaint to the 
military authorities at Benicia and caused the arrest of Durbin, Ramsey, 
Lamoree, Stilts and others for rejoicing over the assassination of President 
Lincoln. While at the polls, as above stated, English and Durbin were 
conversing ; English gave the lie to Durbin ; Durbin made a motion as of 
drawing a weapon, whereupon Charles English drew his revolver and com- 
menced firing, two of the shots taking effect upon Durbin, hitting him in 
the left breast and shoulder. Durbin then drawing his knife, turned upon 
Charles, who, in attempting to escape, ran out of doo s, but stumbled and 
fell, and commenced cutting at his throat, presenting a most horrible sight. 
Perry English on seeing his brother in a critical position, ran to his assist- 
tance, but just as he reached the contending parties, Frank Grady drew 
his revolver and shot Perry just at back and under his right ear, killing 
him instantly. Grady mounted his horse and left for parts unknown. The 
father then went to the relief of his son Charles, when Durbin turned upon 
the old man, and stabbed him in the breast three times, making fearful 
wounds. Durbin and the elder English were brothers-in-law. In due 
course Grady was captured and twice tried, when on 19th September, 1866, 
he was acquitted. 

The People v. William Westphal. — The facts of this case are : Two 
Prussians, Fritz Poizing and William Westphal, were engaged in hauling 
barley from Westphal's ranch, about five miles south-east of Denverton, to the 
residence of Poizing, and when near the latter place went to the house and 
informed Mrs. Westphal, half sister of Poizing, that he had fallen from the 
wagon, and had been killed by being run over. She at once repaired to the 
spot and found Poizing still living and able to raise upon his elbow and 
signify by motions that he wanted water. She at once started to procure 


the required beverage for the wounded man, when, after proceeding a short 
distance, on looking around, she saw Westphal strike Poizing three times 
upon the head with an axe, exclaiming " I will fix you out this time," and 
on again returning to the spot found life extinct. The defendant was found 
not guilty in the May term, 1866. 

The People v. D. G. Gordon. — The particulars of this case are : The 
crime was committed at Vacaville by the killing of William Byron by 
David G. Gordon. It appears that Byron and Gordon had been on terms 
of enmity for some time, and during the day had been using severe language 
towards each other. Just before the occurrence Byron was playing billiards 
in a saloon with Antonio Do Santos, and was just preparing to make a play, 
when Gordon came in somewhat intoxicated. The latter approached Byron, 
put his arm around him, and the two talked for a little while apparently 
very amicably. They then shook hands, but as Gordon turned to go away 
Byron struck him with his cue, raising it to strike him again, when Gordon 
drew his pistol and shot Byron in the stomach. The latter then ran out of 
the back door and Gordon pursued him to the creek, firing at him four 
different times, each shot taking effect. Byron fell near the creek and ex- 
pired in a few moments. On 21st May, 1868, Gordon was convicted of 

The record of crime of this man Gordon did not cease here, for he has 
since in the State of Missouri been found guilty of murder and sentenced 
to death, which was afterwards commuted to imprisonment for life. 

The People v. James Campbell and Annie Robinson. — This was a case 
of poisoning which took place on the 25th January, 1869, whereby Jabez 
Robinson lost his life by the administering of strychnia at the hands of 
the defendants. Campbell, who though only an accessory before the fact, 
was indicted and tried as a principal and convicted and sentenced to death. 
Against this judgment he appealed to the Supreme Court, on the grounds 
that the verdict was insufficient inasmuch that the jury had omitted to 
specify the degree of murder in their finding. This was held to be good in 
law by Judges Crockett, Rhodes, Temple and Wallace of the Supreme 
Court. Judgment was therefore reversed and the cause remanded for a 
new trial. This was appointed to take place on January 23, 1871, and one 
hundred persons were summoned for difficulty was expected in the selection 
of a jury. One, however, was impanelled, who brought in a verdict of not 

The People v. Pancho Valencia and Guadalupe Valencia. — The cir- 
cumstances attending this murder are briefly these : On the night of the 
3d March, 1871, at seven o'clock, after the family of Joseph W. Hewitt 
had taken supper and retired to the parlor with some visitors, one of the 
family went to the door, in opening which she discovered two men crouch- 
ing low and approaching the house; finding they were observed they 



straightened up and coming towards her asked for " the man of the house." 
The little girl, Lizzie, who had gone to the door, went into the inner room 
and called her father, who came to the door ; she followed him. Upon this 
one of the men asked Hewitt if they could stay there all night. Hewitt 
replied that in consequence of there being company in the house, and his 
barn having been burnt but a few weeks ago, he could not accommodate them, 
but informed them that they would be able to obtain the desired lodgings 
at the next ranch where there was a barn. The man who had questioned 
him at first, now asked him if he would mind coming out a little way and 
point out to them the direction. Hewitt complied and stepping off the 
porch walked down the yard a few paces, and while raising his hand to 
direct them, the larger of the two men — he who had spoken during the 
interview — drew a pistol and shot Hewitt who fell crying " I am murdered." 
The defendants were traced into Contra Costa county, arrested, brought 
home and put upon their trial for murder. Guadalupe was discharged, but 
Pencho was convicted and sentenced to death, said sentence having been 
carried out on November 24, 1871, making the second execution in Solano 

The People v. James Mallon. — A case of wife murder which occurred 
at Benicia on the evening of the 23d May, 1877, where the defendant came 
home drunk and beat his wife until death ensued. He was in due course 
arrested, tried and convicted of murder in the first degree, and on Septem- 
ber 25th, was sentenced to imprisonment for life. 

The People v. James Lowther. — On Sunday, June lGth, 1878, the town 
of Rio Vista was thrown into a high state of excitement by the killing of 
John Thompson by a stranger, and apparently in cold blood, without cause or 
provocation. The shooting occurred on Thompson's door step and in full 
view of his wife. The murderer gave himself up to the officers and was 
lodged in jail, and in due time tried. At the trial the following facts were 
developed : The murderer's name was James Lowther, a resident of San 
Francisco. He had a sister named Rebecca to whom it was alleged that 
Thompson had been engaged to be married at one time, and while so en- 
gaged to her had seduced her. It came to Lowther's ears that Thompson 
had made his boast of his seduction, whereupon Lowther took the steamer 
the following Sunday for Vallejo, thence by rail to Fairfield, thence in 
a ' sulky ' across the country to Rio Vista. Once there he inquired for 
.Thompson and was shown his house. (Thompson was married to another 
woman and was living in his own house). Lowther went to the door, 
knocked, and Thompson came to the door. A very few words passed be- 
tween them when Lowther drew a revolver and shot Thompson, the ball 
taking effect in the region of the heart. Thompson lived but a few 
minutes. Lowther was tried twice for the murder, and both times the 
jury disagreed. He is at present out on bail. 



The following interesting record of the township and city of Benicia has 
been most kindly furnished to us by S. C. Gray, Esq., an old pioneer of that 
city. We reproduce it, because a fuller and more concise record would be 
hard to find ; and we take this opportunity to thank the author for his 
kindness in extending to us the permission to allow it to form a no mean 
portion of the history of Solano county : 


A Lecture— By S. C. Gray. 

From the Pacific Ocean, whose waters press the shores of California, 
along a coast line scarcely less than one thousand miles in extent, between 
the 117th and 124th parallels of W. longitude, and from the 32d to the 42d 
parallel of N. latitude, the main entrance into this great State for the ship- 
ping and commerce of all nations, is through the world-renowned " Golden 
Gate," the outlet for the waters contained within the Bay of San Francisco. 

The striking features of the " Golden Gate " have been described again 
and again, by many writers ; and its praises will continue to be sounded so 
long as the soul of man is touched by those beauties of nature that are pre- 
sented to his appreciation through the medium of his sight. 

As a counterpart, or, perhaps, a continuation of this" charming " Golden 
Gate," may be regarded the less renowned but equally beautiful, " Straits of 
Carquinez," constituting the passage from the San Francisco and San Pablo 
bays into Suisun bay, that receptacle for all the interior waters of the State, 
which from the length and breadth of the Sacramento and San Joaquin 
valleys, have here descended to flow on their way to the sea through the 
deep and commodious channel of these Straits. 

On account of their bold shores and beautiful outlines, the Straits have 
been likened to the Bosphorus, near Constantinople ; and it may well be 
predicted, that in time when these hillsides have been subjected to the 
culture and adorned with the improvements of which they are susceptible, 
they will fairly rival that famous highway in attractiveness. 

On the north side of these Straits, at a distance of twenty-eight miles 
from San Francisco, by the usual traveled route on steamer, but of not more 
than twenty-three miles north-eastwardly, in an air line, is situated the 
whilom city of Benicia, the scene of the reminiscences which are to be made 
the subject of this brief sketch. And what claim has Benicia, or its history, 
to our present consideration ? 


As we proceed, it is hoped that in due time this shall be made satisfact- 
orily to appear. 

Occupying a site, acknowledged to be rarely equalled for its natural 
advantages, on account of its capacious, land-locked harbor, having a great 
depth of water (not less than ten fathoms in mid-channel), its continuous 
water front for miles, the shores gently sloping up to the hills in the back- 
ground, thus affording a perfect natural system of drainage, its position as 
a center towards which the great lines of travel must necessarily converge, 
and of its picturesque surroundings, it early attracted the attention of ad- 
venturous travelers, a few of whom, at least, confidently believed it to be 
fitted by nature, and destined to become in time, a commercial city of very 
considerable importance. 

For a time, within the present generation, this view seemed likely to be 
realized ; but that time has passed ; and if it is to be renewed, it must be 
in the uncertain future, farther than the most gifted are permitted now to 

The panorama visible from the highest point within its limits, is one of 
surpassing beauty, such as few cities anywhere can boast, and needs but 
to be seen to be admired. From this point, which is easily reached, at the 
moderate elevation of 400 feet above the level of the bay, and distant but 
two miles from the water-front, may be seen, looking northward at a dist- 
ance of about 20 miles, the twin peaks of the Suisun mountains, which 
separate Napa valley from Suisun valley, with a glimpse of the Vaca mount- 
ains, distant about 30 miles ; N. E. the range of Green valley hills, which 
hide from view Suisun and the great valley of the Sacramento ; eastward, 
the whole extent of Suisun bay, bounded by the Montezuma hills, 20 miles 
distant, with the white line of the Sierra Nevada rising in majesty, 100 
miles beyond; S. E. the Black Diamond coal hills, and grand old Mount 
Diablo, which, though 20 miles distant, looks scarcely more than five, in all 
its full proportions, from base to summit, towering above the valley which 
bears its name ; S., the village of Martinez, snugly embowered in its cosy 
shelter under the lee of its own wooded hills, with the great coast range of 
mountains stretching out beyond ; S. and S. S. W., the placid Straits of Car- 
quinez, hemmed in by the Contra Costa hills, which conceal from view the 
cities on the lower bay, but cannot prevent stern Mount Tamalpais from 
asserting itself prominently against the. south-western sky ; then westward 
the eye rests and lingers enchantedly on this second " Golden Gate " of the 
Straits, opening out into San Pablo Bay, of whose broad bosom the view is 
only limited by the distant hills of Marin county, some 25 miles away ; 
then W. N. W., the city of Vallejo and Mare Island Navy Yard, in the fore- 
ground, with the hills near Petaluma in the distance ; and finally, in the N. 
W., the Sonoma mountains, and in the N. N. W., the Suscol hills, amid 
which, the view ends with Sulphur Spring mountain, some five miles dis- 


tant, as its most distinct and prominent object in that direction. In this 
panorama, which takes in a circuit of many hundreds of square miles, and 
a great variety of scenery the central object, spread out at your feet and 
skirting along the shore of the Straits, is the village of Benicia, resting as 
if in quiet and undisturbed repose, for no sound comes from its smooth 
streets, which are still comparatively in a state of nature, neither cobble- 
stones, nor basalt blocks, nor carbonized brick, nor any other patent 
pavement having, as yet, profaned them, the plank-road leading to the 
steamboat landing, alone furnishing the kind of music that responds to 
passing wheels. In close connection with the village, and flanking it on the 
east, looms up the Military Post, including Benicia Barracks, the Arsenal 
buildings and greatly embellished grounds, the magazine, hospital, store- 
houses, etc. These occupy the point fronting on Suisun bay, and overlook- 
ing Martinez on the opposite shore. 

As early as in 1844, this peninsula had attracted the attention of our 
highly-esteemed fellow citizen, Senor Don'M. G. Vallejo, a native of Mon- 
terey, who soon became the possessor of its territory, as is shown by the 
grant from the Mexican Government, (referred to in another part of this 

It was in the fall of this year, 1844, that Henry Clay was defeated, and 
James K. Polk elected President of the United States. Upon this fact 
hinged the momentous issue of the annexation of Texas, and the consequent 
war with Mexico in 1846-7, one of the results of which was the conquest 
of California, and its absorption by the United States, under the treaty 
concluded at Guadalupe Hidalgo, on the 2d of February, 1848. 

Among the irregular proceedings in California during the war with 
Mexico, was the raising of the Bear Flag, by Capt. Granville Swift and his 
party, of whom Dr. Robert Semple was lieutenant, and the co-operation 
with them of Col. John C. Fremont, in the surprise and capture of Sonoma. 
They took Gen. Vallejo prisoner, and sent him in charge of Dr. Semple on 
a launch up to Sutter's Fort, where Gen. J. A. Sutter was in command, as 
well as supplying stores and war materials to Fremont. On the way up, the 
vessel necessarily passed through the Straits of Carquinez, which were then 
seen for the first time by Dr. Semple. This was in June, 1846. General 
Yallejo remained a prisoner at Sutter's Fort about a week, when he was 
released by Commodore Stockton (Governor of the conquered territory), on 
his parol of honor, and Dr. Semple accompanied him back to Sonomo. Pass- 
ing through the Straits again on their return, Dr. Semple became greatly 
impressed with the advantages here presented for the location of a city, 
which he explained to the General, who had been so kindly treated, that he 
not only ceased from opposing, but became friendly to the invaders of his 
native State, and to encourage them to come within and settle it, not long 
afterwards donated to Dr. Semple the site which had impressed him so 


In pursuance of this agreement the site was surveyed by Jasper O'Far- 
rell and Lieutenant Warner, and the plat of this survey became substan- 
tially the map of Benicia. At that date no habitation of man adorned or 
disfigured the face of the land, which was absolutely in a state of nature, 
a luxuriant growth of wild oats holding undisputed sway over its un- 
dulating and treeless hills. 

And now commences the story of its early times. About the last of June, 
Mr. William I. Tustin, a native of Virginia, subsequently a resident of Il- 
linois, whence he had emigrated to California, and was sojourning at 
Sonoma, having heard that a town was being laid out on the Straits, came 
with his wife and son, a lad of four years, to take up his residence in the 
newly surveyed place. These constituted the first man, first woman and 
first child of the white race that ever settled and lived in Benicia. It is 
probable that the aboriginal Indians may have some time preceded them, 
but there was nothing to indicate it. They found nothing but the sur- 
veyor's stakes, and no human being in sight, save the surveying party just 
going away over the hills towards Suisun Valley, having completed their 
labors for the time being. This family of three camped a few days among 
the wild oats, until the arrival of Dr. Semple with a cargo of lumber which 
he had brought in a brig from Bodega. Having made arrangements with 
the Doctor for two lots on which to build, Tustin dug a well and com- 
menced making " adobes." 

In making his adobes, Mr. Tustin had the assistance of a new comer, a 
well educated and worthy young man named Charles L. Benedict, who was 
provided with unusually large feet, and who remarked that he never knew 
before what they were good for. He speculated on the prospect of some 
day becoming an old man, and narrating to his grandchildren this exploit 
of his youth, the honor of tramping in the mud to make adobes for the first 
house ever built in Benicia, This house, now nearly thirty years old, still 
stands with its thick walls in a good state of preservation, and constitutes 
part of the residence of Jerry O'Donnell. 

The second house built was a one-story and attic frame, put up for and 
occupied by Dr. Semple himself. This house became the scene of some of 
the most interesting transactions of those early days. After, passing 
through several hands, and being now greatly improved, it belongs to Mrs. 
J. W. Jones, and is occupied by George A. Hastings and family. It was my 
residence in 1849-50. * 

The third house was an adobe built by Benjamin McDonald, and first oc- 
cupied by Capt. E. H. Von Pfister as a store, subsequently by the firm of 
Bicker & Evans. This is also in a good state of preservation, and is now 
occupied as a residence. 

Quite a number of houses were built in the Fall of 1847, and families 
came in and set f led. Among these were Major Stephen Cooper, bringing 


with him a load of cabbages from Napa, Mr. Landy Alford, Mr. Nathan 
Barbour, their respective families, and others. 

About this time the settlement of Yerba Buena having adopted the name 
of San Francisco, and becoming known thereby, the name of Dr. Semple's 
town which at first had been called Francesca, was changed to Benicia, to 
avoid complications. This name was given as required by the original con- 
veyance from General Vallejo, and in compliment to his wife, Francesca 
Benicia Felipsa Carrillo, daughter of one of the influential families of this 
department. The signification of the name is blesssed! 

In August or September, 1847, Capt. E. H. Von Pfister, a native of New 
York City, who had been in the habit of trading on this coast, arrived from 
Honolulu, bringing with him a stock of goods, which he opened and dis- 
played in the adobe store just spoken of. This being 25x40, was commo- 
dious enough to constitute the rendezvous of the whole town by day, and 
to accommodate everybody in want of lodgings by night. The Captain 
being one of the jovial and hospitable sort, everybody was at home in his 
presence or under his roof. 

Major Cooper's family occupied the house which had been built for Dr. 
Semple, and furnished board to quite a number of the Captain's lodgers. A 
year or two later, the Major kept a real Hotel. 

About Christmas, 1847, the Major's eldest daughter, Miss Frances 
Cooper, was married to Dr. Semple, ex-Gov. L. W. Boggs, formerly of Mis- 
souri, but then Alcalde of Sonoma, officiating. The Governor made the 
journey from Sonoma to Benicia expressly to perform the ceremony. 

As this was the first marriage ever celebrated in the place, the boys deter- 
mined to honor the event with all the eclat possible. They found in Capt. 
Von Pfister's stock of goods a lot of white linen pants, and a dozen blue 
cloth dress coats with brass buttons, and of most approved swallow tail cut. 
The following are the names of the parties who decked themselves in a 
suit of this kind for the occasion, viz. : Landy Alford, Wm. Bryant, David 
A. Davis, Benj. Forbush, Charles S. Hand, Edward Higgins, F. S. Holland, 
Henry Matthews, Benj. McDonald, Wm. Russell, Geo. Stevens and Wm. 

These twelve good and true men, having first imbibed some good " old 
rye," the generous beverage of that day, which the Captain had first brought 
out by the decanter, but as that did not suffice, then by the bucketful, and 
being thus fortified in the inner man against the overpowering bashfulness 
that is generally experienced when faultlessly attired in store clothes, 
marched in procession up to Major Cooper's mansion, and were ushered into 
the august presence of the bridal party, and it is doubtful if ever on any 
similar occasion heartier congratulations were extended or reciprocated than 
on this. 

Twenty-nine years later the hearty old Captain who was an eye-witness 


of the scene, relates the event with as much gusto as if it had occurred but 
yesterday. He alone of all that company, still resides in Benicia. 

The second marriage, that of Mr. Benjamin McDonald with a daughter 
of Landy Alford, was solemnized by Major Cooper, who in January, 1848, 
had been appointed Alcalde by General Mason. 

Some years previous to this date, the peninsula had been visited by a 
restless native of Yankee land, who recognizing the advantages of the 
position conceived that some day he would come again, possess himself of 
the land and perhaps found a city upon the Straits, whereby to make him- 
self great, and perhaps perpetuate his name. At a subsequent visit, about 
this time, late in 1847, or early in 1848, to carry his design into effect, he 
found he was too late, the chivalrous son of Kentucky having anticipated 
him and gained the prize. In full faith, however, of the future greatness 
of the place, he obtained a number of its vacant lots, determined to share in 
the development then so confidently looked for, but died ere he saw any 
likelihood of his dreams being realized. On Cemetery Hill his resting- 
place is marked by a plain, white marble monumental shaft, bearing this 

inscription: — 

The Mountaineer's Grave, 

Here he sleeps, near the Western Ocean's wave ! 

Miles M. Goodyear, 

Born in New Haven, Conn., February 24, 1818. 

Died in California, November 12, 1849. 

Selected as his future home, Benicia, where he wished to live, and to be 
buried at his death. 

Dr. Semple was one of the remarkable men of his day and generation. 
When standing erect he was about seven feet in height, and being rather 
spare in figure did not impress one as being well proportioned. His hands 
and feet were large, as well as his mouth, which was seldom untenanted by 
a chew of his favorite tobacco. He was so long limbed that when astride 
of a mustang or mule, his feet nearly reached to the ground (within six 
inches), rendering it necessary for him to attach his spurs to the calves of 
his boots instead of to his heels. From having to stoop so much when 
entering or leaving doors of ordinary dimensions, his form was somewhat 
bent, and it seemed necessary for him not to stand upright, in order the 
more conveniently to carry on conversation with his fellow-men. In tem- 
perament he was sanguine and impulsive, in disposition kind and con- 
siderate, but quite determined to have his own way, in judgment rather 
erratic, and disinclined to accept the counsel or advice of others, feeling 
convinced that he knew better than they. Some illustrations of these char- 
acteristics may possibly appear in the course of this narrative. 

It is related of him that a few weeks after his marriage, business called 


him to Monterey. Crossing the Straits with his horse on the open scow 
ferry-boat, he left directions with the ferrryman to be on the lookout for 
his return. After wending his way through San Ramon Valley, San Jose 
and Salinas, to his destination, in the course of two or three weeks he was 
back again to where Martinez now stands, but the boat was on the Benicia 
side, and all the signals he could make failed to induce Captain Davis to 
venture out against the strong head wind that was blowing, and the Doc- 
tor had to sleep on the ground in his blankets. This state of things con- 
tinued for two days, and on the third the patience and endurance of the 
Doctor having been tried to the utmost, he considered that something must 
be done to enable him to reach home. He could not swim, and even if he 
could, a swim of two or three miles was a hazardous undertaking, so he 
finally managed to secure two or three pieces of scantling and a plank, 
with which by the aid of his riata he improvised a raft, on which with a 
fair wind and tide he set out astride, pushing himself along as best he 
could. An hour or two later he was discovered by some of the friends on 
shore, who did not know what to make of the singular looking object ar- 
rayed in a bright colored serapa, and holding aloft a signal violently wav- 
ving. A boat was immediately manned and sent to his relief, and great was 
the surprise and joy of the men when they found they had rescued the fore- 
most man of the village. His objurgations on account of the apparent neglect 
to which he had been subjected were rather more emphatic and vehement than 
classic or polite, but good humor was soon restored, congratulations ex- 
tended, jokes cracked, and the Doctor's health drank in something stronger 
than water. In fact the Doctor had water enough in getting across. They 
got up a yarn that he was wading across, which made him mad. 

A year or two later, the doctor had his scow ferry boat worked by horse- 
power, having fortunately come into possession of two such machines, for 
which there was no other use. 

Four years latter, when Capt. 0. C. Coffin put on the steam ferry boat 
" Ion," which could go against wind and tide, the Dr. was heard to apostro- 
phise steam, and sing in praise of Fulton, who had first succeeded in 
harnessing it to such use. 

Hitherto the immigration into California has been attracted by the fact 
that it was a new country, just coming under the jurisdiction of the United 
States and likely soon to become a part of its territory. It was known to 
have some characteristics of climate peculiarly its own, on the whole rather 
pleasant, and it apparently offered the opportunity for that free and easy 
out-door life so fascinating to frontiersmen. To the vivid imagination, the 
land of the getting sun was some degrees nearer paradise than any in the 
same latitude on the continent, and doubtless it would gradually have 
developed into an ordinarily prosperous and inviting country. But what 
might have been is not in order to discuss. The turning point in its destiny 
had now been reached. 


Simultaneously with the signing of the treaty at Guadalupe Hildalgo, in 
February, 1848, occurred that wonderful discovery near Sutter's Mill at 
Coloma, which soon afterward electrified the nation, set the whole world in 
motion, and has since been the means of adding a thousand millions to the 
gold and silver treasures of the earth. It was a month or two before the 
incredulity of Californians could be overcome, and their belief in the reality 
of the discovery assured. 

Early in April, the men of Benicia who usually congregated at Von 
Pfister's rendezvous, were sitting there discussing the future prospects of 
the country under its new ownership, and the conversation turned upon 
coal mines, and the great advantage that would result from their discovery, 
which was much hoped for. They little dreamed that within 25 miles of 
them, among the foot-hills near Mt. Diablo, the " Black Diamond " mines 
were awaiting the prying eyes of the prospector. During the conversation, 
a man named Bennett, who had been engaged with John W. Marshall, at 
Coloma, in building a mill for Gen'l Sutter, and who was on his way to 
Monterey, listened quietly for some time, and finally said that something 
better than a coal mine had been discovered where he had been at work, 
something which was believed to be gold, and General Sutter had paid his 
expenses to Monterey to see Gen'l Mason, and have some specimens that he 
had with him tested, no acid being obtainable at Sutter's Fort. He then 
displayed about four ounces in small pieces such as had been discovered 
when the water was first applied to turn the mill. Of course this display 
produced a profound impression, and much difference of opinion was ex- 
pressed, Dr. Semple declaring that he would give more for a good coal mine 
than all the gold mines that were likely to be discovered. 

Bennett went on his journey, and had not been gone more than 5 or 6 
days when a number of Mormons came along with quantities of the shining 
dust, fully convinced it was gold. Sam Brannan, who had been up to 
Sutter's Mill to learn the truth of the gold discovery, stopped at Benicia on 
his return to the Bay, said to Von Pfister : " Come, Von, break up here and 
go in copartnership with me, and we will establish a business near this new 
gold mine." Von Pfister did so, put all his goods on Dr. Semple's ferry boat, 
hoisted a sail, made the trip to Sacramento (then known as the " embarca- 
dero "), and in due time arrived at Coloma. On the return of the ferry 
boat to Martinez after an absence of two weeks, there were 40 or 50 wagons 
waiting to cross the straits on their way to the new El Dorado. 

Von Pfister continued in business with Brannan until October, when he 
sold out to another partner of Brannan's at Sutter's Fort, named Stout 
being moved thereto by grief at the loss of his brother who had. just arrived 
from Honolulu, and who was inhumanly murdered by an entire stranger on 
the night of his arrival, before Von Pfister, who was temporarily absent 
had the opportunity of seeing him. The murderer fled, and Von Pfister 


pursued, but after an unavailing search of nearly a year he finally gave up 
the chase and returned to Benicia, where for the last quarter of a century 
he has constantly resided ; sometimes filling offices of honor if not of profit. 

On the night of Sam Brannan's arrival at Benecia a high tide had drifted 
Dr. Semple's ferry boat some 200 or 300 yards upon the tule, and leaving 
her high and not exactly dry, and disappointing our friend Tustin, who 
being engaged getting out lumber for Thos. 0. Larkin, was anxious to get 
back to the redwoods, which he had temporarily left for a day or two to 
look after his family at Benicia. So he built him a raft of tule reeds some 
6 or 8 feet long, making it about 2 feet wide, and a foot thick, on which he 
proposed to make the crossing. His friends remonstrated with him and tried 
to dissuade him from going, but to no purpose. Go he would, and so with 
an old shirt for a sail, and a high wind blowing, he set out. The tide took 
him down about two miles to Dillon's point, then it turned, drifting him the 
other way, and by the aid of the wind, notwithstanding his frail bark after 
getting saturated, bent double under his weight, he finally got across and 
landed in a mud flat, where he met a man who wanted to cross over to 
Benicia, and who asked him if he might have his raft. He told him yes, 
but doubted if it would be of much use to him. However the gift was 
accepted and the man had a very hard time getting over, for the tide took 
him some distance up Suisun bay, and it was a day or two before he was 
rescued, in a forlorn and nearly starved condition. Friend Tustin (now a 
successful windmill builder in San Francisco) has since attained to alder- 
manic proportions, quite unsuited to the repetition of his rash experiment. 

The natural effect upon Benicia, of this gold discovery and excitement, 
was to draw away from it its male population, leaving some twelve or 
fifteen families of women and children only. In common with all other 
settlements near the bay and the sea, it was neglected for the superior 
attractions offered by the gold placers. Towards the end of the year, Dr. 
Semple realizing that the fame of the gold discovery had now gone abroad 
over the whole earth ani foreseeing that there would be a great immigration 
into the State, mostly of course by sea, and that sooner than he had antici- 
pated his opportunity to found and establish an important commercial city 
would be presented, began to cast about for the means and appliances to 
aid him in realizing his dream. During the winter of 1848-9 he became 
acquainted with Bethuel Phelps, with whom he made a bargain for the 
erection of the needed improvements. 

As a further step in the way of progress, he formed a copartnership with 
Wm. Robinson, John S. Bradford, and L. B. Mizner, under the firm name of 
Semple, Robinson & Co., for the transaction of general business. This firm 
purchased the Chilian bark " Conf ederacion," with an assorted cargo of East 
India goods, and about the 1st of March, 1849, she sailed up to Benicia and 
was moored along side the bank to be used as a landing place in lieu of a 


wharf. She was dismantled and afterwards known as the " jld hulk," and 
most of her cargo was transferred to the mines. To facilitate access to and 
from the upland, the firm laid down, across the tule, a large number of 
boxes of tobacco, the market already being so glutted with the article as to 
render it comparatively valueless. The firm were so well pleased with 
their business that within the year they built a substantial two-story ware- 
house for its accommodation, a short distance from the landing. Subse- 
quently, however, as the town began to grow and competition became 
active, the members found attractions in other vocations. Dr. Semple was 
elected delegate from Benicia to the Convention which framed the State 
Constitution, and was President of the Convention, the labors of which 
were completed on the 13th of October. Bradford was elected to the 
Senate, and served Solano county in the first session of the Legislature at 
San Jose in 1850. He subsequently returned to Illinois and became Mayor 
of Springfield. Robinson went to Shasta county and was elected County 
Judge. He afterwards joined the fortunes of Gen. Flores in South America. 
In September, '49, Mizner and S. K. Nurse started a 4-mule stage or mud- 
wagon, making tri-weekly trips from Benicia to Sacramento, connecting 
with San Francisco by sloop. This continued a month or two until the 
arrival of steamers from the East to be put on the Sacramento river, when 
they hauled off their stage " in double quick," as Nurse expresses it, and 
sold their mules. Nurse has lived in Denverton since 1854, and has been 
Postmaster most of the time. Mizner became a lawyer and removed to 
San Francisco, but some ten years since returned to Benicia, where he now 
resides. He was State Senator for Solano county in the session of 1871. 

Bethuel Phelps was active in the performance of his contract, and during 
1849-50 a large number of dwellings and stores were erected, being 
occupied before finished and ready. In fact the demand for houses was 
greater than the supply. With lumber ranging from $300 to $G00 per thous- 
and, sometimes more, and carpenters' wages at $16 to $20 per day, it is not 
very surprising that complaint should have been made of slow progress in 
building. So the firm of Henry D. Cooke and Wm, M. Stewart, who were 
somehow concerned in the sale of the bark " Confederacion " and her cargo 
to Dr. Semple, became interested in Benicia, and contributed largely to its 
development. Of their agency something may be said after mentioning 
others, whose influence was brought to bear in advance of them. 

Among the passengers on the bark " Confederacion," from Saucelito to 
Benicia, were Gen. Persifer F. Smith, U. S. A., with some of his staff, and 
Mr. C. E. Wetmore and wife, who had been in San Francisco since July, 
1848. Mr. Wetmore had purchased the house heretofore mentioned as the 
first frame built for Dr. Semple, and had come with his family to settle. 
Gen. Smith was so convinced of the importance of the point that he imme- 
diately entered into negotiation with Semple, the result of which was that 


the portion of the town site bordering on Suisun bay was secured for the 
Government as a Military Reservation, on which have since been erected 
Benicia Arsenal, Benicia Barracks, magazines, hospital, Quartermaster's 
store houses, etc., and many troops have from time to time been stationed 

Com. Thomas Ap. Catesby Jones, U. S. N., had preceded Gen. Smith a 
few weeks, having taken up to Benicia the first Government vessel that 
ever entered the straits, the U. S. store ship " Southampton." In honor of 
her the shoal water space on the north side of the straits and just west of 
Benicia was called Southampton bay, and is known as such to this day. 
Special reasons, varying very much from one another, have been given for 
conferring this name. Com. Jones was enthusiastic in his admiration of 
the site — the harbor and surroundings — and predicted that the commercial 
emporium of the coast would here be established. Being in command of 
the fleet, he had the vessels severally brought up and anchored in the 
harbor for the benefit of the fresh water. The 74-gun ship " Ohio," then 
the largest ship in the navy, the frigate " Savannah," the " Congress," the 
" Preble," the " Falmouth," the " Vandalia," and the transport " Fredonia," 
were among them. The propeller " Massachusetts " was kept moving on 
frequent trips between Benicia and San Francisco. 

After the establishment of the military post, the French ship "Julie" was 
sent up with stores and moored along side the bank near where Benicia 
Arsenal now stands. Col. Silas Casey, TJ. S. A., the first commander of the 
post, was quartered on board this old hulk from the 1st of May for some 
five months with his family, until quarters were erected for them on shore. 
The ribs of this vessel may be seen to this day at low tide, where she finally 
sunk at her moorings. Col. Casey had arrived on the ship " Iowa," com- 
manded by Capt. John Deming, and having on board Gen. Riley and staff, 
two companies of the 2d Infantry, and other troops from Monterey. Gen. 
Riley located the Arsenal. 

The very favorable opinion expressed, followed by really substantial 
movements on the part of such men as Com. Jones, Gen. Smith, Gen. Riley, 
and other Government officers, naturally had the effect of inducing a portion 
of the immigration then coming into the State to locate at Benicia. Among 
the earliest was the Rev. S. Woodbridge, by whose instrumentality a Presby- 
terian Church was organized on the 10th of April, which is claimed to have 
been the first Protestant church ever founded in California. Among its 
original members were Prof. Shepherd, Col. S. Casey, Mr. C. E. Wetmore, 
and Mr. 0. P. Evans. Mr. Woodbridge also opened and kept a day school, 
and kept the records of the township. In August a school house was built 
which was used on Sundays for divine service, under his ministration, for 
some two years thereafter. This modest little building, little used of late 
years, having been superseded by more pretentious edifices, is still standing, 


a monument of the foresight displayed by the founders of the town regard- 
ing the educational needs of the hoped-for rising generation. The church 
edifice, which took its place in 1851, stood for about 20 years, when it was 
taken down and put to other use, the society having disbanded and its 
members scattered. Dr. Woodbridge is now pastor of a church lately built 
for and named after him in this city near the Mission Dolores. 

In April W. S. Ricker and O. P. Evans started a bakery and country 
store in the adobe that had been occupied first by Von Pfister. Ricker was 
the jovial and Evans the serious man of the firm. Profits were large, but 
their small establishment was six months afterwards overshadowed by the 
large stocks introduced by the adventurous immigrants that then began to 
flock in by way of the sea. Evans was gathered to his fathers more than 20 
years ago. Whether Ricker still survives is unknown. 

In May the large adobe building known as the California Hotel was 
erected. Capt. Von Pfister rented it at $500 per month, and kept it a year, 
when he sold out to Capt. Winn. Subsequently it was kept by Major 
Cooper, father-in-law of Dr. Semple. During a part of this time, owing to 
the great drought of 1850-51, there was a scarcity of such food as is usually 
provided at hotel tables. Col. Casey one day asked Mr. Woodbridge about 
the fare, and his reply was that they had beef and molasses for breakfast 
and molasses and beef for dinner. In those days onions were $2 per pound. 
Major Cooper is still living at Colusa, a well preserved man, who will com- 
plete his 80th year in March next. For the last 20 years this establishment 
has been owned and occupied by Mr. John Rueger and family, and known 
as the Benicia Brewery. 

Before Col. Casey got his family into quarters on shore in the summer of 
1849, he was ordered in command of an expedition for the first exploration 
ever made for a railroad route across the Sierra Nevada. The surveying 
party, when about 70 miles from the valley of the Sacramento, in the 
mountains, were attacked by the Pitt River Indians, and the Engineer 
officer in charge, Capt. Warner, was killed. This fact, connected with the 
ravages of fever and scurvy, forced a return of the party without fully 
accomplishing its object. Col. Casey lay twenty-five days in the mountains 
sick with a fever, and all but two, in a party of thirty-five, were taken 
sick. Gen. Casey is still living at a ripe old age in Brooklyn, New York, on 
the retired list. His son, Commander Casey, U. S. N., is stationed in San 

In May F. W. Pettygrove and A. E. Wilson formed a co-partnership for 
the transaction of a general business. They built a frame hotel, which 
they called the Benicia H ouse. They brought with them from Oregon nine 
frame buildings, which were erected in different parts of the town, and 
some stand to this day. 

On the 7th of June the writer of this sketch, with his young wife, came 


upon the scene. The women who ventured to come to California in those 
days were few in number, but courageous in spirit. We had left Baltimore 
on the last of January ; New York the 15th of March ; crossed the Isthmus 
about the 29th; and after a detention of seven weeks in Panama, em- 
barked on board the good steamship Panama, Captain Bailey, on the 
17th of May, on her first trip to San Francisco, which was accomplished 
in seventeen days, calling only at San Diego on the 1st of June. Among 
our fellow passengers were Mrs. Fremont and her daughter Lilly, Mrs. 
Alfred De Witt, Mrs. Robert Allen (now living in San Francisco, 
Hon. Wm. M. Gwinn, John B. Weller, Col. Joseph Hooker, Lieut. Derby 
(afterwards known as Squibob and John Phenix), John Bensley, Hall 
McAllister, F. F. Low, afterwards Governor of this State, S. W. Holladay, 
Dr. S. P. Harris, and other well known citizens that have since attained 

Having come to California at the suggestion of my brother-in-law, Mr. 
C. E. Wetmore, and on arrival finding him located at Benicia, I was in- 
duced to join him there. We formed a co-partnership for the transaction 
of a general business, and soon after commenced the erection of a frame 
building, 30x60 feet, for a store and warehouse none too large for the exten- 
sive stock of goods afloat for us on several vessels then on their way around 
Cape Horn, and bound for the land of gold. 

With little or no previous experience as business manager (I had thus far 
been principally a thorough accountant), and with others to provide for, we 
could not see the way clear to locate in San Francisco ; and as it really 
seemed an open question which place should take the precedence and 
become the commercial center, it was comparatively easy to make up our 
minds to settle in the one that apparently possessed the most attractions or 
prospective merits, and so our lots were cast in Benicia. 

For ten or fifteen years I was satisfied of the correctness of this choice, 
and on every return from a temporary visit to San Francisco, or elsewhere, 
regarded Benicia as a charming and blessed place, little short of Paradise. 
Since then, however, the thought has sometimes occurred that our location 
there was a mistake ; but as that is a problem that may not be solved in 
this life, the attempt will not be made. It is useless to speculate on ' what 
might have been ;' and therefore as our living there has had its influence in 
various ways and upon others, probably the wisest conclusion is that ' it 
was all for the best.' 

Sometime in the summer of 1849, Dr. W. F. Peabody established a hos- 
pital, and soon secured a large and paying patronage from returning miners. 
After a residence of fifteen years Dr. Peabody located elsewhere, and has 
since established himself in San Francisco. [I am happy to say he is a 
member of the C. U., &c] His former associate in the hospital, Mr. J. W. 
Jones, has remained in Benicia to this day, a well known business man, and 


prominent citizen. In July and August ships began to arrive in numbers, 
bringing adventurers, some of whom, with their stocks of goods, thought 
best to locate in Benicia. Among these were Webb, Beveridge, and Miller, 
and McConkey & Hall, with goods from Baltimore (per " Greyhound," and 
" Jane Parker "), brought upon brig " Josephine," and bark " Hebe," and J. 
Hatch & Co., who had come from Boston on the " Edward Everett." 

The ship " Leonore," which arrived in Benicia on the 8th July, brought 
the first side-wheel steamer ever built in California. It was framed at the 
East, put together at Benicia, and finished about the middle of August. 
They called her the " New England," but her machinery proved to be so 
powerfully weak as to render her practically useless for a steamboat. 
During the summer three other small steamboats were built here, called re- 
spectively the " Linda," the " Edward Everett," and the " Phenix." They 
made a few trips up the Sacramento river, but their day was short, for late 
in October (the 26th and 28th, if I mistake not), the propellers " Hartford," 
and " McKinn," commencing running for passengers and freight on the 
route between San Francisco and Sacramento, via Benicia. These were the 
first sea-going steamers to make this trip. They were succeeded by the 
side- wheel steamer " Senator," which commenced her trips on the 3d day of 
November, charging $30 fare from San Francisco to Sacramento, and $15 
from Benicia to either place. The " Senator " is said to have earned millions 
of dollars in a few years. And now, 27 years later, she is still running as a 
sea-going steamship. 

Later in November the little iron steamer " Mint " commenced making 
trips to Stockton. She was brought out on deck of ship " Samoset," in 

On his return from Monterey, where he had presided over the Constitu- 
tional Convention, in the winter of 1849-50, Dr. Semple became impressed 
with the idea that steam-boating must be a profitable business, and ac- 
cordingly he determined to build one on correct principles, that should 
astonish the natives, but all lookers on. So far as the hull was concerned, 
this was easily managed, as material was readily obtained. His favorite 
idea that her bow must be made duck-breasted, was carried into effect ; 
and when launched her appearance on the water was rather attractive. But 
it was when the machinery was to be applied that the " true inwardness " of 
the Doctor came to the surface. Steam-engines were not so plenty in those 
days as in these, a quarter century later ; and so as two could not be had 
that were exactly alike, he obtained two of different make, one being fully 
twice as large as the other. When the absurdity of furnishing the boat 
with engines varying so greatly in power was pointed out to the Doctor, 
his genius rose equal to the occasion. He could manage that. But how ? 
asked the practical, common sense, incredulous observer. Why, by gearing, 
of course. With cog-wheels, and other appliances, we'll gear up the one 


engine, so as to equalize its power with that of the other. In spite of re- 
nt onstance, argument, ridicule, and other elements of opposition, this idea 
was adhered to, and the natural result followed as a matter of course. On 
her first trip she was at the mercy of the current and the wind. The strong 
engine overpowered the weaker one, giving her a forward movement in the 
direction of a great circle, the tendency being to bring her round to the 
point started from. However, by the help of the tide and other favoring 
circumstances, they managed to reach Colusa with her, for which place she 
was named. Her first trip, though, proved to be her last as a steamboat. 
The engines had to be disposed of, and she was converted into a barge. 
Her builder, Mr. F. P. Burch, with his family, still resides in Benicia ; and 
her engineer, Mr. R B. Norman, has for many years been a well known 
citizen of Sacramento. 

The last exploit of Dr. Semple's that occurs to me was his building a 
house for the use of his family, with an inverted roof — so that what is 
usually the peak or highest part, was in this instance the lowest, and the 
roof slanted upwards towards the eaves, instead of downwards, there being 
but one eave trough, and that in the middle of the roof. What his reasons 
were for this peculiar construction may have been explained at the time, 
but are not now remembered. Some are sarcastic enough to say it was 
from motives of economy in the matter of eave trough. 

Among the many early settlers in Benicia was Capt. John Walsh, whose 
family arrived from Valparaiso in November, 1849, occupying at once the 
house he had built for them. The captain is a well known citizen, whose 
fame has gone all over those parts of the world that are visited by ships. He 
is a privileged character, of whom many amusing incidents are related, 
some of which he tells at his own expense. Although old and infirm, being 
now in his eightieth year, and bereft of kindred, who have all preceded him 
in their flight to the spirit land, he retains much of his original vivacity, 
and is generally ready to provoke a smile from any visitor by his ready 
wit. He is able to attend to his duties as Custom-house Inspector, which 
are performed satisfactorily to the Department. A favorite grandson is the 
only relative living near him, or in California. 

Dr. Semple and his associates, Larkin, Phelps, Stewart, and Cooke, did 
much to improve Benicia, and make it attractive ; and they spared no pains 
in publishing to the world its advantages, but they failed lamentably 
in the very particular most necessary to make their enterprise a success. 
They placed too great a valuation upon their lots, and by demanding high 
prices drove away from them the very persons they should have induced by 
liberal terms to settle and build up the town. This was unjust to those 
that had already settled, and who hoped to see others coming in and pro- 
moting its substantial growth. But so convinced was the Doctor that the 
town must develop into a great city, and that nothing could prevent it, that 


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Astor, Lenox and THden , 


nothing could prevent it, that he would listen to no suggestions on this 
head. On several occasions men wanting to buy property gave up the idea 
on account of the terms. Had each one of them been presented with a lot, 
the object of the proprietors might have been accomplished, and themselves 
rewarded by prosperity and affluence, instead of reaping the disappointment 
which followed. 

A notable instance of their fatuity occurred immediately after the great 
fire of 4th May, 1851, which destroyed the entire business portion of the 
eity of San Francisco. A large number of her influential merchants were 
so disheartened at the repeated misfortunes thus befalling them that they 
were ready and anxious at onca to transfer their business to Benicia, and a 
delegation waited on its proprietors to see on what terms they would be 
received and provided for. The terms were too exacting ; the application 
failed, and the opportunity was lost — absolutely thrown away. The appli- 
cants were angered at their failure, and embittered against Benicia, a feeling 
which survives measurably to this day — while the bona fide settlers of 
Benicia, who would have welcomed their San Francisco brethren, were dis- 
gusted with the cupidity and bad management of its founders. 

As another illustration of events in these days, it should not be forgotten 
that Capt. Lyon, who had been sent out to punish the Indians that were 
hostile and troublesome, came very near being killed by the awkwardness 
of some of his own men, a bullet from one of them passing through his hat 
from back to front. In mentioning it to General Riley on his return, and 
exhibiting the hat, he claimed that that shot did not come from an enemy. 
The General's reply was, it certainly did not come from a friend. This 
brave officer was afterwards, during the war of the Rebellion, the lamented 
General Lyon, who fell at the battle of Lexington, Missouri, in August, 1861. 

Among the immigrants of 1849, were some old farmers from the East, to 
whom the alternation of the wet and dry seasons appeared to present in- 
superable objections to the idea of this ever being an agricultural country. 
The laws of nature to which they had been accustomed were here set at 
defiance, and their conclusion was that cultivation of the ground would be 
useless in the absence of summer showers. Yet here on these rolling and 
dry hills waved the luxurious, almost rank growth of wild oats, four or five 
feet in height. The soil being adobe, and two or three feet in thickness, 
has since nullified the opinions of these good old farmers, and still persists 
in yielding fine crops of grain, notwithstanding fifteen years of cultivation. 

In the remarkably wet winter of 1849-50, it was no easy task to walk 
on this adobe ground where traveled upon, without being in danger of 
losing a boot when drawing: one's feet out of the mud. and so it came to 
pass that long rubber boots were at a premium. 

As an offset the following winter, that of 1850-51, to which this present 
one of 187G-77 bears a close resemblance, was correspondingly dry, and 
rubber boots proved a bad speculation. 



The Constitution of the State of California, which had been framed by 
the Convention at Monterey, in October, was adopted by the people at an 
election held on the 13th November, 1849, and in accordance with its pro- 
visions the first Legislature met in January, 1850, at the Pueblo de San 
Jose, the first Capital of the State. The first two cities incorporated by 
this body were Monterey and Benicia, both on the same day, the 27th of 
March, 1850. Some days afterwards, San Jose, Sacramento, Stockton and 
Los Angeles were incorporated. San Francisco followed, on the 15th day 
of April. 

Under its charter, Benicia had nine Mayors, as follows: 

Capt. James Kearny, from May 1850, to May, 1851. 
Dr. W. F. Peabody, from May, 1851, to May, 1852. 
Capt. D. M. Fraser, from May, 1852, to May, 1853. 
Capt. Alex. Riddell, from May, 1853, to May, 1854. 
Charles French, from May, 1854, to November, 1855. 
W. S. Wells, Acting from November, 1855, to May, 1856. 
J. M. Neville, from May, 1856, to May, 1857. 
T. B. Storer, from May, 1857, to May, 1858. 
Charles Alison, from May, 1858, to May, 1859. 
The charter was amended in 1851 and 1854, and repealed in 1859, since 
which time the government of the city has been vested in a Board of 
Trustees. The city charter was found to be an expensive luxury, by means 
of which the city debt was incurred little short of $100,000 in 1859. This 
has since been reduced, uutil at the present time an arrangement has just 
been effected by which it can all be redeemed for the sum of $6,000, and 
the taxpayers breathe freer. 

Mayors Kearny, Fraser, Riddell and French died some years since. 
Mayors Peabody, Wells, Neville and Alison are residents of San Francisco, 
and Mayor Storer lives in Virginia City. 

A. J. Bryant, who was City Marshal of Benicia in 1854, is now Mayor of 
San Francisco. 

At the same first session of the Legislature, Benicia was named the 
county seat of Solano county, and so continued for eight years, when it 
was superseded in 1858 by the present county seat, Fairfield. 

The first Sheriff of the county was B. C. Whitman, afterwards Clerk of 
the Common Council, subsequently a leading lawyer in Benicia, and now an 
ex- Judge of the Supreme Court in the State of Nevada. The second Sheriff 
was Paul Shirley, who held the office several years. He now resides on the 
other side of the Straits, in Martinez, and is State Senator from Contra 
Costa county. 

The fourth session of the Legislature was held in Benicia early in 1853, 
and on the 18th of May of that year an Act was passed making it the 
permanent seat of Government, but as no appropriation was made for the 


erection of public buildings, and the Capital in those days was notoriously 
on wheels, it was not a difficult matter at the fifth session to move it again, 
and so on the 1st day of March, 1854, the Legislature and attaches, furni- 
ture and all, left Benicia on the steamer Antelope for Sacramento, where 
the Capital has since remained with some show of permanence. This move- 
ment was brought about by a combination between the workers for Sacra- 
mento and the friends of the lamented David C. Broderick, who desired 
and expected thereby to be elected to the United States Senate, but who 
was disappointed in that expectation, although in a subsequent Legislature 
he was successful. Broderick was absent from Benicia when the vote was 
taken on the removal question, and there was no telegraphic communica- 
tion then with San Francisco. If there had been, the result probably 
would have been different. Either Broderick would have been elected 
first, or the Capital would have remained at Benicia. On such slender 
threads does the fate of communities sometimes depend. 

In those palmy days Benicia boasted among its residents, some of the 
prominent and distinguished men of the State, among whom may be men- 
tioned Judges S. C. Hastings, John Currey, S. F. Reynolds, E. W. McKinstry, 
and others, who have since been absorbed by the commercial metropolis. 

The Masonic Order made an early start in Benicia. Benicia Lodge, No. 
5, was formed in 1850. Masonic Hall was built in 1850, and is a substan- 
tial edifice to this day. The lower floor was occupied as the Court House, 
County Clerk and Recorder's office until the State House was built in 1852. 
The State House became the Court House until 1859, when on account of 
the removal of the County Seat, it became the property of the Board of 
Education, and has ever since been occupied as the Public School, one of 
the most commodious and substaintial in the State, and being of brick is 
likely to last for several generations. The attendance is large. 

The Odd Fellows organized somewhat later than the Masons, but have 
flourished so successfully as to possess a fine brick edifice of their own 
which affords them most desirable and satisfactory accommodations. They 
are known as Solano Lodge, No. 22. 

Several newspaper enterprises have from time to time been established in 
Benicia, but none of them now remain. The Benicia Gazette was published 
in 1851, by St. Clair, Pinkham & Co. A bound volume of this publication 
is in the possession of the Society of California Pioneers. The Benicia 

Vedette was published by Mathewson in 1853. The Solano County 

Herald commenced its publication in November, 1855, and three years after- 
wards was moved to Suisun, where it still flourishes under the altered name of 
the Solano Republican. The " Pacific Churchman " was published here in 
1869-70, since which time it has been established in San Francisco. The 
The " Benicia Tribune" was published by R. D. Hopkins in 1872-73 ; since 
then it has been transferred to Dixon, where it still flourishes as the Dixon 


Tribune. There was a Benicia Sentinel at one time, but it was a short- 
lived affair. 

In 1850-51 when it was difficult for masters of vessels to retain their 
crews, on account of their disposition to desert to the gold fields, and try 
their hands at digging or mining, as many as 60 or 70 ships were to be seen 
at anchor in Benicia harbor, most of them loaded with lumber, which 
became a drug in the market and was offered for freight and charges. 
After the 4th of May fire in San Francisco this state of the lumber market 
was remedied, and the ships gradually withdrawn. 

The P. M. S. S. Co., for whom Alfred Robinson and Geo. W. P. Bissell 
were agents, established the depot for their shop and supplies at Benicia 
early in 1850, when their first wharf was built. In 1853 they increased 
the size of the wharf to its present dimensions, and put up the machinery 
shops and foundry. 

From this time on for 16 years or more the company enjoyed an era of 
unexampled prosperity, every attempt at opposition helping as much as 
hindering it. By steady accumulation and the growth of its business its 
capital was increased from year to year until in 1869 it amounted to not 
less than ten millions. In 1869 came its first encounter with its great 
competitor, the Overland Railroad. Up to this time Benicia had been 
greatly benefited by the location of the company's works, and its liberal 
disbursements. As long as the company remained at Benicia they were 
prosperous. Then came a dispositson to branch out, to water the stock and 
provide for the friends of the new management. All this was not so con- 
veniently managed while the works were located at Benicia, so it was 
determined to move everything to the city. From that time the history of 
the company shows a series of questionable managements, and a departure 
from its old prosperous ways. From being worth about $150 or more per 
share its stock has fallen to $20 — the present price being about $24. 
Benicians remember the periodical visits of the California, the Oregon, the 
Panama, the Tennessee, the North ener, the Golden Age, St. Louis, Sonora, 
Golden Gate, Golden City, Sacramento, John L. Stephens and others with 
regret, that the noble ships which succeed them come not in their place. 

The Marysville & Benicia R. R. Co. was incorporated in 1853, with a 
capital of $3,000,000 ; $10,000 was spent in surveys, by Wm. S. Lewis, Esq., 
as Chief Engineer, with the celebrated Mr. Catherwood as consulting engi- 

So strongly impressed was Mr. Catherwood of the feasibility of this 
scheme, that he went to England to present the plan there ; and with the 
aid of a brother of his, who was one of the cashiers in the Bank of England , 
he raised $1,000,000, which was one-third of the capital ; but on his return 
to this country from England, went down in the ill-fated steamer " Arctic," 
off Newfoundland, which put an end to that project,, which would mater- 
ially have advanced the fortunes of Benicia. 


This imperfect sketch of the " Early Times in Benicia," cannot properly 
be brought to a conclusion without a brief reference to the educational and 
religious movements of the place. To Benicia belongs the honor of having 
established the first Young Ladies' Seminary in the State, under the auspices 
of the Protestant churches. In June, 1852, the enterprise was proposed, 
and immediately enlisted the favor and hearty symyathy of many friends. 
A Board of Trustees was organized, a suitable building purchased, and the 
school opened about the 1st of August, with Mrs. S. A. Lord as Principal, 
and Miss Georgia Allen, and Miss F. A. Allen, as Assistants. The second year 
Miss J. M. Hudson became Principal, with the same Assistants. The third 
year, the school became the property of Miss Mary Atkins, whose fame as 
a teacher has since become part of the educational history of this State. 
The school became deservedly popular and successful ; and its graduates, 
under Miss Atkins' administration, have since taken rank in society as 
among the best educated and most cultivated women in our State. After 
twelve years spent in her high vocation, Miss Atkins sought rest ; and in 
186(3, transferred the school to Rev. C. T. Mills and wife, who kept it up in 
a high state of efficiency and prosperity, until 1871, when they, having 
been induced to move to Alameda county, disposed of the school to Rev. 
Chas. H. Pope, who, during the year that he held it, made some valuable 
additions and improvements. Since 1873, the school has been under the 
management of Miss Mary Snell, who, with her sisters, and other accom- 
plished teachers, have maintained its excellent reputation as one of the best 
schools in the State. In October, 1871, under the auspices of the Rev. Mr. 
Pope, then Principal, a re-union of graduates and pupils was held in honor 
of the visit then paid to the institution of its former proprietor, Mrs. Mary 
Atkins-Lynch, with her husband, the Hon. John Lynch, then U. S. Surveyor- 
General for the State of Louisiana, and during the past year, Centennial 
Commissioner for the same State. His duties in that capacity will detain 
him in Philadelphia until March next, after which time Mr. and Mrs. Lynch 
will take up their permanent residence in California. 

In June next, the Young Ladies' Seminary, of Benicia, will celebrate the 
25th anniversary of its fdundation. Two of its original Board of Trustees 
have died — the other seven are still living, and one of them stands before 

On the 1st of January, 1853, St. Catharine's Acadamy, under the charge 
of the Roman Catholic Sisters of St. Dominic, was established at Benicia, 
having been removed from Monterey to this, as the more eligible location. 
This school for young ladies has been uniformly well attended, and appears 
to have enjoyed a satisfactory degree of patronage. Everything about it 
wears an air of comfort, cheerfulness, and prosperity, and it enjoys an ex- 
cellent reputation. The grounds are extensive and well cultivated, and the 
buildings commodious. 


In the summer of 1853, the Rev. Charles M. Blake established a boarding 
school for boys, which a year or two afterwards passed into the hands of 
Mr. C J. Flatt, under whose proprietorship it was known as the Collegiate 
Institute, connected with which some ten years later was a Law School. 

In December, 1867, Mr. Flatt disposed of the property to the Pacific 
Coast Mission, of which the Rev. Dr. Breck was the head, and the school 
then became the nucleus of what has since grown to be St. Augustine's 
College, with the history of which this audience should be somewhat famil- 
iar. The premises have been greatly enlarged and improved, affording 
accommodations for one hundred boys, which number, however, has not yet 
been secured, though the institution well deserves them. Not less than 
fifty thousand dollars have been expended upon the property, which is in a 
good state of preservation and cultivation, making it an attractive seat of 
learning. The college owns fifty acres of land within the city limits, which, 
in time, must constitute for it a valuable domain. The whole is under the 
special supervision of Bishop Wingfield, who, with his family, has his Epis- 
copal residence on the premises. 

One of the objects of the Pacific Coast Mission was to establish a church 
school for girls. Accordingly, in June, 1870, the Rev. Dr. Breck purchased 
a block of land in the vicinity of St. Augustine College, and commenced the 
erection of the buildings for " St. Mary of the Pacific." A year or two later 
these were completed, and has ever since constituted the chief ornament of 
the town. The garden and surroundings of St. Mary's, make it an attractive 
spot. The school grew and prospered steadily under the fatherly care of Dr. 
Breck, until his untimely death, which took place on the 30th of March 
last, at which time the school was so full that the good Doctor had had it in 
contemplation to put up additional buildings, in case his health was restored. 
But it was not so to be, for our all-wise Heavenly Father was then pleased 
to take him to Himself. As a natural consequence of his death, the school 
has since fallen off some ; but is now recovering, and will doubtless soon 
enter upon a renewed career of prosperity, under the rectorship of the Rev. 
John H. Babcock, who, with his wife, have just been placed in charge of the 
establishment by Bishop Wingfield. By former Experience and present in- 
clination, Mr. Babcock is well fitted for the position and its various duties. 

Reference has already been made to the Presbyterian Church, which was 
founded here in 1849, and abandoned in 1869, for want of adherents. It 
flourished until 1861 — the first year of the civil war — when it began to 
decline rapidly on account of dissatisfaction in the congregation at the de- 
determined political stand taken by the pastor, who was several times a can- 
didate for office on the unpopular side. Two years before its final abandon- 
ment, it was supplanted by the First Congregational society, who built, and 
still possess, a very comfortable house of worship, with a parsonage at- 
tached. The bell in its tower was cast in 1853, at the P. M. S. S. Co's. 
works, and was in use there until the works were abandoned. 


The Methodists maintained an organization for a year or two, while 
Benicia was the Capital of the State ; but thereafter they withdrew from 
the field, and their insecure little building was blown down and destroyed in 
a S. E. gale which visited this part of the State, the 1st of January, 1855. 

One or two attempts were made in early times to form a Baptist society, 
but without success. 

The Roman Catholics founded their church of St. Dominic in 1851. It 
has always been sustained liberally by its adherents, and is apparently 
flourishing. In its tower is a large and very fine-toned bell, equal to some 
of the best in our city churches. The well-known Father Villarassa is the 
ehief pastor here. A substantial, two-story edifice, has recently been added 
to the premises, as a home for the Brothers, and a Theological School. 

The first regular service of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Benicia 
was held on Sunday the 24th of September, 1854, in the court room of the 
City Hall. Major E. D. Townsend, U. S. A., a lay reader appointed by Rt. 
Rev. Bishop Kip, read the service and a sermon. On Sunday, the 22d of 
October, the Bishop himself officiated, and administered the Holy Commun- 
ion. From this time the services were regularly maintained, and a chapel 
was fitted up in the Masonic Hall early in 1855. On the 13th of February, 
1855, a parish was formed under the name of St. Paul's Parish, to which 
the Bishop gave his approval on the 22d. The Vestry then organized, 
electing Paul K. Hubbs, Senior Warden ; Eugene Van Ness, Junior Warden ; 
the other Vestrymen being John Curry, Joseph Durbrow, C. W. Hayden, J. 
Howard, and John Taylor. Some of these names must sound familiar here, 
even at this late day. Col. Van Ness and Col. Hubbs have gone to the 
eternal world. Gen. Townsend is now Adjutant-General of the United 
States at Washington, where, also, Mr. C. W. Hayden resides. Judge 
Curry and Mr. Durbrow are among the honored citizens of San Francisco. 
Among the others that have since been Wardens and Vestrymen of St. 
Paul's, may be mentioned the names of Gen. John S. Mason, U. S. A., Hon. 
E. W. McKinstry, Dr. Robert Murray, Hon. S. F. Reynolds, Capt. F. F. Flint, 
Dr. Cooledge, Col. J. McAllister. 

The first missionary to St. Paul's Church was the Rev. David F. McDon- 
ald in 1856. He had then recently been ordained deacon in San Francisco. 
He is now a D.D. ; rector of a church in Dardanelles, Arkansas. 

Since his time the church at Benecia has been served with more or less 
regularity by Rev. E. W. Hager, Rev. James Cameron, Rev. E. G. Perryman, 
Rev. Dudley Chase, Rev. Henry G. Perry, and Rev. J. L. Breck, D.D. Mr. 
Cameron was rector from 1860 to 1865, and Dr. Breck from 1868 to 1876. 
Since the death of Dr. Breck, Bishop Wingfield has accepted and exercised 
the office of rector. 

A church edifice was erected in the fall of 1859, and consecrated in 
February, 1860. In 1863 it was greatly enlarged and improved by the 


addition of transepts, mainly through the liberality and exertion of the 
Rev. James Cameron, who, at the same time, presented the church with a 
very acceptable pipe organ, that is still in use. At the same time a par- 
sonage or rectory was built and presented to the church by Col. Julian 
McAllister, now Senior Warden of the Parish. In 1873, under the admin- 
istration of Dr. Breck, the church was again enlarged by lengthening the 
nave, and it is now, in its interior arrangements, one of the best planned 
and most attractive churches in California. Being attended regularly by 
the pupils of St. Mary's school and St. Augustine College, and a goodly 
share of the town's people, the congregations are generally large and the 
services full of interest, being participated in very heartily. It is quite 
refreshing to one accustomed to the low murmur of our city congregations 
to listen to the outspoken responses characteristic of this wide-awake 

There are many other topics that might properly have been introduced 
into this sketch and have proven, perhaps, more interesting than those 
actually touched upon, such as the history of military officers and their 
operations at the arsenal; the barracks and the Quartermaster's department; 
the pleasant character of the society that for so many years, during Benicia's 
palmy days, became a distinguishing feature in its history ; the visit of 
Com. Perry's squadron in 1854, after its voyage around the world and its 
brilliant achievement in causing the ports of Japan to be opened to our 
commerce ; the many attempts at railroad building that have from time to 
time been unsuccessfully made and the hopes still entertained of success in 
the near future ; the many fires that have destroyed once valuable property; 
the founding and maintenance of manufacturing establishments for cement, 
leather, flour, etc., as well as personal reference to many friends, once resi- 
dents, now scattered all over California and other parts of the United 
States; but it is already too long, and this task must be considered com- 

It has cost much time, application, research, labor, and self-denial, but if 
it shall have afforded entertainment, instruction, and food for thought to 
you who have so courteously bestowed upon it your attention, it will not 
be in vain that the sacrifice has been made." 

With reference to the Deed mentioned in the foregoing lecture of Mr 
Gray, the tenor of it is in a few words : Five miles of land in the Suscol 
estate was ceded, transferred, and bestowed, freely and spontaneously to 
Don Thomas O. Larkin and Don Robert Semple, and their heirs and success- 
ors, by General Vallejo, as per measurement made by Don Jasper O'Farrell: 
" Beginning at a stone marked ' R. S.' and running N. 76 degrees W. to a 


corner or angle five English miles ; from thence in the direction S. 14 
degrees W. to an angle one mile, a little more or less ; thence following the 
sinuosities of the bay, of the straits to the place where the measurement 
commenced., which, altogether, makes an extent of five English miles ; fol- 
lowing the turn of the bay, the sinuosities of the land, according to the 
measurement of plan above referred to." To this gift were attached the 
under-mentioned provisions : " First. — The grantees were to bind them- 
selves to found a city to be named Francesca or Benicia, and to divide the 
land into lots to be disposed of by sale, and establish ferry boats on the 
Staits of Carquinez. Second. — As soon as the city should contain one 
hundred families a magistrate or municipal authority shall be named. The 
ferry boats, together with the landing places, shall belong to the town, and 
their products used for the establishment of public schools. Third. — Until 
such hundred families are established the ferry boats and landings to belong 
to Robert Semple." The deed was executed on May 19, 1847, before Lilburn 
W. Boggs, Alcalde of the District of Sonoma. 

This transaction afterwards proved invalid, the General, it was held, not 
having a good title to the lands of Suscol ; therefore a new form was gone 
through to establish the claim of Messrs. Semple and Larkin. Pursuant to 
an Act of the Legislature of the State of California, entitled "An Act to settle 
the title of lands in the town and city of Benicia, in the county of Solano, 
approved February 20, 1866," and in accordance with an Act of Congress, 
entitled " An Act to quiet the title to certain lands within the corporate 
limits of the city of Benicia and the town of Santa Cruz, in the State of 
California, approved July 23, 1866," notice was given to claimants to file 
their respective claims for lots and parcels of land. 

An Act to incorporate the city of Benicia was passed April 24, 1851, 
bounding the site thus : " And that tract of land lying on the north side of 
the Straits of Carquinez, as surveyed by Benjamin W. Barlow, Esq., late 
City Surveyor, and designated by his map now on file in the office of the 
Clerk of Solano county, the southern boundary shall extend to the middle 
of the channel of the Straits of Carquinez." Following this the city was 
divided into two wards. Article two of the Act provides for the election of 
city officers ; article three apportioned their duties and powers ; article four, 
their compensation ; article five, the establishment of Recorder's and Jus- 
tice's Courts. Supplementary to the foregoing, was passed on April 13, 
1854, an Act incorporating the city and granting additional powers to the 
Council ; while the water front was ceded to the corporation by Act of the 
Legislature approved May 3, 1855. 

