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Full text of "Illustrated history of Plumas, Lassen & Sierra counties, with California from 1513 to 1850"

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Page 3. 


Index on pages 5, 6. 

Index on page 7. 


Index on pages 129-132. 

Index on pages 325-328. 


Index on pages 413-416. 


The great scope of this work, including as it does the history of California from the time the 
earliest settlements were made, together with the separate histories of Pluitias, Lassen, and Sierra 
counties, has rendered it an exceedingly laborious task, and the publishers congratulate them 
selves on having exercised the utmost care and conscientious discretion in bringing the volume to its 
present completeness and accuracy. A glance through the succeeding pages will give some idea of 
the vast amount of labor expended, both in collecting and arranging the historical matter, and in 
preparing the numerous illustrations. 

The history of California in her primitive days, and the articles on the Fur Companies, Settle 
ment of the Sacramento Valley, and Discovery of Gold, are the result of long and patient investi 
gation by their authors, and may be considered the most authentic records of these events yet given 
to the public. 

The county histories that follow are intended to be clear, concise, and comprehensive, without 
attaining to an exuberance of detail which would be tiresome to the reader, or dealing in glittering 
generalities and florid rhetoric that would convey the least possible information in the greatest 
number of words. The purpose has been to present to the reader successive statements of the 
most important facts relating to the growth and development of the individual localities, and such 
only as the proof of which has been sufficiently proven by the reiteration of corroborative testimony, 
and the presentment of official records. How well the work has been done, we leave it to the 
reader to decide. It may be, that, notwithstanding the strenuous efforts made for correctness, 
errors have here and there crept in. If so, it should be remembered that in a work of this character, 
containing the many names and dates which it does, they are almost unavoidable. 

We would gratefully acknowledge our indebtedness to our patrons who have aided us in the 
prosecution of the work by contributing from their stores of information, or in other ways assisting 
in making it what it is. Without their aid and patronage, it could never have been published. 




Busch & Co . store 432 

Barnes, B. W., residence 220 

Buck's Ranch 2G4 

Brown, J. W., store 488 

Buxton, G. Q., hotel 464 

Bunnell, L. VV., hotel 344 

Beaton, A., residence 308 

Breed, L. N., portrait 340 

Branham, James, portrait 384 

Burnett, Hon. Peter H., portrait 88 

Bidwell, lion. John, portrait 108 

Bourret, O., hotel 216 

Byers, lion. James D., portrait ... 332 

Chapman, J. M., store 216 

Chapman, A. P., residence 444 

Church, A. D., residence 312 

Gate, D. E., portrait 168 

Congregational Church, Susanville 324 

Court-house, Quincy 1 28 

Court-house, Susanville 324 

Court-house, Downieville 412 

Clark, N., residence 356 

Dakin, II. H., mills 400 

Dakin, H. H., residence 400 

Dick Temple 400 

Discovery of Pacific Ocean , . 9 

Doyle, S. A., hotel 400 

Eggleston, B. T., residence 452 

Eschbacher, F. A., hotel 448 

Evans, A. B., residence 372 

Ede, Walter, residence 232 

Eisner Brothers, store 216 


Flournoy, R. S., residence 288 

Forgay, N. B., residence 280 

Finlayson, D. R., residence 248 

Fort Defiance 324 

Gansner, F., mill and residence 240 

Goodwin, Hon. J. D., portrait 144 

Goodwin, Hon. J. D., residence 144 

Hopkins Creek Mine 320 

Harden, M., residence 492 

Ilosselkus, E. D., residence 272 

Hartwell, Mrs. E. H., mill and residence . . . 240 

Hartwell, John F., portrait 276 

Humphrey, G. W., residence 476 

Hendel, Charles W., portrait 260 

Hendel, Charles W., residence 260 

Hall, W. P., residence 368 

Hughes, B. B., store 216 

Hall & Howard 216 

Hall & Snyder, residence 388 

Jump, Dr. A., residence 480 

Johnson, William, residence 296 

Jones, William E., portrait 304 

Kennedy, H. H., residence 420 

Kellogg, Hon. W. W., portrait 184 

Kellogg, H. W. ^portrait 180 

Luther, W. T., residence . . . .' 460 

Lassen, Peter, portrait 56 

Map 8 

Mohawk Bridge. 224 

Meylert, G. W., residence and store 376 


Meylert, G. W., portrait 376 

McLear, George S., hotel 200 

McLear, portrait 200 

Milford School-house 400 

Monte Christo Mine 208 

Marshall, James W., portrait 120 

M. E. Church, Susanville ,..-.- 324 

McFadden, T., residence 392 

Mooney, I. T., residence 456 

Miller, James, residence 472 

Martin, E., portrait 300 

Miller, Mrs. W. H., hotel 360 

M. E. Church, Quincy 128 

Masonic Hall, Downieville 412 

Meek, Stephen Hall, portrait 96 

Masonic Building, Quincy 128 

Merrill, Captain C. A., portrait 396 

Main Street, Quincy 216 

Nelson Point Bridge 224 

Odd Fellows Hall, Downieville . .412 

Odd Fellows Building, Quincy 216 

Pratt, Dr. Willard, hotel 336 

Plumas House, Quincy 152 

Plumas National . 172 

Pioneer School 128 

Public School, Susanville 324 

Public School, Quincy 128 

Rich Bar 132 

Rowland, F. M., residence 424 


Reading, Major P. B.. portrait 72 

Scott, J. A., hotel 440 

Spaulding, H., residence 468 

Shoo Fly Bridge 224 

Spanish Ranch 192 

Stover, R., residence 352 

Sierra County Hospital 412 

Strang, Jai-ed, residence 484 

State Capitol 1 

Sutter, General J. A., portrait 64 

Suiter's Fort in 1847 80 

Sutter's Fort in 1 880 104 

Sutter's Mill in 1851 112 

Seltier, C. F., residence 232 

Thomas & Reed Mines 316 

True, T., residence 400 

Taylor, Jobe T., portrait 408 

Thompson, R., portrait 176 

Town Hall, Quincy 128 

Washburn, L. B., residence . . : 400 

Ward, Alonzo, residence 490 

Wyatt, J. R., office 216 

Whiting, Fenton B., residence 136 

Whiting, Fenton B., portrait 136 

Weldeu, A. J., residence 284 

Wemple, J. C., residence 400 

Ward, Hon. John S., portrait 328 

Wright. N. K., portrait ' 256 

Wagner, William, portrait ... 264 

Whitlock, James H., portrait 160 

AYeber, Captain diaries M., portrait 16 





Discovery of and Failure tooccupy California by Spain 9-15 


Occupation of Lower California by the Jesuits 15-19 


Conquest of Upper California by the Franciscans 20-29 

Downfall of the Missions 29-32 


Spanish Military Occupation 32-37 


Fourteen of the Twenty-four Years that California was a Mexican Territory 37-40 


The last Ten Years that California was a Mexican Territory 40-49 


The Bear-Flag War, and What led to it 49-63 


The War commenced by the Bear- Flag Party ends in the Conquest of California by the United 

States 64-69 


The Flores Insurrection 70-82 


California after the Conquest, until admitted into the Union as a State, in 1850 83-93 





Discovery of and Failure to Occupy California by Spajn, 

Discovery of the Pacific Ocean Fate of the Discoverer A New Incentiv.e for. Djsc A ovQries-rStraits of. Magellan 
Pacific Ocean Named Letter by Cortez An Island of Amazons A Country Abounding in Pearls and Gold First 
Intimation of California and its Gulf- Lo^er California Discovered Fate of the Discoverer Cortez Sails, and, 
Establishes the First Colony on the Peninsula Regarding the Origin of the Name of California Colony by Cortez 
Abandons the Country Expedition to Explore the Pacific Coast in 15.43 Spanish Policy in the Pacific Ocean Sir 
Francis Drake's Expedition He Abandons his Pilot on the Shores of Oregon He Anchors for Thirty-six Dlays in 
a Bay that now Bears His Name, and Takes Possession of the Country The Inducements for the Occupation of 
California King Philip's Message He Gives a Reason: Desires a Supply Station on the Coast of California A 



Questionable Statement as to the Indians, and what they Produced A Glittering Scene in the King's Kaleidoscope 
Venegas also Gives a Reason He thinks the Pacific Coast a Sweet Morsel for the Lips of Kings History of the 
Seventeenth Century Commences with the Voyage of Viscaino He Searches for a Harbor where can be Established 
a Supply Station; but his Genius Sends him out to Sea, and he Passes the Bay of San Francisco without Discovering 
it He Anchors in Drake's Bay The Wreck of the Ship San Augustine A Council Called; but Five Able - 
Bodied Men Respond The Straits of Anian Suffering from Scorbutic Diseases The Return Expedition of 
Admiral Otondo Final Abandonment of Further Efforts to Occupy California by the Government. 

Over three and a half centuries have passed since a representative of the civilized race, standing 
upon the heights of Panama, beheld for the first time the placid bosom of our Pacific ocean. It was a 
Spaniard whom destiny had selected to stand in history at the threshold of a new era, and part the screen 
that hid from the world a stage on which mankind were to commence a new act in the drama of life. 
Vasco Nunez de Balboa was the name of that fortunate man. In 1513, he was guided by an Indian to 
the place where, spread out before him, lay sleeping the legendary waters " beyond America," that con 
querors and kings had sought for in vain. The event rescued his name from oblivion, but its owner, 
because of cruelty, perished miserably at the hands of the race of whom one had been his guide. 1 

After it became known that a western water boundary had been found to the country that Cortez 
had subjugated for Spain, the spirit of discovery was increased to a fever-heat. The imagination of the 
adventurous of all countries was excited to search for the El Dorado, where the Incas had procured their 
vast treasures of gold. Possibly the " fountain of perpetual youth " was there, that would rescue from 
old age the one who bathed in its living waters. At least, beyond were the Indies, with the wealth of 
the Orient, to tempt adventurous trade, and to fan the flame was added, by the Catholic Church, their 
spirit and zeal for religious conquest, to save the souls of heathen who lived in the countries found and 
to be found, where the shores were washed by the newly-discovered ocean. 

With all these incentives can it be wondered that vast treasures were spent in searching into 
these new fields of adventure. They had been opened after eleven years of search, by Columbus and 
others, unsuccessfully prosecuted, to discover a strait or water passage through America, over which they 
might sail to the fountain of wealth, the fabulous land of Cathay, and the Island of Cipango. To reach 
those strange countries had been the dream that first led Columbus to undertake the voyage that resulted 
in the discovery of America. 

Six years after this, that is, in 1519, the ill-fated Portuguese, Magellan, started on the famous 

voyage that resulted in the discovery of the long-sought route to the Indies ; thus solving the maritime 

problem of the fifteenth century. Three years later his vessel returned to Spain, with a log-book that 
contained a record of the death of that gallant commander at' the Philippine islands, whose vessel, the 
Victoria, had been the first European craft to sail on the waters of the Pacific ocean, and the first to 
make a voyage around the world. It was this famous navigator th^t gave the name " Pacific " to our 
ocean, after having sailed into it from the straits of the " Ten Thousand Virgins," as he called it (now 
known as Magellan). He had been for sixty-three days beating up through it against tempest and 
adverse currents, where the tides rose and fell thirty feet. Is it strange that the word PACIFIC should 
have been the one above all others that forced itself upon the happy navigator, when he saw the 
comparatively quiet water that lay before and around him, as he passed out upon this unexplored ocean ? 
Five years after the departure of the Magellan expedition from Spain, Cortez wrote to his monarch, 
Charles V. (the letter being dated Oct. 15, 1524), in which he says that he is upon the eve of entering 
upon the conquest of Colima, on the South sea (Pacific ocean), Colima is now one of the States of 

1 In Bryant's History of the United States it is recorded that " But the man whose energy and perseverance led the 
way, Vasco Nunez de Balboa, fell a victim, five years later, to the jealousy and fears of the Governor of D^rien, Peter 
Anais, who ordered him, after the mockery of a trial, to be beheaded, " 


Mexico. He further says that "the great men there" had given him information of "an Island of 
Amazons or women only, abounding in pearls and gold, lying ten days journey from Colima," and the 
Spanish Jesuit historian, Miguel Venegas, writing one hundred and thirty years ago, says of that letter: 
" The account of the pearls inclines me to think that these were the first intimations we had of California 
and its gulf." 

Its first discovery came in 1534, by Ortun Ximenes, a mutineer who had headed an outbreak on 
board the ship of which he was pilot, that had resulted in the death of the captain and some of his 
officers. The expedition had been fitted up for exploration purposes by order of Cortez, and after the 
commander was thus killed, Ximenes took charge and continued the search, discovered the Peninsula of 
Lower California, and landed at a point somewhere between La Paz and Cape St. Lucas, and while on 
shore he and twenty of his men were killed by the Indians. The remainder of the crew returned to 
Chametla, where they repented a country found numerously peopled, among whose shores were valuable 
beds of pearls. Up to this time the word " California " had not been applied to any part of the Pacific 
coast or its waters. 

In 1536, Cortez fitted up an expedition, and set sail for the country found by the mutineers. He 
landed on the first day of May at the place where Ximenes was killed, giving the name of Santa Cruz to 
the bay. He established a colony there, and sent back his four vessels for supplies and such of his party 
as had i-emained behind. But one only of these vessels ever returned, and it brought no provisions. 
Cortez immediately embai'ked on the returned vessel and set out in search of his lost squadron, finding it 
stranded 011 the coast of Mexico, hopelessly damaged. Procuring fresh stores he returned to his colony, 
that in his absence had been reduced to a famishing condition, many of whom died of starvation, or over-* 
eating from the provisions he brought with him. The historian Gomara says (and mark the language) : 
"Cortez, that he might no longer be a spectator of such miseries, went on further discoveries, and landed 
in California, WHICH is A BAY;" and Yenegas, the California historian of 1758, referring to this passage, 
in the work of Gomara says that it "likewise proves that this name was properly that of a bay which 
Cortez discovered on the coast, and perhaps that now called de la Paz, and ufted to, signify the . whole, 
peninsula." This was the first application of the name California to any definite point on what is called 
the Pacific coast. 

Cortez was soon recalled to Mexico on account of impending troubles, and danger of a revolt in that 
country ; glad to have an excuse for leaving a place that had proved fruitful only of disastey. Within a 
few months he was followed by the colony, and Lower California, with ifcs rocks and wastes of sand, was 
left to the Indian, the cactus and the coyote. 

During the remainder of the sixteenth century there wre four attempts made to explore the 
northern Pacific coast by the Spaniards. One only was of importance; it occurred in 1542, under 
command of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who reached^in latitude 44, March 10, 1543, the coast of Oregon, 
and then returned. He discovered Cape Mendpoino, and named it after his friend Mendoza, the viceroy of 
Mexico. He also named the Farallone islands, opposite San Francisco bay. 

Spain, however, did not have everything her own way in the sixteenth century in the new world. 
Her great ambition was to oontroJ, the western route to the East Indies, that her ships, laden with silks, 
costly gems, and rare fabrics from that country, might pass undisturbed into her home ports. But the 
student of history reads of combats and strife between the Spaniards on the one side and the Dutch fleets 
and English freebooters on the other, as they searched the high seas in quest of Spanish treasure-ships. 

There was one more bold and reckless, more, ambitious and successful than the others, who won the 
reputation of being the "King of the Sea." In 1578, he passed into the Pacific, around Cape Horn, and 
scattered terror, and devastation among the Spanish shipping along the coast. He captured the East 


India galleon that was on her way home, loaded with wealth; levied contributions in the ports of 
Mexico ; and finally, with his war- vessels freighted with captured treasures, sailed north to search for the 
fabled Straits of Anian. Through it he proposed to pass home to England, and thus avoid a combat 
with the fleets of Spain, that lay in wait for him off the Straits of Magellan. His name was Captain 
Francis Drake ; but afterwards the English monarch knighted him because he had proved to be the most 
successful robber on the high seas, and now the historian records the name as Sir Francis Drake. When 
near the mouth of the Umpqua river, in Oregon, he ran his vessel into a "poor harbor," put his Spanish 
pilot, Morera, ashore, and left him to find his way back, thirty-five hundred miles, through an unknown 
country thickly populated with savages, to his home in Mexico. The feat must have been successfully 
accomplished, as the only account existing of the fact came through Spanish records, showing that he 
survived the expedition to have told the result. Drake then moved on north until he had reached about 
latitude 48, where the cold weather, although it was after the fifth of June, forced an abandonment of 
the hope of a discovery of the mythical straits. The chaplain who accompanied the expedition, being the 
historian of the voyage, says of the cold, that their hands were numbed, and meat would freeze when 
taken from the fire ; and when they were lying-to, in the harbor at Drake's bay, a few miles up the coast 
from San Francisco, the snow covered the low hills. That June of 1579, three hundred years ago, must 
have been an extraordinary one for California. For a long time it was believed that Sir Francis Drake 
was discoverer of the Bay of San Francisco ; that it was in its waters he cast anchor for thirty-six days, 
after having been forced back along the coast by adverse winds from latitude 48, near the north line of 
the United States ; but in time this was questioned, and now it is generally conceded that he is not 
entitled to that distinction. Who it was that did discover that harbor, or when the discovery was made, 
will probably never be known. What clothes it in mystery is that the oldest chart or map of the Pacific 
coast known on which a bay resembling in any way that of San Francisco, at or near the point where it 
is, was laid down, was a sailing-chart found in an East Indian galleon, captured in 1742 with all her 
treasure, amounting to one and a half million dollars, by Ansou, an English commodore. Upon this 
chart there appeared seven little dots marked " Los Farallones," and opposite these was a land-locked bay 
that resembled San Francisco harbor, but on the chart it bore no name. This is the oldest existing 
evidence of the discovery of the finest harbor in the world, and it proves two things : first, that its 
existence was known previous to that date; second, that the knowledge was possessed by the Manila 
merchants to whom the chart and galleon belonged. Their vessels had been not unfrequently wrecked 
upon our coasts as far north as Cape Mendocino; and as "Venegas, writing sixteen years later, says 
nothing of such a harbor, we are led to believe that its existence was possibly only known to those Kast 
India Jesuit merchants, and kept secret by them for fear that its favorable location and adaptation would 
render it a favorite resort for pirates and war-ships of rival nations to lie in wait for their galleons. 

With Sir Francis Drake unquestionably lies the honor of having been the first of the European race 
to land upon the coast of California, of which any record is extant. The account of that event, given by 
Rev. Fletcher, the chaplain of the expedition, states that the natives, having mistaken them for gods, 
offered sacrifices to them, and that, to dispel the illusion, they proceeded to offer up their own devotions 
to a Supreme Being. The narrative goes on to relate that, "Our necessaire business being ended, our 
General, with his companie, travailed up into the coumtrey to their villiages, where we found heaixles of 
deere by 1,000 in a companie, being most large and fat of bodie. We found the whole countrey to be a 
warren of a strange kinde of connies; their bodies in bigness as be the Barbarie connies, their heads as 
the heads of ours, the feet of a Want (mole) and the taile of a rat, being of great length; under her 
chinne on either side a bagge, into the which she gathered her meate, when she hath filled her bellie, 
abroad. The people do eat their bodies, and make accompt of their skinnes, for their King's coat was 


made out of them." The farmer will readily recognize the little bun-owing squirrel that ruins his fields 
of alfalfa, where the ground cannot be overflowed to drown them. "Our General called this countrey 
Nova Albion, and that for two causes : the one in respect of the white bankes and cliffes which lie 
toward the sea; and the other because it might have some affinitie with our countrey in name, which 
sometime was so called. 

"There is 110 part of earth here to be taken up, wherein there is not a reasonable quantitic of gold or 
silver. Before sailing away our General set up a monument of our being there, as also of her majestie's 
right and title to the same, viz.: a plate nailed upon a faire great poste, whereupon was engraved her 
majestie's name, the day and yeai'e of our arrival there, with the free giving up of the province and people 
into her majestie's hands, together with her highness' picture and arms, in a piece of five pence of current 
English money under the plate, whereunder was also written the name of our General." 

The incentive that prompted all nations to discoveries and occupation along the Pacific coast is 
forcibly and plainly given by King Philip III., of Spain, in his message to his viceroy in Mexico, in 
which Jie states the reason why he issues an order for the further exploration of the coast and its occupation. 
The document was dated August 16, 1606, and sets forth that, " Don Pedro de Acunna, Knight of 
the Order of St. John, my governor and captain-general of the Phillipian islands and president of my 
royal audience there. You are hereby given to understand that Don .Louis de Valasco, my late viceroy 
in New Spain, in regard to the great distance between the port of Acapulco and those islands, the fatigue 
hardships, and danger of that voyage, for want of a port where ships might put in and provide themselves 
with water, wood, masts, and other things of absolute necessity, determined to make a discovery, and 
draughts, with observation of harbors along the coast, from New Spain to these islands." 

The communication goes on to give the successive events in the prosecution of the enterprise until 
after the return of Viscaino's expedition in 1603, and then adds, speaking of the Indians found upon our 
coast, " that their clothing is of the skins of sea- wolves, which they have a very good method of tanning 
and preparing, and that they have abundance of flax, hemp and cotton, and that the said Sebastian 
Viscaino carefully informed himself of these Indians and many others whom he discovered along the 
coast for above 800 leagues, and they all told him tJuit up the country there were large towns, silver, and 
gold; whence he is inclined to believe that great riches may be discovered, especially as in some parts of the 
land veins of metal are to be found" 

Tims the Spanish crown gives the reasons for wishing to occupy the country, and it must be borne 
in mind that these inducements were equally strong with other powers that were hostile to Spain. Ven- 
egas, in his efforts to justify the Jesuits, gives the additional reasons not mentioned by the king, why 
the opposing countries, Spain and England, should desire to possess it. He says : "That in the mean 
time the English should find out the so-much-desired passage to the South Sea, by the north of America 
and above California, which passage is not universally denied, and one day may be found ; that they 
may fortify themselves on both sides of this passage, and thus extend the English dominion from the 
north to the south of America, so as to border on our possessions. Should English colonies and garrisons 
be established along the coast of America on the South Sea beyond Cape Mendocino, or lower down on 
California itself. England would then, without control, reign mistress of the sea and its commerce, and 
be able to threaten by land and sea the territories of Spain ; invade them on occasion from the E., W., 
N. and S., hem them in and press them on all sides." 