After the survey of the site in 1847 it was laid out in streets and squares, 
there being twenty lots retained for public uses, besides the City Hall lot and 
two half blocks for parks, etc, From its start until April 18, 1859, the city 
was governed by a Mayor and Corporation, when on that date an Act to 


repeal the several Acts incorporating the city of Benicia, was approved, and 
placed the town under the government of Trustees, who were to be elected 
to serve, thus : The party receiving the highest number of votes was 
chosen for three years, the second, for two, and the third for one year ; and 
each following year, one Trustee should be elected for three years. A list of 
the Mayors has been already given, let us now present one of the Trustees : 
Those called upon to serve during the first term were George H. Riddelh 
three years, May, 1859 ; John J. Barry, two years ; C. W. Hayden, one year, 
Thereafter there ensued a yearly election for a term of three years : 1860 — 
C. W. Hayden, G. H. Riddell, J. J. Barry. 1861— S. C. Gray, C. W. Hayden, 
G. H. Riddell. 1862— T. B. Storer, S. C. Gray, C. W. Hayden. 1863— E. Dan- 
forth, T. B. Storer, S. C. Gray. 1864— S. C. Gray, E. Danforth, T. B. Storey 
(resigned), C. B. Houghton, (elected). 1865 — C. B. Houghton, S. C. Gray, 
E. Danforth, (resigned), J. Hatch, (elected). 1866— E. H. Von Pfister, C. B. 
Houghton, S. C. Gray. 1867— J. F. Swain, E. H. Von Pfister, C. B. Hough- 
ton. 1868— C. B. Houghton, J. F. Swain, E. H. Von Pfister. 1869— E. H. 
Von Pfister, G. B. Houghton, J. F. Swain. 1870— J. F. Swain, E. H. Von 
Pfister, C. B. Houghton. 1871— C. B. Houghton, J. F. Swain, E. H. Von 
Pfister. 1872— James Flannery, C. B. Houghton, J. F. Swain. 1873— 
John J. Barry, James Flannery, C. B. Houghton. 1874 — C. B. Houghton, 
J. J. Barry, James Flannery. 1875 — J. R. Brown, C. B. Houghton, J. J- 
Barry. 1876— J. J. Barry, J. R. Brown, C. B. Houghton. 1877— C. B" 
Houghton, J. J. Barry, J. R. Brown! 1878— D. N. Hastings, C. B. Hough- 
ton, John J. Barry. 1879 — James Barry, D. N. Hastings, C. B. Houghton. 
The office of City Clerk was filled by the following gentlemen: 1850-51 — 
B. D. Hyam and John B. Dow. 1851-54— B. C. Whitman. 1854-56— 
David F. Beveridge. 1856-57— E. H. Von Pfister. 1857-59— J. W. Kin- 
loch. Since the election of Trustees one of their number has officiated as 
Clerk until 1878. The City Assessors were : 1850-51 — Stephen Cooper. 
1851-53— Singleton Vaughn. 1853-54— H. P. Ammons. 1854-55— H. 
Norton. 1855-56— J. W. Kinloch. 1856-58— Peter Wright. 1858-59— 
H. Norton. From this year up until 1877, inclusive, the county officials 
assessed, collected, and disbursed the funds. In 1877 E. H. Von Pfister was 
elected to the office, a position which he still retains. The City Marshals 
have been : 1850 — John S. Brown. 1851 — Beebe Robinson. 1852-53— 
A. H. Estell. 1854-55— A. J. Bryant. 1856— D. F. Beveridge. 1857-58— 
Luke Bond. From this period until the year 1872 the city was without a 
Marshal; in that year Jeremiah O'Donnell was appointed. In 1873 he again 
held the office. 1874— Patrick McNally. 1875-77— A. J. Glover, and 
1878-79 — F. P. Weinmann. The City Treasurers have been during that 
period, respectively : Messrs. D. F. Beveridge, Edward Crocker, R. M. 
Holladay, John J. Barry, with a long interregnum wherein the County 
Treasurer performed the duties for the city, when, in 1877, the present 


incumbent, John Reuger, was chosen to fill the office. Space will not per- 
mit of our entering more fully into the names of the other officers who 
served Benicia, indeed it has been an arduous task, the tracing these we 
have enumerated. Suffice it to say that among the City Attorneys we find 
such well-known names as Leslie and Wells ; while her Surveyors were 
Barlow, Patton, and De Hemmecourt. 

Mention has, in a general way, been made of the schools of Benicia. We 
will now present the reader with a slight sketch of two of the principal 
seats of learning in the city : 

The Young Ladies' Seminary. — This school was established in 1852, 
and was managed by a Board of Trustees for two years and a half. The 
following named gentlemen served on the Board : Hon. S. Bvnam, Hon. S. 
Cooper, Capt. D. M. Fraser, S. C. Gray, B. W. Mudge, Dr. W. F. Peabody, 
Capt. J. Walsh, C. E. Wetmore, Rev. S. Woodbridge, E. Crocker, J. W. Jones, 
D. N. Hastings. 

During the latter part of 1854, Miss Mary Atkins became the Principal of 
the school ; but in January, 1855, the proprietorship and sole management 
passed into her hands. 

For nine years she labored successfully to bring the institution up to the 
highest standard, and when, in 1864, she was compelled to take a season of 
rest, she rented the Seminary to Miss Lammond, it then having about one 
hundred and fifty pupils, and an unequaled reputation for giving thorough 
training and a solid education. 

Within a year Miss Atkins returned to her school, and found so few 
pupils that much of the work of building up had to be done once more. By 
untiring energy she re-established it, and it took, again, its place as the first- 
class school of the State. 

In 1865, worn by years of unceasing labor, Miss Atkins retired from 
teaching. She sold the Seminary to Dr. and Mrs. C. T. Mills. They faith- 
fully labored to maintain the high position of the institution, and had six 
years of uninterrupted success. In 1871 they removed from Benicia to 
Seminary Park, Alameda county, where they had" erected large and well- 
adapted school buildings. 

Rev. Charles H. Pope then took charge of the Benicia Seminary, a trust 
which he faithfully administered for three years, when he removed from 
the State, and the school came under the principalship of Miss Snell. 

In the spring of 1878 Miss Snell organized a school in Oakland, and Miss 
Atkins, after years of pleasant wandering, full of rich experience, has come 
back to the old roof-tree. 

The following address was delivered by the Rev. Sylvester Woodbridge, 
D.D., of San Francisco, on October 11th, 1878, at a re-union of former 
pupils, held for the purpose of organizing a society to perpetuate the history 


of the school, as well as making a presentation to Mrs. Atkins-Lynch on 
her return to Benicia : 

" Memory and Hope are two angels that with golden chains bind the past 
to the future. We cannot afford to lose either. Without the former, our 
identity of being would cease, our treasures be lost, our responsibility be 
overwhelmed in the cold waves of oblivion. Without the latter, the future 
could have no encouragement, nor could we press forward and upward to 
success, reward, and the crown of glory. 


We cannot live over the past. We would not if we could. What once 
was vivid in its freshness and novelty would now seem cold and effete. 
The pleasures that once stirred the pulses to impetuous rebound, would 
cause them to thrill no more. The pains, then half neutralized by the daily 
stimulus of duty and zeal, would cling with iron grasp to us till we sank 
down exhausted. 

But when we relegate the past to Memory's bright domain, the sweep of 
her magic wand spreads enchantment over the scene. The pains become 
but the foil and the background which serve to set off the successes and the 
joys, and bring them out in more brilliant colors. There we see the fields 
of usefulness, where the precious harvests were reaped ; there the forms of 
beauty that ' are a joy forever ; ' there were awakened the friendships, 
whose light will endure beyond the shining sun. 


Radiant in the history of this State of California, lighted up by the glory 
of past years of success and great usefulness, stands this distinguished 
institution of learning. It began when innumerable and apparentty insur- 
mountable obstacles stood in the way of success. But the need of its 
establishment, and the pressure of what they esteemed to be duty, rested 
upon those who felt called upon to engage in the enterprise. Therefore they 
manfully undertook the task, girded themselves for the arduous duty, made 
the great and needful sacrifices of money, time and toil, and in the year 
1852, the Seminary was launched forth on the perilous seas of California's 
fluctuating fortunes. Often was the institution near bankruptcy and de- 
struction. But a kind Providence still and ever interposed, and in nothing 
more decidedly than when that eminent teacher to whom to-night we render 
the just honor which is her due, took charge of the Seminary. 


We would diminish nothing from the respect due to the principals and 
teachers who had charge of this institution during the earliest years of its 


existence. Mrs. Wells, assisted by an able corps of teachers, took charge at 
the inception of the work, and toiled faithfully and successfully. Then 
Mrs. Nevins, whom we are pleased to see present to honor this occasion, and 
who labored unweariedly at her task. But the difficulties, chiefly pecuniary, 
and the burden of carrying the institution when there were so few young 
ladies yet in the State, and so small a proportion of that number seeking a 
liberal education, was calculated to paralyze the energies of the patrons of 
the institution. " 


At the hour of utmost discouragement, Miss Atkins (that was, and she 
will allow me to recall the name which is so fragrant in our memories) 
became principal of the Seminary. She took upon herself with daring zeal 
all the responsibilities of its management and pecuniary liabilities. She 
became by purchase the owner of the buildings and other property, and 
boldly went forth to meet the dangers of the way. 

Let no one suppose them to have been small. What perils were encoun- 
tered ; what lonely hours of weakness, weariness and discouragement were 
passed ; what tears flowed, and saddened prayers were offered, and pangs of 
disappointment were suffered before the sunlight rose, God only perfectly 
knows. It is well that the memory, or at least the vividness of the memory 
is hidden in the sombre shadows of the night of the past. 

Then the Seminary began to rise before our people in all its excellence. 
Miss Atkins' high repute spread abroad. As fast as her means would allow, 
she surrounded herself with teachers of superior excellence. Classes of 
young ladies from the best families in the State gathered in these halls, 
The successful examinations, the fine exhibitions of talent at the Commence- 
ment exercises, the eclat given by the learning, refinement and superiority 
of the graduated pupils, placed the Benicia Young Ladies' Seminary in the 
front rank with the best institutions in America. 

And the credit of this is due to Miss Atkins. Her pupils have made 
their mark in the world, and speak for themselves. They are among the 
most distinguished women in this State for all that makes women pre-emi- 
nent in intelligence, position and piety. On this platform I see one lady, 
(Mrs. Kincaid,) a graduate of this institution, who has made teaching her 
profession. She is one of the most distinguished and successful teachers in 
the Girls' High School in San Francisco. Everywhere in the families, the 
neighborhoods, the schools, the cities of our State, have the instructions 
and influence of Miss Atkins left an impression, deep, broad and abiding. 

Nor is that influence confined to us. Many of the bright pupils who once 
lent radiance to these scenes, have left the dark earth, guided by that 
divine faith which led their steps up the heavenly way. The earliest and 
foremost of the graduates (Mrs. Walsh Ferguson) thus departed in the hope 


of glory. Others have followed her. But last week there was one in San 
Francisco (Miss Mary Dollarhide) who hoped to have been present on this 
occasion. But this very week we have been called to follow all of her that 
was mortal to the house appointed for all living. But it is believed by 
many that the dead are sometimes permitted to revisit the earth, and 
though unseen by us, pass through our midst and rejoice in our joy. It is 
in speaking of the faithful dead that the Scriptures say : ' Seeing therefore 
that we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses!'' The beautiful 
dead who have gone up from us may return to hail and applaud our con- 
tinued zeal and efforts for good. 


The Word of God forbids us to dwell amid the former scenes ' Forgetting 
the things that are past, press toward the mark for the prize ' which God 
from on high is calling to us to attain, Mr. Moody's favorite song is one that 
it behooves us all to sing : 

' More to follow, always more to follow ! ' 

It is consumate folly always to be dawdling over what might have been. 
The past is gone. Nothing can recall it. The present and the future, un- 
der God, are ours. 

It was a most noble suggestion to bring back to this school the person who 
at an early day made it so famous. She comes indeed under better auspices 
than before. She is no longer alone, but with her much esteemed and 
honored husband (Mr. Lynch) she brings accumulated force and courage to 
her grand task. It seems to us that there is almost everything to encourage 
and hope for in this renewed undertaking. Certainly the field is very 
different from what it was formerly. Schools for young ladies, distinguished 
for the character of the teachers and their elegant adornings, are numerous. 
The public schools are aiming at the most thorough training of their pupils. 
But this Seminary, under the experienced, skillful 'and kindly direction of 
Mrs. Lynch, need not fear to enter into competition with any or all of them. 
Her reputation goes before her, and is known of all. The many superior 
ladies, graduates of this school, who adorn California society, are her stand- 
ing advertisement. 

We tender to the citizens of Benicia our hearty congratulations for the 
great acquisition to this Young Ladies' Seminary of its eminent former 
principal, and to Mr. and Mrs. Lynch our best wishes and prayers that they 
may secure the triumphant success they justly deserve." 



Mary Atkins Lynch, Principal; Martha Hathaway, Latin, Litera- 
ture, History and Geography ; Francis C. Bauman, Mathematics ; Anne C. 
Craig, Natural History, Elocution and Drawing ; A. Roger, French ; 
Josephine Abele, French, German and Piano ; F. Corbaz, Piano ; Susie 
I. Morgan.. Singing ; Harrie H. Riddell, Painting ; Eliza E. Crocker, 
Matron ; Laura Lamme White, Assistant Matron and Teacher of Saving. 

The College of St. Augustine — Was founded A. D. 1867, and in- 
corporated in 1868. It is under the Rectorship of the Rt. Rev. J. H. D. 
Wingfield, D.D., LL. D., and is governed by a Board of Trustees and a 
Board of Instructors ; is located at Benicia, California. The buildings oc- 
cupy an elevated site and command an extensive view of the Straits of 
Carquinez and the beautiful hills beyond, with Mount Diablo on the left 
and San Pablo Bay on the right. The grounds are sixty acres in extent, a 
portion of which is tastefully laid out and decorated with flowers, orna- 
mental trees and shrubberry. Having been erected expressly for Academical 
purposes, the buildings are strictly adapted to the needs of the students, 
being commodious and inviting, well ventilated and heated. In the 
domestic arrangements eveiy care is taken to unite the culture and comforts 
of a Christian home with the strict discipline of a school. Attention is paid 
to the personal habits and manners of the Cadets. They sleep in single al- 
coves, in dormitories, under the charge of Teachers and Military Officers. 
The Teachers and Cadets meet as one family in a commodious Dining Hall, 
and attend Divine Service daily in the College Chapel. 

It is designed in this Institution to combine with moral and mental 
education a thorough course of Military instruction, consisting of daily ex- 
ercise in Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery Tactics, in which every Cadet is 
required to participate. In all the routine of duties, each Cadet is subject 
to a system of regulations, designed to make him prompt, systematic, and 
gentleman-like. This Military Discipline, by its thoroughness and impar- 
tiality, is eminently fitted to perfect the physical man, and to give habits of 
quick obedience, order, politeness and manliness. 

The spacious parade-ground affords a superior and attractive place for 
drill and physical recreation, while a large building, erected for the 
Eulexian Literary and Dramatic Society, and for an Armory, with Gym- 
nasium attached, furnishes the Cadet with unusual advantages of in-door 

In the work of instruction, the Rector is aided by a Corps of Experienced 
and Competent Professors and Teachers, who devote their time exclusively 
to the business of the College. 

Each Instructor has been selected because of his peculiar fitness for the 
Department to which he is assigned, and is held responsible for the faithful 


discharge of his duty to his classes. In order to satisfy himself of the 
proper advancement of all Cadets, the Rector frequently examines the 
respective classes. 

The College Session consists of Two Terms of Twenty Weeks each. 

Trinity Term begins on the Thursday after the 28th of July, and closes 
on the Thursday next before the 23d of December. After a vacation of 
four weeks, the EASTER TERM begins on the second Thursday in January, 
and closes on the Thursday next after the first Wednesday in June. 

Punctual attendance on the first day of the term is imperative. To insure 
high standing, the Cadet must answer at the roll-call at 7 o'clock on the 
evening of the opening day. No alcoves are reserved, the first on the 
ground has the first choice in the Dormitory to which he may be assigned. 

Every Cadet, on his arrival, shall immediately report himself to the 
Rector, the Commandant of the Corps, and the First Sergeant. 

No furloughs are granted after entrance. Patrons are urged not to ask 
permission for Cadets to leave the College for any cause. Under no cir- 
cumstances can any Cadet be received for less than a term. He is expected 
to remain at least one Session of two terms, during which period his whole 
time and energies are required. New Cadets will be admitted at any time ; 
and, after the first • month will be charged from date of entrance to the end 
of the term. 

No visitors are welcome on the Lord's Day. 

There are, besides these two Academies, the School under the Catholic 
clergy, and the College of St. Mary. 

While on the subject of schools, we would here draw attention to what 
has been done for the education of the yonng of the county in the past 
thirty years. 

If there is one man more than another to whom praise is due for the 
present educational prosperity of the State, and therefore of Solano county, 
in which he was especially interested, that man is the late Hon. Paul K. 
Hubbs. From the first arrival of this accomplished statesman in California, 
he strove manfully and ardently to systematize its educational interests. 
He served for a long time as the head of that especial department in the 
State Legislature, and it is worthy of note that during his tenure of that 
responsible office, in three years, the number of schools in the State in- 
creased from twenty to three hundred and sixteen, while the attendance 
rose from three thousand three hundred and fourteen to twenty-six 
thousand one hundred and sixty. This was more than twenty years ago; 
what are the school statistics of the county at present ! 

On the 30th of June, 1878, the number of first grade schools in Solano 
county were twenty-six ; second grade, thirty-eight ; and third, seventeen. 
Of these one school-house is built of brick — -that at Benicia, formerly the 




; f%. 

: - " 



State Capitol, and fifty-two of wood, while four new school-houses have 
been erected in the last year. These schools are taught by eighty-one 
teachers, of whom fifty are females and thirty-one males, the former having 
an average monthly salary of $63.52, and the latter $91.16 ; eighteen of 
these preceptors hold life certificates. In the year ending, as per above 
date, two schools were maintained less than six months, twenty-four for 
more than six and less than eight, while twenty-one were continued for 
eight months and over. Within that period fifteen certificates were 
granted to male, and thirteen to female teachers, and twenty applicants 
rejected, while there were twenty-three certificates renewed. Five students 
from Solano were at that date attending the State Normal School, and in 
regard to the county's division there are forty-eight districts, three of 
them being fractional, and in one of these the school-house is situated 
without the limits of the county. The rate of county school-tax levied 
to October, 1877, was 25 per 100. County assessment roll of taxable 
property for 1877, $9,022,101 ; amount received from county taxes, $23,- 
157 59 ; amount received from poll-tax, $3,771 85 ; cash drawn from un- 
apportioned County Fund for Board of Examination, $244 55 ; cash drawn 
from unapportioned County Fund for postage, stationery, etc., $25. The 
value of the school lots, houses and furniture to that date was $98,600 ; 
cash in hand in various districts on June 30, 1878, $16,809 67 ; received 
from State Apportionment School Fund, $36,119 89 ; from County Appor- 
tionment in total, $28,355 55; from City and District Taxes, $4,212' 47, 
and from miscellaneous sources, $945. Teachers' salaries have been paid to 
the amount of $49,443 92 ; fuel, rent, etc., $9,151 08; libraries, $1,397 61 ; 
apparatus and other necessaries, $138 10, and sites, furniture, etc., 
$9,675 43. Thus it is seen to what vast proportions the educational in- 
terests of one county may spring in what is not quite half a life-time. 

Secret Societies, Associations, Etc. — All cities, how small they may 
be, have each their lodge, brotherhood or guild; as is natural, Benicia is not 
without such representation ; indeed she would appear to have been one of 
the first to whom was extended the right hand of brotherly love. 

Benicia Lodge No. 5, F. and A. M. — Has a history of rare mark. On 
June 5, 1849, certain Master Masons received from the Grand Lodge of 
Louisiana, permission to congregate into a Traveling Lodge, to be held in 
California. A Lodge, this Dispensation, was opened by L. A. Besan- 
con, one of the original number, who appointed D. B. Hyam, W. M.; James 
H. Saunders, S. W.; and L. B. Mizner, J. W., the officers in the original Dis- 
pensation of that rank, being permanently absent. The first meeting of the 
Lodge was held and officers appointed, on March 6th, 1850. On application, 
a Charter was granted by the Grand Lodge of California ; on the 26th of 


November, of the same year, the first officers appointed, being D. B. Hyam, 
W. M.; L. B. Mizner, S. W.; and Alexander Rid dell, J. W. The number of 
members on the roll are now about forty -five ; while the officers for the 
current year are : W. M., George Poor ; S. W., Murdoch McArthur ; J. W., 
Louis Weinmann ; Treasurer, John Reuger ; Secretary, Charles Spalding ; 
S. D., William R. Carnpbell ; J. D., John Mounce ; Marshall, F. P. Wein- 
mann ; Stewards, F. D. Blake, and Edwin Esty ; and Tyler, T. Sage. The 
Trustees are : R. Westerby, T. McKay, and V: Newmark. It meets on the 
Wednesday of, or preceding, the full moon ; and we are happy to say that 
this old institution flourishes, it having a cash-balance on hand, as well as 
owning the hall wherein the craft meet, and the lot on which it has been 

Benicia Chapter No. 7, R. A. M. — This Chapter received its Charter 
on May 1, 1855 ; the members applying, and whose names appear on the 
parchment, being Charles French, John L. Sanborn, Thomas Farmer, Wil- 
liam McGufnck, Thomas Brownlee, Henry Hook, B. Robinson, J. C. Stone, 
R. N. Woode, H. Wheeler, John Tucker, and Sydney Maupin. The first 
officers who served after the institution of the Chapter, were : John L. 
Sanborn, High Priest ; Charles French, King ; and Thomas Farmer, Scribe. 
The present office-holders are : High Priest, Timothy Sage ; King, Thomas 
McKay ; Scribe, Murdoch McArthur ; Treasurer, John Reuger ; Secretary, 
Charles Spalding; Captain of Host, George Poor ; Prin. Sojourner, Wm. 
R. Campbell ; Roy. Arch. Captain, L. B. Mizner ; Master, 3rd. Vail, E. 
H. Von Pfister ; Master of 2nd Vail, Joseph Green Johnson ; Master of 1st 
Vail, Archibald McDonald; Guard, Robert Steuart. Past High Priest, 
Timothy Sage. The members on the roll at present are twenty-three in 
number ; while they meet on the Tuesday of, or preceding, the full moon. 

Solano Lodge, No. 22, I. 0. 0. F. — This, another of California's first 
organized Lodges, was instituted by Right Worshipful Grand Master, S. H. 
Parker, on April 8, 1854, having, for its Charter members, George H. Rid- 
dell, Paul Shirley, Charles W. Hayden, George Leviston, and John S. Brown. 
The first officers who served, were : George Leviston, N. G.; Paul Shirley, 
V. G.; C. W. Hayden, Secy.; and T. B. Storer, Treas., who, on being installed, 
at once held a meeting, and conferred degrees upon several applicants. The 
number on the muster-roll of the Lodge now, is sixty-two ; while the officers 
jn the different chairs, are; N. G., Dr. V. Newmark; V. G., (vacant) ; Sec- 
retary, Charles Spalding ; Treasurer, S. J. Filer ; W. Warden, Willaim 
Fox ; Conductor, H. A. Booth ; O. G., William Kuhland ; I. G., A. P. Whit- 
man ; R. S. to N. G., D. E. Roberts ; L. S. to N. G., John Binnington ; R. S- 
to V. G., Daniel Cameron ; L. S. to V. G., Joseph Roskilly ; R. S. S., Fred. 
Fried ; L. S. S., George Roskilly. Trustees, J. R. Brown, A. P. Whitman, 


William Kuhland. This Lodge owns its hall wherein the brethren meet ; 
and we are happy to announce that it was never in so properous a condit- 
ion as it is to-day. Meetings every Monday evening. 

Industries. — Without doubt the industries of Benicia are centred in its 
tanneries, of which there are three of extensive proportions in operation, 
giving employment to nearly three hundred men. The day has gone, when 
in the workshops of this, then thought to be the rising city of the Pacific 
coast, the noise and bustle of manufacture was heard. The works of the 
Mail Company, which used to pay out as much as $60,000 per month in 
wages alone, have long ago been abandoned ; and Mr. Westerby, the present 
proprietor, who has lately acquired the property, is now hunting the tule 
for old chains, for many years hid by mud and rushes. Ditches have ceased 
to be dug, or streets to be graded ; and but for its tanneries, this fair city, 
which once had such fair prospects, would be a city of the dead indeed. 

The Pioneer Tannery. — This establishment, as its name signifies, was 
the first tannerry started in Benicia. About eleven years ago, J. R. Brown 
and Thomas McKay decided to try the experiment of running a tannery 
at this place. They started in with four tan vats, and only a few hundred 
dollars in money, but with a whole fortune of pluck. By hard work, 
superior skill, and close attention to business, they made the enterprise 
a success from the start, when failure was prophesied from all quarters ; 
and now the Pioneer tannery is one of the most important in the State. 
It has a reputation that extends to Boston. The buildings and yards 
occupy between four and five acres of ground. They have two currying 
shops that are 35x45 feet in size ; a beam house that is 75 feet long 
by forty wide ; a splendid wharf, with a building on it, 75 feet long 
and two stories high, that is used as a warehouse, drying-room, and 
bark-shed. They "have other buildings, consisting of numerous bark- 
sheds, bark-mill, engine house, boarding house, etc. The machinery of the 
establishment is run by a 15 -horse power engine. They have here all the 
latest improved machinery, consisting of a glassing jack, roller, slicking-off 
machine, etc. Some idea of the amount of capital required to run this 
place may be formed from the fact that they have on hand between eight 
and ten thousand dollars' worth of tan bark alone. Some thirty men find 
steady employment here. The tannery is producing now six hundred sides 
per week. The manufactures of this establishment consists principally of 
sole, harness, buff, shoe and polish leather. Mr. Alexander Chisholm, shortly 
after the tannery was started, was taken in as a partner, and in July last, 
he and Mr. McKay bought out Mr. Brown's interest, and the tannery is now 
owned and run by McKay & Chisholm, who were both almost raised tan- 
ners. They give their personal supervision to the mechanical department, 
which may in part account for the success of the institution. 


The Benicia Tannery. — Some five years after the starting of the 
Pioneer, Mr. Robert Stewart started a tannery near it. After a year 
or two's proprietorship, he was succeeded by Messrs. Moore & Cummings. 
The new firm had hardly got in good working order, when the whole 
establishment, in a few short hours, was destroyed by fire. This was a 
severe blow to the young men composing the firm ; but Mr. E. Dan- 
forth, an old resident of Benicia, having confidence in their business 
qualifications, skill and enterprise, furnished them means to build and 
conduct the tannery now owned and run by them at the foot of First 
street. The establishment occupies two acres of land for its buildings, 
yards and sheds. The currying shop is 40x60 feet, and three stories 
high, connected with which are drying-rooms, bark-mill, beam-house, etc., 
nearly 200 feet in length. Near this building is an immense bark shed, 
which holds between five and six hundred cords of bark — worth $10,000 — 
which is laid in every fall to carry over to the next season. They have also 
warehouse room for storing leather and material used in the manufacturing. 
They make eighteen different kinds of leather here. They have between 
thirty and forty hands, and have between fifteen and twenty thousand dol- 
lars invested in stock all the time. Their monthly pay-roll for wages 
amounts to about $2,000. They manufacture about 3,000 sides per month. 
Mr. Chas. Moore attends to the business department, and Mr. Frank Cum- 
mings to the mechanical department. The latter gentleman is a manufact- 
urer of some twenty years' experience in the Eastern States, where he 
acquired a thorough and practical knowledge of making all the finer grades 
of leather ; such as glove kid, Russia, pebble goat, shoe, buff and leather for 
hand satchels or bags. To him for the skill, and to Messrs. Brown & 
McKay for the enterprise, is the State indebted for adding these to the 
wealth of California manufactures. The manufacture of the hand-bag 
leather has led to the establishment of a manufactory of those articles in 
San Francisco, and Messrs. Moore & Cummings have the orders for the 
leather. Mr. Cummings, when he arrived in California, went to nearly 
every tannery and sought to introduce the manufacture of these fancy 
leathers, and especially buff leather, which was at that time extensively 
shipped to this State. His efforts were fruitless until he met with Messrs. 
Brown & McKay, who were clear-headed enough to see the advantage and 
profit of making that leather in California, and had the pluck to run the 
risk of the experiment. The result was all that Cummings claimed, and all 
Brown & McKay expected. It soon gave to Benicia the reputation of being 
the hub of the tannery interest of the State. The Benicia tannery has a 
large amount of its leather made up into boots and shoes in San Francisco, 
and they intend that as soon as it can be accomplished, to have that manu- 
facturing done in Benicia. The different varieties of leather manufactured 
at this tannery were displayed at the Mechanic's Fair in a very attractive 


manner, and was examined by a large number of experts who pronounced 
the display in the highest degree creditable to the exhibitors. The manag- 
ers of the institution awarded them the Grand Medal for the finest display 
in their line of goods. On the 1st of January next there will be a change 
in the firm's name, the new firm will be composed of Mr. C. J. Moore, F. 
Cummings, and Mr. E. P. Danforth, who will own equal interests. Success 
to them. 

Brown's Tannery. — Mr. J. R. Brown some months previous to selling out 
his interest in the Pioneer Tannery had started a small tannery near the old 
establishment on his own responsibibity and after settling up with his old 
partners immediately went to work to put his small establishment on an equal 
footing with his neighbors in facility and capacity. He erected new buildings, 
put in a steam engine, bought more land, and soon had an establishment that 
was creditable to Mr. Brown's enterprise and a substantial addition to the 
manufacturing interests of Benicia. The main building is 100x30 feet in 
size with three floors. A short distance from it is the bark mill, also a beam 
house. Mr. Brown gives employment to some twenty hands, and is now 
manufacturing from 75 to 100 sides per day. Dan. Chisholm, a practical 
tanner of great experience, is the foreman. The production of this tannery 
is principally sole, harness and light leather. The machinery of the estab- 
lishment is run by a fifteen horse-power engine and the steam is furnished 
by a thirty horse-power boiler. Both were built by J. L. Heald, of Vallejo. 
The engine is a beautiful piece of mechanism. About one-half of the pro- 
duction of the tannery is bought from the city tanneries partly tanned and 
is finished here. Since the 1st inst. he has increased the size of his beam 
house, and has a force of carpenters at work increasing the number of his 
vats. Mr. Brown is not only an enterprising and successful tanner, but is a 
most valuable citizen. He is at present one of the City Trustees, and ever 
on hand to give his personal aid and time to assist any project of public 
character or enterprise of benefit to Benica. 

Pacific Cement Company — P. Martin, proprietor and manager, was estab- 
lished in 1864 and is situated on blocks 35 and 36 in the city of Benicia. 
The establishment is comprised in seven buildings, viz.: Kiln-house, mill- 
house and warehouses, with cooper's shops, etc. The machinery used is 
worked by a steam engine of twenty horse-power, with a capacity of turn- 
ing out 140 barrels of cement a day. The material used is obtained from 
within a circuit of six miles ; it is easily procured and of the first order, 
the quality of the cement, when mixed, being asserted to be equal to that 
of the best Rosendale. There is a capacity for the employment of fifty 
men on the works, while every facility for shipment, in regard to wharves 
and warehouses, are to be found on the premises. The company owns a 
schooner of its own which plies between the works and San Francisco. 


Benicia Brewery. — The Benicia Brewery stands on lot sixteen, block 
twenty, and is the adobe building erected by Major Stephen Cooper in 1847, 
and used first by him and after by Von Pfister as the California Hotel. In 
the month of August, 1855, the structure was purchased by John Reuger 
who started a brewery, a portion of the materials and machinery being 
brought by him from Marysville where he had previously engaged in the 
business. The structure has, since its abobe days, been considerably im- 
proved by brick and wooden additions, making now a main building 62x46 
feet of two and one-half stories, with necessary cellars. The front portion 
of the first floor consists of six rooms, used as a saloon and for dwelling 
purposes, the second floor has five sleeping rooms, and the third is the air 
drying-room for malt. Besides these there are in other buildings, the malt 
house, the granary, brewing room and beer cellars. On the floor above the 
brewing room is a beer kettle of fifteen barrels capacity, a crushing mill 
for malt, and the beer cooler. Mr. Reuger's establishment is one well 
worthy a visit, while his business, we are informed, considering the times 
is fairly prosperous. 

Hotels. — The old original hotels mentioned in these pages have long 
since made way for others, but with no marked success, it is to be presumed 
in regard to the number of guests or the returns to their tills; mayhap the 
railroad may do some good ; if it should, time will tell. To-day the hotel 
proprietors would not seem to be reaping a golden harvest ; in olden days 
affairs were different in the matter of houses of entertainment. In 1849, 
when Capt. Yon Pfister was proprietor of the California House, he paid his 
cook $150 a month, two stewards $125 each, a dishwasher $65, a house- 
keeper and bar-tender $100 each, while with a rental of $500 per mensem, 
he cleared, for eleven months, a free sum of $1,000 for each month. In 
1852, Tom Maguire, the present lessee and manager of Baldwin's Theatre 
in San Francisco, arrived in Benicia and built a gorgeous " gin mill " near 
where the Solano Hotel now stands, indeed the place is now the barber's 
shop. This saloon was at the time the finest in the State ; two large bars 
were kept constantly at work, while the attractiveness of the establishment 
was materially enhanced by the presence of a noble band of music — these 
were the days of reckless squanderings and riotous living. 

Solano Hotel — Is the principal hostelry in the city where the traveler 
will receive every attention to his wants, and be courteously treated by the 
host, F. P. Weinmann. The building was owned and carried on as a hotel 
by his father before him, and to-day the establishment receives most of the 
patronage which comes to Benicia. 

It is now in contemplation to change the present route of the overland 
train, bringing it from Sacramento by way of Suisun and Benicia, thence 


crossing the straits of Carquinez to the line now running to Martinez and 
Oakland. Large ferry slips are being built Tor this purpose, but it will be 
some months ere the works are completed. 

In conclusion we will draw attention to Benicia as a place for manufactures. 

We have before this alluded in general terms to the advantages which 
Benicia possesses, and pointed out several classes of such enterprises to which 
it presents exceptional facilities. The list of these can be easily extended. 

We do not know of a town in the State which offers a better location for 
a box manufactory than Benicia. Boxes can, in the first place, be made 
cheaper here than in San Francisco, the present great center of the business. 
The lumber can be brought here directly from the Coast mills and as 
cheaply as to San Francisco, and the ground for the establishment can be 
bought or leased a great deal cheaper. This later is no small item. Box 
manufactories require a great deal of extra ground to hold their stock of N 
lumber and furnish a place for seasoning it. There is one box manufactory 
in San Francisco the value of grounds alone is worth, if our memory serves 
rightly, over a hundred thousand dollars. This represents an extra amount 
of capital which its business requires, and in reality increases the expenses 
of the building by about one thousand dollars a month or whatever the 
interest on the valuation may be. 

Now as to the market. Benicia is right at the door of as good a local 
market, at least for some classes of boxes, as there is in the State. For 
fruit boxes the demand in this section is immense. There are the orchards 
and vineyards of Napa county, of Green Valley, Pleasant Valley, and in 
fact of the whole of Solano county — an area embracing one of the most 
abundant fruit producing sections of the State. All this section could be 
supplied to advantage from a Benicia factory. Last and by no means least 
are the immense and prolific orchards of the Sacramento river, but a step as 
it were from our city. Here is a supply of fruit requiring three or four fruit 
steamers to carry it to market ; and the product rapidly increasing. This 
section promises to be one vast orchard before many years, as to supply 
almost the State with some kinds of fruit. A Benicia manufactory ought 
to be able from its position to meet at least a large share of the box con- 
sumption required in this immense business. 

A sketch of the newspapers that have been published in Benicia has been 
given elsewhere. At the present time there exists The New Era — which 
was first printed on December 22, 1877, edited and published by F. A. 
Leach, manager of the Vallejo Chronicle Publishing Co. On January 12, 
1878, Mr. E. A. McDonell was admitted a partner in the concern, and on 
May 22, 1879, owing to ill-health Mr. Leach withdrew from the firm dis- 
posing of his interest to Mr. McDonell, his partner. The Era has a circula- 
tion of about seven hundred, while most of the " old timers " who now reside 
in other parts of the United States are on the subscription list. We wish, 
prosperity to the pleasant sheet and its pleasant and kind editor and proprietor 



To General Mariana Guadalupe Vallejo belongs the honor of selecting the 
spot on which the city which bears his name now stands. The Suscol 
ranch had been granted to him by the Mexican Government, and in it was 
comprised what is now Vallejo city. As far back as 1837, then what may 
be considered the dark ages of the Pacific coast, the district had no resident 
save the aboriginal Indians, the herds of undomesticated cattle and horses, 
the beasts of prey, and the fowls of the air. Wild oats grew in every valley 
and on every hill-top. Trees of any size were few and far between. The 
rivers and bays teemed with fishes. ; while game, both large and small, of 
every kind found shelter in the nooks and crevices of the canons. In that 
year, or, perhaps, the following, the General undertook a pilgrimage to 
these fair leagues of his from Sonoma — a town which he had already laid 
out by direction of the Commander-in-Chief — accompanied by his youthful 
bride ; both were full of promise, high in spirits and exultant in aspirations; 
the journey Was an arduous one for the fair Senora, but made as comfort- 
able as circumstances would permit, as might be expected for the wife of 
a heroic soldier. Seated in her chair-saddle (the precursor of those of a 
later date), she passed through mile upon mile and acre after acre of her 
husband's possessions, looking with satisfaction upon a territory worthy, in 
her eyes, of so great a hero. Her retinue were silent with wonder at what 
they saw, and conversed in whispers ; while the proud owner of so fair a 
domain, with head erect and eagle eye, pointed out the more prominent 
land-marks. Coming in view of a hill, which he named the Balcony, about 
six miles north of the present city, they rode to its summit and called a halt 
to enjoy the ravishing prospect, and here the General, after the manner of 
De Foe's hero, inferred : 

" I am monarch of all I survey, 

My right, there is none to dispute ; 
From the centre all round to the sea, 
I'm lord of the fowl and the brute." 

Resuming their voyage of discovery they arrived on the site where the 
Capitol was afterwards built, and ascended the knoll ; from this vantage 
ground could be viewed the undulating wastes promising a rare fertility, 
the sloping hills, the level shore, the Carquinez straits and the bay with its 
many inlets and well protected harbor, and from this height, almost in the 


spirit of prophecy he declared that here should he found a city, a city 
which would not only hand down his name to posterity with honor, but 
make a name for itself in the annals of the world — he not only foreshadowed 
the line o f railway which now stretches its giant arms across this vast 
American continent, but he also told of how ships of every flag would 
peacefully ride upon the placid bosom of her bays, and how every nation 
under the blue canopy of heaven should join in the busy whirl of business 
and this future city of his become the vast emporium of trade on the Pacific 
Coast, and the half-way house of commerce between Europe and Asia. To 
this the lady listened with bated breath and answered that she feared he 
was too visionary and far ahead of the times ; he may have replied thus, if 
not in so many words, assuredly he did so in spirit — mark my words ! what 
I have to-day spoken shall come true. I feel a spirit within which tells me 
that this Hacienda of mine shall be the neuclus of a vast State, of which I 
shall be Governor. It shall be bounded on one side by the Isthmus of 
Panama, the northern sea shall only check its limits on the other hand, 
while the Rocky mountains, high though they be, shall only encourage me 
to surmount them, so that my Province may be widened ! ! ! 'Twas from 
this spot that the Senora Vallejo cast longing eyes upon the fertile slopes 
of Mare Island, at the time expressing an implied wish that it was hers, 
when her magnanimous liege spoke forth " it is yours," and thereafter it 
was looked upon and known as her own private property. 

For twelve years after the above described journey General Vallejo ruled 
his miniature kingdom of some 90,000 acres. The Aborigines were a happy 
and pastoral race, knowing no guile and living in a state of nature, they 
had quietly acknowledged the superior influence of the mighty mind and 
paternal government of their white chief, who had never hurt their feelings 
or ridiculed their prejudices. The Christian religion was expounded to 
them by missionaries capable of undertaking so high a labor while with 
filial obedience they looked to the General as their protector. He built an 
adobe house on the Suscol fresh water creek, about eleven miles from the 
sea, where he established Solano, the chief of the Suisun tribe, and former 
lords of the soil, and after his death, one of his eleven wives found shelter 
for years under the roof of this large hearted man. The following interest- 
ing, remarks are taken from the Vallejo directory of 1870. " The toilet of 
the women was more pretentious (than that of the males), consisting only 
of a scanty apron of fancy skins or feathers, extending to the knees. Those 
of them who were unmarried wore also a bracelet around the ankle or arm 
near the shoulder. This ornament was generally made of bone or fancy 
wood. Polygamy was a recognized institution. Chiefs generally possessed 
eleven wives, sub-chiefs nine, and ordinary warriors two or more according 
to their wealth or property. But Indian-like they would fight among 
themselves long before the Spaniards came, and bloody fights they often 


were. Their weapons were bows and arrows, clubs and spears, with which 
they were very adroit. They had also a kind of helmet make of skins. In 
times of peace they kept up the martial spirit by sham fights or tourna- 
ments. Their women participated in their battles not as actual belligerents 
but as a sanitary brigade ; they followed their wairiors and supplied them 
with provisions and attended them when wounded, carrying their pappooses 
on their backs at the same time. These Indians believed in a future exis- 
tence and an all powerful Great Spirit. But they likewise believed in a 
Cucusuy.. or Mischief-maker, who took delight in their annoyance, and to 
him and his agent they attributed all their sickness and other misfortunes." 

It may not be out of place to relate the following legend : When the 
Spaniards were crossing the mountain called Bolgones, where an Indian 
spirit was supposed to dwell, having a cave for his haunt, he was disturbed 
by the approach of the soldiers, and, emerging from the gloom, arrayed in 
all his feathers and war paint, with very little else by way of costume, 
motioned to them to depart, threatening, by gesticulation, to weave a spell 
around them ; but the sturdy warriors were not to be thus easily awed. 
They beckoned him to approach ; this invitation, however, the wizard 
declined, when one of the men secured him with his lasso to see if he were 
" goblin damn'd " or ordinary mortal. Even now he would not speak, 'but 
continued his mumblings, when an extra tug caused him to shout and pray 
to be released. On the relation of this, the Indians pointed to Bolgones, 
calling it the mountain of the Cucusuy, which the Spaniards translated into 
Monte Diablo. Hence the name of the mountain, which is the meridian of 
scientific exploration in California. 

The first authentic record of a carriage to be found is that in which Gen- 
eral Vallejo's family traveled from Sonoma to Benicia in the year 1848. 
The undertaking was a difficult one enough. The country was innocent of 
roads or bridges, so that when a creek was gained the horses were unyoked 
and forded over, while the vehicle was lifted bodily and carried to the 
opposite side. This may be called the first streak of daylight in the hith- 
erto darkness of locomotion on this part of the coast. About this period 
would-be settlers first made their appearance, and, after viewing the country, 
returned to whence they came. In the following year, with the discovery 
of gold, people from every quarter of the habitable globe flocked to Cali- 
fornia, which was admitted into the United States of America. The 
position of this hitherto unpopulated spot was brought prominently forth. 
Government Surveyors commenced operations, and towards its latter end 
the settlement of the city may be said to have commenced. No accurate 
data can be procured of what transpired in the first settlement of the city, 
or who were the very first families to locate here ; but this is beyond dispute, 
that in the spring of 1850, the name of Vallejo was given to the city out of 
compliment to that gentleman, who had worked so indefatigably in its behalf, 


with what result will be hereafter shown. It had been decided that the Capi- 
tal should be removed from San Jose hither — a decision which was carried 
by an almost unanimous vote of the people — therefore the State House was 
finished toward the end of that year, and, to celebrate the event, the follow- 
ing card of invitation was issued for a grand re-union in the State building. 
There being few of these now extant, while, from the eminence since gained 
by many of the managers, this historical card — historical alike to California 
as a State and Vallejo as a city — has been deemed worthy of being repro- 
duced in its entirety : 

" A grand Christmas ball will be given at Vallejo, on the evening of the 
25th instant, in the Senate and Assembly Chambers of the new State 
Capitol, on which occasion the Hon. Isaac E. Holmes will address the 
ladies and gentlemen at 7\ o'clock. 

M , the pleasure of your company is respectfully 



Hon. Isaac E. Holmes ; Gen. P. A. Morse ; Hon. T. Butler King ; Hon. L. 
M. Boggs ; Hon. William Smith ; Hon. Martin Cook ; Hon. Robert Hop- 
kins ; Hon. Daniel Fisk ; Hon. E. Heydenfelt ; Hon. B. F. Keene ; Hon. 
Geo. Walton ; Hon. James Walsh ; Hon. Wm. H. Lyons ; Hon. J. C. Fre- 
mont ; Hon. P. W. Keyser ; Hon. Jas. Hudspeth ; Hon. James Law ; Hon. 
G. D. Hall; Hon. A. J.' Cost; Hon. N. Smith; Hon. Jas. F. Graham; Hon. 
Jas. F. Burt ; Hon. J. B. Weller ; Hon. T. J. Henley ; Gen. M. G. Vallejo ; 
Gen. D. F. Douglass ; Gen. John E. Addison, Gen. A. M. Winn ; Gen. S. M. 
Miles ; Gen. D. P. Baldwin ; Gen. Richardson ; Gen. Thomas J. Green ; Gen. 
A. McDowell ; Gen. G. F. Rains ; Majors P. B. Reading ; S. Cooper ; George 
Wyatt ; Loring, U. S. A. ; E. H. Fitzgerald ; N. Davis, U. S. A. ; Wm. Mc- 
Daniel ; Robt. Allen ; F. A. Sawyer ; Colonel J. Hooker, U. S. A. ; Gens. J. 
M. Estell, and S. A. Booker ; Captains Folsom, U. S. A. ; John A. Sutter ; H. 
Riddell ; J. B. Frisbie ; Steel, U. S. A. ; Doct. Dyerlie, U. S. A. ; Lieut. G. 
Page,U. S. A. ; Captains J. Watkins, P. M. S.Co. ; Randall, P. M. S. Co. ; Totten, 
P. M. S. Co.; Walsh, P. M. S. Co. ; Cols. John C. Hays ; William Smith ; H. 
Clay Mudd ; J. B. Starr ; Captains C. Hyatt ; George Yount ; Sam Graham ; 
Wm. McMickle ; E. Barry ; J. W. Hulbert ; S. Smith ; Thomas Hunt : Col. 
R. Rust ; Harvey Sparks, Esq. ; H. Lee, Esq. ; Hon. J. C. Winston ; F. C. 
Ewer, Esq. ; Judge M. Lewis; L. P. Walker, Esq.; M. T. McLeland, Esq. ; 
Judge Stark ; Judge Kilbourn ; M. Combs, Esq. ; Wm. Baldridge, Esq. ; 
George M. Cornwell, Esq. ; J. D. Bristol, Esq. ; J. S. Cripps, Esq. ; J. O. 
Farrell, Esq. ; E. L. Stetson, Esq.; F. Vassault, Esq.; J. E. Lawrence, Esq.; 
L. B. Mizner, Esq. ; T. J. Harnes, Esq. ; S. Barnum, Esq. ; James Cooper, 
Esq. ; L. Q. Wilbur, Esq. ; E. F. Willison, Esq. ; John Nugent, Esq. ; 
Samuel Martin, Esq. ; Col. John R. Boyd ; Dr. Robert Semple ; Dr. Morse ; 


B. F. Osborne, Esq. ; Capt. F. Marryatt ; Capt. W. A. Howard, U. S. R. S. ; 
George N. Shaw, Esq. ; Dr. P. C. Pope ; Cols. J. C. Johnson ; A. M. Latham ; 

C. K. Fish; Stewart Perry; Dr. Pickering; Dr. Nicholas Parr; Hon. P. 
Tompkins ; Major John Caperton ; Col. J. Long ; E. C. Kemble, Esq. ; F. 
Argenti. Esq.; Charles P. Strode, Esq.; Richard Maupin; Dr. Levi 
Frisbie ; S. C. Massett, Esq.; Major Burney ; Dr. Archibald Tennant; 
Richard Barry, Esq. ; J. L. L. F. Warren, Esq. ; T. K. Batelle, Esq. ; Col. 
Gregory Yale ; E. G. Austin, Esq. ; F. R. Loomis, Esq. ; W. F. Kelsey, Esq. ; 

E. M. Hayes, Esq. ; L. D. Slamm, TJ.'S. N. ; Capts., U. S. N. : Aug. Case ; J. 
Alden ; S. R. Knox ; G. W. Hammersly; Lieuts., TJ. S. N. : T. H. Stevens ; L. 
Maynard ; T. B. King, Jr., Esq. ; Wm. H. Davis, Esq. ; Hon. S. E. Wood- 
worth ; R. H. Taylor, Esq. ; Capts. A. Bartol, Douglass Ottinger, TJ. S. R. S. ; 
Col. Geo. McDougal ; Capts. W. D. M. Howard, C. G. ; N. H. Wise ; Henry 

F. Joseph, Esq. ; J. H. Redington, Esq. ; Dr. Hitchcock, U. S. A. ; Hon. H. 
Fitzsimmons ; James Hubbard, Esq. ; Theodore Payne, Esq. ; Wm. H. Tal- 
mage, Esq. ; Dr. H. M. Gray ; Hon. P. A. Morse ; Charles L. Case, Esq., and 
Joseph C. Palmer, Esq. On the reverse side of the card the names of the 
committees were printed, as under : 

Red Rose. 


Captain John Frisbie; Major Robert Allen; Gen. T. J.Green; Capt. 

Edward Barry; Major Wyatt; C. H. Veeder, Esq.; F. Argenti, Esq.; H. 

Clay Mudd, Esq. 

Blue Rose. 


Hon. Isaac E. Holmes ; Hon. John B. Weller ; T. Butler King ; Capt. J. 

Alden, U. S. N. ; Col. J. Hooker, U. S. A. ; Hon. B. F. Keene ; Major F. A. 

Sawyer; Capt. G. W. Hammersley, U. S. N. ; Col. E. J. C. Kewen; Hon. 

Tod Robinson. 

White Rose. 


For Senate Chamber — Gen. S. M. Miles ; Gen. J. E. Addison ; Col. Hervey 
Sparks ; Levi D. Slamm, U. S. N. For Assembly Room — Dr. Dierly, TJ. S. 
N. ; Capt. F. Marryatt ; Dr. L. Frisbie, and E. L. Stetson, Esq. 

Thus by a ball of the most magnificent proportions was Vallejo inaugur- 
ated as the seat of Government. 

Let us now consider the establishment of the State offices, the erection of 
the Capitol, its removal, its return, and then its final exit from Vallejo. 


In the year 1850 General Vallejo, who had previously been elected to the 
Convention called to frame a State Constitution, became convinced that the 
capital of California should be established at a place which he desired to 
name Eureka, but which his colleagues, out of compliment to himself, sug- 
gested should be called Vallejo. To this end the General addressed a mem- 
orial to the Senate, wherein he graphically pointed out the advantages pos- 
sessed by the proposed site over other places which claimed the honor, 
dated April the 3d, 1850. In this remarkable document, remarkable alike 
for its generosity of purpose as for its marvelous foresight, he proposed to 
grant twenty acres to the State, free of cost, for a State Capitol and grounds, 
and one hundred and thirty-six acres more for other State buildings, to be 
apportioned in the following manner : 

Ten acres for the Governor's house and grounds. 

Fives acres for the offices of Treasurer, Comptroller, Secretary of State, 
Surveyor-General, and Attorney-General, should the Commissioners 
determine that their offices should not be in the Capitol building. 

One acre to State Library and Translator's office, should it be deter- 
mined to separate them from the State House building. 

Twenty acres for an Orphan Asylum. 

Ten acres for a Male Charity Hospital. 

Ten acres for a Female Charity Hospital. 

Four acres for an Asylum for the Blind. 

Four acres for a Deaf and Dumb Asylum. 

Twenty acres for a Lunatic Asylum. 

Eight acres for four Common Schools. 

Twenty acres for a State University. 

Four acres for a State Botanical Garden ; and 

Twenty acres for a State Penitentiary. 

But with a munificence casting this already long list of grants into the 
shade, he further proposed to donate and pay over to the State, within two 
years after the acceptance of these propositions, the gigantic sum of three 
hundred and seventy thousand dollars, to be apportioned as under : 

For the building of a State Capitol $125,000 

For furnishing the same 10,000 

For building of the Governor's house 10,000 

For the furnishing the same 5,000 

For a State Library and Translator's office 5,000 

For a State Library 5,000 

For the building of the offices of the Secretary of 
State, Comptroller, Attorney-General, Surveyor- 
General, and Treasurer, should the Commissioners 


deem it proper to separate them from the State 

House 20,000 

For the building of an Orphan Asylum 20,000 

For the building of a Female Charity Hospital 20,000 

For the building of a Male Charity Hospital 20,000 

For the building of an Asylum for the Blind 20,000 

For the building of a Deaf and Dumb Asylum 20,000 

For the building of a State University 20,000 

For University Library 5,000 

For scientific apparatus therefor 5,000 

For chemical laboratory therefor 3,000 

For a mineral cabinet therefor 3,000 

For the building of four Common School edifices... . 10,000 

For purchasing books for same 1,000 

For the building of a Lunatic Asylum 20,000 

For a State Penitentiary 20,000 

For a State Botanical Collection 3,000 

In his memorial, the General states with much lucidness his reasons for 
claiming the proud position for the spot suggested as the proper site for the 
State Capitol. Remark the singleness of purpose with which he bases 
these claims : " Your memorialist, with this simple proposition " (namely, 
that in the event of the Government declining to accept his terms it should 
be put to the popular vote at the general election held in November of that 
year), " might stop here, did he not believe that his duty as a citizen of 
California required him to say thus much in addition — that he believes the 
location indicated is the most suitable for a permanent seat of government 
for the great State of California, for the following reasons : That it is the 
true centre of the State, the true centre of commerce, the true centre of 
population, and the true centre of travel ; that, while the Bay of San Fran- 
cisco is acknowledged to be the first on the earth, in point of extent and 
navigable capacities, already, throughout the length and breadth of the 
wide world, it is acknowledged to be the very centre between Asiatic and 
European commerce. The largest ship that sails upon the broad sea can, 
within three hours, anchor at the wharves of the place which your memo- 
rialist proposes as your permanent seat of government. From this point, 
by steam navigation, there is a greater aggregate of mineral wealth, within 
eight hours steaming, than exists in the Union besides ; from this point the 
great north and south rivers — San Joaquin and Sacramento — cut the State 
longitudinally through the centre, fringing the immense gold deposits on 
the one hand, and untold mercury and other mineral resources on the other; 
from this point steam navigation extends along the Pacific coast south to 
San Diego and north to the Oregon line, affording the quickest possible 


facilites for our sea-coast population to reach the State Capital in the fewest 
number of hours. This age, as it has been truly remarked, has merged 
distance into time. In the operations of commerce and the intercourse of 
mankind, to measure miles by the rod, is a piece of vandalism of a by-gone 
age ; and that point which can be approached from all parts of the State, 
in the fewest number of hours and at the cheapest cost, is the truest centre. 

" The location which your memorialist proposes as the permanent Seat of 
Government is certainly that point. 

" Your memorialist most respectfully submits to your honorable body, 
whether there is not a ground of even still higher nationality ; it is this : 
that at present, throughout the wide extent of our sister Atlantic States, 
but one sentiment seems to possess the entire people, and that is, to build, 
in the shortest possible time, a railroad from the Mississippi to the Bay of 
San Francisco, where its western terminus may meet a three weeks' 
steamer from China. Indeed, such is the overwhelming public sentiment 
of the American people upon this subject, there is but little doubt to ap- 
prehend of its early completion. Shall it be said, then, while the world 
is coveting our possession of what all acknowledge to be the half-way house 
of the earth's commerce — the great Bay of San Francisco — that the people 
of the rich possession are so unmindful of its value as not to ornament her 
magnificent shores with a Capital worthy of a great State? 

" To enumerate more especially the local advantages of this position your 
memorialist will further add, that it is within two hours' steaming of San 
Francisco, and six hours from Sacramento and Stockton cities, and between 
these points much the largest travel in the State daily occurs. From this 
point three days' steaming will reach either Oregon on the north, or San 
Diego on the south ; besides, the above named location is unsurpassed for 
abundance of lime and other building materials, with large agricultural ad- 
vantages in the immediate neighborhood." 

Upon receipt of General Vallejo's memorial by the Senate, a committee 
composed of members who possessed a thorough knowledge of the country 
comprised in the above mentioned document, both geographical and topo- 
graphical, were directed to report for the information of the President, upon 
the advantages claimed for the location of the Capital at the spot suggested, 
in preference to others. The Report, in which the following words occur, 
was presented to the Senate on April 2, 1850. " Your Committee cannot 
dwell with too much warmth upon the magnificent propositions contained 
in the memorial of General Vallejo. They breathe throughout the spirit of 
an enlarged mind and a sincere public benefactor, for which he deserves the 
thanks of his countrymen and the admiration of the world. Such a prop- 
osition looks more like the legacy of a mighty Emperor to his people than 
the free donation of a private planter to a great State, yet poor in public 
finance, but soon to be among the first of the earth." 


The Report, which was presented by D. C. Broderick, goes on to point 
out the necessities which should govern the choice of site of California's 
Capital, recapitulates the advantages pointed out in the memorial, and fin- 
ally recommends the acceptance of General Vallejo's offer. This acceptance 
did not pass the Senate without some opposition and considerable delay. 
However, on Tuesday, February 4, 1851 ; a message was received from the 
Governor, Peter H. Burnett, by Mr. Ohr, Private Secretary, informing the 
Senate that he did, this day, sign an Act originating in the Senate, entitled 
''An Act to provide for the permanent location of the Seat of Government." 
In the meantime General Vallejo's bond had been accepted, his solvency 
was approved by a Committee appointed by the Senate, the Report of the 
Commissioners appointed to mark and lay out the tracts of land proposed to 
be donated by General Vallejo was adopted, and on May 1, 1851, the last 
session was held at San Jose, but the archives were not moved to the new 
seat of government then, which was a source of dissatisfaction among the 
members. The Legislature first met at Vallejo on January 5, 1852, bring- 
ing with it the concomitant influx of settlers, the Capitol being erected on 
a piece of ground situated on what now is called York and Main, and 
facing Sacramento street. It was a two-storied building, in the upper one 
of which sat the Senate, the lower one the Assembly, while in the base- 
ment was a saloon and ten-pin alley, which rejoiced in the nick-name of the 
Third House. The office of the Secretary of State stood on Main street, 
above Sacramento, but it was afterwards removed to Georgia street, when 
the original building was converted into a drug-store by Doctor James 
Frost. This erection was some years subsequently destroyed by fire. The 
offices were built of hewn planks from the Sandwich Islands. 

Vallejo was now in reality the Capital of the Golden State. The gen- 
erosity of General Vallejo had been appreciated ; houses commenced to 
spring up on every side, but there was wanting that vortex of dissipation 
which would appear to be necessary in the seat of every Central Govern- 
ment. With these Sacramento abounded, from her close proximity to the 
mines. The Assembly, therefore, with a unanimity bordering on the mar- 
velous, passed a bill to remove the session to that city, ball tickets and 
theatre tickets being tendered to the members in reckless profusion. The 
bill was transferred to the Senate, and bitterly fought by the Hons. Paul 
K. Hubbs and Phil A. Roach. The removal was rejected by one vote. 
This was on a Saturday. The people were greatly rejoiced at the prospect 
of retaining the prestige conferred by the presence of the Legislature ; but 
never was the proverb of we know not what the morrow may bring forth, 
more fully brought to bear upon any consideration. Senator Anderson 
found an extra sized louse on his pillow. On Monday morning he moved 
a reconsideration of the bill. The alarm was sounded on every hand, and 
at 2 P. M. on January 12, 1852, the Government and Legislature was find- 



ing its way to Sacramento by way of the Carquinez Straits. Retribution 
for Vallejo was at hand, however. On the 7th of March, 1852, a devast- 
ating flood overwhelmed Sacramento, and where the Senators had before 
feared contamination, they now feared drowning. The Legislature ad- 
journed at Sacramento May 4, 1852, the next session to be held at Vallejo. 
On January 3, 1853, the peripatetic Government met again at Vallejo, 
whither the offices of State and a portion of the archives had been removed 
in May. Once more the spirit of jealousy was rampant ; Sacramento could 
not with any grace ask for its removal back thither ; but she, working with 
Benicia, the Capital was once more on wheels and literally carted off to 
the latter town for the remaining portion of the session, when a bill was 
passed to fix the Capital of the State at Sacramento, and thereafter 
clinched by large appropriations for building the present magnificent 
Capitol in that town. The last sitting of the Legislature at Vallejo was 
held on February 4, when it was resolved to meet at Benicia on the eleventh 
of the month, the vote being concurred in as follows : Ayes — Messrs. 
Baird, Denver, Estill, Hager, Hubbs, Hudspeth, Keene, Lind, Lott, Lyons, 
McKibben, Roach, Smith, Snyder, Sprague, Wade, Wombough — 17. 
Nays — Crabb, Cofforth, Foster, Gruwell, Ralston, Walkup — 6. 

As has been remarked above, there is no reliable information in regard 
to the exact date of the founding of a settlement, but with the advent of 
the Legislature, affairs took a forward movement. In 1850 Captain Frank 
Marryatt, the author of that most interesting work entitled " Mountains 
and Molehills," who was a son of the famous nautical novelist, imported 
some corrugated iron houses from Liverpool, in England, which he erected, 
and at once found tenants for them. In the Fall of this year Mrs. Burns 
built the first boarding-house, erecting it on the spot where it now stands, 
on Georgia street, directly opposite the Post-office, while there were run up 
about the same time the Virginia Hotel by Veeder, Social Hall by 
Capt. Stewart, and Central Hotel by Major Wyatt. 

The few buildings then comprised in the town were situated between 
Pennsylvania street on the south, Georgia on the north, Sonoma on the 
east, and the Bay on the west. The country is described as beautiful in 
the extreme ; the rising grounds on every side were green with wild oats, 
interspersed with flowers of the richest hue, resembling one vast sea when 
stirred by the freshening breeze. To the right and left, on the hills and 
in the hollows, the most luxuriant vegetation abounded, growing shoulder 
high with a man on horseback, while here and there the path of rushing 
cattle could be traced as they were driven away from a too close proximity 
to the settlement. This, however, is certain, that in June, 1851, the 
Vallejo House, then kept by Capt. Stewart, was in full blast, while it is be- 
lieved that this gentleman was the first to build a house on the site of the 
present city. During the following year it has been shown that the seat of 



government was at Vallejo, and but few of those who followed its varied 
fortunes found an abiding place there. The only information, therefore, 
which has been procured having any semblance of authenticity is from the 
month of December, 1852. Prior to this a family of the name of Swift 
were located, but they left with the removal of the Government in 1853, 
leaving behind Mr. and Mrs. Beegor, Major Wyatt and his wife, Mr. Os- 
borne and wife, Mrs. Miller, Mr. and Mrs. Mann, Robert Brownlee and his 
wife, Thomas Brownlee, his wife and son Alexander J., now City Clerk, who 
was the first white child in the city, and a few unmarried men. These 
were not what might be termed halcyon days. Affairs were in a most 
primitive state. There was but one span of mules and a wagon, who 
acknowledged one Lemuel Hazelton as the proud possessor ; he also kept 
some goats, which in the exigencies of the culinary art became mutton 
when served at table. The Legislature had left after its short-lived session 
of eight days, the places of business had followed it, leaving Vallejo a 
deserted village without a store. In the meantime a two-horse stage had 
been established by "William Bryant between Benicia and Vallejo, by which 
means the residents were wont to procure their domestic commodities, 
while a small sloop made monthly trips to San Francisco, when other 
necessaries were purchased. Moving about on horseback was, however, the 
principal and most favorite mode of locomotion, for Macadam had not yet 
cast his influence on the ways of the district. If there were no stores, how- 
ever, the small community was well provided in the matter of stimulants, for 
there were no less than three places where whisky was sold. At this time 
the government of the city was vested in a Justice of the Peace and one 
Constable, who held office by vote, and were elected to serve one term. 
The former office was inaugurated in 1851-2, and filled by Major Hook, 
while Aleck Forbes held the latter. In September, 1852, the first batch of 
artisans arrived to commence the Dry Dock on Mare Island. This subject, 
however, will be treated in the history of that place. 

In December, 1852, there were in all about a dozen houses, including the 
empty State offices. The Central hotel — the building is still standing, on 
the corner of Main and Marin streets — was kept by Major Wyatt, while the 
Vallejo House had passed into the hands of Major Burney, who had left 
Mariposa county, and settled here. A portion of the frame- work and cor- 
rugated iron roof of the former was among those imported by Frank Mar- 

With the return of the Legislature a slight impetus was given to the pros- 
perity of Vallejo, which only lasted as long as the Government remained. 
Then was established the first dry-goods store, opened by Wetmore, and the 
first grocers, kept by Dan Williams. With the departure of the Senate and 
Assembly, people at once took themselves off to Benicia, many of the houses 
being bodily removed to that place, leaving behind only two families — the 


Brownlees — and some happy bachelors. Times were so dull, socially, that 
the workmen would come across from the dock then building, to chat 
by the hour with the only two ladies of which Vallejo could boast ; while 
on their pa**t the many kindly offices granted were sure of receiving the 
highest appreciation. In April, 1853, the first social event was received 
with delight. The birth of Miss Delia Curtis was hailed with a heartiness 
of wishes for the welfare of babe and parents only to be found among those 
inured to hardships. This event was quickly followed by another source of 
rejoicing in the first marriage, that of Mrs. Perkins to Henry Vanvalken- 

On July 4, 1853, we find the first celebration of Independence Day, in 
Vallejo, by a dinner at the Vallejo House, and bonfire. At the former there 
sat down two ladies and eight gentlemen, Mrs. Robert and Thomas Brow- 
lee, Captain Stewart, Squire Hook, Edward H. Rowe (elder), West Rowe, 
Lemuel Hazleton, B. F. Osborne, with Robert and Thomas Brownlee. At 
an early hour Captain Stewart had donned his full uniform and called on 
all to celebrate the day with becoming ceremony. A few tar barrels had 
been procured from the dry-dock and dragged up to the top of what is now 
called Capitol hill ; a pile of brushwood was heaped up to an immense 
height, and " lashings of whisky " had not been forgotten. At dark the 
hill was ablaze, making the surrounding country as light as day. Success 
to the Union was drank amidst much enthusiasm ; the glass and merry 
song went round ; speeches were the order of the day, or rather night, 
while intense loyalty gave place to noisy enthusiasm, to be replaced by 
morbid toast making, until one by one the heroes who had braved so many 
dangers sank to rest on the bosom of mother earth in a slumber which the 
mighty Bourbon had invoked. In the fall of 1853 there arrived in Vallejo 
Colonel Leslie, who was the first representative of the majesty of the law 
who established himself in the city. It is reported that on one occasion, 
shortly after his arrival, a Mr. Reid was out hunting, and, firing his gun, 
the charge by mistake shattered the colonel's window and lodged in the 
wall of the room wherein he lay in bed. In towering wrath he arose, 
dressed, and remembering that he had somewhere been made a Justice of 
the Peace, he effected the arrest of the culprit with his own hands, and in 
turn formed himself into prosecuting attorney, jury, witness, and judge; 
mulcted Reid in the sum of ten dollars ; but to what authority the fine 
went was never divulged. This is the first record of judicial proceedings in 
Vallejo. In October, 1853, we have intimation of the first birth of a boy in 
the person of Robert Brownlee, junior, while death had commenced his havoc 
by calling away one Joe Sparrow, a native of Virginia, where he left a 
family. The medical pioneer of the city was Doctor Frisbie, who estab- 
lished himself in 1851 ; but there was also a Doctor Davis, who practiced 
shortly after ; while the first store where medicine was sold was opened by 


Daniel Dodd. It will thus be seen that the little city was fast assuming 
something like shape ; the different trades had been established. Ben Os- 
borne had sometime before commenced working at his business of a carpen- 
ter, while Thomas Browlee had opened a forge, where, like Vulcan of old, he 
wielded his ponderous hammer. It is true that sugar and tea were hard to 
obtain, and then at an exorbitant figure. Cabbages were sold at 30 cents per 
head ; pork at 30 cents per pound ; eggs at 5 dollars per dozen ; milk at 50 
cents a gallon ; and Major Burney, it is said, paid at Napa, whither he had 
gone on a visit, as high as 16 dollars for a rooster and hen ; while for a 
brace of cats he gave the same price, getting for their progeny a sum of 4 
dollars each ; but if these prices prevailed fuel was cheap, for the shores of 
the bay and straits were covered with drift-wood, which had come down 
the Sacramento and other streams, and was to be had in any quantity 
simply for the collecting. In this year Robert Brownlee purchased Major 
Burney's farm, about two miles north of the city, near where the cemetery 
of the Odd-Fellows and other associations is now inclosed, which in 1857 he 
exchanged with land lying in another part of the county to General John 
B. Frisbie. Cows at this time cost from 125 dollars each, and horses were 
correspondingly high. The district swarmed with wild geese, which com- 
mitted great depredations, as they do to-day, on the sown ground. Still, 
notwithstanding their number, the price one fetched on being sold was 25 

In 1853 General Vallejo disposed of a league of land, including the town 
site, to Sam Purdy, Lieutenant-Governor of the State, James Wadsworth, 
Martin E. Cooke, and General Denver, for the sum of thirty thousand dol- 
lars. They in turn sold out a portion into lots for fifteen thousand dollars ; 
but owing to the great revulsion in business which had set in and the con- 
sequent failures of certain banks, the whole amount was never paid to the 
original owner. General Frisbie, therefore, to smooth matters, returned 
the fifteen thousand dollars, and agreed to accept a conveyance of the pro- 
perty, which was done. 

In the year 1854 the value of property rose considerably, owing to the 
United States Government have taken possession of Mare Island, with the 
intention of establishing a Navy Yard upon it. This of course gave a great 
impetus to immigration ; land had to be taken in and surveyed (the different 
dates of which will be given hereafter), and houses built for the accommo- 
dation of the hundreds of workmen and their followers, who would find 
employment in the yard. Affairs assumed a rosier hue ; for with this influx 
of labor the circulation of money would be increased, while a life of pros- 
perity might be looked for. It was a happy choice which sent Captain 
David G. Farragut to assume command of the yard, in 1854. This year was 
one of plenty for Vallejo. 

On the last day of the year a heavy gale visited the city ; throughout 


the night it blew with terrific violence ; the vessels in the harbor which had 
arrived with dock stores dragged at their anchors, while the iron roof of 
the Union hotel, on what is now Georgia street, close to the wharf, was 
rolled up and driven to a distance of a block and a half, such Was the force 
of the wind. 

In 1855 we have mention of the first minister in the Reverend William 
Willmott who was in charge of a circuit of the Methodist Body, and organ- 
ized a church at Vallejo. Mrs. Farragut, the Misses Turner and others had 
however formed a Sunday school which would appear to be the basis on 
which Mr. Wilmott founded his congregation. In this year prosperity 
would appear to have still attended Vallejo ; the tide of immigration which 
had set in the previous year remained unimpeded ; a daily steamer looked 
into the harbor on its way from San Francisco to Napa, while a postmaster 
was appointed in the person of Eleazer Frisbie and mail matter could be 
looked for with greater regularity, although in the prepostal days Whitmore 
conducted the distribution of letters with commendable punctuality. 
Colonel Leslie held the office of postmaster during the years when the legis- 
lature sat in the city. On Thursday, November 22, 1855, the inaugural 
number of the " Vallejo Bulletin " made its appearance as the first represen- 
tative of the fourth estate in the city. It was published every Thursday 
evening by A. J. Cox and E. B. Eaton, the latter being the editor, and con- 
tains matter of varied interest, the first item being The Psalm of Life, by 
Longfellow, the opening stanza of which would appear to be a grim satire 
on the short-lived career of this periodical. 

" Tell me not in mournful numbers 
Life is but an empty dream ; 
For the soul is dead that slumbers, 
And things are not what they seem." 

The Bulletin numbered exactly four pages of a size slightly larger than 
legal foolscap. It consisted of six columns of original matter and reports 
with three of advertisements, while the last page was occupied by clippings 
from the most prominent exchanges of the old and new world. One article 
is reproduced. Improvements in Town. — A fine substantial wharf is just 
completed at the foot of Main street, which, we are informed, is built in a 
manner that reflects great credit upon the contractors, Messrs. Morrison & 
Bates. The wharf is about 250 feet in length and 25 feet in width with a 
" T " 30x60 feet, capable of affording ample accommodations to the largest 
class steamer. At low water there are about seven feet. It would not sur- 
prise us to see, in a few months, this old and once principal street of the 
town lined on either side with handsome buildings, as it is certainly a very 
desirable locality for private residences. The United States Hotel, a large 


and popular house, is near the wharf, and not far off is Capt. James War- 
ner's elegant brick residence, the first of the kind erected in the 
town. The public are mainly indebted for this valuable improvement 
to Capt. Chas. J. Stewart, W. R. Woods, J. B. Frisbie and the Messrs. 
Bromleys (Brownlees ?). From the advertisements we cull, that Daniel 
Dodd kept a variety store on Georgia street next door to Doctor 
Collins' office, where he offered fruits Protestant and Catholic prayer 
books, powder, bibles, nuts and game bags. Frisbie & Rowe and 
Wyatt & Co. had livery stables on York street. Here we find 
the card of Pendleton Colston, District Attorney, Solano county, 
office, adobe, lately occupied by Register of Land office, Benicia, while we 
find the U. S. Mail between Vallejo and Benicia left the former place at 7 
A. M. and 4 P. M. daily, and that the steamer " Guadaloupe," Captain Good- 
rich, plyed from San Francisco to Vallejo and Napa via. Mare Island and 
Suscol three times a week. The " Vallejo Bulletin " lived six weeks. 

From the year 1855 matters can be said to have proceeded well for Val- 
lejo ; the opening of the Mare Island Navy Yard was a source from which 
much benefit was derived. In subsequent years the growth of the city was 
healthy, and a better class of buildings, public as well as private, were 
erected, and Vallejo promised to occupy the place on the coast which was 
always predicted for it. In 1859 and '60, however, the incendiaries' hand 
was at work, and many houses, which were the land-marks of by-gone days, 
were destroyed, among them the State House. Progress, was, happily, the 
watchword, however, and the former unpretentious edifices made way for 
others of a more noble character, until there are some blocks in the city 
which will bear favorable comparison with those in any other part of the 
country. In 1857, Colonel Stockton, of San Francisco, made his appear- 
ance, and formed a joint-stock company for establishing a telegraph line 
between Vallej j and Benicia ; preliminaries being satisfactorily settled, the 
line was in working order in the fall of the same year. In the spring of 
1859 it was extended to Napa, and has ever since proved an inestimable 
boon to the district. W. W. Chapman was the first operator ; but Chaiies 
H. Hubbs, of Vallejo, was the first who actually manipulated the wires on 
the new line. 

For ten years the prospects of the city were steadily improving; many 
houses of a more substantial character had given place to the earlier wooden 
erections, until, in 1867, the " Vallejo Recorder " informs us : " There is not 
a vacant cottage in town ; buildings are engaged two or three months before 
the lease expires. There were five applications for one residence this week. 
Lots 50x13 feet cost $200. Lumber is worth from $25 to $30 per thousand." 
A sure sign of the prosperity of the times was evidenced by the establishment 
of many Associations calculated to bring good to the public generally, his- 
tories of which will be found further on ; and in that year the California 


Pacific Railroad, from Vallejo to Sacramento, traversing the counties of 
Solano and Sutter, was commenced. At this interesting epoch, Vallejo had 
a population of some 3,000 ; but owing to the impetus given to labor of all 
kinds, it doubled its numbers in two years after, the expectation being that 
it would become a great entrepot for trade ; therefore, arrangements were 
made for a large shipping business. 

Prior to the year 1866, as has been remarked above, the peace, order 
and good government of Vallejo had been invested in a Justice of the 
Peace and a Constable ; on the 23rd of July of that year, however, a meet- 
ing was held and duly organized, by the election of William C. Greaves, 
President ; Eben Hilton, Treasurer ; William Aspenall, Secretary, with 
Amos M. Currier, and S. G. Hilborn, as Town Attorneys, when ordinances 
were passed, regulating the health and cleanliness of the town, and other- 
wise providing for its government. In the following February an Act was 
passed by the Legislature, incorporating the city within the limits ; " begin- 
ning at the north-east corner of the present town of Vallejo, as recorded by 
plan drawn in 1856, and running east 3,000 feet ; thence running south to 
the water of the bay of Vallejo, or Napa river ; thence running up the 
channel of said bay, or river, to a point west of the place of beginning ; 
thence running east to place of beginning." The first Board meeting after 
the incorporation of the city, was held on April 1, 1868, when the following 
officers were elected: Trustees — A. Powell, President ; George W. Lee, H. 
W. Snow ; Marshall, J. L. Likens ; Treasurer, J. E. Abbott ; Assessor, J. W. 
Batchellor ; Receiver, C. W. Riley ; R. D. Hopkins ; Health Officer, Dr. L. 
C. Frisbie ; Surveyor, E. H. Rowe. This year, though one wherein Vallejo 
reached the proud distinction of having a charter of her own, it was one 
not unattended by disaster. On the morning of February 18th, the Alpha 
Block, one of the best and most substantial structures in the city, situated 
on the south-east corner of Georgia and Santa Clara streets, and owned by 
E. H. Sawyer, was destroyed by fire. The buildings stood on what was, 
until this catastrophe, the business portion of the town, and consisted of 
elegant brick buildings, and their destruction, at a loss of over $40,000, was 
a sad blow to the interests of the city for a time. But yet another misfor- 
tune visited Vallejo this year, namely, the shock of earthquake, which 
nearly laid San Francisco level with the ground, on the 21st of October, 
1868. Vallejo, however, escaped any great damage ; though one chimney 
was laid low, many yards of plastering displaced, and such articles as 
clocks, mirrors, and lamps broken. On Wednesday, the 24th of June, rail- 
road communication between Vallejo and Fairfield, and Suisun, was inaugu- 
rated by an excursion, wherein the Masonic Lodges took part, and it is also 
to this year that the incorporation of a water company must be credited, 
In looking back upon the year 1868, it must be put down as one of great 
excitement to Vallejo, for General Vallejo's prophecy of this city of his be- 


coming a great emporium for trade, was on the brink of realization ; eight- 
een months before the town was comparatively small, and its trade and 
intercourse with the outside world almost nil ; then the California Pacific 
Railroad existed only on paper, and its ultimate construction was among 
the probabilities only. True, the bare probability of such a road being 
built, drew thousands to the spot, who had never seen the place before, and 
for years had not even heard of it, save when mentioned in connection with 
the Navy Yard. As the certainty of the construction of the road began to 
be realized, Vallejo began to awake from a Rip Van Winkle sleep of fifteen 
years, and to show signs of real life. Hotels, stores, shops and dwellings be- 
gan to arise in every direction, and the old resumed an appearance of returning 
youth. But the railroad had not yet been built, and it was soon found that 
the little business awakened had been prematurely aroused, and began to 
relapse into its former somnambulistic state. As the last spring opened, 
however, the iron horse started from the water front and began to make its 
way eastward, returning with well laden cars freighted with grain of the 
rich and abundant harvests of Solano and Yolo ; while ships of foreign 
flags bore it away to other climes ; and travelers from beyond the snow 
mountains and from every part of the State, took part in the whirl of busi- 
ness, and the future of Vallejo was thought to be secure beyond a perad- 
venture. Alas ! that this success should have been so short-lived ! ! ! 

On the 13th day of November, 1868, the second Board of Trustees was 
organized under Philip Mager, President, Henry Connolly, and Edward 
McGettigan, Trustees ; Lyman Leslie, City Recorder ; George Edgar, City 
Marshal ; J. E. Abbott, City Treasurer ; Elisha Whiting, City Assessor ; 
Paul K. Hubbs, Clerk ; A. H. Gunning, City Surveyor, and L. C. Frisbie, 
Health Officer. 

For the next few years affairs progressed right merrily. The propriety 
of erecting street railroads was early mooted, for which a franchise was 
granted in February. A steamer was put on the line to San Francisco, 
plying twice a day, in connection with the cars ; while a grain elevator was 
being built. This edifice afterwards fell in 1872, from the want of proper 
foundations. Vallejo boasted five schools, which were said to be filled with 
scholars ; a large flour mill had been started, and the city fathers looked 
after the interests invested in them. 

On the morning of the 7th of November, 1871, Vallejo was again visited 
by a destructive five which desolated one of the principal blocks in the city. 
The fire broke out under the saloon of John O'Sullivan, on Virginia street, 
and, from information gained at the time, there is but little doubt that it 
was caused by the blackened hand of the incendiary. The damage was 
estimated at considerably over $50,000. 

Let us now draw this sketch of Vallejo to a close. Her interests 
prospered through the successive regimes of Trustees and other officers. 



Appointments had been made whereby the public coffers were filled and 
trade was brisk ; so much so, indeed, that the possibility of a decline never 
presented itself to the minds of the people. With General John B. Frisbie 
as a moving spirit, this conception of prosperity was almost reasonable; but 
there came a day when his helping hand was of no avail, and the years of 
plenty, in a great measure enhanced by the presence of the dock yard, gave 
way to a season of decline, which commenced in 1874, when trade dimin- 
ished to a lamentable extent, continuing its downward course until 1878, 
when it, in a measure, again revived, and left its lessened population once 
more on the increase, with a distant propect of some day recovering the 
ground already lost. 

The officers of succeeding Boards were as under : 

1869— Trustees, A. Powell, President, S. G. Hillborn, Eben Hilton, A. P. 
Voorhees, and E. T. Starr; City Recorder, Charles C. Hall; Marshal, Joseph 
L. Likins ; Treasurer, J. E. Abbott ; Assessor, J. W. Batchellor ; Clerk, C. 

A. Kidder. In this year a term of service of two years was first inaugura- 
ted. The fourth Board was organized on September 16, 1871, with John 

B. Frisbie as President, having for his colleagues A. Powell, S. G. Hillborn, 
A. P. Voorhees, and E. H. Sawyer ; Treasurer, J. E. Abbott ; Assessor, J. W. 
Batchellor ; Marshal, J. J. Watkinson ; Recorder, T. H. % Lawlor ; Clerk, 
Judson Haycock ; Surveyor, E. H. Rowe. During the tenure of office of 
this Board an Act was passed whereby the corporation were empowered to 
borrow $50,000 as a fund to protect the city from fire, the principal to be 
paid off in twenty years, and bearing interest at the rate of eight per cent 
per annum. This Act was passed on January 11, 1872. The original 
intention was to appropriate this fund for the building of a reservoir on 
Bolsa hill, an elevation to the north of the town, but the project was aban- 
doned on the formation of a water company. SI 5,000 of it was used on 
digging and planking the Fifth street cut, between North and South Vallejo; 
$8,000 were expended on the construction of the City Hall ; while a consid- 
erable sum was spent on the City Park, which to-day only shows a result 
in a few pickets and eucalyptus trees. Other expenses of a desultory nature 
were incurred, swallowing the entire original sum, and, though the interest 
is met with becoming punctuality, the principal debt remains unpaid. South 
Vallejo had in the meantime claimed an interest in the governing affairs of the 
city; therefore, on May 12, 1872, Messrs. J. B. Robinson and Luke Doe were 
first elected from that portion of the town. On the 6th of March, 1873, John 
M. Gregory, Jr., was elected City Clerk and Attorney, and on December 24, 
1873, J. E. Abbott was elected City Clerk and Attorney vice Gregory, 
resigned, and J. R. English as City Treasurer vice Abbott, resigned. The 
election of the 26th of March, 1 874, resulted in the following selection : 
Trustees, W. Aspinall, President, C. B. Denio, E. H. Sawyer, D. W. Harrier, 
Henry Connolly, and J. E. Williston ; Treasurer, J. R. English ; Assessor, 


William Tormey ; Marshall, S. J. Wright, and City Clerk, J. E. Abbott. In 
the year 1876 a new era had commenced in the municipal election, for a 
system of elections by wards had been inaugurated, with the accompanying 
result : First Ward — William Aspenall, Ed. McGittigan, H. K. Snow ; 
Second Ward— E. J. Wilson, President, P. R. Walsh, Charles Weideman ; 
Third Ward— John P. Dare ; Treasurer, J. R. English ; Assessor, George 
Rounds ; Marshal, Charles Derby ; H. H. Snow, City Clerk. The election 
of March 26, 1878, and the second by wards, resulted ; First Ward — D. J. 
Reese, J. A. Mclnnes, J. H. Green ; Second Ward — E. J. Wilson, President, 
S. C. Farnham, W. C. Greaves ; Third Ward — F. Deininger ; Marshal, W. 
McDonald ; Treasurer, J. R. English ; Assessor, W. A. Brace ; City Clerk, A. 
J. Brownlie. The Board meets on the first Tuesday of each month. 

On the 13th of May, 1878, the Board of Health was organized, and their 
first meeting held on June 6th, when the following officers were elected : 
President, James Frost, M.D. ; Secretary, A. J. Brownlie ; with a Board 
composed of James Topley, F. Deininger, and John Callender. Meetings 
held on the last Thursday of each month. 

In reference to the different surveys of the city, the first was made in the 
year 1850 by Surveyor- General Whiting, Edward Rowe, Mason Fay, and 
Doctor L. C. Frisbie, attended by three or four vaqueros to drive away the 
wild cattle while the lines were being run. Only that portion of the pres- 
ent city lying south of Georgia street was laid out as then surveyed. It 
contained about 160 acres of land. In 1856 another survey (already alluded 
to) was made, embracing a league of land ; while a third was made when 
the town took its rapid start in 1867 or '68. 

The site of the city of Vallejo is undoubtedly picturesque ; the undulating 
hills which forty years ago General Vallejo had looked upon with becoming 
pride, have now been occupied by hundreds of beautiful homes, nearly all 
of which are snugly ensconced in their own gardens, surrounded by flowers 
of the richest hue and rarest perfume, while for miles around, the hills which 
promised so rare a fertility, are now sprouting with a crop, finer than which 
no other country can produce. To the right and to the left, as far as the 
eye can reach, we gaze upon nought but the progress of civilization and the 
richest vegetation. Standing on Capitol hill the placid bay lies at our feet, 
its surface without a ripple, and glancing from its peaceful bosom the many 
shadows reflected from the shore. The busy Navy Yard breaks what 
would otherwise be the monotonous water view ; on its other side we have 
the San Pablo bay, while here and there a white shimmering sail proclaims 
the passage of some sailing craft, and a cloud of smoke defines the locality 
of the fast traveling steamboat, and again, as it were the background of the 
picture, Marin county shows its well marked outline. The Coast range of 
hills are followed in their uneven line, and grand old Mount Tamalpais 
stands like a stolid sentry over its lesser brethren. Below is marked the 


busy landing-place, whither flock passengers bound to all points of the com- 
pass ; the shrill shriek of the locomotive is heard above the other sounds, as 
it is brought back by many an answering echo. Now we hear the more 
hollow whistle of the steamer, as she arrives or departs with her freight of 
human beings. Again comes the toll of the time bell giving the hour to 
the weary workman in the Yard; while the scene is filled in with vessels of 
great tonnage riding cosily at anchor at the piers, awaiting cargoes of 
precious wheat to be taken across the seas. To the north the fertile Napa 
valley stretches away for miles, presenting a landscape of the most ravish- 
ing order, backed as it is by mountains of very fantastic shape, while in 
the foreground we have that glorious monument erected by the Sons of 
Temperance for all orphans whose parents have been called upon to 
cross the dark river. A noble thought, nobly executed! Pity 'tis that the 
cares of rude business should blot so fair scene ! ! 

It may not be uninteresting here to produce among the curiosities of 
literature connected with Vallejo, the specimens of ways in which it can be 
spelt. It is one of the axioms of English grammar that there is no rule for 
the spelling and pronunciation of proper names, a rule which would appear 
to have been carried out with remarkable unanimity by the correspond- 
ents of residents in the city. The list was collected in six months from the 
Vallejo Post-office, and is without doubt a most curious specimen of 
orthography. They number about one hundred, and are as follows : Val- 
laho, Valahoe, Valaho, Valao, Vallajo, Vallajoe, Vallajo, Valajoa, Vala Jae, 
Valaja, Vallago, Valago, Vallaiho, Valeejo, Valeajo, Valeijo, Valoege, Valegoa, 
Valegio, Valego, Valejo, Vallejo Valle Jo, Vallejoe, Vallejio, Vallejaio, 
Valler, Vallejeo, Vallegeo, Valleo, Vallejho, Vallerio, Vallesso, Valeyo, Val- 
leyo, Valleyoe, Valleyio, Valley Joe, Valleygo, Valleya, Valeyegoy, Vaeygo, 
Valgeo, Valgo, Valiego, Valigo,Valliejo, Vallijo, Valligo,Valigeo, Valliju, Valljo, 
Vallo, Valgho, Vally Joe, Valley Jog, Valyo, Vallyo, Vealejo, Veleajho, 
Velajo, Velaow, Vellajo, Velegio, Veleijo, Velego, Velegoe, Veleo, Vellejo, 
Vellego, Velleijo, Velighlow, Velijo, Velioe, Veljaho, Vel Ja, Vialojo, Villeiu, 
Villigj, Villejo, Villgo, Vallejalahoe, Ballejo, Bellejo, Billejo, Salliegro, Levejo, 
Falesso, Ralejo, Wallajo, Wallego, Wallejo, Walleja, Walleio, Welayego, 
Yallejo, Yalleyjo, Valley Joow and Valahough. 

Churches — Schools — Associations — Industries — etc. — of Vallejo. 

Methodist Episcopal Church. — The appended historical sketch of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church of the City of Vallejo has been supplied by 
the Rev. E. I. Jones, the present Pastor — About the middle of 1855, Rev. 
William Willmott was appointed in charge of a circuit which included 
the towns of Benicia and Vallejo. During that year and a part of the 


one following, he preached at Vallejo and partially organized a Methodist 
church. Before his advent, Mrs. Commodore Farragut, the Misses Turner 
and others had conducted a Sunday school, which seems to have been the 
nucleus around which Mr. Willmott gathered his congregation. 

In January, 1856, Gen. John B. Frisbie donated and deeded the present 
church site to David G. Farragut, David Turner, Simeon Jenkins, Charles 
H. Oliver and James H. Green " in trust for the use of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church in the town of Vallejo, etc." Upon this lot, and largely 
through the exertions of Farragut, was built a small, rough structure which 
served for a time the double purpose of chapel and school-house. Mr. 
Willmott went to the Atlantic in the summer of 1856 and his pulpit was 
supplied by Rev. Geo. B. Taylor. 

Rev. C. V. Anthony who became pastor in September, 1856, perfected 
the organization. Written by him and preserved among the church records 
is a quaint narrative from which the following extract is taken. " The church 
was built of planks placed endwise and battened with narrow strips. 
Only the casings and cornice were planed ; the other parts were rough and 
washed with yellow ochre and lime. The pulpit was a high, old-fashioned 
concern, with a trap door under the preachers feet, where the sexton who 
was generally preacher also, kept the sperm oil and other things for light- 
ing the church. In former times this room under the pulpit had served 
another purpose. The pastor who built the church put a cot down there 
and, when he retired, simply lifted the trap-door and went to bed, leaving 
the door up. During my first year, we succeeded in paying the old debt of 
four hundred dollars. More comfortable seats were provided, the church 
was painted and a fence put around it. Aforetime, it had been a convenient 
place for cattle to shade themselves, and on Sundays we were often dis- 
turbed by their contentions and sometimes shaken by their scratchings 
against the corners of the church." 

At the close of this pastorate the church had fourteen members. This 
number does not, however, indicate the actual size or strength of the con- 
gregation, which included among its most zealous workers the adherents of 
other churches which then had no organizations in the town. In Mr. 
Anthony's narative, David Turner and Mrs. Farragut, Episcopalians, and 
Nehemiah Smith, Presbyterian, are mentioned as having been notably 
active and helpful. Dr. Woodbridge, Presbyterian, held services in the 
church every Sunday afternoon but had no organization. 

The following named pastors succeeded, their terms beginning in Septem- 
ber of the years specified : James Hunter, 1858 ; Kilpatrick, 1859 ; W. B. 
May, 1860 ; J. W. Hines, 1861 ; B. F. Myers, 1863; P. L. Haynes, 1865. 

During the pastorate of the last named, the membership nearly doubled 
and the church was greatly improved by the addition of a vestibule and 
bell tower. 


Rev. Galen A. Pierce became pastor in September, 1867, and had a 
notably acceptable term of two years, at the close of which there were fifty- 
five members and a property valued at $4,600. 

Rev. Charles E. Rich followed in August, 1869. The city was more pop- 
ulous and prosperous during his term than before or since. The congrega- 
tion so increased that the church was lengthened fifteen feet, a vestry-room 
was added, and the whole edifice so improved as to be substantially, a new 
one. A debt was, however, incurred which greatly embarrassed the church 
for about seven years. In August, 1870, there were ninety-five members 
and property valued at $7,000, including the present parsonage, then but 
recently acquired. 

Rev. A. K. Crawford was pastor for one year from September, 1872, re- 
porting fifty-five members at the close of his term. 

Rev. W. S. Urmy followed in 1873 and remained three years, at the end 
of the second of which he reports the membership at one hundred and 
$2,600 as having been expended upon the church property, mostly in partial 
payment of the debt heretofore mentioned. At the close of his term the 
membership had decreased to seventy-one and nearly one-half of these 
were nominal or non-resident. 

Rev. Ed. I. Jones, the present pastor — 1879 — became such in September, 
1876, at which time removals had so deciminated the membership and 
business depressions so discouraged those remaining, that this pastorate 
opened unhopefully, especially, in view of the fact that there was still an 
indebtedness of about $1,500. On Sunday eve, December 8, 1878, the 
church was almost totally destroyed by fire, originating, it is supposed in 
a defective flue. The proceeds of an insurance policy for $1,500 were 
applied upon the indebtedness. The society now numbers about fifty, owns 
the fine church site, upon which is a vestry-room and a parsonage. Geo. 
W. Smith, James H. Green, Samuel Kitto, John Q. Adams and Frank L. 
Carlton are the trustees. 

Throughout its twenty-five years of existence this church has been 
peculiarly impeded by the floating character of the population and by suc- 
cessive drafts upon its original resources consequent upon the organization 
of four other Protestant churches in the town. Its officers not vanquished 
by move than ordinary obstacles, are hopefully planning for the future. 

First Presbyterian Church. — Previous to the arrival of the present pastor, 
Revd. N. B. Klink, in Vallejo, the Reverend S. Woodbridge, D. D. of Beni- 
cia, had preached to a congregation in this city for several years on the 
afternoon of every sabbath. At the time there was no Presbyterian church ; 
service was therefore held in the Methodist Episcopalian building. On as- 
certaining that it was Mr. Klink's intention to reside permanently in Vallejo 
Dr. Woodbridge resigned the duties to him ; and the Methodists, being now 
without a minister, invited him to supply them, and granted the use of their 


house of worship until September, 1863. The First Presbyterian Church 
was organized in the month of November, 1862, while they were still wor- 
shipping in the Methodist Church. According to public notice, the congre- 
gation met in the Methodist Episcopalian Church, November 22, 1862, for 
the purpose, if the way be clear, of organizing a Presbyterian Church. The 
meeting was called to order, and opened with prayer. The Reverend N. B. 
Klink was chosen chairman of the meeting, and Henry Blackman, secretary. 
The following named persons being present with letters of dismission from 
other Presbyterian Churches, and voluntarily wishing to be associated to- 
gether for Divine and Godly living, were, on motion, formed into a Presby- 
terian Church of the " old school," within the bounds of Benicia Presbytery 
and Synod of the Pacific : Mrs. Helen Williamson ; Carrie E. Frisbie ; 
Susan Callender ; Elizabeth Chapman ; Isabella Rule ; Eliza Roloff ; Phebe 
A. Frisbie ; Sylvia M. Burns ; J. Wright ; J. Tessroe, with Messrs. Stephen 
Klink and E. H. M. Bailey. There being none present who were willing to 
accept the office of " Ruling Elder," the church was only provisionally or- 

The Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church in the United States 
of America, and also the Form of Government and the Directions for Wor- 
ship, were adopted as their standards of Faith and Order ; and A. Powell, 
Daniel Williamson, James Topley, E. H. M. Bailey, and Stephen Klink, 
were elected a Board of Trustees, and were also chosen as a building com- 
mittee, when immediate steps were taken for the erection of a house of wor- 
ship on two lots on the northwest corner of Marin and Carolina streets, 
which were the gift of General John B. Frisbie. 

During the summer of 1863 the building of the church was proceeded 
with ; and on the first Sunday in September in that year the opening ser- 
mon was preached by the Reverend A. Fairbairn; yet, though incomplete, 
worship was maintained in it for full two years, when, on November 5, 
1865, it was solemnly dedicated to the worship of Almighty God by the 
Reverend Doctor Woodbridge. The edifice, along with the bell, cost $8,500. 

In April, 1866, Messrs. E. H. M. Bailey and L. G. Oliver were elected 
Ruling Elders ; and on May 8th, they having been ordained, were duly in- 
stalled as officers of the church, on which ceremony its organization became 
complete. The present session consists of Samuel Duncan, C. B. Towle, 
and Robert B. Barr, with whom is associated the acting pastor. The whole 
number of members received from the organization is 185 ; the number now 
in membership being 77, while the Sabbath School, under the superinten- 
dency of Elder Robert B. Barr, numbers about 100. 

The Church of the Ascension — Protestant Episcopal. — For many years 
prior to 1867, service, according to the form of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church, had been held in Vallejo; but it was not until the 21st of July, of that 


year, that any steps had been taken to form a permanent association of the 
kind. On that Sunday the services were conducted by the Bishop of the Dio- 
cese, the Right Reverend Wilbraham Kip, and the Reverends Messrs. Tread- 
way and Perry, during which, intimation was given that a meeting of the 
association would be held at the office of the Honorable Paul K. Hubbs, on the 
Monday following. The meeting was duly convened, and an association in- 
corporated under the laws of the State, and the Diocese of California, under 
the name as given above, the following gentlemen subscribing to the Decla- 
ration and Articles of Association : Paul K. Hubbs, T. H. Gardner, R. D. 
Hopkins, W. H. Lamb, Paul Shirley, Jas. Price, L. C. Fowler, Win. Taylor, 
Jr., Casper Schenck, Thomas A. Thornton, Ed. A. Willats, Jas. A. Green, A. 
T. Hawley, W. C. Root, Geo. Loomis, Wm. A. Parker, J. W. Haskin, and W. 
H. Stanley. The subjoined vestrymen were, thereupon, elected : Messrs. 
Paul K. Hubbs, Wm. H. Lamb, L. C. Fowler, J. H. K. Barbour, Wm. A. 
Parker, J. W. Browne, W. C. Root, Wm. Taylor, Jr., J. W. Haskin, Philip 
Hickburn, and R. D. Hopkins, with Messrs. Fowler and Hubbs, as Senior 
and Junior Wardens, and Messrs. Hopkins and Lamb, Secretary and Treas- 
urer respectively. After the election of these officers the Rev. A. C. Tread- 
way was unanimously chosen the first Rector of the Church of the Ascen- 
sion, at Vallejo. In the course of time laws and by-laws, for the governing 
of the executive body, were framed and brought into effect. On the 29th of 
July, a building committee was appointed, with power to solicit subscriptions 
in aid of the erection of a church. General John B. Frisbie generously pre- 
sented them with two lots whereon to erect the sacred edifice ; plans and 
specifications were gratuitously prepared by Mr. Gunning, architect, of Mare 
Island ; and a Fair was held by the ladies of the congregation and their 
friends, to still further augment the funds. The foundation stone was laid 
on the 4th of May, 1868. 

On the 8th of April, 1868, Mr. Tread way, in a letter of -great feeling, 
tendered his resignation, which was duly accepted, in fitting terms, in meet- 
ing assembled, when it was resolved to invite the Rev. Dr. Breck to take 
charge of the parish, in connection with the Associate Mission, which he had 
established in Benicia. In the meantime, Mr. Treadway had returned to New 
York ; but such was the estimation in which he was held, that it was unani- 
mously resolved on the 15th of July, to invite him to return to his former 
charge, which he signified his willingness to do ; and on the 10th of December 
he once more presided at a vestry meeting of the parish. During this period 
the building of the church progressed satisfactorily. On the evening of the 
9th of March, 1870, the introduction of gas into the building was com- 
pleted ; and on Sunday, the 13th, the edifice was duly consecrated by the 
Bishop of California, before an overflowing congregation. On the 5th of 
August, 1871, Mr. Treadway once more tendered his resignation, the accept- 
ance of which was declined, on the plea " that the interests of the church 


would not prosper so well under the ministry of any other person," when 
the Rector signified his willingness that the question of his retirement re- 
main in statu quo ; he, however, again opened the question on the 7th of 
February, 1872, stating his intention of returning home to the East in 
April or May following. 

Still, the vestry were unwilling to part with their pastor, who, they sug- 
gested, should be tendered a leave of absence ; but at last he prevailed, and 
his resignation was accepted, to take effect on the 31st of December, 1872. 
His farewell sermon is described as being a deep utterance of pastoral love, 
which was both appropriate and impressive. A successor was found in the 
Rev. Adam A. McAllister, who was nominated to the vacant Rectorship on 
the 13th of November, 1872. On the 21st of December, the vestry lost, by 
death, one of its most active members, in Paymaster Mead, IT. S. N., when 
condolotary resolutions were directed to be forwarded to his family ; the 
meeting, however, whose painful duty it was to pass the foregoing, had a 
more pleasant one in thanking the " ladies of the Episcopal Benevolent 
Association of Vallejo, for having realized the means, and by their generosity, 
devoted them to the liquidation of the debts of the Church of the Ascension 
from embarrassment, and enabling the church, unfettered by pecuniary 
obligations, to renew and enlarge its work." On the 5th of January, 1874, 
Mr. McAllister now resigned, when the pulpit was offered to and accepted 
by the Rev. E. L. Greene, who, on account of family affliction, sent in his 
resignation on the 18th of February, 1875 ; it was accepted ; and on the 
25th of the same month, the Rev. W. H. Moore was offered the parish. At 
a meeting of the vestry, held on the 16th of June, 1875, it was resolved to 
move the church back 25 feet, which was subsequently carried out, and the 
ground graded, a fence built, shrubbery planted, and the premises 
otherwise adorned. The funds of the parish were in somewise aided by a 
bequest from the late Senior Warden, Paul K. Hubbs, who had died on the 
17th of November previously. In the death of this gentleman, the church 
and parish lost one of its staunchest supports ; it was mainly to his good 
offices that the " Church of the Ascension " was organized ; and the esteem 
in which he was held is touchingly alluded to in the resolution directing 
realization of the bequest. On the 6th of April, 1876, death had again en- 
tered in ; once more there was a vacancy among the wardens ; this time, in 
the person of Mr. W. C. Root, the first person confirmed in the parish. He 
was elected a vestryman at the time of the organization of the parish, and 
had been one of its officers in successive years. 

At a meeting held on the 18th of April, the Reverend W. A. Moore an- 
nounced his wish to resign, which took effect on the 15th of May. Mr. 
McAllister once more temporarily occupied the pulpit until the appointment 
of a successor, who was found in Dr. Chapman, who in his turn left the 
parish for his home in Sacramento in August, and was succeeded by the 




Reverend George B. Allen, on the 23d October, 1876. He now resigned on 
the 22 November, and again was the Church of the Ascension without an 
officiating clergyman of its own. The parish was then offered to the Rev- 
erend R. T. Kline, whose acceptance was made known on the 2d of January, 
1877. This clergyman remained with his congregation the better part of 
eleven months, when he handed in a letter of retirement on the 21 of 
November of the same year. Mr. McAllister again occupied the pulpit 
from Sunday to Sunday, until on December 23, 1877, it was resolved to 
call the Reverend David F. MacDonald, D. D. from Arkansas. This gentle- 
man is the present incumbent. 

Dr. MacDonald was, as far back as 1856, the first missionary of the Pro- 
testant Episcopal Church in this county. He was located by the Bishop of 
the Diocese at Benicia, where he labored amongst all classes with much 
zeal. He had often conducted services in the parish where he is now rector 
in a small building used as a Methodist church, and it was a graceful re- 
membrance of former efforts which suggested, after the lapse of so many 
years, the tendering of the pulpit to him. Long may he live to fill it. 

The Church of the Ascension is situated on Georgia street, between Napa 
and Sutter, and stands on an elevated knoll which commands a fine view of 
the harbor and surrounding country, and has a seating capacity of two hun- 
dred and fifty. A magnificent bell has been presented to it by Henry Sanger, 
Esq. Sunday services are held at 11 A. M., and Sunday-school at 2.30 P. M. 
There has been no evening service during the present winter. The members 
number eighty. The superintendent of the Sunday-school is Wilberforce 
Dudley ; the vestrymen — Professor W. F. Roe, Wilberforce Dudley, Thomas 
Thornton, J. W. Breed, A. S. Carman, S. R. English, John Harris, O. W. 
Vanderlip, C. H. Hubbs, R. B. Loyall, and J. C. Edgecumbe ; the senior and 
junior wardens, and secretary and treasurer being respectively Messrs. 
Hubbs, Roe, Breed, and Thornton. 

First Regular Baptist Church. — This church was organized on November 
21, 1869, a meeting being convened by public notice calling on all those 
interested in establishing a regular Baptist church in Vallejo, to meet at 
Red Men's Hall. The Reverend W. W. Hickie was chosen moderator, and 
Eben Hilton, clerk. Each of the brethren and sisters herein named pre- 
sented themselves, and were accepted by each other in unanimous vote of 
fellowship for the purpose of organizing a gospel church, and being fellow 
members of the same : W. W. Hickie, Eben Hilton, Esther Hilton, Stephen 
Hathaway, Eleazer Frisbie, H. H. Dwyer, J. C. Voorhees, Anna Case, San- 
ford Baker, G. W. Morgan and wife. 

On motion of Mr. Frisbie, the Articles of Faith and Church Covenant, as 
given in the Baptist Manual, published by the American Baptist Publication 
Society, Philadelphia, was read, and by unanimous vote, as follows : pastor, 


Rev. W. W. Hickie; deacons, H. H. Dwyer and Eleazer Frisbie ; treasurer, 
Eben Hilton ; clerk, Sanf ord Baker, was adopted. The Rev. W. W. Hickie 
continued his labors with the church until June 1st, following, when he 
abandoned the profession, and public worship was discontinued until Dec- 
ember 2, 1870, when the church called the Rev. J. H. Ruby as a successor, 
and then commenced to hold worship in Farragut Hall ; and on June 13, 
1871, an unanimous call was extended to Mr. Ruby to become its pastor. 
He accepted, and continued in that capacity until September 1st, when he 
resigned. On November 17, 1871, the church called the Rev. E. B. Hatch 
to its pastorate. 

On January 7, 1872, the American Baptist Home Mission Society hav- 
ing granted material aid towards the building of a suitable house for public 
worship, a committee was appointed with power to solicit subscriptions for 
building the same. In November following they reported having received 
subscriptions enough to warrant the commencement of a proper building, 
and that General J. B. Frisbie had donated a lot and executed a deed for 
the purpose ; but the piece of ground not being in a desirable locality, it 
was thought best to purchase a plot on Capitol, between Marin and Sonoma 
streets. A committee to superintend the structure was chosen, and the 
work begun. On March 1, 1873, the church and lot, which had cost over 
$4,000, was dedicated to the service of God. 

The Rev. E. B. Hatch continued to be its pastor until February 1, 1876, 
when, tendering his resignation, it was accepted. On that date the Rev. R. 
F. Parshall was appointed to the pastorate, and, entering upon his duties on 
March 26th, he continued to perform them until December 13, 1876, when he 

The church was without a pastor and public worship until April 1, 1877, 
when the Rev. T. A. Gill, Chaplain U. S. N., was ordered to the Navy Yard. 
On his arrival a committee was appointed to wait upon him, with the 
request that he preach on Sunday mornings, with which petition he cheer- 
fully complied and entered upon the duties for an indefinite period. Mr. 
Gill and his wife labored with the church until May 28, 1878, when he was 
detached from the Yard, thus leaving the church once more without a 
pastor. At this juncture Rev. Frank B. Rose, U. S. N., Chaplain on board 
U. S. S. " Pensacola," volunteered his services and continued them until 
October 13, when he, too, left the district. On October 27, 1878, the Rev. 
E. H. Gray, D.D., was called from Washington, D. C, and he now directs 
the religious welfare of the First Regular Baptist Church. 

The present membership of the church is sixty-nine, the officers being as 
follows: Pastor, Rev. E. H. Gray, D.D.; Deacons, H. H. Dwyer, Eleazer 
Frisbie, and P. E. Jeffries ; Treasurer, H. H. Dwyer ; Clerk, W. B. Vankirk ; 
Trustees, H. H. Dwyer, Eleazer Frisbie, P. E. Jeffries, A. McKannan, and 
W. B. Vankirk. 


The Sunday School connected with the church was organized February 
1, 1870, Henry Hall, Superintendent. In June, 1871, J. C. Voorhees was 
elected in that capacity, and filled it till January 1, 1879, when Mrs. Veeder 
was appointed and now holds the position. 

The Advent Christian Church of Vallejo. — The Advent doctrine was first 
introduced into Vallejo by Elder D. D. Reid, of Santa Clara county, in the 
fall of 1870. The first sermon was preached in the Methodist church. The 
first series of meetings were held by Elder Miles Grant, of Boston, Mass., in 
the Presbyterian church, the pastor most warmly encouraging and supporting 
the good work. No attempt was at this time made to organize a church, as 
it was supposed the converts would be well nourished and fed by the pastor 
of the Presbyterian Church, who had been so blessed in the revival. But 
very soon after Elder Grant's departure he began to oppose the doctrines 
which had done so much good, and it became evident that the believers 
must organize a church of their own. This was done on June 13, 1871, in 
the building known as George's Place, a building bought in New York and 
shipped around the Horn to San Francisco, set up and used in that city 
and then taken down and removed to Vallejo. It had been used for the 
vilest purposes of those early times, and it was indeed a novelty to hear 
within its walls the voice of prayer, of praise, and of truth. The building 
had been thoroughly cleansed and refitted for its new work. 

The charter members were Job Washburn, Samuel Jamison, A. J. Young. 
David West, George Redden, Mrs. George Redden, Mrs. Statira Snow, Mrs, 
Ella P. Pettis, Mrs. Hannah P. Moore, and Mrs. A. J. Young. Many others 
were in sympathy with the organization, but did not unite till afterward. 
The officers consisted simply of a deacon and a clerk, Job K. Washburn and 
A. J. Young, respectively, holding the positions. This church was organized 
under Elder D. D. Reid. The first pastor was Elder 0. R. Fassett, from Min- 
nesota, who had charge of the church for two years, preaching one-half the 
time; while Mrs. Fassett preached the other half. They resided in San 
Francisco. During this pastorate the chapel was built on Capitol Hill, on a 
lot donated by General J. B. Frisbie. (Lot 14, in block 306). It was a 
plain, unpretending structure 32x52, and cost about one thousand dollars. 
The house was dedicated on Sunday, March 24, 1872, Elders Fassett and 
Reid officiating. Experience soon proved the location of the chapel too 
inaccessible to the people, especially in the rainy season, and it was decided 
to move it. In April, 1874. it was moved to Georgia street and located on 
lot No. 6, block 284, owned by Mr. Tripp and leased to the church for this 
purpose, where it still stands. One hundred and fifty persons in all, from 
time to time, have become members, but removals into other places have 
reduced the membership to fifty, which has been the average number since 
the first year of its history. Elder H. F. Carpenter became pastor of the 


church on July 1, 1875, preaching his first sermon on July 4, and remains 
its pastor at the present time, February 21, 1879. During every year of 
his ministry he has done work of the most satisfying character and made 
many converts. The church has maintained three prayer meetings every 
week, characterized by warmth of devotion ; while the Sunday congregations 
have usually been very good. The chapel has been neatly refitted within, 
and, while the exterior is not particularly inviting, the inferior is very 
pleasing and commodious. 

A Sunday-School was organized December 10, 1871, which numbers at 
present between forty and fifty members. Its interest and numbers are 
now increasing. Its present Superintendent is George W. Morton. The 
Church, in spite of the severest financial depression, has been always enabled 
to meet its obligations without resorting to fairs, festivals, lotteries, grab- 
bags and other unwarrantable methods, and is to-day out of debt. The 
present officers are: Samuel Jamison, Job K. Washburn, Elders ; William 
H. Pennell, John Thompson, Deacons ; John Pettis, Treasurer ; and Andrew 
J. Young, Clerk. 

Secret Societies, Associations, Etc. — Vallejo is second to no other city 
in the State of California in the condition of its Lodges, save, perhaps, 
with the single exception of San Francisco. The Masonic Order, as well 
as that of the Odd Fellows, is in a most flourishing condition, while the 
benefits which they confer is dispensed with a due regard to the lessons in- 
culcated by the several Orders. 

Naval Chapter, No. 35, R. A. M.~ The above Chapter was organized 
under dispensation on May 20, 1868, and granted a charter on October 20th, 
of the same year, its chartered members being : Lyman Leslie, J. M. Brown, 
B. J. Taylor, P. B. Miller, Dan. Harrington, Benjamin Benas, E. G. Moden, 
T. J. Crowlie and Philip Hichborn, the officers being Lyman Leslie, High 
Priest ; J. M. Brown, King ; B. J. Taylor, Scribe. Since its first institution 
the number of members has considerably augmented, there being now no 
fewer than ninety-four on the roll. The officers for the current year are : 
H. P., M. Myers; K., F. D. Mead; S., E. J. McDaniel; C. of H., Jonathan 
Bond ; P. S., James Eoney ; R A. C, E. K. Holmes ; M. of 3d V., A. B. 
Bertoschky ; M. of 2d V., O. H. Butler ; M. of 1st V., J. H. Jordan ; Guard, 
John Thompson. The Chapter meets on the second Wednesday of each 

Naval Lodge, No. 87, F. & A. M. — This is the oldest Lodge in Vallejo, 
and was organized under dispensation on July 17, 1855. The first meeting 
was held on August 4, 1855, when the following officers were appointed: 
William Wilmot, W. M. ; Henry Hook, S. W. ; Joseph R. Bird, J. W. ; 
Robert Brownlee, Treas. ; William Aspenall, Secy. ; L. W. Bean, S. D. ; Denis 


Meagher, J. D.; John Lee, Tyler. On May 7, 1856, the Charter was 
granted, the members being Abraham Powell, W. M. ; William Aspenall, 
S. W. ; and Isaac Hobbs, J. W. The first meeting held under the new 
charter was convened on May 28, 1856, with Deputy Grand Master William 
S. Wells, presiding, when the following were elected to the various offices : 
Joseph R. Bird, W. M.; Benjamin R. Mitchell, S..W. ; William Aspenall, 
J. W. ; Robert Brownlee, Treasurer ; Alexander Guffy, Secretary ; L. W. 
Bean, S. D. ; Denis, Meagher, J. D. ; and John Lee, Tyler. The present of- 
ficers are : W. M. Christian Theodore B. Hallen ; S. W., George William 
Simonton ; J. W., Martin J. Wright ; Treasurer, John E. Abbott ; Secretary, 
George F. Mallett ; S. D., William Brownlie ; J. D., James H. Jordan ; 
Stewards, Daniel W. Harrier and Rimmer Johann Rimmers Aden ; Marshal, 
Andrew Jackson McPike ; Organist, Nathaniel G. Hilton; Tyler, Henry 
Dexter; Trustees, John Brownlie, Martin J. Wright, George F. Mallett. 
The number of members at present on the roll is one hundred and two. 
The Naval Lodge meets on the third Tuesday of each month, at the . 
Masonic Hall, N. W. corner of Virginia and Marin streets. 

Solano Lodge, No. 229, F.& A. M. — Was organized under dispensation on 
May 14, 1873, and received the charter on the 18th October, 1873, the 
chartered members being: John Quincy Adams, P.M.; Ellis Edward Hartwell ; 
Frank E. Brown; Orren H. Butler; William Carter; Frank W. Cushing; 
John F. Denning; George C. Demmon; John K. Duncan; Joseph C. Edge- 
cumbe; John Farnham; John Frey; William E. Frisby; Alden L. Hathe- 
way; F. D. Higson; Adam A. McAllister; Edwin A. McDonald; Charles A. 
Moore; Mattison Myers, P. M.; William H. Pettis; George P. Plaisted; Am- 
brose J. Plummer; William F. Roe; John B. Robinson; David W. Rogers; 
George E. Sides; Edward T. Starr; George Thompson; Joseph F. Wendell; 
John T. Wells and John W. Winton. The officers under dispensation were: 
F. W. Cushing, W. M.; J. T. Wells, S. W.; W. H. Pettis, J. W.; E. T. Starr, 
Treasurer; A. L. Hatheway, Secretary; Rev. A. A. McAllister, Chaplain; 
John Farnham, S. D.; George C. Demmon, J. D.; J. C. Edgecumbe, Marshal; 
Frank E. Brown, organist; O. H. Butler, W. E. Frisby, Stewards; Henry 
Stahl, Tyler, who continued to hold office until the next election. The 
Solano Lodge is in a flourishing condition. There are seventy-four members 
on the roll, who meet on the first Monday of each month. The present 
officers are: R. W. M., O. H. Butler; S. W., James Roney; J. W., A. B. Ber- 
toschky; Treasurer, A. J. Plummer; Secretary, G. C. Demmon; S. D., D. M. 
McCool; J. D., J. W. Van Meeder; Marshal, John Harris; Stewards, J. W. 
Winton, D. M. Hilliard; and Tyler, John Thompson. 

Independent Order of Odd Felloivs, Golden State Lodge No. 216. — Was 
organized in 1872, the chartered members being: John Hamill; V.W. Beck- 
ford; I. M. Ruton; I. S. Halsey; F. J. Trapp; S. E. Wilson; S. N. Jamison; 


A. Clark; C. H. Hubbs; Jos. Burton; C. H. Hodgkins; H. Bruce; M. M. 
Moore; J. P. Fraser; J. Hobbs; George Woods; M. Handford, and S. E. 
Wright. The first officers who served were: F. J. Trapp, N. G.; I. S. Halsey. 
Y. G.; S. E. Wilson, R S.; C. H. Hubbs, P. S., and I. M. Ruton, Treasurer. 
This lodge is in a most flourishing condition, there being 130 members on 
its roll, the officers for the present year being: William Fraser, N. G.; John 
McDonald, V. G.; George W. Martin, R S.; William Pressy, P. S., and E. M. 
McDonald, Treasurer. Day of meeting, Wednesday of each week. Trus- 
tees, I. S. Halsey, C. H. Hubbs, and B. Benas. 

Knights of Pythias, Washington Lodge, No. 7. — Of all the charitable 
organizations in the country, perhaps no other has labored under greater 
disadvantages, and with more beneficial results, than the Knights of Pythias. 
The first lodge was organized in Washington, D. C, February 19, 1864, in 
the midst of civil strife, when society was in a disrupted state, and all secret 
organizations considered political. Its importance and numbers have, how- 
ever, steadily advanced, and now its condition is most flourishing. 

Washington Lodge, of Vallejo, No. 7, was organized on September 17, 
1869, and is the only one in the State which can claim the honor of being 
organized by the Supreme Chancellor of the world. 

The number of chartered members was eighty-eight, while the first offi- 
cers who served were as under: 

C. C, A. J. Perkins; V. C, C. M. Price; R S., A. C. Doan; F. S., R S. 
Williams; B., G. A. Poor; G., E. A. Hersey; I. S., John Kennedy; 0. S., 
J. W. Williams. 

The number of members on the roll for the present year is forty-two, 
while the officers elected on January 1, 1879, were: P. C, J. Pincomb; C. C, 
H. M. Moore; V. C, C. H. Bennett; K. of R and S, J. W. Jeffries; M. of 
E., H. Englebright; M. of F., George A. Buxton; Prelate, J. W. Williams; 
M. at A, T. K. Watson; I. G., W. H. Kenyon; O. G., H. J. Pelham. The 
Knights of Pythias meet at Bed Mens' Hall, every Thursday evening. 

Improved Order of Red Men, Samoset Tribe, No. 22. — Was instituted June 
4, 1869, with the undermentioned chartered members : W. C. Lemon ; 0. L. 
Henderson ; H. J. Ford ; C. M. Price ; Benjamin D. Egery ; Philip Mager ; 
W. Williston ; J. Brownlie ; A. P. Alexander ; I. G. Martin ; L. M. Knibbs ; 
T. W. Woodward ; James Currier ; J. G. Smith ; Henry Dexter ; W. H. 
Green ; M. G. Winchell ; W*. E. Bristow ; Joseph Anderson ; James Borton ; 
John Lawrence ; Wm. M. Starr ; Frank A. Leach ; J. H. Powell ; A. S. 
Carman ; L. C. Kincade ; John Thompson ; Van B. Smith ; John W. Wil- 
liams ; Frank R Currier ; James Frost ; Martin J. Wright ; John S. 
Souther ; Ed. D. G. Fields ; Aug. M. Street ; 0. H. Bryant ; Edward W. 
O'Brien; M. D. Tobin ; F. R Arnold; L. S. Patriguin; Charles E. Young; 


O. K. Doan ; George Bassford ; George L. Quant ; M. C. Whitney ; John C. 
Hale ; Thomas Evans ; James Blessington ; A. J. Chapman ; R. Caverly ; 
J. N. Sanct ; James Jordan ; Con. Lunney ; J. G. Cornwall ; A. J. Perkins ; 
0. B. Edwards ; W. M. Sullivan ; Charles J. Eger ; Wm. Moore ; F. C. 
Bageley ; D. M. McCool ; John Reidfee ; Wm. M. Stannus ; Thomas Mc- 
Farland ; Benjamin F. Pressey ; J. N. Stevenson ; A. J. McPike ; J. R. 
Hogan ; A. C. Doan ; John McCarthy ; Walter F. Patterson ; H. S. Chap- 
pelle ; John Lambert ; George A. Poor ; John Hesketh ; George P. Plais- 
ted ; N. D. Toby ; James G. Massey ; F. D. Higson ; N. Carmichael ; I. M. 
Ruton ; W. G. Walsh ; Milton Warner ; John McPhee ; James Carter ; 
Alexander Anderson. The officers of the Tribes first appointed were W. C. 
Lemon, Sachem ; O. L. Henderson, Senior Sagamore ; H. J. Ford, Junior 
Sagamore ; C. M. Price, Chief of Records ; B. D. Egery, Keeper of Wam- 
pum ; P. Mager, First Warrior ; W. Williston, Second ; J. Brownlie, Third ; 
A. P. Alexander, Fourth ; J. G. Martin, First ; L. W. Knibbs, Second ; O. C. 
Chamberlain, Third ; T. W. Woodward, Fourth Braves ; James Currier, 
First ; J. G. Smith, Second Powwow ; Henry Dexter, Guard of Forest ; W. 
H. Green, Guard of the Wigwam ; M. G. Winchell, First ; W. E. Bristow, 
Second Sannap ; and Joseph Anderson, Prophet. The membership at one 
time reached 98, but there are now only 30 on the roll. The Order is in 
good standing ; it owns their hall furniture, a burial plot in the Union 
Cemetery, all of which property is unincumbered, while the Tribe is free 
from any financial embarrassment. The officers for the year are : Sachem, 
Thomas Raines ; Senior Sagamore, Charles H. Bennett ; Junior Sagamore, 
P. McArdle ; Chief of Records, John E. Hubbard ; Keeper of Wampum, M. 
G. Winchell ; Financial Chief, James G. Smith ; Prophet, J. O. Allison ; 
First Sannap, John W. Williams ; Second Sannap, B. D. Egery ; First War- 
rior, James Jury ; Second Warrior, James Blessington ; Third Warrior, Ed. 
W. O'Brien ; Fourth Warrior, O. C. Chamberlain ; First Brave, James 
Frost ; Second Brave, R. W. Burton ; Third Brave, Alex. S. Smith ; Fourth 
Brave, John Lorson ; First Powwow, H. D. Richardson ; Second Powwow, 
Frank R. Currier ; Guard of the Forest, Van B. Smith ; and Guard of the 
Wigwam, Barnard Tissell. 

Grand Army of the Republic, Farragut Post, No. 12, G. A. R. — The 
objects and aims of the Association are attending to the sick and wounded 
soldiers who served honorably during the great rebellion ; the burial of 
their departed comrades, and to cherish and encourage friendly feelings for 
one another, which should animate the bosoms of all true patriots. This 
post was organized on February 19, 1868, and re-organized in accordance 
with general orders from Head Quarters in August, 1869. The chartered 
members were Edward G. Haynes, William G. Oberend, N. C. McMegone- 
gal, R. L. Duncan, E. C. Taylor, E. H. Forrester, E. S. Jenkins, John Ashton, 


Joseph Anderson and John L. Gamble, of whom Messrs. Duncan and Taylor 
are now deceased. The first officers elected to serve were J. L. Gamble, 
Post Commander ; W. G. Oberend, Senior Vice-Commander ; Ed. C. Taylor, 
Junior Vice-Commander ; Ed. G. Haynes, Post Adjutant ; E. H. Forrester, 
Quartermaster. The number of members at present on the roll is thirty- 
one while the officers for the present term are : Post Commander, George 
L. Voorhees; Senior Vice-Commander, James Blessington; Junior Vice- 
Commander, Thomas Riley ; Quartermaster, George A. Buxton ; Chaplain, 
John Smith ; Officer of the day, Robert K. Hall and Officer of the Guard, 
James L. Cilley. It is gratifying to remark that the funds of the Post are 
in a satisfactory condition, no less a sum than four thousand six hundred 
dollars having been paid out of its coffers between the date of its organiza- 
tion and January 1, 1879. 

Ancient Order of United Workmen, Vallejo Lodge No. 75. — This society, 
a new one in the State of California, was organized and chartered on the 
6th day of January, 1879. It has already a roll of eighty-three members, 
while its officers are : P. M. W., Sanruel Kitto ; M. W., George F. Mallett ; 
G. F. M., G. Winchell ; 0., William McWilliams ; recorder, James G. Smith ; 
financier, Robert B. Barr ; receiver, S, S. Drake ; guide, G. W. Martin ; J. 
W., Charles H. Bennett , O. W., George W. Edgecumbe. Days of meeting, 
Monday in every week. 

The " Vallejo Society of California Pioneers." — Was first established on 
the 27th of May, 1869, having for its object the cultivation of social inter- 
course and union among its members, and the creation of a fund for charit- 
able purposes in their behalf ; to collect and procure information connected 
with the early settlement and subsequent history of the county, and to form 
such libraries and cabinets, and pursue such literary and scientific objects as 
from time to time be determined, and in all appropriate matters to advance 
the interests and perpetuate the memory of those whose sagacity, energy 
and enterprise induced them to settle in the wilderness and become founders 
of a new State. The chartered members of the association were Thomas 
Aylward, Milo J. Ayers, Gustave Bergwell, Henry Buckland, Henry Clay- 
ton, Fred Coyan, Henry Englebright, George Edgar, George B. Edgecumbe, 
W. P. Edwards, John B. Frisbie, Thomas Gunderson, Alexander Guffy. 
Jacob F. Griffin, George Gordon, Joseph G. Garrison, R. D. Hopkins, J. 
Hamill, G. N. Hutchinson, I. S. Halsey, Isaac Hobbs, Henry Hendrickson, 
Paul K. Hubbs, John G. Hudson, Ernest Hauff, Charles C. Hall, W. D. 
Jones, Thomas Keating, John L. King, James R. Lee, Peter Laughran, John 

A. Lay, O. A. Munn, Lyman Mitchell, Charles Murphy, James Mann, Wil- 
liam McKenna, F. Marion, John C. McLeod, W. Narvaez, Charles O'Donnell, 

B. T. Osborn, A. Powell, George A. Poor, R. Palmer, John Rose, William 


Rawson, John Roache, E. C. Reynolds, D. C. Ross, W. S. Ricker, J. Regan, 
O. H. Spencer, Henry Stege, Charles C. Southard, John Spruce, A. J. Shute, 
E. T. Seavy, W. H. Vandine, John Woodall, Thomas K. Watson, Edward 
Welsh, William Williams, John Ward. At this time General M. G. Vallejo 
was elected an honorary member, while there were also admitted John Mor- 
gan, J. D. Cornwall, W. Sullivan, C. C. Hall, John Walker, C. M. Poor, W. 
C. Brooks, J. M. Findlay, J. V. Saunders, A. Strohsohl, E. B. Campbell, W. 
H. Cheever, J. C. French, J. H. K. Barbour, M. Morrison, A. Peterson, J. A. 
Carnahan, E. Whiting. The first officers elected were : president, John B. 
Frisbie ; vice-presidents, Paul K. Hubbs, Gustave Bergwell, Abraham 
Powell ; corresponding secretary, Robert D. Hopkins ; treasurer, Isaac S. 
Halsey ; directors, Isaac Hobbs, 0. H. Spencer, Thomas Aylward ; and mar- 
shal, Thomas K. Watson. 

Many of these early pioneers have long ago been gathered to their fathers, 
while there are still a few of the old-timers left whose grey hairs tell of 
Time's onward flight. They, too, will ere long be called upon to make the 
mysterious journey ; happily, therefore, that their sons still live to perpetuate 
the noble example set by their fathers in the establishment of so well fav- 
ored a society as is that of the California Pioneers. The number of members 
at present on the roll of the association is thirty-five, with Charles H. 
Hubbs, president ; George Nye, Frank Shirland, and W. S. Brooks, vice- 
presidents ; William P. Edwards, secretary ; Isaac S. Halsey, treasurer ; 
Thomas K. Watson, marshal, and Thomas Aylward, John C. McLeod, 
and J. A. Saunders, directors. The honorary members are General M. G. 
Vallejo, Captain Paul Shirley, and Rear- Admiral Enoch G. Parrott, of the 
United States Navy, and General John B. Frisbie. 

Vallejo Masonic Hall Association. — At a regular meeting of Naval 
Lodge, No. 87, F. & A. M., held at their hall in Vallejo on April 19, A. d. 
18G6, the following named persons were elected trustees to organize, incor- 
porate and manage the affairs of a joint-stock company, for the purpose of 
erecting a Masonic hall building in Vallejo, and that the names of the Trus- 
tees be P. D. Grimes, J. M. Rutan, Joseph L. Likins, Philip Hichborn, and 
Eben Hilton. 

The capital stock of the association was $8,000, divided into 320 shares of 
the par value of $25. The number of trustees, as provided in the Articles 
of Incorporation, to direct the affairs of the association for three months, 
was five ; and the names of those gentlemen were these above-named. 

The annual meeting of stockholders was held on the second Wednesday 
evening in January, for their election. 

At the regular meeting of the stockholders the representation of at least 
a majority of the stock issued was necessary for the transaction of business. 

No shareholder could serve as a trustee unless he was a Master Mason in 


good standing, and was a member of some lodge within thirty miles of 
Vallejo, and the holder of at least two shares of stock. 

Dividends of the profits of the association were declared annually, at a 
regular meeting of the trustees. The By-Laws also provided that a divi- 
dend of the profits should not be declared to exceed 12 per cent, per annum 
on the capital stock issued. It was provided that all revenues exceeding 12 
per cent, per annum be reserved as a sinking fund for the redemption of 
the capital stock, and that Naval Lodge No. 87 shall have all the benefit of 
this sinking fund for the purpose of redeeming the stock of the association. 

Naval Lodge, No. 87, by the By-Laws, was to have the full control of 
the hall, ante-rooms, entrance-hall to the same, and all the upper part of 
the building, for the term of its existence, to occupy, lease, and rent the 
same, by paying to the association a monthly rent of twenty dollars, and a 
free lease of so much of lots seven and eight, at the corner of Virginia and 
Marin streets, as miedit be needed for the buildinsc and its uses. Three hun- 
dred and eighteen shares of the stock were issued and fully paid up, and 
the building was erected in the fall of 1866 by A. Powell, contractor, and 
A. H. Gunning, architect and superintendent. P. D. Grimes and Eben Hilton, 
at the election, were chosen president and treasurer, respectively ; and A. 
P. Voorhees, secretary of the first Board. 

At the annual meeting held January 23, 1867, P. D. Grimes, J. M. Rutan 
P. Hichborn, Eben. Hilton and A. Powell, vice J. L. Likins, were chosen 
Trustees. The new Board organized by electing the officers of the previous 
year, who were nominated to fill the same position year by year until 1871. 
In November, 1870, Mr. P. Hichborn, who was about to leave for the East- 
ern States, resigned, and at the regular annual meeting in the January fol- 
lowing, Messrs. P. D. Grimes, A. Powell, A. P. Voorhees, N. G. Hilton and 
John M. Browne were elected Trustees, Messrs. Grimes, Voorhees and N. 
G. Hilton being President, Treasurer and Secretary. On January 17, 1872, 
the same Trustees were elected, save Dr. J. M. Browne, whose place was 
filled by Alexander Hichborn, the same officers serving as on the previous, 
year. January 8, 1873, the same Board directed the affairs of the Associa- 
tion, excepting A. Hichborn, who was succeeded by J. M. Rutan, the same 
officers officiating. At the elections held on January 14, 1874, and 25, 
1875, there was no change in the direction. On January 12, 1876, Mr. 
Powell gave place to Mr. Charles Daly, while on that of January 19, 1877, 
Dr. I. S. Halsey was elected in the place of Mr. Daly, no other change 
being made. An adjourned meeting was convened on February 11, 1878, 
when the following were elected Trustees: I. S. Halsey, George F. Mallett, 
J. M. Rutan, John Brownlie and George W. Simonton, Messrs. Rutan, 
Brownlie and Simonton being subsequently called upon to fill the res- 
pective positions of President, Treasurer and Secretary, while on January 
14, 1879, no change was made save by filling Dr. Halsey's place on the 
Board by the return of C. T. B. Hallin. 


The Masonic and Odd Fellows Cemetery Association of the City of Val- 
lejo. — The preliminaries to the incorporation of the above Association were 
instituted in January, 1875, when Naval Lodge, No. 87, F. and A. M. ; 
Solano Lodge, No. 229, F. and A. M. ; San Pablo Lodge, No. 43, I. 0. O. F., 
and Golden State Lodge, No. 216, I. O. O. F., appointed a Committee 
consisting of the following gentlemen, viz. : George F. Mallett, to represent 
Naval Lodge; Frank E. Brown, to represent Solano Lodge; Anson Clark, 
to represent Golden State Lodge, and Sylvester Warforcl, to represent San 
Pablo Lodge ; authorizing them to select and enter into a contract for the 
purchase of a tract of land suitable for a cemetery for the exclusive use 
of Masons and Odd Fellows, to inter the remains of their brethren and 
their wives and children. 

In pursuance with that authority, the Committee seclected a tract of 
land owned by Ira Austin, containing about fifteen acres, and made their 
report to the various Lodges, who reappointed the same gentlemen to serve 
as a Committee, with power to add a fifth member whereby a Board of 
Trustees should be constituted, with power to enter into and incorporate 
the Masonic and Odd Fellows Cemetery Association of the City of Vallejo. 

In accordance with instructions, the Committee met at the office of S. G. 
Hilborn, Esq., on February 20, 1875, and appointed Peter D. Grimes as 
Trustee, after which a Board was organized with the following officers : 
P. D. Grimes, President ; Anson Clark, Treasurer ; and George F. Mallett, 
Secretary. On February 23, 1875, the Articles of Incorporation were re- 
ceived from the Secretary of State, the text of which is given below, 
stating the object for which the Association is formed, and authorizing 
Messrs. Grimes, Clark, Warford, Brown and Mallett to serve as Trustees 
until their successors be elected and qualified. 

Articles of Incorporation of the Masonic and Odd Fellows Ceme- 
tery Association of the City of Vallejo. 

1. The name of the corporation is the Masonic and Odd Fellows Ceme- 
tery Association of the City of Vallejo. 

2. The purpose for which it is formed is to purchase and hold a tract of 
land near the City of Vallejo, in Solano county, State of California, and to 
establish and maintain a cemetery thereon. 

3. That its principal place of business is the City of Vallejo, Solano 
county, California. 

4. That the term for which it is to exist is fifty years. 

5. That the number of its Directors or Trustees be five. 

The annual meeting for the election of Trustees and the transaction of 
general business is held on the last Tuesday in the month of March, and it 
is ordained that no person may be a Trustee unless he be a Mason or Odd 


Fellow in good standing, or the owner of a lot. Each Lodge is entitled to 
a vote for the election of a Trustee, a like privilege being also held by the 
lot owners. 

St. Vincent's Benevolent Society. — This Society is formed for the purpose 
of promoting each other's temporal . and spiritual welfare ; for affording 
spiritual consolation and substantial aid to its members in time of sickness, 
and securing to them, after death, decent and Christian interment, in accord- 
ance with the faith of the Holy Catholic Church ; for the performance of 
works of mercy and charity towards distressed persons of the parish, and 
encouraging each other, by good example, in the duties of Christian life, and, 
above all, the exercising of a spirit of fraternal charity. The establishment 
of this most meritorious association was effected on February 3, 1867, 
having, for its first officers : John Louis Daniel, O. P., Chaplain ; Michael 
S. Derwin, President ; Daniel J. Brennan, Vice-President ; John L. Daniel, 
O. P., Bursar ; Michael J. Cunningham, Secretary ; the members of the 
Council, being : James Doyle, Edward McGettigan, Lawrence Walsh, Hugh 
Cunningham, John Perryman, Daniel Wynn, James McGarvey, John Cron- 
nin and John Kennedy. The organizers of the St. Vincent's Benevolent 
Society, were : Lawrence Walsh, Ed. McGettigan, Hugh Cunningham, D. J. 
Brennan, Thomas Lynch, Patrick Crawley, Thos. Woods, Daniel Hayes, Jas. 
McGarvey, Edward O'Malley, Peter Lyden, John Leary, Benjamin Martin, 
Thos. Ryan, Peter Bourke, Robert Casey, Charles White, John Walsh, Henry 
Buckland, Anthony Murray, W. J. Cunningham, James Doyle, Thos. Gan- 
non, Thos. Grannen, John Casey, Owen Behan, H. B. Hendrickson, John 
Crannin, John McManus, Thos. Hollern, Daniel Wynn, Thos. Kenney, Pat- 
rick O'Malley, John Mullin, John McGuire, Richard Walsh, John Kennedy, 
John Perryman, Nicholas Clavo, Richard Palmer, Edward Lynch, Bartholo- 
mew Turner, Patrick Kelly, Patrick Lynch, John Hurley, Joseph Sullivan, 
Patrick Murphy, Lawrence Barry, Patrick Crotty, Henry Knowles, John 
Brennan, Thos. Carroll, Patrick Delehunty, Chas. Cunningham, Angus 
Mclnnes, Denis Driscol, Wm. Browier, Wm. Flynn, Michael Sullivan, James 
Toland, Patrick Tracy, John Wise, James Lane, C. Quinlan Henry McCul- 
lough, T. J. Baldwin, Daniel Donovan, Lawrence Dempsey. Honorary 
Members — Michael Derwin, Edward C. Doran, Lieut. F. Harrington, John 
Drennan, John O'Grady, Patrick Londregan, and Mrs. Lawrence Walsh. 