With all these causes at work to spur forward the different powers of the world with all these 
visions of things imagined, that lay covered up in the land unknown, working upon the fancy, it could 
do naught else than dot the high seas with adventurers and the fleets of empires. Yet one hundred and 
sixty-three years passed, after the first discovery, before a permanent settlement was made in any 


part of this fabulous land, that held secreted for the coming generations, within its limits, the realization 
of all their wildest hopes. 

There remains the record of but one Spanish navigator who passed up along the coast of California 
during the seventeenth century. His name was Sebastian Viscaino, who sailed from Acapulco May 5, 
1602. Passing north along the coast of Lower California, he discovered the harbors of San Diego and 
Monterey, the latter being named by him in memory of his friend, the viceroy of Mexico. At this 
point he sent back his sick, then moved on up the coast, leaving Monterey harbor to slumber for one 
hundred and sixty-six years, disturbed only by the winds, and the balsas of the natives. His course was 
close in along the shore, seai-ching for harbors, where a station to supply the East India galleons might 
be established. Reaching a point a few miles below the bay that we now know as San Francisco, his 
evil genius sent him out to sea, where he continued north, keeping the land in sight, find thus passed 
that port. Coming opposite to what is now known as Drake's bay, behind Point Reyes, where that 
famous sea-king spent those thirty-six days when he landed a,nd took possession of the country for Eng 
land, he changed his course and put into shore in search of the cargo of a vessel called the San A ugustine, 
that had been wrecked there in 1595. The learned historian, Juan de Torquemada, writing in 1615, 
says : " He anchored behind a point of rocks called ' La Punta de los Reyes,' in the port San Francisco." 
Finding nothing, he continued his voyage towards the north, keeping the land in view, until he had 
sighted Cape Mendocino, when a council of his associates was called to decide what it was best to do 
under the circumstances. But six able-bodied men were left on the vessel ; had there been fourteen it 
was the general's intention to push on north to latitude 46, where the Columbia river empties into the 
Pacific ocean. He believed from all that he could learn that it was the straits of Anian, that at the time 
was supposed to separate Asia from America, and connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, through which 
he proposed to sail to Spain. 

The condition of the crew is beyond the power of pen to describe ; the following from that of Tor 
quemada, who was writing of them, will give some idea of what the navigator of those early times had 
to contend with, having no means of preserving on shipboard, for long voyages, vegetables for food, to 
ward off the horrible disease. After describing the progress of the disorder, he says ; " Nor is the least 
ease to be expected from change of place, as the slightest motion is attended with such severe pains that 
they must be very fond of life who would not willingly lay it down on the first appearance of so terrible 
a distemper. This virulent humour makes such ravages in the body that it is entirely covered with ulcers, 
and the poor patients are unable to bear the least pressure ; even the very clothes laid on them deprive 
them of life. Thus they lie groaning and incapable of any relief. For the greatest assistance possible 
to be given them, if I may be allowed the expression, is not to touch them, nor even the bed-clothes. 
These effects, however melancholy, are not the only ones produced by this pestilential humour. In many, 
the gums, both of the upper and lower jaws, are pressed both within and without to such a degree that 
the teeth cannot touch one another, and withal so loose and bare that they shake with the least motion 
jf the head, and some of the patients spit their teeth out with their saliva. Thus they were unable to 
receive any food but liquid, as gruel, broth, milk of almonds, and the like. This gradually brought on 
so great a weakness that they died while talking to their friends. * * * * Some, by way of ease, 
made loud complaints, others lamented their sins with the deepest contrition, some died talking, some 
sleeping, some eating, some whilst sitting up in their beds." 

We must pass without further notice the details of this voyage, except to note that it returned to 
Mexico in March, 1603. Much of what has been given here of the hardships of that celebrated voyage 
has been for the purpose of impressing upon the mind of the reader a knowledge of some of the obstacles 
that guarded the approach to our land, which combined with her rocky shore and uncultivated soil, placed 


at the threshold against invasion a more formidable and dreaded defense than was the fabled winged 
serpent that guarded the approach to the Indies. 

In 1606, the king issued orders that a supply station for the East Indies be established at Monterey, 
but the order was never executed, and nothing further towards settlement was attempted until 1683, 
when Admiral Otondo headed an expedition, by water, to take possession of the country. He landed at 
La Paz, erected a church, and made that his headquarters. Father Kino was in charge of the religious 
part of the enterprise, and set about learning the Indian language, and soon had translated into their 
tongue the creeds of the Catholic Church. The effort lasted about three years; during the time they 
were visited with an eighteen months' drouth, and before they had recovered from the blow, received 
orders to put to sea, and bring into Acapulco safely the Spanish galleon, then in danger of capture by 
the Dutch privateers that were lying in wait for her. This was successfully accomplished, the treasure- 
ship was conveyed safely in, but the act resulted in the abandonment again of the occupation of 

The society of Jesuits was then solicited by the government of Spain to undertake the conquest, and 
was offered $40,000 yearly from the royal treasury to aid them in the enterprise. But they declined the 
undertaking, and Spain was at last forced to abandon the attempt to occupy the country, though it was 
believed to be the rival of the legendary El Dorado, and a key to the defenses of her possessions already 
obtained in the new world. For one hundred and forty-seven years since Cortez first established a colony 
on her coast had the treasure of private citizens and the government of Spain been poured out in imsuc- 
cessful attempts to hold the country by explorations and colonies; but the time had come when they 
were forced to yield its possession to its native tribes, and acknowledge defeat. 


Occupation of Lower California by the Jesuits. 

Why a Partial History of Lower California is Given Father Kino or Kuhn His Great Undertaking His Plan The 
Means The Mode of Applying the Means His Exalted Qualities Cost to Spain of a Failure to Occupy The 
Difficulties that Beset the Enterprise Father Kino Joined by Salva Tierra and Ugarte The Order Given Permit 
ting the Jesuits to Enter upon the Conquest The Expedition Sails It Lands and Takes Possession of the Country 
The Indians Attack the Mission They are Defeated and Sue for Peace How the Priests Induced them to Work 
The Plan of Operations Acted Upon by the Priests It Proved to be a Success They Became the Pioneers in 
Manufacturing, Ship-Building, Wine-Culture, Martyrdom and Civilization before they were Banished The Reason 
why a Complete History of the Peninsula is not Given. 

It may occur to the mind of the reader, that any part of a history of the settlement of Lower 
California, one of the states of Mexico, is not a pertinent subject to be reckoned properly among the 
events constituting the history of our California. Yet it would seem important, when one comes to 
understand that the peninsula was the door through which, in after time, civilization was to enter our 
golden land. It was the nursery where experience taught a religious sect how to enter, then exist, and 
finally subdue the land. 

In the preceding chapter is noted the last expedition before the final abandonment by Spain of any 
further attempt to occupy a part of California. With that expedition was a monk who had voluntarily 


abandoned a lucrative and honorable position as a professor in Ingolstadt College. He had made a vow, 
while lying at the point of death, to his patron Saint, Francis Xavier, that if he should recover, he would, 
in the remaining years of his life, follow the example set in the lifetime of that patron. He did recover, 
resigned his professorship, and crossed the sea to Mexico, and eventually became the one who, as a mis 
sionary, accompanied that last expedition. He was a German by birth, and his name in his native land 
was Kuhn, but the Spaniards have recorded it as Father Eusebio Francisco Kino. 

Father Kino had become strongly impressed in his visit to the country with the feasibility of a plan 
by which the land might be taken possession of and held. His object was not the conquest of a kingdom, 
but the conversion of its inhabitants, and the saving of souls. His plan was to go into the country and 
teach the Indians the principles of the Catholic faith, educate them to support themselves by tilling the 
soil, and improvement through the experience of the advantages to be obtained by industry; the end of all 
being to raise up a Catholic province for the Spanish crown, and people paradise with the souls of con 
verted heathen. The means to be employed in accomplishing this were the priests of the order of Jesuits, 
protected by a small garrison of soldiers, both sustained by contributions from those friendly to the enter 
prise. The mode of applying the means was, to first occupy some favorable place in the country, where, pro 
tected by a small garrison, a storehouse and church could be erected that would render the fathers' main 
tenance and life comparatively secure. This would give them an opportunity to win the confidence of 
the Indians, by a patient, long-continued, uniform system of affectionate intercourse and just dealing, and 
then use their appetites as the means by which to convert their souls. 

It is difficult for us of the nineteenth century to appreciate the grand conception, to realize the mag 
nitude of the task undertaken by that monastic Hercules. With a heart that loved humanity because it 
had a soul, with a charity that forgave all things except a death in sin, infolding with affection all the 
images of the Creator, with a tongue that made the hearer listen for the voice of angels, with a faith in 
success like one of the chosen twelve, he became an enthusiast, and was to California what John the 
Baptist was to Christianity, the forerunner of a change to come. And the end is not yet it will never 
be, for eternity will swallow it up. 

Spain had spent vast treasures in that century and a half of unsuccessful effort to survey and occupy 
the upper Pacific coast. The first colony, established in 1536 by Cortez, had cost $400,000 ; the last, by 
Otondo, 1683, $225,400, to which add all the expensive efforts that occurred between those dates, and 
the total foots among the millions. So vast an outlay, followed by 110 favorable result, rendered the 
subject one of annoyance, and clothed with contempt any that were visionary enough to advocate a fur 
ther prosecution of such an enterprise, so repeatedly demonstrated to be but a "delusion and a snare. " 

With such an outlook, uncheering, unfriendly, with no reward to urge to action, except beyond the 
grave, with a prospect of defeat and a probability of martyrdom as a result, Father Kino started, on 
the twentieth of October, 1686, to travel over Mexico, and, by preaching, urge his views and hopes of 
the enterprise. He soon met on the way a congenial spirit, Father Juan Maria Salva Tierra ; and then 
another, Father Juan Ugarte, added his great executive ability to the cause. Their united efforts resulted 
in obtaining sufficient funds by subscription. Then they procured a warrant from the king for the order 
of Jesuits to enter upon the conquest of California, at their own expense, for the benefit of the crown. 
The order was given February 5, 1697, and it had required eleven years of constant urging to procure 
it. October 10, of the same year, Salva Tierra sailed from the coast of Mexico to put in operation 
Kino's long-cherished scheme of conquest. The expedition consisted of one small vessel and a long-boat, 
in which were provisions, the necessary ornaments and furniture for fitting up a rude church, and Father 
Tierra, accompanied by six soldiers and three Indians. It was an unpretentious army, going forth to 


conquest, to achieve with the cross what the army, navy, and power of a kingdom combined had failed 
to do. 

On the nineteenth of October, 1679, they reached the point selected on the east coast of the peninsula, 
and says Venegas : " The provisions and animals were landed, together with the baggage ; the Father, 
though the head of the expedition, being the first to load his shoulders. The barracks for the little 
garrison were now built, and a line of circumvallation thrown up. In the center a tent was pitched 
for a temporary chapel ; before it was erected a crucifix, with a garland of flowers. * * * 

The image of our Lady of Loretto, as patroness of the conquest, was brought in procession from the 
boat, and placed with proper solemnity." 

On the twenty-fifth of the same month, formal possession was taken of the country in " his majesty's 
name, " and has never since been abandoned. 

Immediately the priest initiated the plan of conversion. He called together the Indians, explained 
to them the catechism, prayed over the rosary, and then distributed among them a half bushel of boiled 
corn. The corn was a success they were very fond of it ; but the prayers and catechism were " bad medi 
cine. " They wanted more corn and less prayers, and proceeded to steal it from the sacks. This was 
stopped by excluding them from the fort, and they were kindly informed that corn would be forth'cbming 
only as a reward for attendance and attention at the devotions. This created immediate hostility, and 
the natives formed a conspiracy to murder the garrison and have a big corn-eat on the thirty-first day of 
October, only twelve days after the first landing of the expedition upon the coast. The design was dis 
covered and happily frustrated, when a general league was entered into among several tribes, and a 
descent was made upon the foi*t by about five hundred Indians. The priest rushed upon the fortifications 
and warned them to desist, begging them to go away, telling them that they would be killed if they did 
not ; but his solicitude for their safety was responded to by a number of arrows from the natives, when 
he came down and the battle began in earnest. The assailants went down like grass before the scythe, 
as the little garrison opened with their fire-arms in volleys upon the unprotected mass, and they im 
mediately beat a hasty retreat, where at a safe distance they sent in one of their number to beg for 
peace ; who, says Yenegas, " with tears assured our men that it was those of the neighboring rancheria 
under him who had first formed the plot, and on account of the paucity of their numbers, had spirited 
up the other nations ; adding, that those being irritated by the death of their companions were for revenge- 
ing them, but that both the one and the other sincerely repented of their attempt. A little while after 
came the women with their children, mediating a peace, as is the custom of the country. They sat 
down weeping at the gate of the camp, with a thousand pi-omises of amendment, and offering to give up 
their children as hostages for the performance. Father Salva Tierra heard them with his usual mildness, 
shewing them the wickedness of the procedure, and if their husbands would behave better, promised 
them peace, an amnesty, and forgetfulness of all that was past ; he also distributed among them several 
little presents, and to remove any mistrust they might have, he took one of the children in hostage, 
and thus they returned in high spirits to the rancherias. " 

Thus was the first contest brought to a termination eminently satisfactory to the colonists. The 
soldiers' guns had taught the Indians respect, and the sacks of corn allured them back for the priests to 
teach them the Catholic faith. 

We quote further from the Jesuit historian, Venegas, that the reader may get a correct understand 
ing of the manner in which the fathers treated the aboriginal occupants of the country, and the way 
they conquered the ignorance, indolence and viciousness of those tribes. In speaking of Father Ugarte, 
the historian says : 

" In the morning, after saying mass, and at which he obliged them to attend with order and respect, 


he gave a breakfast of pozoli to those who were to work, set them about building the church and houses 
for himself and his Indians, clearing ground for cultivation, making trenches for conveyance of water, 
holes for planting trees, or digging and preparing the ground for sowing. In the building part Father 
Ugarte was master, overseer, carpenter, bricklayer and laborer. For the Indians, though animated by 
his example, could neither by gifts nor kind speeches be prevailed upon to shake off their innate sloth, 
and were sure to slacken if they did not see the father work harder than any of them ; so he was the 
first in fetching stones, treading the clay, mixing the sand, cutting, carrying and barking the timber ; 
removing the earth and fixing materials. He was equally laborious in the other tasks, sometimes 
felling the trees with his axe, sometimes with his spade in his hand digging up the earth, sometimes 
with an iron crow splitting rocks, sometimes disposing the water-trenches, sometimes leading the beasts 
and cattle, which he had procured for his mission, to pasture and water ; thus, by his own example? 
teaching the several kinds of labor. The Indians, whose narrow ideas and dullness could not at first 
enter into the utility of these fatigues, which at the same time deprived them of their customary free 
dom of roving among the forests, on a thousand occasions sufficiently tried his patience coming late, 
not caring to stir, running away, jeering him, and sometimes even forming combinations, and threat 
ening -death and destruction ; all this was to be borne with unwearied patience, having no other 
recourse than affability and kindness, sometimes intermixed with gravity to strike respect ; also taking 
care not to tire them, and suit himself to their weakness. In the evening the father led them a second 
time in their devotions ; in which the rosary was prayed over, and the catechism explained ; and the 
service was followed by the distribution of some provisions. At first they were very troublesome all 
the time of the sermon, jesting and sneering at what he said. This the father bore with for a while, 
and then proceeded to reprove them ; but finding they were not to be kept in order, he made a very 
dangerous experiment of what could be done by fear. Near him stood an Indian in high reputation 
for strength, and who, presuming on this advantage, the only quality esteemed by them, took upon him 
self to be more rude than the others. Father Ugarte, who was a large man, and of uncommon strength, 
observing the Indian to be in the height of his laughter, and making signs of mockery to the others, seized 
him by the hair and lifting him up swung him to and fro ; at this the rest ran away in the utmost terror. 
They soon returned, one after another, and the father so far succeeded to intimidate them that they behaved 
more regularly for the future." In writing of the same priest and his labors in starting a mission in an 
other place, this historian relates that: "He endeavored, by little presents and caresses, to gain the affections 
of his Indians ; not so much that they should assist him in the building as that they might take a liking 
to the catechism, which he explained to them as well as he could, by the help of some Indians of Loretto, 
while he was perfecting himself in their language. But his kindness was lost on the adults, who, from 
their invincible sloth, could not be brought to help him in any one thing, though they partook of, and 
used to be very urgent with him for, pozoli and other eatables. He was now obliged to have recourse 
to the assistance of the boys, who, being allured by the father with sweetmeats and presents, accom 
panied him wherever he would have them ; and to habituate these to any work it was necessary to 
make use of artifice. Sometimes he laid a wager with them who should soonest pluck up the mesquites 
and small trees ; sometimes he offered reward to those who took away most earth ; and it suffices to 
say that in forming the bricks he made himself a boy with boys, challenged them to play with the 
earth, and dance upon the clay. The father used to take off his sandals and tread it, in which he was 
followed by the boys skipping and dancing on the clay, and the father with them. The boys sang, and 
were highly delighted ; the father also sang, and thus they continued dancing and treading the clay in 
different parts till meal-time. This enabled him to ei-ect his poor dwelling and the church, at the 
dedication of which the other fathers assisted. He made use of several such contrivances in order to 


learn their language ; first teaching the boys several Spanish words, that they might afterwards teach 
him their language. When, by the help of these masters, the interpreters of Loretto, and his own 
observation and discourse with the adults, he had attained a sufficient knowledge of it, he began to 
catechise these poor gentiles, using a thousand endearing ways, that they should come to the catechism. 
He likewise made use of his boys for carrying on their instruction. Thus, with invincible patience and 
firmness under excessive laboi's, he went on humanizing the savages who lived on the spot, those of the 
neighboring rancherias, and others, whom he sought among woods, breaches and caverns ; going about 
everywhere, that he at length administered baptism to many adults, and brought this new settlement 
into some form." 

In this manner those devoted fathers struggled on through seventy years of ceaseless toil to plant 
the cross through that worthless peninsula of Lower California a land that God seemed to have left un 
finished at the eve of creation, intending it for solitude and the home of the cactus, the serpent, and the 

The plan of subduing the savages will be readily seen from what Venegas records, and it proved to 
be successful. The missions, some of them always, all of them for a time, were supported by remittances 
from Mexico, until the Indians could be christianized and educated to work, and, with the aid of the 
fathers, make the missions self-supporting. Within the first eight years there were expended, in estab 
lishing six missions, fifty-eight thousand dollars, and one million two hundred and twenty-five thoiisand 
dollars in supporting the Indians that were subject to them. 

The after events that constituted the history of the peninsula are a continuous succession of strongly 
marked acts that would make an interesting book for one to peruse who is seeking the history of the 
Indians as a race; but not of sufficient importance as an adjunct to California history to warrant their 
relation in this work. Therefore they will be passed, enough having been given to show the reader how 
the Catholics became the conquerors of the country. In 1767, the Jesuits were expelled from the Span 
ish dominions, and forced to abandon their work in Lower California; but they left behind them a 
record of having paved the way and solved the problem of how to subdue and control the native tribes 
of the West. They have left behind them the record of having become the pioneers in the culture of the 
grape and in the making of wine on this coast, having sent to Mexico their vintage as early as 1706. 
They were the pioneer manufacturers, having taught the Indians the use of the loom in the manufacture 
of cloth as early as 1707. They built, in 1719, the first vessel ever launched from the soil of 
California, calling it the Triumph of the Cross. Two of their number suffered martyrdom at the hands 
of the Indians, and the living were rewarded for those years of toil, of privation and of self-sacrifice, by 
banishment from the land they had subdued ; leaving, for their successors, the Franciscans, sixteen flour 
ishing missions, and thirty-six villages, as testimonials of the justice and wisdom of their rule. 


Conquest of Upper California by the Franciscans. 

Dominicans Succeed the Franciscans in Lower California Why the Latter were Willing to Give Way The Original 
Plan of the Jesuits The King of Spain Orders the Colonization of Upper California The Expedition and its 
Objects It Goes by Land and Sea Loss of the Vessel St. Joseph Mortality on Board the other Ships The Party 
by Land Divides A Description of the Pioneer of California A Mule-driver Turns Doctor The Overland 
Expedition Arrives Safely at San Diego An Epoch in the History of the World The San Antonio Returns to San 
Bias The Country Taken Possession of How a Mission is Formed Governor Portala sets out in Search of 
Monterey, and Discovers Instead the Bay of San Francisco First Mission Founded First Battle in California 
An Almost-Baptized Papoose Abandonment of the Country Decided Upon Timely Arrival of the San Antonio 
Prevents Abandonment Two New Expeditions Start in Search of Monterey Monterey Found What Junipero 
Thought of the Port They take Possession Mission of San Carlos Established They Proceed to Scare the Little 
Devils Away Mission of San Antonio Established First Irrigation in California and the Results Mission Estab 
lished near Los Angeles, called San Gabriel Another Miracle Governor Portala Returns to Mexico, the Bearer 
of Welcome News Father Junipero also Visits Mexico The Pioneer Overland Expedition from Mexico by Captain 
Anza He returns to Mexico Attempt to Destroy the Mission at San Diego by the Indians The First Vessel 
Kn rwn to have been in the Harbor of San Francisco Death of Father Junipero Serro Why a Full History of 
the Missions is not given The General Plan of their Location, and Reason for it Russians Interfere with the 
Plan Population as given by Humboldt. 

The Franciscan order of the Catholic Church had no sooner become possessed of the missions estab 
lished on the peninsula by the Jesuits, than another order of that church, called the Dominican, laid 
claim to a portion of them. The Franciscans deemed it a work and class of property that should not be 
segregated, and expressed a preference of yielding the whole rather than a part, and eventually turned it 
all over to the Dominicans. This willingness to abandon the field to their rivals was not, what it might 
at first seem to be, a spirit of self -abnegation. It was rather the wisdom of the serpent that lay con 
cealed under an exterior of apparent harmlessness like that of the dove. 

As before stated in this work, the process of occupying the peninsula of Lower California had been 
a school wherein the Catholic Church had educated the world in the proper means to be employed in 
making a conquest of the coast Indians and their country. It had been a part of the original plan of 
the Jesuits to extend the missions on up the country, along the coast, until a chain of connection had 
been formed from La Paz in the south to those straits in the north that the nautical world supposed 
separated Asia from America, and called at that time the "Straits of Anian." But they were not per 
mitted to perfect the plan, baing banished before their conquests had reached beyond the limits of the 

The Franciscans gave up the possession of the territory of their rivals to the Dominicans with the 
purpose of entering further north and taking possession of the country that heretofore had only been seen 
"as through a glass darkly," and thus perfect the original plan. In this way they hoped to become' pos 
sessors of a better land, where legend had located the gold and rich silver mines, from whence the Aztecs 
had drawn their treasure. 


In pursuance of this plan there was issued by the Spanish crown an order calling for the rediscovery 
of the bays in the upper coast, and an occupation of the country. In response to the order, an expedi 
tion started in 1769, under the management of Junipero Serro, a Franciscan monk. His immediate 
intention was to found three missions in Upper California one at San Diego, one at Monterey, and the 
third between those places. The general object of the expedition is laid down by Joseph De Galvez as 
being "To establish the Catholic religion among a numerous heathen people, submerged in the obscure dark 
ness of paganism, to extend the dominion of the -King, our Lord, and to protect the peninsula from the 
ambitious views of foreign nations." 

He also sets forth that this had been the object of the Spanish crown since the report of the dis 
coveries by Viscaino in 1603. It was deemed expedient to divide the expedition, and send a portion of 
it by sea in their three vessels, leaving the remainder to go from Mexico overland by way of the most 
northerly of the old missions. Accordingly, on the ninth of January, 1769, the ship San Carlos sailed 
from La Paz, followed on the fifteenth of February by the San Antonio. The last to sail was the San 
Joseph, on the sixteenth of June, and she was never afterwards heard from. The ocean swallowed her 
up, with the crew that had thus been summoned to join the ranks of the army that in the past centuries 
had sought by sea the rock-bound coast of California, to find instead the boundless shore of an unexplored 
eternity. The vessels were all loaded with provisions, numerous seeds, grain to sow, farming utensils, 
church ornaments, furniture, and passengers, their destination being the port of San Diego. The first 
to reach that place was the San Antonio. She arrived on the eleventh of April, having lost eight of her crew 
with scurvy. Twenty days later the San Carlos made her laborious way into port, with only the captain, 
the cook and one seaman left alive of her crew, the balance having fallen victims of that terrible* scourge 
of the early navigators. 

The party that was to go overland was also divided into two companies: one, under command of 
Fernando Revera Moncada, was to assemble at the northern limit of the peninsula, where was located 
the most northerly mission, and take two hundred head of black cattle over the country to San Diego, 
the poinb where all were to meet in the new land to be subdued. Revera set out on the twenty-fourth 
of March, and was the first European to cross the southern deserts of our state. He reached the point 
of general rendezvous on the fourteenth of May, after having spent fifty-one days in the journey. 

The governor of Lower California, Gaspar de Portala, took command of the remaining part of the 
land expedition, and started, May fifteenth, from the same place, on the frontier, had been the 
point of departure for Revera. With Portala was the president, under whose charge the whole enter 
prise was placed ; and of this man, Father Frances Junipero Serro, the pioneer of California, a more than 
passing notice would seem in place. He was born on an island in the Mediterranean sea, and from 
infancy was educated with a view of becoming a priest of the Romish Church. He was a man of 
eloquence and enthusiasm, of strong personal magnetism and power, possessing to a remarkable degree 
those peculiarities of character found in martyrs and dervishes. He had gained a wide reputation as a 
missionary among the Indians in Mexico, and was the great revivalist in his church. He frequently 
aroused his congregation almost to frenzy by his wild, enthusiastic' demonstrations of religious fervor. 
He would beat himself with chains and stones, and apply the burning torch to his naked flesh, to show 
the apathetics the need of crucifying the flesh in penance for their sins. On one occasion his self-inflicted 
punishment with the cruel chain was so great that one who beheld it rushed up to the altar, seized the 
links from his hands, exclaiming, "Let a sinner suffer penance, father, not one like you," and commenced 
beating himself with them, not ceasing until he fell to the floor in a swoon. Such was the man and his 
power over others, to whom was committed the task of a "spiritual conquest" of Upper or New California. 


Edmond Randolph, in his vivid and excellent Outline of the History of California, in speaking of 
this man and his journey over the country to enter upon his new field of duty, says: 

" It was May before he joined Portala at the same encampment from which Revera set out. The 
reverend Father President came up in very bad condition. He was traveling with an escort of two 
soldiers, and hardly able to get on or off his mule. His foot and leg were greatly inflamed, and the 
more that he always wore sandals, and never used boots, shoes or stockings. His priests and the 
governor tried to dissuade him from the undertaking, but he said he would rather die on the road, yet 
he had faith that the Lord would carry him safely through. * * * On the second day out his pain 
was so great that he could neither sit, nor stand, nor sleep, and Portala, being still unable to induce him 
to return, gave orders for a litter to be made. Hearing this, Father Junipero was greatly distressed on 
the score of the Indians, who would have to carry him. He prayed fervently, and then a happy thought 
occurred to him. He called one of the muleteers, and addressed him, so runs the story, in these words: 
' Son, don't you know some remedy for the sore on my foot and leg 1 ' But the muleteer answered, 
' Father, what remedy can I know ] Am I a surgeon 1 I am a muleteer, and have only cured the sore 
backs of beasts.' 'Then consider me a beast,' said the father, 'and this sore, that has produced this 
swelling of my legs and the grievous pain I am suffering, and that neither let me stand nor sleep, to 
be a sore back, and give me the same treatment you would apply to a beast.' The muleteer, smiling, as 
did all the rest who heard him, answered, ' I will, Father, to please you ; ' and taking a small piece of 
tallow mashed it between two stones, mixing it with herbs, which he found growing close by ; and 
having heated it over the fire, anointed the foot and leg, leaving a plaster of it on the sore. God wrought 
in such "a manner, for so wrote Father Junipero himself from San Diego, that he slept all that night 
until daybreak, and awoke so much relieved from his pains that he got up and said matins and prime, 
and afterwards mass, as if he had never suffered such an accident, and to the astonishment of the 
Governor and the troop at seeing the Father in such health and spirits for the journey, which was not 
delayed a moment on his account. Such a man was Junipero Serro, and so he journeyed when he went 
to conquer California. On July 1, 1769, they reached San Diego, all well, in forty-six days after 
leaving the frontier." 

They were the last of the several divisions to arrive at that point, and were received with heartfelt 
demonstrations by their companions, some of whom had been anxiously awaiting their coming for 
nearly three months. 

This was one hundred and twelve years ago, and was the era from which dates the commencement of 
a history of the European race in our state. Then, for the first time, the Visigoth came here to make a 
home where he expected to live and to die. It was an epoch in time of great moment to the civilized 
world, a year freighted with events that in their bearing upon the family of men was second to none 
since that birth in a manger at Nazareth. Within it were ushered upon the stage of life the two great 
men, military commanders, Wellington and Bonaparte, whose acts were to shape the destinies of Europe; 
yes, of the world. That year not only saw our beautiful state in swaddling-clothes, an infant born to 
be nursed eventually into the family of civilized nations, but it saw the seed of liberty planted among the 
gi-anite hills of New England, and Father Time wrote upon one of the mile-posts of eternity, "1769, the 
commencement of a brighter day for the children of men." 

The members of the several divisions were all, excepting those who died at sea, on the ground at 
San Diego, and Father Junipero was not a man to waste time. In looking over his resources for 
accomplishing the work before him, he found that there were in all, including converted Indians that had 
accompanied him, about two hundred and fifty souls. That he had everything necessary for the founding 
of the three missions, the cultivation of the soil, grazing the land and exploring the coast, except sailors 

and provisions. So many of the former having died on the voyage, it was deemed advisable to have 
what remained sail on the San Antonio for San Bias, to procure more seamen and supplies. They 
accordingly put to sea for that purpose on the ninth of July, and nine of the crew died before that 
port was reached. 

Formal possession was immediately taken of the country for Spain, and the next thing in order was to 
found a mission at San Diego. Possibly it will be interesting to the reader to know what the ceremony 
was that constituted the founding of a mission. Father Francis Palou, whose writings were published 
in 1787, thus describes it: 

" They immediately set about taking possession of the soil in the name of our Catholic monarch, 
and thus laid the foundation of the mission. The sailors, muleteers and servants set about clearing 
away a place which was to serve as temporary church, hanging the bells (on the limb of a tree possibly) 
and foi-ming a grand cross. * * * The venerable Father President blessed the holy water, and with 
this the rite of the church and then the holy cross; which, being adorned as usual, was planted in front 
of the church. Then its patron saint was named, and having chanted the first mass, the venerable president 
pronounced a most fervent discourse on the coming of the Holy Spirit and the establishment of the 
mission. The sacrifice of the mass being concluded, the Veni Creator was then, sung; the want of an 
organ and other musical instruments being supplied by the continued discharge of firearms during the 
ceremony, and the want of incense, of which they had none, by the smoke of the muskets." 

After the establishments of a mission the next thing in order was the gaining of converts, and the 
practice being the same in Upper as in Lower California, will consequently require no further description. 

Everything being in fine working order, the vessel San Antonio having sailed for seamen and 
supplies, and formal possession having been taken of the country, there remained only the neccessity 
of entering upon the remaining object that had attracted these pioneers to California. Consequently, an 
expediton was fitted out under Governor Portala's command, to go overland in search of the harbor 
of Monterey, that had been for one hundred and sixty-six years lost to the world. He started on the 
fourteenth of July, with all but six of the available force, except converts that had come with them 
from Lower California. These were left with Father Junipero and deemed by him sufficient for his 
protection and that of the mission to be founded on the sixteenth, showing a confidence in the natives that 
came near adding this to the already long list of disasters. 

Portala, with sixty-five persons in all, moved on up the coast, and reaching Monterey, planted a cross 
there, without knowing that he had found the place he was seeking. He passed on in his slow, tortuous 
way, up the country, until three and a half months had passed since his departure, when, October 30, 
he came upon a bay that Father Crespi, who accompanied the expedition and kept a journal, says, 
" they at once recognized." What caused him to recognize it ] Had they ever heard of it before ] This 
is the first unquestioned record of the disco very of the San Francisco harbor. In all the annals of history 
thei-e is no evidence of its ever having been seen before, except that sailing chart, dated 1740, and captured 
in 1 742, with the galleon belonging to the Jesuit Manila merchants. Yet the exception is evidence 
strong as holy writ that in 1740 the bay had been found, but the name of the first discoverer is lost to 
the world. 

Portala and his followers believed that a miracle had been performed, that the discovery was due to 
the hand of Providence, that St. Francis had led them to the place ; and when they saw it in all its 
land-locked, slumbering grandeur, they remembered that before they left Mexico Father Junipero had 
been grieved because the visitator, General Galvez, had not placed in the list their patron saint, in selecting 
names for the missions to be founded in the new country, and when reminded of the omission by the 
sorrowing priest, he had replied solemnly, as from matured reflection : " If St. Francis wants a mission, let 


him show you a good port and we will put one there." " A good port " had been found one where could 
ride in safety the fleets of the world, and they said "St. Francis has led us to his hai'bor," and they called 
it " San Francisco Bay." Thus for the first time in history the name and locality were united. 

The expedition that was under California's first governor then returned, starting Nov. 11, 1769, and 
arrived at San Diego January 24, 1770, where he first learned of the perils through which, during his 
absence, had passed those he had left behind. It will be remembered that Portala started north 011 the 
fourteenth of July, two days before the first mission in Upper California was founded at San Diego. This 
day was chosen as the one on which to commence the work of christianizing California, because on the 
sixteenth of July, five hundred and forty-seven years before, the Spanish armies had caused the triumph 
of the cross over the crescent in the old world, and the father deemed this the beginning of a victory of 
the cross over barbarism in the unexplored wilds of the great northwest. 

The first efforts at conversion were of course unsuccessful. The slow process of getting the Indians' 
confidence, and then learning their ways and language, had fii-st to be gone through with. It would be 
but repetition to detail the manner by which this was done, as it was identical with that practiced by the 
Jesuits on the peninsula. There was this difference, however, that the Indians here cared nothing for 
the food given them by the padres, and would not eat it ; but they were quite willing to take anything 
else, cloth being their weakness. They went out into the bay on balsas, in the night, and cut a piece 
out of the sail of the vessel. They soon became tired of getting things by piecemeal, and undertook the 
same operation that had been attempted by the Indians with Father Tierra at La Paz, ninety years before, 
and with similar results. They watched their opportunities, designing to take the little garrison 
unawares, and after having killed all, divide the property among themselves, and end the performance 
with a grand jubilee. Matters culminated just a month after the founding of the mission. Taking 
advantage of the absence of one of the priests and two soldiers, who had gone temporarily aboard the ship, 
they suddenly fell upon the remaining force of four soldiers, two padres, a carpenter and a blacksmith. 
The latter was a brave and fearless man, and led the defence by rushing upon the enemy with the war-cry 
of " Long live the faith of Jesus Christ, and die the dogs, his enemies ! " The result was a defeat to the 
Indians, with severe loss in dead and wounded. The missionaries found, after the enemy had retreated, 
that they, too, had not come through unscathed. One of their converted Indians had been killed, one 
wounded, and a soldier, a priest, and the brave blacksmith, were also among the injured. 

This first battle in California occurred on the fifteenth of August, 1769. That day, on the other side 
of the world, was born, on an island in the Mediterranean sea, that genius of war, that child of destiny, 
who in after years made toys of crowns and changed the map of Europe ; a child who lived to see his 
scheme of universal empire fade away, and his victorious star go down in blood, as the Old Guard 
faltered, then recoiled, and finally melted away in that terrible charge at Waterloo. 

Another incident occurred soon after this, that shows how earnest and unyielding was the deter 
mination of those pioneer priests to subdue the Indians by kindness, except where absolute war was not 
declared. Their first friend among the tribes of Upper California was a boy, who finally ventured to come 
among the Spaniards, and was, by presents and affectionate treatment, eventually so far won over as to 
become the means of communicating with his tribe. As soon as this had been accomplished, Father 
Junipero explained to him by some means that if the parents of some child would bring it to him to 
baptize, by putting a little water 011 its head, it would become by so doing a son of God and of Father 
Junipero, as well as a kindred of the soldiers, that they would give the child clothes and take care of it 
and see that it always had plenty to eat, etc. The boy went among his people, and explained what the father 
had told him, and they finally made up a little plan to play a practical joke upon the good priest. They 
sent back the boy to tell the Spaniards that they would bring a child to be baptized, and the father's 


heart was made glad to think that he was soon to begin the harvest of souls. He called the garrison 
together, assembled at the church the Christian Indians who had come from Mexico with him, and re 
quested one of the soldiers to act as godfather in the coming ceremony of papoose baptism into the 
Catholic Church. He awaited for a time with a glowing face and overflowing heart for the approach of 
the parents with the infant. They soon came, followed by a large concourse of their friends, and handed 
the little candidate, with big, black, twinkling eyes spread wide with wonder, to the father, signifying 
their desire to proceed with the baptism. He took the little fellow, put clothes upon him, and was pro 
ceeding with the ceremony, having gone so far in it as to be in the act of raising the water to finish the 
operation by pouring it upon the child's head, when the almost Catholic baby was suddenly snatched from 
his arms, leaving the astonished father with the water suspended, while the laughing Indians rushed away 
with the infant. The soldiers were infuriated at this insult to religion and to their beloved priest, and would 
have taken summary vengeance on the scoffers, but were prevented from molesting them. In after years 
whenever this incident was mentioned in his presence, tears of sorrow would come to the eyes of this 
zealous missionary, as he thought of the sad end of that early hope. 

The whole scheme of occupying northern or Upper California came near proving a failure, because of 
the want of ability to sustain themselves until crops could be grown in the country sufficient to make 
the enterprise self-sustaining. Governor Portala, after his return from the discovery of the San Francisco 
bay, took an inventory of the supplies. He found that there remained only enough to last the expedi 
tion until March, and decided that if supplies did not arrive by sea before the twentieth of that month, to 
abandon the enterprise and return to Mexico. The day came, and with it, in the offing, in plain view of 
all, a vessel. Preparations had been completed for the abandonment, but it was postponed because of the 
appearance of the outlying ship. The next day it was gone, and the colony believed then that a miracle 
had been performed, and their patron saint had permitted the scene of the vessel that they might know 
that help was coming. In a few days the San Antonio sailed into the harbor with abundant supplies, 
and they learned that the vision they had been permitted to see was that vessel herself; she had been forced 
by adverse winds to put out to sea again after coming in sight of the harbor. 

Upon the arrival of the San Antonio two other expeditions set out, one by sea and one by land, in 
search of Monterey harbor, the land force in charge of Governor Portala. The party by sea was ac 
companied by Father President Junipero, who writes of that voyage and its results as follows : 

" MY DEAREST FRIEND AND SIR On the thirty-first day of May, by the favor of God, after a 
rather painful voyage of a month and a half, this packet, San Antonio, arrived and anchored in this 
horrible port of Monterey, which is unaltered in any degree from what it was when visited by the ex 
pedition of Don Sebastian Yiscaino, in the year 1603." 

He goes on to state that he found the governor awaiting him, having reached the place eight 
days earlier. He then describes the manner of taking possession of the land for the crown on the third day of 
August. This ceremony was attended by salutes from the battery on board ship and discharges of musketry 
by the soldiers, until the Indians in the vicinity were so thoroughly frightened at the noise as to cause a 
stampede among them for the interior, from whence they were afterward enticed with difficulty. The 
interesting account closes with the following, to us, strange words: " We proceed to-mon-ow to celebrate 
the feast and make the procession of ' Corpus Christi' (though in a very poor way) in order to scare 
away whatever little devils there possibly may be in this land." 

What a lamentable failure in the good father's pious design, possibly due to the poor way in which 
it was done. The nineteenth century has demonstrated that those little fellows have grown amazingly, 
and multiplied beyond belief in California since that time. 

After the establishment of this second mission, called San Carlos, which soon afterward was moved to 


the river Carmelo,a third, the San Antonio de Padua, was contemplated and finally located July 14, 1771, 
about thirty-five miles south of Soledad, on the Antonio river, and about twenty-five miles from the 
coast. At this mission occurred the first instance of irrigation in California. In 1780, when the wheat 
was in full bloom, there came so severe a frost that it " became as dry and withered as if it had been 
stubble left in the field in the month of August." This was a great misfortune, for the padres as well 
as the converts depended upon this crop for food. The priests caused a ditch to be at once constructed 
and water thus turned upon the field. This gave new life to the roots, young shoots sprang up and a 
bountiful harvest, the largest ever known to them, was gathered. The priest called it a miracle, the 
Indians believed it to be one, and the consequence was a second harvest for the church, one of converts 
this time, as the result of the first irrigation attempted in our state. Possibly it is irrigation that the 
Christian churches stand in need of among us now. 

The mission of San Gabriel was founded soon after that of San Antonio, the ceremony of establish 
ment being performed on the following eighth of September. The point selected was about eight miles 
north of Los Angeles. Another miracle was supposed to have been worked at the founding of this 
mission. In fact, those old padres, pious souls, seemed to believe that everything out of the ordinary 
everyday occurrences was necessarily of supernatural origin, either from God or the devil. When they 
unfurled their banner at San Gabriel before an assembled host of yelling Indians, whom they were afraid 
were about to attack them, the astonished natives beheld the picture of the Virgin Mary that was 
painted npon it, mistook it for a pretty woman, and, probably thinking it was time to put on some style, 
ceased their undignified howling, and running up before the vision of loveliness, threw down their beads at 
the base of the banner, as an offering of their respect. They then, like sensible Indians, brought something 
for the pretty woman to eat. We see nothing miraculous in this. The average Californian in our time will 
give up a row, put on his good behavior, and cast offerings at the feet of female loveliness, if it happens 
around when he is on the warpath. 

In the meantime, Governor Portala had returned to Mexico, bearer of the welcome intelligence that 

* ' ~ 

Monterey had been rediscovered, that a much finer bay had also been found farther north, that they had 
named it after St. Francis, and that three missions had been established in the new land. Upon the 
receipt of the news the excitement in Mexico was intense. Guns were fired, bells were rung, congratu 
latory speeches were made, and all New Spain was happy, because of the final success of the long 
struggle of their country to get a footing north of the peninsula. After the establishment of the San 
Gabriel mission the events that transpired for a time were those incidental to the retention of what had 
already been acquired, and the preparation for possessing more. 

In September, 1772, the mission of San Luis Obispo was established between Los Angeles and 
Monterey, and then the father president returned to Mexico. He procured over twelve thousand dollars 
worth of supplies, and returned by sea, accompanied by several new missionaries and some soldiers, and 
arrived at San Diego March 13, 1773, to find his people on the verge of starvation, living upon milk, 
roots and herbs. Before leaving Mexico he had divided his party, sending the soldiers under command 
of Capt. Juan Bautista Anza. They were to go by way of Sonora and the Gil a and Colorado rivers, to 
open a route by land, that communication with the home government might not in future depend 
wholly upon the hitherto treacherous sea. Upon the success in establishing this overland route to 
Monterey depended the founding of the missions of San Francisco and Santa Clara, that Father Juiii- 
pero so much desired. The company arrived safely about the same time as did the division by sea, being 
the first, the pioneer overland journey from Mexico to California, and the descendants of the captain of 
the expedition are still to be found as residents of this state. 

During the same month of March, a pai'ty under guidance of Father Crespi, going overland from 

Monterey, passed through where Santa Clara now stands, up along the east side of the bay, finally arriv 
ing on the thirtieth of the month, where Antioch now is. Thus they became the first of civilized men 
to look upon the stream that forty-six years after was named San Joaquin. 