It is gratifying to announce that this Society is in a most prosperous con- 
dition, financially, and otherwise. The office bearers for the present term, 
are : P. C. Lynch, President ; M. L. Kelly, Vice-President ; John Cunning- 
ham, Secretary ; Council Members — Robert Couerdale, Patrick Tracy, 
Charles Barr, James Costello, Hugh Cunningham, Thomas Smith, James 
McGarvey, Nicholas Clavo, James Mitchell, Timothy Conners, Thomas Reed. 
The number of active members are 127 ; Life Members, 1, with 3 Honorary 


Vallejo Post Office. — This office comes under the second-class post offices 
of the United States, and carries with it a salary of $2,100 per annum. It 
is also a money order office, transacting business in domestic, British, and 
Italian orders. It receives and despatches seven mails per day : Mails from 
San Francisco and Sacramento twice a day, and Eastern mails every even- 
ing. Issues about 2,500 money orders, amounting to about $00,000 a year, 
and pays about $6,000 in the same time. The first money order issued was 
dated May 20, 1867 ; while the date of the first one paid was the 27th of 
the same month. This post office registers on an average 1,100 letters in a 
twelve-month ; receives about 800 letters daily and forwards nearly the 
same number ; has 400 lock-boxes ; while the total receipts for stamps, etc^ 
is in the vicinity of $5,000 yearly. The present officers* in charge of this 
establishment are M. J. Wright, Postmaster, and W. F. Wright, Deputy, 
gentlemen of much merit and extreme courtesy. Appended is a list of 
appointments, obtained from the Post Office Department at Washington, 
since the establishment of the office at Vallejo: Eleazer Frisbie, January 
19, 1855 ; Wm. W. Chapman, March 3, 1857 ; Joseph S. Mclntyre, May 
28, 1860 ; Edson J. Wilson, June 28, 18G1 ; Edwin H. Sawyer, January 
27, 1864 ; George P. Wescott, June 17, 1864 ; Edson J. Wilson, Decem- 
ber 27, 1865 ; James E. Ryan, June 5, 1868 ; Miss Mary J. Falls, April 
16, 1869 ; Edson J. Wilson, October 23, 1869 ; Martin J. Wright, December 
10, 1873, reappointed January 25, 1878. 

Homestead Associations. — Of all the important features necessary to 
be observed in the progress of a rapidly-rising city, the organization of home- 
stead associations is one which bears a satisfactory impress, for these, by 
consolidated capital and united effort, place it within the reach of every 
industrious person to obtain a tract of land that he can call his own, where- 
on he may erect that typical castle which is usually held to be sacred 
against the aggressions of the outside world. By a payment of a small sum 
into the capital stock, and the disbursement of a trifling amount in stated 
assessments, one and all may, through this channel, which is within the 
grasp of each and every one, become, in a short time, the possessor of a site 
for a homestead free from encumbrances of any kind. To the proprietors or 
shareholders, associations of this nature have always been of benefit ; while 
the advance of real estate, secured in this manner, has been marked and 
rapid, the investments in nearly all instances having proved safe and 

The Vallejo Homestead Association was incorporated on April 25, 1867, 
under the direct auspices of the following gentlemen : Elisha Whiting, 
George W. Simonton, J. F. Smith, William C. Root, H. B. Bell, M. L. Torn- 
bohm, and Sanford C. "Baker ; Mr. Whiting being elected President, and Mr. 
Simonton Secretary and Treasurer. 


The capital stock of the Association was $27,000, and was to continue in 
existence for the term of three years, from and after the date and the filing 
of the certificate, as above stated. 

Each member taking a share of stock paid into the treasury two dollars 
on each share taken, as a fund for defraying the current expenses of the 
Association, and five dollars per month, in advance, on each share, to be 
known as the " Homestead Fund," to be used in the purchase of land and 
improvements thereon. 

At the regular monthly meeting, held July 13, 1867, an election of officers 
was held, resulting in the returning of E. Whiting, President ; G. W. Simon- 
ton, Secretary and Treasurer, and five Directors, viz : J. F. Smith, H. K. 
Snow, M. L. Tormbohm, H. B. Bell, and W. W. Skinner, who held office until 
the annual meeting of the stockholders, which was held on the first Monday 
in May of each year. 

The By-Laws provided for a standing committee of three members of the 
Board of Directors, to attend to all matters relative to investment in real 
estate, title, price, terms of sale, etc., and the President appointed J. F. Smith, 
E. Whiting, and M. L. Tornbohm. 

At a meeting of the Board of Trustees, convened on June 24, 1867, it was 
ordered that the report of the committee on the purchase of land be adopted, 
viz : " That we purchase of General J. B. Frisbie five full blocks of land 
situate in the town of Vallejo, and numbered on map of said town, blocks 
392, 394, 395, 398, and 399, containing eighty lots 50x130 feet, at a cost of 

Thirty lots in blocks 396, 397, and 400 were bought on October 12, 1877, 
at the same rate as first purchase, viz : $3,000, making in all one hundred 
and ten lots. 

On November 9, 1867, the land was distributed among the shareholders 
by drawing for choice of lots, with the understanding, which was voted 
in public meeting, that, as the Association had been at the expense of fenc- 
ing in the property, those drawing corner lots should defray the extra cost 
of inclosing the same, to the extent of ten dollars. 

The lots, when fully paid up, including the outlay of fencing, recording 
deed, and other incidental expenses, cost the holders $122 25 for corner lots, 
and for those on the inside $112 25. 

Many of the owners, in the fall of 1867 and the following season, built 
houses and made other improvements, so that in three or four years nearly 
every lot had its comfortable home, and to-day the property is one of the 
prettiest in the city of Vallejo. 

Vallejo Land and Improvement Company. — This company was incor- 
porated on the 27th day of October, 1871, with a capital stock divided into 
40,000 shares, of $100 each, the whole capital being $4,000,000. The ob- 


jects of the corporation were to purchase, and sell, and convey lands in 
the county of Solano; to erect and maintain wharves and docks on the 
same for the purposes of manufactures, trades, business and commerce; to 
reclaim lands, purchase and otherwise improve the same by buildings, fix- 
tures and erections, to be placed thereon for warehousing and other pur- 
poses; to lay out public streets, avenues, boulevards, squares and pleasure- 
grounds across, over and upon the land purchased, and dedicate the same 
to the public use. It was then declared that the time of existence of said 
company should be fifty years, and the following trustees were elected to 
manage the affairs of the company, viz.: John B. Frisbie ; Faxton D. Ather- 
ton; Leland Stanford; Milton S. Latham; Alexander De Laski, and E. 
H. Green; the officers being: President, John B. Frisbie; Vice President, F. 
D. Atherton; Secretary, J. K. Duncan; Treasurer, Milton S. Latham. 

The first annual report of the company puts forth the state of the associa- 
tion as being most flourishing. When submitted, on January 17, 1872, their 
property consisted chiefly of 2,000 acres of land in and near the town of 
Vallejo, the value of which was estimated at nearly $3,000,000. One thou- 
sand acres were situated within the town limits, including much in the best 
localities, and six hundred acres along the water-front. The portion lying 
inside the town limits was laid out in lots, while the balance was suburban 
lands, and other tracts of considerable value. At this time the prospects of 
Vallejo had reached its zenith, and the relapse which has since occurred was 
not then deemed probable. 

Throughout the following years the Vallejo Land and Improvement Com- 
pany has been on the wane, monetarily speaking. Owing to the declension 
of trade, and other losses, the association is not in as flourishing a condition 
as might be expected, yet there is every prospect of its recovering the 
ground lost. Its property is unquestionably valuable. It owns large ware- 
houses in most desirable localities, which cannot but prove advantageous in 
the near future. 

The Board of Trustees for the year 1878 are: Hon. S. G. Hilborn, Vallejo; 
Messrs. E. J. Wilson, A. T. Robinson, Vallejo; Hon. C. Hartson, Napa; and 
Messrs Edmund R. White, and J. K. Duncan, of San Francisco and Vallejo; 
while the officers are: President, Hon. S. G. Hilborn; Vice President, E. J. 
Wilson; Treasurer, Hon. C. Hartson, and Secretary, J. K. Duncan. 

Vallejo City Water Company. — Was incorporated in 1870. The present 
directorship is: Messrs. A. Chabot, of Oakland, President; Louis Pierce, 
and J. C. Edgecumbe, Superintendents; J. E. Abbott, Secretary, and A. J. 
McPike, Cashier, Book-keeper, and acting Superintendent. 

The main reservoir of the company is situated near the Napa road, three 
miles north of the city, being constructed on a portion of 425 acres pur- 
chased by the company at a sum of $42,000. The dam covers an extent of 


160 acres; it is three hundred feet wide, by forty feet high, with 150 feet at 
the base, and 100 feet at the apex. Its capacity is said to be 8 or 900,000,- 
000 gallons. From this immense receptacle the fluid is conducted to the 
city through twelve-inch cast-iron pipes, and thence distributed by branch 
pipes aggregating more than sixteen miles in length. The town is watered 
by two systems of piping, as follows: On the top of Capitol Hill there is a 
reservoir which is filled by means of pumping, and thereafter distributed 
by lesser pipes to those high positions which the water from the main reser- 
voir will not reach. The pump in use is a No. 8 Hooker, driven by a sixty- 
horse-power engine, and has a pumping capacity of about 500,000 gallons 
in the twenty-four hours. Where the pump is located there is yet another 
reservoir which has a capacity of 200,000 gallons, and is used to feed 
the dam on the summit of the hill, when there is not sufficient pressure 
from the main reservoir. The company also supplies the Mare Island 
Navy Yard with 1,000,000 gallons per mensem, transmitted by means 
of a sub-marine cast-iron pipe with flexible joints, a distance of two thou- 
sand feet, across the bed of the Napa River. This water is used for irri- 
gating purposes, as well as through the buildings and machine-shops, and with- 
out doubt its acquisition has been a great saving to the government. Be- 
sides this vast supply, the company provides the railway establishments, the 
flour-mills, and the steamers which ply to San Francisco, with water. From 
thirty to sixty ships per annum, after loading with grain, fill their tanks 
from the company's pipes ere sailing for foreign lands, while the home con- 
sumption amounts to fully three-fourths of the population. 

The elevation of the main dam is eighty feet above the level of the sea ; 
that on the hill is one hundred and fifty feet. In conclusion, there is an 
admirable system, whereby, in case of fire, connection is made between the 
Capitol Hill dam and the main pipes, which gives a pressure of 150 feet; 
besides, in this regard, thirty five hydrants, of the very latest patterns, have 
been placed at the most convenient street-corners. 

Vallejo Gas Light Company — Incorporated July 23, 1867, with a capital 
of $40,000, under the Directorship of J. B. Frisbie, President, and Harvey 
W. Snow, Secretary. The Company erected their first buildings on Main 
street, near the water front, by contract, for the whole of the original cap- 
ital of $40,000, but these have given place to more spacious offices on Mary- 
land, between Marin and Sonoma streets. In November, 1871, the capital 
stock of the Company was increased to $250,000, when a new Retort 
House was built to contain fifteen retorts capable of yielding 60,000 cubic 
feet of gas per day. The consumption, however, is about 10,000 feet 
daily. Gas is distributed through the city in main pipes aggregating about 
five miles in length, which was first brought into requisition to light the 
town towards the end of 1867. The present officers are J. K. Duncan, 
President ; Hon. S. G. Hilborn, Secretary ; and P. B. Fegan, Superintend- 
ent, who has held the position since the first organization of the Company. 


Bank of Vallejo — Was incorporated on September 25, 1876, with an 
authorized capital of $150,000, under the management of D. W. Harrier as 
President, and J. E. Abbott, Cashier, with Eben Hilton, Joseph Wilson, 
Thomas Matthews, J. C. Edgecumbe, W. C. Greaves, N. Vanderlip, D. W. 
Harrier, John Brownlie, Charles Widemann, as Directors. The present 
management is as follows : W. C. Greaves, President ; S. C. Farnham, Vice- 
President ; J. E. Abbott, Secretary and Cashier ; F. D. Mead, Assistant 
Cashier, the Board of Directors being W. C. Greaves, S. C. Farnham, J. E. 
Abbott, John Wilson, Joseph Wilson, Charles Widemann, G. B. Richart, 
C. Hallin and 0. C. Chamberlain. 

The Bank of Vallejo transacts its business in the Bernard Block, situated 
on Georgia street, where it carries on a general banking and exchange 
business. Draws on National Gold Bank and Trust Company of San 

The Vallejo Savings and Commercial Bank. — This Bank was incor- 
porated on May 3, 1870, with an authorized capital of $300,000, under the 
management of J. B. Frisbie, President, and Henry Mackie, Cashier, the 
Directors being J. B. Frisbie, H. Mackie, J. F. Tobin, Capt. C. H. Baldwin, 
U. S. N., L. C. Fowler, D. C. Haskin and Edward McGettigan. The present 
management is under E. J. Wilson, President, with J. R. English, Cashier, 
the Board of Directors being E. J. Wilson, C. Hartson, A. T. Robinson, M. 
Fletcher, P. W. Dillon, J. K. Duncan and S. G. Hilborn. 

The building in which the Bank transacts its business is an imposing 
structure, standing on the northwest corner of Georgia and Sacramento 
streets, where it does a general banking and exchange business. Cor- 
responds with Wells, Fargo & Co., of New York and San Francisco. 

Pioneer Brewery, Messrs. Smith, Lessees — Is situated on the northeast 
corner of Marin and Carolina streets, and was established in 1862 under the 
name of the Vallejo Brewery, by Edward McGettigan, his partners being 
A. Murray and J. McGarvey. Under the exigencies of trade the building 
was brought to the hammer in 1865, when it was bought by Mr. McGet- 
tigan who rebuilt and put nuw machinery into it and changed its appella- 
tion to the Pioneer Brewery, which it now bears. As a brewing establish- 
ment it ranks second to none in the State. 

The main building occupies an area of 60x80 feet, and is one story high, 
with a basement, in the latter of which is the Malt floor and fermenting 
tubs, the up-stairs being devoted to the malt kiln, malt mill, hop and sample- 
rooms, while there is in use a patent refrigerator, one of three on the coast. 
In connection with the brewery there are the usual out-houses of stables, 
sheds, and other buildings, all of which are in excellent condition. The 
beer made by the establishment is a strong and healthful beverage, for 
which a large sale is found in Napa, Calistoga and the other interior towns, 
while the home consumption is quite an item, the demand being always on 
the increase. 


Empire Soda Works. — O'Grady & Co., proprietors, is a two-storied frame 
building, standing on the corner of Sonoma and Florida streets, covering an 
area of 30x40 feet. The first floor is divided into two parts, one being occu- 
pied as a saloon, run in connection with the business ; while, in the other, 
stands a soda machine, by Smith, of San Francisco, with a capacity of 
twenty-five gallons, and capable of manufacturing five hundred bottles of 
soda water per diem. The reservoir connects with a patent bottling and 
corking machine, made by John Matthews, of New York. There is also a 
patent bottle-washer on the premises. The former machine is the only one 
in the district, a royalty of $75 per month being paid on it ; while a charge 
of about $398 had to be met before the use of it was permitted in the 
county. In the winter months the consumption of soda is necessarily 
smaller than in summer ; but seventy-five dozen per diem may be taken as 
the average out-turn. All kinds of effervescing liquors, such as cider, por- 
ter, gingerale, and lemonade, are bottled on the works ; while they have a 
good business both in town and country, with every prospect of its exten- 
sion to the adjacent counties. The present premises have only been occupied 
since 1866, the original works having been erected fourteen years ago, by E. 
McGettigan, on the corner of Sonoma and Carolina streets, who has now 
sold out of the business. 

The Vallejo Foundry and Machine Works — Is the first establishment 
of its kind started in Vallejo. It stands, according to the new survey, at 
the south-east corner of Block No. 791. This building is situated in South 
Vallejo, and was erected in August, 1869, by the enterprising firm of Heald 
& McCormick. In 1874, however, the former gentleman purchased the in- 
terest of the latter, since when, the business has been carried on by Mr. 
Heald alone. It is a source of gratification to remark that since the first 
establishment of the undertaking, it has generally increased in importance, 
the work turned out being first-class. A specialty is made of Straw Burn- 
ing Threshing Machines ; while nearly all the rolling stock of the California 
Pacific Railroad is manufactured on the premises. Every class of machin- 
ery can be designed and moulded there ; the proprietor taking a just pride 
in securing all the latest improvements in each department of his business. 
The works employ continuously, a staff of twenty workmen; the capital 
invested is about $20,000 ; while a general business is done to the extent of 
$75,000 per annum. The machinery employed on the premises is of first- 
class workmanship, and is driven by an engine of 26 horse-power. 

Pioneer Sash, Doors and Blind Factory — Situated on Block No. 752, 
at the corner of Bice and Fifth streets, South Vallejo, was established by 
the present proprietors, Messrs. D. G. Barnes & Co., in the year 1869, on the 
premises which they now occupy. This is the only branch of the industry 


in the city, to which it does much credit. The building is of wood. The 
The capital employed is entirely invested by the proprietors, who employ 
ten men on the premises. They turn out all kinds of mouldings, and 
house furnishings, as well as making, for the grape-growing ■ districts of 
Napa and Sonoma, a large number of wine and water tanks. The machin- 
ery is worked by a steam engine, made by William Reardon & Co., of 
Brooklyn, N. Y. This factory is the first of its kind erected in Vallejo; 
and from the position which it holds, and the easy access it has to communi- 
cation, both by steamer and rail, in a country which is daily increasing in 
population, the efforts of the proprietors are being rewarded by a thriving 
and increasing business. 

Solano Brewery — Is located on the corner of Kentucky street, on north 
half of lots 1 and 2, block 264. It was erected in the year 1870 and is 
built of brick, the area covered being 42x88 feet. On the ground floor is 
the Sample Room 40x24, with the beer cellar immediately under it of the 
same demensions; adjoining the former is the brewing room 40x24 containing 
the furnace and malt tub. On the second story there is a brewing tub 
capable of holding sixteen barrels, besides which there is a separate store 
room built of brick 42x36. The entire premises were constructed by 
Messrs. Widemann & Rothenbusch, the present proprietors, at a cost of 
about $24,000. This is the largest brewery in Vallejo and has its principal 
custom within the city limits. 

Pioneer Marble Works. — James Doyle, proprietor of the above works 
occupies a one story wooden structure measuring 100x25 feet with a yard 
attached. He employs two men who dress the rough stone into monuments, 
mantel-pieces and other work of a like nature. The marble used is im- 
ported in its natural state from San Francisco while the granite is brought 
from the Penryn quarries, Placer county, in this State. Mr. Doyle no longer 
works at this branch of industry ; he is Constable for the city of Vallejo. 
The business was first started in 1862. 

Farragut Hall. — This commodious hall was built by the late Admiral D. 
G. Farragut in the year 1869 on Georgia street. Its dimensions are 50x80 
feet ; in the northern or upper end of which there is a stage fitted with all 
appropriate paraphernalia for theatrical representations, besides five dressing 
rooms. The original size of the building was too small, so 30 feet were 
added to it making one of the largest rooms in the county. It is lit by a 
sun burner gas jet in the center while brackets are placed at intervals 
along the walls. It is well ventilated and built of brick. All public meet- 
ings, social and political are usually held here, it having a seating capacity 
of eight hundred. 


The Alert Boat Club was organized July 16, 1872, by A. J. Brownlie, 
W. S. Risley, Osgood Hilton, Wm. McDonald and A. J. McKnight. 

It immediately began operations by electing new members and building 
their first boat, which was done by the members themselves in the old 
United States Hotel. The first race rowed was between crews from the 
Riversides of Sacramento, and the first crew of the Alerts on January 1, 
1873, the Riversides entering R. C. Lowell, W. Barry, W. A. Butterfield and 
H. Thiel ; the Alerts, Jno. Reed, W. S. Risley, James Kane and Wm. Mc- 
Donald. This race was for a set of racing oars, and was won by the River- 
sides by ten boat lengths. 

The next race occurred the same day between crews of Farragut Boat 
Club of South Vallejo, and the junior crew of the Alert. The Farragut 
seating Jas. A. Lamont, A. S. Carman, M. Dozier, Jno. T. Dare, and Alerts, 
A. J. Brownlie, A. J. McKnight, H. E. Brown and Geo. Gorham. This race 
was for a set of boat-house colors, and was won easily by the Alerts, beating 
their opponents one-quarter of a mile. Shortly after this the Alerts sent 
east for a four-oared paper shell, which arrived in due time and was the 
only four-oared paper boat on the Coast. With this boat they entered the 
grand regatta held in Vallejo July 4, 1873. 

The first race that day was for the second class four-oared boats. The 
Alerts and Pioneers entering. The distance was one and a half miles and 
return, making three miles, which distance was rowed by the Alerts in 
22-8, beating the Pioneers badly. Next race for first class single scullers. 
Wm. Daily of the Alerts being entered against two others of San Francisco. 
This was won by Daily by half a length, it being the best race of the day. 
Third race for second class single scullers. W. S. Risley and Austin Steven- 
son of the Alerts being matched against three other boats from other clubs. 
The honor of this race also was the Alerts, for Risley won easily, Steven- 
son also of the Alerts, second. The grand race of the day was for four- 
oared boats, there being in all seven entries. The Alerts entering J. J 
Smith, G. E. Taylor, W. S. Risley and Wm. Daily. The Riversides won 
this race, nearly all the other boats having been swamped in the rough 
water. The Farraguts of South Yallejo coming in second. Shortly after 
this a set of champion colors for Vallejo waters was purchased jointly by 
the Farragut and Alert clubs of Vallejo, and the first race was rowed for 
these on January 1, 1874. The Farragut boys winning by two seconds or 
half a boat's length in 21-29J. 

On June 6, 1874, another race for the colors was rowed by the same 
clubs. This being won by the Alerts in 21.20, beating the other boat 175 

Nothing more in the rowing line was done until October, 1878, when 
the Alert Club was represented by A. J. McKnight, Chas. B. Bond, Richard 
McKnight and A. J. Brownlie at Oakland in the race for the McKinley 


Challenge Cup. Here the Alerts were unfortunate, having made a poor 
start, a worse turn, and breaking a seat on their road home. They came in 
third however, making good time. 

Thanksgiving day at Vallejo was the scene of another boating contest 
between the junior crews of the Farragut and Alert Clubs. The Farragut's 
boat being rowed by Jno. T. Dare, H. D. Lazelle, Chas. Morse and Henry 
Gedge, and the Alerts by Geo. B. Hanna, Geo. Roe, Lyle Roe and Osgood 
Hilton. The race was rowed for the honors, and resulted in a complete 
victory for the Alert boys, they having distanced their competitors and 
winning in 20-30f , the best three mile time ever made on this Coast. 

The Alert Club membership is composed of some of the finest young men 
in the place ; in numbers, 28. The Club owns their boat-house which is 
situated on Georgia street wharf, one four-oared wood shell, one four-oared 
paper shell, one racing barge, lately built, and launched February 21, 1879. 
She is a beauty and pronounced (by those who are good judges) likely to be 
very speedy. There is also in the boat-house two Rob Roy Canoes of Mc- 
Gregor model and fame. Value of Club property, $1,300. 

Present officers : Frank B. Lemon, President ; Frank T. Winchell, Vice- 
President ; A. J. McKnight, Secretary ; Wm. McDonald, Treasurer ; Geo. 
Gorham, Captain. 

This Club was not organized for gain financially, but to promote good 
feeling among its members, encourage boating, and benefit all by the physi- 
cal exertion necessary in rowing. They do not row for money, but for the 
honors of the occasion. 

The Club appears to be in a flourishing condition and is rapidly increas- 
ing in numerical strength, while it is growing in the esteem of the people. 

Hotels. — There is no city on the Pacific Coast which is so well pro- 
vided with accommodation for the traveler as is Vallejo, indeed some of 
these structures are a feature of the town, while the principal hotel would 
do credit to a place of double the pretensions. The first hotels, already men- 
tioned in this work, have long ceased to enfold the weary traveler in their 
hospitable arms. Some of the original buildings still stand, as it were to 
mark the course of time, while others have been pulled down to make way 
for more eligible structures, or been utterly wiped out by the devouring 
flames which have on occasion visited the city. 

Barnard House — .Chief among the present hotels is this elegant build- 
ing occupying an area of 1^0x130 feet', on Georgia, the principal business 
street in Vallejo. It was completed and opened on August 10, 1872, by 
John M. Staples, the present proprietor of the Arcade House in San Fran- 
cisco. The Bernard House is a large, square building, containing forty-five 
bed rooms, a large dining room up stairs, and a restaurant on the ground 


floor. It is fitted with every modern improvement necessary for the com- 
fort of visitors, and has two entrances, one on Georgia, the other on Sacra- 
mento street. The street car passes it on its way to the railroad depot twice 
a day, and the rate for board and lodging varies from two to three dollars 
per diem. The present proprietor is Adrian H. Izirar, who is a most popu- 
lar landlord. 

The Howard House, situated on 116 and 118 Georgia street, was com- 
menced in September and finished in December, 1876. Has a frontage of 
50 feet, and can accommodate 150 guests with comfort. It derives its name 
from Amos Howard, its first proprietor, who died a few months after its 
completion, the business being now carried on by his widow and her present 
husband, R. J. Harrington. 

In addition to these there are the Sherman House, Washington House, 
and others, which all find ample patronage from the employes on the Navy 

Newspapers. — The Vallejo Qhronicle was founded by F. A. Leach and 
William Gregg, the first issue being printed June 20, 1867. It appeared 
as a weekly edition of modest size and pretensions, and was continued as a 
weekly until November, 1868, when the present daily was established. In 
April, 1869, Mr. Leach bought the interest of his associate and became sole 
proprietor of the establishment. On assuming the full control he began the 
issue of the Weekly Chronicle, which had been suspended by the daily. 
The politics of the paper, which owing to the conflicting principles of the 
two proprietors had before been independent, were changed, and it became 
independent Republican, and has ever since steadily advocated the views of 
that party. In November, 1875, the ownership of the establishment was 
merged into a stock company, incorporated under the State laws ; Mr. Leach, 
however, still retaining all but a fraction of the stock and continuing in the 
absolute management and control of the business. March 1st, 1879, feeble 
and still failing health compelled him to dissolve his connection with the 
journal, and he sold his whole interest therein to Thomas Wendell, a part 
proprietor and the editor of the Chronicle for several years preceding. Mr. 
Wendell, on entering into charge, united in himself the duties of business 
manager with those of editor. The Chronicle has been a prosperous journal 
from the date of its establishment and has increased in stability and reputa- 
tion with its growing years. The circulation of its daily edition is found 
chiefly in Vallejo and places along the line of the two branches of the Cali- 
fornia and Pacific Railroad ; the weekly edition is found through every part 
of the interior of Solano, and in Napa and Lake, besides having a very con- 
siderable circulation among the vessels of the Pacific squadron of the Navy, 
where its navy intelligence makes it an interesting journal. 

The " Solano Daily Times " made its first appearance on the morn- 


ing of September 28th, 1875, in its present form, 12x18, twenty col- 
umns. It rose from the columns of the Daily Independent The type, 
presses, etc., of the Independent had been purchased by George Roe, who, 
forming a partnership with A. B. Gibson, commenced the publication of the 
Times. About a month after this A. B. Gibson withdrew from the paper, 
and George Roe formed a company, which was known as the " Times Pub- 
lishing Company," and which was composed, besides himself, of W. V. 
Walsh, H. J. Pelham, and Thad. McFarland. McFarland and Pelham here- 
after seceded from the Times, which now was issued under the firm name of 
Roe & Walsh. 

In January, 1876, the Solano Weekly Times made its appearance in con- 
nection with the daily. It is made up of all the reading matter that appears 
in the daily during each week, and its columns are, consequently, well filled. 
The Solano Weekly Times is 23x32 in size, of twenty-eight columns, and 
has a fair circulation in Solano and adjacent counties. 

The Valtejo Elevator. — In the year 1867 Mr. G. C. Pearson, a gentleman 
of Chicago, came to the coast for the benefit of his health, and among 
other places visited Vallejo, where he conceived the plan of erecting an 
elevator after the manner of those in use in other grain producing States. 
Among those to whom he imparted his idea was Dr. D. W. C. Rice, the presi- 
dent of the California Pacific Railroad, who was so struck with the practi- 
cability of such a scheme that he became anxious to share in the building and 
participate in its advantages, suggesting that a joint-stock company should 
be formed, which was done without delay, it being floated with a capital of 
$500,000. On investigating the laws of the State, Mr. Pearson found that 
there was none regulating the storage of warehouses whereby property 
could be transferred upon endorsement. He therefore drafted a bill, with 
the idea of regulating such, but it was, unfortunately, never passed by the 
Legislature, although in each successive session presented to the Assembly. 
Mr. Pearson thereupon seceded from any participation in the scheme, and 
returned to Chicago, leaving the plans and specifications in the hands of Dr. 
Rice. A company was organized, composed of Dr. Rice, with Dr. Ryder, 
Messrs. Roelofson, D. C. Haskins, J. B. Frisbie, Dr. Spencer, and Messrs. 
Hudson and Bauchius, of Marysville, who were" afterwards joined by I. 
Friedlander, he having obtained a controlling interest by the purchase of 
one-fifth of the stock. On his return to Chicago, Mr. Pearson had, not- 
withstanding his connection with the elevator had ceased, engaged, at the 
request of Dr. Rice, the services of Mr. Robert Mackie as architect and over- 
seer of the construction ; and through the influence of Dr. Ryder, Mr. 
Charles Wheeler, of Oswego, New York, was appointed superintendent. 
These gentlemen arrived in the summer of 1868, but headway was not made 
with the building till the following year. The piling was effected in Nov- 
ember and December of 1868, and the erection commenced on January 4, 1869. 


As far back as 1838 the practicability of shipping grain in bulk was dem- 
onstrated when cargoes of wheat were shipped from Germany and other 
countries to the United States, which arrived in better condition than did 
that in sacks or boxes. There was therefore no reason why such should not 
be equally practicable in 1869. 

" Experience had shown," says Mr. Pearson, " the impossibility of storing 
large amounts of grain in the old style warehouse, built with heavy timber 
frames, the toughest oak being inadequate for sustaining the pressure of 
even the small amount that it was possible to store in the shallow, flat bins 
of the period. Various materials were tested without success, until the 
plan was hit upon of using wooden strips, 2x6 to 3x12, resting flatwise, 
one upon another, and thoroughly spiked together ; any mechanic will un- 
derstand the impossibility of breaking down or rending asunder a building 
composed of compartments or bins interlocked or dovetailed together in this 
manner ; the whole fabric is one piece, possessing relatively more strength. 
The Elevator building is simply an aggregation of bins resting upon pieces 
of wood stone-bound together with iron bands and rods; surmounting the 
bins is a light frame, serving to carry the roof and for operating the mach- 
inery directly connected with elevating, spouting and weighing grain. Into 
these bins (which are numbered in all the larger elevators) the grain is 
bulked, i. e., stored loosely, which not only protects it from destruction by 
rats and mice, but allows the formation of grades of uniform character, 
whereby the value is recognized in the market at once by reference to 
samples. An elevator's capacity consequently depends upon the number 
and size of its bins. In this respect they vary from one to five hundred, 
with storage room for 300 tons for the smaller, to 48,000 tons for the 

"The Vallejo elevator stands on over 900 piles, of an average length of 
forty feet, driven through about eight feet of mud and detritus, and into the 
rocky bottom from four to six feet, forming a secure foundation against 
settling. To secure it against the danger of careening over from earthquake 
vibrations, Mr. Mackie had heavy timbers, well spliced together, placed all 
around the outside piling, and these were firmly tied to the pier clumps or 
clusters on the inside of the building with heavy iron rods, which are car- 
ried below high-water mark, or about eleven feet below the top of the piles. 
A portion of the area was then filled with rock and earth, from eight to ten 
feet in depth, adjacent to the inside piles, and then raised in a mound form 
to the centre, where the depth is thirty feet. 

It will thus be seen on what a massive foundation this elevator was built. 
It is never known when an earthquake may be experienced on the coast. 
Former years have proved what devastation may be caused by one of them, 
and it is never safe to erect a bulky building of this nature on any but the 
soundest foundation. 


" The construction of the building is most massive. The first and second 
stories of the elevator are frame work of 12x1 2-inch — interspersed with 
10x10 timber— Puget Sound timber. The number of posts worked in is 
260, which are capped by 12xl8-inch timbers, running crosswise the build- 
ing, a width of 85 feet. These joists are crossed by 12x1 6-inch timbers, in 
four tiers, running at right angles the whole length of the building, a 
distance of one hundred feet, and firmly attached to the underlying tim- 
bers. Upon this structure commences the third story, or grain bins, which 
are built up crib fashion, of an oblong form, 10x20 feet, hoppered at the 
bottom, in which there is a casting with a slide for drawing out the contents 
when required for shipping. The bins, of which there are thirty-nine, are 
constructed of 2x6 plank, spiked on each other flatwise to a height of forty 
feet. Above these is the cupola, forty-two feet in width, with a depth of 
one hundred feet, running longitudinally through the building, and rising 
a height of forty feet to the eaves, from the level to the top of the bins. This 
structure is three stories high, with an attic, in which is the principal portion 
of the elevating machinery. This is driven by a belt, weighing over 1,400 
pounds, from a pully in the engine shaft below. The third story of the 
cupola is designed for receiving and weighing grain from the cars. The 
two lower stories are adapted for distributing the grain through wooden 
spouts, or shutes, to the different bins. The scales for weighing the grain 
in bulk are of Fairbanks' patent, and the three have each respectively a 
capacity of fifteen tons at a draft, and their hoppers will hold five hundred 
bushels. There are three receiving elevators — or, as they are termed in the 
Western States, car elevators — and two elevators for shipping. The latter 
are provided, each, with a pair of 250-bushel hopper scales. There is one 
elevator, or " leg," on the south side, which is built into the building in a 
frame, which is so arranged as to be capable of being lowered or raised into 
barges or schooners for discharging grain. When not in use the foot rests 
on the wharf, but when employed in unloading, the foot is carried into the 
vessel to be discharged, sunk into the loose grain, a slide opened, and the 
the cargo very rapidly elevated by buckets, or cups, attached to an endless 
belt. These cups will contain about one-twelfth of a bushel, and three 
hundred and eighty of them pass up in a minute of time ; equal to an 
aggregate lifting capacity of from 1,500 to 1,800 bushels per hour. The 
grain is received in a garner and weighed out in 100-bushel drafts, which 
are received in the foot of the distributing elevator and carried thence to 
the attic, to be distributed to the respective bins, according to the grade of 
the grain. The method is different in receiving grain from the cars, which 
are run on tracks into the lower story, opposite the elevators. The grain is 
rapidly thrown out by steam shovels into a hopper, or sink, from which it 
runs into the elevating buckets, and thence emptied into the scale of hop- 
pers for weighing, and then distributed into the proper bins. In discharging 


from the bins, the grain is drawn into the foot of the shipping elevators ; 
thence carried to the top of the building and weighed in four hopper scales — 
one of 500, two of 300, and one of 250 bushels — and afterwards discharged 
through spouts into the ship to be loaded. The whole mechanism and 
methods of receiving and discharging are very simple and expeditious in 
operation. The storage capacity of the building will approximate 350,000 
bushels, or 10,000 tons of wheat, inclusive of store room for 250 tons of 
sacked grain. The handling capacity is 35,000 bushels per day, though it 
can be weighed and run into a ship's hold at a speed of from 8,000 to 1 0,000 
bushels ; equal to 250 to 300 tons per hour. The engine and boilers are 
located in a separate fire-proof building, 30x35 feet in dimensions, from 
which rises a smoke-stack, three feet in diameter, to a height of 118 feet. 
The cylinder of the engine is 18 inches bore and 42 inches stroke. The 
engine was built at the Union Iron Works, San Francisco. For regulating 
the running speed, there is attached to the engine one of Scott & Eckart's 
patent adjustable cut-offs and governor. The steam is supplied by two 
boilers, 56 inches in diameter and 16 feet in length, containing thirty-five 
3-inch tubes each ; also manufactured by Booth & Co., which firm manu- 
factured the shafting, pulleys, etc. There are 200 feet of shafting, ranging 
from 6 inches down to 1\ inches in diameter. Of belting, there are 3,150 
feet. The main driving belt is 226 feet long and 20 inches in width, and 
runs from a 6-foot pully on the engine to a 10-foot pully on the main line 
of shafting in the top of the building. There are 3,150 feet of belting in 
service, viz : 226 feet, five-ply, 20 inches wide ; 1,200 feet, four-ply, 20 
inches wide ; 132 feet, four-ply, 18 inches wide ; 127 feet, four-ply, 16 
inches wide, and 258 feet, four-ply, 8 inches wide. The aggregate total of 
lineal feet of timber and lumber, used and employed in erecting the elevator, 
figures up 1,076,000 feet, exclusive of 35,000 lineal feet of piles, used in con- 
structing the building. The roof is of tin, put on by W. H. Lamb & Co., 
who also supplied the elevator buckets, hardware, nails, screws, etc. The 
outside of the building is covered with smooth iron." 

The above technical information has been in the main taken from the 
Vallejo directory of 1870, but, as many of the figures therein given were 
incorrect, the present ones quoted were supplied by Mr. Luke Alvord, who 
was foreman on the building during its erection. 

On the afternoon of the 16th of September, 1872, the Vallejo elevator 
was no more ; it fell with a terrific crash, carrying with it some 4,000 tons 
of wheat which were stored inside, and 1,000 more upon the wharves around 
the building, all being the property of I. Friedlander, the Grain King. The 
total loss was estimated at $100,000. The cause of collapse is by some 
asserted to be on account of defective piling, while others declare that the 
catastrophe was the result of the two lower stories not being properly 
' braced, i. e. up to a distance of 25 feet from the base of the building. For 


several days prior to its collapse, the elevator had evinced decided symptoms 
of settling. Doors had become cramped, crackling sounds had been heard 
all over the building, but this gave no cause for alarm ; yet down it went 
in one confused heap, happily taking with it no human lives. 

Carquinez Cemetery. — This beautiful plot of ground, like many others for 
a public purpose, was donated to the City of Vallejo by General John B. 
Frisbie in 1857, and contains twenty-five acres. It is situated on the sum- 
mit of the rising ground, and is on the direct road to Benicia. A road run- 
ning through the center divides the grounds equally and is apportioned, the 
eastern half to the Catholic and the western half to the Protestant. The 
government of the burial-ground is vested in Trustees and a Superintendent. 

Militay Organization. — Vallejo boasts one company of Rifles, composed 
of a fine body of men who are in every way capable as citizen soldiers. The 
time was when there mustered in its ranks many men who had served in 
the war of the rebellion. These have in a measure given way to not less 
worthy successors, who have brought the standard of their corps to a high 
state of perfection. Captain Frank O'Grady may well feel pleasure in his 
command, and. California be proud of this portion of her National Guard. 

Vallejo Fire Department. — Among the many institutions in the 
United States in which her sons may truly feel a just pride, none are more 
prominently brought forward than are her fire companies. Every city or 
town, however small, boasts of its brigade, who, whether paid or from love, 
give their energies at the first stroke of the fire alarm to save life and prop- 
erty. The Fire Department in Vallejo was established in the year 1865, the 
inaugural election having been held on December 4th of that year. At this 
meeting, and for the following years the officers elected were: Chief En- 
gineer, William Aspenall ; January 10, 1868, Chief Engineer, Philip Hich- 
born ; January 10, 1870, Philip Hichborn was elected Chief Engineer; Jan- 
uary 12, 1872, Alexander Hichborn was chosen Chief and John L. King, 
First Assistant Engineer; May 4, 1873, Joseph Edgecumbe, Chief, Van B. 
Smith, First, and John Welch, Second Assistant Engineers ; May 9, 1874, 
O. L. Henderson, Chief, Gilbert Clayton, First, and B. D. Egery, Second As- 
sistant Engineers ; May 7, 1875, Van B. Smith, Chief, Thomas McDonald, 
First, and George Gorham, Second Assistant Engineers; May 16, 1876, 
William McGill, Chief, E. J. Colby, First, and J. F. Nugent, Second Assist- 
ant Engineers; May 3, 1877, Van B. Smith, Chief, J. J. Smith, First, and 
R. W. Burton, Second Assistant Engineer ; May 20, 1878, William Beards- 
ley, Chief, Daniel Skully, First, and Steven Price, Second Assistant En- 
gineers ; May 2, 1879, Steven M. Price, Chief, Daniel Skully, First, and Peter 
Wright, Second Assistant Engineers. 


San Pablo Engine Company, No. 1. — This company was organized on 
February 23, 1865, under the following officers, who were elected at the 
first meeting, held on the above mentioned date: Foreman, John King; 
First Assistant, H. P. Soames ; Second Assistant, Edward Fitzmorris ; 
Treasurer, F. S. Carlton ; Secretary, Laurence Ryan ; Financial Secretary, 
John Kennedy. The location of the Engine is at the Masonic Hall, on 
Virginia street. It is of the fourth class and weighs, exclusive of supplies, 
3,700 pounds. The boiler is M. R. Clapp's Circulating Tubular Patent, 
made of the best material and of sufficient strength to bear twice the 
pressure usually required. Steam can be engendered from cold water in 
from four to six minutes from the time of the lighting of the fires. The 
boiler is covered with German silver, and banded with the same substance 
and Princess metal. The cylinder is fitted to a bed-plate which contains 
all the steam passages, thus preventing leaky joints and condensation of 
steam. It is fitted with self-adjusting packing, requiring little or no atten- 
tion from the Engineer. The steam cylinder, steam chest and bed-plate are 
cased in German silver and Princess metal. The main forcing-pump is 
double-acting, and made of a composition of copper and tin and highly 
polished. It is so constructed that it can be taken apart or put together in 
a few miuutes if required ; there is also a circulating valve for the purpose 
of feeding the boiler when steam is cut off. The large copper air chamber 
is of Princess metal, with a nickel-plated water pressure attached. The 
steam cylinder is eight inches m diameter, and eight inches stroke ; the 
pump is 4| inches in diameter and 8 inch stroke ; the forward wheels are 4| 
and the rear ones 5 feet high. The engine is thoroughly equipped with 
tongue rope, hose-brake lamps, headlight and all the paraphernalia for 
ordinary use. The hose cart is two-wheeled and carries 500 feet of car- 
bolized hose, and is in good condition. The officers of the Company are : 
Alexander Hichborn, Foreman ; J. W. Van Meeter, First Assistant ; Alex- 
ander Morrison, Second Assistant ; James Topley, Treasurer ; T. S. Gilbert, 
Secretary; J. W. Winters, Engineer; Louis Rosine, Stoker. There are 
fifty-eight members in good standing. The Engineer, Stoker and Secre- 
tary are permanently employed ; these, together with the Foreman, two, 
Assistants and fifty-one members constitute the entire Company. 

Vallejo Schools — Early Beginnings. — During the summer of 1855, a 
Mr. Wilmott, a Methodist minister, solicited subscriptions to raise funds for 
the erection of a building to be used jointly as a church and school house. 
Admiral Farragut was then in command of the Navy Yard, and Isaiah Hans- 
com, Naval Constructor. The paper wss circulated among the men on the 
yard and one thousand ($1,000) dollars subscribed ; many of the men giving 
a day's pay. General J. B. Frisbie donated two lots on Virginia street, 
between Marin and Sonoma. The building was soon erected, most of the 


work having been contributed by the different mechanics in town. Miss 
Frost, a relative of Mr. Hanscom, opened a school in this building the same 
summer, and continued it for several months. The church people desiring 
to plaster the room requested the school to vacate, and it was therefore 
moved into the old building, now standing on the corner of Maine and 
Marin streets, and known as " Smith and King's blacksmith shop." (It is 
not known whether this teacher was paid in full by tuition bills, or in part 
from public money). 

Miss Frost was succeeded in 1856 by Mr. George Rowell, who, afterwards, 
in the fall of that year, moved into an old building known as the " Virginia 
House," now standing on Sonoma street, near Pennsylvania. In the spring 
of 1857 a public meeting was called, to see what action should be taken rela- 
tive to building a public school house. Responding to the call the people 
assembled at the old State House, then standing near where Eureka Hall is 
now located (afterward burned), and General J. F. Houghton was chosen 
moderator. At this meeting it was voted to build a house, and money was 
raised by subscription to pay for the same. Three lots were donated by 
General J. B. Frisbie, on Carolina street, at the corner of Sonoma, James 
Newbert being the contractor and builder. The original building was about 
forty feet square, with ceiling some fourteen feet high. At about this time 
there were several teachers, who succeeded each other at short intervals ; a 
Mr. Farmer, Miss Coyle, Miss Casson, Mr. Mason, Mr. N. Smith. Up to this 
time, spring of 1858, we have been unable to learn whether the teachers 
were paid in part with public money or entirely by tuition bills, but there 
is reason to believe some public money was received as early as 1857. Mr. 
E. M. Benjamin, now of San Francisco, was one of the trustees, and em- 
ployed Mr. Newbert to build the house in 1857. 

In the fall of 1859, or spring of 1860, Mr. Fred. Campbell (now Superin- 
tendent of Schools, Oakland) took charge of the public school and remained 
until the spring of 1861. In June of that year Miss Root, now the wife of 
Hon. S. G. Hilborn, taught for one month, when Mr. Isaiah Hurlburt entered 
the school as principal, and Miss Root as assistant ; they remained until June, 
1862, when they were succeeded by Mr. Atchinson and wife, who remained 
about one year. Mr. J. E. Fliggle then took charge of the school, assisted by 
Miss Casebolt, who remained until the spring of 1864, when Miss C. resigned, 
and Miss Alice Pickle was appointed in her place ; they continued the school 
up to September 5, 1864, when Mr. Geo. W. Simonton took charge as princi- 
pal and Miss Sophia A. Simonton, now Mrs. Harris, as assistant. Prior to 
1864 there had been several boards of trustees. E. M. Benjamin was one of 
the first. J. W. Farmer, E. J. Wilson, A. Powell, M. J. Wright, and others, 
but there is no data to fix either the date or order. Mr. Wright, however, 
was a trustee in 1864. 

At the time Mr. Simonton entered the school there were two rooms in the 


school building, the one built by Mr. Newbert for the principal, and a small 
room some twenty feet square, added subsequently for the assistant. There 
were at this time in both rooms about seventy scholars. 

The school was ungraded and its entire management left to the principal. 
During all these years and up to about 1867 the salary of teachers had been 
paid, in part at least, by rate bills, levied pro rata on all the children. From 
1864 to about 1871 the increase of children in public schools was very rapid, 
and it was with great difficulty the trustees could furnish sitting room for the 
children. Taxes were levied on the people and paid cheerfully, to build 
school rooms. In 1867 there were five rooms, with as many teachers, packed 
w T ith children, each having from seventy to one hundred and twenty, fre- 
quently compelled to sit on the stage, on boxes or stools, for whole terms. 

Present Results. — No city in the State has shown more interest in the 
matter of education than Yallejo. Her people have ever been alive to the 
importance of giving the rising generation a liberal education. From 1867 
to 1869 the influx of population was so great that the school trustees found 
it very difficult, with the limited means and accommodation at their com- 
mand, to provide rooms and school furniture for the constantly increasing 
pupils. In 1869 the board of trustees, viz.: J. G. Lawton, M. J. Wright and 
I. S. Halsey, determined to submit to the people the question of taxing 
themselves for the purpose of raising money to build a new school house, 
and, to their credit be it recorded, the proposition was carried by a large ma- 
jority and the tax was levied. Plans having been advertised for those pre- 
sented by Messrs. Hoagland & Newsome, of San Francisco, were approved 
and the contract for constructing a large, commodious three-story building 
was awarded to J. W. Newbert, a citizen of Vallejo, for the sum of $14,000. 

With a desire to extend the efficiency of the school department, J. G, 
Lawton, acting under instruction of the trustees, prepared a special school 
law for the city of Vallejo, providing (among other things) for a Board of 
Education, to consist of a superintendent and four school directors, naming 
the following gentlemen, who should serve until the next charter election^ 
viz.: J. G. Lawton, Superintendent and ex-officio President of the Board; 
M. J. Wright, Secretary; E. M. Benjamin, B. T. Osborn and I. S. Halsey, 
Directors. The law was passed by the legislature; and signed by the gov- 
ernor March 25, 1870. The gentlemen above named having been clothed 
with the proper authority, entered at once into the work assigned them, and 
labored assiduously for the promotion of the educational interests of the 
city. On the 6 th of July, 1870, the new school-house was turned over to, 
and accepted by the Board; and although the third story remained un- 
finished, still the accomodation afforded greatly relieved the pressing de- 
mands upon the department. The following description will convey a very 
correct idea of this beautiful structure: The building is forty-eight feet 


front, by sixty-eight feet deep. Ells eight feet wide. Single story, rear 
wing, 14x30 \ feet. It is three stories high, with Mansard roof, all inclosed 
in rustic style. Two wings, each eight feet wide, set out at each end of the 
building, furnishing broad entrances and stairways; these wings are sur- 
mounted with observatories. The centre of the building rises to a higher 
elevation, and upon its crown rests a turret, which serves both as a ventil- 
ator and belfry. The class-rooms are lighted from the front by four double, 
oval-topped windows, and the side elevations are equally well provided with 
large windows. The first floor is four feet from the ground, and the first 
and second stories fourteen feet six inches high, and the third fourteen feet. 
On the first floor, three large school-rooms are arranged for, each having 
entrance from the wings. Iron columns support the upper floors, and plat- 
forms for teachers occupy convenient positions. In the rear are two private 
rooms for teachers; halls wash-rooms and wardrobes. The second story is 
also conveniently partitioned off", affording four good-sized class-rooms. The 
general style of building is neat, with no excess of ornamentation. Prior 
to the building of this house, the trustees were compelled to hire rooms in 
various and unsuitable parts of the city, paying therefor heavy rents; the 
colored school being in one of the rooms of the United States Hotel. On 
July 9th, 1870, the Board adopted the classification and course of study in 
use in the public schools of Providence, R. I., with such modifications as 
were deemed proper by the Board. The following corps of teachers was 
employed to teach under the new and improved system: G. W. Simonton, 
principal of the High-school, W. F. Roe, and Isabella Murphy, assistants ; 
A. W. Dozier, principal of the Grammar department, with William Crow- 
hurst, Miss Lawrence, and J. McFadden, as assistants; Miss Sophia 
Simonton, Miss Mary Turtelott, Miss Foye, Miss Delia Sweatland, Mary G. 
Hall and Miss Rutherford, teachers of the Primary department, and Miss 
Wundenburg, teacher of the Colored school; W. M. Cole, Janitor. 

The salaries paid at this time were from $50 to SI 50 per month, aggre- 
gating, including Superintendent, Secretary and Janitor, $1,151 per month. 
The regulations adopted by the Board provide for a ten-months' school, 
divided into two terms of five months each, with a mid-term vacation of 
one week. The school-money received from the state and county was 
found inadequate, and to make up the deficiency, the following schedule of 
rate-bills was adopted, payable monthly: "High-school department, each 
pupil, $2 50; first and second grade, Grammer, $2 00; third grade, Gram- 
mar, $1 75; fourth grade, Grammer, $1 50; Primary department, $1 00. 
At the end of the first month after the adoption of this order, viz.: from 
Jan. 4, to Feb. 15, 1871, the teachers reported to the Board, collections 
amounting to $543 70. At the end of May, 1871, the following teachers 
were elected for the next term: G. W. Simonton, W. F. Roe, and Miss Julia 
Benjamin, for High-school; A. W. Dozier, Misses Sweatland, Tourtelott, 


Benjamin, Murphy, and Mrs. C. A. Kidder (nee Simonton) Misses Kate Hall, 
Anderson, Rutherford, Foye, and Wm. Crowhurst, principal of the South 
Vallejo school; and Miss Mary Tobin, Etta Thompson, and Miss Watson, 
teacher of the colored school. 

On the 15th of September the following gentlemen, having been elected 
by the people as provided in the new City School law, were duly qualified, 
and took their seats as the second Board of Education of Vallejo: Rev. N. 
B. Klink, Superintendent; I. S. Halsey, Secretary; Luke Doe, J. H. Green 
and E. H. M. Baily, Directors. The newly-elected members entered at 
once into the good work begun by the previous Board, and the Vallejo 
schools soon became famous throughout the adjacent counties, many pupils 
being sent here for instruction, and large numbers of most excellent teach- 
ers making application for positions as instructors. 

The first question of importance presented to this Boai'd for its considera- 
tion related to the finances of the department. The school-money received 
from the state and county was only sufficient to maintain the schools for 
eight months. A special tax of thirty-five cents on each $100 valuation on 
the assessment-roll was therefore provided for in the special law before- 
mentioned, to make up the deficiency. This tax was assessed and collected 
by the county officials, in the same manner and at the same time of assess- 
ing and collecting the state and county taxes, and without cost to the school- 
fund. This arrangement worked well, and gave great satisfaction to the 
public; but, unfortunately, the State Board of Equalization the next year 
decided that all such laws throughout the state were unconstitutional, and 
issued an order restraining County Assessors and Collectors from assessing 
or collecting township and district taxes. They further promulgated this 
principle in the matter of taxation, viz.: "That all taxes levied and col- 
lected for township and district purposes must be assessed and collected 
by officers elected by the people to be taxed." This rendered a revision 
of the Vallejo School Law necessary. The matter was referred to the 
Secretary of the Board with instructions to procure legal assistance and 
so revise the Special School Law as to secure the assessing and collecting 
of the usual special tax. On the 5th of January, 1874, J. G. Lawton, Esq., 
presented the revised law to the Board, which, after some modifications, was 
approved, and the Secretary instructed to forward it to the Hon. J. L. 
Heald, member of assembly, by whom it was introduced for legislative 
action; on the 25th day of February following it was signed by the Gover- 
nor, and has ever since been the school law of Vallejo township. The 
changes made related more especially to the matter of including the entire 
township of Vallejo in the school district, and making provision for the 
election of a township Assessor and Collector as required by the order be- 
fore-mentioned, emanating from the State Board of Equalization. 

At the close of the school year ending December, 1871, Messrs. Gregory, 




/ York 



Hilborn, Lawton, Ashbrook, Dr. L. C. Frisbie, and Rev. C. E. Rich, assisted 
the Superintendent, Mr. Klink, in making the usual term-examination, 
and the report made by these gentlemen was highly creditable to teachers 
and pupils, and quite satisfactory to the Board. On January 2, 1872, the 
Board adopted a course of study, rules and regulations, and had the same 
printed in pamphlet form for gratuitous distribution among the people. 
During this year, Mr. Simonton, the principal, obtained permission of the 
Board to give a number of public school entertainments, for the purpose of 
raising money to purchase a suitable bell for house No. 1. His efforts were 
successful beyond expectation, and the fine bell thus secured to the school 
department has ever since been ringing out notes of praise to all who par- 
ticipated in this worthy object. The cost of the bell was $325. 

The teachers elected for the term beginning January, 1872, were the same 
as last term, with the exception that Mrs. Kidder resigned and J. McFadden 
was elected and assigned to the South Vallejo school. 

On the 23d day of April, 1872, Mr. Simonton, after so many years of 
faithful service in the cause of education, was compelled to hand in his 
resignation on account of failing health. After several ineffectual attempts 
on the part of the Board to induce him to continue, his resignation was 
finally accepted on the 7th of May, 1872. After accepting the resignation 
of Prof. Simonton, the following resolutions were unanimously passed by 
the Board: 

"Resolved, That it is with unfeigned regret we are called upon to part 
with our late Principal, O. W. Simonton, he having filled that position for 
years with honor to himself, profit to the children of Vallejo, and the per- 
fect satisfaction of the Board. 

Resolved, That the thanks of this Board are due, and are hereby tendered 
to him for many valuable suggestions, and his unremitting efforts in assist- 
ing us to arrange and perfect our present school system. 

Resolved, That we cordially recommend him to all interested in educa- 
cational matters as a gentleman in every way competent, and worthy of 
their entire confidence and esteem." 

On June 11, 1872, the following teachers were elected for the term com- 
mencing July next : 

C. B. Towle, Principal of the High School ; W. F. Roe, Teacher of Lan- 
guages ; Miss Kate Hall, First Assistant in the High School ; Miss Julia 
Benjamin, Second Assistant, High School; Miss Mary Tourtelott, Third 
Assistant, High School; A. W. Doziei, Principal of the Grammar Depart- 
ment ; Miss F. A. Frisbie, Miss Delia Sweatland, Mrs. C. A. Kidder and Miss 
J. Belle Murphy, Assistants ; Wm. Crowhurst, Principal of the Primary 
Department ; Miss C. F. Barney, Miss Etta Thompson and Fannie Watson, 
Assistants ; J. A. McFadden, Principal of the South Vallejo School ; Miss 
Mary Tobin, Assistant. 



On July 13, 1872, a petition having been received from a number of 
citizens residing near the Orphans' Home asking the Board of Education to 
open a public school in the Home building, and the consent of the officers 
of that institution having been obtained, it was agreed to by the Board, and 
Prof. N. Smith was elected to teach the school, all to be under the same 
rules and regulations governing the Vallejo Public School. 

It may here be interesting to give the amount of money disbursed the past 
school year as appears from the Secretary's report dated June, 1872. Sal- 
aries, $13,745.45 ; interest on Mackay's note, $750 ; interest on money bor- 
rowed to pay teachers, $510.40 ; repairs and improvements, $1,020.39; 
school supplies, $691.99 ; school furniture, $354.25 ; rents, $337 ; insurance, 
$264.35 ; grading and constructing sidewalks, $175.40 ; fuel, $148.33 ; water, 
$114.80; printing, $121.25; incidentals, $129.55; library, $50; expressage, 
$20— total $18,433.16. 

The receipts for the same year were from the following sources : Balance 
in Treasury at beginning of the year $69.36 ; received from the State Fund, 
$4,741.35 ; received from the County Fund, $7,842.65 ; received from the 
District Special Tax, $4,234.29 ; received from the City Special Tax, 
$2,415.21— total $19,302.86. 

On July 13, 1872, the death of E. H. M. Baily one of the School Directors 
was announced and suitable resolutions of respect and condolence passed 
by the Board. 

On November 4th following, Mr. F. Carlton having been duly appointed 
School Director by the Superintendent to fill the vacancy in the Board 
occasioned by the death of Mr. Baily, he qualified, and took his seat. 

January 20, 1873, the Board of Education elected the following named 
teachers to act as City Board of Examination : N. B. Klink, President ; C. 
B. Towle, W. F. Roe, Melville Dozier, Wm. Crowhurst, A. W. Dozier and W. 
H. Fry, County Superintendent. 

The following teachers were elected for the term beginning in January, 
1873 : C. B. Towle, Principal of High School ; W. F. Roe, Professor of 
Languages ; Miss Kate Hall, Assistant in High School ; A. W. Dozier, Prin- 
cipal of Grammar Department ; G. W. Simonton, Second Grade ; Miss Delia 
Sweatland, First Division, Third Grade ; Miss Julia Benjamin, Second Divi- 
sion, Third Grade ; Miss P. A. Frisbie, First Division, Fourth Grade ; Miss 
Isabelle A. Murphy, Second Division, Fourth Grade ; Wm. Crowhurst, 
Principal of Primary Department ; Miss Etta L. Thompson, Second Grade ; 
Miss Mary Tourtelott, Third Grade ; Miss Jennie S. Klink, Assistant in 
Third Grade ; Mrs. C. A. Kidder, Fourth Grade ; Melville Dozier, Principal, 
South Vallejo ; N. Smith, Principal Orphans' Home ; Miss Jane Anderson, 
Colored School. 

The year 1873 was made memorable in the history of the Vallejo schools 
by the erection of the new and and beautiful school house now standing on 


the corner of Carolina and Sonoma streets. This improvement was made 
for additional accommodation for the Grammar and Primary Departments. 
This work was done under a contract with Mr. Charles Murphy, a citizen of 
Vallejo, for. the sum of $6,500. 

It was also during this year that the Board adopted a Diploma to be pre- 
sented to the graduates from the Vallejo High School. The first graduates 
receiving this mark of distinction were Misses Maggie Tobin, Mary Mc- 
Knight, Hattie Dempsey and Mary Long. 

On Monday, March 16, 1874, the first election was held under the provis- 
ions of the amended School Law, resulting in the choice of the following 
named gentlemen : J. G. Lawton, Superintendent ; I. S. Halsey, Secretary ; 
L. Doe, J. Q. Adams and A. J. McPike, Directors ; G. T. Plaisted, Assessoi 
and Collector; and on the 6th day of April they qualified took their scats, 
and immediately entered upon the duty assigned them. 

Through the kindness and courtesy of the City Trustees, early in the 
year 1874 the Board of Education was furnished with a very pleasant room 
in the City Hall to hold their meetings and transact their business. 

June 5, 1874, Mr. G. W. Simonton having previously obtained permission 
of the Board to give an entertainment for the purpose of raising money 
with which to purchase a piano for the Grammar Department, of which he 
was Principal, reported $190 as the proceeds of the undertaking. A short 
time afterward the instrument now in use was secured. 

Graduating Class of 1874 — Misses : Mary S. Halsey, Mary Wynn, Etta 
Foye, Mary Hobbs, Margaret Wakely, Josephine Sundquest, and Margaret 

Teachers elected in June, 1874 — C. B. Towle, W. F. Roe, Jennie Dickin- 
son, Dora Harris, Mary Congdon, G. W. Simonton, J. T. Royal, Win. Crow- 
hurst, J. S. Congdon, N. Smith, Mrs. C. A. Kidder, Julia Benjamin, Miss C. 
H. Pinkhani, Belle Murphy, Etta Thompson, Mary Tobin, Miss P. A. Frisbie, 
Mary Foye, Jennie Klink, and D. P. Whitney, janitor. 

The Census Marshal for 1874. J. H. Green. Esq., reports : Whole number 
white children in the township, between 5 and 17 — boys, 800 ; Girls, 762. 
Total, 1,562. Colored children— boys, 13; girls, 3. Total, 16. Mongolian 
under 17—20. Blind— 1. Total, between 5 and 17—1,599. Number of 
children between 5 and 17, who have attended Public school during the 
year: White — 998; Negro, 14. Total — 1,012. Number who have attended 
private schools — 263. Number who have not attended any school : White 
-305 ; Negro, 2 ; Indian, 1. Total— 308. 

Number of children native born, and having native parents — 865. Num- 
ber native born children, having one native born parent — 301. Number of 
children native born, having both parents foreign — 1,292. Number of 
children foreign born — 15. 

At a meeting of the Board, held July 3, 1874, a resolution was intro- 



duced to abolish the colored school, and admit the pupils thereof to the 
graded schools. The question was fully discussed by members of the Board, 
the citizens present, with one exception, favoring the proposed change. The 
resolution was adopted ; and Vallejo took the lead in the important question 
by being the first city to admit colored children to the graded schools, and 
thus conferring upon them equal privileges with the white children. The 
whole number of children enrolled July, 1874, were 1,011. 

On December 30, 1874, Prof. G. W. Simonton, and Miss Belle Murphy, 
resigned. April 2, 1875, School Director, L. Doe, having removed to Oak- 
land, tendered his resignation, which was accepted, and David Rutherford 
was appointed to fill the vacancy. It should here be stated, to the credit 
of Mr. Doe, that, while acting as a Director, he ever evinced a strong desire 
to advance the best interests of the Vallejo School Department; always 
punctual in his attendance at the meetings of the Board, and taking a lively 
interest in all questions presented. On the 2d of June, 1875. the Board, 
being in session, much interest was manifested on a proposition to abolish 
the department of languages. Mr. Halsey moved the adoption of the fol- 
lowing : Whereas, " It having come to the knowledge of this Board that an 
effort will be made to induce its members to abolish the department of lan- 
guages, now in the High School course ; and, Whereas, Under the present 
arrangement, the children of the poorest of our citizens stand on an equality 
with those more fortunate, securing to them the same opportunity to secure 
a High School diploma, entitling them to the privilege of entering the 
State University ; and Whereas, The proposed change would result in a 
serious drawback to the educational interest of Vallejo, and be looked upon 
as a step backward in the hitherto onward progress of our city. Therefore, 

Resolved, That we deem it expedient, and for the best interests of Vallejo 
and her citizens, to continue the Department of Languages in the High 
School course." 

The question was discussed by members of the Board, and a number of 
citizens, including Messrs. J. E. Abbott, G. W. Simonton, Hon. M. J. Wright, 
C. B. Towle, J. P. Garlick, and County Superintendent C. W. Childs. Many 
interesting and instructive ideas were presented, all tending to show the 
deep interest the people of Vallejo feel in educational matters. The resolu- 
tion was finally adopted, and the department of languages thus continued. 

On the 28th of May, 1875, Masters Lewis G. Harrier and Samuel Irving, 
received their diplomas as graduates of the Vallejo High School. It is 
worthy of note to state in this connection, that both of these young men 
were at once admitted to the State University. 

The teachers for 1875 and '76, were : C. B. Towle, Principal of the High 
School ; W. F. Roe, Professor of Languages in the High Schoo] ; J. P. Gar- 
lick, Principal of the Grammar Department ; Viola R. Kimball, Second 
Grammar Department ; Sophia A. P. Kidder, Second Grammar Department ; 


Anna R. Congdon, Third Grade Department ; Dora B. Harris, Third Grade 
Department ; Beverley Cox, Fourth Grade Grammar Department ; Jennie 
B. Chase, Fourth Grade Grammar Department ; Wm. Crowhurst, Principal of 
the Primary Department ; Mary Wynne, First Grade Primary Department ; 
Jennie Klink, Second Grade Primary Department ; Etta L. Thompson, Third 
Grade Primary Department ; Lucy Gilman, Third Grade Primary Depart- 
ment ; Charlotte M. Barry, Fourth Grade Primary Department ; Mary G. 
To bin, Fourth Grade Primary Department ; J. S. Congdon, Principal of the 
South Vallejo School ; Mary A. Foye, Assistant of the South Vallejo School ; 
Nehemiah Smith, Principal of the Orphans' Home School ; Fannie E. Smith, 
Assistant of the Orphans' Home School. , 

School Census Marshal's Report — 1875. Number of children from 5 to 
17 : boys, white, 826 ; girls, white, 790 ; total, 1,625. Number of colored 
children from 5 to 17: boys, 4 ; girls, 7 ; total, 11. Number of children 
under 5, 788. Colored, 79. Children in Public Schools, 963. Colored, 8. 
Children in Private Schools, 331. Children not attending school, 351. 

This Board of Education was elected in March, 1876: J. E. Abbott, Super- 
intendent, ex-officio President. School Directors — John Farnham, C. H. 
Hubbs, D. Rutherford, A. J. McPike ; I. S. Halsey, Secretary. 

Committees — On Grounds, Buildings, Repairs, Fuel and Warming School 
Houses — McPike, Rutherford, Abbott. On Janitors, School Furniture, School 
Library and Apparatus — Hubbs, Farnham, Abbott. On Teachers, Rules 
and Regulations, and School Discipline — Rutherford, Hubbs, Abbott. On 
Finance and Accounts — Farnham, McPike, Abbott. 

Board of Examination — J. E. Abbott, City Superintendent, ex-officio 
President ; C. W. 'Childs, County Superintendent ex-officio ; C. B. Towle, 
Secretary ; J. P. Garlick, W. Crowhurst, J. S. Congdon. 

Teachers— C. B. Towle, Principal of the High School ; W. F. Roe, Pro- 
fessor of Languages in the High School ; J. P. Garlick, Principal of the 
Grammar Department ; Sophia A. P. Kidder, Second Grammar Department ; 
Viola R. Kimball, Third Grade Department ; Dora B. Harris, Third Grade 
Department ; Hettie Dempsey, Fourth Grade Grammar Department ; Mag- 
gie Dunn, Fourth Grade Grammar Department ; William Crowhurst, Prin- 
cipal of the Primary Department ; Mary Wynne, First Grade Primary De- 
partment ; Jennie Klink, Second Grade Primary Department ; Ettie L. 
Thompson, Third Grade Primary Department ; Lucy Gilman, Third Grade 
Primary Department ; Charlotte M. Barry, Fourth Grade Primary Depart- 
ment; E. P. Fouche, Fourth Grade Primary Department; J. S. Congdon, 
Principal of the South Vallejo School ; Mary Tobin, Assistant of the South 
Vallejo School ; Nehemiah Smith, Principal of the Orphans' Home School. 

In 1876, the Graduates were Misses: Ida Hobbs, Susan Cheesman, Carrie 


Frasier, Gemi Martin, Carrie Barbour, Annie Crocker, Hat tie Klink, with 
Masters Edward Lawton, Louis Long and Charles Batchellor. 

On September 29, 1-876, Mr. Abbott resigned the position of Superin- 
tendent, owing to pressing business in connection with the Vallejo Bank, 
and the Rev. N. B. Klink was elected to fill the vacancy. 

Graduating Class, 1877 — Edward Frisbie, Jr., Thomas Robinson, Thomas 
Dempsey, John Frisbie, Mary Rowe. 

Teachers' Election, May, 1877— High School— C. B. Towle, W. F. Roe. 
Grammar School — J. P. Garlick, Sarah Farrington, Florence Goodspeed, 
Jennie S. Klink, Mary L. McKennan, Hettie Dempsey, Maggie Dunn. 
Primary — Mrs. Sophia Kidder, Mary Wynne, Mary Hobbs, Etta Thompson, 
Lucy Gilman, C. M. Barry, E. C. Fouche, J. S. Congdon, Alice Blank, A. T. 
Stiles. Janitors — D. T. Whitney and H. D. Lazell 

School Census Report of J. S. Congdon, Marshal, for 1877, was : Boys, 
from 5 to 17, 745 ; girls, 733 ; colored, boys, 1, girls, 4 ; Indians, boys, 0, 
girls, 1. Total, 1,484. Number under 5 years of age — Boys and girls, 
white, 795 ; negro, 2. Native born and parents native, 706 ; native born 
and one parent foreign, 384; native born and both parents foreign, 1,149; 
foreign born, 53. Early in 1878 the Board purchased three additional lots, 
adjoining the school property, and had the same planted in evergreen trees, 
and vines. The grounds are intended as play-grounds for the girls and will 
afford recreation very much needed. 

On the 25th day of March, 1878, the indebtedness on the Vallejo school 
property amounting to $5,000 was paid, leaving the property entirely un- 

On March 18, 1878, an election for School officers was had, resulting in 
the choice of J. E. Abbott, Superintendent ; John Farnham, D. Rutherford, 
D. W. Harrier C. H. Hubbs, Directors ; T. W. Chamberlain, Assessor and 

On April 1st the Board was organized, having duly qualified, and I. S. 
Halsey was elected Secretary. 

Graduating Class — 1878 — Maggie Kavanaugh, Lottie Kitto, John Perry- 
man, Katie Brew, Maggie Murphy, Emma Frey, George Greenwood, Minnie 
Engelbright, John M. Williamson, Abbie Dyar, Julia Stotter, Wells Whit- 
ney, Eunice Hobbs, Lutie Dixon, Charles H. Dexter, Lizzie Cox, Florence 
Devlin, George Klink, Mary Sundquiest. 

The teachers for 1878 were : High School, C. B. Towle, W. F. Roe ; Gram- 
mar, H. W. Philbrook, Sarah J. Farrington, Annie Klink, Josephine Sund- 
quiest, Hettie Dempsey, Maggie Tobin ; Primary, Mrs. M. P. Morris, Mary E. 
Brown, Mary Hobbs, Mary Wynn, Lucy Gilman, C. M. Barry, Mrs. E. P. 
Veeder ; South Vallejo, J. S. Congdon, Jennie S. Klink. 

The Census Marshal's Report for 1878, was : White children from five to 
seventeen years, 1,481; negro, 7 ; mongolians, 24, showing a total of 1,512. 


Add to these 753 children under five years — makes a grand total of 2,265. 

The amount of money required to meet the expenses of the Vallejo School 
department may be gathered from the following exhibit, taken from the 
Annual Report of the Secretary, for the year 1878 : Receipts — Balance on 
hand at beginning of year $5,122 84. Total received from State and 
county, $18,681 20. Total, $23,804 04. Expenditure— Current expenses, 
$17,132 80. Lots purchased, $522 50. Paid off mortgage, $5,000 00. 
Sundries, $313 08. Balance in treasury, $835 QG. Total,$23,804 04. 

At this term, 1878-79, there are employed twenty teachers, receiving 
salaries ranging from $50 to $150 per month. The monthly pay-roll of 
teachers and school officers aggregates $1,625 83. The session lasts ten 
months of the year, while the revenue is derived from the State and County, 
and Special District Taxes, the amount required annually being about 
$20,000. The value of the school property, including a library of several 
hundred volumes, many of them standard works of reference, is $50,000, 
while there is yearly expended, for library books, under the provisions of 
the State law, a sum of $150. The graduates of the High School in Class 
1879 were : James McCauley, Edward E. Kavanagh, A. Lulu Frisbie, Netta 
Meek, Kate S. Klink, Annie L. Wynne, Helen May Towle, and Louise J. 


Much curiosity has been excited by the peculiarity of name given to this 
island; the origin of its appellation is related as follows: In former days 
there was only one ferry-boat on the waters near Vallejo and Benicia, a 
crude one at that, being made principally of oil-barrels obtained from whal- 
ing ships, which were secured together by beams and planking ; the craft 
was divided into compartments for horses and cattle, the transportation of . 
which was its principal use. On one occasion, while the boat was making 
its way from Martinez, on the opposite shore of the Carquinez Straits, to 
Benicia, a sudden squall overtook her, causing her to pitch dreadfully. The 
animals, then on board, being for the most part horses, became alarmed and 
commenced to kick, causing the weak partitions to give way. The vessel 
was capsized and the living cargo thrown into the bay. Some reached the 
shore, while others were drowned. Of the former was an old white mare 
owned and much prized, by General Vallejo ; its capture was effected on the 
island a few days after the disaster, when the General dubbed the place 
" Isla de la Yegua," or Mare Island. 

The island forms a portion of the eastern side of San Pablo bay, its south- 
erly end making the intersection of the Straits of Carquinez and Mare 
Island Straits, the former, which is the outlet of the two largest rivers of 


California, the Sacramento and San Joaquin, and the latter, constitutes the 
improved front of the Navy Yard, as well as that of the city of Vallejo, on 
the opposite shore, and also the outlet of the Napa creek, which drains the 
fertile valley above. The distance from San Francisco is twenty-six miles. 
The island is 2* miles in length by O^ in width, and is of an oblong form, 
having a direction from northwest to southeast, while its area is 876 acres. 
The upland is diversified into hills and level sloping plains, the shore of the 
bay presenting vertical bluffs lined with a rocky back until nearing the 
southern extremity, where it terminates in high, rolling hills, with steep, 
inaccessible slopes to the water. The highest point on the island is at its 
southern end, where it is 280 feet in altitude. The soil is, away from the 
marsh or tule lands, of which there are 135 acres, adobe loam and clay over- 
lying stratified sandstone and shale ; some good building stone has been 
found in small quantities, while brick clay of a good quality is to be pro- 
cured. Small quantities of hydraulic limestone have also been discovered, 
as has also a few springs of inferior water. 

At the northern end of the island there are three large Indian mounds or 
graves covered over with burnt mussel-shells, upon which nothing will 
grow. Sometime ago one of these was opened and a large number of skulls, 
bones, bows, arrow-heads, etc., were found. Each of these mounds has a 
legend attached to it. They were probably made during the small-pox epi- 
demic which committed such havoc among the native Indians in the year 

The position of Mare Island is admirably adapted for a Naval station. 
The straits separating it from the mainland is a quarter of a mile wide, and 
has a depth of five fathoms. The mean rise and fall of the tide is 4 X q feet ; 
while, when the rivers are swollen, the water loses all brackishness. The 
channel is remarkably direct and easy of navigation, the only defect being 
a limited shoal called " Commission Rock," which lies at a point nearly 
opposite the island and about mid-way in the stream. There is deep water, 
however, on either side of the rock, the deepest being on the side next to 
the island ; and good anchorage is to be found anywhere, the bottom being 
of a soft and sticky nature. 

The first historical fact in connection with Mare Island, with which it 
has been possible to become cognizant, is that in the year 1850 it was 
granted to one Castro by Governor Alvarado, and purchased from him by 
John B. Frisbie and Bezer Simmons, for the sum of $7,000, who, in turn in 
1851, sold it to W. H. Aspinwall and G. W. P. Bissell, in consideration of 
the sum of $17,500. 

By an Act of Congress, dated 30 June, 1851, appropriations were made, 
and subsequently a contract entered into between Messrs. Dakin and 
Moody, and Messrs. Gilbert and Secor, on the one part, and the United 
States Government on the other, for the construction of a floating sectional 


dock on some point on the Pacific coast ; and after inspecting positions of 
likelihood at Benicia and Racoon Straits, Mare Island was selected as the 
spot offering the greatest facilities for the purpose desired. The dock, of 
which the. measurements will be hereafter given, was first constructed in 
New York, and then taken to pieces and shipped in four vessels named the 
" Empire," " California Packet," " Queen of the East," and " Defiance," and 
despatched round Cape Horn, all of which arrived at Mare Island in the 
fall of 1852. At this time the entire sphere of the island was overgrown 
with wild oats and overrun with wild cattle, horses, mules, and one ass, who 
stood in loco parentis to the latter ; a solitary squatter occupied a dingy hut 
among the rank verdure, his principal occupation being the tending of 
stock ; while on the opposite shore, where now the city of Vallejo rears its 
head, there were but two or three occupied houses. The shores were not as 
they are to-day. . Silting had not then commenced ; the mud from the mines 
had not yet been despatched into the bay by way of the Sacramento river, 
and it -was easy for ships to make fast to the shore. Discharging cargo for 
the dock was first attempted by means of rafts from mid-stream ; a storm 
coming on, however, caused the vessels to drag their anchors, and thus dis- 
covered the depth of water in shore, and helped to solve the riddle of land- 
ing dock stores. 

The first party to arrive in charge of stores and machinery for the sec- 
tional dock was that under D. Peckham, who came in the month of Septem- 
ber, 1852 ; twenty days later the second detachment consisting of six 
mechanics arrived with Theodore Dean, Manager and Superintendent in 
charge. Many of the passengers on the vessels who were mechanics sought 
and obtained employment at the docks, among whom are a number of Vallejo's 
most worthy citizens, while laborers being few and hard to get, their places 
were principally filled by sailors who proved to be invaluable workmen in 
unloading ships, rigging derricks and performing dock-work generally. 
Labor was proceeded with in such earnestness thatthe in fall of the following- 
year the dock was completed. Wages were high, the rate at the time being 
for first class mechanics $5 and $6 per day, but when vessels were under- 
going repairs, ship carpenters and caulkers got as much as $9 a day with a 
glass of grog as an extra inducement to toil. Before the work was handed 
over to the government the contractors had the privilege of using the dock 
for a certain number of years which they would appear to have done. 

Affairs had arrived at this stage when on August 31, 1852, an Act of 
Congress was passed authorizing " the Secretary of the Navy to select a 
site for a Naval Yard and Naval Depot in the bay of San Francisco, the 
same to be surveyed and a plat thereof to be recorded in proper form, the 
said Secretary to establish a Navy Yard and Naval Depot on the site and 
erect a foundry, machine shop, blacksmith's shop, boiler shop, engine house, 
pattern house, carpenters shop and store houses." The amount of appro- 
priation being $100,000. 


A Board consisting of Commodore John D. Sloat, Commander W. S. 
Ogden, Lieutenant S. F. Blunt and W. P. S. Sanger, Civil Engineer, were 
deputed to make the necessary surveys, eventuating in the selection of Mare 
Island ; and it was purchased by the United States from.W. H. Aspinwall, 
G. W. P. Bissell and Mrs. Mary S. MacArthur for the sum of $83,000, on 
January 4, 1853, and on February 28th of that year Aspinwall and Corn- 
stock bound themselves in the sum of $200,000 to convey the whole of the 
island to the authorities. The expenses of the Board were deducted from 
the original appropriation as was also the cost of erecting buildings, making 
the first layout on the part of the government to be : Cost of Mare Island, 
amount paid to Aspinwall, Bissell and Mrs. McArthur, $83,000 ; expenses of 
Board of Survey, $11,508.20 ; erection of building for use of yard, $5,491.80. 
Total, $100,000. 

As has been remarked above the selection of the site for a Navy Yard 
was the result of an Act of Congress, approved by the President of the 
United States, of the 31st August, 1852, and on March 3, 1853, another ap- 
propriation of $100,000 was voted by Congress, for building blacksmith's 
shop, carpenter shop, store-house and wharf, " Provided, That before this 
sum shall be expended, the Attorney General of the United States shall 
decide that the United States have good title to the land upon which the 
buildings are to be erected." The same Act directs the Secretary to com- 
plete and carry into execution the verbal contract for a basin and railway 
in California in connection with the floating dock already referred to, and 
on August 5, 1854, a further grant of $200,000 was appropriated for the 
continuing of the buildings mentioned above. 

The first Commandant of the Yard was appointed on September 16, 
1854, Commander David G. Farragut being the officer chosen. At the time 
of his assumption of office, the island was a mere grazing locality, there 
being visible only squatters, one or two humble dwellings, and a few 
sheds which had been put up by the builders of the sectional dry dock. 
Arrangements for the occupation were pushed with characteristic vigor by 
Captain Farragut, and on October 3, 1854, the National flag was first 
hoisted on its newly acquired property. 

In the archives of the Commandant's office is preserved a Log in the 
handwriting of the officer who afterwards achieved such glory for his coun- 
try and name at New Orleans, when he caused himself to be tied to the 
shrouds of his flagship, the " Hartford," and ran the gauntlet of the enemy's 
guns. The pages of Farragut's diary may become tarnished by time, the ink 
may fade, but his memory will remain untinged as long as the United 
States will have a history, and be cherished in the hearts of his country- 
men in such a manner as is only done for the great and the good. 

" September 16, 1854. — Commander Farragut took charge of the Island, 
and forthwith ordered all of the squatters off — Vara, Gilbert and Antonio 
Pintro were their names. Weather clear. 


" September 17, 1854. — Looked around the Island for the localities speci- 
fied in the plan of the Navy Yard ; also engaged in examining the amount 
of property on the island that could be advantageously used by Govern- 
ment. Weather clear. 

; ' September 18, 1854. — The sloop-of-war " Warren " came up to be moored 
as a store-ship for the accommodation of the Yard. Also employed Vara, 
who was a carpenter, to put up a flag-staff. Paid $500 for towing up the 
ship, and $192 for pilotage. Weather clear. 

" September 19, 1854. — Made arrangements to dock the " Warren," and 
employed three or four more to work on the Yard and fix foundation for 
flag-staff. Also sent to San Francisco for lumber and other appliances to 
work with. Weather cloudy. 

And so does this interesting relic go on ; day by day are the facts re- 
corded with like simplicity until now it is regarded as evidence, the authen- 
ticity of which can never be doubted. 

The year 1855 began with great bustle; on January 24th, the stone foun- 
dation for the smithery was commenced, and that for the residence of the 
Commandant was started on the March following, while on April 2Gth the 
annexed entry is found in Captain Farragut's Log : " Received by the 
' Napa City,' the copper-plate for the corner-stone engraved with the fol- 
lowing words, viz., ' This Navy Yard was founded September 18, 1854. 
Franklin Pierce, President of the United States ; J. C. Baffin, Secretary of 
the Navy ; Charles Smith, U. S. N., Chief of Bureau, Docks and Yards ; 
D. G. Farragut, Commandant of Yard; D. Turner, Civil Engineer, A 
Powell, Master Carpenter, R. S. King, Master Blacksmith, Mr. Warner, 
Master Mason. The corner-stone of this building was laid January 23, 

During the year the Commandant found it his duty to address the men 
on desertion and the aiding and abetting it, for this offense had become alto- 
gether too common ; the word in season had its reward, for those employed 
became steadier, and there was a marked decrease in the number of malcon- 
tents. On July 21 , an interesting series of experiments was inaugurated in 
regard to the testing of native woods when Puget Sound timber was found to 
be very much stronger than Eastern oak and Georgia pine, a result scarcely 
to be anticipated. On October 26th, we find that the Astronomers of the 
Exploring Expedition erected the Observatory on the highest point of the 
island, while the year was wound up by a ball given under the auspices of 
the Dry Dock Company, who it will be remembered retained possession of 
the dock for some years subsequent to its completion. 

It will thus be seen that the new Navy Yard was assuming something 
like shape ; on the fourth day of the New Year, the planting of trees was 
commenced. Early in the following month three of the forges in the 
smithery were completed and ready for use, while the basin to admit the 


sectional dock was being completed with all speed. On the 7th of August, 
1856, this was effected, water being admitted into it, and on the 25th of 
September the " Warren " was hauled ashore from the sectional dock and 
basin, which was the first use of the basin and railway. In the following 
year another test on the relative strengths of different woods was made, on 
this occasion between teak and Puget Sound timber, the latter of which 
again carried off the honors. 

Space will not permit of entering into a full detail of the yearly occur- 
rences at the yard ; such, indeed, would but tax the patience of the reader ; 
suffice it to say, that but few idle days were admitted into the roll of time ; 
the construction of buildings was pushed with becoming energy, until the 
works are not to be excelled on any portion of the globe. As the Island 
looks to-day, it is a credit to all concerned ; the buildings are noble speci- 
mens of the mason's art ; the grounds are neatly laid out and pleasantly 
wooded ; while the rising ground behind shows that its cultivation has not 
been forgotten, there being 350 acres under the plough, its produce being 
entirely used for Government purposes, what others may say to the con- 
trary notwithstanding. 

Since the appointment of Captain Farragut, up to the present time, in- 
clusive of the present holder of the office, there have been altogether fifteen 
commandants at Mare Island, as, under : 

Commander D. G. Farragut, September 16, 1854 ; Captain R. B. Cunning- 
ham, July 16, 1858 ; Captain David McDougal, March 13, 1861 ; Captain 
W. H. Gardner, June 5, 1861 ; Captain Thomas O. Selfridge, May 27, 1862 ; 
Captain David McDougal, October 17, 1864 ; Commodore Thomas S. Craven, 
September 5, 1866; Commodore James Alden, August 1, 1868; Captain 
Reed Werden, March 17, 1869 ; Rear- Admiral Thomas S. Craven, April 15, 
1869 ; Commodore John R. Goldsborough, January 1, 1870 ; Commodore 
E. J. Parrott, April 15, 1871 ; Rear- Admiral Thomas O. Selfridge, Septem- 
ber 3, 1872 ; Rear- Admiral John Rodgers, July 3, 1873 ; Commodore E. R. 
Calhoun, April 17, 1877. 

The Sectional Dock: — On Mare Island, is the first erection of the kind 
ever attempted on the Pacific coast, and was commenced in the year 1852. 
It is composed of 11 sections, each 130 feet long and 33 feet wide, each sec- 
tion standing 6 inches apart. The extreme length of the construction is 
325 feet, and is capable of accommodating a ship of 3,000 tons burthen. 
The dock basin, in connection therewith, is 400 feet long by 150 feet wide, 
with a proper depth and ways, 350 feet in length. To get a vessel on to 
the dock, it is first sunk to a sufficient distance, when she is floated on to it ; 
the water is then pumped out by steam engines, built expressly for the pur- 
pose, when the entire structure rises ; it is then floated into the basin, being- 
hauled by hydraulic power ; the basin is then emptied by means of pump- 
ing, and the dock sinks on to the floor, where it becomes a fixture. 


The operation of sinking the dock, is to open the gates that are at each 
end of the main tank ; as they fill, they sink, because the combination of 
wood and iron, of which they are constructed, has made them heavier than 
water. To. keep them under the command of the dock-master, the floats are 
set in operation by the machinery connected to the steam engines situated 
in the houses on top of the frame work. The master speaks not a word, 
but calls the attention of the attendants by a whistle, and by mystical signs 
conveys his orders to them, and the dock sinks slow or fast, as he wills, to 
the depth required. The gates being shut, the buoyancy of the floats keeps 
it in that position. 

The vessel is then floated in ; the centering beams or shores lowered to a 
level, run against the sides of the ship, each side being adjusted forward or 
back, till the numbers on each correspond. Then the vessel is in the center 
of the dock, ready to be raised. The operation of raising the dock is to 
pump the water out of the sections and keep it level with the floats. As 
the water is taken out, the dock rises. To effect this, each section has three 
pumps on each end, each one with capacity to throw three hundred gallons 
a minute. They are connected to the machinery above by long rods, and 
run to the pump, on the deck of the section. 

When the vessel is in position, ready to be raised, the pumps are set in 
operation by a sign, and as soon as the sections lighten a little, the floats are 
started, and they move downwards on the gear posts just as fast as the post 
rises, so that the floats keep the same depth on the surface. When the 
vessel is lifted about twelve inches, the bilge-chocks are run under to sup- 
port her all around. They are large oak blocks, built up, one on top of 
another, and connected together by iron dogs, so that they can be made 
high or low, as the shape of the vessel may require. These slide on ways 
fastened to the deck of the section, and are held to them under water by 
bended iron clamps, that slide freely. They are drawn under the vessel by 
rope and chain, worked by the attendants on the platform of the dock. 
After the bilge-chocks are set the dock is put in full operation. The floats 
keep it traveling, by the fast or slow machinery, as the pumps discharge 
the water, causing the dock to rise' the master governing the operation as 
he wills, stopping each pump as his judgment dictates and the necessities of 
the operation requires, till the dock is above water. 

The Stone Dock : — Now in course of construction, will be, when finished, 

the finest piece of workmanship of its kind in the United States. Its 

dimensions are : 


Length between inside line of invert and first altar 418. 

Length of keel block from inside of caisson 440. 

Length from outside line of apron to outside line of invert. 7.9 

Length of invert 41. 



Width of floor 30. 

Width of floor on line of keel blocks 58. 

Extreme length of dock over all 525.9 

Extreme length of invert over all 126. 

Extreme length of invert, inside 114. 

Depth of water at mean high tide on invert 27.6 

Depth of water at mean high tide on floor of dock 32. 

Width of entrance to dock 78. 

The cost of this prodigious undertaking was estimated at $2,149,099; 
the masonry alone being put down at $1,307,877 ; but concrete has been 
substituted instead of mason work, as was originally intended, whereby, 
the expense, it is expected, will be lessened by at least twenty per cent. The 
cost, up to the fiscal year, ending June 30, 1879, will be $1,094,146 73. It 
is built on the principle of an inverted arch, the pressure being entirely 
from the outside towards the centre ; this design serving the purpose of 
keeping the floor intact should the contingency arise of water sapping 
underneath. The concrete work, which is, as it were, the shell of the struct- 
ure, is quite new to America, the idea having been brought from France by 
Mr. Calvin Brown, the Civil Engineer of the dock ; while the lining is of 
dressed granite ; the flooring is composed of granite blocks, averaging five 
and a half tons in weight, which are placed in position by means of a der- 
rick, and what is technically known as a" Lewis," an iron pin, which is 
larger at the bottom end than at the top, having a wedge of iron fitted into 
it, and fixed in a socket in the block. The strain of hoisting causes this 
to tighten, making the hold secure, while to disengage it requires but a few 
taps of the hammer. The blocks, by these simple contrivances, are moved 
at will, and eventually rested on a thickness of four feet of concrete. In 
connection with this undertaking, there is a concrete mixing machine, which 
is fitted at the top with two hoppers, into which gravel and sand are put ; 
when started, the contents of the two hoppers meet before arriving on the 
second floor, where ' another one is met charged with cement; hereafter 
they shoot doAvn in a zig-zag fashion towards the floor of the clock, mixing 
as they descend, until it is discharged, amalgamated in proper proportions! 

It was originally intended to construct the dry dock entirely of rubble 
stone work, but this substitution of concrete will be a vast saving to the 
Government. The building is provided at its upper end with two timber 
shoots, while its sides will be constructed after the manner of a staircase. 
When completed the largest men-of-war that float will be able to be repaired 
at Mare Island ; no little source of pride in itself, yet it is unfortunate that 
for want of sufficient appropriations by the Government the work can not 
be proceeded with as rapidly as could be desired, while it is feared that a 
delay of year after year may have the effect of weakening some portions of 
the work when nothing but dire catastrophe would result. 


Water: — Is supplied to the Navy Yard by the Vallejo City Water Com- 
pany to the extent of 1,000,000 gallons a month, transmitted to the island by 
means of a submarine cast iron pipe with flexible joints, a distance of two 
thousand feet across the bed of the straits. Besides this quantity, which is 
used in the officers' quarters and machine shops, there are thirteen cisterns, 
capable of containing 1,500,000 gallons of rain water, while there is a reser- 
voir, built during the time of Admiral Rogers' command, which cost $35,000 
(received over and above the appropriations made during his term of office). 
It is 680 feet in length, with an average width of 265 feet, a depth of 32 
feet, and a capacity at present of only 14,000,000 gallons, which could be 
considerable increased by further excavation. Connected with the reservoir 
is a tunnel, to connect with the supply pipe, 600 feet long, which is laid in 
concrete and will fill all the ditches, which are about three miles in length 

Foundry and Machine SI102): — Which comprises the following divisions, 
viz.: the foundry, machine, boiler, blacksmith, pattern and coppersmith's 
shops, is situated at the northeast end of the island and is a magnificent con- 
struction of red brick. The dimensions of the machine shop are 365x55, 
and contains an upper story which is used as the pattern shop. In the lower 
story of this building are located all the different appliances requisite to turn 
out the very heaviest machinery which might be required for naval pur- 
poses, all of which are put in motion by a condensing engine of eighty horse 
power. The foundry, forming a wing of this building, has the capacity of 
making castings of 100 tons, and has room to employ 150 moulders. The 
floor is 300 feet long by 60 feet wide, and has a depth of 6 feet of moulding 
sand, which is procured from San Francisco. Within the structure are five 
cranes, these having a lifting power of 15 tons, while the others are capable 
of hoisting 25 tons ; there are also four cupolas for melting iron, with the 
following capacity: two of 40 tons, one of 20, and one of 10 tons ; in connec- 
tion with these are two ladles of 20 and 10 tons respectively, while there are 
three ovens, used for drying purposes, with tracks and carriages to match, of 
the respective measurements of 20x40, 12x20, and 8x15 feet. The foundry is 
also supplied with ten brass furnaces, while the elevators and blowers are 
worked by a separate engine of 20 horse-power. When these works were 
visited moulding for a screw propeller for the U. S. S. "Iroquois" was 
being made, which, when finished, will have a weight of about 8,000 lbs. 
avoirdupois. Castings of 8-inch water pipes, for the use of the yard, were 
being also proceeded with. 

The Ordnance Department : — Is in keeping with the other remarkably 
elegant buildings with which the Navy Yard abounds. It consists of the 
Ordnance Store-house of 200x60 feet, two stories in height, and built of 
brick ; the Shell House, also of brick, of one story, and occupying a space 


of 25x28 feet, and two Gun carriage sheds, one of brick and the other of 
wood, having a measurement respectively of 150x30 and 100x45 feet. In 
connection with this branch are two magazines, one of one story in height, 
fire and bomb-proof, 160x50, and the other 100x45, both being constructed 
of stone and brick, while in addition there are the Filling House and Shell 
House, each 100x30 feet, and the Gunner's and Watchman's Quarters. The 
Magazine Reservation alone occupies an area of 22.45 acres, and is situated 
at the extreme southern end of the island ; in the building are included 
the Filling and Shell houses referred to above, there being also tanks to 
hold powder and other rooms appertaining to buildings of this nature ; the 
entire structure is covered with a slate roof. The precautions against fire 
are numerous and ample. In close proximity to it is a reservoir containing 
one million gallons of water, which would be used if needed to flood the 
magazine ; in addition, no vegetation of any kind whatsoever is permitted 
to grow near the premises, for fear of ignition ; no painting is done on any 
portion of the edifice, lest that the oil should by chance ignite, while a par- 
ticular costume is worn by the employes, (a long smock-frock and shoes of 
canvas with soles of chamois leather) so that buttons, nails or like sub- 
stances may not be hastily struck and cause a spark. 

On the Yard there is altogether stored about 500,000 pounds of powder ; 
100,000 projectiles (shot and shell) varying from 12 to 400 pounds ; 644 
ordinary cannon, howitzers and large guns, the largest size being 15 inches 
in diameter, the smallest 4f inch or 12-pounder howitzers ; of small arms, 
i. e., rifles, bayonets, cutlasses, boarding pikes, etc., there are 2,722, all of 
which are intended purely for the fitting out of United States vessels- of -war. 

This establishment is the very perfection of neatness, indeed so are all 
of the others, and finds continuous employment for thirteen men, while it 
is the only department on the Yard that has telephonic communication with 
the office of the Commandant. 

Construction and Repair Workshops : — Are of two stories in height, built 
of brick and cover an area of 400x65 feet. The first of these is used as a 
block, boat and cooper's shops, with convenient tool-rooms attached. The 
upper floor of the building is occupied by the office for this department, as 
also the workshops of the pattern makers and shipwrights. 

The Construction and Repair Store Houses : — Are also of brick, of two 
stories, and occupy a space of 400x65 feet. It is used entirely for the 
storage of all articles of ship chandlery, with the exception of a small space 
in the east end of the second story, which is occupied by the store clerks, 
and the 

Bureau of Navigation : — Whose particular duties are to supply such ship's 
gear as charts, compasses, chronometers, nautical instruments generally, 




lanterns, and all lights and flags. In this office are stored the charts of 
every known survey in the universe, while there are on its shelves a large 
and complete collection of the best works bearing on nautical lore. 

The Smithery : — Is one of the first buildings erected after Mare Island be- 
came the property of the United States Government, and is thus appor- 
tioned ; the main structure is 268x55 feet, and has, two wings, each of 
145x55 feet. The first named, and the northern wing, is used by the Bureau 
of Construction and Repair as Blacksmiths' and Coppersmiths' shops, while 
in the south wing are contained the Blacksmith shop and Gas Works, under 
the direction of the Bureau of Yards and Docks. 

The. Blacksmiths' Shop: — Is a marvel of cleanliness and neatness. Its 
capacity is sixty fires, the forges being all of cast iron with improved water 
backs. There are three steam hammers in use : the first with 100 pounds of 
steam has a striking force equal to 30 tons ; the second, under like circum- 
stances, 10, and the third 5 tons. In addition, there are two hollow fires, 
or forges ; 4 feet 4 Blooming furnaces with a capacity of 600 pounds per 
hour ; 2 large cranes capable of raising 30 cwt. each ; 1 Sturtevant blower 
with capacity for 60 fires ; 3 eyebolt steam dropping hammers used for 
stamping work, the whole machinery being driven by an engine of 24-horse 

Blacksmith's Shop, (Yards and Docks): — There are eight forges with 
Sturtevant blowers, and here is done all iron work used in the building of 
ships, houses, derricks, and general work required on the Yard, including 


Gas: — Is manufactured on the Yard* from gasoline, a substance which was 
formerly procured from rosin and fish oils, but now it is the first running 
from petroleum. The consumption of the oil is about 850 gallons a month, 
producing 175 cubic feet of gas per gallon, with a quality of light, clear, 
good, and safe, of fifteen candle power. The manufacture of this gas, on 
Mare Island, is entirely effected by one man, although there is employment 
for four ; while he has in his charge the supply of meters, lamps, etc. The 
works are well supplied with all the necessary gasfitters' tools. The 

Store House: — One of the earlier erections, is a brick building of 400 feet 
in length by 55 in width, and has, besides two stores, a cellar underneath. 
This erection is divided, the southern half being occupied by the stores 
necessary for the bureau of provisions and clothing ; while the northern 
end contains the requisite impedimenta for the bureau of steam engineering. 
Directly east of the above stands the splendid 



Workshops for Equipment and Repairs: — Also a two-storied building with 
cellar, and covering an area of 190x55. In the cellar are stored such arti- 
cles as tar, oil, etc., while the two upper floors are respectively used as a 
rigging and sail loft. This is without doubt the finest erection on the Yard, 
built, as it is, entirely of compressed bricks. 

The Equipment and Repairs Store House: — Is. a brick building two stories 
in height, of the area of 200x60 feet, and used entirely for the storing of 
sails, cordage, and general running gear. 

Yards and Docks Workshops: — This erection occupies 400x60 feet of 
ground, is also of two stories, the first being used as a machine shop, lumber, 
and store room ; while the upper is apportioned into joiners' shop, paint 
shop, and offices. 

Iron Plating Shop: — Is a one-story brick building of 200x70 feet dimen- 
sions, with a wing 58x60. It is erected on the site of the old ordnance 
building, but is at present unfinished. 

Saiv Mill: — The main building of this establishment is 150x55, having 
two stories, with a cellar. There is also a brick wing attached 55x55, one 
story in height. The cellar and first story of this building are used as the 
saw mill, and the second as a mould loft. 

Timber Shed:— -Is a one-story brick edifice 200x70 feet, used for the pur- 
pose which its name denotes. 

The Office Building. — This structure is of most elegant design, and 
commands an imposing position on a knoll in the centre of the other con- 
structions. It occupies a space of 130x50 feet; is of two stories in height, of 
brick, with a cellar, used as a store room, boiler room, water closets, etc. 
The first story is devoted to the offices of the Paymaster and clerks ; Exec- 
utive officer; Naval Constructor, clerks, and draftsmen; Civil Engineer, 
clerks, and draftsmen ; Assistant Naval Constructor and Post office. The 
second story is occupied by the Commandant, clerks, printer, school room, 
watchman, library, and court room, used temporarily as a chapel. 

Marine Barracks: — Is a two-storied brick building of 500x40 feet, wherein 
are the men's quarters, armory, store room, etc, as well as the residences of 
the officers of that corps, the Commandant having a house in the reserva- 
tion, which comprises an area of 24.68 acres, or thereabouts. 

Yard Stables: — A two-storied brick building 150x40 feet, the upper 
portion being used for the storage of grain, hay, etc., while the lower one is 
divided into stables for mules and horses, cart sheds, etc. 

Barn: — Is a wooden structure 150x40 feet. 


Naval Hospital: — This noble structure is located on the southern part of 
the island, near to and on a line with the Marine Barracks, and is a build- 
ing worthy of a great government. It is 250 feet long, with an average 
width of 30 feet, with wings and projections, three stories and an attic in 
height, with Mansard roof. It is an imposing edifice of elegant design, 
and, from its elevated position, can be seen afar off. The building is of 
brick, of which one million and a half were required. The walls are of 
great thickness, and the entire superstructure is of unusual solidity. It is 
hard finished throughout, and the inside wood-work is of white pine. The 
whole structure is arranged with special reference to the object to which it 
is devoted, note having been made of all the recent improvement in this 
regard, including an elevator, whereby patients and goods are raised and 
lowered, with ease and comfort, from one part of the building to another. 
Particular attention has been paid to light and ventilation. Water tanks 
of large dimensions are placed upon the roof, and a cistern for rain water has 
been built. In a word, it is all a first-class hospital building should be. To 
it is attached a stable and gas house. The reservation, in which the hos- 
pital buildings stand, occupies an area of about 31.21 acres. 

In addition to these already-mentioned buildings, there are the officers 
quarters, including the residence of the Commandant, all of which (five and 
a half double and one single house) are built on a beautiful avenue some 
distance back from the water front and parallel with it. They are a few 
yards from the sidewalk and possess well laid out gardens in front of them ; 
while on the outside of the walk there is a row of magnificent shade trees. 
The rooms are spacious and have all the modern improvements, including 
gas, bath-rooms, etc. 

Among the other most prominent erections on the yard are the Bishop's 
derrick, capable of raising forty tons; the railroad track, laid from the 
foundry to the saw-mill, a distance of about 3,000 feet ; and the Kearsarge 
column, on the capital of which stands the "fiddle," or figure-head of that 
famous vessel, while there is a cemetery and light-house reservation, which 
comprise 6.6o, and 4.89 acres respectively. 

The following is a list of the naval, marine, and civil officers and attaches 
of the Navy Yard and Station, Mare Island, on March 29, 1879: — Commo- 
dore Edmund R. Calhoun, Commandant; Captain P. C. Johnson, Executive 
Officer. Commandant's Office: — William R. Cox, Jr., Chief Clerk; C. W. 
Mornington, Second Clerk; B. F. Calhoun, Writer. Department of Yards 
and Docks: — Calvin Brown, Civil Engineer; E. A. Willats, Engineers' ami 
Time Clerk; C. C. Hall, Store Clerk; Thomas O'Connor, Writer. Depart- 
ment of Navigation: — Commander C. J. McDougal, Navigation Officer; 
Lieutenant-commander, Charles H. Craven; Lieutenants, Leonard Chenery, 
C. W. Christopher; Master, J. S. Abbott; Clerk, Wm, G. Overend. Depart- 


ment of Ordnance: — Commander C. J. McDougal, Ordnance officer; Gun- 
ner E. A. McDonald, in charge of magazine; E. J. Overend, Clerk. Depart- 
ment of Construction and Repair: — Naval Constructor, George W. Much; 
Assistant Naval Constructor, George F. Mallett; Constructors' and Time 
Clerk, George W. Simonton; Store Clerk, John A. Day; Writers, John O. 
Watkins, Herbert Mallett, N. B. Klink. Department of Steam Engineer- 
ing: — Chief Engineer, M. Fletcher, in charge of department; Chief Engin- 
eer, Geo. F. Kutz, in charge of stores; Passed Assistant Engineer, James 
Entwistle; Engineers' and Time Clerk, A. L. Hathaway; Store Clerk, St. 
Clair Fletcher. Department of Equipment and Recruiting: — Commander, 
Louis Kempff, Equipment Officer; Boatswain, John Keating; Sailmaker, 
Thomas 0. Fassett; Clerk, A. H. McCobb. Department of Provisions and 
Clothing: — Paymaster, George Cochran; Paymaster's Clerk, Hobart Ber- 
rien; Writer, Daniel Hubbard. Department of Paymaster of Yard: — Pay- 
master, George E. Hendee; Paymaster's Clerk, L. T. Binder; Writer, G. S. 
Gregson. Department of Medicine and Surgery — Naval Hospital: — 
Medical Inspector, John M. Browne; Passed Assistant Surgeons, R. A. Mar- 
mion, Hampton Aulick; Assistant Surgeon, C. H. H. Hall; Apothecary, 
John G. Taylor: Navy Yard Surgeon, George W. Woods; Apothecary, 
John R. Whittaker. Marine Barracks: — Major C. D. Hebb, U. S. M. C, 
Commanding; First Lieutenants, 0. C. Berryman, H. G. Ellsworth; Second 
Lieutenant, Andrew Stevenson. Receiving-ship Independence: — Captain 
John Irwin, Commanding; Lieutenant-commander, Samuel S. Wilson; En- 
sign, N. R. Usher; Mate, P. C. Van Buskirk; Passed Assistant Paymaster, 
Fred C. Alley; Assistant Surgeon, D. O. Lewis; Paymaster's Clerk, John 
A. Kelly; Boatswain, J. Harding; Gunner, Stephen Young. 

There are at present the following vessels of the U. S. Navy In Ordinary 
at the Yard, Mare Island: Sailing sloop-of-war "Cyane;" steam sloops-of- 
war "Iroquois," (old) "Mohican," "Narragansett," "Nyack," "Saco," "Benicia," 
and the iron-clads "Monadnock," and " Comanche." In commission, are the 
frigate "Independence," steam-tug "Monterey," and yard-schooner "Freda." 
There have been built, and are now building, the U. S. side-wheel steamer 
"Saginaw," and the steam sloop-of-war (new) "Mohican." The first of these 
was constructed in the year 1859, and was of the following dimensions: 
Register length, 158 feet; breadth, 26 feet; depth, 11.3 feet, and tonnage, 
282 tons; she was wrecked on Ocean Island, in October, 1870. In refer- 
ence to the loss of this vessel, the following interesting record, which is 
attached to one of her boats, now suspended in the construction-store, 
is produced: "Gig of the U. S. S. "Saginaw," which vessel was 
wrecked on Ocean-island reef, Lat. 28 deg. 36 min. N., Long. 178 deg. 25 
min. W., October 29, 1870. This boat was fitted out on Ocean Island, 
manned by a crew of five, who volunteered to sail to Honolulu, distance 
1,600 miles, for the purpose of saving their ship-mates. Sailed November 


18, 1870, arrived off Kanai (one of the Haiwaiian group) evening of De- 
cember 18, 1870; capsized morning of 19th of December, in surf, while 
trying to land at Kalihi, Kdai, island of Kanai. Four of the five volun- 
teers were drowned, viz.: Lieut. J. G. Talbot, drowned ; Seaman J. Andrews, 
drowned; Quartermaster P. Francis, drowned; Seaman J. Muir, drowned; 
Coxswain W. Halford, sole survivor." Halford, for his heroic conduct, was 
promoted to the rank of Gunner in the Navy, and presented with a bronze 
medal by the Government. He is now serving on board of the U. S. 
S. "Lackawanna." 

The steam-tug "Monterey," and schooner "Freda" were also built at Mare 
Island. Besides these, the following ships have received large repairs there: 
The sloop-of-war "St Mary's," paddle-wheel "Saranac," steam sloop-of-war 
"Onipee," "Lackawanna," "Resaca," •'Kearsarge," "Pensacola," "Benicia," 
"Tuscarora," and "Iroquois." The vessels now attached to the Pacific station 
are: "Pensacola," (fiag-ship), "Alaska," Jamestown," "Tuscarora," "Adams," 
with the store-ship "Onward" at Callao, Peru. 

In the fore-going remarks mention has been made of the "Monadnock." 
She now lies in honorable retirement in the straits at Mare Island, her sides 
and turrets showing the marks of having been in many a hard-contested 
fight prior to having made the risky journey around "The Horn." A new 
"Monadnock" is now being built, a few remarks on which we append: The 
"Monadnock," United States double-turretted monitor now in course of con- 
struction at Vallejo, is an item of considerable historic interest to the county, 
more especially in regard to its shipping interest. The Navy Department 
at Washington having, for some reason best known to themselves, granted 
the building of this craft to private individuals, under the plea that it could 
be so done at a less cost than if built in any of their own yards, gave the 
contract to Mr. Phineas Burgess, of Brooklyn, New York, to construct a ves- 
sel to take the place of the old ship of the same name, bringing into use what- 
soever portion of her gear as might be found suitable ; the work carried on 
to be under the supervision of the Government Naval Inspector; Mr. Burgess 
having as his representative Mr. Wm. W. Vanderbilt, for many years con- 
nected with the service of the Pacific Mail Company, on this coast as well as 
elsewhere. There were three separate contracts entered into : First, the 
frames, deck-beams, etc., were to be erected by Mr. Burgess; second, the plat- 
ing-contract, as it may be called, was to put on the inner and outer skin, com- 
plete all bulkheads and the iron deck-plating; and third, to place the armor 
and its backing, to remove the turrets from the old "Monadnock" and erect 
them on the present ship ; to lay wooden berth and main decks, and other- 
wise to complete the monitor for sea to the approval of the Government 

The dimensions are as under: Length between perpendiculars, 250 feet; 
length over all, 2G3.G feet; breadth moulded and lower side of armor shelf 


55.0| feet; breadth, moulded abreast the armor, 50.8| feet; breadth, ex- 
treme, over armor, 55.10 feet; depth, from bottom of flat keelson plate to 
top of main deck-beams, 14.8; projection of ram built in hull, 10 feet. 

The vessel is to all intents a double one, she having both an inner and an 
outer skin, the thickness of the latter being f and f inches thick, while f 
inches is the dimensions of the former. Between these two skins there are 
84 water-tight compartments, which will add materially to her natural 
buoyancy, there being besides three athwart ship water-tight bulkheads, 
which are more particularly to keep her afloat should any unforeseen dis- 
aster occur. Her turrets, which are to be two in number, will carry two guns 
in each, of 15 -inch calibre. She will be driven by two pair of compound 
engines of 500 horse-power each; she will be provided with a twin-screw 
propeller of 11 feet in diameter; all her machinery will be below the water 
line ; her outside armor plates will be 7 inches in thickness of solid iron, 
and will extend for three feet below the water line ; her smokestack is to 
be armored for a certain distance ; it will also have a telescopic working ; 
she will be rigged with one mast; her draft will be 14 feet; she will have 
a freeboard, i. e., there will be exposed above the water 30 inches of plat- 
ing, and her displacement is calculated to be about 5,000 tons. When 
ready for sea the " Monadnock " will be supplied with a steam launch, and 
the other necessary small boats, five in number, and her complement of of- 
ficers and men will be one hundred and fifty. 

Unfortunately work progresses but slowly on this magnificent specimen 
of naval architecture for want of the necessary Government appropriations ; 
were such to be made she could be completed in a year, but under present 
circumstances it is hard to say when she will be launched and ready for 
sea. Were the work proceeded with, it could not be otherwise than a great 
boon to Vallejo, for a decided impetus would be naturally imparted to labor, 
and bring money, that source of all good, into circulation. 

In concluding this sketch of Mare Island's admirable N avy Yard, and 
with it the Township of Vallejo, no more appropriate leave can be taken 
than by introducing the story of that maritime pioneer which now lies so 
peacefully alongside the sea-wall of the Arsenal. 

The " Independence." — The " Guerriere," 44, the first frigate that had 
been put into the water, on the seaboard, by the American Government 
since the year 1801, was launched at Philadelphia June 20, 1814. It was 
intended that the " Independence," 74, should have gone off the same day 
at Boston, but she stuck on the ways. She was got safely into the water 
on the 20th July, however, and was the first two-decked ship that ever 
properly belonged to the American Navy, the " America," 74, having been 
given to the King of France while yet on the stocks. 

Cooper's Naval History thus gives us the date when the old ship was 


launched, to do her part in showing to the world the American flag, and, if 
necessary, to protect it from and to resent its insults. She made her first 
cruise as flag-ship of Commodore Bainbridge, in the Mediterranean sea. 
She was commanded on this cruise by Captain William McCrane, and then 
by Captain C. G. Ridgeley, sailing from Boston on July 3, 1815, and fin- 
ishing the cruise by arriving at the same port on December 7, 1815. 

Her second cruise was as flag-ship of Commodore J. B. Nicholson, to 
Europe and Brazil. Commanded by Lieutenant Alexander Slidell, she 
sailed from Boston on May 21, 1837, carrying out Mr. Dallas, as the Amer- 
ican Minister to Russia, and arriving at Cronstadt on the 29th July. After 
leaving her distinguished passenger with our friends at Cronstadt, she 
sailed for the Brazil station, stopping a few days at Madeira. Finishing 
her duty in Brazil, she returned home, arriving at New York March 30, 
1840, under the command of Lieut. John Pope. 

Her third cruise as the flag-ship of Commodore Charles Stewart, was 
made in the home or West India squadron. She sailed from New York 
May 14, 1842, and went to Boston, where Capt. L. Gallagher was relieved 
by Capt. H. Stringham as Commanding Officer. She then sailed from Bos- 
ton on September 29th, and made her cruise about the " Indies," returning 
to New York. Sailing again from that city on June 2, 1843, she visited 
different ports on the coast and returned to her station, Boston, on Decem- 
ber 3, 1843. 

Her next cruise was to the Pacific Coast, bearing the flag of Commodore 
William B. Shubrick, and commanded successively by Capt. E. A. Lavalette 
and Lieutenant R. L. Page. Sailing from Boston on the 29th August, 1846, 
and stopping at the different ports of the coast, visiting San Francisco 
several times, and making a safe and successful cruise, she returned to Nor- 
folk, Va., on the 23d May, 1849. 

Her fifth cruise then was made by going a second time to the Mediter- 
ranean. This cruise she bore the flag of Commodore C. W. Morgan, and 
was commanded by Captain T. A. Conover, at her sailing from Norfolk on 
July 26, 1849. During most of the cruise she was commanded by Com- 
mander George S. Blake, and returned to Norfolk on the 25th June, 1852, 
under command of Captain William Jameson. 

The last cruise the old vessel made was in 1855 as flag ship of Commo- 
dore William Marvine. Captain W. B. Nicholson was Elect Captain, and 
Captain Tatnall Commander of the ship. Since then her cruising days are 
over and she has been used as a receiving ship both at San Francisco and 
Vallejo, and has often changed commanders. Among them were Captains 
Carter, Shirley, Phelps, Commander Gherardi and other distinguished officers. 
She now lies securely moored and comfortably roofed in as a home for old 
men-of-war's men, some of whom knew her when she was first launched, 
and raw recruits who take their first lessons in drill. 


The old ship although launched too late for the war of 1812 has done 
good service, especially while on the Pacific Coast under command of Com- 
modore Shubrick, for the " Independence " crew and officers figured in almost 
every action with the Mexican towns of the coast, and Cooper gives several 
instances where the American flag was hoisted on shore in token of victory 
under a salute from the guns of this vessel. 

She was superintended in her building by Commodore W. B. Shubrick, 
and the solidity of her timbers and knees and their present freedom from 
rot show the care used and skill exercised in the performance of his duty. 
Built as a 74, it was found that she carried, on her first cruise, the sills of 
her midships lower-gun-deck-ports only three feet above water. She was 
razeed in 1836, thereby making her a 54 gun frigate ; and besides being the 
first double decked ship that ever went to sea under the American flag, she 
was the first 74 that was converted in the U. S. Navy. 

" She was always called a good sailor and said to behave well at sea. 
During her cruise in the Pacific from 1846 to 1849 she averaged 140 knots 
per 24 hours for 400 consecutive days." Her record also says, " Is sure in 
stays, stiff under canvass, inclined to gripe, and is hard on her cables." 
(1849-52) " It has been recommended to dispense with the popo and top- 
gallant fore-castle, and ten tons of ballast ; to shorten the lower masts, and 
to do away with the tiller on the gun-deck, as it interferes with the work- 
ing of stern guns." 

The good old vessel is now stationed at Mare Island Navy Yard as a 
receiving sjiip, and she is as sound in every respect as she was fifty years 
ago. Although the new order of ships of war have come into use, there are 
none that are built more substantially than the " Independence." 

The seclusion of Vallejo harbor with its beautiful surroundings, is a fit 
retirement for this Naval Argonaut of California. 




Geography. — The township of Rio Vista is situated at the extreme north- 
eastern corner of Solano county. It is bounded on the north by Maine 
Prairie township and Yolo county, on the east and south by the Sacramento 
river, on the west by Montezuma and Maine Prairie township. Its bound- 
ary line runs as follows : Beginning at a point on Sutter slough where the 
Yolo county line intersects said slough; thence in a southerly direction 
along the bank of said slough to its junction with Steamboat slough, a dis- 
tance of about four miles ; thence southwesterly along the bank of Steam- 
boat (or Marietta) slough to its junction with Cache slough, a distance of 
about six miles ; thence in a southwesterly direction along the west bank 
of the Sacramento river to the intersection of the Montezuma township 
line, a distance of about twelve miles ; thence north to the intersection of 
the line with the south fork of Linda slough, a distance of about thirteen 
miles ; thence easterly along the south bank of Linda slough to its intersec- 
tion with Cache slough, a distance of about five miles ; thence northeasterly 
along the east bank of Prospect slough, a distance of about two and one-half 
miles ; thence east a distance of about one mile ; thence north to the Yolo 
line, a distance of about three miles ; thence east to the point of beginning, 
a distance of about three and one-half miles. The entire distance around 
the township is fifty miles. The eastern boundary line extends along 
the Sacramento river and its tributaries, a distance of twenty miles. 

The greatest width is ten miles. The township is located in north range 
four, east two. 

Topography. — The topography of Rio Vista Township varies from the 
lowest swamp and overflowed lands to the boldest hills. The swamp lands 
lie in the northern end of the township, extending down as far as Cache 
slough, and comprising several large islands. A narrow belt of the character 
extends entirely along the eastern side, bordering on the Sacramento river. 
From Cache slough southward for a distance of from one to ten miles the 
land is very level, and is termed locally " the plains." The surface of the 
country, as we go southward from the plains, begins to undulate gently ; 
and the further south we go the more marked and distinct do the hills 
become until you reach the very steepest and most abrupt of the famous 
Montezuma hills. From Rio Vista southward these hills come out to the 


river, presenting bold bluffs, the facade of which is broken here and there 
with canyons and ravines. The swamp lands are comprised of what is 
termed " tule lands." 

Geology. — The township does not present any marked geological character, 
yet, as far as its alluvial formation is concerned, is a study well worth the 
attention of the scientist. The tule lands are of a character similar to all 
others in the Sacramento valley, viz., an alluvial deposit intermingled with 
the deposits of decaying vegetation. The formation of these lands has nec- 
essarily been slow, and it has doubtless taken almost countless years to fill 
the great basins of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from the Granite 
mountains, from whence the supply must come. This loam extends from a 
depth of a few feet to nearly 100 feet, and the whole body of it is an hetero- 
geneous mass. Underneath this, and what once formed the bottom of the 
great inland sea, lies a stratum of argillacious clay called locally the " hard 
pan." The formation of the " plains " is a kind of clay, pregnant with 
alkali. Occasional spots of adobe also appear in this section. The hills are 
formed entirely of adobe, varying through all the grades of that peculiar 
soil. The formation of and peculiar phenomena presented by the hills would 
afford ample matter for a long dissertation. 

Character of Soil. — The soil of the swamp districts is a rich loam, alluvial 
in formation, and very rich and productive. Almost all kinds of grains and 
vegetables thrive well. The soil of the plains is clayey, and adapted mostly 
to grazing, with occasionally a small spot fit for cultivation. The hills are 
entirely adobe, and well suited for growing grain, but of little value for 
other purposes. 

Products. — The products of Rio Vista Township are as varied as the 
State of California itself. In the warm, rich loam of the lowlands are per- 
fect hot-beds, and produce almost everything. Grain, vegetables, fruits, 
berries, &c, do well. On the plains only grain grows to any extent, al- 
though there are some fine garden spots, where vegetables and fruits thrive 
with proper irrigation. The hills are adapted almost exclusively to the 
growing of grain. Wheat and barley are the cereals grown in this town- 

Climate.— The climate of the township is quite uniform — being mild, cool 
and pleasant. The cool and refreshing trade winds prevail during the sum- 
mer season, which modifies the temperature, and causes the climate to be 
the most salubrious. 

Shipping Facilities. — Probably no township in the State enjoys such 
extended shipping facilities as this. The Sacramento river extends along 
its entire eastern and southern boundaries, while Cache, Elk, Miner, and 


other sloughs extend through portions of it. Ships of any burthen can 
come to the very doors of the farmers and receive their products. The 
stage of water up the river as far as Rio Vista will accommodate vessels of 
any size. 

Early Settlement. — So much for the general features of the township. 
We now pass to its settlement. The earliest record we can find of any 
settlement is that established by General John Bidwell, in 1844. In the 
case of John Bidwell vs. the U. S. Ulpinos grant, one Samuel J. Hensley 
testified as follows : " In the fall of 1844 I took Mr. Bidwell on board of a 
schooner to the land (Ulpinos, or Bidwell grant) with some hands to make 
a settlement. They remained there and built an adobe house, in which an 
Englishman, who had charge of the building, remained during the winter. 
The next season a small part of the land was cultivated, and in the winter 
of 1845-46 the house was occupied by P. B. Reading and hands." This 
house was located on the land now owned by Geo. H. Jenkins. The hands 
spoken of in the above were mostly Indians. There was quite a rancht'i ie 
of them there during that and the following winter, and they were known 
as " Bid well's Indians." During the year 1846, a party of emigrants arrived 
from the East. As this was before the days of gold, an eligible agricultural 
location was always sought for by these hardy pioneers — the advance 
ripples of the great flood-tide of immigration which was so soon destined to 
flow in upon the great Pacific shore. This party was induced by Bidwell 
to go down the Sacramento river and spend the winter on his grant, hoping 
to dispose of portions of it to them in the spring. The winter was a severe 
one on the poor settlers, and for many days during the rainy season starva- 
tion seemed to stare them in the face. The Indians were reduced to a 
fearful extremity also ; and, as the days passed wearily and drearily by, 
their frequent exclamation was " hale-che-muk," which means nothing to 
eat. For years that name was applied to the Bidwell settlement, and in 
many of the real estate tranfers on record the grant is mentioned as the 
Hale-che-muk grant. In the spring of 1847 the party of immigrants left 
never to return to Hale-che-muk, the city (?) of starvation. Most of 
them passed over into the valleys on the western side of the county, and 
some of their descendants remain there at the present time. Perhaps, before 
going further in this history, it would be well to give the recorded history 
of the Ulpinos Grant. In 1844 General John Bidwell sent the following- 
petition to Micheltorena, Governor and General-Commandant of the Depart- 
ment of the Californias, under the Mexican Government : 

" Monterey, April 30, 1844. 
"To His Excellency, the Governor: 

"Juan Bidwell, native of the United States, with the most profound 
respect, presents himself and sets forth : 


" That, having been naturalized a Mexican, and desiring to devote himself 
to agriculture, he beseeches your Excellency to vouchsafe to grant him the 
tract known by the name of 'Sillac' or ; Ulpinos,' which tract is unoccupied. 
It consists of four ranges (sitios) for meat cattle, as shown by the design 
which he duly annexes, and its boundaries are: On the N. W. unoccupied 
lands, to the N. E., the " Ulpinos Slough," (Estero), to the S. E., the river 
Sacramento, and to the S. W. unoccupied lands. Wherefore he prays your 
Excellency to vouchsafe to accede to this his humble petition, and give 
orders that said tract be adjudicated to him in colonization, wherein he will 
receive a grace. He makes the necessary verifications. 

" Juan Bid well. 

"Monterey, April 30, 1844." 

J. A. Sutter duly certified that the tract was then occupied. Upon the 
receipt of the petition, the Secretary suggested to the Governor that it 
might be well to allow the matter to remain in suspense till such time as 
the Governor might make a visit to the river Sacramento. Whereupon the 
Governor so ordered. This evidently did not satisfy Bidwell, for we find 
that under date of July 26, 1844, the Governor issued the following order : 
" Let him occupy it provisionally till I go up, when I will dispatch the 
business." It does not appear whether Governor Micheltorena ever paid 
that visit or not, but in November, 1844, he issued the following order and 
decree : 

" Monterey, November, 1844. 

" In view of the petition, wherewith these proceedings originate, the 
reports and all other things that were brought forward, and were proper to 
to be kept in view, conformably to the laws and regulations affecting the 
matter, I declare Don Juan Bidwell, a naturalized Mexican, the absolute 
owner of the tract known by the name of Los Ulpinos, (here follows bound; 
ary as above) containing four ranges (sitios) for meat cattle. Let the proper 
patent be issued, be entered of record in the proper book, and let these 
minutes of proceedings be forwarded to the most excellent the Departmental 
Assembly for its approval. 

" His Excellency, Don Manuel Micheltorena, Brigadier-General of the 
Mexican Army and Adjutant- General of the staff of the same, Governor, 
General-Commandant and Inspector of the Department of the Californias, 
has so ordered, decreed, and subscribed, which I certify." 

Very shortly after the above was issued from the Governor- General, he 
saw fit to issue to Bidwell a true grant to the rancho in due and legal form. 
This paper bears date of November 20, 1844. The following is a copy of 
the translation of that grant as filed in the office of the Clerk of the Board 
of Land Commissioners in San Francisco : 


" First-class stamp, eight dollars. Issued provisionally by the Customs 
of the Port of Monterey, in the Department of the Californias, for the years 
1844 and 1845. 


" Pablo de la Guerra. 

" The citizen, Manuel Michelt'a, Brigadier-General of the Mexican Army, 
Adjutant-General of the staff of the same, Governor, General-Commandant, 
and Inspector of the Department of the Californias." 

Whereas, John Bidwell, a naturalized Mexican, has solicited, for his own 
benefit and that of his family, the tract known by the name of "Los Ulpinos," 
bounded at the N. W. by waste lands, at the N. E. by the Ulpinos Pond, at 
the S. E. by the Sacramento River, at the S. W. by waste lands, the necessary 
legal steps and investigations having first been duly taken, as provided by 
the laws and regulations, by virtue of the faculties conferred on me, in the 
name of the Mexican nation, I have come to grant to him the tract afore- 
said, declaring the same to be his property, by these presents, letters subject 
to the approval of the Hon. Departmental Assembly, under the following con- 
ditions : 

1st. He shall have no ' power to sell it, to alien it, to encumber it with 
rent-roll, lien, bond, mortgage or other encumbrance of any kind, nor shall 
he even have power £o donate it. 

2d. He may fence it without, prejudice it without, prejudice to the 
cross-roads, highways and rights of way, he shall enjoy it freely and exclu- 
sively, applying it to the use or custom which best may suit him, but within 
one year he shall construct a house which shall be inhabited. 

3d. After confirmation to him of the title, he shall solicit from the Judge 
who has jurisdiction that judicial possession be given to him, by virtue of 
the grant, and thereby shall be marked out the boundaries, in the lines of 
which he shall place, beside the corner marks, some fruit or forest trees of 
some utility. 

4th. The tract hereby conceded is of four (sitios) ranges of large cattle, as 
set forth by the design relating hereto. The Judge who may give posses- 
sion will cause the same to be measured according to law, the surplus remain- 
ing the property of the nation for its own proper use and benefit. 

5th. If he shall break these conditions he shall lose his rights to the tract, 
and it may be claimed by others. 

Wherefore, I order that these presents, being his title deeds, be considered 
firm and valid, that they be recorded in the proper book, and delivered to 
the party in interest for his security and other uses. 

Given at Monterey, November 20, 1844. 

Manuel Micheltorena. 
Manuel Jimeno, Secretary. 

This grant is recorded in the proper book, pp. 12 se. 



In a few years more the Mexican Government lost its claim to California' 
and Bidwell thinking, doubtless that the obligations which bound him not 
to dispose of any portion of the grant were null and void, began to sell por- 
tions of the grant. The first sale was made to Jacob D. Hoppe and Lucy 
Hoppe, his wife, deed bearing date of October 15, 1847. The consideration 
was $500, and the land transferred was "an undivided one-fourth of the 
tract of land known by the name of ' Hela Chammac,' ' being one league 
square. The deed was a warranty deed, and was witnessed by L. W. Boggs. 
It was acknowledged before George Hyde, 1st Alcalde of San Francisco. 
Numerous other tracts were disposed of by Bidwell, all being undivided 
fractional portions of the grant. A full list of these transfers will be found 
in the list of transfers farther on. 

After the United States obtained possession of California the titles of 
Mexican grants began to get a little " shaky," and required, in many instances, 
a considerable " bracing up." This grant was no exception to the rule, 
and we find that on the 3d day of September, 1852, John Bidwell brought 
his claims to the Ulpinos grant before the Board of Land Commissioners at 
San Francisco for confirmation. The matter was before the commissioners 
for a long time, and on the 17th day of January, 1854, " Commissioner 
Thompson Campbell delivered the opinion of the Board confirming the claim." 
The opinion of the Board is a full and complete review of the case in all its 
legal and historical bearings, and is well worthy a perusal. The measure- 
ment of the grant was now declared to be 20,000 varas by 5,000 varas, con- 
taining four leagues. On September 13, 1854, the United States took the 
initiatory steps toward appealing the case to the United States District Court. 
The appeal was filed July 16, 1855, and petitioned the Court for a reversal 
of the decision of the Commissioners. John Bidwell filed his answer on the 
20th of July, 1855, and prayed that the decision of the Board be affirmed. 

On the 29th day of October, 1855 the decree of the United States District 
Court for the Northern District of California, Ogden Hoffman, Jr., Judge, 
was filed, confirming the decision of the Commissioners. On the 10th day 
of January, 1857, Hon. Caleb Cushing, Attorney General of the United 
States, wrote to Wm. Blanding, U. S. District Attorney, stating that this case 
would not be prosecuted any farther by the United States. Upon receipt 
of this letter the United States District Attorney instructed Judge Hoffman 
to make the final decree of confirmation. This final decree of confirmation 
was made by Judge Ogden Hoffman on the 21st day of March, 1857. The 
matter ran along very smoothly for nearly ten years, when a patent was 
issued by the United States to John Bidwell for the grant. This patent is 
dated August 9, 1866, and is signed by A. Johnson, President. The num- 
ber of acres contained in this grant, as specified by the Surveyor General, is 
seventeen thousand, seven hundred and twenty-six (17,726). So much for 
the legal history of the grant insomuch as John Bidwell is concerned and the 
validity of his title to it. 


Proceedings in Partition. — From time to time Bidwell had sold to vari- 
ous parties undivided fractional portions of the grant, until it was in a 
badly jumbled state, as regards boundary lines. On the 10th day of August, 
1855, in the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District, in and for 
Solano county, one of the claimants, Samuel J. Hensley, entered a suit for 
partition. At that time the ownership was vested as follows : Samuel J. 
Hensley, one-eighth ; Sarah B. Gillespie, one-sixteenth ; Chas. R. Bond and 
J. Tuttle Smith, assignees of C. V. Gillespie, one-fourth ; Alex. G. Abell, one 
twenty-fourth ; E. H. Board, one twenty-fourth ; Phoebe S. Van Nostrand, 
one thirty-second ; Charles L. Ross, one-twelfth and one-eighteenth ; D. L. 
Ross, one-twelfth, also an interest in 2,000 acres claimed by Chas. L. Ross ; 
I. C. Woods, an interest in 2,400 acres of the interest of Chas. L. Ross ; John 
Denn, one-eighteenth ; Hiram Grimes, one thirty-second ; David N. Hawley, 
one thirty-second ; John Curry, one thirty-second ; R. B. Norman, one-six- 
teenth, including the claim of John Curry ; Samuel Price and Fred. Green, 
(Price & Co.), an interest in the interest of R. B. Norman; Mary P. Buckley, 
two hundred and fifty-four thousandths ; Chas. L. Ross also claimed seven 
hundred and sixty-four thousandths by virtue of a tax title. It was prayed 
by the plaintiff that a sale be made and the proceeds equally divided among 
the claimants. Col. N. H. Davis was the attorney for plaintiff. Due sum- 
mons was to said claimants issued from the Court. Several of them filed 
answers, all favoring the idea of an equitable and legal adjudication of the 
entire matter. B. C. Whitman, of Benicia, was appointed as referee. The 
referee proceeded at once to make arrangements for the sale. The entire 
rancho was divided into twenty equal tracts, the measurement being made 
along the river front, and extending back one league. The sale occurred on 
the 3d day of December, 1855, in front of the Court House door in the town 
of Benicia. The purchasers and the amount given for each tract is as 
follows : Lot No. 1, N. H. Davis, $125 ; No. 2, Josiah Knowles ; $141 ; No. 
3, N. H. Davis, $40 ; No. 4, J. Denn, $225 ; No. 5, C. V. Gillespie, $250 ; No. 
6, A. G. Abell, $275 ; No. 7, same, $220 ; No. 8, S. C. Hastings, $200 ; No. 
9, C. V. Gillespie, $145 ; No. 10, same, $150 ; No. 11, S. C. Hastings, $185 ; 
No. 12, J. Wilcoxson, $55 ; No. 13, C. V. Gillespie, $80 ; No. 14, N. H. Davis, 
$80; No. 15, same, $50; No. 16, same, $50; No. 17, same, $95; No. 18. 
Robt. Beasley, $75 ; No. 19, same, $75 ; No. 20, same, $75. Total, $2,591, 
In less than a quarter of a century the value of this land has advanced so 
much that at a forced sale, similar to this one, it would doubtless be sold 
for more than $50,000. It is noticeable that the referee was allowed $500 
for his services and costs of reference, an amount equal to about one-fifth 
of the proceeds of the sale, and that amount was taken from the proceeds 
of the sale. The desired result of the sale was secured, and there has since 
been no litigation, nor is there liable to be, as the title is almost absolutely 


In the year 1851 Robt. E. Beasley located on the southern end of the 
Ulpinos grant and built what was always known as the " twin houses." 
This was one of the houses which came around the horn in an early day 
already framed. The purchaser had no idea of the style of architecture 
of his house when he bought it, and was surprised when he began to con- 
struct it to find that it was framed as a double house. The site of the house 
was about 200 yards above the present location of Toland's Landing. Beasley 
established a ferry at this point, between Sherman Island and the main 
land, using a flat boat and a chain. Robt. E. Beasley was a peculiar genius ; 
a veritable Utopian. All old settlers will remember his (locally) famous 
pronunciamento of peace, issued by him during the war of the Rebellion, in 
which he supposed he had solved all the questions of dispute, and set forth 
a plan for the amicable adjustment of all differences between the North and 
South. Poor Beasley died without seeing a realization of any of his many 
vast projects, and his body was shipped by express to the nearest cemetery, 
and no friend followed him to his last resting place. 

Development. — For years the land of this township was considered fit for 
nothing but grazing purposes. It was never dreamed that grain would 
flourish in any portion of it. Small portions of land were planted in grain 
about 1862, and it was found that they flourished well. The year 1864 was 
exceedingly dry and crops an entire failure ; but after that the merits of 
the rich adobe soil became rapidly to be appreciated, and that township 
now ranks among the first in the county. 

Rio Vista. — Rio Vista is the only town in the township. In the fall 
of 1857, Col. N. H. Davis surveyed and recorded a town plat on lot No. 3 
of Ulpinos grant. The site of this proposed town was situated about one 
mile below the mouth of Cache slough. It was called Brozos del Rio, 
(Arms of the River) from the circumstance that it was situated so near 
three branches of the Sacramento river. The name, however, was changed 
three years later to Rio Vista, (River View) at the suggestion of Mrs. Dr. 
Kirkpatrick ; a very appropriate name also. At that time Col. DaVis' resi- 
dence was the only house on the site. 

The next building placed upon the town site was a store-house moved 
from Sidwell's Landing, on Grand Island, and occupied by A. G. Westgate 
for mercantile purposes. This building stood on the corner of Front and 
Main streets. This was followed in rapid succession by a butcher-shop by 
A. J. Bryant, a hotel by W. K. Squires, a blacksmith-shop by Simon Fall- 
man, a salmon cannery by Carter & Son, a store by S. R. Perry, a drug 
store by James <fe Thomas Freeman, (they also had an hotel), a livery- 
stable by James Hammel, and several private residences, making in all 
quite a little village. 







In the spring of 1858 Colonel Davis constructed a wharf 24x75 feet. 
John M. Sidwell was the builder. In 1859 the California Steam Navigation 
Company came into possession of the wharf and enlarged it to 150x48 feet. 
The magnificent steamers " New World," " Antelope," " Eclipse " and " Sen- 
ator " were then plying the Sacramento, touching daily at Rio Vista. 

Colonel Davis established a post-office in the town, probably in 1858, and 
that made it a sort of headquarters for all the surrounding country, as there 
was not an office within twenty miles at that time. 

At this time there was an untold abundance of salmon in the river, and 
hundreds of men were engaged in fishing. As there was no other landing 
between Sacramento and Benicia, there were thousands of fish shipped from 
this point daily, and, as a consequence, the town was full of men, and money 
was spent with a lavish hand. 