In 1774, Captain Anza returned to Mfexico, to report the successful establishment of the route to 
Monterey, intending to come back as soon as possible with the necessaiy means to establish the northern 

There was, in 1774, another occurrence that it will not do to pass silently by, as it brings into strong 
relief the contrast between first intentions and the final acts of the Catholic clergy in their spiritual 
conquest of the natives. The mission of San Diego was attacked, on the night of the fourth of Novem 
ber, 1774, by a large and well organized body of Indians, numbering about one thousand. They had 
been incited to hostilities by the representation of two apostate converts from one of the tribes, who, 
fleeing to the interior, gave their people far and wide to understand that the missionaries contemplated 
usiny force in their efforts to subject the Indians to an adoption of the white man's religion. The battle 
was stubbornly contested by the tribes ; but they were beaten off with severe loss, after having killed 
three of the whites, one of whom was a priest, and wounded the balance of the defenders. This was the 
last attempt to destroy the missions. Palou, in his account of this affair, says that the Indians were in 
cited to the act by the devil, who used the two apostate converts as the means, causing them to tell false 
hoods to their people in representing " that the fathers intended to put an end to the gentiles by making 
them become Christians by force" 

Although the proposition of force in conversion seems to have been (according to Father Palou, who 
was the priest that afterwards had charge of the San Francisco mission) the devil's suggestion, it was 
afterwards practiced by the fathers. 

A notable instance of this kind occurred in 1826, when a party was sent up into the country along 
the San Joaquin river to capture some subjects for conversion. They met with defeat at the hands of a 
tribe under the leadership of a chief called Estanislao, whose rancheria was where Knight's Ferry now 
is. The Spanish lost three soldiers killed and several wounded in this battle ; and returning, a new ex 
pedition was fitted out, including all the available force of the garrison (presidio) of San Francisco, the 
San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Clara missions. The Estanislao country was again invaded, and the 
result was a defeat and severe chastisement of the Indians, with a loss of one soldier killed by the ex 
plosion of his musket. They succeeded in carrying off, for the good of their souls, some forty-four 
captives, most of whom were women and children. 

The two battles gave the Spaniards a wholesome fear of the up-country tribes, and they named the 
river where these battles were fought the Stanislaus, after the chief Estanislao, whose tribe lived upon 
its banks. The Indian name for that stream was La-kish-um-na. The prisoners were taken to the 
missions and summarily transformed into Christians in the following way. We quote from Captain 
Beechey, who says : 

" I happened to visit the mission about this time and saw these unfortunate beings under tuition. 
They were clothed in blankets and arraigned in a row before a blind Indian, who understood their dialect, 
and was assisted by an alcalde to keep order. Their tutor began by desiring them to kneel, informing 
them that he was going to teach them the names of the persons composing the Trinity, and that they 
were to repeat in Spanish what he dictated. The neophytes being thus arranged, the speaker began : 
' Santissima, Trinidada, Dios, Jesu, Christo, Espiritu, Santo,' pausing between each name to listen if the 
simple Indians, who had never spoken a Spanish word before, pronounced it correctly or anything near 
the mark. After they had repeated these names satisfactorily, their blind tutor, after a pause, added 
' Santos,' and recapitulated the names of a great many saints, which finished the morning's tuition. 

If, as not unfrequently happens, any of the captured Indians show a repugnance to conversion, it is the 
practice to imprison them for a few days, and then to allow them to breathe a little fresh air in a walk 
around the mission, to observe the happy mode of life of thir converted countrymen ; after which they 
are again shut up and thus continue incarcerated until they declare their readiness to renounce the 
religion of their forefathers." 

In 1769, those zealous, truly Christian fathers came among those people to bring heathen by 
love and kindness to the foot of the cross, erected as an emblem of God's love for humanity. In 1826, only 
fifty-seven years later, the successors of those missionaries marched that same people as captives to the 
foot of that cross, and forced them to do homage to the emblem of their slavery. 

Father Junipero, as a precautionary measure, in anticipation of the early return of Captain Anza, 
dispatched the packet San Carlos to see if the bay of San Francisco could be entered from the ocean; a feat 
that the little craft accomplished in June, 1775. She was a small vessel, not to exceed two hundred tons 
burden, this pioneer of the fleets that have since anchored in that harbor. In that memorable June, while 
the waters of our great bay of the Pacific were being first awakened to their future destiny, away to the 
east where the sun rises, where the Atlantic waves kiss the shores of America, a Washington was taking 
command of the Continental army, and a people were calling through the battle smoke of Bunker Hill 
for liberty. 

The San Carlos re-turned to Monterey with the report of her entrance into the harbor and succeeding 
discoveries, including that of the bay of San Pablo, " into which emptied the great river of our Father 
St. Francis, which was fed by five other rivers, all of them copious streams, flowing through a plain so 
wide that it was bounded only by the horizon." Rather a luminous description of the Sacramento river 
and valley. 

The time had come so much desired by Father Junipero, when the mission could be extended to the 
great bay in the north. Captain Anza had returned from Mexico with all that was required for the 
purpose. The preparatory expeditions by land and sea had returned with the necessary imformation as 
to the country, its character, and geography, so that plans could be formed with assurance of precision 
in execution. Consequently, on the seventh of June, 1776, the father president started from Monterey 
overland for the harbor at the northern frontier. A packet boat was dispatched at the same time, laden 
with necessaries for the enterprise. On the twenty-seventh of June the land party arrived at what is now 
known as Washerwoman's bay, on the north beach of San Francisco. On the eighteenth of August the 
packet arrived, and on the seventeenth of September the presidio was located. An expedition to spy out 
the land was at once dispatched. It was as usual divided into two divisions, one to go by water and the 
other by land. The rendezvous was to have been Point San Pablo, but the land party entered the 
mountains east of the bay and soon found themselves on the banks of the San Joaquin river, and 
failed to connect. On the tenth of October the mission was founded at San Francisco. After this came the 
San Juan Capistrano, and then Santa Clara. With the founding of the latter ended the establishing of 
missions by that faithful Christian missionary, Father Junipero Serro. T He died near Monterey in 1782, 
after having planted in the garden of the west for future generations the seeds of civilization that should, 
like the little seeds mentioned in holy writ, grow to become " a great tree, " under whose shadowy 

I The justly-praised indefatigable missionary-priest, who founded the first nine missions in Alta California, died 
in that of San Carlos del Caan els, at the age of 69 years. His baptismal name, "Junipero," is identical with the 
Latin word Juniper us, the definition of which is "Arbor est crescens in desertis, cujus umbrmn serpentisfuffuint, et idea 
in umbra ajus homines secure dormiunt." (Juniper is a tree that grows in the desert, the shade of which is shunned 
by serpents, but under which men sleep in safety. 

branches should gather in future time the unborn millions that would forget the zealous old pioneer of 
the cross, whose life had been a sacrifice, forgotten in time to be remembered in eternity. 

It is not our intention to give a history in full of the California missions, for that in itself would fill 
a volume; and having placed before the reader the first and most important events, the balance will be 
passed with brief mention. Within the forty-six years that succeeded the first settlement at San 
Francisco, there were established in California twelve other missions, making twenty-one in all, which, in 
accordance with the plan of Spain, were located along the coast, making a chain of occupied territory 
that would serve to keep off foreign settlement. The situations selected were of course made with 
reference to the soil, as upon its productions maintenance must eventually depend. "Where the boundary 
limits of one ended another began, so that the coast was all owned by the missions from La Paz on the 
peninsula to San Francisco. The interior was the great storehouse from which to gather, in the 
beginning, proselytes to the Catholic faith -in the end, slaves to work their plantations. 

Nortli of the bay the Russians interfered with the general plan, by establishing a settlement in 1812, 
in what is now Sonoma county. This was followed by an attempt, on the part of the padres, to surround 
the invaders by a cordon of missions, and, in pursuance of the plan, San Rafael, in 1817, and San 
Fi-aricisco de Solano, in 1823, were established; but further efforts in this line were cut short by the 
"march of human events." The time had come when the system, instead of being an aid, was an 
impediment to the elevation of the human race, and it was forced to give way. Then commenced its 
decline, followed soon by its passage from the stage of action. 

The number of converted Indians, in 1802, given by Humboldt, was 7,945 males and 7,617 females, 
making a total of 15-,562. The other inhabitants, being estimated at 1,300, not including wild Indians, 
making the total population of California at that time 16,862. The term "wild Indians" was applied to 
such as were not reduced to control by the padres. 


Downfall of the Missions. 


Beginning of the End What Weakened their Power Their Mode of Dealing Injures the Natives, and is not Just 
to their own Race The First Blow Secularization Ordered The "Pious Fund" An Opposition Party Springs 
up The Handwriting on the Wall The Final Struggle A Colony that Fails to Get the Goose that Laid the 
Golden Egg Wreck of the Brig at Monterey that Carried Napoleon from Exile The Priests Destroy what they 
have Built Up The "Father of his Country" The End, when they are Sold at Auction The Last Missionary 
The Final Result Achieved A Table that is a History in itself. 

The cloud, no larger than a man's hand, commenced to gather over the missions in 1824, when 
Mexico became a republic, having declared her independence from Spain two years before. The spirit 
that resulted in making of Mexico a free country, was one calculated to lessen the force of traditions that 
had bound up the church with the state, thus weakening the power of the former. Heretofore, all things 
had been made subservient in California to the purpose of making a Catholic of the Indian. In pursu 
ance of this idea, he was either persuaded or forced to go through the forms of worship ; but nothing was 
done to develop a higher mental standard. In fact, the opposite was the result. They were taken care 
of like any other slaves, and such qualities as were found calculated to make them self-sustaining were 
eradicated, probably without having such an intention, yet doing it effectually. It was accomplished by 


the system of absolute dependence, forced by the padres in their manner of control and kind of instruc 
tion given to them, that were only calculated to impress a feeling of inferiority. Nothing could be 
accomplished in California by a member of the white race, calculated in any way to interfere with the 
general plan of proselytism. The territory was claimed for the Indian, and the padres were his masters. 
The European was not encouraged by them to own or settle upon land, for it might become an element of 
discord in the country. The soldiers that protected them in their operations were not allowed to marry, 
except in rare cases, as the offspring or the parent might admit the idea into their heads that they, too, 
were of consequence in the general plan of the Creator. 

Such a state of things could not last. The world was becoming more enlightened, and a system that 
stood in the path of progress must inevitably give way. 

The first blow dealt this Catholic body politic was by the Mexican congress, in the form of a coloniza 
tion act, passed in August, 1824. In its provisions were some fair inducements for a settlement of the 
country, and a settlement necessarily meant ruin to the missions ; for the interests of settlers were not 
in harmony with them. Four years later their secularization was ordered, and grants of lands were 
authorized as homesteads to actual settlers, the territorial governor being the one authorized to iss\ie the 
grant, subject to the approval of the legislature. There was a class of property in Mexico that had been 
obtained by the Jesuits from their friends, when they were operating on the peninsula, by donations, 
wills, and otherwise, that had been invested in real estate ; the prodiict or interest of which was used 
yearly o support the missions, keeping the principal intact. When the Jesuits were banished from the 
kingdom this property was turned over to the Franciscans, and its proceeds had increased until the 
yearly income from it amounted to about $50,000. This was termed the jriousfund,, and a year before 
the secularization was ordered, $78,000 of it had been seized by the government in Mexico. This was 
the beginning, and the end came in 1842, when Santa Anna sold the balance to the house of Barrio and 
the Rubio Brothers, the proceeds finding their way into the government treasury. 

The legislation of 1824 began to have its effect in 1830. A party had sprung up not friendly to the 
missions, and Governor Echeandia commenced to enforce the secularization laws that year; but the 
arrival of the new governor, Victoria, put a stop to the attempt. This was the beginning of the open 
struggle between the two parties, one for the maintenance, the other for the destruction of the missions. 
It continued with varying success until 1834, when a colonization scheme, set on foot by the home 
government, caused the padres to " see the handwriting on the wall. " This colony was formed with the 
purpose, on the part of the Mexican president, of placing in the colony's control the commerce of California, 
the missions to play the part in the general scheme of the fabled "goose that laid the golden egg." The 
project ne\er reached its final purpose, for, with the usual promptness of Mexicans in changing their 
government, Santa Anna was made president. He sent overland orders in haste, countermanding the 
whole plan; and Hijar, who was to have been governor of California under the new conditions, landed 
at San Diego September 1, 1834, to find himself only the leader of a disappointed colony that had 
accompanied him to the country. He was sent, with his followers, north of San Francisco to the mission 
of San Francisco Solano, to make out as best he could, without the power to carry out the original objects 
of the enterprise. 

The brig in which this colony arrived, wrecked on the fourteenth of the following month in the 
harbor of Monterey, was the Natalia, the same that, February 26, 1815, had borne, in his flight from 
Elba, the great soldier of destiny, to read the decree of his fate at Waterloo. 

The priests, on learning how narrowly they escaped being robbed, concluded there was no longer any 
hope of final success in the struggle, and commenced to destroy what they had built up through the years 
of the past. The cattle " upon a thousand hills " were slaughtered only for their hides, the vineyards 



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were permitted to go lo waste, the olive groves were neglected, the missions were allowed to decay and 
the slaves (Indians) were turned loose to starve, steal or die. The California legislature, in 1840, 
appointed administrators, who took charge of the property, and a general system of plunder seemed to 
be the order of the day. 

In 1843, General Micheltorena restored the ruined mission establishments to the control of the 
padres, and in 1845 the end came, when what remained passed at an auction sale into the hands of 
whomsoever would buy. The last of those missionaries Father Altomira, the missionary priest and 
founder of the mission of San Francisco Solano, otherwise known as Sonoma, who, in 1828, accompanied 
by Padre Kipol, of the mission of Santa Barbara, left California in the American brig Harbinger, for 
Boston was living, in 1860, at Tenneriffe, one of the Canary Islands. 

Thus passed from the country a system of occupation that paved the way for civilization. It was 
conceived in error, executed in blindness, and ended in disaster to the people it sought to benefit. It 
only served as a means by which another race gained a footing to crush out and annihilate the one that 
was found in the land. 

The annexed table is a history in itself. It represents the population and wealth of California in 
1831. It will be observed that the total population was 23,025; of this number only 4,342 were of the 
free races, the balance of 18,683 being Indians, subject to the missions; no account was taken of those 
running wild. 


Spanish Military Occupation. 

Two Separate Interests in the Original Plan of Occupation What they Were Why one Eventually Failed Duties 
of the Governor What was a Presidio The Forts Monterey Captured by Pirates Soldiers, their Duties and 
Character Ranches A Pueblo, What it was, How they were First Started The First Grant Why it was 
Given, and whatFollo^sd Six Years Later Christian Population of California in 1749, 1755, 1790 Policy of Spain 
towards Foreign Nations Captain Cook must not Enter the Harbors of California Home of the Missions and 
Home of the Free Joined in One Thought The First Writing Books Earthquakes of 1800, 1808, 1812, and 1818 
The Russians' First Appearance in California A Sad, Historic Tale of Love Russian Occupation Declaration 
of Independence from Spain List of Spanish Governors. 

In the original plan for the occupation of the Californias, there were two distinct objects sought ; 
one by the church, another by statesmen, and they formed a co-partnership, as each was essential to the 
other. The church sought to extend her influence and increase her membership ; to this end all her 
energies were bent. The statesman reached out to secure for his nation a country that he believed would 
become a jewel in the crown of Spain, and was willing to aid the church if she would contribute to this 

The statesman would protect, by the military arm of this government, the priest who was to make 
of the Indian a convert, who as such would become a subject of Spain. With numerous converts there 
would be numerous subjects bound by religious affinity to defend their country against invasion by any 
other nation. Thus would be created a Spanish province that would become a bulwark of defense against 
encroachment by hostile nations upon the more southern possessions of the mother country. 

We have in previous chapters seen what the end was of the operations and design of the church; 
that it made slaves instead of citizens of its converts, and the disastrous results to the Indians ; thus 


adding weakness instead of strength to the crown's defences, and in this way preventing the attainment 
of the result sought to be accomplished by the statesman, in his use of the church for political purposes. 
Let us now take a brief view of the governmental part of the political co-partnership between church and 
state for conquest, its operations and final result. 

Side by side the priest and soldier entered California. The latter took possession of the land for 
Spain, the former for the church, and the officer in command of the military was governor of the territory ; 
his duties were to furnish garrisons to protect the missions, to aid in every way the efforts of the padres 
in their efforts for converts. To do this, the country was divided into military districts, eventually four 
of them, each having its seaport, where the commandant of the district made his headquarters and kept 
the principal forces. 

Fortifications were built, consisting of a fort and three or four hundred rods square of land, enclosed 
with adobe walls, perhaps twelve feet high, on which were planted small cannon. Inside this inclosure 
were the officers' quarters, and the soldiers' barracks, chapel and store-house, and the place was called a 

The fort was outside the presidio, and at San Diego was five miles away; it was considered the 
main defence, and was erected with a view of commanding the harbor, but practically was never of any 
\ise. This was demonstrated in 1819, at Monterey, where a few pirates landed, captured the fort, 
and pillaged and burned the town. 

The number of soldiers supposed to be in each military district was 250, but that number was never 
maintained. The military district embraced about six missions, and a mission usually included about 
fifteen miles square. There was no inducement for a man to enlist as a soldier to serve in California, 
and they went there perforce, some as outcasts, some as criminals ; none were half paid or clothed, and 
eventually, as Forbes says, "California became the Botany Bay of America." Their duties were not 
heavy; consisting mainly of hunting up fugitive Indians, converts that had thought better of it and 
"back-slid," back to their old haunts and pursuits; a sort of human rat-catching was their principal 
business. They could not many except by special permission of the king, and this was seldom granted, 
and never unless recommended by the priest. In connection with each presidio was a farm, where the 
soldiers were erroneously supposed to attempt the growing of products that would constitute a part of 
their living. This government farm, under charge of the commandant, was called a rancho. 

In time, the maintenance of this very small army became too severe a tax on the home government, 
and a plan was adopted that was thought would lessen the burden, by making it an inducement for the 
ex-soldier to stay in the country, and, becoming a citizen soldier, maintaining and holding himself in 
readiness to take up arms in case of any special emergency. This plan (it was not favored by the priests) 
was set forth in the king's orders, termed a reglamento, made in 1781. There were to be towns laid out, 
and each ex-soldier was entitled to a lot 556^ feet square, as an unalienable homestead. He was to be 
paid a salary for a given time, be exempt from tax for five years, and receive from the government an 
agricultural outfit including a certain number of cattle, horses, nrales, sheep, hogs and chickens. These 
were the inducements offered to the soldier whose term of service had expired, to secure his settlement in 
the country. When a sufficient number had located in one place to warrant it, they were entitled to have 
an alcalde, and other municipal officers, appointed by the governor for the first two years, and after that 
elected by themselves. For all of this they were to hold themselves subject and ready to respond to 
military orders with horse, saddle, lance and carbine. They were to sell all their surplus products to the 
p^^esidios at a stated price, and after five years were to pay a tax of one and a fourth bushels of corn 
annually. In this way the towns of Monterey, Los Angeles and San Jose were started, and became the 


centers where assembled the free population of the country, their numbers gradually increasing, and these 
towns were called pueblos. 

For fifty-five years succeeding the establishment of the first presidio, the historic events worthy of 
mention, performed by the military branch of the " spiritual conquest," were so few and far between 
that a chronological reference to them up to 1822, when the Spanish provinces declared their independ 
ence of Spain, would seem to be all that would be of interest. It was the period during which the 
missions were demonstrating that their plan of making a Spanish province was a failure, and the military 
was so absolutely a part of the missions during the time, controlled by and subject to them, that there 
seems to be almost an absence of history separate from the mission. Yet all that time slowly was rooting 
in the land, through the pueblo system, an interest separate and distinct, which eventually overthrew the 
ally that had become their masters. 

In 1775, November twenty-seventh, there was issued the first grant of land in California. It was a 
small one and at the San Carlos mission, containing only 381 feet square. It was given to " Manuel 
Butron, a soldier, in consideration that he had married Margarita, a daughter of that mission," and 
Father Junipero recommended Mr. Butron and his Indian wife to the government and all the other ministers 
of the king, because, as he says, " they are the first in all these establishments which have chosen 
to become permanent settlers of the same." Six years later a reglamento for guidance of the military 
forces in the country was signed by the king, thus initiating the pueblo or village system. In it captains 
of presidos were authorized to give grants of lots to soldiers or settlers. At this time, the country had 
been occupied twelve years, and the entire Catholic population, including Indians, was only 1,749 ; six 
years later there were 5,143, and in 1790 the number had reached 7,748, mostly Indian converts. 

It was the policy of Spain to treat with suspicion all who approached her colonies on the Pacific, 
fearing trouble if they were permitted to get a foothold. As an instance in point, on the twenty-third 
day of October, 1776 (the year in which our fathers declared their independence^), the viceroy wrote to 
the governor of California that " The king having received intelligence that two armed vessels had sailed 
from London under the command of Captain Cook, bound on a voyage of discovery to the Southern 
Ocean, and the northern coast of California, commands that orders be given to the governor of California, 
to be on watch for Captain Cook, and not permit him to enter the ports of California." 

Thirteen years after this, the governor of California wrote to the captain commanding the jyresido of 
San Francisco, saying : 

Whenever there may arrive at the port of San Francisco a ship named Columbia, said to belong to 
Gen. Washington, of the American States, commanded by John Rendrick, which sailed from Boston in 
September, 1787, bound on a voyage of discovery to the Russian establishments on the northern coast of 
this peninsula, you will cause the same vessel to be examined with caution and delicacy, using for this 
purpose a small boat, which you have in your possession, and taking the same measures with every other 
suspicious foreign vessel, giving me prompt notice of the same. 

May God preserve your life many years. PEDRO FAGES. 

SANTA BARBARA, May 13, 1789. 


For the first time the Spaniard had joined in the same thought the home of the missions and the 
"home of the free." The suspicious craft, "said to belong to Gen. Washington," sailed north without 
entering the port of San Francisco, and discovered the Columbia river. Before we turn the last page in 
the history of the eighteenth century, let us take a look at a brief letter written by the captain 
commanding at Santa Barbara to the governor of California, which says : 


I transmit to you a statement in relation to the schools of the presidio, together with six copy-books 
of the children who are learning to write, for your superior information. 