Everything flourished in the new town for five years, when a circum- 
stance occurred which was destined to sweep the town out of existence at 
one swoop. Sometime in the Fall of 1861 it commenced raining, and con- 
tinued almost incessantly for the fabled forty days and nights. The con- 
sequence was the water increased to unheard of heights. During the last days 
of December, 1861, the water rose high enough to sweep away all the smaller 
buildings in the town, but it was reserved for January 9, 1862, to be the 
culmination of the fearful tragedy whereby a whole village should be swept 
out of existence and its people escaping barely with their lives. On that 
day the water stood twelve feet deep at the foot of Main street. For miles, 
in all directions, the face of the earth was covered with a wild waste of 
waters. All day a fearful rain-storm prevailed and a southeast gale swept 
over miles and leagues of seething sea. The angry waves in their wild 
confusion dashed against the buildings with giant force, and. all were total 
wrecks long before night. The houseless and homeless people gathered 
together on the top of a mound a short distance below the town. They 
brought a few things with them and managed to eke out a most miserable 
existence for a few days until steamers came and took them off. Those 
days and nights of misery and privation are, perhaps, among the hardest 
the early pioneers of California were called upon to undergo ; and no in- 
cident recorded in song or story, either truth or romance, is more replete 
with pathos than the recital of the scenes and incidents of those eventful 
days. All that is now left to mark the site of the once thriving village are 
a few decaying piles which formed a part of the wharf. A few strangers 
sleep in unknown graves near there. Cattle now graze in peace and 
quietude where was once the busy mart of trade. 

Shortly after this, perhaps in the month of March, 1862, several of the 

former residents of the old town began casting about for a more secure 

place whereupon to pitch their tents — a location above the reach of the 

raging floods and angry waves. A party of four men, consisting of William 



K. Squires, S. R. Perry, J. M. Sidwell and Isaac Dunham, went to see Mr. 
Joseph Bruning, who owned a ranch on the upper edge of the Montezuma 
hills. Negotiations were at once entered into, and the northeast corner of 
Mr. Bruning's ranch was the site chosen for the new town. Accordingly 
Mr. Bruning surveyed and recorded the town plat of " New Rio Vista," in 
1862. T. J. Mc Worthy, who then owned the Gardiner ranch, surveyed and 
recorded an addition to the town. Main street is located on the line of 
division of the two ranches, and the town has grown up on either side of it. 

The first store was erected by S. R. Perry. This was followed by an hotel 
by J M. Sidwell, an hotel by Wm. K. Squires, and many other business and 
private buildings. Many of the people who had lived in the old town 
settled in the new town, and went on with their former occupations just as 
if nothing had ever occurred. The new town grew rapidly, and in a short 
time far exceeded the old town. 

The post-office was established at S. R. Perry's store with S. R. Perry as 
postmaster. The wharf was built by Joseph Bruning in the Spring of 
1862. In 1866 the steamer " Yosemite " blew up at this wharf, killing 
about eighty persons. Of this number about thirty were Chinamen. 

The first church building erected in Rio Vista was the Catholic. It was 
built in June, 1868. The only other church building in town is the Con- 
gregational, which was erected in August, 1868. The first public school 
was established in the Fall of 1862. James U. Chase was the first teacher. 

The present site of Rio Vista is 64 miles from San Francisco, 50 miles 
from Sacramento and 25 miles from Fairfield. It lies on the western bank 
of the Sacramento river, in the eastern part of Solano county. It is in the 
heart of one of the most prosperous agricultural districts in the State. The 
Montezuma hills, at its back, is unrivalled for grain, and vast bodies of 
swamp and overflowed lands lie in front of it extending far away to Stock- 
ton, all in process of reclamation. These lands will prove, when reclaimed, 
to be an inexhaustible source of fruit, vegetables, grain, etc. 

There are two lines of steamers which land here, going each way, daily, 
with the addition of an occasional opposition steamer. The C. P. R. R. 
Company's steamers carry Wells, Fargo & Co's express and the U. S. Mails. 
The California Transportation Company's steamers run up Old river, and 
ply chiefly in the fruit trade. 

Rio Vista is the present terminus of the Montezuma telegraph, which 
affords great facility of communication with the markets, and the outside 
world generally. 

The town is supplied with water from the Sacramento river. It is lifted 
by steam and placed into large tanks situated on an eminence near the 
center of the town ; thence it is distributed through the town by mains and 
service pipe. The manager of this enterprise, R. C. Carter, is an old pioneer 


of the town. Abundance of water can also be had by boring, and at no 
great depth. 

The great amount of hay and grain grown in this vicinity demand ware- 
houses with large storage capacity. In the town there are three, with room for 
the storage of 6,000 tons of grain and 6,500 tons of hay, while at New Town 
Landing, about a mile above Rio Vista, there are warehouses with a storage 
capacity of 4,000 tons of grain and 3,500 tons of hay. There are also houses 
at Toland's Landing, on the river a few miles below Rio Vista, which have a 
very large storage capacity. A large portion of the grain is also taken to 
Bird's Landing. 

For a statement of the various kinds of business conducted in the town 
we refer our readers to the business directory. Other matters of importance 
will be found under their appropriate headings. 

F. and A. M. — Rio Vista Lodge No. 208, Free and Accepted Masons, was 
organized June 5, 1870. The following named gentlemen were charter 
members : Robert Martin, G. H. Bell, C. A. Pine, Jas. Johnson, G. W. 
Kynock, J. Pool, Chas. Martell, S. P. Sorenson and J. S. Cook. The first 
officers were: Robert Martin, W. M.; C. A. Pine, S. W.; Geo. H. Bell, J. W. 
Following is a complete list of the W. M's from the date of organization to 
the present time: Robert Martin, 1870; J. S. Cook, 1871; C. A.Pine, 
1872; Josiah Pool, 1873; Rev. A. F. Hitchcock, 1874; T. P. Emigh, 1875, 
re-elected 1876 ; Dr. M. Pietrzycki, 1877 ; Jas. Johnson, 1878. The follow- 
ing named gentlemen are the officers elect for the ensuing year : E. C. 
Doziei, W. M.; J. E. T. Smith, S. W.; W. B. Pressley, J. W.; A. H. Peterson, 
Treasurer ; J. C. Kraus, Secretary. The present membership is 43. The 
order is in a very prosperous condition. 

/. 0. 0. F.—Rio Vista Lodge No. 180, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, 
was organized September 21, 1870. The following named gentlemen were 
charter members : Jas. Johnson, S. P. Sorenson, A. H. Hawley, M. S. Stone, 
John Davis and Chas. Davis. The following named members have served 
as N. G's : M. S. Stone, 1870 ; S. P. Sorenson and A. H. Hawley, 1871 ; Jas. 
Johnson and E. W. Westgate, 1872; J. D. Ingersoll and Wm. Ferguson, 
1873; J. M. Perry and Rev. A. F. Hitchcock, 1874; Jos. Nevin and J. C. 
Kraus, 1875; John O'Haraand J. E. Pratt, 1876; J. E. Pratt, (re-elected) and 
John Davis, 1877; A. H. Peterson and S. Neilson, 1878. Following is the 
list of officers elect for the ensuing term : Simon Neilson, N. G. ; Jerome 
Emigh, V. G. ; J. C. Kraus, Secretary ; S. P. Sorenson, Treasurer. The pres- 
ent membership is 65. 

C. of R. C. — River View Encampment No. 6, Champions of the Red Cross, 
was organized October 4, 1872. The following is a list of its charter mem- 


bers : J. D. Ingersoll, J. D. Tillery, Wm. Ferguson, Jas. Williams, Mrs. H. 
W. Stone, S. C. Edwards, Mrs. Emeline Westgate, C. A. Pine, Mrs. M. E. 
Kraus, J. T. Hadley, R. C. Sidwell, Thos. E. Morgan, Mrs. M. E. Morgan. 
The following named persons are the officers elect for the ensuing term : J. 

F. Morey, Com.; Mrs. M. Davis, J. C; H. H. Hudson, R. S.; Jas. Williams, 

Rio Vista H. and L. Co. — The Rio Vista Hook and Ladder Company was 
organized October 21, 1871. The following named gentlemen were organ- 
izing members : S. Craner, R. C. Sidwell, Jas. Donovan, Chas. Scarlett, G. 
W. Roberts, Chas. Green, R. C. Carter, J. M. Sidwell, W. W. Elliott, Jas. 
Johnson, Geo. Clarridge and H. Craner. R. C. Carter was the first Fore- 
man. The company have always been in a very prosperous condition, and 
the present membership numbers 30. S. Nielson is the present Foreman, 
he Tcompany, with the aid of the citizens, has supplied the town with 72 
buckets, several hooks, ladders, axes, etc., and with their own private means 
have purchased 500 feet of four-inch hose at an expense of $300, and have 
lately constructed a building at an expense of $245. 

Congregational Church. — The " First Church of Christ in Rio Vista " was 
organized by Rev. J. H. Warren, Superintendent of the American Home 
Missionary Society for California, and Rev. S. B. Dunton, Acting Pastor 
of the Congregational Society in Rio Vista, on the 29th day of May 
1869. The following are the names of the original members of the Church: 
Rev. S. B. Dunton, Mrs. H. W. Stone, Mrs. N. J. Munson, Mrs. Virginia E. 
Brown. M. S. Stone, Jos. Munson, Dr. L. F. Dozier, Josiah Pool, Dr. S. C. 
Brown, Mrs. Mary E. Hawley, Jarvis Emigh, Peter H. Hamilton, Mrs. A. E. 
Pool, Barton Dozier, Margaret Brandon, Neil Cook, Rob't Watson, Mrs. Mary 
A. Watson, D. McCormac, Mrs. Catherine McCormac, Mrs. Ann Denoville. 
The following-named gentlemen have acted as pastors since its organization : 
Rev. S. B. Dunton, acting Pastor from May 29th to November, 1869 ; Rev. 
J. J. Powell, elected October 24, 1869, installed March 2, 1870 ; Rev. A. F. 
Hitchcock, elected December 29, 1872, installed March 19, 1873; Rev. G. F. 

G. Morgan, elected May 1, 1875; Rev. G. H. Smith, elected September 24, 
1876. The present membership is forty-six. 

Congregational Sunday School: — A Sunday School was organized in 
the Congregational Church on the 11th day of July, 1869. The following 
is the list of Superintendents and time of election: S. C. Brown, elected 
July 11, 1869; re-elected July, 1870. Rev. J. J. Powell, elected August 1, 
1871; re-elected July 2, 1872; L. L. Palmer, elected July 14, 1873; Rev. 
A. F. Hitchcock, elected July, 1874; H. S. Vining, elected May, 1875; Wm. 
Ferguson, elected March, 1876, and still continues in office. The present 


scholarship is about sixty-eight. The Sunday School is ably managed, and 
there is a considerable interest taken in it by the scholars and teachers. 

M. E. Church: — This Church organization was effected in the. latter part 
of 1877, by Rev. T. H. Woodward, who served as Pastor till September, 
1878. Rev. R. E. Wenk supplies the pulpit at present. The membership 
at present is not very large, but is increasing. They have no church build- 
ing of their own; as yet, but have a very acceptable place of worship rented. 
There is a Sunday School connected with the Church, which was organized 
December 1, 1878, with L. L. Palmer as Superintendent. The average 
attendance is thirty-five. 

Catholic Church: — This was the first church edifice erected in Rio Vista. 
It was built in 1868. It is in the same parish with the church at Suisun, 
and the same priest serves at both places. The first priest who officiated 
here was Rev. Father Auger. He served the church until December, 1872, 
since which time Rev. Father McNaboe has officiated. The membership is 
quite large, and the church services well attended. Father McNaboe is an 
energetic, hard-working man, and is well liked by all his parishioners. 

St. Gertrudes Academy : — This Academy for young ladies, under the 
direction of the Sisters of Mercy, is beautifully situated on an eminence in 
the pleasant and accessible town of Rio Vista. The location is remarkably 
healthful, the building new and well furnished with all that contributes to 
the health and comfort of the pupils. The pleasure-grounds are extensive, 
and well adapted to healthful exercise. Pupils of all persuasions are equally 
received. The course of instruction embodies all the useful branches of a 
solid education. The academy building was erected in 1876, by the munifi- 
cence of Mr. Joseph Bruning, and was formally dedicated by Bishop Ale- 
many on the 10th day of December, 1876. There are nine Sisters engaged 
in teaching, which constitutes a most efficient corps of teachers. The Acad- 
emy is justly popular with its patrons, and we are sure the time is not far 
distant when its sphere will be extended so much that new and larger build- 
ings will be required. We bid it "God speed." 

The Public School: — The first school building in Rio Vista was erected 
during the summer of 1862, on the site of the present building, on a lot 
donated by Joseph Bruning, for that purpose. The first teacher was James 
U. Chase, who opened the first school during the fall of 1862. We could 
find no records until the year 1870, hence are unable to give an authentic 
list of the teachers who have taught, but the following list is tolerably cor- 
rect: J as. U. Chase, Byron Hunt, Mr. Burdell, Miss Mary Burns, Mrs. R. 
Thrush, Miss Sweetland, Miss Stone, Miss Fannie Davis. On the records 
which begin with 1870 we find the following-named teachers: Anthony 
Dozier, M. C. Winchester, H. W. Fenton, *Miss Irene Canright, W. E. Mc 


Intyre, Miss V. P. Stevens, *Miss D. M. Stone, Miss Bertha A. Bicknell, 
*Miss Mary S. Warren, L. L. Palmer, *Miss Mary Linton, *Miss Jennie 
Robertson, M. T. Sickal, *Miss Florence Sickal. In 1871 the school was 
graded into Grammar and Primary Departments, and those marked with an 
asterisk (*) were teachers in the Primary Department. There are at present 
three grades in the school: Primary Department, Miss Florence Sickal, 
teacher; Intermediate Department, Miss Jennie Robertson, teacher; Gram- 
mar Department, M. T. Sickal, teacher. 

The present building was erected in 1875, and is a large, neat-looking 
structure, being truly an ornament to the town. It is two stories high, with 
basement. It contains two school-rooms on the first floor, and one school- 
room and two rooms for library purposes on the second floor. The building 
is located on a quarter-block 120x120 feet, on the corner of Fifth and Mon- 
tezuma streets. The location is very good, and is central. The following- 
named persons comprise the present Board of Trustees: Dr. M. Pietrzycki, 
Win. K. Squires and Wm. Ferguson. Dr. M. Pietrzycki is Clerk of the 

Newspapers: — On the 6th day of September, 1877, the Rio Vista Weekly 
Gleaner made its first appearance, being the first paper ever issued in the 
town. L. L. Palmer was the editor and publisher. The printing was done 
in Suisun, at the Solano Republican office, and conjointly with that paper. 
On the 22d of September, 1877, the Rio Vista Enterprise made its appear- 
ance. John H. Whitmore and W. A. Bushnell were proprietors and pub- 
lishers. They put in a news office, type, press, etc. On the 17th of April, 
1878, L. L. Palmer opened an office in Rio Vista, putting in a full line of 
news and job type, news and job press, etc., in which the Gleaner was 
printed. The Gleaner was continued till February 22d, 1879, when it was 
discontinued, and the publisher became connected with the Solomo Repub- 
lican at Suisun. The Enterprise continued for three months longer, and 
issued its last number on May 30th, 1879. 

Business Directory: — Folio wing is a full and complete business directory 
of the town on December 31, 1878: Bruning, Jos., warehouse; Brown, B. 
B., River View Hotel ; Bell, P., tinsmith ; Christiensen, M., wharfinger C. P. 
R. R.; Carter, R. C, water- works; Clarridge, Geo. A., Western Hotel; Craner, 
S., merchandise; Craner, A. H., merchandise; Currie, John, harness-maker; 
Chase, Ed., news-dealer; Davis, C, contractor and planing-mill ; Davis, 
John, contractor and builder; Erlanger & Galinger, merchandise; Fiscus, 
John B., livery stable; Eraser, George, meat market; Fallman Bros., black- 
smiths; Ferguson, Wm„ wagon-making, etc.; Gurnee, J., saloon; Hawley, 
R. H., wharfinger C- T.; Hunter, R. C, drugs and medicine ; Hadley, Sam'l 
T., blacksmith; Halderback, Jos., blacksmith; Ingersoll, J. D., fruit and 


vegetables; Johnson and Emigh, warehouse; Kiernan, Thos., undertaker; 
Kearney, Jas., boot-maker; Kalber, F., wagon-maker; Kelly, J. A., con- 
tractor and builder; Lawson, H., saloon; Malone, John A., boot-maker and 
Manager S. V. Tannery; Matthewson, S. R., vegetables, etc., Merritt, Chas. & 
Co., drugs and medicines; Miller, Louis, painter and grainer; McGrah, Dan'l, 
saloon; Nelson, C, saloon; Nielson, S., contractor and builder; Nesbitt, 
Jos., wharfinger C. S. N. Co.; Ostrander, J. D., soliciting agent; Perry, J. 
M., merchandise;' Pond & Knox, meat market; Peterson, A. H., livery stable; 
Parker, Miss A. E., millinery, etc.; Pietrzycki, M., physician and surgeon; 
Palmer, L. L., publisher Gleaner; Roberts, G. W., saloon; Runk, Mrs. L. C, 
Central Hotel; Stanton, J. C, dentist; Squires, W. K., Squire's Hotel; 
Stumm, F. I., jeweler; Smith, Jas., saloon; Smith, J. E. T., truckman; 
Stoll, C. M., harness and saddlery; Sorenson, S. P., furniture; Thompson, 
Geo., saloon; Whitmore & Bushnell, publishers Enterprise ; Westgate Bros., 
merchandise; Williamson, Wm., flour mill; Weslar, Geo., barber; Whit- 
man, D. G., plasterer; Wadsworth, Wm., fruits and vegetables; Wilcox 
Ruble & Dozier, merchandise. 

Official Directory: — Notary Public, M. Smyth; Justices of the Peace, 
J. D. Ingersoll, Lewis Chase; Constable, James Dobbins; Deputy Sheriff, 
John B. Fiscus; Postmaster, L. C. Ruble; W., F. & Co's agents, Westgate 

The Future: — So much for the past and present of the beautiful and 
thriving town; a word for the future and we will close this sketch. The 
town is so located that it is sure to be prosperous in the years to come. 
There are natural advantages which but few towns possess. Cheap trans- 
portation is insured, and that is one great factor in the prosperity of a town. 
The unbounded resources of the tule lands will always pour a goodly stream 
of gold into its coffers. The hills will always yield a handsome income for 
the town. They need more industries. There is no reason why this should 
not become a great manufacturing center. They have every facility possi- 
ble. The climate is the most salubrious and healthful. The temperature is 
universally moderate and mild. Strong winds prevail there during the 
summer months, which serve to keep the atmosphere cool and refreshing. 



Geography. — Silveyville township is bounded on the north by Yolo 
county, on the east by Tremont township, on the south by Maine Prairie 
and Elmira townships, and on the west by Vacaville township. The Rio 
Los Putos extends along its northern boundary. 

Topography. — The surface of the entire township is almost perfectly level. 
The land is rolling in places, but not hilly. One is reminded very much, in 
passing through it, of the prairies of Illinois and Iowa. 

Soil. — The soil of this township is alluvial in formation and character. 
It is a sandy loam, for the most part, with scarcely any adobe m it. It is 
very fertile and productive, and the finest farms in Solano county are 
located here. Everything about these farms betoken thrift and prosperity. 

Climate. — The climate in this township differs very materially from that 
in the townships in the southern parts of the county. Here the sea 
baeeze is shorn of its dampness and force, and sweeps as gently over the 
country as a zephyr. Ordinarily the temperature is several degrees higher 
here than at Suisun. A person will often find a linen coat burdensome in 
Dixon at 4 p. M., and after a 40 minutes ride on the train arrives at Suisun, 
and finds that he needs an - overcoat. The wind prevails from the north 
more here than further south, and this wind is burdened with sultry oppres- 
sive heat, and also oftentimes with electricity, which seems to oppress and 
enervate everything. Fortunately these siroccos are not very common. 
The atmosphere is comparatively free from malarial poisons, and is, on that 
account, quite healthful. 

Products. — The principal products of this township are wheat and barley. 
Fruits and vegetables do quite well in all parts of the township, though but 
little more is grown than home consumption demands, except along the line 
of Rio Los Putos, where are some of the finest orchards and gardens in the 
State. In this section oranges, figs, dates, olives, lemons and bananas thrive 
equal to any section of the State, and the quality is said to excel that grown 
in Los Angeles county. 

Early Settlement. — To this township belongs the honor of having the first 
permanent white settler in Solano county. In 1842 Wm. Wolf skill, then a 


resident of Los Angeles, secured a grant from the Mexican government for 
a tract of land one league in width and four leagues in length, lying on either 
side of Rio Los Putos. Some time during the same year he sent his brother, 
John R., with a band of cattle to take possession of the new grant, accord- 
ing to law. From this time on, an occasional settler would locate somewhere 
on the Rio Los Putos, until in 1852 there was quite a neighborhood, with 
houses, ranging from three to ten miles apart. Upon the outbreak of the 
gold fever the most practicable road to the mines from San Francisco passed 
from Benicia to Sacramento, through this settlement. For the accommoda- 
tion of these travelers, Elijah S. Silvey, in 1852, built a house and stock 
corral. He at first called his house the " Half-way House". In those early 
days the trail was not very well defined, and the belated traveler was liable 
to lose his way and wander about the plains all night. To obviate this, 
Silvey used to hoist a red lantern high in air every night, so that it might 
serve as a beacon light to the wanderer, and guide him safely into the haven 
of Silvey's hotel. The hardy pioneer, Silvey, came to an untimely death by 
accidentally falling from a porch. His widow still lives on the old site of 
those early scenes of the early life of California and of Solano county. The 
next building at this point was a blacksmith shop, built by Messrs. Wm. 
Dryden & Noble. On Christmas day, 1856, Geo. A. Gillespie began the 
foundation of a store building. From this time on Silvey ville began to 
assume quite goodly proportions, and reached its zenith about 1865, at 
which time there were, perhaps, 150 inhabitants in the town. Quite early 
a post-office was established at this place with E. S. Silvey as post-master. 
It was called Putah. There was, at one time, a telegraph office there also. 
But all this is now among the dead past, and another quarter of a century 
will banish all traces of the town, and only in legend and on these pages 
will any knowledge of it exist. 

The history of Silveyville would remain incomplete without honorable 
mention being made of a newspaper being published at that place, by Wm. 
J. Pearce. The type was set and the forms made up in Silveyville, but 
they were sent to Sacramento to be printed from. The paper was strongly 
Democratic, and soon after the editor got into a political altercation with 
one Dr. J. C. Ogburn, a strong Union man, in which Pearce shot the doctor, 
and was forced to flee the country. 

Dixon. — The place to which all the business and houses of Silveyville 
went was Dixon. In 1868 the C. P. R. R. was completed. Seeing a 
probability of its completion, and realizing the fact that it was a good point 
at which to build a town, W. R. Ferguson purchased an acre of land from 
Thomas Dickson, and built a dwelling-house upon it. This was the first 
house built in the town. He immediately afterwards erected a stone 
building. On the 7th day of July, 1868, he opened his store for public 


patronage. The next building was erected by Bernard Greinburg. He 
used it for hotel purposes. It was called the " Empire." Messrs. Eppinger 
& Co. were the next to engage in a mercantile enterprise in the town. The 
second family which located in town was that of Jasper Kattenberg. The 
town was named in honor of Mr. Thomas Dickson, who donated ten acres 
for the purposes of a depot and town site. The difference in orthography 
is accounted for in the fact that the first consignment of goods which came 
to the town were marked " W. R. Ferguson, Dixon." The spelling being 
simpler it was at once adopted by all. The present population is about 
1,200. It was incorporated by a special Act of the Legislature during the 
session of 1877-8. It is a beautiful town nestled amid a grove of shady 
trees, which gives it a cosy and cheerful appearance. It is growing, and 
evidences of prosperity are visible on all sides. 

Free and Accepted Masons.— Silveyville Lodge, No. 201, F. & A. M., was 
organized June 25, 1869, at Silveyville. It was moved to Dixon September 
12, 1871. The following named gentlemen were its charter members : 
James W. Howard, Wm. H. Wells, H. E. McCune, John P. Kirsch, Walter 
Ellis, Wm. Killibrew, B. Meyer, Henry Goeffort, J. S. Garnett, Chas. Wolf, 
C. M. Robinson, Daniel King. The following gentlemen have been honored 
with the office of W. M. , J. W. Howard, W. H. Wells, Jas. A. Ellis, A. 
Hockheimer, John Sweeney. The present membership is 65. 

Royal Arch Chapter. — Dixon Chapter, No. 48, R. A. M., was organized 
February 9, 1875. The charter members were as follows : J. A. Ellis, A. 
Hockheimer, A. G. Summers, B. Ethiger, H. Eppinger. J. C. Merryfield, H. 
Wilcox. H. Goeffort, H. E. McCune, John Sweeney, Geo. C. McKinley, M. 
Blum, Wm. Steele, D. Longmire, A. Fraser, J. C. North, J. P. Kirsch, E. M. 
Tyler, J. W. Sallee. The following gentlemen have been elevated to the 
dignity of High Priest : Jas. A. Ellis, John Sweeney, H. Eppinger, George 
C. McKinley. The present membership is 51. 

Rebecca Degree Lodge. — Hyacinthe Rebecca Degree Lodge, No. 26, was 
organized May 26, 1875. The present officers are Jas. K. Vansant, N. G. ; 
Mrs. Sarah McPherson, V. G. ; Edward Weihe, R. C. ; and Mrs. Nancy Van- 
sant, Treasurer. The present membership is 70. 

I. 0. 0. F.— Montezuma Lodge, No. 172, I. O. O. F., was organized June 
20, 1870. The following named gentlemen comprise its charter members : 
R. S. McKinley, D. Mack, J. D. Carey, Wm. M. Bernard, Geo. W. Smith, 
Thomas Kelley, James M. Clark, John Patterson, T. A. Buckles and R. E. 
Hewitt. The following named gentlemen have had the honor of presiding 
as N. G.'s : Wm. Bernard, T. A. Buckles, R. E. Hewitt, J. Kline, A. Kirby, 


R. R. Neirell, J. Fredrickson, V. A. Collins, P. Siebe, I. Rhodes, J. K. Van- 
sant, W. H. Northcutt, Charles Schirmer, R. C. Christian, A. J. Kasten, 
Edward Weihe. The present membership is 100. 

Knights of Pythias. — Othello Lodge, No. 31, K. of P., was organized June 
29, 1875. The following named gentlemen were charter members : E. L. 
H. Bibby, J. B. Bloom, S. Blum, J. R. Creighton, John Ferguson, John 
Fredrickson, H. Goeffort, R. D. Hopkins, D. B. Huff, Wm. Johnson, Wra. 
Johnson, C. W. Johnson, J. 0. Johnson, J. D. Johnson, A. Levy, S. G. 
Little, J. P. Martin, C. J. McCoy, E. Wenf elder, H. A. Ross, E. W. Striplin, 
Dr. A. H. Pratt, Chas. Schirmer, F. A. Schnitzlein, P. Siebe, Wm. Simms, 
Wm. Straub, J. Sweeney and H. West. The following gentlemen have 
been honored with the office of Chancellor : R. D. Hopkins, John R. 
Creighton, H. A. Ross, Dr. A. H. Pratt, J F. Hamilton, S. G. Little and P. 
Olmstead. The present membership is about 40. 

Independent Order of Good Templars: — -Dixon Lodge, I. 0. G. T., was 
organized February 5th, 1870. Following are the charter members: Mrs. 
Julia A. Ferguson, J. R. Beane, E. H. Beane, J. C. Graves, Thomas Pritch- 
ard, C. M. Daffield, J. Sullivan, Mrs. A. F. Beane, Mrs. M. Bernard, G. S. 
Dudley, Mrs. E. Dudley, H. McGale, Thomas Doody, L. A. Moore and J. F. 
Cook. The following members have held the office of Worthy Chief Tem- 
plar: J. R. Beane, Mrs. F. A. Beane, J. M. Dudley, Joseph Kline, H. Ever- 
ingham, J. H. Peters, W. B. Wyman, Rev. George Morris, W. H. Northcutt, 
A. R. Storey, M. T. Sickal, J. K. Bateman, W. T. Mayne, Wm. Olmstead, 
Miss Ella Hoovey, George Martin, and Stewart McBride. 

Ancient Order of United Workmen: — Dixon Lodge, No.- 50, A. O. U. W., 
was organized September 11th, 1878. The present officers are : A. J. Kasten, 
M. W., A. J. Buckles, P. M. W., Charles Donahoe, G. F., Charles Schrivner, 
O. B. Ethiger, Receiver, J. M. Dinsmore, Financier, A. R. Storey, Recorder. 
The present membership is 27. 

Bank of Dixon: — The Bank of Dixon was organized and incorporated in 
October, 1873, but was not opened for business until April, 1874. The 
authorized capital stock is $500,000. The original board of directors was 
as follows: J. S. Garnett, S. G. Little, James Millar, Ed. Wolfskill, Hanse 
Rohwer, James Porter and D. B. Huff. The presidents of the bank have 
been, S. G. Little, James Millar, J. C. Merryfield. The cashiers have been, 
Ed. Wolfskill, H. B. Sheldon, G. W. Wyman, A. J. Kasten and Robert 

The Dixon Fire Company : — This company was organized October 15th, 
1872. Their present aparatus consists of one Babcock engine, hooks, lad- 


ders, and other appliances necessary to make them a very efficient depart- 
ment. The following gentlemen have acted as foreman : J. Fredrickson, W. 
A. Dashiel, E. Weihe, H. Eppinger, W. S. Hinman, George King, Owen 
O'Niel, George Frahm. 

Catholic Church: — This church building was erected in 1868, by Rev. 
Father Auger. It is located on Second street, between A and Mayes 
streets. It is a frame building, 48x32, with a seating capacity of 140. 
From floor to ceiling is 16 feet. The ceiling is hard-finished, walls wains- 
coted, and finished with redwood tongued grooved and painted. The 
pastors who have served this church are, Rev. Fathers Auger, McNaboe, 
Powers, Moore, Ward and Nugent. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church, South: — Was organized in Solano 
County, in the town of Suisun and vicinity, in the year 1852 or 1853. 
Afterward a society was formed near the present site of Vacaville. This 
was called the Vacaville circuit. 

A neat and substantial stone church was built at Rockville in 1858. 

In 1861 the M. E. C. South built a college known as Pacific Methodist 
College, at Vacaville. Its first president was Rev. J. C. Stewart. After 
the first year Rev. W. T. Luckey, D. D., was elected president, which position 
he held for eight years. 

Rev. J. R. Thomas, D. D., LL. D., was the next president. In 1871 this 
college was removed to Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, where it is now 

Three years ago a beautiful church building was erected at Elmira. The 
church at Vacaville was destroyed by fire in 1877, where it was rebuilt a 
few months thereafter. 

In the Fall of 1878 a church was purchased in Dixon, and a minister was 
sent by the conference to fill the pulpit. There are at present three min- 
isters actively engaged in the work, residing in the county. Rev. J. C. 
Simmons presides at the present time. 

M. E. Church — Dixon and Binghamton. — In the month of March, 1858, 
a few persons living in and around old Silveyville desiring to worship God 
according to Methodistic belief and forms, organized themselves under the 
direction of Rev. J. W. Leach into a methodist class, which numbered 
twelve persons, viz.: J. W. Leach, preacher in charge; John A. Leach, Marian 
Leach, Ellen Proxil, Emily West, Charles West, Charles K. Seeley, Solena 
Seeley, John J. Reed, Joseph Reed, E. B. Reed and Wm. Reed. At the close 
of the year, these twelve had increased to upwards of thirty souls. They 
held their meetings in a school house about one mile and a quarter north of 
Silveyville. This was the rise of methodism in this place and its increase 


for the first year. From 1859 to 1863, the society was without any regu- 
larly appointed minister, and it was with difficulty it maintained its exist- 
ence ; only two persons, namely, Charles and Emily West are left from the 
original twelve ; during this period of struggling without a pastor. They 
worshipped in a hall over a saloon in Silveyville and were strengthened from 
time to time by the labors of Rev. Father White and Rev. Henry Howlit. 
In 1863, J. W. Murphy was appointed to the work. He found the small 
band badly scattered, but, by indifatigable effort, made quite an increase in 
the society. He was a man of robust constitution, fiery disposition, radical 
in views, plain spoken — a man for the times. He was succeeded in 1865 by 
Rev. A. P. Hendon, who was regularly appointed to the work. 
A. P. Hendon reorganized, gathered in others of like faith and entered 
upon the field with renewed vigor. The result was success ; methodism 
became a settled fact in this place during his pastorate. In 1866, under his 
management, a fine church edifice was erected in Silveyville, at a cost of four 
thousand three hundred dollars. A. P. Hendon was a young man of rare 
qualities, tall, slim and gaunt, rather eccentric, positive and thoroughly de- 
voted to his work. He was followed by Dr. Morrow, who, by his personal 
character and pastoral qualifications, endeared himself to the hearts of all. 
The work under him , flourished and, at the close of his two years' labor, 
there were ninety-eight persons connected with the church. The' following- 
year the circuit was divided, W. S. Corwin was stationed at Silveyville and 
S. L. Hamilton appointed to Binghamton ; little is known of the growth or 
struggles of the society this year, save that there was some increase in the 
work. Geo. Larkin succeeded W. S. Corwin in 1869. Bro. Larkin, owing 
to difficulties that arose in the church, did not finish the year. S. L. Ham- 
ilton, of Binghamton, filled the pulpit of Silveyville the last part of the year. 
In 1870, Bro. G. R. Belknap was appointed to Silveyville and I. B. Fish to 
Binghamton. The M. E. Church was moved by Bro. Belknap from Silvey- 
ville to Dixon, a flourishing town on the Central Pacific Railroad, three 
miles southeast of Silveyville, where it now stands. In 1871, the two parts 
of the work that had been divided were again united, and J. M. Hinmin 
was appointed to take charge. He labored for one year and left only forty- 
six on the entire work in full fellowship. He was succeeded by J. H. 
Peters in 1872. There was an increase during this year of twenty-nine. J. 
H. Peters remained on the work for three years, doing faithful service and 
building up the society in all its departments, at the close of his pastorate 
he reports seventy-seven members in full connection. Arnold was appointed 
his successor in September, 1875. Bro. Arnold, on account of ill health, 
retired before the close of the year and S. Snidery sent to complete the 
year. W. T. Mayne was placed over the circuit in 1876, and built an addi- 
tion to the parsonage with $1,000. The work proving too hard for him, at 
the close of the year the circuit was again divided and T. H. Woodward 


was appointed to Binghamton in connection with Rio Vista ; during this 
year the M. E. Church South was organized out of the M. E. Church, 
Dixon, which drew heavily upon the original society. The following year 
the two fractions of the work were again united and T. H. Woodward was 
appointed to take charge of the entire held. The work looked discourag- 
ing, but a sweeping revival broke out during this year, Rev. J. W. Ross was 
present holding meetings day and night for three weeks ; again the society 
sprang to its feet and persons were added daily to the church. The society 
at the present numbers about 100, and owns about seven thousand dollars 
worth of property in Dixon. Sabbath school was organized in 1863 and 
now numbers about seventy. Alex. McPherson is the present Superintend- 
ent ; Trustees : Judge Merryfield, J. M. Dudley, N. Earns, E. L. Mann, J. M. 
Bell, D. S. Stuart and W. R. Ferguerson. 

Dixson Baptist Church. — This church was organized at Pleasant Retreat 
school house, Vaca Valley, Solano county, October 19, 1856. Its constituent 
members were : Rev. Daniel King, Rev. Joseph Roberts, William G. Fore, 
Thomas C. Maupin, H. E. McCune, Lewis Huchinson, Sidney C. Walker, 
Mrs. E. Roberts, Mrs. Susan King, Mrs. H. M. Fore, Mrs. A. R. Maupin, Mrs. 
M. J. Walker, Mrs. Sarah J. Williams, Mrs. Barbara B. McCune. Rev. J. 
Roberts preached a sermon from I Peter, 2, 4, 5. "To ivhom coming, as 
unto a living stone, disallotved indeed of men, but chosen of God and prec- 
ious. Ye also as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priest- 
hood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." 
The text seemed a truly prophetic one, and, together with the earnest ser- 
mon, was attended by the Divine blessing to the little band of humble be- 
lievers, which, like a river of life, clear as crystal, has never ceased to flow, 
The church had the ministerial labors of Revs. Roberts and King, until June. 
1857, when the latter was chosen pastor, in which relation he was held with 
much love and esteem until the time of his death, which occurred at Dixon, 
October 3, 1877. This venerable servant of God was thus the leader of this 
church for more than twenty years, and was an example to them in faith, 
in perseverence, in well-doing, in sacrificing for Christ and his cause. In 
the organization Lewis Huchinson was chosen Secretary and Sidney Walker 

The school house was used as a meeting house until January, 1860, when 
the Hall of the Academy in Vacaville, the property of Rev. Mr. Anderson, 
was obtained as a meeting place for one Saturday and Sunday in each month, 
for the sum of fifty dollars per year. The church held its meetings there 
until March 1861, then moved to the Dry Slough school house, which then 
stood near the present Batavia. In this place, regular monthly meetings were 
held. At the meeting of the church, held April, 1861, a report of a com- 
mittee, consisting of H. E. McCune and T. S. Bayley, of the Baptist Church 
and Rev. Mr. Fairbairn and Mr. G. B. Stevenson, Esq., of the Presbyterian 


Church, 0. S., together with one outside party, whose name we do not find, 
submitted a report, consisting of a written agreement to build a meeting 
house at Silveyville, to be owned and used jointly by the two denominations. 
This report was adopted by both churches, and work of building went on. 
This house was dedicated on the third Sunday in November, 1861, Rev. Dr. 
Peck, of the Presbyterian Church, and Rev. D. King, of the Baptist Church 
officiating. These denominations held this property in partnership, with 
great harmony, until May, 1868, when the Baptists bought the half interest 
of the Presbyterians, and became sole proprietors of the property. This was 
the home of the Baptist Church, where their labors were greatly blessed, 
until October, 1876, when the church dedicated its brick building at the 
town of Dixon, where it still holds its meetings. 

The Rev. Daniel King, being much of the time of his long pastorate of 
this church enfeebled by sickness, and more latterly by age, the church, by 
his request, employed the following ministers as assistants to the pastor: In 
January, 1860, Rev. Orin Critenden was employed, who served with great 
zeal and efficiency until April, 1863. Then the Rev. J. E. Barnes was em- 
ployed for one-half of his time, until May, 1868, and then they employed 
all his time, until January 8th, 1871. From then until June 1st, 1872, Rev. 
D. King labored alone as pulpit supply, and then Rev. John T. Prior, of 
Georgia, was called as an assistant to the pastor, and continued for one year. 
In November, 1872, Rev. J. L. Blitch began to preach to the church as an 
assistant to the pastor, and continued as such until the death of Rev. D. 
King, which, as above stated, was October 3d, 1877. Then he was chosen 
pastor of the church, and continued to serve as such until July, 1878. The 
church then, through their committee on pulpit supply, engaged the services 
of Rev. 0. C. Wheeler, Rev. C. A. Bateman, Rev. C. C. Bateman, Rev. C. A. 
Buck bee, Rev. John Frances, Rev. C. W. Hughes and Rev. James E. Barnes. 
The last named began to supply the pulpit on September 7th, 1878, and lias 
continued to do so, and is still doing so at the present writing. 

Including the constituent members, this church has had connected with 
it 249 members, and now has a membership of 106. They have a church 
property worth about $12,000. 

Newspapers — Dixon Tribune: — The "Tribune" made its appearance at 
Dixon on the 14th day of November, 1874. R. D. Hopkins editor, and R. 
D. Hopkins & Co. publishers. About one year after it was started Hopkins 
became sole proprietor, and continued its publication until April 1, 1877, 
when it went under the present management of Alfred B. Nye. The 
"Tribune" was started as a neutral paper in politics. In 1875 it was Demo- 
cratic. Under the management of Mr. Nye the paper is independent and 
non-partisan. Size, 24x36 inches. It is a weekly, and has a circulation of 
about 600 copies. 



Suisun Township is bounded on the north by those of Elmira, Vacaville 
and Napa county ; on the west by the townships of Green Valley and 
Benicia ; on the south by Suisun bay, and on the east by Montezuma, Den- 
verton, and Maine Prairie townships. It is the largest in the county, and 
was originally one of the two first divisions into which Solano was parti- 
tioned. Included in it are the following islands, which form a portion of 
the delta of the Sacramento river, which debouches into the bay above 
named : Joice, Grisley, Hammond, Wheeler, Gray. Rich, Long Point, Rowe, 
Chips, and two smaller ones not named. The present limits of the town- 
ship were settled on June 27, 1866, and took its name from the Suisun 
Indians, who were the lords of the soil when the settlement of the district 
was commenced. Suisun has an area of 110,000 acres, 10,000 of which are 
water, its general characteristics being a large level plain of some six miles 
square in extent, which opens out on the east into the vast valley of the 
Sacramento. The Potrero hills occupy about twelve sections of this ex- 
panse, and are surrounded on either side by swamp and overflowed lands, 
except a narrow neck of low valley on the north side. The higher ridges 
are two hundred feet in height, and recede in elevation as they approach the 
border of level land adjoining the tule swamps. It is also well watered, 
the principal stream within its limits being the Suisun creek, which has its 
rise in the adjoining county of Napa, thence flowing in a south-easterly 
direction, empties into the Salt marsh, nearly a mile and a half east of 
Bridgeport. Its springs, marble and other quarries are also famous ; it 
will, however, be unnecessary here to dwell upon them, as an exhaustive 
description thereof will be found on page 91 and the following, of this 

Early Settlemerd. — As has been previously remarked, the Suisun Indians 
were the original occupiers of this fertile domain, while Rockville, a small 
town at the foot of the valley would appear to have been their head- 
quarters ; at any ra u e, in 1850, they moved their lares et penates from there 
to Napa county. It has been shown in our chapter on Mexican grants that 
in January, 1837, Francisco Solano, the chief of this tribe, applied for a 
grant of the land which he claimed belonged to him by right of primo- 
geniture, which was finally made to him in January, 1842. The applica- 
tion of Solano was, in 1839, followed by one from Jose Francisco Armijo, a 
Mexican by birth, requesting that the lands known as Tolenas should be 



ceded to him, which was done in March, 1840. It was subsequently decreed 
by the Supreme Court of California that owing to the non-approval of the 
Departmental Assembly of the cessions, the grants were informal: there- 
fore, in 1849, the title to the land held by Solano was acquired by General 
Vallejo by purchase, while that of Armijo, upon the death of the elder, by 
his son Antonio, in the same manner. In 1846, we hear of one Jesus 
Molino, an Indian, having certain ground under cultivation at or near 
Rockville, while in the spring of 1847 Daniel M. Berry with his family 
settled in the valley and pitched his tent on land now farmed by Joseph 
Blake. He was in the spring of 1849 followed by Landy Alford, who located 
on the site of the farm of Lewis Pierce, and Nathan Barbour, who had crossed 
the plains with him, but had gone to Sonoma and thence to Benicia, but so 
few were the people that in 1847, when Captain Von Pfister made his jour- 
ney to Sacramento, then Sutter's Fort, there were only three houses within 
what was then Suisun township, namely, the adobes of Molino at Rockville, 
Berry's residence and the Armijo rancho. In December, 1850, there also came 
to the valley J. H. Bauman, a German, who. camped on arrival at or near the 
farm now owned by Mr. Bucher, afterwards moving to various places as a 
sheep herder until 1853, when he settled in the Montezuma hills. He is now a 
resident of this valley. In this year Robert Waterman, an old sea-captain, 
of thirty years' standing, also arrived from New York City. He now oc- 
cupies a beautiful farm a few miles to the northwest of Fairfield. In 1851, 
E. F. Gillespie (deceased), a native of Watertown, N. Y., came to the upper 
end of the valley. There also permanently located in this year on what was 
called the Island, now the site of Suisun City, Captain Josiah Wing, who 
had during the previous summer commenced running boats up the creek to 
the embarcadero. In October, 1851. there also arrived James G. Edwards 
who settled on the farm of John McMullen. Colonel D. D. Reeves came to 
the township on November 14, 1852, and built a blacksmith shop on the 
farm occupied by Mr. Ledgewood, where he worked at his trade until 1857, 
when he moved into Suisun city, and in conjunction with his brother Co 
P. Reeves, erected some of the largest and most substantial brick buildings 
in the town. In this year there arrived also J. B. Lemon, the present 
County Treasurer, and Allen C. Miller, and last, though by no means least 
among the early settlers who had helped to subdue this valley to fertile 
grain fields, establish manufactories and well conducted business enterprises, 
are the names of John M. Jones, Under Sheriff, who settled in 1853, Asa 
Crocker, in 1854, John W. Pearce, in 1856, D. E. and D. M. Stockman, the 
former in 1856 and the latter arriving in 1858, when there also located 
J. Frank and Moses Dinkelspiel. In 1857 there came William J. Costigan. 
In 1860 R. D. Robbins arrived; P. J. Christler in 1862, while among the 
first settlers were J. B. Hoyt and E. P. Hilborn ; we have been, however, 
unable to glean the precise date of their arrival. - 


Suisun City. — This city stands on an island in the midst of the tule lands 
which form a marshy desert lying between the Potrero hills and Benicia. 
As far back as the year 1850, Curtis Wilson and Dr. John Baker sailed up 
the Suisun creek in an open boat, and landed on the present site of the 
city. To them is due the honor of its discovery. They did not, however, 
remain long enough to give them the rights of residents of the place, but it 
is supposed left in search of places bearing a more captivating impress. 
Mention has been made of Captain Josiah Wing having been engaged in 
the running of schooners, or other craft, to this island in the summer of 
1850 and of his settlement on it in 1851. In this year he built the first 
building erected on the present site of the city, it being a warehouse, on the 
place now occupied by the livery-stables of George W. Hall, on the east 
side of the Plaza, situated opposite the Post-office. In the summer of this 
year the first store was opened by John W. Owens and A. W. Hall, while 
in the following years others came and commenced building up the city of 
Suisun. In the year 1868 a petition signed by the residents of the now 
flourishing country town was handed to the Board of Supervisors of the 
county, requesting that steps might be taken whereby Suisun should re- 
ceive the rights and privileges of a city, which prayer was granted on 
October 9th of that year, when she developed into an incorporated city. 

Suisun, as it is to-day, is a flourishing little town of about 1,800 inhab- 
itants. Its streets are, as a rule, well filled with people, while its stores 
of which there are some very handsome ones, appear to have a fair share of 
business. It is connected with Fairfield, the county seat, by a plank walk 
of nearly a mile in length, there being situated half way between the rival 
towns the California Pacific Railroad depot, under the charge of J. C. 

Fairfield. — This little town is the county seat of Solano, it having at- 
tained to that proud distinction by a vote of the people canvassed on Septem- 
ber 2, 1858, when it was declared to be the choice of the voters by a major- 
ity of 404 over Benicia. This selection of Fairfield was made, in the first 
place, on account of its central position, and secondly on account of the gift 
to the county by Captain R. H. Waterman of certain lands, should the 
county seat be legally located there. The town site was surveyed by Capt. 
Waterman and A. E. Ritchie, and the plat filed for record on May 16, 1859, 
and the new County Capital named in honor of the birthplace of the 
Captain in Connecticut. The first residence erected on it was that of J. B. 
Lemon, the premises being those now occupied by him. Fairfield is a pretty 
little town of considerable promise, and possessing, as it does, the county 
buildings, there is considerable bustle to be observed during the sessions 
of the different Courts. Its houses, for the most part, are enclosed by neat 
fences and well kept gardens, vineyards and orchards, while the streets are 
wide, though not much worn by traffic. 


Court House and Jail. — On September 13, 1858, the Board of Supervisors 
met and canvassed the votes of the general election for that year, and, 
among other things, it was declared that Fairfield had been selected as 
the county seat, and also a new Board of Supervisors were elected, viz : J. 
G. Gardner, D. B. Holman, and E. F. Gillespie. The new Board met and 
organized on the 2nd day of November following. 

The county records having been moved from Benicia, and a temporary 
Court House built and certain buildings rented from Waterman and Wil- 
liamson, for the temporary use of the county officers, on November 18, 
1858, the following order was entered in the minutes of the Board : " Or- 
dered by the Board of Supervisors that specifications of a plan for the 
Court House and jail, for Solano county, be advertised for in the Solano 
County Herald for the term of two weeks, and that the amount of fifty 
dollars be allowed to the architect whose plans shall be received and 
approved by the Board. Said specifications to be handed in on or before 
the 5th day of December, A. D. 1858. Said jail to be 35 feet square ; the 
Court House to be 40x50 feet, to contain rooms for the county officers and 
jury rooms." 

On January 21, 1859, the Board of Supervisors passed an order requesting 
" our Senator and Assemblyman " to pass an act authorizing the Board of 
Supervisors to levy a special tax, for the term of two years, of fifty cents 
upon each one hundred dollars, upon the assessed value of property of said 
county, for county purposes ; for the purpose of building Court House and 
jail for said county. On the following day the plans and specifications, 
submitted by James H. White for a Court House and jail for Solano county, 
were accepted and approved. 

On February 9, 1859, the vote adopting the plans and specifications 
submitted by James H. White was reconsidered, and the plans and specifi- 
cations submitted by George Bordwell were accepted and adopted February 
10, 1859. Ordered that sealed proposals be received for building the Court 
House and jail, according to the plans and specifications of George Bordwell, 
adopted by the Board, up to the 14th day of March, 1859, and that the 
same be advertised by the Clerk in the Solano Coibnty Herald for thirty 
days ; and it is further ordered that George Bordwell be appointed architect 
to superintend the erection of said buildings. March 14, 1859, they met to 
open the proposals received, and award the contract for building the pro- 
posed Court House and jail. Bids were received as follows : From William 
B. Carr, $28,400; A. Barrows, $38,500 ; George W. Cord, $28,200; E. M. 
Benjamin and N. Smith, $27,200 ; C. Murphy, T. Collins, and J. J. Doyle, 
$31,200 ; Samuel T. Carlisle, $37,745; J. J. Denny, $31,000 ; John B. Sanford, 
$27,350 ; William McCarty, $29,500 ; Charles B. Tool, $34,300 ; Larkin 
Richardson, $24,440. The bid of Larkin Richardson being the lowest, the 
contract was duly awarded to him, upon his filing a bond in the sum of 


$48,880, being twice the amount of his bid, the conditions being that the 
buildings were to be completed according to the plans and specifications — 
the jail by September 1, 1859, and the Court House by September 1, 1860. 
Subsequently an order was made that the Court House should be built on 
Union Square so as to front on Union street, and to run 40 feet back to the 
centre of the square east and west, and that the jail be located on a line 
with the Court House, eastward, half way of the block ; and it was further 
ordered that the County Surveyor run the necessary lines. 

And it was also ordered that the architect superintending should be 
allowed seven per cent upon the contract price ($24,440) for his services. 
The percentage was afterwads changed to eight per cent. 

It appears that an Act was passed by the Legislature in accordance with 
the request of the Board of Supervisors, for on April 11, 1859, the Board 
ordered that a tax of fifty cents, upon each hundred dollars of the taxable 
property of the county, be levied and assessed for the building of the Court 
House and jail, in pursuance of the provisions of an Act of the Legislature. 

On September 1, 1859, the following appears on the minutes of the Board: 
" Whereas, the contract for building a county jail and Court House was 
awarded to Larkin Richardson, and the time for the delivery of the same, 
completed, has arrived ; be it, therefore, resolved, that the said Richardson 
be and he is hereby required to deliver to the county the said jail, finished 
according to his contract, and upon his failing to do so, to be held respon- 
sible for all damages ; and that he be furnished with a copy of this 

November 10, 1859, the following order is entered upon the minutes : 
" Ordered that the public building known as the jail in Fairfield be now 
received from the contractor, Larkin Richardson ; the Board reserving the 
right to claim damages, and Richardson reserving the right to subsequently 
present his bill for extra work." 

And it was, thereupon, ordered that the prisoners (which had heretofore 
been confined in the jail of Contra Costa county) be removed to the Fair- 
field jail. 

On March 12, I860, the contract was let to A. P. Jackson to fit up the 
court room and offices in the new Court House for the sum of $1,994. 
Jackson's contract was subsequently cancelled, and on April 21, 1860, a new 
contract, for fitting up the rooms, was entered into with J. W. Batcheller, 
at the sum of $1,963. 

On April 21, 1860, the following order was entered : " Ordered by the 
Board of Supervisors of Solano county, that the public buildings of said 
county, known as the Court House and jail, in Fairfield, be and the same 
are hereby received from the contractor, Larkin Richardson. The said 
Richardson hereby giving up and releasing all claims and demands against 
the said Board of Supervisors on occount of said buildings ; the said Board 


having made the said Richardson an allowance in full amount due on the 
original contract, and for all extra work done on said buildings." 

On the completion of Batcheller's contract, shortly after, an order was 
made for the county officers and courts to remove from the temporary 
buildings used into the new Court House, which was at once complied with, 
and these buildings are in use at the present date. 

The old frame Court House, used temporarily, was, a few years after the 
completion of the new building, removed to the present Court House block 
and placed on the west side of the Court House, about the same distance 
from it as the jail is upon the east. 

The Hall of Records. — At the session of the Legislature of 1877-8, an 
Act was passed authorizing the Board of Supervisors of Solano county to 
issue $15,000 of bonds, bearing seven per cent, per annum interest, to create 
a fund to be called " The Court-House Improvement Fund," and also to levy 
an annual tax for their redemption, for the purpose of erecting a fire-proof 
addition to the Court House for the safe preservation of the records of the 
County Clerk's and County Recorder's offices. In 1878, these bonds were 
prepared and, after advertising for proposals to purchase them, were sold to 
Sutro & Co., Bankers of San Francisco, for $15,356. The board then pro- 
ceeded to build the desired edifice, plans and specifications were prepared 
by George Bordwell (the former architect of the Court House) which 
were approved and accepted and proposals were immediately 
invited for the erection of said fire-proof building. A large num- 
ber of bids were received and, at the opening thereof by the board, the 
contract was awarded to Richard and John McCann, of San Francisco, for 
the erection of said building according to the plans and specifications, at 
the sum of $11,597. The building is located twenty feet from the Court 
House on the west side ; and is sixty feet long by thirty feet in width, and 
two stories in height, and is fire-proof in all particulars, connecting with the 
Court House by an iron bridge, crossing in the second story. The contract 
was let in July, 1878, and it was completed in November of that year ; the 
furnishing contract was let to John B. Lucksinger & Co., of San Francisco, 
for $2,000 ; and after all the extra work done by both contractors was paid 
for and certain other extra articles furnished — the whole outlay amounted 
to the sum of $15,400. 

This building has the Recorder's office on the first floor, with an excellent 
fire-proof vault for the records in the rear of the front office, and the 
County Clerk's office in front on the second floor, with the Supervisor's 
room in the rear — being one of the best arranged and satisfactory buildings 
of the kind to be found anywhere in the agricultural counties of the 


M. E. Church — Fairfield. — The first methodist sermon preached in Suisun 
Valley was at the house of D. M. Berry, in November, 1849, by Rev. Isaac 
Owens. Rev. S. D. Simonds was the first regularly appointedcircuit preacher 
and his jurisdiction embracing " all north of the bay." He was appointed 
February 1, 1851. Rev. M. C. Briggs had preached occasionally prior to 
this. The first class or society was organized by S. D. Simonds, in the 
Spring of 1851, the following were members : Jas. Dorland and his wife, 
Benjamin Davisson, Jasper S. Sheldon and Charlotte Berry. The first 
Sunday school was organized the last of March, 1851, at D. M. Berry's by 
S. D. Simonds, S. D. Simonds was succeeded in August, 1851, by Jas. 
Corwin ; he traversed the same territory until February, 1853. The head- 
quarters of this extensive circuit was at Sonoma. In February, 1853, E. 
A. Hazen was appointed to Suisun and Napa circuit ; he remained until 
May, 1855 ; during this time a small church was built about three miles 
west of Suisun, which was known for years as the " Valley Church." In 
May, 1855, Jas. Corwin and Colin Anderson were appointed to the circuit 
as colleagues. In September, 1857, Jas. Hunter was appointed and the 
Suisun circuit established. He remained until September, 1859 ; during the 
year 1858, lots were secured in the then newly laid out town of Fairfield, 
and about the same time the present parsonage was erected. In September, 
1859, Rev. J. W. Hines was appointed; he remained two years, until Sep- 
tember, 1861 ; during the first year of his pastorate the construction of the 
present brick church in Fairfield was commenced, but remained unfinished 
until the next year ; it was then completed and dedicated in the Summer 
of 1861. Its total cost was about $8,000. In September, 1861, Jas. Corwin 
was appointed pastor. In September, 1862, H. J. Bland was appointed. In 
September, 1863, W. S. Urmy. He remained until September, 1865 ; during 
this time the debt on the brick church was paid and it has since remained 
free of debt ; during this period the Valley Church was sold and, after re- 
moval, was converted into the present school house in Gomer District. The 
subsequent pastors have been as follows : September, 1865, W. S. Corwin ; 
September, 1866, John Daniel ; September, 1867, W. S. Turner ; August, 
1869, R. W. Williamson ; September, 1870, 0. S. Frambies ; August, 1871, 
A. R. Sheriff; September, 1872, J. M. Hinman; September, 1874, E. E. 
Dodge; September, 1875, G. D. Pinneo; September, 1877, M. D. Buck; 
September, 1878, R. E. Wenk, present incumbent. During these years the 
church has had fluctuating prosperity. The present membership is thirty. 
A Sunday school has been maintained throughout the whole history of the 
church ; the present number is sixty ; Superintendent, R. E. Wenk. 

Grace Church, Suisun — Episcopal : — What is now known as Grace 
Church was the first place of worship erected in Suisun, being built A. D. 
1857, under the auspices of the "Old School Presbyterians." Captain 


Richie of Fairfield offered a lot in that town ; but the people of Suisun offered 
to give the land and put up the building. Their proposition was accepted, 
and Mr. Joseph Merrill received the contract for building the Church. Mr. 
Reubin Pringle gave the lot. The Rev. Mr. Wood was the first minister in 
charge. He was succeeded by the Rev. Mr. Fairburn, who only remained a 
short time, as the zeal of the people had weakened, and he was not sup- 
ported. The church remained without a pastor for some time, and in the 
year 1861 it was sold to the Methodists. The first minister of this denomi- 
nation was the Rev. Mr. Baily. He was succeeded by the following named 
ministers : Rev. W. B. Gober ; Rev. 0. P. Fitzgerald ; Rev. Samuel Brown ; 
Rev. O. Fisher ; Rev. A. P. Anderson ; Rev. T. E. Barton ; Rev. Samuel 
Brown ; Rev. T. H. B. Anderson ; Rev. Samuel Brown ; Rev. W. F. Comp- 
ton. The first Episcopal service was held April 28th, 1867, by the Rev. 
Henry G. Perry, at that time rector of St. Paul's Church, Benicia. These 
services were continued by the same clergyman, at intervals, until August 
25th, of the same year, when he resigned the mission to the Bishop of Cali- 
fornia. The parish was organized July 28th, and the Bishop made his first 
visitation in company with the Rev. Mr. Perry, August 25, 1867. From 
this time until 1872 the following clergymen held service at this place : 
Rev. Messrs. Smith, Gray, Breck, Cowan, Powell, Brotherton and Kelly. In 
the winter of 1872 the church was purchased by the Episcopalians, and the 
Rev. Geo. R. Davis was called from Nebraska, and assumed the rectorship 
of the parish, March 10. Before the year closed he accepted a call to Ma- 
rysville, and the parish was again vacant. On the sixth Sunday after Trinity, 
1873, the Rev. T. E. Dickey took charge of the parish, and on the 28th of 
September, 1874, he resigned his rectorship, and accepted a call to Silver 
City, Idaho. The Rev. Giles Easton held services in this church from 
August, 1875, to May, 1878. The present rector, Rev. E. C. Cowan, as- 
sumed his duties on the 1st of August, 1878. 

St. Alphonsis, Catholic: — Was established about the year 1860, Father 
Dyeart officiating. He was followed by Fathers Ougar and McNaboe, the 
latter being still in charge. The construction of the present church edifice 
was begun in 1868, and a debt of $6,000 incurred by its building, which has 
been entirely liquidated under the able management of Father McNaboe. 
This year (1879) they are building an addition. The membership of this 
church is about three hundred. 

The above history is taken from the county atlas, as no other could be 
obtained, notwithstanding repeated efforts to get it — indeed such has been 
the case with the churches of the Catholic persuasion throughout the 

The Congregational Church, Suisun: — Preliminary steps were taken at a 
meeting held at the residence of E. P. Hilborn, on October 30, 1876, J. W. 


Warren, D. D., presiding, for the purpose of organizing a congregation to 
worship under the Congregational form of religion, at Suisun, when a com- 
mittee was selected, who appointed to meet on the 5th of November follow- 
ing, to take into consideration the formation of a permanent organization of 
that body. Success would appear to have attended their efforts, for we 
find the 22d day of December of the same year set apart for the holding of 
appropriate inaugural services, the following churches being represented by 
their pastors: First Congregational Church of San Francisco; Plymouth 
Congregational Church of San Francisco; First Congregational Church, 
Oakland; Congregational Church, South Vallejo; Congregational Church, 
Dixon; Congregational Church, Sacramento; with J. H. Warren, D. D., 
Superintendent of American Home Missions. The sermon was preached by 
J. E. Dwinelle. The first membership numbered seventeen, who were under 
the pastorate of the Rev. J. W. Brier, Jr. All the services of this church 
have been held in an edifice erected by the people of Suisun, on Morgan 
street. In July, 1878, Mr. Brier resigned, when he was succeeded by the 
Rev. A. F. Hitchcock, the present incumbent. Not the least interesting 
record in connection with this church is its admirable Sunday School, the 
classes of which give frequent exhibitions, each of them being attended with 
more than ordinary success. The first superintendent of the school was C. 
W. Childs, the present holder of the position being A. C. Wood. The church 
membership is about twenty-seven, while the number of school children is 


Suisun Lodge, No. 55, F. and A. M.: — This lodge was chartered by the 
Grand Lodge on May 4, 1855, the chartered members being J. H. Griggs, 
Miles Dean, W. B. Brown, C. Manka, S. Maupin, P. 0. Clayton, Charles 
Maul, Sampson Smith, Jacob Cutter, Philip Palmer, D. D. Reeves, John W. 
Owen, M. A. Long, A. P. Jackson and G. W. Hays. The lodge was instituted 
in the Armijo adobe, in Suisun Valley, and held a number of its meetings 
there during the year 1855. Shortly after, however, a move was made by 
the brethren to erect a lodge building, and the result was that in the Fall 
of 1855 a neat wooden structure, two stories in height, was erected at what 
was then known as Barton's Store, in Suisun Valley. The lower story of 
the building erected was used as a school-room, and the upper story was 
used by the craft. In 1856 the town of Suisun began to assume some im- 
portance, and the brethren, after considerable parleying, decided to move 
the lodge to Suisun, and just at that time Bro. Hiram Rush began the erec- 
tion of a large brick store-room in Suisun, and the brethren bargained with 
him to add a third story to his building for a lodge-room for the Order. 
This he did, the lodge paying all the expenses of the third story, and on its 
completion Bro. Rush deeded it, the property, with a right of way of ingress 
and egress. For about twenty-three years the lodge has occupied its present 



hall, and which is to-day one of the most comfortable and suitable Masonic 
halls in Solano County. The lodge has prospered from the first, and at the 
present time numbers about seventy-five members. The present officers 
are: W. G. Davisson, W. M.; J. Frank, S. W.; William Leithead, J. W.; Co. 
P. Reeves, Treasurer; George A. Gillespie, Secretary; J. B. Richardson, S. 
D.; John A. Lockie, J. D.; N. Anderson, Tyler. 

Suisun Lodge, No. 78, I. 0. O.F.: — Was organized September 13, 1858, 
by C. W. Hayden, D. D. G. Master District No. 15, with John Doughty, D. 
M. Stockman, J. M. Duncan, A. E. Charles and J. Frank as charter mem- 
bers. On the night of its institution W. H. Stephens and W. Farmer be- 
came members by deposit of card, and T. J. Owen, M. Meehan, M. Dinkel- 
spiel, Albert Knorp and M. A. Wheaton were admitted by initiation. The 
first officers of the lodge were as follows: N. G., John Doughty; V. G., D. 
M. Stockman; R. S., J. M. Duncan; Treas., J. Frank; R. S. N. G., M. Dinkel- 
spiel; L. S. N. G., Albert Knorp; R. S. V. G., T. J. Owen; L. S. V. G., W. 
H. Stephens; Warden, M. A. Wheaton; Cond., A. E. Charles; I. G, W. 
Farmer; O. G., Maurice Meehan. 

The first meetings of the lodge were held in the second story of the brick 
building, over J. Frank & Co.'s store, and continued to be held at that place 
until about the year 1866, when the lodge made arrangements with the 
Masonic lodge and moved into their hall. In 1872 the lot and building 
where the present hall now stands was purchased, at a cost, including the 
improvements for hall purposes, of about $8,000. The new hall was dedi- 
cated April 26, 1873, R G. Master Charles N. Fox presiding. This hall 
is a beautiful one, well ventilated, and with its present furniture, which 
was recently purchased at an expense of about $1,000, places it among the 
most pleasant halls of the Order in the State. 

From the time of its organization 228 persons have held membership 
therein, and its present roll, from last report, numbers 113. The following- 
Past Grands have held the appointment of D. D. G. Master for this district: 
John Doughty, 1860-61; M. Dinkelspiel, 1864-65; Henry Hubbard, 1866- 
67; Valentine Wilson, 1868-69. The lodge at present is nearly out of debt, 
and its assets amount to about $13,000. 

The present officers of the lodge are as follows: C. N. Edwards, N. G.; 
John R. Morris, V. G.; Rev. A. F. Hitchcock, R. S.; H. Hubbard, P. S.; 
George W. Greene, Treas.; John Henry, Warden;, J. M. Jones, Cond,; J. W. 
Kerns, I. G.; W. J. Morris, O. G.; George T. Whitley, R. S. N. G.; Fred. 
Frank, L. S. N. G.; H. Hansen, R. S. V. G.; H. Manuel, L. S. V. G.; Frank 
Whitby, R. S. S.; William Trudgeon, L. S. S. 

Suisun Lodge, No. Jfi, A. 0. U. W.: — This lodge was organized September 
3, 1878, the chartered members being D. M. Miller, Rev. A. F. Hitchcock, 
John Krause, and ten others. The first officers elected to serve were: J. M. 


Gregory, P. M. W.; Alexander Dunn, M. W.; H. Robinson, F. W.; S. G. 
Palmer, 0.; 0. R. Coghlan, Recorder; A. P. Spence, Financier; John Henry, 
Receiver; W. N. Bowen, Guide; John Wagoner, I. W.; C. F. Montgomery, 
O. W. The objects of this Order are too well known to be stated at length. 
It embraces, in addition to the mutual-aid principles common to many secret 
societies, an insurance of $2,000 on the life of each member. Its system of 
mutual aid and life insurance is almost entirely free from the risks and 
failures of ordinary life-insurance companies. The Order now numbers 
over 10,000 members in this State, and is rapidly increasing, as it meets the 
wants of the great mass of men who wish to make provision for their fami- 
lies in the safest and most economical way. 

Bank of Suisun:- -This bank was established February 7, 1876, with an 
authorized capital of $100,000, under the management of R. D. Robbins 
president, and W. Wolf, cashier, the directors being R. D. Robbins, C. F. 
D. Hastings, E. P. Hilborn, W. H. Turner and J. B. Hoyt. It does an ordi- 
nary banking business, and corresponds with the Anglo-Californian Bank 
of San Francisco, and J. and W. Seligman & Co. of New York. 

Suisun Fire Department. — The history of the Fire Department of Suisun 
City may not unfairly be said to have commenced March 24, 1860, when the 
Solano Herald (A. R. Gunnison, editor,) modestly urged the necessity of an 
organization, and said that " the first step in the matter of preparation is to 
build two or more cisterns on the plaza, which may be kept always full of 
water and ready to meet any emergency." "A large force-pump, with hose 
attached," was considered sufficient apparatus for a beginning. In the next 
issue of the paper an anonymous advertisement appeared, calling for " a pre- 
liminary meeting of firemen, April 4th, at Wheaton's Hall," inviting all to 
be present who " were interested in the matter of protection against fire." 
At the time specified, as appears by an item of April 7th, a meeting was 
held and " a committee was appointed to take the matter into consideration, 
ascertain the cost of cisterns, force-pumps and other apparatus, and report 
April 11th at Chrisler's Hall. The next week's paper contained an item 
headed " Fire Wardens," showing that " at a meeting of those interested in 
protection from fire, Messrs. D. Ballard, D. E. Stockton, and J. B. Lemon, 
were elected Trustees, to receive the money subscribed by the citizens, ex- 
pend the same in building cisterns and superintend the construction thereof." 
Another item shows that " at a meeting of Union Fire Co. No. 1, held on 
April 11th, John S. Miller presiding, T. J. McGarvey, J. Frank, and P. A. 
Wood, were appointed a committee on laws, and they thereupon presented 
a copy of the Constitution and By-laws of Weber Co. No. 1. of Stockton, 
which was adopted with slight amendments. The first officers elected were: 
Win. J. Morris, Foreman; J. C. Owen, 1st Assistant; T. J. McGarvey, 2d 
Assistant ; D. Ballard, Secretary ; J. H. Marston, Treasurer. 