May our Lord preserve your life many years. FELIPE GOYCOCHEA. 

SANTA BARBARA, February 11, 1797. 

Those copy-books are now the property of the state, having fallen into the hands of the government 
when California was taken from Mexico. They exhibit in the sentences copied (such as "JACOB SENT 
TO SEE HIS BROTHER," "THE IsHMAELiTES HAVING ARRIVED," &c. ) a peculiarity of the times that of 
fastening a thought of divinity upon everything. There is hardly a geographical name in this country, of 
Spanish origin, but it is the name of a saint. Even the names given by the priests to the natives, when 
they baptized them, were usually taken from the bible. Imagine the name of Jesus given to a dirty, 
ignorant, beetle-browed digger Indian, with the instincts of a beast. Truly it is said, " Familiarity breeds 
contempt." It is not with the intention on our part of leading the mind of the reader into this channel 
that the copy-books are here referred to, but to show the marked difference characterizing the policy of the 
church and state, that in the end made the latter triumph. The priests taught the Indians to say mass 
and repeat the names of saints, bo work under instruction, and no more. The military captains and 
governor encouraged the children of the free settlers in learning to read and write ; the church gradually 
developing dependence in the Indians ; the state gradually developing independence in the free settlers. 
The Indian converts numbered about 12,000, the free settlers about 1000 one to twelve in favor of 
the church. Yet it needed no " wise man of the East " to foretell the final result. 

The nineteenth century was ushered in amid the convulsions of nature in California, at San Juan 
Bautista. The captain of the presidio writes to the governor on the thirty-first of October, 1800, as 

" I have to inform your Excellency that the mission of San Juan Bautista, since the eleventh 
inst., has been visited by severe earthquakes ; that Pedro Adriano Martinez, one of the Fathers of said 
mission, has inform me that during one day there were six severe shocks ; that there is 1 not a single 
habitation, although built with double walls, that has not been injured from roof to foundation, and that 
all are threatened with ruin ; and that the Fathers are compelled to sleep in wagons to avoid danger, 
since the houses are not habitable. At the place where the rancheria is situated, some small openings 
have been observed in the earth, and also in the neighborhood of the river Pajaro there is another deep 
opening, all resulting from the earthquakes. These phenomena have filled the Fathers and inhabitants 
of that mission with consternation. The Lieutenant Don Raymundo Carillo has assured me the same, 
for on the eighteenth he stopped for night at this mission (San Juan) on his journey from San Jose, and 
being at supper with one of the Fathers, a shock was felt, so powerful, and attended with such a loud 
noise, as to deafen them, when they fled to the court without finishing their supper, and at about 1 1 
o'clock at night the shock was repeated with almost equal strength. The Fathers of the missions say 
that the Indians assure them that there have always been earthquakes at that place, and that there are 
certain cavities caused by the earthquakes, and that salt water has flowed from the same. All of which 
I communicate to you for your information. 

May the Lord preserve your life many yeai-s. HERMENEGILDO SAL. 

MONTEREY, October 31, 1800. 

In this connection it may be well to give the letter written by the captain of the presidio at San 
Francisco to the governor, on the seventeenth of July, 1808, which says : 


I have to report to your Excellency that since the twenty -first of June last up to the present date, 
twenty-one shocks of earthquake have been felt in this presidio, some of which have been so severe that 
all the walls of my house have been cracked, owing to the bad construction of the same, one of the 
ante-chambers being destroyed ; and up to this time no greater damage has been done. It has been for 
the want of material to destroy, there being no other habitations. The barracks of the fort of San 
Joaquin (the name of the fort at the presidio] have been threatened with entire ruin, and I fear if these 
shocks continue, some unfortunate accident will happen to the troops at the presidio. 

God preserve the life of your Excellency many years. Luis ARGUELLO. 

SAN FRANCISCO, July 17, 1808. 

While services were in progress on a Sabbath in September, 1812, an earthquake shook down a 
church at San Juan Capistrano, the roof falling in, thirty persons being killed, and the building 
destroyed. On the same day the church at Santa Inez was thrown down. In 1818, the church at the 
mission of Santa Clara was destroyed by an earthquake. 

In 1807, the Russians first made their appearance in California, with unequivocal intention of 
becoming a party in interest. In May of that year, one of the vessels of the empire sailed into the 
harbor of San Francisco, having a distinguished Russian official on board, Count Von RosanofF, the 
royal chancellor of the czar. He came with the design of entering into a political compact that had in 
view California as the base of supplies for the more northern of the fur stations of his people. Pending 
the negotiation, he met Dona Concepcion Arguello, a daughter of the commanding officer, whose dark 
eyes made a captive of the emperor's envoy, and caused the " stranger of the north" to seek a double 
alliance, a union of hearts and states. There were, however, serious obstacles looming up, that cast an 
ominous shadow beyond. The young count was a conscientious member of the Greek Church, while the 
fair Dona, his promised bride, was a daughter of the church of Rome. Yet what obstacle ever retards 
the feet of love] what chasm can it not span with hope] On the wings of fancy he would seek the 
czar, and, as trusted agent, ask for permission of his master to be allowed to serve his country and the 
crown, by binding the province of Spain to the destiny of Russia, with a commercial treaty guaranteed 
by a matrimonial alliance with a daughter of one who was a ruler in the land. Armed with the consent 
of his own prince, he would away to the south and convince the king of Castile that the interests of the 
church should yield to those of state. That the interests of state were for Spain and his own country 
to join hands in their outlying colonies of the Pacific what could be plainer ] Success was certain ! 
With this fond hope he sailed, and when passing by swift stages through northern Siberia, en route for 
home, he was thrown from a horse and killed. A sad end to that beautiful dream of a life, the only 
tale of love that has become a part of California's history. The fair Dona watched in vain for her 
lover's return ; and when he came not, she took upon herself the habit of a nun, devoting her life to the 
teaching of the young, and care of the sick ; dying at Benicia, in 1860, respected and loved by all who 
had known her. 

The death of the count put an end to further negotiations, and we find that in a very different 
spirit Russia took possession of the port at Bodega in 1812, coming with one hundred soldiers and one 
hundred northern Indians. They established themselves about thirty miles from the fort. They erected, 
in 1820, Fort Ross, and having held possession of that immediate section of the country for thirty years, 
finally sold to Capt. J. A. Sutter what could not be easily transported, and because of request to do so 
by the United States, left California in 1842, as unceremoniously as they had come. From this point 
they shipped supplies to their fur station in Russian America (now Alaska. ) They raised grain, stock, 
and trapped extensively in the adjacent waters, having, in 1841, as many as eight hundred Russians in 
the country, as well as numerous natives in their employ. 


570 ~2J 

In 182^, Mexico declared her independence of Spain, and California imitated her example on the 
ninth day of April of the same year. We have but to append the names of the different Governors that 
had been appointed to the California province during the fifty-five years it had been subject to that 
empire, and drop the mother country from our history : 

From To 

Gaspar de Portala 1769 1771 

Felipe Barri 1771 1774 

Felipe de Neve 1774 1782 

Pedro Fages 1782 1790 

Jose Antonio Romeri 1790 1792 

Jose Joaquin de Arrillaga 1792 1794 

Diego de Borcica 1794 1800 

Jose Joaquin de Arrillaga 1800 1814 

Jose Argiiello 1814 1815 

Pablo Vijicente de Sola 1815 1822 


Fourteen of the Twenty-four Years that California was a Mexican Territory. 

( -alif ornia's First Revolution The Indians, in Attempting to Imitate their Superiors, Burn their Chief California' 
Second Revolution and what she Became A Proposition to Change her Name Colonization Law Indicates a 
Change of Policy Colonization and Secularization Ordered Four years Later Pious Fund Furs as a Source of 
Revenue Foreigners Settling in the Country The Government is Suspicious of them Jedediah S. Smith's 
Forlorn HopeSerious Troubles Begin The First Insurrection in California Secularization Attempted The 
Brave Victoria and the Third California Revolution The First Revolutionary Blood Tale of Victoria Anarchy 
Reigns Figueroa Takes the Reins of Government His Difficult Position His Colony under Hijar The Second 
Insurrection Occurs at Los Angeles Death of Figueroa Population of California in 1835. 

On the ninth day of April, 1822, ten of the principal officials of California, including the governor, 
and, by proxy, the father president, signed at Monterey a declaration of independence from Spain, trans 
ferring their allegiance to Mexico. The document was a primitive affair ; the struggle was without the 
shedding of blood ; and with hardly a ripple upon the political sea, this province was transferred to a 
new master. 

When the Indians came to know that the whites had deposed their king, it had a corresponding 
effect upon them. They also had a chief that was unpopular among them, and, in imitation of their 
superiors, proceeded to remove him from power in a summary way, and in a manner that indicated a 
lack in those converts of a complete knowledge of the principles of the Christian religion. They called 
a general meeting, and, after a day of festivity, closed the carnival by making a bonfire of their chief. 
The priests gave them a severe verbal reprimand for the barbarous act, when it came to their knowledge, 
and the Indians' reply was : " Have you not done the same in Mexico] You say your king was not 
good, and you killed him. Well, our captain was not good, and we burned him ; if the new one 
should l>e bad, we will burn him too." 

In 1824, Mexico became a republic, similar in form to that of the United States. California, 
without change of pulse, simply accepted the situation ; but not having sufficient population for a state, 


she became a territory under the new regime. As a territory, she was entitled to have a delegate in 
congress, who could speak but not vote ; to have a governor whose title was to be " Political Chief of the 
Territory," and to have a legislature, to be called the "Territorial Deputation." That deputation, 
July 13, 1827, entertained the proposition of changing the name of California to " Moctesuma," but it 
failed. In August of the first year of the republic, Mexico passed a colonization law, in many respects 
so liberal that it clearly demonstrated a change in the policy heretofore practiced, of considering 
California only in the light of a monastic province. Four years later, congress adopted rules for the 
enforcement of the colonization laws, and ordered the secularization of the missions. This was an 
unequivocal step, that indicated an intention to have the civil outgrow the church power in the territory. 
The year previous, in 1827, the government had seized seventy -eight thousand dollars of the pious fund, 
and from that time forward what remained of it became a strong motive power in the final struggle 
between church and state. 

In the meantime, the governor of California had learned that in the waters of the interior there 
existed a wealth of furs, that was important as a source of revenue. These furs were valued abroad 
the Russian occupation had taught them that and they sold licenses to trap. In time the trappers 
became better informed in regard to the country than were the Spaniards ; and gradually its value 
became wider known, and a trapper here, a sailor there, settled along the coast, until finally a formidable 
foreign element had fastened itself in the country. Yet this foreign element was viewed with mistrust, 
both by the civil Government and the church. An instance of this kind was strongly exhibited in 1827, 
by the act of Father Duran, who was in charge of the San Jose mission. A company of American 
trappers, commanded by the first American that ever passed into California from over the mountains, 
was encamped near that mission, when the father sent an Indian to ascertain why they were there. The 
following letter, taken back by the priest's envoy, speaks for itself : 

REVEREND FATHER : I understand, through the medium of one of your Christian Indians, that you 
are anxious to know who we are, as some of the Indians have been at the mission and informed you that 
there were certain white people in the country. We are Americans on our journey to the River Columbia; 
we were in at the Mission San Gabriel in January last. I went to San Diego and saw the General, and 
got a passport from him to pass on to that place. I have made several efforts to cross the mountains, but 
the snows being so deep, I could not succeed in getting over. I returned to this place (it being the only 
point to kill meat), to wait a few weeks until the snow melts, so that I can go on ; the Indians here also 
being friendly, I consider it the most safe point for me to remain, until such time as I can cross the 
mountains with my horses, having lost a great many in attempting to cross ten or fifteen days since. 
/ am a long ways from home, and am anxious to get there as soon as the nature of tlie case will admit. 
Our situation is quite unpleasant, being destitute of clothing and most of the necessaries of life, wild meat 
being our principal subsistence. I am, Reverend' Father, your strange but real friend and Christian 

May 19th, 1827. J. S. SMITH. 

For further information in regard to Mr. Smith and his overland trip, the reader is referred to the 
account of the trapper occupation of California in another chapter. 

Serious trouble began in California in 1830, when, one night, a hundred armed men under Soliz 
surprised the territorial capital, Monterey, and captured it without any one being hurt, gaining a blood 
less victory. In a few weeks, his party was defeated by that of the governor, and the only thing worthy 
of further note regarding this insurrection was the clause in the Soliz manifesto, declaring his intention 


to not interfere with foreigners in the country. This showed that the foreign element had become 
sufficiently strong on the coast at that time to make it policy not to incur its ill-will. 

Escheandia, the governor who had defeated Soliz, was a man of poor health and narrow views. He 
attempted to enforce the mission law of 1813, but was removed from office by the arrival of a new 
governor, the fiery Manuel Victoria, who put a stop to Escheandia's schemes of secularization. Victoria 
introduced his plan of governing to the Californians by ordering a couple of convicted cattle-thieves shot 
on the plaza. This stopped cattle- stealing, but the shooting, not being authorized by law, furnished his 
enemies with an excuse for setting on foot another little rebellion, led by Portala, the friend whom he 
had trusted most. The hostile forces met, northerly from and near Los Angeles. Portal4 was at the 
head of two hundred vagabonds, Victoria being followed by about thirty soldiers and friends. The 
governor called upon the rebel leader to surrender, and thus learned, for the first time, that the friend he 
had trusted was before him in arms. A frenzy of "sacred fury" seemed to seize the heroic Victoria, at 
this exhibition of base treachery, and drawing his saber he hurled himself upon the enemy like an 
avenging Nemesis, driving them, almost single-handed, from the field. The first revolutionary blood was 
shed in California that day. The governor moved on victorious to the mission of San Gabriel, where he 
was forced to halt, because of the numerous wounds he had received. At his side had fallen in the 
recent conflict one of his bravest supporters, the grandfather of our late governor Paeheco; and, no 
longer being able to flash that death-dealing saber in the face of his foes, with his staunchest defender 
slain as brave men die, he was left with no alternative but to give his word to resign as governor, and 
leave forever the territory, when called on to do so by the jackals that had rallied from the recent defeat, 
when they learned that the lion was no longer able to defend hiiuself. He kept his word, as the truly 
brave always do, though urged not to do so ; and returning to Mexico, entered a cloister, devoting the 
remaining years of his life to religious pursuits. 

When Victoria left, anarchy came, and California was given up to misrule, confusion, robbery and 
murder. The mission Indian was informed that he was free, and what was freedom without it included 
a right to do wrong, a right to steal, and a right to rob 1 It was a happy day for the distracted land that 
saw Jos Figueroa pick up the reins of government in January, 1833. In August of that year, the 
Mexican congress passed the colonization and secularization laws, and the dismemberment of the missions 
commenced. It was when the dissolution was taking place of the old church plan of government, with 
ignorance and bigotry to contend with, accumulated at the last as a result of her misguided policy, that 
Figueroa was placed between it and the vigorous young growth of the new policy, that looked more to 
the prosperity of a race superior to the Indian. He was expected to deal justly, as between these two 
contending elements, and to render justice to either was to gain the ill-will of the other. To add to his 
perplexities, a colony of about three hundred persons was sent by the home government with a governor 
at their head, to take charge of affairs in California. The members of the colony were to receive fifty 
cents per day, until they arrived in the territory. But before they reached it, Santa Anna had over 
turned the home government and sent orders overland that put the new colony and its governor under 
the control of Figueroa, who sent them all to the mission of San Francisco Solano, north of San 
Francisco bay. They were discontented, and became a source of great trouble to the governor. A 
couple of them, assisted by some fifty others, inaugurated a revolt at Los Angeles on the seventh of 
March, 1835 ; but the affair ended with the day. Six months later the body of Figueroa lay dead at 
Monterey. He had been a true friend, an able statesman, a conscientious ruler, and, finally, heartsick 
and discouraged, he lay down to die. Peace to his ashes he was the ablest governor Mexico gave to 
California, though her people gave him little peace while living, but loved and honored him when dead. 


At this time, in 1835, according to Forbes, the free population of California numbered, not including 
Indians, at 

Los Angeles . 1 ,500 

San Jose 600 

Santa Cruz or Branciforte 150 

In other parts of the Territory 2,750 

Total in 1835 5,000 

" " 1802 , 1,300 

Increase in 33 years 3,700 

Mission Indians in 1835 18,683 

" 1802 15,562 

Increase in 33 years 3,121 


The Last Ten Years That California was a Mexican Territory. 

Wars from the Atlantic to the Pacific, 1836 Alvarado, Assisted by the Graham Rifles, Overturns the Territorial 
Government Conditional Declaration of Independence, November 7, 1836 The Graham Rifles Persuade the 
Southern Californiaus that Liberty is Desirable Carlos Carillo Levies War and is Captured Castro Describes 
the Action Two Days' Battle and One Man Killed Foreigners viewed with Suspicion Alvarado Appointed 
Governor by Mexico, and California Loses her Conditional Independence Foreigners Imprisoned and Sent to 
San Bias in Irons Mexican Authorities Set the Prisoners Free and Imprison the Guard Graham Returns to 
California to Confront those who had Arrested him French and Americans Enter Monterey Harbor to Demand 
an Apology, but find no one to make the Demand from General Micheltorena Arrives, to Relieve both Alvarado 
and Vallejo His Vagabond Soldiers Startling News Interrupts his Triumphal March Commodore Jones Captures 
Monterey Alvarado Starts a Revolution by the Seizure of San Jos4 Micheltorena Starts in Pursuit of the Rebels, 
Headed by Castro, and Captain C. M. Weber Brings him to a Halt Castro Returns and Forces Micheltorena to 
Surrender Why Captain Weber Interfered Micheltorena Asks Sutter for Help and he Immediately Responds 
Weber's Susceptibility to the Charms of the Fair Causes him to visit Sutter's Fort, where he is Suspected of being 
a Spy, and Put in Irons Sutter's Expedition What it Consisted of It Moves South The Embryo Stockton 
Depopulated Fate of Poor Lindsay Dr. Marsh His Views of what the Policy of the Foreigners should be- 
Sutter First Learns from Forbes that the Same Class of Men are Helping Castro, that he is taking with him to 
Aid Micheltorena Sutter Received with Military Honors Castro Captures the Advance Guard of the Governor 
The Battle of San Fernando Foreigners Fraternize Sutter Withdraws from the Field and Micheltorena Sur 
renders Articles of Capitulation Micheltorena Sails for Mexico Sutter Returns to his Fort in the North Pio 
Pico Appointed as the Last of the Mexican Governors of California List of Mexican Governors of California. 

The year 1836 was charged with events that were important in their final results, in molding the 
destiny of California. In the United States, Arkansas was admitted into the Union as an equal, and 
Wisconsin was organized as a territory. The Creeks in Georgia, and the Seminoles, under Osceola, in 
Florida, were waging a fierce war against the whites ; while on the border between the United States 
and Mexico, the Texans had hoisted the Lone Star flag, and forced a recognition of their independence 
from Mexico. Contention seemed to impregnate the air in North America, and California did not 


The government was overturned hei*e that yeUr by Juan B. Alvarado, a native Californian, who for 
several years had been clerk of the territorial deputation. The dispute grew out of a point of military 
etiquette between him and the governor, as to the posting of a guard, and waxed so fierce that Alvarado 
was forced to flee from the capital to avoid arrest. He sought the home of a Tennessee trapper in the 
Santa Cruz mountains, named Isaac Graham. He entered the log cabin a fugitive ; he passed out of it 
a conspirator. A few days later, at the head of fifty foreigners, led by that trapper, and one hundred 
native Californians under Jose Castro, he entered Monterey at night, and forced a greatly superior force 
to surrender. The governor, his officers an:l soldiers, were sent out of the country, and the fourth 
revolution in California had been accomplished; this time, the foreign element, led by an American, 
being used as the motive power, with success as a result. 

On the seventh of November, a few days after the successful termination of the revolt, the territorial 
deputation met at Monterey and passed six resolutions, of which we give three: 

1st. Upper California is declared to be independent of Mexico during the non-re-establishment of 
the federal system which was adopted in the year 1824. 

2d. The said California shall be erected into a free and governing state, establishing a congress, 
which shall dictate all the particular laws of the country and elect the other supreme powers necessary, 
declaring the actual " Most Excellent Deputation " constituent. 

3d. The religion shall be the Roman Catholic Apostolic, without admitting the exercise of any 
other ; but the Government will not molest any person for their particular religious opinions. 

Santa Anna had nullified, that year, the constitution of 1824; and they wanted it back again, and 
proposed to be a free people until their wishes were complied with ; but they failed to get what they 
desired. The home government fulminated some fierce proclamations, and then subsided. Alvarado was 
placed at the head of the new government, and Mariano G. Vallejo was made general of the army. 
The northern part of the state readily accepted the new government, but south they viewed it with reserve, 
and General Castro was consequently sent there with Graham and his fifty riflemen, when, as Tuthill 
aptly says; "All that portion of the country was readily persuaded that independence was desirable." 

The uncle of Alvarado, Carlos Carrillo, was sent a commission as governor, by the home government, 
and he immediately levied war upon his nephew, but was, with the assistance of the Graham Rifles, as 
promptly captured as he had been prompt to commence hostilities. In the report by General Castro to 
Governor Alvarado, made March 28, 1838, he thus mentions the battle that resulted in Carrillo 's 
capture : " I have the honor to announce to your excellency that after two days 1 continued fighting 
without having lost but one man, the enemy took flight, under cover of night, numbering one hundred 
and ten men; and I have determined to dispatch one company of mounted infantry, under command of 
Captain Villa, and another of cavalry lancers, under command of Captain Cota, in their pursuit, 
remaining myself with the rest of the division and the artillery, to guard this point. * * *" 

A two days' conflict, with constant firing, covers the battlefield with one dead enemy! "There 
were giants in the earth in those days." 

Alvarado had begun to look with suspicion upon his allies, the foreigners, who had transformed him 
from a clerk to a governor. Time sufficient had elapsed to learn the result of foreign influence in Texas. 
It had overshadowed the descendants of the Spanish race there, and the Americans had become their 
rulers. To aggravate matters, Graham and some of his men, not being famed for their modesty, openly 
declared that, but for them, Alvarado would not have succeeded in the first instance, and that his 
continuance in office was due to the same cause. Certainly, Alvarado was justified in being alarmed at 
the outlook, and especially so because of the ever-present obtrusive reminder by the Graham Rifles of 
their importance to him as a political or military power in the territory. To maintain independence 



from Mexico necessitated a dependence upon those foreigners, and to be dependent upon them was to 
foster an element that would eventually become their masters. Circumstances seemed to force a choice 
as between Mexican and foreign dependence, and the instincts as well as sympathies of race drew the 
Californians back, to harmonize with that from which they had declared themselves conditionally free. 

In pursuance of this policy, Alvarado, immediately after the suppression of the armed attempt by 
his uncle to reinstate Mexican rule in California, opened conciliatory negotiations, that resulted in his 
being appointed provincial governor in 1838. In return for this he acknowledged the authority that he 
had formerly rebelled against, and was then, in 1839, appointed governor. The necessity for the Graham 
Rifles was passing away. California was divided into two districts, the line of division running east 
from San Luis Obispo. Castro was made prefect in the north, and Pefia in the south Governor 
Alvarado having his headquarters, as before, at Monterey. 

Graham and his followers had finally become so obnoxious to the authorities that it was determined 
to seize and send them out of the country. This captain of the formidable Rifles unwittingly furnished 
them with the necessary excuse. Having a fast horse, he challenged California to produce a faster one, 
and a Yankee accepted the challenge. To make all secure, writings were drawn, setting forth the con 
ditions of the horse-race. A government spy chanced to see the document, and as it was written in 
English it was unintelligible to him. This was sufficient; what he lacked in knowledge was made up in 
imagination, and Alvarado was promptly informed of a deep-laid conspiracy to overthrow the government. 
Immediately General Castro was ordered to seize Graham and all his coadjutors, the order being executed 
on the night of April 7, 1840. Simultaneously through California that night the foreigners except 
Sutter, his men, those connected with the Hudson Bay Company, and the Russians in Sonoma were 
arrested and taken, about one hundred of them, to Monterey. Some twenty of the most dangerous were 
put in irons and shipped to San Bias, on the Mexican barque Guifuoscana. From there they were 
conducted overland on foot to Tepic, by General Castro, where he and the guard were placed under 
arrest and the prisoners set free. This cool reception of Castro by the Mexican authorities was due to 
the influence of the American and British consuls, who entered their protest against the treatment their 
countrymen had received at the hands of the Californians. Graham and his men were quartered at the 
best hotel, clothed, armed, equipped, and in July, 1841, were sent, at government expense, back to con 
front the astonished Alvarado and amazed inhabitants of California, who had celebrated the day of their 
banishment by a public mass and general thanksgiving. After this, Graham and all over whom he had 
influence could be counted on as certain to oppose whatever Alvarado, Castro or Vallejo favored. 

In the meantime matters had moved with unusual quiet in the country, except the ripple caused by 
two war vessels, one French and the other American, that had sailed one day into the harbor at 
Monterey, soon after the seizure of the foreigners, to demand an apology for that act ; but finding no one 
to whom to address the demand, they had sailed away again, and no apology was made. The governor, 
learning of the intention of the commanders of those vessels, had immediately set out to quell an 
imaginary insurrection in the interior, and thus avoided the disagreeable consequences of his acts. A 
misunderstanding had arisen, during this term of quietude, between Vallejo and the governor, each being 
anxious to get rid of the other, and both had written to the home government asking for the other's 

Both of these requests were complied with. General Micheltorena was appointed to fill the offices 
of general and governor, and arriving at San Diego in August, 1842, immediately assumed control, 
backed by a formidable number (four hundred) of veteran convicts that had come with him as soldiers, 
to become the standing army of California. Mexico had sent them from her prisons to insure the 
maintainance of her authority in the territory. 


He was received like a prince, because he was sustained by an army, and was making a kind of 
triumphal tour of the state. About thirty miles out from Los Angeles, when on his way to San Diego, 
his progress was arrested by the receipt of news to the effect that Commodore T. A. O. Jones had, on 
the nineteenth of October, seized Monterey, the capital, and hoisted the American flag, declaring that 
Upper California was the property of the United States. 

The news was received by him about 11 P. M., on the twenty-fourth of October, and the next day 
he issued from the mission of San Fernando that extraordinary proclamation to the Californians which 
reads : 

" Drive all your horses and cattle from the sea-board to the mountains, and starve out the enemy." 

Some one, probably Josh Billings, has said that an absence of body is better than presence of mind, 
in case of danger; and although Micheltorena had not consulted with Billings, he was evidently of the 
same opinion. 

The day succeeding the capture, Jones became satisfied that he had made a mistake in supposing 
that the United States had declared war against Mexico, and consequently took down the American flag, 
apologized, fired a salute as the Mexican colors were run up in its place, and sailed on the twenty-first 
for Mazatlan, from whence he forwarded dispatches to his government, laying before it the details of the 

On the seventeenth of January, 1843, he sailed into the port of San Pedro, landed, and, accom 
panied by his staff", visited Los Angeles, where Micheltorena gave a ball in honor of the visit. This 
visit was made by Jones that he might, as far as possible, eradicate the injurious effects of his premature 
seizure of Monterey. He looked over the bill of damages presented by the California government, 
among which were an item of $3,000 for damages to the Mexican troops, because of their rapid march 
to the interior, on receipt of the news of his seizure of Monterey. 

The appointment of Micheltorena had reduced the rank and importance of all three of the native 
California officials, Alvarado, Vallejo and Castro ; and it resulted in bringing those parties together again, 
causing them to unite in an effort, to expel the governor that Mexico had sent them, with the vagabond 
soldiery he had brought into the country with him. 

Hostilities were inaugurated in November, 1844, by the capture of the mission of San Juan by 
Vallejo and Castro, where the surplus ammunition had been stored by the governor. After the capture 
of the magazine stores, the insurrectionary forces fell back up the country, taking San Jose in their 
march, passed up the east side of San Francisco bay, towards the present site of Oakland. The retreating 
force was under the command of General Jose Castro, and was a couple of days' march in advance of 
Micheltorena, with whom he was afraid to risk a battle. 

Up to this time the foreigners had not openly appeared in the contest, although W. G. Ray, who, 
with J. A. Forbes, was in charge of the Hudson Bay Company's business in California, had become heavily 
involved, in secretely aiding the forces under Castro to arm themselves. But about twelve miles north 
of San Jos6 there suddenly appeared in front of Micheltorena's advancing columns a little band of brave 
men, the irrepressible foreigner, that caused them to halt in their march. The circumstances that led to 
this obstruction of the governor's line of progress, and the results that were caused by it, were related to 
us by Capt. C. M. Weber, who commanded that little company of brave men, who, with arms, demanded 
that the advancing army pass around and not through San Jose. Those circumstances were embodied in 
the history of San Joaquin county, written by us in 1878, and from that work we copy the following: 

" The captain (Weber) was in business at the pueblo of San Jos4 when the war broke out, and was 
acquainted with, and personally friendly with Micheltorena and Castro. He had a very large stock of 


goods in the place, and was anxious on account of it. He knew that the soldiers under Micheltoi-ena were 
mostly convicts, turned loose from the prisons in Mexico, and were dependent upon the meagre revenue 
derived from forced loans and plunder for their pay. His goods would be a rich prize, and if they once 
entered San Jose they would be sure to help themselves to what he had; consequently all his interests 
were opposed to the occupation of the town by such a body of men. As Micheltorena advanced, Jose 
Castro became alarmed, and, leaving the village to its fate, retreated up the valley towards Oakland with 
his forces ; thereupon Captain Weber addressed a comnmnication to the commander of the advancing 
forces, stating that Castro had left there, and asking him if he would not pass to one side of the pueblo, 
and not enter it with his troops. Micheltorena replied that he found it necessary to pass through San 
Jos in pursuit of Castro. In the meantine, the captain received prompt information to the effect that 
the governor had lost control of his soldiers, who insisted on entering the village for plunder, whereupon 
he caused the tocsin of war to be sounded through the streets. The people assembled and the captain 
presented the position of affairs, and told them that he believed with a force composed of citizens and 
foreigners in the place the advancing army could be checked, and forced to take a different route in their 
line of march after Castro. A company was immediately formed, placed under his command, and moved 
out to meet the enemy a handful against a host. He sent a courier in advance to Micheltorena, advising 
him of what he was doing, and that it was done, not in a spirit of opposition to him personally or the 
cause he represented, but with a determination to protect their homes from plunder. The forces met 
some twelve miles out from the village, and for several days the entire army, numbering several hundred, 
was held in check by this little band of daring men under Captain Weber. Castro, hearing of the fact, 
became ashamed of himself, turned back from his retreat, joined the captain with his forces, took 
command of the army, and forced Micheltorena to surrender, and, finally, to agree to leave California 
and return to Mexico. 

Micheltorena immediately withdrew with his forces to Monterey, as Castro supposed, to embark 
for Mexico, according to the aimistice. This was not, however, a part of the governor's plan. He had 
sent post to Sutter, at the fort on the northern frontier, offering him, as an inducement to come with a 
force to his assistance, to confirm all the grants of land that Sutter, as a justice, had recommended. 
Immediately the captain set on foot active operations to raise a battalion to march to the governor's 
relief, not knowing at the time that many of the foreign population were in active co-operation with 
Castro and the native Calif ornians. 

Capt. C. M. Weber, supposing that the war had ended, made a visit to Yerba Buena (now San 
Francisco), and while there learned that some families had come from over the plains to Slitter's Fort, 
among whom were young ladies; and said the Captain, "I became possessed of a desire to look upon the 
face of a lady fresh from civilization." Accordingly, accompanied by a friend, he visited the fort, and 
there saw for the first time the woman who became his wife. She was a sister of the Murfys of San Jose. 
He found a very unexpected state of things existing on the frontier. Everybody was in active prepara 
tion for a renewal of hostilities ; and instead of being received as a friend, he found himself viewed with 
mistrust that culminated in his being placed under arrest. 

A council of war was called, and supposing that he had come among them as a spy in the interest 
of Castro, they signed the following document as the result of their deliberations: 

We the subscribers, chosen as a council of war, have unanimously resolved the following : 

1st. That Mr. Weber be put in irons, and detained in the fort (New Helvetia) until such time as 
we may receive orders from his excellency the governor (Micheltorena) as regards his disposal. 


2nd. That Mr. Pearson B. Reading be requested to keep Mr. Weber in a convenient room, and 
afford him such necessaries as circumstances may admit of and his safe detention may require. 


J. BIDWELL, Secretary. 

For thirty-three years this document, in which the founder of Sacramento orders the founder of 
Stockton put in irons, has been kept by the latter, almost forgotten, among his choice papers, and was, 
with others, kindly photographed for us iA 1878, by his orders. The personal feeling existing at that 
time between these two men was friendly ; but S utter, as well as the others, feared to risk the possible 
result of turning loose so formidable an opponent as Mr. Weber had proved that he could be, if he felt 
so disposed. 

Lieut. David T. Bird, who later was for many years a resident of Yolo County, accompanied Captain 
Sutter on the expedition, and remained with him until his return to the fort. To the lieutenant, also 
to J. Alexander Forbes, who was a strong supporter of Castro and a friend of the captain, we are indebted 
for many of the facts incident to the campaign that resulted in the surrender of Micheltorena at San 
Fernando. It was in January, 1845, that the force, under command of Capt. John A. Sutter, took up 
its line of march to join the Mexican governor at Monterey. The command consisted of about one 
hundred and fifty Indians, armed with muskets, under the leadership of Raphero, a Mokelko chief, and 
some sixty frontiersmen, armed with hunting rifles, commanded by Captain Gant. There were no 
lieutenants or sub-officers, Sutter and Gant being the only ones having any authority among the whites. 
There was one brass field-piece, mounted on trucks, taken along that was not brought back. 

There were but three persons from the west side of the Sacramento river Wm. Knight, D. T. Bird 
and Granville Swift who accompanied the expedition. As the little army moved south, it camped at 
the place where Stockton now stands, one night, and Thomas Lindsay, the only inhabitant of that place, 
joined them, and Stockton was left depopulated. At that time Lindsay's tule house and the cabin of a 
man named Sheldin, on the Cosumnes river above the Spanish trail, were the only habitations between 
Sutter's fort and the residence of Dr. Marsh, at the base of Mount Diablo. Poor Lindsay ! he returned 
a few weeks later from San Fernando, and was murdered at Stockton by the Polo Indians, within a few 
days after his arrival. The expedition camped one night at the ranch of Dr. Marsh, whose sympathies 
were with Castro, and who believed that the prosperity of California demanded the expulsion of Michel 
torena ; yet he considered the true policy of foreigners to be that of non-intervention, and for them to 
join either party was contrary to the best interests of the majority, and might prove fatal to many who 
were isolated or scattered over the territory. The doctor, however, accompanied Sutter south as an 

It was when camped at Dr. Marsh's ranch that Sutter first learned the true state of the conflict. 
J. Alexander Forbes, who, on July 15, 1843, had been appointed English consul, and at the time was, 
in connection with W. G. Ray, agent for the Hudson Bay Company, riding with great dispatch from 
San Francisco, met the captain at that point, and in vain sought to dissuade him from joining the 
Mexicans at Monterey. Forbes informed him of the extent of the general insurrection, and told him 
that if he persisted it would only result in- disaster to himself and friends, and array the foreign element 


in hostility to itself, as a large number of English, American, Scotch, and immigrants of every nation, 
were centering at Los Angeles to assist Castro. The reply of the captain was that he had gone too far, 
and could not turn back withoiit dishonor to himself, but from that time forward a shadow rested upon 
his command. The men had come to suspect that there was something of which they were left unin 
formed that materially concerned them. 

The junction of the Micheltorena and Sutter forces took place on the Salinas plains, a short distance 
out from Monterey, the latter being received with military honors, with banners waving, bands playing, 
and salvos of artillery. The governor was now sanguine of success, and he had cause to be, for the two 
hundred men that Sutter had added to his command included Raphero, the ablest chief then living 
among the northern tribes, and Jose Jesus, the chief of the Si-yak-um-nas, whose name had become a 
household terror among the native Californians. These chiefs, at the head of one hundred and fifty of 
their warriors, armed, not with bows and arrows, but with muskets, all nursing a hatred born of old 
grievances that had for a lifetime rankled in their bosoms against those they were going out to fight, 
made valuable allies and formidable foes. The white men who accompanied them included Isaac 
Graham among their number, the man whom Castro had taken to San Bias in irons, and whose company 
of rifles had overthrown one California governor. Those sixty men were all brave, reckless frontiersmen, 
who followed the unfortunate Sutter, and were a host within themselves. But "when Greeks joined 
Greeks then was the tug of war" Castro had a similar force assembling at Los Angeles, under the brave 
McKinley, to assist him. 

The next day after the reception, Micheltorena moved north, Castro falling back before his advance, 
towards Los Angelos. The following is an extract from a letter written to us from Oakland, California, 
in May, 1880, by Hon. J. Alex. Forbes, in response to inquiries regarding the movements of General 
Castro during that campaign : 

" The forces under General Micheltorena were at San Buenaventura, and Castro, with the force of 
Californians, at a narrow pass eight leagues beyond. On the morning of February 15, Castro's rear 
guard fell suddenly upon Micheltorena's advance, consisting of fourteen Americans, made prisoners of all 
of them, without firing a shot, and conducted them to the field where Castro had halted his forces. 
After making a speech to them, he supplied them with provisions and money, and requesting them to 
see their countrymen in Los Angeles, he told them they were all equally interested in expelling the 
wretched Mexicans from California, and, taking kindly leave of them, sent them back to Sutter, to 
whom this politic move was the second cause of sorrow. I have mentioned ihejirst to you. [Mr. 
Forbes here refers to the interview between himself and Sutter, at Dr. Marsh's ranch, when the captain 
first learned that he would have to meet in the field his friends, the foreigners, unless he turned back.] 
The forces of Micheltorena continued their march, ostensibly in pursuit of Castro, who soon reached 
Los Angeles, where he was reinforced by the native Californians and Americans, under a Scotchman 
named Jos. McKinley. Meantime the forces of Micheltorena reached the plain of San Fernando. The 
reinforced party of Castro took up a favorable position on the field, the Americans, under McKinley, in 
a ditch, forming natural rifle-pits, and the mounted Californians on the flank of the Mexican forces. 
Wild firing began by the latter, with grape and canister, without effect, and soon the rifle-shots from 
McKinley's men began to tell upon the Mexican artillerymen, but not a shot was fired against Sutter's 
men. McKinley had staked his all on the issue, having delivered his store of goods of all kinds, worth 
more than $5,000, to the California party gratis, and now he had come on that field to offer his life in 
their cause. The Americans, under Sutter, were advantageously posted regarding the position of their 
countrymen in the California party, excepting the protection afforded the latter by the ditch. The 
Mexican infantry kept up a fire of musketry at McKinley's party, and he, impatient of delay, desiring 


to speak to many of his friends in Sutter's party, left his own men, and, rushing out on the plain, with 
his rifle in one hand and waving his hat with the other, passed at a run, under a storm of musket-balls 
from the Mexican infantry, and, unhurt, was received by his friends in Sutter's party, where his cogent 
arguments soon caused their defection from the Mexican cause, and the result was the capitulation, of 
which you have the copy translation." 

The withdrawal of Sutter's command, which moved up the valley to the mission of San Gabriel, 
caused a surrender of the Mexican forces, and two days after the capitulation they embarked for Monte 
rey, at San Pedro, and from Monterey they sailed without delay for Mexico. The following are the 
articles approved by the two generals at the time of the surrender. They are an anomaly. The defeated 
commander, in the first article, attempts an implied excuse for not doing as he had promised when he 
surrendered near San Jose, the last of the same article being an excuse to his home government for his 
failure to sustain their authority in the territory ; and then the surrendering officer promotes the man 
who has defeated him to the rank of general. It will be observed, also, that the word citizen is used ; 
and thus Sutter's command, being foreigners, were not included among those who were to have their 
" lives and property guaranteed," provided they desired to remain in the territory. To close the comedy 
of absurdities, they add, as an afterthought, that the conquered is to march off like a conquerer ; and the 
victorious army, with arms, banners and drums, are to enact the farce of pretending to honor those who 
have been defeated and driven out of the territory without starting a graveyard. 



Agreement made on the Field of San Fernando between Don Manuel Micheltorena, General of Brigade and Commander - 
in-Chief of this Department, and Don Jose Castro, Lieutenant-Colonel of the Forces opposed to the Troops of Gen 
eral Micheltorena. 

ARTICLE 1. Whereas, no decision of the central government of Mexico has been received in reply 
to the permission solicited by General Micheltorena, through his Brigade Major, Don Raphael Telles, for 
the withdrawal of the general and his troops from this department for the purpose of returning to the 
interior of the republic. Wherefore, and in consequence of the present united armed opposition of the 
inhabitants of California to the said troops, against which hostile movements the general, with his small 
force and scarcity of resources, can no longer contend, he agrees to march forthwith to San Pedro, 
accompanied by his soldiers, where Colonel Castro will provide a vessel, duly victualed, for transport 
ing the general and his troops to Monterey. 

ARTICLE 2. The soldiers who may desire (voluntarily) to remain in California, shall, on their 
arrival at San Pedro, deliver up their arms to the officer of their escort, and remain as citizens, under 
the protection of the existing authorities. 

ARTICLE 3. The soldiers who may choose to follow General Micheltorena shall embark with him at 
San Pedro, carrying their arms with them ; and on the arrival of the transport at Monterey the Mexi 
can soldiers that now occupy that post shall embark thereon, also with their arms ; and in case of insuf 
ficiency of room for all of said soldiers in one vessel, another shall be provided for them, and the said 
vessel or vessels shall sail for any Mexican port the general may choose to direct. 

ARTICLE 4. The officers who may choose to remain in California shall be respected in their rank 
as officers of the Mexican army ; their lives and property shall be guaranteed, and their salaries shall 
be paid from the departmental treasury. 

ARTICLE 5. The same privileges shall be enjoyed by all the citizens who, in the present difficulties, 
have given aid to General Micheltorena. 


ARTICLE 6. All the arms, ammunition and warlike implements actually existing in the armory of 
Monterey shall be delivered to the commander. Castro, of the opposing forces, in order that with them 
he may defend the entire department and the national independence, encharged by General Michelto- 

ARTICLE 7. That henceforward the civil government of this department shall be vested in the 
presiding member of the assembly, as ordered by that corporation, according to law, for which object 
General Micheltorena will deliver a circular order to the chief of the opposing forces for immediate pub 
lication throughout the department. 

ARTICLE 8. In like manner, General Micheltorena will issue another order, that Don Jose Castro, 
lieutenant-colonel of the army, be duly acknowledged as the commanding general of this department. 

The commissioners appointed on said field for submitting these stipulations to the respective chiefs 
for their approbation or rejection, were, on the part of General Micheltorena, Don Felix Valdaz, bat 
talion commander, and Don Jose Maria Castanares, colonel of infantry ; and on the part of Colonel 
Castro, Don Jos6 Antonio Carrillo and Lieutenant Don Manuel Castro. 

On the field of San Fernando, February 22, 1845. 






Approved, CASTRO. 

ADDITIONAL ARTICLE. The division of General Micheltorena will march with all the honors of 
war, their flags flying, drums and trumpets sounding, two field-pieces, six-pounders, and one four-pounder 
culverin, with matches lighted, and will be saluted by the opposing forces under the Lieutenant-Colonel 
Don Jos6 Castro, with colors flying and drums beating. And on the arrival of General Micheltorena 
at San Pedro, the said three field-pieces, with all their caissons and ammunition, shall be delivered to 
the officer encharged by Colonel Castro to receive them. 



I hereby certify that the preceding is a correct translation made by me of a certified copy of the 
original. J. ALEX. FORBES. 