After a season of struggles sufficient means was finally procured to pur- 
chase an engine, and it reached town on the steamer Rambler August 22, 
1861, escorted by Ex-Chief F. E. R. Whitney, and half a dozen of the "How- 
ard" boys of the Fire Department of San Francisco. It was manufactured 
by Hunneman & Co., of Boston, in 1857, and was the last one made by that 
firm for that city prior to the introduction of the steam engines now in use 
there. The reception was enthusiastic, and the " boys " had a good time at 
the " social hop " in the evening. In June, 1862, the paper referred to the 
needs of the department, and recalled the facts that since the first advocacy 
of its formation " the company had constructed two capacious cisterns, 
furnishing an ample supply of water, at a cost of $400, and purchased an 
engine at a cost of $1,600, and still owed for 550 feet of hose." September 
12, 1862, John W. Owen and his associates in title donated the lot whereon 
the present engine-house was built. Since its formation, the company has 
passed through various grades of adversity and occasional prosperity, but 
since April 8, 1874, when the present foreman, John T. Hammond, was ap- 
pointed to its leadership, it has been steadily progressing toward perfection 
and efficiency. It is now out of debt, owning its house, lot and apparatus, 
and is fairly officered and manned. Five public and two private cisterns in 
different parts of the town, averaging a capacity of 10,000 gallons each, help 
to insure the place against devastation by fire. 

Suisun and Fairfield Water Company. — Was organized as a joint stock 
company, with one thousand shares of one hundred dollars each, on April 
24, 1866. The officers, after permanent organization, were: Samuel Breck, 
President ; M. Dinkelspiel, Vice-President ; F. O. Staples, Treasurer ; George 
A. Gillespie, Secretary, and W. K. Hoyt, Superintendent. There were five 
directors, from which the above officers were elected, except Hoyt. The re- 
maining director being D. M. Stockman. The tanks, pumps, etc., were erected 
on land bought by the company, formerly owned by John Doughty and W. 
S. Wells, situated about one-half mile from Fairfield. Work was commenced 
soon after organization and completed March, 1868. There is a large " main" 
laid from the tanks through Fairfield to the south side of Suisun, a dis- 
tance of 1^ miles, and is made of cement, the smaller ones, leading to dwel- 
lings, etc., are iron. The present officers are : E. P. Hilborn, President ; 
Lewis Pierce, Vice-President ; Harvy Rice, Treasurer ; D. M. Stockman, Sec- 
retary, and Josiah Wing, Jr., Superintendent. The company have erected 
this year (1879) two new tanks of 10,000 gallons capacity, and one tank- 

Suisun City Mills. — At the head of the industries of California stands 
the growing of wheat; second in the catalogue is the manufacture of flour. 
The latter branch is steadily increasing, to keep pace with the demand, and 
the rapid progress being made in the cultivation of wheat. 


First among the industries of this town is the turning of wheat into flour. 
The flouring mill of Suisun is not only an honor to the city, but a credit to 
the county. Solano county being one of the banner wheat counties of the 
State, a milling interest has obtained here that deserves more than a pass- 
ing notice in this volume. 

J. G. Edwards and S. C. Reed commenced the erection of a frame mill on 
the site where the present brick structure stands, May 1, 1854. It was a 
two-story building, in which were but two run of stone, and was only used 
as a custom mill. It was run by steam, and did its first work on October 
1st of that year. In order to give place to a larger and better structure, 
this mill was torn down and moved away in the spring of 1858, a portion of 
which is now the Roberts' Hotel. 

This firm the same spring commenced the erection of what is known as 
the Suisun City Mills. It turned its first wheel in October of that year. 
The main structure is 42x52, three stories high. The foundation story or 
basement is a solid system of stone masonry, two feet thick. The two stories 
above the basement are brick, with pitch and gravel roof over all. On the 
first floor is where the wheat is received. There are elevator spouts, screen 
spouts, and a garner in which the wheat is dampened for grinding, also the 
line of shafting, which drives the stones above, are located on this floor On 
the second floor are four run of stone, supported by wooden hurst frames, 
one wheat garner and one revolving wheat screen. In the third story is 
where the wheat cleaning is done. There are two smutters, one National 
cut separator and one suction fan. There are also three hoppers, two for 
wheat and one for middlings, which feed the stones below. On this floor, 
but separated from the cleaning room, is the bolting chest and five reels. 

To the east and rear of the main building is the engine room, 30x60 feet, 
built of brick, in which is a forty-horse steam engine, the main shaft of 
which rests on a solid stone foundation, thereupon hanging a balance wheel 
weighing one ton. 

To the south of the engine room is located the boiler room, in which are 
two (36) tubular boilers, sixteen feet long. 

S. C. Reed sold his interest in this mill to Jerry Marston, in October, 1859, 
and the enterprise was conducted under the firm name of Edwards & Mars- 
ton until July, 1860, when Edwards sold to Stockman Bros. D. E. Stock- 
man sold to Marston in 1866, and D. M. Stockman on August 3, 1867. This 
firm erected during the year 1866 a warehouse, one and two stories high, of 
brick, running east and north of the main building. It is 62x110 feet, with 
a capacity of one thousand tons. The office occupies a portion of this room, 
and there is also a car track running the entire length of the building to the 
slough dock, which affords the shipping facilities for the entire building. 

Jerry Marston sold to E. P. Hilborn & Co., July, 1872, who are at present 
conducts the business, with Richard P. Le Gro as manager. 


Suisun Glee Club. — This club was temporarily organized at the residence 
of D. M. Stockman, on June 14, 1878, and took permanent shape by the 
adoption of a constitution on the 12th of July following, with D. M. Stock- 
man, President ; T. G. Whitley, Treasurer and Secretary, and J. K. Bateman, 
Director. The present officers are S. B. Saunders, President ; T. G. Whit- 
ney, Secretary and Treasurer, and J. K. Bateman, Director. The member- 
ship is thirty-seven. This club has already rendered the Cantata of Queen 
Esther, on four occasions, with marked success, and in a manner which would 
put into the shade towns and societies of greater pretensions ; indeed, so 
much musical talent is seldom found in so small a compass. Let the Suisun 
Glee Club proceed ! ! ! 

News Papers: — The first paper published in Suisun Township was the 
Solano County Herald. The first number of this paper was issued on the 
2d day of October, 1858. This paper had been published at Benicia, having 
been established there in November, 1855, by Messrs. George and Cellers. 
At the time of its removal to Suisun it was under the management of Wm. 
J. Hooton & Co., the late Judge Wm. Wells being the other member of the 
firm. It was printed in a building on the south side of the plaza. Decem- 
ber 17, 1859, J. G. Lawton, Jr., assumed control of the paper as" editor and 
publisher, although he had been the editor previously. On the 10th of May, 
1860, the management was again changed, Powers & Gunnison assuming con- 
trol, with Gunnison in the editorial chair. Later in that year E. E. Hatha- 
way became connected with the business, and the firm name was changed to 
O. B. Powers & Co. In 1862, H. Hubbard & Co. began the publication of 
'the Solano Press, and continued the publication until September, 1866, when 
they disposed of their interest to G. A. Gillespie and Woodford Owens. In 
the fall of 1869 the Press and Herald were consolidated, and a new name 
given to the paper. It was called the Solano Republican. October 13th, 
1875, O. B. Powers, who was the sole proprietor, disposed of the paper to 
Messrs. C. F. Montgomery and W. N. Bowen. Previous to this the paper 
had always been a six-column folio. At this time the subscription-list did 
not exceed one hundred, and the advertising patronage was merely nominal. 
The size of the paper was increased to a seven-column folio the second issue 
under the new management. The business prospects of the paper began at 
at once to get brighter. The subscription-list was increased during the first 
year to nearly one thousand, and the advertising patronage increased in 
proportion. In the spring of 1877 a quarter-medium Nonpariel job press 
was purchased, and a full assortment of job type. In October, 1877, the 
paper was again enlarged, to a six-column quarto, (8 pages) and in June, 
1878, it was again enlarged, to a seven-column quarto, which is its present 
size and form. Feb. 14th, 1879, the management again changed hands, W. N 
Bowen disposing of his interest to L. L. Palmer, and the business is now 


conducted under the firm name of Montgomery & Palmer, with C. F. Mont- 
gomery as editor and L. L. Palmer as associate editor. The Republican is 
a fearless defender and advocate of the rights of the people, and is a wel- 
come weekly visitor to nearly every house in the upper portion of Solano 

The Solano County Democrat, with Thompson & Sinthicun, publishers, 
was established at Suisun, April 30, 1868. In 1870 it was moved to 

The County Hospital. — This building is situated about three miles to the 
east of Fairfield, the county seat, and covers an area of 30x64 feet. It is a 
building two stories high, on the first floor there being the office of the 
physician and drug store, the dining room, general sitting room, and six 
small wards, and bath houses as well. On the upper floor there are four 
large wards, while in the rear there is an addition for cook, stewards, and 
store rooms. It is throughout fitted with every modern improvement, its 
system of drainage being connected with a creek at the distance of a quarter 
of a mile. The physicians are Doctors A. T. Spence and W. G. Downing, 
both gentlemen well practiced in their profession.and much liked in the 

The Embarcadero : — Time was when the scene was busy on this landing 
place. Before the railroad came to fly off with the large profits of grain 
from the upper part of the country, wagons by strings were wont to arrive 
to start their precious sacks of cereals, boxes of fruit, and hampers of vege- 
tables to market, on board of schooners, sloops, and steamboats which then 
plyed to this point. A warehouse of considerable proportions was con- 
structed for the storage of freight, and all " went merry as a marriage bell." 
To-day a few regular traders arrive and depart at stated intervals ; while a 
steamer makes the journey to San Francisco thrice a week. On the wharf 
are deposited tons of cobble stones, procured in the mountains near Kock- 
ville, and heaps of marble from Swan's quarries, awaiting shipment to San 
Francisco, there to be utilized, but, there is not much sign of life, for portions 
of the warehouse have fallen in and much desolation abounds. 



Geography : — Denverton township is bounded on the north by Maine 
Prairie township, on the east by Rio Vista Township, on the south by 
Montezuma township, and on the west by Suisun township. It is rect- 
angular in shape, and is a little longer north and south than east and west. 
Nurse's slough extends through a portion of the south-west portion. It is 
navigable for small craft as far up as Denverton. The western boundary 
line is the Mt. Diablo meridian line. Hence it lies in range 1 east, and it is 
in range 4 north, Mount Diablo Meridian. 

Topography: — The western and northern portions of the township are 
comparatively level, but the southern and eastern portions, including a large 
part of the central portion, is quite hilly. This is especially eo of the south- 
eastern portion, which extends into the heart of the Montezuma hills. 

Soil: — The soil in this township is as varied as the State itself. The 
southwest portion is a salt-marsh, on which the tule thrives. It is not con- 
sidered productive. Further northward, the soil is alluvial and adobe in 
sections, and white alkali and hardpan in other sections. The belt of alkali 
and hardpan extends along the northern portions of it. The eastern and 
south-eastern portions are almost exclusively adobe, and is very rich and 
productive. Of course nothing but a short, wild grass ever grows on the 
alkali land. It is used principally for grazing purposes. There is a gravel 
belt of very peculiar formation extending through the western portion 
of the township. It seems to be the bed of some old-time and long- 
since-forgotten stream, although at present it is not in the least depressed as 
compared with the adjacent land. The boundary lines of this gravel belt 
are clearly definable, to a single rod. The gravel ranges in size from a pea 
to a boulder a foot in diameter. This is an interesting topic for the 
geologists to discuss. 

Climate: — The climate of this township is very similar to Rio Vista. 
The cold, damp west winds sweep the entire surface of the country, making 
the weather delightfully cool in mid-summer, while only a few miles to the 
northward they are suffering with heat. 

Products: — Wheat and barley are the only grains which thrive to any 
great extent in this township. Little or no fruit or vegetables are grown 
except in occasionally favored spots. The yield of the former is fair on 


most of the arable land in the township, but they are grown with unusual 
success in the Montezuma hill section. 

Schools : — The school interests are represented by two districts, viz : Den- 
verton and Montezuma. Only one teacher is employed in each of these 
schools, and the attendance is not very large. 

Churches : — The Cumberland Presbyterians have a church building and 
organization near the location of the Montezuma District School-house. 
This church organization is the outgrowth of a Sunday school, started in 
November, 1864, with Mr. Parish as Superintendent. The building was 
erected in 1870. In 1875 it was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt in 1876. 
The organizing members were : Mrs. E. D. Carey, Wm. Wight, Mrs. T. R. 
Stewart, Daniel Barnett, Nancy Barnett, Jas. L. Barnett, Sam'l Barnett. 
The pastors have been, Rev. D. E. Bushnell, who served till Jan. 1, 1874, 
and Rev. J. M. Crawford, who has served the church ever since. It is 
known as the Shiloh church. This is the only church building or organiza- 
tion in the township. 

Totuns : — Denverton is the only town in this township. It is located 10 
miles east of Fairfield, at the head of navigation, on Nurse's slough, and 
was formerly called Nurse's Landing. Its name was changed to Denverton 
in 1858, at which time the post-office was established there. It was so 
named in honor of J. W. Denver, at that time member of Congress from this 
district. It contains a few houses and perhaps 50 inhabitants. It is sup- 
plied with city water — a private enterprize of Dr. Nurse's. 

Early Settlement : — The first house erected in the township was built by 
Dr. S. K. Nurse in 1853. The entire country was then one great stretch of 
wild oats, reaching to a man's shoulder while on horseback, through which 
herds of elks, antelope and deer roamed at will. This building was soon 
followed by a residence erected by D. K. Barry, located about one-half mile 
to the eastward of Nurse's house. The old house was standing in 1878, on 
its original site. In 1854 Dr. Nurse built a store-house. He also con- 
structed a wharf, with 100 feet frontage. It has since been extended to 300 
feet. Mr. Stewart and his son Samuel, the Arnolds, Daniels, Cooks, and 
others, followed in rapid succession, until the land was all taken. 

Etcetera: — In 1866 Dr. Nurse erected a fine brick store building. In 
1867 he built a brick warehouse, 60x160 feet, with a storage capacity of 
2,500 tons. The post-office was established in 1858, and Dr. Nurse ap- 
pointed postmaster ; he has held the office without interruption ever since, 
thus making him an incumbent for 21 years. He is probably the veteran 

m / 




^Y V 


officeholder in Solano county, if not in California. In 1875 Dr. Nurse con- 
structed a telegraph line, connecting Denverton with Suisun. In 1876 this 
line was merged into the Montezuma Telegraph Company, of which Dr. 
Nurse has always been president. In 1870 the Good Templars erected a 
building for lodge purposes. The lodge has thrived and sustained a good 
membership at that place for a great many years. Nurse's Slough is the 
intended outlet of the drainage canal which it is proposed to open from the 
head of Cache slough to the head of Nurse's slough. The canal will pass 
diagonally through Denverton township, but Maine Prairie and Rio Vista 
townships would be the ones who would reap the benefit of this. 

Denverton Lodge, I. 0. G. T. : — Was organized November 16, 1866, with 
twenty-three charter members. The dedication took place in Dr. S. K. 
Nurse's hall, where they continued to meet until 1870, then in the School- 
house in Denverton until after the erection in November, 1871, of their 
new hall. The charter officers were Judge J. B. Carrington, W. C. T, ; Mrs. 
S. K. Nurse, W. V. T. ; and Miss E. D. Kerry, Secretary. 




Geography : — Maine Prairie township is bounded on the north by Silvey- 
ville and Tremont townships, on the east by Yolo county and Rio Vista 
township, on the south by Rio Vista and Denverton townships, and on the 
west by Elmira township. It is located in range 2 and 3 east and 5 and 6 
north, M. D. M. Linda slough, an offshoot from Cache slough, and quite 
a stream of water, forms the line of division between it and Rio Vista 
township on the south. Prospect slough, another offshoot of Cache slough, 
is the boundary line between it and Rio Vista township on the east ; Cache 
slough, from its intersection with Prospect slough, extends in a northwest- 
erly direction through the township for a distance of about ten miles ; near 
the head of Cache slough it branches, and the north branch is known as 
Bounds slough ; Cache slough is navigable for small vessels and light 
draught steamers. 

Topography : — The entire surface of this township is almost a perfect 
level. The southeastern portion of it is tule land, which, as you pass north- 
ward or westward, passes off into a vast level plain. 

Soil: — We are sorry that we cannot say as much in favor of the soil in 
this township as in some others in the county. Of course the tule land is 
the usual rich alluvial soil of that class of land, but the most of the other 
land is composed of alkali soil and " hard pan," as it is called, old " salt 
licks," and " buffalo wallows," are numerous in that class of land. There is 
some adobe, and it is the most productive of all the land except the tule. 
A number of years ago the most of the land bordering on the tules on the 
west side of them was entered by settlers in small tracts from 80 acres to 
640. In less than five years every settler had found out his mistake and 
had left for a more productive section, and to-day their deserted houses dot 
the plains, a sad faced finger-board pointing to blasted hopes and wasted 
fortunes. Where those hardy pioneers hoped some day to see happy homes 
and prosperous families, there is nothing but desolation. All these farms 
have been bought up by persons for sheep ranges. 

Climate : — The climate of this township is milder than that in Rio Vista 
on its south, yet not so warm as that in Tremont on its north. Being so 
level the winds have a fair sweep across the vast stretch of plain and moor. 
The barrenness of these plains causes the heat to reflect to a great extent, 
and rising from the earth it mollifies and tempers the cold damp sea breeze, 


making it one of the most delightful zephyrs. But on the other hand, 
when the north wind blows, it converts it almost into a veritable sirocco. 
In common with the entire county, it is very healthful. 

Products : — The principal products of the township are wheat and barley. 
A considerable number of the farmers in the township are engaged in 
dairying on a limited scale. The yield of grain is seldom very great to the 
acre. Fruit and vegetables grow but very indifferently in all parts of it, 
except in the tule land. 

Early Settlement: — Maine Prairie Township was mostly settled in the Fall 
of 1861, and in the years 1862 and 1863, it being included in what was known 
as the Luceo grant, which was previously in litigation but finally decided in 
favor of the United States, was immediately opened as public land for entry, 
the survey being made in the Summer of 1862. Among the earliest settlers 
in this vicinity were Mr. J. F. Brown, J. B. Jameson, Sherman Brown, who 
came in 1861, Albert Bennett, D. B. Brown, James Ourk, H. N. Bentley, in 
1862. The above-named are nearly all of the first comers that remain until 
the present time, very many having remained but a few years, others coming 
to take their places. The early settlers being mostly thorough-going Ameri- 
can citizens, they thought the first thing to do was to establish schools and 
have a place for meeting; so a school district was petitioned for, taking in 
all vacant territory, it being about ten miles square, known as the Maine 
Prairie School District; since which time the districts of Bingham ton, Morn- 
ing Light and Enterprise have been carved out. A subscription was at 
once started, and some six or seven hundred dollars was received, with 
which two school-houses were enclosed and made to answer the purposes of 
school-room and church, free to all denominations, one at what is now Bing- 
hamton, and one at Maine Prairie Landing, George King (now of Dixon), J. 
B. Jameson and Albert Bennett being the trustees. For several years all 
efforts in this direction were heartily seconded by the older settlers who 
were carrying on business at Maine Prairie Landing — Mr. J. C. Merrithew, 
John N. Utter, Widow Lewis (the hostess of Maine Prairie Hotel), Deck & 
Co. (Mr. Deck, H. Wilcox, W. D. Vail), J. k Charles S. Gushing, merchants. 
On the completion of the C. P. Railroad the main business of Maine Prairie 
was cut off, the thousands of tons of grain and other products being trans- 
ported by rail to market, instead of being shipped by water at the landing. 

Mr. W. D. Vail at present carries on the business of warehousing, lumber- 
yard, etc. 

Captain James A. French has a large and well filled store. F. W. Petrus 
carries on blacksmi thing in all its branches; also owns a farm, a mile or so 
out of town, which he farms. 

The Widow Lewis keeps the only hotel in town. 

The public school at present is taught by Miss Lizzie Furgerson. 


Formation of a Military Company: — During the Summer of 1863, when 
the country was in great excitement growing out of our civil war, our patriotic 
and loyal citizens thought it advisable to organize a military company. 
Many were more than anxious to enroll themselves as soldiers, subject to 
the call of the State. The company was speedily formed, under the laws of 
California, and enrolled as a company of the State militia, receiving the 
name of "Maine Prairie Rifles," on the 19th day of September, 1863, Leland 
Stanford then being Governor, and William C. Kibbe Adjutant General. 
About sixty men were enrolled at the organization, subsequently numbering 
seventy-two. At the first election of officers Albert Bennett was elected 
captain (still residing at Maine Prairie); John Low (now of Capaz Valley), 
first lieutenant, A. S. Hopkins (now of Sacramento) and James Bingham 
other lieutenants. Binghamton was chosen as the headquarters of' the com- 
pany. It was soon decided by the company to build an armory, resulting 
in the erection of a brick fireproof building, about 35x50 feet, one story high. 
The many meetings of the company for drill, target practice, picnics and 
other things which grew out. of the formation of the company, had a most 
salutary and happy influence in binding the whole community together in 
that harmony and good feeling for which Binghamton has been so noted. 
The company continued in a healthy condition until disbanded. The 
" Maine Prairie Rifles," together with about half of the companies of the State, 
were disbanded under the administration of Governor Haight; Albert Ben- 
nett, having been the captain of the company during its existence, being 
from time to time almost unanimously re-elected. The company sold its 
armory to Mr. D. L. Munson, who was engaged in merchandising, he fitting 
it up for a store, adding another story for a public hall. The building was 
subsequently sold to the school trustees for a school-house — the former 
school-house having been destroyed by fire — the lower story being fitted for 
school purposes, the hall being for public use. Mr. F. M. Righter is the 
the present efficient and popular teacher. 

Lodge of Good Templars : — Was organized at Binghamton, June 9, 1863. 
Mr. H. N. Bentley and wife, Jos. Bingham and wife, O. Bingham, and G. W. 
Frazer and wife being among the charter members. It became a large and 
flourishing lodge, numbering, at one time, about one hundred and twenty- 
five members. It has continued from its organization until the present time 
without a break — nearly sixteen years. At present its membership is about 

The late H. N. Bentley was one of its most efficient and earnest workers. 
A book containing the names of those initiated, from the organization until 
now, is kept, showing at present nearly four hundred names. 


The M. E. Church of Binghamton : — Was organized about the year 1865. 
There had grown to be, during the two previous years, quite a large and 
flourishing society, under the name of " Union Service," as the christian 
population was of almost all denominations. A large Sunday School, in the. 
meantime, had developed. 

The M. E. Church, with its accustomed shrewdness and tact, made the 
first organization as a church. Nearly all fell in with the new order of 
things, and thus was permanently established the M. E. Church of Bing- 
hamton, always having a good influence on the community at large. The 
Sunday School was carried on without being especially under the control 
of the M. E. Church until November 11, 1866, when a resolution was 
adopted " to reorganize and place the school under the especial care and 
supervision of the M. E. Church." Mr. Geo. C. Mack, now of Westminster, 
Los Angeles county, was chosen Superintendent. 

Binghamton and Dixon, at present, constitute the circuit ; T. H. Wood- 
ward, preacher in charge. 

Protestant Methodist Church : — About the year 1865 an organization of 
the Protestant Methodist Church was made at Maine Prairie Landing. 
Among its movers were Rev. T. New, Rev. G. B. Triplett, and Revs. Dunton 
and Graves, and a few others. The enterprise entirely failed in a year or 

Cumberland Presbyterian Church: — About the year 1871 a Cumberland 
Presbyterian Church was formed at Maine Prairie Landing by Rev. Mr. 
Bushnell, then of Suisun, now of San Jose ; continuing his ministrations 
until his removal to San Jose, since which time Rev. J. Naff. Crawford has 
afficiated as pastor. 

The town of the township is known by the township name — Maine 
Prairie. It is a shipping and trading point at the head of navigation on 
Cache slough. It lies eighteen miles north-east of the county seat. In the 
year 1859 Capt. Merrithew, in company with J. H. Utter, located on the 
south bank of the slough, and began a general merchandise, grain, and 
lumber business. The following year, 1860, H. G. Deck, H. Wilcox, and 
W. D. Vail formed a co-partnership, known as Deck & Co., and began a 
general merchandise business on the north side of the slough, opposite Mer- 
rithew & Utter. In 1860 a hotel was built by George King, and other 
houses rapidly followed until quite a little village was built up ; but the 
flood of 1862 swept things here as at Rio Vista. There was nothing left 
to mark the site of the town. The water stood twelve feet deep in the 
streets, and as deep for miles in every direction, which was lashed into a 
seething sea by the howling south-east storm winds, sweeping everything 
from existence, and blotting the town out of existence in its relentless fury. 


As soon as the waters had subsided most of the settlers came back again ; 
but, while some rebuilt on the old site, many preferred to go farther up the 
slough where the land was a trifle more elevated. Accordingly Mrs. Rebec- 
ca Lewis surveyed a town plat on her ranch about one-fourth of a mile 
above the old site. This new town received the name of Alton, being so 
named by a pioneer settler in the town, Mr. S. R. Perry, a former resident 
of Alton, Illinois. The first business conducted in the town was by Cushing 
Bros. (C. S. and J. H.) They were dealers in general merchandise. Perry 
& Co. were the next to locate here. The firm consisted of S. R. Perry and 
Wm. 0. Palmer, both now residing in Rio Vista. They carried a full stock 
of general goods, also dealt in grain and lumber. They built a handsome 
brick store building, also an extensive warehouse, both of which stand 
to-day. as mute witnesses to the fact that " The best laid plans of mice and 
men gang aft aglee." The buildings were erected before the railroad era in 
California, and there was no more promising point for a business of that 
nature in the State. The grain from all the valleys, away to the north and 
westward, centered there for shipment, and the amount shipped from there 
yearly was exceeded by no place in the State except Stockton. The year 
of 1863 -was an uncommonly bountiful one, and in the fall the grain came 
teeming forth from all directions in enormous quantities. One team is 
reported to have drawn 36,800 pounds of wheat, at one load, from Putah 
creek. During this year there were 50,000 tons of grain shipped from this 
point alone. It is said that it was a common occurrence to see 180 wagons 
in town with grain in a single day. But it might be of interest to note 
that during the following season only one load of barley was brought to 
the town. This was a dry year, and a hard one, too, it proved for the 
farmers of California. Mrs. Lewis built a hotel there during the year, and 
continues to this day to dispense rest and refreshments to the weary traveler 
who chances to stray so far away from the line of ordinary travel. The 
post office was established in 1862, Capt. J. C. Merrithew being appointed 
postmaster. A branch office of the Western Union Telegraph Company was 
established there in 1870. Since the days of railroads the town has been 
on the down grade. The immediate surrounding country would support a 
town of any size, and the outside supply was shut off, of course, by the 
railroad. The town looks old ; the buildings are unpainted, rickety, and 
dilapidated. A general air of lonesomeness and desolation seems to pervade 
the place, and a stranger is glad to get away from the place. It is a good 
shipping point, and the time may come when it will regain some of its pris- 
tine glories, but this is doubtful. 



Geography: — Montezuma township is bounded on the north by Denver- 
ton township, on the east by Rio Vista township, on the south by the Sac- 
ramento river and the bay of Suisun, and on the west by Suisun township. 

Topography : — By far the major portion of this township consists of 
large, steep hills, known as the Montezuma hills, from whence the township 
derives its name. To one traveling over the level plains of the northern 
townships, these hills seem like small mountains, and it is a great surprise 
to strangers to learn that they are cultivated. On the southern and western 
borders there is a belt of swamp and overflowed land, but it bears a small 
relation to the entire township. 

Soil: — The soil of the Montezuma hills is mostly adobe, and it is unex- 
celled for growing grain, but is of little use for other purposes. The 
marsh soil is alluvial, but as it is a salt-marsh, it is good for but little except 

Climate: — The trade winds sweep over this township with great force, 
bearing with it more or less dampness. It is very healthful throughout, 
even on the marsh land. The climate cannot be called delightful, although 
it is in California, but is doubtless preferable for many reasons to warmer 
sections further north. 

Products: — The principal products are grain and hay. Wheat and bar- 
ley thrive magnificently on these hills, while the growth of wild oats is still 
luxurious wherever they have a chance. Fruits and vegetables do not thrive 
very well; the adobe soil is too stiff and cold for vegetables, while the strong 
winds destroy the trees. 

Industries: — The principal industry of the people is farming, but the 
fishing for salmon, and canning the same has of late years assumed consid- 
erable proportions. There are two canneries located at Collinsville, and one 
on Chipps Island. The three combined have a capacity of about 60,000 
one-pound cans a day. They afford employment to about 300 men, and 
about 250 more are engaged in catching the fish. 

Early Settlement: — Among the first houses built in Solano County was one 
erected in this township. It was an adobe, and still stands, and is occupied 
by Mr. L. P. Marshall. This house was constructed in 1846, by L. W. 


Hastings. He was a Mormon agent, sent into California to seek an eligible 
site for the location of a colony of Mormons. He chose this point, at the 
head of Suisun Bay, and near the junction of the two great rivers of the 
country — Sacramento and San Joaquin — and laid out a town site. Owing 
to the fact that there was no timber land conveniently located, the Mormons 
refused to settle there. Bayard Taylor, in his "Eldorado," mentions the 
"Montezuma House," as it has always been called, ""as "the city of Monte- 
zuma, a solitary house, on a sort of headland, projecting into Suisun Bay, 
and fronting its rival three-house city, New-York-of-the-Pacific." Hastings 
established a ferry between the site now occupied by Collinsville, and the 
Contra Costa side of the bay, for the accommodation of travelers passing 
either way. This was probably the first ferry ever established on the Sac- 
ramento or San Joaquin rivers. Hastings remained at this place about 
three years, but when " the gold-excitement broke out he went into the 
mines. In the winter of 1853, L. P. Marshall and his sons John and C. K., 
arrived from the States with a band of cattle. In passing down the Sac- 
ramento river they came upon the adobe house built by Hastings, and 
were glad to take shelter in it from the storms. The house was in a very 
dilapidated condition, but was easily repaired, and served well the purpose, 
of a shelter. In and about the house they found numerous appliances for 
the manufacture of counterfeit coin, such as crucibles, dies, copper, etc. It 
is supposed that a band of counterfeiters had found the place deserted, and 
taken possion of it. It is possible, however, that Hastings had used them 
in coining money to be used by the Mormons when they arrived. Hastings 
had a sqatter's claim to the premises, which was bought by John Marshall 
for his father (the latter being at the time absent from the State) who gave, 
as a consideration, two mules and six head of cattle, all valued at $1,000 
The second house built in the township was a frame-building, erected by 
F. O. Townsend, in 1853. It was located on what is now known as the 
Kir by farm. Lucco laid claim to all the land in this and Denverton town- 
ship as a Spanish grant, but he failed in establishing his claim, and in 1855 
the land was declared to be Government land, and open for pre-emption. 

Collinsville: — Collinsville is the only town in the township ; it is a ship- 
ping port on the Sacramento river, just at the de bouchure of that stream. 
In 1859, C. J. Collins pre-empted the land where the town now stands. In 
1861, he surveyed a town plat and built a wharf and store ; previous to 
this time the steamers, which plied the Sacramento river, had never stopped 
at this point. The embryotic town was christened for its projector — Col- 
linsville. Some time during the same year a post office was established 
here, and Geo. W. Miller was appointed the first Postmaster. In 1867, Mr. 
Collins sold his property to S. C. Bradshaw, and he changed the name of the 
place to Newport. The old Calif ornians well remember Newport and the 


enterprise displayed by its proprietor in the disposition of town lots, and, 
perhaps, a few at the East have cause to remember him also ; huge maps of 
an extensive town plat were placed into the hands of agents, who visited 
all the principal Eastern cities, and sold and resold lots covering all the 
swamp land in that section ; excursions were gotten up in San Francisco, 
and a person paid a certain amount ($10, we think) for a round trip ticket, 
which included a claim to a town lot in the flourishing (on paper) town of 
Newport. At the end of about five years, the property again changed 
hands, E. I. Upham becoming the owner ; he changed the name back to the 
original, and so it continues to this day. Mr. Upham is an energetic man, 
and he has made quite a business and shipping point out of the town ; two 
lines of steamers stop there, going each way, daily ; it is connected with the 
outside world by the Montezuma telegraph. 

Schools and Churches: — There is only one school house in the township ; 
this one is situated near the town of Collinsville ; strange to note, there is 
not a church in the township. Here is a broad and fertile held for some 
zealous missionary. 

It is also the chief salmon fishing ground in California, and large num- 
bers are shipped daily to San Francisco. At certain seasons of the year there 
are vast numbers canned for export to various parts of the world. 

The village has two hotels, three saloons, billiards, etc., two stores, post- 
office, telegraph office, and an agency of Wells, Fargo & Co.'s Express. 

The first salmon canning establishment in California was erected here by 
A. Booth & Co., who afterwards discontinued and was succeeded by E. Cor- 
ville & Co. who have carried on the business for two years. Other canneries 
have since been erected and are now conducted by the Sacramento River 
Packing Co. 



Boundaries: — In the last apportionment of Solano county into townships 
on June 27, 1866, that of Vacaville is ordered as follows : Commencing at 
the N. E. corner of section 18, township 5 N., R. 1 E.; thence west on sec- 
tion line to S. W. corner of section 3, township 5 N., R. 1 W.; thence north 
to the N. E. corner of section 3, township 5 N., R. 1 W.; thence west on the 
township line to the boundary line of the Armijo rancho at the N. W. cor- 
ner of said township ; thence north and west, following said boundary to 
the county line at the S. E. corner of Napa county; thence northerly along 
the boundary line between Napa and Solano counties to Putah creek ; thence 
down said creek to a point one mile W. of Mount Diablo meridian ; thence 
south on section lines to the S. W. corner of section No. 1, township 6 N., 
R. 1 W.: thence east two miles ; thence south to the place of beginning. 

Topography : — The area of Vacaville township is 66,790 acres, and is 
diversified into mountains and valleys of the finest soil in the county. A 
spur of hills extends from its boundary, and runs nearly north to the Putah 
creek, the range having a general average . of three miles in width ; the 
slopes, benches and valleys being renowned for early fruits and vegetables. 
West of these hills lies Pleasants' valley, which extends to the above men- 
tioned creek; also famed for its particularly genial climate and growing 
properties, it sending the first fruits and vegetables into market from any 
part of the State. The great Vaca valley, formerly known as the Ulattis> 
lies to the north-east of that of Suisun, is five miles in length, and one and 
a half broad: it runs between two ranges of hills of considerable altitude* 
and opens into the Sacramento valley. It, and its two off-shoots, Lagoon 
and Pleasants' valley, are the admiration of all travelers. This township is 
also well favored as regards streams ; for we find that the Sweeny creek 
rises in the Vaca hills, six miles north of the town of Vacaville, flows in a 
north-easterly direction for the distance of eight miles ; thence in a south- 
easterly course to the vicinity of Maine Prairie, and empties into Cache 
slough. There is also the Ulattis creek, which rises in these hills, about five 
miles west of the town, and after flowing in an easterly direction finds its 
way into the west branch of Cache slough ; and the Alamo creek, which 
rises about four miles from Vacaville, as also the Pleasants' valley creek, 
which flows in a north-easterly direction through the valley of that name, 
and discharges itself into the Rio de los Putos. 


Early Settlement : — The first settlers in this portion of Solano county, as 
has been mentioned elsewhere, were the two Spaniards, Vaca or Baca, and 
Pena, who, having received a grant from the Mexican government, settled 
here in the year 1841. In accordance with the provisions of all the grants 
of land of those days, these early pioneers commenced the erection of 
houses, the tilling of land, the planting of trees, and the rearing of stock. 
Adobe residences were constructed, wherein they dwelt ; while others were 
erected in far off corners for the shelter of their herders and laborers. Fol- 
lowing the Vaca and Pena families, were Albert Lyon, John Patton and 
three others who came with them, namely, J. P. Willis, and Clay Long. 
These men entered into, the then, only occupation which offered itself, that 
of stock-raising. Two or three years later there arrived J. H., W. B., and 
Garard Long, who were shortly after followed by Marshall M. Bayse. This 
was in the year of '49. In 1850 there came Dollarhide and his three sons. 
Up to this year there had only two women arrived in the valley, they being 
the wives of Messrs. Lyon and Hollingsworth ; though where the latter 
family located we have been unable to trace. In 1848, Hollingsworth, and 
a companion named Newman, while on their way to the mines, were mur- 
dered by Indians. The bodies were shortly after found by one of the Messrs. 
Longs and a party, while on a prospecting tour, and by them decently 
buried. Hollingsworth's family remained in Vaca valley for ten or twelve 
years after his death, when they broke up and removed to various parts of 
the State. Settlers, after this era, would appear to have arrived more, rap- 

In 1851, J. P. Long brought with him the first flock of sheep that had 
ever crossed the plains to this State. They were three thousand in number 
— he started with ten thousand head — which he drove to Vaca valley. Mr. 
Long remained in the township until 1854, when he returned to Missouri, 
and in 1859 went to Texas, where he follows farming, besides having a 
large cotton plantation. 

In 1852, Edward McGeary, John Fisk, Mason Wilson, McGuire and his 
family, J. G. Parks, W. R. Miller, Richardson and S. W. Long, and W. A. 
Dunn and family, located in the township, and affairs partook of a settled 
appearance. The wonderful fertility of the district had been tested, and 
the rank growth of vegetation was fast falling before the arts and sciences 
of agriculture and - commerce. 

Let us glance at the Vacaville township of to-day ! 

As viewed from the head of Pleasants' valley no more picturesque land- 
scape can be found throughout the length and breadth of the Golden State 
than that stretching to the southward. This glorious glen, though compara- 
tively prescribed in breadth is possessed of a soil of the richest kind of al- 
luvial sediment, formed mostly from the debris of the adjacent mountain 
sides. Within the scope of vision there is nought to be seen but one 


vast orchard and vineyard, arriving at a perfection which could only, in less 
favored spots, be attained by the tenderest care of forcing and 
training. Passing below the above-mentioned natural conservatory, 
the eye wanders over the wider and more extended Yaca val- 
ley. Here the orchards become less large and vast fields of 

grain present themselves " long fields of barley and of rye," 

as Tennyson hath it; though on this occasion the latter cereal gives 
place to wheat, a prospect which brings with it rare content, content 
to the eye, as it rests on the limitless expanse of green, and content to the 
mind as the thought is flashed back of the number of hungry mouths and 
eager hands which will be fed and aided by the produce of these fields, in 
every quarter of the habitable globe. 

The first settler in Pleasants'' valley was J. M. Pleasants, who located 
there in the year 1851. Mr. Pleasants has some eight hundred acres of val- 
ley and hill land, that along the banks of the creek being well adapted for 
the growing of fruit and vegetables, while back towards the hills the soil is 
admirably adapted for the cultivation of grain. The hills offer abundant 
pasturage. Mr. Pleasants has here a very fine orchard. To the south of 
his lands lie the Pleasants' valley school, while at no great distance is the 
mill lately erected by him. The motive power is oxen working on a tread- 
wheel. Five of these animals are now used, but these have been found to 
be inadequate to perform the required task; the power, therefore, will 
shortly be augmented by the addition of others. Everything is ground in 
this mill, from barley to XXX flour. 

The residence of W. J. Pleasants is situated on the opposite bank of the 
creek to the mill in the midst of a splendid orchard and fine grounds. This 
gentleman is the possessor of one thousand and fifty acres of magnificent 
valley and hill lands. 

As a criterion of what can be done in the matter of fruit trees and grape 
vines, we would here enumerate the numbers of each that a few of the prin- 
cipal growers have on their lands: John Dolan, Sr., has about ten thousand 
vines and about one thousand each of peach and apricot trees ; M. R Miller 
has one hundred acres in fruit and vines alone ; L. W. Buck has one hun- 
dred and fifty-six acres on his ranch, ninety of which he has in cultivation, 
where he has twenty-seven thousand vines of choice varieties, fourteen 
thousand having been set out this spring (1879); twelve thousand cherry 
trees, as well as a large number of apple, peach, and apricot ; he has also one 
hundred and twenty-five orange and lemon trees in a most flourishing con- 
dition, with every prospect of a speedy maturity ; while W. W. Smith has 
as many as four thousand cherry trees in a prosperous condition. In addi- 
tion to this particular line of cultivation, as we have already mentioned, 
there are several large farms throughout the district, that of Dr. W. J. Dob- 
bins, which contains about fourteen hundred and ninety-five acres, being 


among the largest. In May of this year a visitor to the district writes : 
" The crop prospect in that section is simply immense. The grain crop could 
not look better, and, judging from the present outlook, there will be a heavy 
yield this year. The outlook for fruit is very encouraging indeed. The 
trees are fairly groaning under their burden, and we noticed limbs which 
had broken off, owin^ to the amount of fruit on them. We were informed 
that from one hundred to one hundred and fifty tons of fruit were shipped 
daily from Vacaville during some months of the year. This will give a 
person some idea of the amount of fruit grown in that section." 

Vacaville. — On August 21, 1850, Manuel Cabeza Vaca deeded to Wil- 
liam McDaniel nine square miles of land, the consideration for which was 
that McDaniel should lay out a town site on one of the square miles, name 
it Vacaville, and deed M. C. Vaca certain lots in said town, as well as pay 
the sum of three thousand dollars. Here follows the document : " Deed of 
Manuel Cabeza Vaca to William McDaniel. August 21, 1850. Considera- 
tion $3,000. Doth grant, bargain, sell and convey unto second party, all 
his right, title and interest in and to a certain tract of land in the County 
of Solano, and known and described as follows : The point at which the 
boundary. of this tract of land was found is one mile and a half a mile due 
north of the point where the county road crosses the water beach or arroya 
deoagua about one mile and a half east of said Manuel Cabeza Vaca's 
Rancho, thence due west to the base of the mountains in a southerly direc- 
tion three English miles, thence due east three English miles, thence due 
north three English miles, thence west to the place of beginning. So as to 
include three English miles square or nine square miles of land, and it is 
hereby agreed that the said McDaniel is to lay off on any one mile square of 
said land a town to be called Vacaville, and 1,055 of the lots in said town 
are to be deeded to him, the said M. C. Vaca, said lots to be average lots. 


Signed, Manuel x Cabeza Vaca. [seal] 


Witness : L. B. Mizner. 

Acknowledged August 21, 1850, before B. D. Hyam, N. P. 
Recorded August 22, 1850. 

William McDaniel, on August, 1850, deeded to L. B. Mizner, an undi- 
vided half interest in this tract of land. They laid out a town site about 
the centre of the township and in accordance with the deed of M. C. Vaca 
named the place Vacaville, deeded to him two hundred lots on October 16, 
1850. The town was surveyed by E. H. Rowe and a plat thereof duly 
recorded on December 13, 1851. So much for the birth of the town of 
Vacaville. The first building was erected in 1850 by William McDaniel ; 
the second one put up was a rude edifice used as a hotel by James McGuire. 


The first store was opened by E. F. Gillespie on block No. 16, it being a 
small tool-house owned by Mason Wilson. The following year he removed 
to a building he had erected on block No. 20, having previously purchased 
the entire block. The stone building is still standing and is the property 
of M. Blum. The first death which occurred in the township was in the 
year 1852, it being that of a stock-raiser named McGuire,-who also kept a 
house of entertainment in the village. The situation of the town is very 
beautiful, surrounded as it is by such extensive farms ; it is a most ex- 
cellent point for trade, the places of traffic of all kinds doing a thriving 
business. About two years ago Vacaville was laid low by a fire which to- 
day leaves no traces. The business houses are located on either side of 
Main street, west of the Ulattis creek and embody all the variety of stores 
required for the center of a largely populated district. 

Vaca Valley and Clear Lake Railroad Co: — Chief among the interests of 
the town, and which adds considerably to its prosperity is the railroad 
which now extends fiom Elmira to Madison in Yolo county passing through 
Vacaville and Winters. In the summer season this line does a prosperous 
business in freight and passengers. At present its managers are busily en- 
gaged in supplying the C. P. R. R. with gravel for ballasting their track. 
The road was incorporated and built in the year 1869 from Elmira to Vaca- 
ville to accommodate the shipping of fruit and vegetables. In 1876 it was 
extended to Winters, Yolo county. In 1877 it was incorporated as the 
Vaca Valley and Clear Lake Railroad Co., and extended to Madison, Yolo 
county, making the entire distance now laid about thirty miles. The officers 
are : President, A. M. Stevenson ; Treasurer, T. Mansfield ; Secretary, E. 
Allison ; General Superintendent, G. B. Stevenson ; General Freight Agent, 
T. Mansfield. 

Churches. Baptist Church: — The Baptist Church of Vacaville was 
organized in the chapel of the California College with seventeen constituent 
members. Mr. P. C. Dozier was elected church clerk ; Professor M. Baily 
being requested to fill the pulpit when no other preacher was provided by 
the church. Ministers from abroad filled the duties until February, 1873, 
when Rev. J. B. Saxton was appointed pastor and W. J. Sandefur, church 
clerk. Mr. Saxton resigned his charge in August, 1877, as did also Mr. 
Sandefur, since when the following gentlemen have officiated as church 
clerk : Prof. Kelly, J. T. Wallace, C. C. Bateman, M. Young and J. Donald- 
son. On October 13, 1877, the Rev. S. A. Taft, D. D. was elected to the 
pastorate and served for several months. In January, 1879, the Rev. W. 
Gregory, D. D. was called to the pulpit and is the present incumbent. The 
following have been the Deacons since the organization of the church : 
Professor M. Baily, elected February 8, 1873, Messrs. Brier and Walker, 
elected February 9, 1878, and J. Donaldson on March 16, 1879. 


The Church of Seventh-day Advents : — In December, 1877, there came to 
Vacaville B. A. Stevens, who commenced a series of lectures which resulted 
in the organizing of a church community under the above doctrine, consist- 
ing of between fifty and sixty members. This congregation has been ever 
since kept up by the indulgence of the members. There is no resident pas- 
tor, but occasionally the pulpit is supplied from San Francisco or elsewhere. 

The Christian Church : — This church was organized in 1855 about two 
and a half miles from Vacaville with eleven members, but shortly after 
they moved into the town. Before this, 1874, their membership numbered 
two hundred. The first pastor was the Rev. Mr. McCorkle who remained 
with his congregation for two years when he was followed by various 
preachers, the last being Alexander Johnson. The value of the church 
property is $1,500. 

Davis Hotel : — This house is situated on the northeast corner of block 
No. 14 and fronts Main street. It was built by Mason Wilson in 1858 and 
finished in October of that year. The main building is 30x65 feet, two 
stories, of brick ; there is an L 18x45 feet, two stories high with a kitchen 
extending east which is 12x16 feet, all of brick, while the establishment 
contains thirty rooms as well as a large double parlor. The building cost 
$14,000 including fixtures. On April 20, 1874, it was purchased by E. S. 
Davis, when his brother, J. F. Davis, took charge of it and has been the 
proprietor ever since. To the west and rear of the hotel is a garden with 
neatly laid out walks, ornamented with flowers and beautified by shade 
trees, while to the east of the property, and having the same owner, is a 
grove of Eucalyptus trees fronting Depot street, forming a favorite resort 
for picnics and such like. 

California College : — This institution was started by Professor Anderson, 
of San Francisco, in the year 1855, as a private school, the building being 
one of the earliest erected away from the city of Benicia and the rising 
town of'Vallejo. This school Professor Anderson maintained until the year 
1858 ; it was a frame building, but his undertaking having been crowned 
with a certain amount of success he, in the meantime, erected a building of 
brick 50x80 feet as a College, while attached to the principal erection, at a 
distance of about 75 feet, a temporary structure was built two stories in 
height. There was also constructed a boarding-house of brick for the 
female department, and other houses in the grounds, for the males. The 
building, as originally erected by Mr. Anderson, was situated on the south 
side of Ulattis creek, on block No. 8. 

In the year 1861, or, possibly later, the Rev. J. C. Stewart, by dint of ex- 
treme labor, received an endowment from the people of Solano, and the ad- 


jacent counties, to the amount of $20,000, which, with the interest on this 
sum, was the Pacific Methodist College started by the Pacific Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South. Its first President was the Rev. J. C. Stewart, 
who would appear only to have served a year. The next President was 
the Rev. W. T. Lucky, D.D., an office he maintained until the spring of 
1865. During his regime, though, it was then reported for political reasons, 
the college was burned. This did not, however, interfere with the pros- 
perity of the school, for on the destruction by fire of the principal edifice, a 
temporary use was made of a tent until after the exhibitions. The fol- 
lowing term was commenced in a boarding-house arranged for the purpose, 
whre they continued until the completion of the present building, which is 
of brick. Considerable delay was caused, however, in the attempt to con- 
struct the edifice of concrete ; this was a failure, from the consequences of a 
storm which washed all the necessary amalgamations away. The loss to 
the M. E. C. S., was considered to be between five and six thousand dollars. 
Almost immediately thereafter, a brick building of 60x90 feet was in the 
the course of construction on an elevation of land overlooking the town 
that had been originally owned by Mason Wilson, who had exchanged it 
for other property to the M. E. C, S., and which was completed in the year 
1866 at a cost of $25,000. Shortly after the erection of the new college, 
Dr. Lucky resigned the presidency and was succeeded by the Rev. Mr. 
Gober, who held the position for one term and was in turn succeeded by 
Rev. J. R. Thomas, D.D., LL.D., who held it until 1871, when the College 
was removed to Santa Rosa, in Sonoma county. 

The College then would appear to have changed hands, as will be gleaned 
from the following excerpt from the report of C. L. Fisher, Chairman of 
the Committee on Education, at the fourteenth anniversary of the Pacific 
Baptist Association held at Petaluma, Sonoma county, in October, 1871 : 

" On the first day of December, A. D. 1870, we came into the possession of 
the well known college property of the Southern Methodist denomination 
at Vacaville, Solano county, California, valued at $25,000. By the payment 
of $4,000 on the 3d day of November, A. D. 1870, this property was formally 
accepted by our denomination through an Educational Convention duly 
called for that purpose ; who also at that time elected a Board of Trustees, 
to whom was intrusted its future management and control, and who 
adopted a Constitution and By-Laws for their guidance. Being thus at 
once put in possession of a property valuation sufficient to enable us to 
secure a college charter under the laws of our State, on the day of 

the present month such charter was duly received under the name of 
" California College." 

" On the 4th day of January, 1871, by the election of the aforesaid 
Trustees, Professor Mark Bailey, of Petaluma, assumed the Presidency of 
the College and opened its first session with fourteen scholars. Since that 


time its cause has been onward ; its influence widening ; and under God's 
blessing, with the fostering sympathy and encouragement which is due from 
us as a denomination, its success assured." 

A settlement made by Rev. J. E. Barnes, and appended to the report 
quoted above, shows the amount received up to May 16, 1871, to be 
$2,971 38. Of this amount there was paid to teachers, agent, and inci- 
dental expenses, $1,193 15, leaving a balance of $1,778 23 to be paid on 
notes given for the purchase of the college. 

As is seen, Professor Mark Bailey, who was the first President, held his 
office until the spring of 1873, when Dr. A. S. Morrell, of Kentucky, was 
elected. In November, 1875, he was superseded by the election of T. W. 
G. Green, who held office until May, 1877, when Dr. S. A. Taft, of Santa 
Rosa, was chosen President until 1878, when the present Principal, Dr. U. 
Gregory, was elected. 

Endowment : — In April, 1873, at a convention held at Vacaville, there 
was subscribed the sum of $3,700, a large portion of which was given by 
the residents of the town for the purposes of endowment, which, in the 
same summer, J. B. Saxton, on the same plan, increased by $6,000, when 
the financial work was handed to Dr. Morrell, who swelled the amount by 

The institution has in money and remunerative land $20,000, as an en- 
dowment. A valuable farm of 255 acres, within two miles of the college, 
has been given by Deacon Lankershim, of the Metropolitan Church, San 
Francisco. The Trustees have authorized the President to raise a fund of 
$3,000, the semi-annual interest of which is to be applied in the purchase 
of books for the college library, which now contains about 2,500 volumes. 
The Degrees of Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts are conferred. 




Geography: — On June 27, 1866, the boundaries of Green Valley town- 
ship were finally ordered to be as under : Commencing at a rock mound 
on the crest of hills in section 34, township A, N. R. 3 W., established by R 
N orris for a boundary between Napa and Solano counties ; thence northerly 
along the boundary line of said counties, to the north line of township 5, N. 
R. 3 W.; thence east along said township line to the dividing ridge running 
to the peak called " Twin Sisters ; " thence southerly along said divide to 
Suisun creek, passing on the line of A. Blake and William Brown's land ; 
thence down said creek to the south-east corner of Hiram Macy's land ; 
thence south to the north line of section 16, township 4, N. R. 2 W.; thence 
west to Cordelia slough ; thence down said slough to the north line of sec- 
tions 31 and 32, township 4, N. R. 2 W.; thence west along said north line 
to the boundary line of Solano and Napa counties. 

Topography : — This picturesque valley lies to the eastward of the Suscol 
hills, four miles east of Suscol valley, is six miles in length, one and a half 
in breadth and derives its name from a large portion of it being green the 
year round ; it is watered by the Green Valley creek which rises in the 
south-west corner of township 5, N. R. 2 W., and runs in a south-easterly 
course for about eight miles and finally empties itself into Cordelia slough 
at Bridgeport. 

Green Valley : — This is without doubt the acme of perfection as regards 
scenery, no finer could scarcely exist anywhere. Starting from Bridgeport 
and taking a northerly direction, following the creek as it meets us with 
many a babble and rush, we enter the narrow gorge which brings us into 
Green Valley proper. To the left are the bold and well defined mountains 
which separate Solano from Napa county ; to the right are those which 
mark the boundary of Suisun valley, while in front is a prospect of ravish- 
ing beauty of hill and glade, interspersed with wooded knolls and shady 
ravines, which almost defy description. On either side are well laid out 
grounds having residences placed in the midst of gardens gladdening the 
eye with every color of flower and foliage, while on the hill sides appear 
acre upon acre of grape vines, arranged with the regularity and perfection 
of extreme nicety. After passing through what may be termed the throat 
of the vale, the scene extends into a wide amphitheatre of untold glory ; at 
the upper end are the famous Green Valley falls developing a prospect 


which repays any amount of fatigue and toil. From either hand the speak- 
ing rills pour their murmuring waters into the parent stream, after purling 
down the mountain sides in many a beauteous rapid and cascade ; shady 
pools give promise of rare sport to the followers of the gentle art, high 
rocks suggest the lair of snakes and other creeping things ; wild flowers n 
inaccessible spots add quietude to the scene, while the swooping hawk high 
over head acts as a terror to the merry songsters as they Hit in frightened 
excitement from branch to twig and back to, branch again. Our feeble pen 
can give no semblance of an idea as to the beauty of this scene ; appreciation 
can only be attained by seeing it for oneself. 

Grape Groiuing Interest : — This enterprise was commenced by John Voly- 
pka, an Austrian, who located a farm at the foot, or near the foot of the 
" Twin Sisters " mountain in the spring of 1858, planting a vineyard at that 
date and commencing the manufacture of wine in 1863. In the fall of 1860 
Henry Shultz planted out a vineyard, being joined by his brother in the 
fall of the year, the firm now being C. Shultz & Co. They have on their 
grounds a wine cellar 38x100 feet in dimensions in which are about twenty- 
five casks with a capacity of from five to thirteen hundred gallons each. 
In the cellar there are also ranged pipes and barrels, making the entire 
capacity in the vicinity of about ten thousand gallons. S. F. Jones, the 
largest manufacturer, settled in Green Valley in the year 1860, where he 
has erected a very complete cellar capable of containing fifty thousand 
gallons, and having all the necessary appliances appertaining to an estab- 
lishment of this nature. From Mr. Jones we learn many most interesting 
facts connected with the making of wine. He has ninety acres laid out in 
vines from which he distills about six thousand gallons per acre when 
crops are good. Henry Brown also commenced the business in 1863. The 
foregoing are among the more important names interested in the develop- 
ment of this special trade ; there are, however, many others, but want of 
space precludes our mentioning all, save those of the principal manufacturers. 

Cordelia : — Next to Benicia this is the town of longest life in the county. 
Originally it was situated in Green Valley, about one-half mile north of the 
present town of Bridgeport, on the old stage road between Sacramento and 
Benicia. As far back as the year 1853 there was a post office established 
here, but it was afterwards removed to Rockville and thereafter to Bridge- 
port. The place, which now only exists in name, has been the scene of 
many of the meetings of the early county conventions, but the require- 
ments of the times, plus the railroad, have absorbed it. 

Bridgeport : — The successor to the glories of the above described town 
is a station on the California Pacific Railroad situated about fifteen miles 


from Vallejo. It is located upon the banks of a navigable slough which 
falls into Suisun bay, and is situated at the entrance to Green valley. It 
has one Episcopal church, a school, railroad depot, hotel, box factory, etc., 
and possesses a population of about three hundred souls. 

Rockville : — This hamlet lies on the old stage road about five miles 
west of Fairfield. A stone church, a school house, and a solitary village 
blacksmith's establishment make up the present city. It formerly had a 
post office, hotel, and store, but now, Ichabod, the glory is departed ! Rock- 
ville is a veritable " deserted village." It has a slight history, however, if 
little else, for here was the headquarters of the Suisun Indians, and indeed 
in this locality was the first cultivation of grain carried on. Here, too, was 
the anvil's music first heard from the forge of John M. Perry, who was 
wont to produce in those good old days, a rude ground tearer or plough at 
the moderately low figure of $65. 



Geography : — On May 22, 1871, it was ordered by the Board of Supervi- 
sors that a new township should be formed out of portions of Vacaville, 
Silveyville, and Maine Prairie townships, the boundaries being: "Beginning 
at the south-west corner of the south-east quarter of section No. 3, town- 
ship 5 N., R. 1 W., Mount Diablo meridian and base ; running thence north 
seven miles to the quarter-section corner on the north line of section 3, 
township 6 N., R. 1 W.; thence along said township line six miles ; thence 
along quarter-section lines south seven miles." 

Topography : — The topography of Elmira township is not hard to desig- 
nate. It is that portion of the plain of Suisun valley described in the 
foregoing boundaries. Comparatively speaking, not an inch of it is there 
but what will fructify and produce ; still, from its position and the want of 
any perennial streams, it is a matter of difficulty, in the seasons of drought, 
which, happily, though rare, will occur in California, to find water save by 
the digging of wells, and this has been done to some purpose. 

Settlement : — The settlement of Elmira township is coeval with that of 
the Suisun valley. In the days when it was settled, and for many years 
later, Elmira was still a portion of other townships. As the increase of 
population made itself felt, the necessity to make a new partition arose, and 
thus, those who erst belonged to the adjacent townships, suddenly found 
themselves included in entirely new boundaries. 

Elmira. — The thriving little town on the line of the California Pacific 
Railroad, formerly called Vaca Station, was renamed after the city of 
Elmira, in the State of New York. It is the junction of the above named 
railroad, which passes in a direct line through Solano county ; and the Vaca 
Valley and Clear Lake Railroad, which, up to the present time, has thirty 
miles of track laid to Madison, in Yolo county, with stations, of much com- 
fort and easy of access, at Vacaville, and Winters, on the Yolo county side 
of Putah creek, on the route to its terminus. Elmira is located on the 
south-west quarter of section 19, township 6 N., R. 1 W. The plat of the 
city was filed for record October 20, 1868. The site comprises about forty 
acres of ground, and was originally the property of Stephen Hoyt, who laid 
out the town in 1868. 

The settlement of the county may be said to have commencd with ■ the 


location of Stephen Hoyt, Charles Pearson, and Jediah Williams in 1853. 
In 1854 Hazen Hoyt and Allen Van Fleet settled near the present town site, 
while, at much about the same time, Wellington and James Boone became 
settlers on what is usually known as the Hawker's place. The first crops 
of barley were raised by Stephen Hoyt and A. Van Fleet. Sacramento, at 
the time, was the principal market for the products of the township. 
Elmira is distant ten miles, in a north-easterly direction, from the county 
seat of Fairfield. The population is about 500. 

The churches, and schools as well, are creditably represented ; while its 
commercial relations are fairly prosperous, there being two stores, doing a 
general merchandise business, two hotels, two warehouses, a lumber yard, 
livery stable, and three blacksmiths' shops, as well as extensive premises, 
the property of both railroad companies. 

In connection with the prosperity of Elmira, we should not omit to 
mention the name of John H. Barrett, the present County Assessor. His 
residence is in the town. He was the first Justice of the Peace elected for 
the township ; has the welfare of the embryo city in his thoughts ; while a 
community may well feel grateful at having so energetic a member in its 

/. 0. 0. F., Elmira : — This Lodge was organized January 15, 1873, the 
first officers being : John H. Barrett, N. G.; M. D. Cooper, V. G.; L. David- 
son, Recording Secretary ; J. A. Collier, Treasurer. 

A. 0. U. W.; — This is a new order in the country, and had been only 
instituted but a short time when we made our appearance. 




ALVORD, LUKE, was born in Syracuse, State of New York, on Septem- 
ber 16, 1812, and remained in that city and neighborhood working at his 
trade and farming until February, 1850, when he sailed in the " Tennes- 
see" for California, arriving in San Francisco in April, having been 
detained in Panama three weeks awaitino- her arrival. At once went to 
Tuolumne county, at Wood's creek, four miles above Jacksonville, and 
remained there engaged in mining until July 12, 1851, when he left to 
return home. In February, 1853, he again left Syracuse for California, 
on this occassion accompanied by his family. On his arrival he went 
back to the mines, moving from place to place, principally in Sacramento 
and Amador counties, having lived for twelve years in Volcano. In 1867, 
he came to Sacramento city and in the following year took up his resi- 
dence in Vallejo, where he has remained ever since. Is a carpenter by 
trade, and was foreman on the grain elevator when it was built. Mr. 
Alvord married at Syracuse on November 12, 1834, Miss Henrietta S- 
Childs of Saratoga, New York, by whom he has : Cass, born September 
13, 1836 ; Marion, born May 9, 1840, died 1844; and Helen Burnett, born 
August 30, 1845, married at Volcano, 1867, Professor W. H. Tripp, of 

ANDERSON, M. D., WALTER DUNCAN, was' born in Tatamagonche* 
Colchester county, Nova Scotia, April 17, 1840. At fourteen years of age 
he moved to Canada, where he resided for seven years, at the expiry of 
which he returned to Nova Scotia ; thence to Boston, Massachusetts, where 
he studied medicine and graduated at the Harvard Medical School on 
March 9, 1864. Dr. Anderson practiced for three months in the Magda- 
len Islands, two years in Wallace, Nova Scotia, and on December 23, 1866, 
came to Vallejo, where he still resides. Married Mary Jane, daughter of 
Thomas Wallace, machinist, on 5th February, 1879. 

ASPENALL, WILLIAM, arrived from Panama, in the ship " Harriet Rock- 
well," in June, 1850. On landing in San Francisco, he found letters in- 
forming him of the whereabouts of former friends and companions in 
arms, of the Mexican campaign, among them being Col. James M. Stuart, 
Postmaster of the present House of Representatives, Major Cooper and 


N. K. Swope, ex-Captain of Mexican fame. Mr. Aspenall soon after 
started for the southern mines, and * arrived in Jamestown, Tuolumne 
county, in July, 1850, and there engaged in mining, with some success, 
for two years. In 1852, the Scott-river excitement broke out and he, 
with five others, determined to organize themselves into a party and pro- 
ceed thither. At that time, provisions were exhorbitantly high. They 
purchased a pack train of mules, in Sacramento, consisting of fifteen head 
besides saddle animals, loaded them with flour, sugar and tobacco, and 
made a successful voyage to Trinity valley. When here, the Indians 
stampeded the animals belonging to the expedition, when everything was 
lost save two mats containing two hundred pounds of China sugar. The 
entire party got snowed in when crossing the Trinity mountains, being 
twenty-one days in working their way to the summit, which is known as 
the Devil's Backbone. They endured many hardships on this occasion ; 
food was scarce ; they, therefore, contented themselves with mule's flesh 
and sugar ; yet, ultimately, arrived at Scott's river bar in time to take a 
hand in the Rogue-river war, which was then being carried on against 
the Indians ; the hostilities were soon terminated on the capture of fifty 
squaws by Governor Joe Lane. We next find Mr. Aspenall in Oregon, on 
the banks of the Willamette river, where he had built himself a log- 
cabin, but, getting weary of the solitude of the Oregonian forests, in 1852, 
he once more returned to California and, for a second time, proceeded to 
Jamestown, Toulumne county, where he was appointed Deputy, under 
his friend, Sheriff Swope. In March, 1853, he was joined by his family 
from New Orleans, who had sustained shipwreck on their journey. In 
1854, Mr. A., with others, took a prominent part in the contest which re- 
sulted in the location of the county seat of Tuolumne county, at Sonora, 
whereupon, he, with Charles M. Scott, ex-Member of Congress, James M. 
Stuart, already mentioned, and Captain Arnix, left Jamestown, the two 
first going to the county seat at Sonora, while the latter came to Vallejo, 
where they purchased some property, Arnix, after a while, giving up all 
his possessions, on account of faulty titles. Mr. Aspenall now erected a 
store in Vallejo, which was opened on June 1, 1855. It was his original 
intention to make this a one-storied building, but, finding a few Brother 
Masons in the city, he added another story to it and helped to start a 
Masonic Lodge in September, 1855, and the Odd Fellows' Lodge in the 
same building in October of that year. Was elected a Justice of the 
Peace, in 1856, for Vallejo Township, and, on the incorporation of the 
city of Vallejo by the Legislature, in 1865, Mr. Aspenall was on the first 
Board of Trustees. In 1874. he once more was elected to the Board of 
Trustees and became their President for two years, and, in 1877, was 
again elected a Justice of the Peace for Vallejo township, a position 
which he still holds. 


AYLWARD, THOMAS, was born in Quebec, Lower Canada, where he re- 
mained till October G, 1837, when he left for New York, arriving there 
in the same month, where he bound himself apprentice sailmaker with 
Stout & Blackledge, 144 South street. In 1846 he went to Virginia, 
being employed in the Gosport Navy Yard as sailmaker for five months 
and twenty-seven days, where he assisted in fitting out the men-of-war 
"Mississippi," "St. Lawrence" and "St. Mary's." Returned to New York 
in May, 1847, when he was dispatched' in charge of some men to New 
London, Connecticut, where he worked for three months. He then was 
removed to Sag Harbor, remaining there three months, and was again 
changed to Greenport, Long Island, when, at the end of six weeks, he 
went back to New York, and shortly afterward returned to Greenport, 
where he stayed till November 5, 1848. It was Mr. Aylward's intention 
to have left Greenport on November 3d, but owing to a terrific snow- 
storm which prevailed he delayed his depaiture, and well for him that he 
did so, for the train which he should have traveled by was run into and 
more than twenty lives lost, and a large number wounded, those who 
escaped having done so by jumping into the snow. He remained in New 
York till March 12, 1849, when he sailed in the ship "Salem," owned by 
a stock company, who were on board, the captain, George Douglas, being 
part owner. Spending eighteen days in Hio de Janeiro and fifteen at 
Talcahuana, they arrived at San Francisco October 12, the voyage having 
occupied precisely seven months. The day after Mr. Aylward arrived he 
set to work at his trade, making as high as one hundred dollars a day, 
but this he was forced to relinquish on account of a neuralgic affection, 
which the fogs of San Francisco enhanced. He therefore got his party 
together, chartered a schooner and sailed for Stockton, en route for the 
mines. From Stockton they went to the Chinese Camp in Tuolumne 
County, where he remained a fortnight, and then removed to Murphy's 
Camp, prospecting; and, returning to Chinese Camp, took his whole party 
back to Murphy's, in Calaveras County, in March, 1850, and there re- 
mained until November 21, 1853, when he left for San Francisco. It was 
now Mr. Aylward's intention to go to the Amazon, but he did not. Sev- 
eral of his party started thither, however, but nearly all of them perished 
from cholera, in Callao. One month after returning to San Francisco he 
went into business as a sailmaker, on the corner of Clay and Davis streets, 
which h'e carried on till May, 1856. He then sold out, and recommenced 
mining operations in Oroville, Butte County, remaining there six days, 
when he moved to Forbestown. In October he left this district for San 
Francisco, and commenced working as a journeyman sailmaker, and as 
such continued till 1858, having occasional jobs in the Mare Island Navy 
Yard. In the Spring of that year he restarted on his own account, at the 
corner of Clark and Davis streets, remaining in business there till May, 


1860, when he left his partner in charge and once more went himself to 
the mines, his destination Toeing Washoe, now known as the district 
around Carson and Virginia Cities. Remained there till October 20, and 
again returned to San Francisco, remaining at his business till the Spring 
of 1861, when he was called to the Navy Yard at Mare Island as a jour- 
neyman sailmaker, was put in charge of the sailmakers' department in 
1865, and remained in charge till the 23d of February, 1872, when he was 
superseded, along with fourteen others. In 1876 Mr. Ay 1 ward visited the 
Centennial Exhibition — his first trip to the Eastern States since he first 
left them in 1849. He sojourned there three months, during which he 
visited Missouri, Kentucky, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Portland, 
Quebec, Montreal, and elsewhere, and started for California on the 13th 
of July, 1876. Is a member of the Society of California Pioneers, of 
which association he is one of the charter members ; he being also a 
member of the Vallejo Lodge, No. 64, I. O. G. T. Mr. Aylward has made 
nearly all the sails for the several vessels which have been built in Vallejo. 