Captain Sutter remained at the mission of San Gabriel about one week, and daring that time most 
of Captain Gant's men left him, only about twenty remaining. Lieutenant Bird says : " Captain 
Sutter's forces did not surrender to General Castro, neither did the captain, but they simply drew out." 
Their line of march home was through the San Joaquin valley, leaving Tulare lake to the west as they 
moved northward, and learning that Thomas Lindsay had been killed by the Indians, as they passed 
where Stockton now is. The command reached the fort and disbanded. Thus ended the hostile move 
ments that had resulted in the expulsion of Micheltorena. The territorial deputation declared Pio Pico 
governor, and when he ceased to hold that position California had become a part of the United States. 
The following are the names of the governors of California from the time she ceased being a province 
of Spain until she became a territory of the United States, a period of twenty-six years : 



From To 

Pablo Vicente de Sola 1822 1823 

Luis Argiiello 1823 1825 

Jose Maria Echeandia 1825 1831 

Manuel Victoria 1831 1832 

Pio Pico 1832 1833 

Jos6 Figueroa 1833 1835 

Jose Castro. . . * 1835 1836 

Nicholas Gutierrez 1836 .... 

Mariano Chico '. 1836 

Nicholas Gutierrez 1836 .... 

Juan B. Alvarado 1836 1842 

Manuel Micheltorena 1842 1845 

Pio Pico.... , 1845 1846 


The Bear-Flag War, and What Led to it. 

Population in 1841 Immigrants of that Year Unpleasantness with a Grizzly Bear After 1841, Immigration Increases 
Thomas 0. Larkin's Estimate of the Population in 1846 What Captain Weber Says of the Intention of For 
eigners in California in 1841 A Lone Star State to be Carved out of California under Certain Circumstances 
Where the Division Line was to be Drawn Serious Departure from the General Policy Attempt to Organize to 
Prevent its Recurrence An Apparently Harmless Document, behind which Lurked Treason Why it Failed to 
Accomplish the Result Weber Appointed by Castro to Command the North Frontier J. Alex. Forbes Appointed 
British Vice-Consul Dispatches for Fremont and the United States Consul Fremont Enters California He 
Visits Monterey, and Asks General Castro for Permission to Recruit in the San Joaquin Valley The Request 
Granted A Singular Move on the part of Fremont He Makes toward Monterey Is Accused of having Stolen 
Horses Is Ordered to Leave the Territory He Fortifies himself and Defies the Authorities of California What 
Followed Important Official Documents Fremont Abandons Camp and Retreats to the North He helps Mas 
sacre some Indians, and then Passes over the Line into Oregon Lieutenant Gillespie Overtakes him, with Secret 
Dispatches The Night Tragedy at Klamath Lake The Oregon Road Party Finds Fremont's Camp Fremont 
Returns to California, and the Bear-Flag War is Inaugurated on the 10th of June, 1846, on the Banks of the 
Cosumnes River Sonoma Taken and the Bear Flag Hoisted on the 14th of June The Organization The Prison 
ers Sent to Sutler's Fort Young Fowler and Cowie Sent to Procure Powder, and Never Return Their Tragic 
Fate Lieutenant Ford Defeats de la Torre Fremont Joins the Revolutionists He Orders Three Persons Shot, 
in Retaliation Torre Leaves the Upper Country with his Forces Castro's Movements Fremont Becomes the 
Head of the Revolution End of the Bear-Flag War. 

In 1841, M. De Mofras estimated the population of California, not including the mission or wild 
Indians, as 5,000, and gives their nationality as 


Americans 360 

English, Scotch and Irish 300 

Other foreigners 90 

European Spaniards 80 

Mexicans 170 

Half-breeds, about 4,000 

Total population, other than Indians 5,000 

De Mofras' object in writing of, and giving statistics in regard to, the Pacific coast, was to show 
the French how they could acquire California as a province ; and he distributes that 5,000 population 
over the country as follows : 

San Diego, Presidio of 1,300 

Monterey, Presidio of 1,000 

Santa Barbara, Presidio of 800 

San Francisco, Presidio of 800 

Scattered through the Territory 1,100 

Total 5,000 

He says, in his report to the French government, that there were, in 1841, large numbers of immi 
grants coming from the United States over the plains to the Pacific coast. Most of them were on their 
way to localities further north, but there were two companies that reached this State ; one of them by 
the Santa Fe route, under charge of William Workman, arrived at Los Angeles about November. 
Among that company were : 

William Workman, died in 1876 Los Angeles. 

John Roland " 

Benito D. Wilson . . , " 

Albert G. Toomes Tehama Co. 

William Knight, died in 1849 Yolo Co. 

William Gordan, died October 3, 1876 " 

Thomas Lindsay, killed in March, 1845, by Indians, at Stockton ; William Moore, Wade Hampton, Dr. 
Gamble, Isaac Givens, Hiram Taylor, Colonel McClure, Charles Givens, Frederick Bachelor, Dr. Meade, 
Mr. Teabo, and Mr. Pickman. 

The other of the two companies, under charge of J. B. Bartelson, came by the way of Humboldt 
river into the San Joaquin valley, and arrived at Dr. Marsh's residence November 4, when they dis 
banded. The following are the names of all of that company : 

Names. Remarks. 

Captain J. B. Bartelson Captain of the party ; returned to 

Missouri ; is now dead. 

John Bidwell Lives at Chico. 

Joseph B. Chiles Still alive. 

Josiah Belden Lives at San Jose and San Francisco. 

Charles M. Weber Stockton ; died in 1881. 

Chas. Hopper Lives in Napa county. 


Henry Huber Lives in San Francisco. 

Mitchell Nye Had a ranch at Marysville ; probably 

now alive. 

Green McMahon Lives in Solano county. 

Nelson McMahon Died in New York. 

Talbot H. Greene Returned East. 

Ambrose Walton Returned East. 

John McDonel Returned East. 

George Henshaw Returned East. 

Robert Ryckman Returned East. 

Wm. Betty or Belty Returned East, via Santa Fe. 

Charles Flugge Returned East. 

Gwin Patton Returned East ; died in Missouri. 

Benjamin Kelsey Was, within a few years, in Santa 

Barbara county, or at Clear lake, 
Lake county. 

Andrew Kelsey Killed by Indians at Clear lake. 

James John or Littlejohn Went to Oregon. 

Henry Brolasky Went to Callao. 

James Dowson Drowned in Columbia river. 

Major Walton Drowned in Sacramento river. 

George Shortwell Accidentally shot on the way out. 

John Swartz Died in California. 

Grove Cook Died in California. 

D. W. Chandler Went to Sandwich Islands. 

Nicholas Dawson Dead. 

ialTJorLes. Dead. 

Robert H. Thomks Died in Tehama county, March 26, 1878. 

Elias Barnet In Polk valley, Napa county. 

James P. Springer ' 

John Rowland 

Among the list of those arriving in 1841 are the names of several who became prominent in Cali 
fornia history. One of these, Green McMahon, in May, 1846, had an encounter with a grizzly bear. 
McMahon was not armed, but he is inclined to think the bear was, and says he is not satisfied yet that 
it was not the beginning of the Bear-Flag war, that culminated in the Americans taking Sonoma, 
about four weeks later. Before the wounds that he had received in the fight were healed, he joined the 
Bear-Flag party, and eventually marched with Fremont to the south. It was of such material the little 
army was composed that made California a part of the United American States. 

After 1841, immigration materially increased, not only from the United States, but from other 
countries. Although it had taken seventy-two years for one thousand persons to come from abroad and 
settle here, yet in 1846, only five years later, Thomas O. Larkin, the American consul, estimated the 
foreign population to be eight thousand, divided as follows : 

Americans 2,000 

Other foi-eigners, favorable to the United States 3,000 

" foreigners, neutral or opposed to the United States 3,000 


Captain C. M. Weber, who was a member of one of those companies of 1841, informed us, in 1879, 
that upon his arrival in California he learned of two things that caused him to remain here. The first 
was, that the Graham Rifles, having assisted Governor Alvarado in a state quarrel, that had resulted in 
the seizure by the governor of the foreigners in 1840, had taught them not to interfere in matters of 
state when lacking the power to control. It had, in consequence, come to be generally understood that 
they were to let state or national differences among the natives alone, that they were to adopt the policy 
of non-intervention in revolutions or disturbances between the Californians and their government, and 
that such was to continue to be their policy until the time should come when numbers would make their 
wishes irresistible. The second included their hopes for the future, that caused such an increase of 
immigration in the five years succeeding 1841. The first was a policy to be pursued, as time sped on its 
way, while preparation was being made for a great event. The second was to be that event, and the 
event to be achieved was the wresting of California, or a part of it, from Mexico, and erecting therein an 
independent " lone star state," to eventually become an additional gem in the crown of Columbia. We 
would not like to have the reader misunderstand the situation at that time, or the attitude assumed by 
Americans or those from other countries. They did not come here as fillibusters or conspirators ; but 
being not of those who are the privileged class in England, in France, in Russia, or the nations of the 
old world, they consequently all, as well as the Americans, felt an instinctive leaning towards a govern 
ment that recognized civil equality, and had within itself sufficient strength and firmness to insure pro 
tection and an absence of public commotion. They saw no way to achieve such a result, except by a 
separation from Mexico, the country of endless change, and then imitating or joining the United States, 
a nation possessed of both liberty and stability. Their predilections were necessarily in favor of such 
separation from Mexico, in favor of such imitation of the land where liberty dwelt, and in favor eventu 
ally, if permitted, of becoming a part thereof. Having such feelings, they were talked among themselves, 
and thus it came to be understood generally that at some time they would unite in producing that result, 
in harmony and with co-operation of the native Californians, if possible, without their assistance, and in 
hostility to them, if necessary. The plan of operations was indefinite, and, as far as perfected, was 
known but to a few to Sutter, to Dr. Marsh, to Captain Weber, to Graham, and such as those and by 
them considered as a matter for the future, to be laid away until events and increased population should 
warrant its being brought to the front. In the meantime they were to avoid creating a party in the 
country hostile to themselves, by their non-interference in state matters, and increase the foreign popu 
lation by inducing immigration from other countries. 

One part of the general plan was to seize the northern portion of the territory, in case the whole 
of Alta California, because oi unfriendliness of the natives, could not be segregated from Mexico. The 
division line, north of which was to become a "lone star state," was to be the San Joaquin river, the 
San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun bays. The reason for selecting this as the line of division was 
because it gave a water boundary, and, on the east side of the Sacramento, an Indian line of frontier 
defense, in the person of Jose Jesus, the chief whose tribe lived on the up-coxintry side of the San Joa 
quin river. This latter was an important consideration, as he was a chief who had gained, in his forays 
and combats with the native Californian and Spaniard, a name that carried terror alike to the hearts of 
both. A knowledge of these facts was the principal inducement that caused Captain Weber to locate 
his grant north of the San Joaquin, that, should it become eventually necessary for a separation upon 
this line, his land would lie within the boundaries of the new state. 

A serious departure from the policy that had induced Weber to remain in the country was forced 
upon him in the manner previously stated in this work, at the time he prevented Michel torena from 


entering San Jos6 ; and this was followed by a more serious breach a few weeks later, when Slitter 
joined Micheltorena and McKinley took up arms against him at San Fernando. 

This had demonstrated the necessity of a definite understanding of what the plan should be for the 
future, and a system of communication that would enable the foreign population, in the various parts of 
the territory, to know what was being, or to be, done in all other localities, and thus prevent a few from 
jeopardizing the lives and pi*operty of the many by premature or ill-advised acts of hostility, and, as 
soon as it could be safely done, to unitedly strike for a segregation on the line as given. To inaugurate 
the movements by which such a result could be achieved, Dr. Marsh and Captain Weber, at San Jose, 
on the twenty-seventh of March, 1845, about three weeks after the battle of San Fernando, drew up an 
instrument which, had its true purpose been known, would probably have cost them their lives, certainly 
their liberty. A photograph of the document was presented to us by the latter in 1879, in whose pos 
session the original had been preserved through all those years. The following, except the heading, is 
the document, with the Captain's certificate as to its true meaning attached : 


The undersigned, in common with all other foreigners with whom they have been able to communi 
cate personally, being very desirous to promote the union, harmony and best interests of all the foreigners 
resident in California, have thought that this desirable object can be best attained by the meeting of 
some individuals from each of the different districts of the northern part of the country. "We therefore 
hereby invite the persons of foreign birth, whether naturalized or not, to send two or more of their num 
ber to represent them in a meeting, to be held in the Pueblo de S. Jose, on the fourth day of July next. 
It is considered to be very desirable that Monterey, Sta. Cruz, Yerba Buena, Sonoma and the districts of 
the Sacramento should be fully represented. In the meantime, we think it will be obvious to every man 
of sense or reflection, that the foreigners ought carefully to refrain from taking any part, either in word 
or deed, in any movement of a political nature that may take place in the country (amongst native 

PUEBLO OF ST. JOSEPH, March 27, 1845. 










This photograph is from an original manuscript in my possession, thtit had, in addition to the ob 
jects therein expressed, the purpose of preventing the recurrence of the event that had violently placed 
the foreign population in arms against each other, in the expulsion of Micheltorena from the country, 
by perfecting a more systematic organization, the ultimate effects of which should, when they became 
sufficiently strong, result in wresting from Mexican rule that portion of California lying north and east 
of the San Joaquin river, and north and west of the bays of San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun, and 

making it like Texas, an independent state. 

STOCKTON, Feb. 1, 1879. 


When the time came for the meeting it was found that, for various reasons, the gathering was not 
as formidable as had been desired. It included but few besides those living in the immediate vicinity of 
San Jose, consequently no general plan for combined movement was adopted ; had there been, it would 
have produced no result different from what afterwards was achieved in the occupation of the country by 
the American army and navy. But the means would have been different, and history would now 
contain no account of the "Bear-Flag war," a movement that might be classed as a spontaneous combus 
tion caused by a large dose of Americanism tinctured with apprehensions, which only attained a local 
predominence before it was, fortunately for itself, swallowed up and absorbed by the greater force that 
was, and still is, moving to the march of destiny under the stai-s and stripes. 

On the twelfth of April, Jose Castro, because of assistance rendered in defeating Micheltorena near 
San Jose, and the consequent arrest by Sutter, at New Helvetia, signed C. M. Weber's appointment as 
captain, giving him command of the northern frontier. He did not perform the duties that were unex 
pectedly assigned to him, but we give the document that the reader may understand the feeling assumed 
to be entertained by General Castro towards those of the Americans that had, so recently, been in 
hostility to him. 



As chief of this office, and duly appreciating the important services you have rendered this depart 
ment, as also the zeal and good- will you have constantly manifested for the security and progress thereof, 
I now have the pleasure of inclosing herewith a commission appointing you provisionally captain of 
auxiliary infantry, as a slight recompense for your sufferings ; and in my report of this appointment to 
the superior government, I have recommended your merits faA r orably, and strongly urged the confirma 
tion of your commission. The first important matter that invokes the care and attention of this office 
is the security of the country, for which purpose I shall require the services of persons who will 
co-operate for carrying into full effect all orders emanating from this office ; and having all confidence in 
you, I do not hesitate in selecting you as the immediate agent for this object, hereby authorizing you, on 
your return to the northern frontier, which is now unprotected, to take such measures as you shall deem 
necessary for the defence thereof. For this object you will require to be informed particularly what 
number of the foreigners actually residing there were legally admitted to this department, what are their 
present views, and whatever else you may deem conducive to the establishment of the security and 
progress of the country. If any of the foreigners who participated in the movement of Mr. Sutter (in 
favor of General Micheltorena) should desire to settle permanently in California, and feel doubtful of the 
protection of the government, you can freely offer to all those whom you may find useful and industrious 
all the guarantees they may desire for establishing themselves in this department, and for living securely 
in the exercise of their respective occupations. You will also inform them that the friendly feeling of 
this office towards them is already secured to them by the stipulation of the agreement celebrated on the 
field of San Fernando ; and you may assure all those referred to in that document, as well as other 
foreigners residing on the frontier, that they shall receive all the protection within the scope of my 

If, after making the above-mentioned scrupulous investigation, you should deem it necessary to 
enlist a military force to take arms promptly in any urgent case, for efficient defense of the country 
against foreign aggression, or from internal incursions of Indians against the lives and property of the 
inhabitants of this department, I hereby empower you to enlist such force, to be composed of men of 


your confidence and whom you may believe proper for this service, to whom you will state the object of 
this enlistment and the obligations of each of them for the fulfillment of the duties adherent thereto. 
You may also appoint, provisionally, the necessary officers for said military force, and on my arrival 
at the frontier (within a short time) I will ratify the measures you may have taken in this matter, as I 
believe they will be effected in conformity with our institutions and my wishes. 

I have only to repeat to you that I confide implicitly in your prompt and efficient action in this 
important commission, with the requisite prudence and in conformity with the interest you have so 
often manifested for the good of the country, whose integrity, as also the honor of my official position, 
are therein deeply interested. 

I have the pleasure of transmitting you this note and to offer you my distinguished respect. 

God and Liberty. (Signed) JOSE CASTRO. 

Monterey, April 12, 1845. 

To CHAS. WEBER, Esq., Captain of Auxiliary Infantry. 

January 15, 1843, J. Alex. Forbes was appointed vice-consul for England, and from that time 
forth the interests of Great Britain became an active element in the affairs of California. In October, 
1845, governmental dispatches were written at Washington for the instruction of Thomas O. Larkin, the 
American consul at Monterey, and one to Fremont, who was then on his way with sixty-two well-armed 
men, going overland to the Pacific coast, where he arrived, at Butter's Fort, December 10. In the early 
part of November, Lieut. A. H. Gillespie, by order of the president, became the bearer of those dis 
patches, and he committed to memory the one directed to Thomas O. Larkin, and then destroyed the 
document before reaching Vera Cruz, for fear its contents would compromise his government if, by any 
mischance, it should fall into Mexican hands. At that time war had not been declared, yet the diplo 
matic horizon was thunder-charged. Fremont had divided his party before reaching California, sending 
a portion under Lieut. T. Talbot by a route farther south, and they were to rendezvouz near Walker's 
pass, on the eastern side of the Sierra. On the seventh of January, 1846, Fremont left Sutter's Fort 
and moved down the San Joaquin Valley in accordance with the original plan. He failed to find Talbot 
and returned to the fort, and from there he went by water to Yerba Buena, thence to San Jose, where 
he heard of Talbot and sent Kit Carson to pilot him in. Not waiting for the return of Carson, he again 
visited Yerba Buena, and then went overland to Monterey, where, on the twenty-seventh of January, 
he was presented by Mr. Larkin to General Castro, of whom he asked the privilege of remaining in the 
San Joaquin valley for sufficient time to recruit his company. The permission was granted, but Castro 
refused to put it in writing, intimating that the word of a Mexican officer was sufficient. From that 
point Fremont joined his command at San Jose, and, instead of going to the San Joaquin valley, moved 
with his force back towards Monterey. This was a singular act on his part, and is explained by a 
statement that he found, on his arrival at San Jos, that supplies necessary for the force could not be 
purchased there, which necessitated a return to Monterey, where such stores as were desired could be 
obtained. This is a questionable explanation. Fremont was in San Jose six days before he met Castro, 
and probably knew whether there were such supplies at that place as he wanted or not; and his asking 
permit to move his force to the San Joaquin, and then, without any explanation, going in an opposite 
direction, marching towards the most important military fort in the territory with an armed body of 
men known to be recklessly brave, was, considering the strength and feeling of the foreign population, 
an act that justified General Castro in ordering him out of the territory. 

When en route for Monterey, Fremont had halted for a time at a ranch owned by Captain Fisher, 
about ninety miles out, and while stopping there a Mexican rode into camp and claimed as stolen some 


of the horses belonging to the command. The charge was known to be false, and the party making the 
claim was summarily ordered to leave. He immediately instituted legal proceedings before a civil tri 
bunal to test the ownership of the disputed property, and Dolores Pacheco, the alcalde of San Jose, 
summoned Fremont to appear before him at once and answer to the charge of holding in his possession 
property claimed by a citizen of California. The charge was evidently a case gotten up for the emer 
gency, the object of it being to stop the Americans from their march to the sea-coast, and failing in this 
to force them to so act in hostility to the law of the country as to warrant the calling out of a military 
force to expel them from it. The reply to the summons, dated February 21, was couched in language 
characteristic of Fremont, and closed as follows : 

You will readily understand that my duties will not permit me to appear before the magistrates 
in your towns on the complaint of every straggling vagabond who may chance to visit my camp. You 
inform me that unless satisfaction be immediately made, by the delivery of the animals in question, the 
complaint will be forwarded to the governor. I will beg you at the same time to enclose to his excel 
lency a copy of this note. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

J. C. FREMONT, U. S. Army. 
To Sr. DON DOLORES PACHECO, Alcalde of San Jose. 

After this unceremonious disposal of the attempt to arrest his march by the civil authorities, he 
continued his route towards Monterey until the fifth of March, when he received the following communi 
cation from the hand of an officer, backed by about eighty lancers : 

MONTEREY, March 5, 1846. 

I have learned, with much dissatisfaction, that, in contempt of the laws and authorities of the Mex 
ican Republic, you have entered the towns of the district under my charge with an armed force, which 
the government of your nation must have placed under your command for the purpose of examining its 
own territory ; that this prefecture orders you, immediately on the receipt of this communication, to 
return with your party beyond the limits of this department, with the understanding that if you do not 
comply, this prefecture will take the necessary measures to compel you to respect this determination. 

God and liberty, MANUEL CASTRO. 


Instead of leaving the territory as ordered, the next morning found him bidding defiance to the 
California powers from his fortified camp in the adjacent mountains on the summit of Pico del Gabelen 
(Hawk's peak), 2,200 feet above the level of the sea, with the American flag fastened to a limbless 
tree and floating out upon the morning air, forty feet above the heads of sixty-two as brave defenders 
as ever marshaled under its folds. On the sixth, Genei^al Jos6 Castro moved out from Monterey with 
about two hundred men and a six-pounder, to see if Fremont was leaving the territory, and finding him 
entrenched, Castro occupied his time until the tenth in making demonstrations against the Americans, 
falling short always of reaching a point within rifle-range of their entrenchments. Before staining 
Castro had written the following letter to the war minister of Mexico : 

In my communication of the 5th instant I announced to you the arrival of a captain at the head 
of fifty men, who came, as he said, by order of the government of the United States, to survey the 
limits of Oregon. This person presented himself at my headquarters some days ago, accompanied by 
two individuals (Thos. O. Larkin, consul, and Captain Wm. A. Leidesdorff, vice-consul), with the object 
of asking permission to procure provisions for his men that he had left in the mountains ; which was 
given to him. But two days ago, March 4, I was much surprised at being informed that this person 


was only two days' journey from this place (Monterey). In consequence, I immediately sent him a 
communication ordering him, on the instant of its receipt, to put himself on the march and leave the 
department ; but I have not received an answer, and in order to make him obey in case of resistance, I 
sent out a force to observe their operations, and to-day, the sixth, I march in person to join it and to 
see that the object is attained. The hurry with which I undertake my march does not permit me to be 
more diffuse, and I beg that you will inform his excellency, the president, assuring him that not only 
shall the national integrity of this party be defended with the enthusiasm of good Mexicans, but those 
who attempt to violate it will find an impregnable barrier in the valor and patriotism of every one of 

the Californians. Receive the assurance of my respect, etc. God and liberty. 