BERGWELL, GUSTAF, (deceased), born in Sweden in 1810, and came to 
America in or about the year 1840, and to California via Panama, arriving 
at Monterey July 4, 1849. In that year he commenced the dry-goods 
business in San Francisco, which he continued up to the fire of 1851, 
when he moved to Sonoma, where he remained till 1855, and moved to 
Vallejo in the following year, where he died on July 10, 1871 ; since 
which time his mercantile affairs have been carried on by his widow. 
Mr. Bergwell was a member of the Vallejo Pioneer Association, being 
Vice-President of the society for some •"• time. He was also a member of 
the Scandinavian Society of San Francisco. Married in Grace Church, 
in that city, April 20, 1852, Miss Laura Kamp, a native of Denmark, by 
whom there are two children — Jennie, born in Sonoma, February 4, 1853, 
married William York, April 17, 1873 ; and Gustaf A., born in Vallejo, 
July 14, 1861. 

BINGHAM, GEORGE, was born in Philadelphia, May 1, 1820. At the age 
of seventeen he went to learn the trade of bookbinding, with the firm 
of R. P. de Silver & Co.; and the next year he shipped on board the 
sloop-of-war " Dale," as first-class boy, and sailed to join the. Pacific squad- 
ron, of which Commodore Jones was in command. Was present at the 
hoisting of the American flag at Monterey in August, 1831, when the 
coast was taken by the United States Government, eight days after re- 
turning it to the Mexicans. Remained on the coast about two months, 
then sailed to Callao, where he was transferred to the " Yorktown," and 
proceeded to New York, where he arrived in July, 1843. From 1843 till 
1846 he remained in the Eastern States, and in the latter year he volun- 


teered for the war in Mexico. In December of that year left Philadelphia 
to join the expedition ; was present at the capture of Vera Cruz, Cerro- 
Gordo, taking of Conteras, Cherubusco, Molino del Rey, Chapultepec, 
and the storming of the city of Mexico ; was with the forces two years, 
when, on the proclaiming of peace, he returned home, where he remained 
until 1849, when, on May 5th, he sailed for California, and arrivedin San 
Francisco September 15, 1849. On arrival, joined the police force on its 
first organization, under Malachi Fallon, John W. Geary being Alcade. 
Resigned in the spring of 1850, and went to the mines at Long bar, 
Yuba river, immediately prior to the discovery of gold in that part ; re- 
maining there one month he started for Slake creek, staying there until 
the Gold Lake excitement, when he proceeded thither. From there he 
went to Grass Valley, now American, and followed up the different ranges 
of mountains between the Pitt and Feather rivers to the head-waters 
of the latter at Goose lake, but found nothing. Returned to Nelson 
creek, where he struck good claims ; stayed there a few day, then went 
to the east branch of Feather river and arrived at Rich Bar, where he re- 
mained two weeks, after which, he returned to San Francisco. Remained 
in that city five months, establishing himself in a saloon, but was burnt 
out in the fire of November, 1850. After this catastrophe he once 
more returned to Feather river ; but, not being successful, he proceeded 
to Yreka, where gold diggings were found in Humbug creek. In 1851 
Mr. Bingham again arrived in San Francisco, paid a visit to the Sandwich 
Islands ; returning shortly after, he proceeded to the southern mines, in 
Sonora, from whence he went back to Yreka, and remained there six 
months, at which time the Gold-beach fever started every one in that di- 
rection, he amongst the others. In June, 1853, he found his way to Scott's 
bar, and, after two months, again removed to San Francisco, staying there 
for some time, when he once more departed for Sonora, and lived there 
seven years, at the end of which he returned to San Francisco, and at the 
outbreak of the rebellion, enlisted in the Second Cavalry, (Sacramento 
Rangers) in Company F, in which he remained for nine months, serving in 
the Provost's Guard at San Francisco, receiving his discharge there in 
1862, when he came to Vallejo. From 1865 he worked for six years in 
the completing of the capitol at Sacramento, and returned to San Fran- 
cisco, where he sojourned for one year, then locating in Vallejo in 1873. 
In 1876 visited the Centennial Exhibition, and finally came back to Val- 
lejo, where he has since resided. Is a member of the Vallejo Pioneer's 
Association. Mr. Bingham's grandfather served in the Revolutionary war, 
under George Washington, and his father took part in the war of 1812. 
He married in the Sandwich Islands in 1850, and has one daughter, 
Madeline, who was born in Honolulu in 1851. ' 


BROOKS, WILLIAM S., was bom in Franklin County, New York, in 1820. 
When quite young he removed with his parents to New Orleans, and at 
twelve years of age returned to Brooklyn, New York. In 1832 shipped 
on board the "Henry Clay," then the largest vessel sailing out of the port 
of New York, and made a voyage to Liverpool, England, following a sea- 
faring life up to 1846, when he shipped in the United States sloop-of- 
war "Prebble," as convoy to Stevenson's regiment, which was then on 
its way to California, and arrived in San Francisco in March, 1847. The 
vessel lay two months in that harbor, during which time a party of eight- 
een men, under command of Lieutenant Lanman, afterwards Commodore, 
was despatched up the Carquinez straits in search of a boat reported 
missing, which was conveying $80,000, or thereabouts, pay for the troops 
at Sutter's fort. (The boat has never since been heard of.) On the cruise, 
landed at what is now called Mare Island, where he remained about two 
weeks. On making the island, they saw two wigwams standing where 
the magazine and flagstaff now are, while on the Vallejo side, there was 
one at the foot of Main street, of to-day. Since then he has, on more 
than one occasion, dug up the bones of Indians who had been buried on 
the spot where Woods Hotel is built, on that street. On another occasion, 
a party landed where Starr's flour-mills are now, in South Vallejo, to 
shoot beef, but after killing one animal, the cattle gave chase, when they 
were driven back to the boat. Up till 1850 was in government employ, 
on board of men-of-war, during which time he visited China, Japan, 
and the Sandwich islands ; then shipped on board the Revenue brig 
"Lawrence," and was wrecked in her outside the heads at the Golden 
Gate in 1852. Afterwards was employed in the Appraiser's store of the 
Custom House in San Francisco, where he remained seven years and four 
months, then came to the Navy Yard in Vallejo, in 1858, where he has 
ver since been employed. Has been Acting Gunner of the U. S. S. "In- 
dependence," guard ship at the Yard, and is now Machine Tender to the 
sectional docks there. 

Mr. Brooks married, firstly, at San Francisco, B. M. Maguire, in 1856, 
(died 1858) by whom he has one son, William Charles, born 1856. Sec- 
ondly, Catherine Irena Coen, married 1860, by whom he has : George T., 
born October 30, 1862 ; Mary Emma, born April 8, 1865 ; James C, born 
June 26, 1868 ; John, born March 26, 1870 ; Gertrude B., born January 
26, 1873, Loretta Anna, born January 28, 1876 ; and Angeles Agnes, born 
February 18, 1878. 

BROWN, CALVIN, Civil Engineer in charge of Department of Yards and 
Docks, Marelsland, a gentleman of rare attainments, was educated at Rox- 
bury Grammar School, 'Mass., where he graduated in 1828. In 1834, he 
commenced the study of civil engineering in Boston, serving undejr several 


of the leading engineers of the time, when, in 1841, he was appointed to the 
post of Civil Engineer to the United States Navy Yard at Kittery, Maine, 
where he remained five years, during which time he carried on the con- 
struction of the Quay wall at that place, where was first introduced into 
the United States the practice of blasting rocks in deep water. Thereaf- 
ter he was engaged in sundry works, principally railroads, until 1852> 
when he was appointed Civil Engineer at the Navy Yard, Norfolk, Vir- 
ginia. During his term of office of nine years at this post he superin- 
tended the erection of a lame number of the buildings there, and carried 
on the construction of the Quay wall. In 1861 Mr. Brown was ordered 
from Norfolk to Mare Island, where he has been ever since, with the ex- 
ception of from 1S64 to 1809, when he constructed the large dam and 
reservoir at Pilercitos valley for the Spring Valley Water Works, and ex- 
ecuted the surveys, designs and location of the canal and locks at the 
Willamette Falls, Oregon. For a portion of the time he was connected 
with the Board of Commissioners on the Central Pacific Railroad, and was 
subserpiently appointed one of the Government Commissioners both on 
that and the Southern Pacific line of railroads. 

On May 13, 1869, he was reappointed Civil Engineer to the Mare Is- 
land Navy Yard, and continues to hold the office. During his connection 
with the yard Mr. Brown has made most of the additions on that admira- 
bly fitted-out establishment. He has constructed a large portion of the 
foundry and machine shops, built the saw mill, the ordnance and the office 
building, one of the large timber sheds, the iron-plating shop ; superin- 
tended the construction of the Marine Barracks, and was one of the su- 
perintendentents, with Dr. J. M. Brown, U. S. N., of the Naval Hospital. 
Designed and built the stone Dry Dock, one of the largest in the world, 
as far as it has now progressed ; superintended the construction of the 
new powder magazine, and also that of the reservoir, known as Lake 
Rogers. Not the least of the many distinctions to which Mr. Brown may 
lay claim is that, from under his training, several of the most dis- 
tinguished engineers of the day have developed and are now a credit to 
their country as well as to the scientific preceptor, who labored with them 
during their tutelage. His family are among the oldest in the country, 
having come to America in the year 1632. The subject of this sketch 
was born at Roxbury, Mass., now known as Boston Highlands, on March 
25, 1816, and married, in 1838, Miss Susan W. Sager, of that place, by 
whom he has now living Harriet E., born 1840 ; Frank E., born 1841, and 
Wilfrid L., born 1846. 

BROWN, SAMUEL, born in Ireland in 1826, and came to the United States 
in 1843, first settling in New York city, where he remained until 1856, 
when he came to Vallejo. Followed the sea from 1843 till 1856, but on 


coming to California he engaged in farming, and in May, 1870, he opened 
his present meat market, on Virginia street, in Vallejo. Married in New 
Orleans, 1854, Catharine Morris, a native of Ireland, by whom he has 
Mary M., Robert H., Samuel J., Martha M., and Catharine. 

BROWNLIE, ALEXANDER J., was born in the State of Arkansas, Octo- 
ber 3, 1851. Accompanied his parents to California in 1852, being the 
first white child to arrive in Vallejo. Was educated in the public schools 
of that city. Is now a civil engineer in the employ of the Navy Yard at 
Mare Island, where he has been continuously engaged for thirteen years. 
Was appointed City Clerk, April, 1878. Is a member of the I. O. O. F. 
Golden State Lodge and Mount Moriah Encampment, also Vallejo Lodge ; 
No. 64, I. O. G. T., and takes a prominent interest in all matters of public 
benefit to Vallejo and its community. 

BROWNLIE, JAMES, Grocer of Vallejo, was born in the villiage of Car- 
luke, in Lanarkshire, Scotland, on the loth day of August, 1836. In 1858 
he left his native shores for California, arriving in the month of July of 
that year, when he settled in Vallejo, but shortly after removed to Beni- 
cia, where he was employed by the Pacific Mail Co. to repair the old 
steamship " Oregon." After three months he started for the Klamath 
river, in Humboldt county, and engaged in mining, but in four months 
returned to Vallejo, and worked at his trade, that of carpenter and joiner, 
which he continued until 1869, when he established his present business. 
In March, 1869, Mr. Brownlie married Miss Mary Howie, the daughter of 
Peter McMillen, of Campbelltown, Scotland, having issue one son, John 

BROWLIE, JOHN, is a native of Scotland, and passed his early years 
in that part of Great Britain, where he was apprenticed for some time 
to the grocery trade, in Glasgow. On October 7, 1852, with some of his 
relations who had revisited the " land o' cakes," he sailed from Liverpool 
in a Cunard steamer for New York, where he remained a short time, 
and then took passage for California in the S. S. " N orthern Light," but 
was landed at Acapulco, from whence he proceeded to Barbacos ; thence 
up the river by native boat to Gorgona, from which place he performed 
the balance of the journey on foot to Panama. The hardships of this 
walk were trying to our youthful voyager ; when but halfway his boots 
gave out and were discarded ; in crossing the rivers he held on to the 
tails of mules, and was thus ferried over ; and on the next day completely 
prostrated, he and his party, with whom he had caught up, reached their 
destination, only to find that their steamer for San Francisco, for which 
they had tickets, had been burned in Valparaiso. The " Cortez " was on 


' T ;-'^ 


the berth for California, but she was full ; a passage, could not, therefore, 
be procured by her ; thus, in the meantime, with so large a party, money 
gave out, and he was obliged to dispose of his through ticket, so as to 
provide the means of subsistence for the company, and rely on the prom- 
ise that money should be remitted to him from California. Shortly after 
his companions sailed for the Golden State, leaving the subject of our 
memoir alone, moneyless, and friendless, in Panama. With that resource 
» which the hardy sons of Scotia derive from their early training, Mr. 
Brownlie cast about him looking for employment, whereby to occupy his 
time, and provide food; this he soon obtained in the Louisiana hotel, at 
the wages of sixty dollars per month ; but such is the fatal effects of the 
climate that but few live to see the month out. While at his avocation 
in this hostelry, he was prostrated by a swelling of the feet from jiggers, 
contracted during his bare-foot tramp across the Isthmus, to add to which 
he was seized with the Panama fever, but stoutly refused to be taken to the 
hospital ; day by day he got lower, when an event occurred which may 
have done much towards preserving the life of John Brownlie. Let us 
tell it in his own words : " It was a Sunday morning, when, by luck, who 
should come to my relief, but an uncle — one whom I had not seen since I 
was a child. Of course, I did not know him, nor he me, until he asked 
after my parents, and his brothers and sisters. I was so charmed that I 
jumped right gut of my sick bed. He asked how I came to be at Pan- 
ama, and how I came to be left by the party ; after explaining which, he 
told me that he had just bought a ticket for California, and if I wanted 
to get there he would give it to me, while he returned to Toboga (where 
he had been working for some time), to earn enough to pay his passage 
by another steamer." Thus, by the merest chance, at noon on the day on 
which he parted with his new-found relative, Mr. Brownlie steamed away 
from Panama on board the " Winfield Scott," bound for San Francisco. 
On this voyage he again endured much suffering, and though many of his 
fellow-passengers died, he lived, happily, to arrive at his destination, after 
a passage of eighteen days. 

On arrival, he fortunately met his uncle, Robert Brownlee, and with 
him went to Vallejo, arriving when the Legislature was about to meet 
and at once obtained work there ; on the removal of the seat of govern- 
ment to Benicia, he followed them, and being employed in that city for a 
short time, he finally went to Mare Island and obtained labor with the 
Dry Dock Company, who were then constructing the sectional dock ; from 
laboring work he rose to be a helper in the blacksmith's shop, and, being 
of an economical turn of mind, he soon purchased a share in a livery 
business ; after a lapse of some time he eventually became the sole 
proprietor, and has ever since kept a stable in Vallejo. In 1858, in con- 
junction with his livery business, Mr. B. purchased a farm of 500 acres, 


and matters progressed favorably for him until the year 1873, when, 
being connected with the Vallejo Bank, he was forced into the position of 
Cashier of that concern by the Directors and Stockholders ; but such was 
the revulsion in business at the time that the Bank was wound up, and 
all creditors satisfied. Mr. Brownlie visited his native land, in the years 
1857, and '67, and made the tour of the three kingdoms ; has served 
as a Notary Public for two years ; a Supervisor for one term ; and is now 
besides his above mentioned business, a real estate agent ; and also agent' 
for a Fire and Life Insurance Company. Mr. B. was born in the year 
1833, and married, December 22, 1874, Miss Margaret Wakely, by whom 
he has Gracie May, born October 16, 1875, and Robert Arthur, born Nov. 
11, 1878. 

BROWNLEE, ROBERT, emigrated to America in the year 1836, and set- 
tled in the city of New York, where he sojourned four months, working 
at his trade of stone cutter. In September of that year he proceeded to 
North Carolina, and was employed for thirteen months in the capital of 
that State ; at the expiration of which he moved to Arkansas, arriving in 
Little Rock on Christmas day, 1837. He there prosecuted his calling for 
four years, working on the Capitol and State Bank, when he embarked 
in the cultivation of land. In 1848 he retired from the occupation of 
farming, and commenced prospecting for lead, getting blown up during 
this employment. Mr. Brownlee was a resident of the State of Arkansas 
altogether thirteen years. In 1849 the world was set agog by the dis- 
covery of gold in California, and he was one of the many hardy sons of 
toil who crossed the plains, enduring all its hardships, hoping occasionally 
against hope, and putting aside any knowledge of fear; laboring incessantly 
to buoy up those who were bordering on despair, allaying the woes of the 
suffering and cheering the despondent. In this year, after a journey oc- 
cupying six months and a half, coming by way of Santa Fe, this band 

• crossed the Colorado river in the latter end of August and entered Cali- 
fornia, the land of promise, on the first day of September, 1849. For 
days before this event, water with them had been scarce, the canteens 
which they wore slung over their shoulders being nearly empty ; at 
last, however, pools of water were discovered, and he, riding at the head 
of the cavalcade, was the first to lave his parched throat with the wearily 
looked for liquid. Dipping his pan deep into the pool, to procure the 
water in its. coolest state, he found it on drinking to be potently charged 
with alkali ; to resort to the first rude method of counteraction, namely, 
the eating of quantities of fat pork, was the work of a moment, and he 
recovered ; not so two of the others, who, even when cautioned, recklessly 
partook of the beverage, both dying in great suffering on the evening of 
the same day. They were buried by their comrades, while one of the 


number, gifted above his fellows with the power of speech, offered up a 
prayer at their graves, which, for impressive eloquence, Mr. B. asserts he 
has never heard equalled. From the oldest to the youngest there was not 
a dry cheek. Let us now follow the fortunes of Mr. Brownlee. He ar- 
rived in Mariposa county in the first rains. He labored in the mines for 
six days, in the first hour and a half of which he dug up eightv dollars 
worth of ore, his only implements being his jack-knife and tin pan. This 
was in October, 1849. With this sum he entered into partnership with 
John W. Clarke of Vermont, who had also been moderately lucky, pur- 
chased a team of six pack-mules, and commenced what is known as a 
"packing" business, between Stockton and Ajuafria, two towns, one 
hundred miles apart. The first trip took these two pioneers some six 
weeks to accomplish. The roads were so bad from the excessive rains 
that the hardships endured were sufficient to deter men of less persever- 
ance ; always at their destination, however, such matters were treated 
lightly, for, after all, their business prospered, and miners would pay a 
dollar and a quarter per pound for tea and flour, while other necessaries 
commanded as high a price. Mr. Brownlee thus describes some of his 
experiences on this eventful first trip. On leaving the Stanislaus River, 
an eight-mule team, drawing a boiler, was come up with, but such was 
the deplorable state of the roads that mules, boiler and truck had sunk 
into the mud, nothing being left to view but the heads of three mules and 
the highest point of the boiler. Here was a fix ! What was to be done ? 
Quick of resources, desperation lending wit to native acumen, the team- 
sters incontinently drove their animals on to the boiler, from which perch 
they daintily picked their steps on to the backs of their less fortunate 
brethren, one after the other, until once more terra Jirma was reo-ained. 
There were four of these adventurers — -James Mc Vicar, Mr. B., his part- 
ner, and a negro. During a blinding snow storm they proceeded on- 
wards; and arrived at Dry Creek, where each mule had to be repacked, 
the cargo having shifted, on account of the many slips and falls which the 
quadrupeds had sustained. On relieving them of their burdens and 
placing the sacks of flour on the clay, the first two tiers sank out of sight, 
causing no inconsiderable damage. There was not the wherewithal to 
build a fire whereby food might be prepared, so they supped on flour, 
mixed with water, and raw fat pork ; cold and hungry, they lay on the 
saddle blankets, striving to wheedle the gentle goddess — the four of them 
— Mr. Brownlee next to the negro. During the night the snow and sleet 
ceased, and a hard frost set in, making the cold intense. The water in a 
pair of long boots, the property of the darkey, froze to a solid mass, which 
was not perceived until he had tried to put them on ; but, whether on 
account of the size of his feet or the frigidity and rigidity of the ice, they 
would not be coaxed into their proper resting place till thawed by the 


water of a convenient stream. The morning, however, lent a brighter aspect 
to the state of things, for daylight showed where fuel was to be obtained, 
a hearty meal was made off coffee and flapjacks, which they enjoyed, for, 
on the principle of hunger being the best sauce, McV. would, now and 
again, observe, "Eh, man, Bob, but aren't they good !" On the following 
day the Tuolumne River was gained, in another snow storm, they camp- 
ing in a " wash " of the river. This night a splendid fire was built. Three 
large trees, which were lying in the bed of the now dry stream, were 
piled over with brush and set alight, while the banks gave shelter from 
the driving sleet and snow ; and comparative comfort, with a certain 
amount of satisfaction, was being taken out of the burning mass of tim- 
ber, some forty feet in length. Of a sudden, without the slightest warn- 
ing, their gigantic hearth was seen to float away ; the water rose with in- 
credible speed, so that they were wet to their waists while securing their 
packs. At length all was made snug, and the quartette, climbing up to 
the fork of a tree, out of the reach of the now rushing stream, in the driv- 
ing snow, philosophically awaited the dawn of day. Of such were the 
hardships endured on this memorable journey. 

In the spring of the year 1850, the subject of our memoir established a 
store, having a mule team in connection therewith. The former combined 
all the mining luxuries cf a boarding-house, ten-pin alley and card-room, 
as well as the agency for Adams' Express. At the time when the first 
snow fell, Mr. B. found himself with a large accumulation of staple goods 
for which there would be a ready market; he therefore turned out his 
animals to pasture on what was known as the Texine ranch, when on 
one day he was informed that a force of Indians had been seen driving 
them off. This was a cause of the hastening of another Mariposa war. 
On the receipt of this intelligence Major Burney, then Sheriff of the 
county, raised a company of twenty-two volunteers started in pursuit, 
and overtaking the Indians engaged them for three or four hours, when 
they fled leaving behind them partially eaten portions of the beasts which 
had been cooked between the time of their capture and the conflict. At 
this juncture the war had assumed proportions which were likely to 
develop. The Major, therefore, appealed to Governor Burnett at San 
Jose for aid, when he despatched Neely Johnson to organize three com- 
panies of militia in Mariposa county, Mr. Brownlee being suttler of the 
battalion, and as such he found himself possessed of a large amount of 
scrip, paid to him by the force, which he wished to have recognized by 
the officers of the State. To gain this was the object of his first visit to 
Vallejo in 1851, on which occasion he remained only two months, return- 
ing to Mariposa county, and thereafter visited Sacramento in 1852 on the 
same errand, after which he once more went back to Mariposa, wound up 
his affairs and started to return to Scotland, but having missed the steamer 


from San Francisco to Panama, he remained for three weeks in Val- 
lejo. On the 1st day of March, 1852, Mr.Brownlee sailed from San Fran- 
cisco, visiting en route Arkansas and Kentucky, where he met his wife, 
went to Scotland, but in two months from his arrival, having visited a 
few of the most noteworthy places in his native land, once more turned 
towards the United States and landed in New York, where he was 
married soon after his arrival. In October, 1852, we find Mr. Brownlee 
on his second voyage to California, on this occasion accompanied by his 
bride and his brother, his wife and son, traversing the route, not by the 
plains as he had done three years before, but by the more pleasant and 
swifter one of Panama, arriving in San Francisco in the end of Novem- 
ber, and having pleasant recollections of Vallejo, immediately thereafter 
proceeded thither, where both families located in December, 1852. 
Early in the next year he commenced farming and a dairy business on a 
small scale, purchased a tract of fifty acres of land two miles north of the 
town limits, which he afterwards exchanged with General John B. Frisbie, 
in 1857 for his present place, now in Napa county, but which was then 
in that of Solano. Since his arrival, up to the present time, Mr. Brown- 
lee has been inseparably connected with Vallejo and its associations, and 
though he does not reside in the county, he is still spoken of by all as 
the most reliable source of information in regard to the doings in early 
days. His residence is a magnificent two-storied building, having rooms 
of fine proportions, situated about fourteen miles from Vallejo ; he farms 
over 1,100 acres of land, 650 being in Solano county, while this season he 
has under wheat and barley no less than 1,100 acres. The line of rail- 
road to Sacramento from South Vallejo passes his gate, while there is an 
averagely good road to his dwelling. A more genial companion, a bet- 
ter citizen or hospitable host does not exist than Robert Brownlee. 
He was born at Bunkle, in the parish of Oambusnethen, in the county of 
Lanark, Scotland, in 1813, married Annie Lamont October 24, 1852, 
born in Tamhorn, in the Carse O'Gowrie, Perthshire, Scotland, in 1834, 
by whom he has Robert A., born October 14, 1853, (the first white boy 
born in Vallejo) ; Mary J., born August 1, 1855 ; Margaret R., born June 
4, 1857 ; Gracie A., born July 10, 1862 ; George, born February 23, 1864 ; 
William, born November 25, 1866, died March 17, 1868 ; and Frederick 
J., born August 19, 1870. 

BROWNLEE, THOMAS, was born in Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire, Scotland, 
in the year 1816, where he remained until the year 1842 when he emi- 
grated to America and settled in the State of Arkansas. In the year 
1846 he enlisted in the Arkansas Regiment, under command of Colonel 
Yell, and with it served in the Mexican war for one year, being present 
at the engagement at Buena Vista. On the expiration of his service he 


returned to Arkansas and there remained till 1852 when he came to 
California, and was in that year among the very first to settle in Vallejo 
where he was the original blacksmith of this now thriving city. Is a 
charter member of the Benicia Lodge of F. and A. M., being one of the 
few originators of that lodge who are now living ; is also a charter mem- 
ber of the Masters Lodge of F. and A. M. of Vallejo. Married June 29, 
1849, Mary Lamont, by whom he has Alexander J., Annie, and John. 

BUTLER, 0. H., was born in Utica, N. Y., in May, 1829, and there re- 
mained until 1833, when, with his parents, he moved to Michigan, resid- 
ing there until 1842. In this year he went to Illinois, and worked at his 
trade of a mason at Chicago, Bloomington, Peoria, and finally settled there. 
In 1855 he moved to Livingston county, Mo., where he resided until 
1862, when he crossed the Plains to California, and settled at Woodland, 
Yolo county, and there established a brick-yard, combining this business 
with that of a contractor. At the end of two years he moved to Santa 
Kosa, Sonoma county, and there erected a flour mill, with water power, on 
Markwest creek. This enterprise he conducted for five years, when, in 
1869, he sold his property and came to Vallejo, where he has since re- 
sided. Was appointed Quarterman-mason on the Navy Yard at Mare 
Island, July 22, 1872, and is still employed there. He married July 22, 
1851, Julia A. Michael, of Bloomington, Ills. 

CALLENDER, JOHN, was born in Bucks county, Pa., November 16, 1822, 
and after two years residence here he, with parents, moved to Philadelphia, 
where he learned the carpenters' and joiners' trade, following that oocu- 
pation until March 19, 1852, when he started for California, arriving in 
San Francisco on the 13th day of August following. Having brought 
his carpenters' tools with him, he work in the city for one month, when 
he came to Vallejo on the ship " Empire," it being the same he crossed 
the ocean on to San Francisco. We record his arrival here on September 
13, 1852. There being no house in which he could live he had to remain 
on the boat until a temporary dwelling was erected on Mare Island, in 
which he lived until the Navy Yard was established there by the Gov- 
ernment, when he moved on the Vallejo side, and, in company with John 
North, opened the Central House, but continued working at his trade. In 
1859 he commenced the livery business, and in 1864 established the 
undertakers' trade, both of which he has followed to the present time. 
Married Catherine Fraser, daughter of James P. Fraser, a native of Phil- 
adelphia, Pa. They were married in Vallejo, September, 1858. They 
have had three children, all of which are deceased. Mr. C. has served 
two terms as Supervisor, and in 1871 ran for Sheriff and was only beaten 
by 653 votes, which was owing to the " tape- worm ticket." 


CARMAN, A. S., is a native of the province of New Brunswick, where he 
was born on September 7, 1849. Entered a mercantile and ship-building 
firm at the age of fourteen, and, after remaining there two years, entered 
the employment of a mercantile, ship-building, and grindstone manufactur- 
ing company, where he continued for one year, when he left for California, 
arriving there in September, 1867, and entered into the lumber business 
with Houghton & Lee, of Vallejo. Afterwards was engaged by the firm 
of Doe & Moore, of South Vallejo, as salesman and later as bookkeeper, 
who having sold out to Pope & Talbot, he was appointed manager to the 
new firm, a position which he still occupies. Married in November, 1876, 
to Miss Estelle Davenport, of Monterey, a native of Michigan, and has 
one son. ' 

COLHOUN, EDMUND R., U. S. N., Commandant Mare Island Navy Yard, 
was born in Pennsylvania, May 6, 1821 ; appointed midshipman from 
Missouri, April 1, 1839 ; attached to sloop "'Marion," Brazil Squadron, 
1839-41 ; frigate " Congress," Mediterranean and Brazil Squadrons, 1842- 
44 ; Naval School, Philadelphia, 1845 ; promoted to passed Midshipman, 
July 2, 1845 ; frigate " Cumberland," Home Squadron, 1846-47. Com- 
modore Colhoun took part in the Mexican war, being present at the 
first attack on Alvarado, under Commodore Connor, and that at Tabasco, 
under Commodore Perry, which resulted in its capture. Served as passed 
Midshipman on board the armed prize schooner "Novata"; attached to 
the receiving ship " Philadelphia," 1850-51 ; frigate " St. Lawrence,' 
Pacific Squadron, 1851-53; resigned, June 27, 1853. Re-entered the 
service as Acting Lieutenant in 1861; comm?.mded steamers "Shawsheen" 
and "Hunchback," North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, 1861-62. Was 
present at and took part in the following engagements : Battle of Roan- 
oke Island, February 7 and 8, 1862 ; capture of Newbern, March 14, 
1862 ; engagements on the Blackwater river, below Franklin, Virginia, 
October, 1862 ; received his commission as Commander November 17, 
1862; commanded steamer " Ladona," North Atlantic Blockading Squad- 
ron, 1863; commanding monitor " Weehawken," South Atlantic Block- 
ading Squadron, 1863 ; was present at the different actions with Forts 
Sumter, Wagner, Beauregard, etc., from July 10 to September 15, 1863 ; 
commanded the monitor " Saugas," North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, 
1864-65 ; engaged Howlett's Battery on James river, June 21, and again 
on December 5, 1864 ; took part in the bombardment of Fort Fisher, 
December 25, 1864, and the different engagements therewith until its 
capture on January 15, 1865 ; was on special duty at New York, 1866 ; 
Fleet Captain, South Pacific Squadron, 1866-67, and commissioned as 
Captain 1869; commanded iron clad "Dictator" 1869-70; appointed 
in 1873 to command the flag-ship " Hartford," on the Asiatic Station ; 


was in command of that Station four months, when he was transferred 
to the " Richmond " flag-ship, on the South Pacific Station, where he 
served from August, 1874, to July, 1875. The Commodore's next official 
duties were in connection with the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia, 
where he was three months, when he was placed on the Examining Board 
at Washington, serving on it for six months. Promoted to the rank of 
Commodore April 26, 1876, and, having been appointed to Mare Island 
Navy Yard, he relieved Admiral Rodgers of the command April 17, 1877. 
Commodore Colhoun is married and has a family. 

CONDON, JAMES, born in Ireland, in 1826, and came to America in 1848, 
first settling in New York. In 1855, he came to California and located 
at Sacramento, engaging in the nursery business in connection with A. B. 
Smith, whose agent he was until 1862. In that year he went back to the 
Eastern States, returning to California in 1864, and once more settled in 
Sacramento, where he stayed four years, after which he engaged in farm- 
ing in Yolo county, and remained there until he took the management of 
the White Sulphur Springs near Vallejo, where he now resides. In 1855, 
he married, in New York, Miss Rose Maclean. 

CONNOLLY, HENRY, was born in 1826, in the county of Fermanagh, 
Ireland, from whence he emigrated to the United States in 1846, and 
settled in New York city, remaining there till 1853, when he left for 
California and settled in San Francisco. In 1857, he removed to Vallejo, 
where he commenced business in the Washington Hotel, which he carried 
on for many years and which property he still owns. In connection there- 
with, he opened a livery business 'in 1859, which he still continues. Mr. 
Connolly also opened a wholesale wine and liquor store in 1875. He 
married Catharine Elliott in 1853, who was born in county Fermanagh in 

DARE, JOHN T., is a native of Brook Haven, Long Island, New York, 
and born March 27, 1843. Here he was educated in the common schools, 
and, at the age of thirteen, went to sea as a cabin boy, going up through 
all the different grades to that of first mate. This occupation he followed 
eight years. In May, 1861, he arrived in San Francisco on the ship " W. 
L. Richardson," being second in command of that craft, but left her on 
his arrival and shipped for the South Sea Islands and return. In 1862, 
went to Shoalwater Bay, oystering, returning the same year with a large 
number of oysters, planting them in San Pablo bay ; but the high water 
in the Winter of 1862-3 destroyed them. The following year, read law 
with C. Greenwich Howard, of San Francisco. About the time of the 
El Dorado Canyon or Colorado river gold excitement, he went to that 


locality and, after experiencing the changeable fortunes incident to a miner, 
he returned and settled in Los Angeles, and was engaged in driving team 
for other parties. Next we find him in the employ of the Government, 
under Major Morris, at Drum Barracks", running trains across the desert. 
During Brigadier General John S. Mason's expedition through Arizona 
1 Territory, Mr. Dare accompanied them as master of transportation. After 
making a complete tour of the Territory, he selected Prescott, in the Ter- 
ritory, as a place of residence ; here he established the first pony express 
from Prescott to California, via Fort Mojave, riding the pony himself, 
without escort, through bands of hostile Indians, for six months ; then 
run a wagon train from Prescott to Colorado river. In 1867, he was 
elected to the lower house of the Arizona Legislature, and was the framer 
of several bills which still are a part of the laws of that country. Soon 
after the expiration of his office, the large wagon train he was then run- 
ning, was captured and destroyed by Indians, his train-master losing his 
life in the battle. Becoming disgusted with the country on account of 
the hostilities of the savages, he returned to California, settling in Vallejo, 
in 1868. Here he worked at various occupations, then a freight clerk in 
the office of Cal. P. R. R., and eighteen months thereafter was A. D. Starr 
& Co.'s cashier and book-keeper. In the Fall of 1877, he was elected to 
the lower house of the State Legislature, doing the State excellent service 
in framing: and working through the Bank Commission Bill, also the Fish 
and Game bills, and a strong advocate of the Postal Savings Bank bill. 
He has made a continuous residence in south Vallejo since his coming in 
1868, and is now one of its business men. Married in this place Miss 
Anetta, eldest daughter of George H. Martin, of Albany, New York, on 
January 18, 1872, their children are Ellen S., Starr D. and Edith. 

DEININGER, F., born in Bavaria, Germany, in 1832. In 1856, came to 
America and settled in San Francisco, where he remained but a short 
time, then removed to Los Angeles where he engaged in the brewery 
business. In the Summer of 1857, he established a brewery at Long 
Bar, Yolo county, and the same time commenced farming on a large scale 
nine miles from Marysville. In 1866, he moved to Meadow Lake, Nevada 
county, and opened a brewery there, which he continued until 1870, when 
he established a like undertaking in Vallejo, in which city he now resides. 
Married at Marysville, in 1858, Madelina Young, by whom he has : Jessie, 
Louisa, Daisy, Jacob, Mary, Lena, Maggie and Rose. 

DERWIN, MICHAEL S., was born in County Galway, Ireland, in 1812, 
and resided there till 1834, when he emigrated to America, first settling 
in Philadelphia. In 1837 he went to the Florida war, being connected 
with the quartermasters' department, and leaving there, came to New 


York in March, 1841, proceeding thereafter to Philadelphia. In that city 
he embarked in a grocery business, which he continued till 1848, when 
he moved to New Orleans, where he lived till 1852, in which year he left 
for California, via Panama, arriving in San Francisco on February 28th 
of that year. In March he paid a flying visit to Vallejo, and thence pro- 
ceeded to Stockton, from which place he went to the mines in Tuolumne 
County, where he engaged in mining for one year. At the end of that 
period he returned to San Francisco and began draying, which business 
he prosecuted for eight months. In the latter part of the year 1853 he 
returned to Philadelphia and then to New York, in which city he started 
the wholesale and retail liquor trade. In July, 1854, he once more turned 
towards the Golden State, arriving in San Francisco in August, and took 
up his abode there until January, 1855, when he moved to Vallejo and 
located in that city, and was employed for fifteen months in the Navy 
Yard at Mare Island. In 1856 he started for the mines in Oregon, so- 
journing there for one year and a half, at the expiration of which he 
came back to Vallejo, where he has since resided. In 1870 Mr. Derwin 
visited his friends in Philadelphia, and having returned to Vallejo, em- 
barked in the grocery business. Mr. D. is a member of the firm of Der- 
win & McCudden, is married, and has a family. 

DOYLE, JAMES, born in Montreal, Canada, December 25, 1828, and re- 
sided there till 1846, when he went to New York City, and on April 1, 
1852, sailed from there on the ship "North America," for California, 
arriving in San Francisco September 1 of that year. Remained in that 
city till 1855, and then proceeded to Vallejo, where he has since remained 
a permanent resident. Mr. Doyle started the Pioneer Marble Works in 
Vallejo in 1862, which he still owns, and was elected Constable for the 
Township of Vallejo on September 5, 1877, and commenced his official 
duties in the month of March following. He married in New York, De- 
cember 25, 1849, Anna Fleury, by whom he has Sarah A., Thomas, Mary 
E., Addie, Jonas, Robert E., Annie, Elizabeth, Charles and Gertrude. 

DRAKE,. SIMON S., farmer, Section 16, post-office, Vallejo; was born in 
Chichester, New Hampshire, September 15, 1831, and remained there till 
1848, but did not leave the State till the Spring of 1854, when he. moved 
to Fillmore County, Minnesota, there engaging in general merchandising, 
pre-empting land, and farming, until the early part of 1857, when he re- 
turned to the Eastern States and settled in Massachusetts, but remained 
there only two years. On January 6, 1859, he sailed from New York, via 
Panama, arriving in San Francisco in February, and immediately went to 
Sacramento, and there worked on a dairy farm till the following Septem- 
ber, when he proceeded to South San Francisco and entered the employ- 


ment of John J. Haley, then proprietor of the International Hotel. In 
the Spring of 1860 he moved to Contra Costa County, and rented a farm 
from Victor Castro, but in the following Spring he left that portion of 
the country and sought employment in the Mare Island Navy Yard, in 
the plumbers' department. Leaving Mare Island in the Fall of that year, 
he proceeded to Idaho Territory, and commenced mining on Newsom 
Creek, which he prosecuted till November, 1862, keeping also a miners' 
store, when, at that date, he once more returned to San Francisco. In 
February of the following year Mr. Drake proceeded to Austin, Nevada, 
and was employed as engineer at different mills till 1865, when, on Feb- 
ruary 10th, he once more went to San Francisco, from which city he pro- 
ceeded to his home* in the East, on the loth of the month. While at 
Lynn, Massachusetts, he engaged with his brothers in the grocery and 
provision business, which he continued till April, 1866, when he left 
for Minnesota, and from thence went to Kansas City, Missouri, arriving 
there July 4, 1866. He next proceeded to Ray County, Missouri, where 
he worked as an engineer for two years. On October 7th, 1868, he was 
married to Miss Mirza C. Craven, and soon after left for California, but 
after a few months returned to Missouri for his wife, coming back to Cali- 
fornia in November, 1869, and settled on his present farm of 360 acres. 
Mr. Drake is a member of the Grangers, as well as of the Ancient Order 
of United Workmen and Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He has by 
his wife three children — Walter Frank, born in Ray County, Missouri, 
September 18, 1869; Harry Clyde, born April 14, 1871, at Vallejo; and 
Joey Howard, born September 23, 1872. 

EDWARDS, WILLIAM P., was born in London, England, on July 8, 1821, 
and in 1837 came to New York, to which place his father had preceded 
him. Was employed in different mercantile houses in New York and 
Philadelphia until May 5, 1849, when he set sail from the latter city in 
the bark " Ralph Cross " for San Francisco, where he arrived November 
5, of the same year. Mr. Edwards had brought with him a machine for 
cutting shingles, which he erected on what was known as the Widow 
Reed's Ranch, in Marin county, but he was forced, after giving it a trial 
to succumb to the want of experience in this particular industry. Mr. 
Edwards thereafter went to the Middle Fork of the Yuba River, to a 
place called Snow Camp, in the summer of 1850, but returned to San 
Francisco in the fall of the same year, and after a time engaged in mer- 
cantile pursuits, which he continued until 1865, when he settled in 
Vallejo. Has been Secretary of the Association of California Pioneers 
since its formation, with the exception of two terms, he is also a member 
of Vallejo Lodge No. 64, I. O. G. T. 


EGERY, B. D., of the firm of Egery & Lamont, was born in Penobscot 
county, Maine, on December 12, 1838, remaining there until 1859, when 
he came to California. First engaged in mining in Butte county, remov- 
ing therefrom one year after, when he removed to Chico, and from there 
to San Francisco, from whence he went to Owen's river, where he again 
engaged in mining. In the fall of 1863 he obtained employment as a clerk 
in San Francisco, at which he remained until January, 1867, when he left 
for Vallejo and opened a grocery, fruit and provision store, which was 
destroyed by fire in the following June. He then became a clerk with 
E. T. Starr. In September, 1869, he entered into partnership with John 
E. Williston, whose interest his present partner purchased in Septem- 
ber, 1870, when the firm of Egery & Lamont was started. Mr. Egery 
married November 24, 1871, Miss Carrie G. Lambert, a native of Phila- 
delphia, who was born in 1846, by whom he has Lambert D., John A., 
Benjamin C, and Eugene. 

FARNHAM, JOHN, Clothing, Gents' Furnishing Goods, Trunks and Valises. 
The subject of this sketch was born in Bucksport, Maine, in 1840, and in 
1860 took to the sea as a profession, which he followed for four years. 
In the natural course of his calling he arrived in San Francisco in 1863, 
and proceeding to Mare Island he at once obtained employment in the 
Navy Yard. In 1867 he returned to his native town and engaged in the 
hardware business, under the style and firm of S. A. &. J. Farnham. In 
1868 he disposed of his interest in that firm and once more returning to 
California came to Vallejo and established his present business, under the 
name of Farnham & Voorhees, which partnership continued until the 
year 1871, since when he has been alone. Mr. F. has also a dry goods 
business in Salem, Oregon. Vallejo has few more public spirited citizens 
than John Farnham. In 1877 he was elected to fill the chair of the Re- 
publican County Committee ; again in 1878 the like honor was con- 
ferred upon him, and, never being behind-hand where duty in the public 
interest is demanded, he has served on the Board of Education, and filled 
other responsible offices. In 1868 Mr. Farnham married Mary L., daugh- 
ter of Andrew J. Ketcham, of Brandon, Vt., who was born in 1841. In 
this connection an episode occurred which may here be mentioned : 
When returning home, in 1867, the " Santiago de Cuba," the steamer on 
which he had taken passage, was wrecked on the coast of New Jersey, 
near the city of Atlantic ; seven of the passengers were drowned, but Mr. 
Farnham, at the imminent risk of his own life, succeeded in saving that 
of Miss Ketcham, the young lady whom a year later he made his bride. 
The union so romantically forecast has been blessed by three children, 
John W., Frank B., and Mary Louise. 


FORSTENFELD, M., was born in Germany in the year 1841, and came to 
America in March 1855, and settled in New York, where he remained till 
1861, at which time he came to California and first resided in San Fran- 
cisco, remaining there until 1863, and then removed to Vallejo. In July, 
1875, he entered into partnership with Jacob Steffen, in keeping a meat 
market, which business they still continue. He married in Vallejo, in 
September, 1867, Miss Lizzie Snider, a native of New Orleans, who was 
born February 9, 1852. 

FRISBIE, ELEAZER, was born in Albany, N. Y., in 1829, and remained 
there until September, 1846, when he sailed for California with Steven- 
son's Regiment, arriving in San Francisco in March, 1847. Was quar- 
tered in that city till the spring of 1848, when he accompanied a detach- 
ment of his regiment to the mines to look for deserters, of whom there 
were a number. This service occupied two months. The force was em- 
barked on a government schooner, which took ten days to reach Sutter's 
Fort (Sacramento) from San Francisco. On the return they took some 
Government horses, and drove them to the city, after which Mr. Frisbie 
was taken ill with a fever, from the effects of which he did not recover 
for a whole year. In 1848 the regiment was disbanded. He then, by the 
advice of his physician, proceeded to Sonoma for the benefit of his health, 
and, after recovering, opened a store in that city, remaining there until 
1850, when he removed to Benicia, and carried on a butchery business, 
shipping meat to San Francisco for two years. About this time the city 
of Vallejo was started, he therefore moved thither. In 1854 Mr. Frisbie 
was elected a Justice of the Peace, served as an Associate Justice, and was 
the first regularly appointed postmaster for the city of Vallejo. an office 
he held from 1855 to 1857. Mr. F. resided continuously in Vallejo, from 
1851 to 1865, when he removed* to Russian River Township, Sonoma 
county, CaL, and there lived till the fall of 1870, being, for that period, 
engaged in farming. In that year he returned to Vallejo, and was em- 
ployed by the Cal. P. R. R. Co. as wood agent. In 1872 was in the em- 
ployment of the Vallejo Land and Improvement, and Vallejo Gaslight 
Companies, as collector, till Nov., 1875 . In February, 1876, he commenced 
a dairy business, at Point Farm, one mile from South Vallejo, which he 
still carries on, shipping large quantities of milk to San Francisco daily, 
as well as supplying the surrounding district. Mr. Frisbie married at 
Fairmount, N. J., June 25, 1858, Carrie E. Klink, of Syracuse, N. Y., by 
whom he has seven children living ; John B. ; Steven H. ; Cynthia J. • 
Phcebe A. ; Edward E. ; Carrie E. ; Alice K. 

FRISBIE, JOHN B., the second son of Eleazer B. Frisbie and Cynthia 
Cornell Frisbie was born at Albany, N. Y., on the 20th day of May A. D. 


1823, and after having finished his academic course of study at the Al- 
bany Academy, entered the law office of District Attorney Wheaton one 
of the ablest lawyers at the New York Bar ; with whom he remained 
for four years or until he was of legal age and admitted to practice in 
the courts of the State of New York. He immediately took a prominent 
position in the politics of the State, and received, for a young man, a large 
patronage and remunerative business ; after some two years of close at- 
tention and continued study, having somewhat of a martial spirit, he was 
elected Captain of the Van Rensselaer Guards, acknowledged to be the 
best drilled and finest looking independent company of the State. At 
this time, 1846, war existed with Mexico, and a number of the officers 
and privates of this corps being desirous to enter the army in 
the campaign against Mexico, Captain Frisbie joined them and 
recruiting a full company in the city of Albany, he attached it as 
Company I to the regiment of Col. Jonathan D. Stevenson, then at 
Governor's Island and about to sail for the then distant Province of 
California. The regiment arrived after a six months passage at San 
Francisco, then nothing more than a little hamlet situated in a little cove 
of the harbor and called " Yerba Buena." This was in March, 1847, and 
the resfiment continued in service until disbanded after the close of the 
war in July, 1848. Capt. Frisbie then immediately engaged in business 
with Gen. Vallejo and occupied himself in the management of that 
gentleman's extensive estate, and in projecting great public improvements 
at both the cities of Benicia and Vallejo. To secure the location of the 
Mare Island Navy Yard at Vallejo he purchased the island from Victor 
Castro and obtaining from Commodore Appleton P. Jones and Gen. Per- 
sifer F. Smith and other influential gentlemen a favorable report for that 
locality. The government made it the United States Naval Station of 
the Pacific. Not satisfied with the achievement to advance the interests 
of the new city, with indomitable will he set to work to open up railroad 
communications with the interior of the State and inaugurated the Cal- 
ifornia Pacific to connect the cities of Marysville and Sacramento with 
Vallejo. This road was speedily built and for a time gave a marked 
impetus to the growth and importance of the town. The population 
rapidly increased, fine wharves and warehouses were built and it speedily 
became the great shipping port for the whole of the northern portion of 
the State. Branches or feeders to the main line were then projected to 
tap the valleys of Napa and Sonoma and the Russian river country, but 
the immense expenditures consequent upon the prosecution of these im- 
provements so embarrassed the original company that they were compelled 
to succumb, and the road and its property fell into the hands of a rival 
company, whose business interests were antagonistic to the growth of the 
little city ; as a consetpience Vallejo soon lost its prestige of becoming a 


great commercial city, and in its decline carried ruin to its projectors and 
disappointment to all interested in its welfare. But Gen. Frisbie was not 
the man to yield to mere temporary embarrassment and fortunately at 
this time (our relations with the neighboring republic of Mexico being in 
a critical condition) he was called to Washington to confer with the au- 
thorities, and was dispatched by the President and Secretary of State to 
the city of Mexico. As the result of his mission amicable relations were 
established between the two countries, and the President, Gen. Diaz, 
recognized by our government. But Gen. Frisbie during his residence in 
the city of Mexico became so captivated with 'the country and was so 
generously treated by its people that he determined to make it his future 
home and he removed his family to Buena Vista, a beautiful suburb of 
the city of Mexico, and is now engaged in developing some very rich 
mines in the Real del Monte district some sixty miles from the capital. 
It will thus be seen Gen. Frisbie has always been pre-eminently a public 
spirted man, of great energy, enterprise, and of unbounded hospital- 
ity and in all public positions was ever regarded as the peer of the ablest 
men among all the pioneers of the golden State. 

FRISBIE, LEVI C, the elder son of Eleazer B. Frisbie and Cynthia Cor- 
nell Frisbie, was born in the city of Albarfy, N. Y., on the 1st day of May 
A. D. 1821; after a preliminary course of education in his native city, he 
completed his academic term in the Buffalo Academy and commenced 
the study of medicine in the office of Dr. William Bry and surgery with 
Dr. Alden March in the year 1837, and graduated at the Albany Medical 
College February 23, 1841. Immediately after receiving his diploma he 
commenced practice with his old preceptor in the city of Albany and 
continued the same without interruption until the year 1850 ; when from 
overwork during the cholera epidemic of 1849, his health became so un- 
dermined as to necessitate entire suspension of business and compel him 
to seek mental quietude and physical recuperation from travel and change 
of scene and association. After four years thus spent his health was so 
far restored as to enable him to resume practice in the year 1854, since 
which time he has been an active practitioner of his profession in the city 
of Vallejo and is now the oldest one in the county of Solano. He has 
been twice elected president of the medical society of his native county 
and has officiated as the first President of the Pacific Medical Society, 
comprising the counties of Solano, Sonoma and Napa. In the year 1851 
in connection with Gen. Vallejo and Gen. John B. Frisbie he laid out the 
plan of the city of Vallejo, which the same year by a majority vote of 
the people of the State and a two-thirds vote of the Legislature became 
the capital of the State. In the year 1858 he married Adela Vallejo the 
second daughter of Gen. Vallejo, by whom he has one child, now the 


wife of D. McCarthy, Jr., Treasurer of the city of Syracuse in the State of 
New York. The Doctor is now in his fifty-eighth year and having de- 
voted the best years of his life to his profession, has retired from active 
practice, and in the enjoyment of an ample competence is content to pass 
the remainder of his days among the people and amid the scenes he loves 
so well. 

FROST, JAMES, M. D., arrived in California in 1856 and settled as an 
apothecary on Mare Island, where he continued till 1866, when he 
removed to Vallejo and opened his present place of business. Doctor 
Frost graduated at the Medical Department of the State University in 

1877, and is now one of Vallejo's practicing physicians. On May 18, 

1878, he was elected to fill the high position of President of the Board of 
Health, which honor he still retains, with credit alike to himself and his 
fellow citizens ; is also examining physician to the United Order of 
Workmen, as well as holding the same position to the Knights of 
Pythias. The subject of our memoir married on February 6, 1859, the 
daughter of John and Mary Foley, of Albany, New York, by whom he 
has six children, Arthur H., Edmund F., Mary E., Amelia G., Frances J., 
and Elizabeth E. 

GOOKIN, THOMAS P., was born May 9, 1824, in Portsmouth, New Hamp- 
shire, where he remained till the year 1848, when he went to Boston, 
Mass., residing there until January 1, 1849, on which date he left for 
New York City, sailing therefrom, on January 27, for California, and 
arrived in San Francisco on July 6th of the same year. Has since been 
a permanent resident of this State and county. He is a member of the 
Pioneer's Association of this place. 

GORHAM, ABRAHAM, foreman painter in the Department of Yards and 
Docks, Mare Island Navy Yard, was born in England, October, 1826. In 
1837 he went with his parents to South Australia, where he served his 
apprenticeship to the painter's trade, and in 1850 came to California, arriv- 
ing in San Francisco in August of that year, where he worked at his trade. 
In 1852 he leased the boarding house known as the Thistle Inn, which 
then stood near the corner of Sansome steeet and Broadway, carrying 
it on with good success till 1854, when he went to Santa Clara valley and 
pursued farming for one year. In April, 1855, he came to Vallejo, and 
entered into partnership with David Hudson in the building and painting 
business, which he prosecuted for one year ; and in 1858 he commenced 
work on Mare Island, where he has been engaged most of the time since. 
In 1864 Mr. Gorham purchased the property, known as the Eureka 
Hall, which he owned till 1878. 


$ K //u*M*^ 


He married in October, 1848, Miss Elizabeth Ide, by whom he has, 
Henry, born in August, 1849 ; George, born in August, 1851 ; Abraham 
James, born September, 1853 ; Thomas Robert, born March, 1856 ; and 
Franklin Walter, born Marcb.,1865. 

HANKS, J. G., a detective of Vallejo, was born in Summit county, Ohio, 
on August 6, 1829, where he resided until 1849, when he sailed from New 
York on May 13th for Calfornia on board the ship " Far West." Off the 
coast of Barbados they were wrecked, and, being picked up by a whaling 
vessel, were taken to Panama. On the voyage up the Pacific coast our 
subject once more suffered shipwreck in the loss of the "Chimera," at 
Monterey. He per force landed and found his way thence to San Fran- 
cisco on foot. Mr. Hanks arrived in Solano county on March 11, 1850, 
coming first to Vallejo, and after, going to Benicia, and there opening a 
blacksmith's shop. Leaving this business, however, he next proceeded to 
the mines in El Dorado county, but in 1855 once more returned to Val- 
lejo only for two months, when he again went to the mines and there 
stayed until 1860. We next find Hanks mining in Nevada. Here he 
became a member of the police force of Virginia City. After five years 
service he established an express line at Crystal Peak, Cisco, which he 
maintained till 1869, when, in connection with his father, he commenced 
an hotel business at Truckee, being also Deputy Sheriff of the county, 
under C. Gentry. Has been instrumental in several of the noted captures 
of both this and the State of Nevada, and to-day enjoys the confidence of 
the officials and his friends. In 1871 he established a brickyard in Val- 
lejo, many of the buildings of the city being manufactured from material 
off his premises. 

HARRIER, DANIEL W., Groceries. Born in Maryland, in 1834, but re- 
moved to Bedford county, Penn., with his parents when still very young. 
In March, 1852, he emigrated to Jefferson county, Iowa, leaving it in 
1854, for California ; he first settled in Sierra county in August of that 
year, and at once commenced mining operations. In 1861 he removed to 
Nevada City, Nevada county, and started a livery stable, at the same 
time running the stage and express line from that point through Lake 
City, North Bloomfield, Wolsey, Moore's Flat, and Eureka South, a dist- 
ance of thirty miles. In March, 1866, the subject of our memoir came to 
Vallejo, and taking charge of the Metropolitan Hotel (now the Sherman 
House) ; he remained its occupant for eighteen months. Seceding from 
the hotel, Mr. Harrier engaged in the occupation of stock buying, purchas- 
ing, also, in connection therewith, the butchering business, of John Burch- 
am. This transaction was effected on August 5th, 1868, and the above 
undertaking was carried on by him until the month of December, 1875. 


On the 27th of January, 1879, he purchased the business of J. E. Willis- 
ton, in the premises now occupied by his grocery store. D. W. Harrier is 
one of the leading men in the city. He was among those who started 
the Vallejo Bank, and was its President from 1876 to 1878. In 1873 
he was elected City Trustee, which office he held for two years ; served 
on the Board of Supervisors in 1876 ; and was enrolled a School Trustee 
in the fall of 1877. Mr. H. married March 5, 1865, Mrs. Sarah M. Walker, 
the daughter of John Lee of this city. Their children are, Lizzie R., 
Lewis G., Victor V., Jessie V., Daniel W., Maud, and Austin. 

HARVEY, HONORABLE JOEL AINSWORTH.— The subject of this me- 
moir was born on June 24, 1838, at Herkimer, in the county of that name, 
State of New York. His early days were passed on the slopes of the 
Hassancleaver Hills, and at the Fairfield Academy, New York, where he 
was grounded in that education which has, in after life, so well fitted him 
for the prominent positions which he has since maintained, with credit to 
all. In 1857 he left the Eastern States, and located in Elgin, Ills., which, 
after a residence of about two years, he left for California, in the spring 
of 1859, taking the route across the Plains, and arriving in the Golden 
State in the fall of that year, at Placerville. At the time the great 
Washoe excitements of 1860 were the talk of every one and stirred all 
into a phase of excitability, recalling the halcyon days of the earlier dis- 
coveries, he with the rest penetrated into Nevada, but not having a like 
fortune with others, he drifted back with the unlucky, and finally halted 
at Genoa, in Carson Valley, then the capital of Western Utah. 
. When the Territory of Nevada was first organized, Mr. H. was ap- 
pointed Clerk of Douglas county, of which Genoa was the county seat, 
and retained the position, from term to term, until the first month of the 
year 1867. While retaining this responsible office, he studied law with 
such success that he was admitted to its practice, and during the follow- 
ing year removed therefrom, and resided successively at San Francisco, 
Reno and Wadsworth, being employed at the latter place as agent for 
Wells, Fargo & Co., whence, in 1869, he was transferred to their Vallejo 
office. In 1871 Mr. Harvey organized the Vallejo and San Francisco Ex- 
press, the affairs of which he managed until 1874, when he was elected 
to the County Clerkship of Solano county, which distinguished position 
he held for two terms, and was then nominated by the Republican party 
for County Judge, but was defeated by the present holder, Judge John 
M. Gregory, Jr. In March, 1878, he resumed his practice at Vallejo, 
where he now resides. The honorable career of Mr. Harvey has thus far 
culminated in his being sent to the Convention, in June, 1878, as county 
delegate, he having received the largest majority of any delegate on the 
Republican ticket. He married August 13, 1863, Alameda L. Hub- 


bard, at Carson City, IS evada, by whom he has one son and five daughters, 
viz : Joel H. ; Amanda L. ; Mary A. ; Inez A. ; Blanche L., and Maude F. 

HILBORN, THE HONORABLE S. G.— The subject of this sketch is a na- 
tive of Winot, Androscoggin county, Maine, having been born there on 
December 9, 1834. In early lire he and his brother, E. P. Hilborn, were left 
orphans, when the labor of working the home-farm devolved upon these 
two youths. In the meantime, E. P. Hilborn emigrated to California, in 
the midst of their agricultural pursuits, leaving his brother to attend to 
the farming business, and his education ; which, as the following record 
shows, was crowned with success for both, E. P. Hilborn being now a 
prominent grain merchant of Suisun. Mr. Hilborn received the elements of 
that education which has brought him into such prominence in California, 
first at Bethel Hill, Oxford county, Maine, and afterwards at Tuft's Col- 
lege, where he graduated in 1859 ; afterwards becoming principal in Oak 
Grove Academy, Falmouth, Maine, where he remained a year, at the end 
of which he entered the law office of the Hon. William Pitt Fessenden, at 
Portland, Maine, being admitted to the bar in 1861. In this year he emi- 
grated to California, arriving at San Francisco, via Panama, in the month 
of August of the same year. Having passed a few months in the office 
of Whitman & Wells, a legal firm of Suisun, he removed to Vallejo, and 
there established himself in the practice which he now enjoys. The Hon, 
S. G. Hilborn is a man of mark in his county, as his public record will 
show, while privately he is known to be worthy of the highest esteem 
and respect. Since his arrival in Vallejo he has held, in order, the follow- 
ing places of trust and honor : City Attorney, in the year when it was 
incorporated ; a City Trustee for two terms ; Supervisor and Senator ; 
while his last work of distinction has been in connection with the Consti- 
tutional Convention, to which he was a delegate. Mr. H. has also prac- 
ticed his profession with marked ability, and has been retained in a large 
number of the leading and most intricate cases that have had their inci- 
pience in the county. He is President of the Vallejo Land Improvement 
Company, as well as a participator in other schemes of a public and pri- 
vate nature. He married Lou E., second daughter of Caleb and Louisa 
Root, a native of Madison county, N. Y., in 1863, and has one child, 
Grace A. 

HOBBS, ISAAC, (deceased,) born in Sanford, Summerworth county, State 
of Maine, 27th November, 1821. In the yeai 1839 he left his birthplace 
and went to South Boston, but remained there only a short time. From 
there he proceeded to Great Falls, New Hampshire, where he worked at 
his trade, that of millwright, remaining there till 1844, when he went to 
to Glowchester, New Jersey, being employed in his own trade till the 


spring of 1847, when he went to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and set in opera- 
tion the machinery of several cotton mills in that place. In March, 1849, 
he started across the plains to California. ' On reaching Gila river, he, in 
company with three others, manufactured a " dug-out," and proceeded 
down the Pino river, calculating that the jouney would only occupy three 
daysman d laid in provisions accordingly, but they were twenty- one days 
on the trip, and on getting to their destination, found the rest of the 
the party had preceded them by eight days. Continued the journey to 
San Francisco, where they arrived in October, 1849. Mr. Hobbs, asso- 
ciated with some others, organized a company, and, going to Bodega 
erected a saw-mill, but at the time, lumber could be secured in San Fran- 
cisco for the simple" freight ; the mill was therefore not put in operation. 
He again returned to San Francisco andembarked in thebusiness of a house- 
carpenter, at"" sixteen dollars a day, wages. This was in the summer of 
1850 ; in the fall of that year he visited the southern mines and engaged 
in prospecting until the spring of 1852, at which time he began farming 
on the Feather river, but, contracting fever and ague, in the fall of the 
year he was obliged to abandon agriculture and return to San Francisco. 
In April, 1853, he returned to the Atlantic coast and his native home, and 
on May 31 of the same year married, at McConnellville, Ohio, Miss Sarah 
A. Maxwell, at the residence of her sister, Mrs. C. L. Barker; she was 
born in Chester county, Pa., October 18, 1826. With his bride he returned 
to California via Panama, arriving in San Francisco November 5, 1853, 
when he once more commenced business as a house-builder, which he 
continued till 1855, when, with his family, he came to Vallejo and en- 
gaged as millwright, on Mare Island. In the fall of 1859 he moved to Eel 
river, Humboldt county, and began farming, and remained there till the sum- 
mer of 1861, when they returned to Solano county and located 160 acres of 
land, in section 34, township 4, range 3, on the Suscol ranch, but on March 3, 
1863, a bill was passed by Congress giving the land back to its original 
owner, (who claimed it under the Spanish grant,) when they were removed 
by the Sheriff of the county. Mr. H. then returned to Vallejo, in 1865, 
and was elected Sheriff in 1869 for a term of two years. Once more Mr. 
Hobbs visited (in 1876) the scenes of his youth, as well as the Centennial 
Exhibition, returning to Vallejo, but never again engaged .in active busi- 
ness up to the time of his death, which occurred on February 12, 1878. 
He was a Mason of old and high standing, as also a member of the Val- 
lejo Pioneer Association. Their children are: Mary B., born at Vallejo 
April 17, 1857 ; Ida S., born April 7, 1859 ; Eunice Esther, born at Eel 
river, Humboldt county, February 26, 1861 ; Charles B., born in Sulphur 
Spring valley, Solano county, August 22, 1863 ; Heila Grace, born in Val- 
lejo, November 21, 1865, and Maxwell, born May 17, 1872. There are 
two infants deceased : George, born August 17, 1855, and died July 27, 
1864 ; Isacc, born December 21, 1865, and died September 27, 1869. 


HUBBARD, JOHN E., retail dealer in domestic wines, cigars, etc., was 
born in Santiago, Chile, South America, in 1842, and in 1848 came with 
his parents to San Francisco, where his father opened the first brass 
foundry and coppersmith shop on the coast. Remained in San Francisco 
till 1852, when the family removed to Santa Clara county, the subject of 
this sketch being sent to school there. In 1857 he accompanied his pa- 
rents back to Chile, and with them returned to California after a stay of 
two years in South America. In 1860 Mr. Hubbard proceeded to Santa 
Clara, and there was engaged by the firm of Hobich & Bros., general 
merchants, as clerk ; in 1862 he returned to San Francisco and entered 
the office of the Provost Marshal, continuing there till 1864, when he 
visited the Eastern States with his father and sister. At the end of four- 
teen months he returned to California, and having resided for four months 
at Benicia, he went to San Jose, where he was employed for the best part 
of four years in the firms of T. W. Spring & Co., and N. Hayes. In 1869 
he once more visited San Francisco, where he was appointed a Deputy 
Sheriff. He visited Mexico and Oregon in 1870, and arrived in Vallejo 
in the fall of that year, after which he proceeded to Napa, Humboldt bay, 
the Sandwich Islands, and in 1871, returned to Vallejo, where he has 
since permanently resided. He opened his present business in February, 
1877. Is unmarried. 

HUBBS, THE HONORABLE PAUL K., (deceased), one of that class of 
Pioneers whose memory those who are left behind delight to honor, and 
who labored to bring the State of California into the proud position of 
being one of the foremost in the Union, was a descendant of another class 
of Pioneers, his ancestors being of that band of Quaker families who 
emigrated from England to America in Anno Domini 1650, and settled in 
Rhode Island. He was born on March 27, 1800, near Woodstown, in 
Salem county, New Jersey, and received his schooling in Philadelphia, 
where he was well grounded in the necessary education of the period. 
Early in life Mr. Hubbs essayed work on a farm, which in a sketch of his 
life he describes thus : " My father again moving to the old homestead 
and requiring all possible help, I had to leave the old frame school- 
house, corner of Race and Juniper, and at eleven years old take charge 
of a team and go through a course of agricultural studies ; more health- 
ful I thought to the body than the mind. All the steam then that con- 
tributed to the plowing was raised from the person of man and horse- 
The reaping was done as in the time of Ruth. We shelled corn by hand 
across an iron bar and done flail threshing on rainy days, nor was our 
mowing accomplished by patent. Don't talk about good old times ; 
those were weary days to the farmer — up before daylight to wade through 
snow and sleet and slush and rain and ice to prepare and donate feed for 


horses preparatory to a day's work, ending late in the evening. Yet the 
toil and hardship of the day gave us good appetites and sweet sleep 
preparatory to a renewal of the same lack of variety, save the change 
from storm to sunshine and from sunshine to storm, and from intense 
cold to man-melting heat. Thanks to Almighty God, the small com- 
munities of those days were strictly honest, with rare exception. The 
Bible and the newspaper were read with equal confidence in their truth." 
Mr. Hubbs did not long pursue farming as an occupation, for he shortly 
afterwards received a position in a wholesale dry goods store on No. 23 
North Front street, Philadelphia, and while there it happened that Judge 
Kinsay, after whom he had been named, had arrived in the city to pur- 
sue his professional practice, and at once took young Hubbs in hand, 
keeping him reading law or attending law courts during the evening. 
About this time he entered into his first mercantile transaction on his 
own account. He had been noticed by the mate of a vessel trading to 
Porto Rico, who inquired how much capital he had at his disposal. The 
reply was " nine dollars." With this sum his friend advised him to in- 
vest in twelve barrels of apples, which he did ; his goods were taken by 
the brig, and two months thereafter he found gazetted in the morning 
paper of Imports " 20 bags coffee to Paul K. Hubbs." From his extreme 
youth, then but 13 years, he had some difficulty in convincing the Cus- 
toms authorities of his honesty ; eventually, however, his produce was 
cleared, a position in the store was granted to him whereat he might dis- 
pose of his consignment, which he soon did, realizing the sum of $140, to 
him a fabulous outturn indeed. He was not carried away by this turn 
of Fortuna's wheel, however, fo