MONTEREY, March 6, 1846. , 

The American consul at Monterey became seriously alarmed for the safety of Fremont's command 
and Americans generally, on account of his operations, and forwarded letters to our consul at Mazatlan, 
asking, if any United States war-vessels were there, for one to be sent immediately to their assistance. 
Commodore Sloat received the dispatch, and at once ordered Captain Montgomery to sail for Monterey 
with the Portsmouth. The consul maintained communication with Fremont, arranged for a sailing 
vessel to hover along the coast to receive his party if they were driven there, and then anxiously 
awaited the result. On the tenth, Alexander Cody delivered to him the following communication : 

MARCH 10, 1846. 

MY DEAR SIR : I this moment received your letters, and, without waiting to read them, acknowl 
edge the receipt, which the courier requires immediately. I am making myself as strong as possible, 
with the intention, if we are unjustly attacked, to fight to extremity, and will refuse quarter, trusting 
to our country to avenge our deaths. No one has reached our camp, .and from the heights we are able 
to see the troops mustering at St. John's and preparing cannon. I thank you for your kindness and 
good wishes, and would write more at length as to my intentions, did I not fear that my letters would 
be intercepted. Very truly yours, J. C. FREMONT. 

To THOS. O. LARKIN, Esq., 

Consul for United States, Monterey. 

A fear that the letter would be intercepted undoubtedly prevented the writer from saying, " I will 
abandon my camp to-night, and bivouac in the valley of the San Joaquin without unnecessary delay ; " 
for John Gilroy, visiting it on the night of the tenth, found only the smouldering fires, abandoned pack- 
saddles and unessential camp equipage of Fremont's command. On the eleventh they were in the San 
Joaquin valley, en route for Oregon, having been joined by Talbot's detachment. They arrived at the 
trading fort of Peter Lassen, on Deer creek, near the north line of California, on the thirtieth of March, 
1846, remaining there and in the vicinity until the fourteenth of April. During his sojourn at Lassen's, 
a report was circulated that a number of Indians had congregated at a point, since known as Reading's 
Ranch, with intent to open hostilities against the few settlers scattered through the northern country. 
The surveying party, joined by five volunteers from the trading post, marched against them, and a 
slaughter took place of the natives in their rancheria, of not only the braves, but their squaws and little 
ones, a few only escaping by swimming the river. Let us believe, that we may not blush for our race, 
that only the Indians accompanying Fremont participated in the slaughter of women and children, and 
we may rest assured that it was not authorized by the officer in command. 

Two companies of emigrants, on their way from California to Oregon, had been at Lassen's ranch 


with Fremont and his party, from which point they made the final start of their journey. They went 
up the Sacramento river and followed the old Hudson Bay Company trail through Shasta valley. 
Fremont had about fifty men, having given discharges to a number in the Livermore valley. He turned 
off the regular trail and pi-oceeded up Pit river, or, as it was then called, the east fork of the Sacramento. 
He proceeded by way of Goose, Clear and Tule lakes to the west shore of Klamath lake, where he 
camped for a few days. On the ninth of May, Samuel Neal and M. Sigler rode into camp with the 
information that a United States officer was on their trail with official dispatches, and would fall a victim 
to the savages if not rescued, the two messengers having only escaped by the fleetness of their animals. 
Immediately the Pathfinder, at the head of four Indians, five trappers and the two messengers, eleven as 
brave men as ever faced an enemy, was galloping away along the west borders of the lake to the south, 
and before night had placed sixty miles between him and his camp, in his eagerness to reach and rescue 
from danger the messenger of the gftvernment. He crossed the line into California, and camped for the 
night on the basik of Hot creek, a little stream emptying into Klamath lake from the south. Just at 
sundown Lieutenant Gillespie, accompanied by Peter Lassen, who had undertaken to guide him to 
Fremont, rode into camp, and the messenger that had been for six months and six days traveling with 
the secret orders of his government, at last stood face to face with him to whom the orders were sent. 
How little those men knew, as they held each other's hands in greeting, how much of the future history 
of two great nations was to be changed, because they two had met tJiat night. How little they compre 
hended, as the gloom of night closed down upon the waters of Lake Klamath, what would have been the 
forthcoming results ere the morning, to them, and in the years beyond to their country, had not the 
shades of that particular night found them sitting by the same camp-fire. Long into the night those 
officers consulted and planned for the future. The secret dispatches were no longer a secret to Fremont, 
but have remained such till this day to the country, their contents being only known from the results 
produced. At length the camp was hushed and all of those seventeen men were sleeping, not even a 
sentinel to watch for danger, when Kit Carson, who always in his slumbers rested on the verge of wake- 
fulness, heard a dull, heavy thud, and in an instant was on his feet calling to Basil Lajeunesse, who was 
lying on the other side of the camp-fires a little out in the gloom, to know what was the matter there. 
Getting no response, the next instant his startling cry of " To arms ! the Indians ! the Indians !" brought 
every living man in the camp to his feet. There were no orders given ; there was no time for orders. 
Instinctively the trappers, Kit Carson, Lucien Maxwell, Richard Owens, Alex. Godey and Steppenfeldt 
sprang together. The Modocs, at the alarm, had instantly charged upon the friendly Indians ; Denne, 
the Iroquois, and the brave Lajeunesse were dead, the heroic Grain, a Delaware, was sinkjpg, filled with 
arrows, three of them in his heart, as the five mountain men rushed to their assistance and killed the 
Modoc chief, when his followers fled, and the midnight affray was over. 

The morning revealed the trail of the assailants, showing their numbers to have been about twenty. 
The dead chief was recognized by Lieutenant Gillespie as the Indian who, the previous morning, had 
made him a present of a salmon, with which he had broken a fast of forty hours. This act, with others, 
had led him to believe the donor friendly, and had caused him to go on his way unsuspicious of danger 
from that source. But the body of the chief lying there showed that had Gillespie failed to reach 
Fremont's camp that night, he would have met with death at the hands of the savages, who had been 
following during the day, intent upon his murder ere the morning. Had Gillespie fallen a victim before 
delivering the message that recalled Fremont to California, that officer would have continued his way 
into Oregon, and the settlers would not have ventured upon a declaration of war ; Commodore Sloat 
would not have believed that he had a cause sufficient to justify him in seizing the country, and Sir 
George Seymour would have taken possession of California for the British crown when he sailed into 


Monterey; and if the Golden State had not remained a province of Great Britain until the present 
time, it would have been because she was forced to yield it to the United States at the end of a bloody 

On the eleventh of May, Fremont abandoned his main camp and commenced his march toward the 
south. Some fifteen men were left secreted near the abandoned locality, to intercept any Indians that 
might visit the place after they had left. A few hours later the detail overtook the main body, having 
in their possession two scalps. Just before night, the advance guard of ten men, under Kit Carson, came 
suddenly upon an Indian village. They charged into it, killing many, and burned the place, but spared 
the women and children. 

Still later that day another skirmish was had, and Kit Carson's life was saved by Fremont, who 
rode an Indian down who was aiming an arrow at the scout. The Modocs fought with that same des 
perate bravery that characterized many of their after encounters, but after this disastrous result of their 
first attack upon the whites, it would seem as though they would have given them a wide*berth in future, 
but the reverse was the fact. Years afterwards, a Modoc chief related the occurrence to Hon. Lindsay 
Applegate, and in response to a question as to why they had made the attack upon Fremont, said that 
these were the first white men they ever saw, and wanted to kill them to keep any more from coming. 

In the spring of 1846, a company of Oregonians organized a volunteer expedition for the purpose of 
exploring a route west, from Fort Hall, into southern Oregon, and thence into Willamette valley. This 
party consisted of Capt. Levi Scott, John Jones, John Owens, Henry Boggus, William Sportsman, Sam 
uel Goodhue, Robert Smith, Moses Harris, John Scott, William G. Parker, David Goff, Benjamin F. 
Burch, Jesse Applegate and Lindsay Applegate, the last of whom has written an account of their trip 
from a diary kept by him. 

It was on the Fourth of July, 1846, that the road party reached Klamath river, nearly two months 
after the attack on Fremont's camp. Mr. Applegate's narrative says : " Following the river up to 
where it leaves the Lower Klamath lake, we came to a riffle where it seemed possible to cross. William 
Parker waded in and explored the ford. It was deep, rocky and rapid, but we all passed over safely, 
and then proceeded along the river and lake shore for a mile or so, when we came into the main valley 
of the Lower Klamath lake. We could see columns of smoke rising in every direction ; for our presence 
was already known to the Modocs, and the signal-fire telegraph was already in active operation. Mov 
ing southward along the shore, we came to a little stream (Hot creek), coming in from the southward, 
and there found pieces of newspapers, and other unmistakable evidences of civilized people having camped 
there a short time before. We found a place where the turf had been cut away, also the willows near 
the bank of the creek, and horses had been repeatedly driven over the place. As there were many 
places where animals could get water without this trouble, some of the party were of the opinion that 
some persons had been buried there, and that horses had been driven over the place to obliterate all 
marks, and thus prevent the Indians from disturbing the dead. The immense excitement of the Indians 
on our arrival there strengthened this opinion. * * * At this place we arranged our camp on open 
ground, so that the Indians could not possibly approach us without discovery. It is likely that the ex 
citement among the Modocs was caused, more than anything else, by the apprehension that ours was a 
party sent to chastise them for their attack on Fremont." 

The next morning the expedition left Fremont's unfortunate camp on Hot creek, found and crossed 
the famous natural bridge at Lost river, and located the emigrant road, known as the northern route, by 
way of Black Rock and Rabbit-Hole springs, to the Humboldt river and Fort Hall, which point they 
reached in August. Here they found a large number of emigrants, some bound for California, but the 
majority for Oregon. Of these latter they persuaded one hundred and fifty, with forty-two wagons, to 


try the new route they had just laid out. Among others who declined to go this way and kept on 
down the Hurnboldt was the ill-fated Domier party, whose terrible sufferings on the shore of Donner 
lake that long and cruel winter form such a sorrowful page in the histoiy of California. The road party 
hastened back to the Willamette valley, and sent oxen and horses back to assist the emigrants and get 
them safely to the valley. The Modocs scored one more white victim that fall, for one of the emigrants 
loitered behind the train near Lost river, and the Indians pounced upon him and took his scalp to 
their island home in the lake. From that year this road has been largely used by emigrants to southern 
Oregon and northern California. In 1848 the old pioneer, Peter Lassen, led a company of emigrants 
with twelve wagons over the road, turning off at Pit river and going down that stream, and crossing 
over to the head of Feather river, which he followed down to the valley. This route has been much 
used, and is known as the Lassen road. 

After his disastrous adventure in the Modoc country, Fremont continued his journey south, and 
without further adventure reached Butte creek, in the vicinity of the Buttes, on the twenty-seventh 
of May, where he campe'd for several days, and was visited by a number of settlers. The next move of 
his little force was to the junction of the Yuba and Feather rivers, where they were found on the eighth 
of June by William Knight, after whom a landing 011 the Sacramento river, in Yolo county, and a ferry 
on the Stanislaus river were named. He informed the settlers, some twenty of whom he found there, 
that Lieut. Francisco De Arce, General Castro's private secretary, had the day before crossed the liver at 
his place with some eighty horses, which he was taking from Sonoma to Santa Clara, to be used in 
mounting men to expel the Americans from the country. 

News had just reached camp that Captain Sutter had the day before (the seventh) returned to his 
fort from what is now San Joaquin co\mty, after having had an encounter with the Mokelumne Indians, 
and had been glad to draw off and get safely on his own side of the Cosumnes river. It was supposed 
that General Castro was at the bottom of all the trouble with the natives in the valley. This was prob 
ably not true, yet the settlers believed it, and the result was the same as though the statement had been 
correct. On the morning of the ninth of June, eleven men, led by Ezekiel Merritt, left Fremont's 
camp in pursuit of Lieutenant De Arce. On the way four others joined the party, and at break of day, 
on the morning of the tenth, the fifteen settlers charged into De Arce's camp and captured the whole 
party. Castro's lieutenant was allowed to retain his arms and riding-horse, as was each member of his 
party, and to continue the journey to San Jose, but the extra horses were taken and the next morning 
were driven by the captors into Fremont's camp on Bear river, he having moved to that point in their 
absence. This was the first overt act of hostilities by the American settlei's in what is termed the 
" Bear- Flag war," and its being planned in Fremont's camp, advised by him, starting from within his 
picket-lines and returning to his headquarters with the spoils of success, make the transaction conclu 
sive evidence of what were the secret instructions conveyed by Lieutenant Gillespie to that officer on 
the banks of the Klamath lake.. Interpi-et those instructions by their effects and they would read, 
" War will soon be inaugurated with Mexico. By advices from Consul Thomas O. Larkin, at Monte 
rey, we are led to believe that England is using strenuous efforts, through Vice-Consul J. Alex. Forbes, 
to become possessed of California. To prevent the consummation of such a result you will immediately 
incite those favorable to the United States to take up arms and declare that territory a republic, such 
position being maintained until the opening of hostilities between the United States and Mexico war 
rants this government in opsnly taking possession of that country. Remember, always, that until such 
time shall come, you are not, by word or act, to make it possible to trace the responsibility of what is 
done with certainty to this department, etc., etc." After Merritt's return to camp, the question of what, 
under the then supposed state of affairs, was best to be done, was discussed, and it was finally deter- 


mined to seize Sonoma, become possessed of the military stores of that place, ani declare independence 
from Mexico. Accordingly, on the twelfth, the expedition moved, being twenty strong, under Captain 
Merritt, with that purpose in view. They crossed the Sacramento river at Knight's Landing, passed 
by the ranch of William Gordon, on Cache creek, telling him what was proposed. After they had left 
Gordon's, thirteen persons came to his house, twelve of whom took the trail of Merritt's party and soon 
became a part of it. Two of those twelve men were William L. Todd, until recently a resident of Yolo 
county, who painted the " Bear Flag," and Captain Jack Ssott, who carried from Sonoma to Fremont 
the news that Sloat had hoisted the American flag at Monterey. 

Early in the morning of the fourteenth of June, 1846, Captain Merritt's company of thirty -three 
men dashed into Sonoma and captured the little garrison of six soldiers, with nine pieces of artillery 
without firing a shot. After the captm-e, Merritt no longer desii'ing to be at the head of the revolution, 
John Grigsby was elected to that position. On the same day the Bear Flag was designed, painted and 
run up in place of the Mexican colors. It was feared that a rescue of the prisoners might be attempted 
by the rancheros, and it was decided to send them to Slitter's Fort, Captain Grigsby taking charge of 
the guard of nine men who were sent as an escort. Another election was called, and William B. Ide was 
chosen captain; Henry L. Ford, 1st lieutenant; Granville P. Swift, 1st sergeant, and Samuel Gibson, 
2d sergeant, of the forces (twenty-three men) left at Sonoma. On the sixteenth, the prisoners were 
delivered to Captain S utter at his fort, General M. G. Vallejo. Lieutenant-Colonel Victor Prudon, Cap 
tain S. M. Vallejo and Jacob P. Leese being among the number. Within a day or two after the capture 
of Sonoma, there occurred on the ranch of John Underwood, two miles north of Santa Rosa, one of 
those tragic acts of cruel barbarism that make humanity shudder. Captain Ide being in want of 
powder, sent two young men, Thomas Cowie and Mr. Fowler, to procure it from a brother of Kit Carson, 
who was at the time acting as foreman on the Fitch ranch. They did not return, and two other men 
were sent out to look for them, who did not come back. The matter was becoming serious, and Sergeant 
Gibson was ordered to take four men and, on the night of the twentieth of June, visit the point in 
question, procure the powder and learn the fate of those who had been previously sent out. The ser 
geant was successful in reaching the ranch and procuring the ammunition, but failed to get any clew to 
the mystery. About morning, on his return, he was passing Santa Rosa when he was attacked by three 
or four men, but the assault was met with such vigor that two of the assailants fell into the hands of 
the scouts, and were taken by them back to Sonoma. The name of one of those prisoners was Bernar 
dino Garcia, afterwards known in California as the famous bandit, Three-Fingered Jack, and was killed 
by Harry Love's rangers, July 27, 1853, at the Pinola pass, not far from the Merced river, the dreaded 
Joaquin Murietta meeting his death at the same time. From the two captives Captain Ide learned the 
fate of his men : the second detail sent out were prisoners, but the first two, the unfortunate Fowler and 
Cowie, had been inhumanly murdered. 

They had been captured near Santa Rosa by a party of thirteen Californians, of whom Three-Fin 
gered Jack was one. The next morning they were tied to a tree with a lariat, where for a long time 
they were forced to stand as human targets, upon whom the captors practiced throwing knives. Some 
of those blades of steel, fit emblems of their owners, passing through the flesh, became additional bands 
of iron that fastened these first victims of the Bear-Flag war to the torture-post. Tiring of this pastime, 
stones were then substituted, and the jaw of poor Fowler was broken by one, when, despairing of rescue, 
he prayed for death, begging some person less brutal than his comrades to end their miseries with a rifle, 
and there was none to respond. Among that thirteen not even one was to be found with whom the 
instinct of pity, common to the human family, was strong enough to overcome the desire to prolong the 
feast upon a spectacle exhibited in the death torture of those of his own specie. Young Cowie fainted 


as the flesh was cut from his arms and breast. Three-Fingered Jack made an incision with a knife from 
the under side of Fowler's chin up into the mouth, through which he inserted a raw-hide rope, and, 
fastening it there, laid hold of the other end and tore the broken jaw out of the face of the dying man. 
Portions were then cut from the bodies of both and thrust into their mouths ; and thus death found 
them and ended the orgies of those human ghouls in their feast upon mortal agonies. As they died so 
they were found, a ghastly spectacle, and buried out of sight to be forgotten. As sleep Fowler and 
Cowie at Santa Rosa, so rest Basil Lajeunesse and Denne at Klamath lake, the first victims in the strug 
gle for American supremacy in California. Will an artist's hand ever put upon canvas these companion 
scenes, to hang in a state gallery, as a tribute to the dead, and a reminder to the living that monuments 
should be placed at the scenes of those tragedies ? 

In the meantime General Castro had not been idle. Lieutenant De Arce had met him on the road 
between Monterey and San Jose, with news of the capture by Captain Merritt, on the Cosumnes river, of all 
the horses; and the general immediately set about raising a force, and healing animosities among the natives, 
that they might make common cause against the insurrectionary movement in the north. On the 
seventeenth of June (probably the same day that Fowler and Cowie were tortured to death near Santa 
Rosa), he issued his two proclamations, one to his countrymen and one to the foreigners of the country. 
About the twentieth, Captain Jos J. de la Torre crossed to the north side of the San Francisco bay, en 
route for San Rafael, with about seventy men. On the twenty -third of June, Harrison Pierce rode into 
Fremont's camp, at St. Clair's ranch on the north side of the American river, with the news that General 
Castro was moving on Sonoma with a large force, with the avowed purpose of hanging all the rebels he 
caught. Fremont promised to march to the relief of, that place as soon as he could mount ninety men, 
and that same day, obtaining the requisite number, started for Sonoma, where he arrived at 2 A.M. of the 
twenty-fifth. On the twenty-third, Lieutenant Ford, with twenty-three men and the two prisoners, taken 
along as guides, started on a scout to try and recapture William L. Todd and others who had fallen into Juan 
Padilla's hands, and to keep the hostile forces in check until the arrival of Fremont. He came upon the 
enemy at a ranch, when moving towards San Rafael, after having left the lagoon of San Antonio some 
four miles in the rear. It was eai-ly in the morning ; Ford had but fourteen men with him, having left 
eight as a guard at the ranch of Padilla, where he had captured four prisoners and forty horses ; and not 
suspecting how strongly the enemy outnumbered his little squad, he dashed up and captured some four 
hundred corraled horses before the Californians knew of his being in the vicinity. There was a house a 
little way beyond the corral, and the advent of the Yankees upon the scene was like tapping a nest of 
hornets ; out poured from the habitation, as though a hive of bees was swarming, eighty-five men, whose 
horses were hitched ready for mounting, in rear of the house. It was a mutual surprise party. Ford 
had not expected to find over twenty-five of the enemy, and believed that the fourteen sharpshooters 
under his command would be fully equal to that number. Immediately the action began. It was no 
time for Ford to hesitate ; he at once formed in two platoons, and charged, forcing the Californians back. 
He then dismounted the fourteen sharpshooters, and stationed them behind trees. When the enemy 
made a charge, the unerring rifles emptied eight of their saddles, as the flying horse came careering 
down upon them. This was too much, and they fled, when three more were added to the number of 
those who would fight no more battles. This ended the encounter, and the Americans were victorious. 
W. L. Todd and a companion prisoner had been left behind in the house in the confusion of the sui-prise, 
and made their escape, and Ford returned to Sonoma with his prisoners and captured horses. Fremont 
halted but a few hours at Sonoma, and then pushed on to San Rafael, where he remained several days ; 
and while he was there General Castro moved, on the twenty-seventh of June, north from Santa Clara 
to near San Leandro, on the ranch of Estudillo, with possibly 250 men. One of Fremont's scouts cap- 


tured an Indian, who had a letter from de la Torre to Castro, containing a statement that he (Torre) 
would that night concentrate his forces and attack Sonoma the next morning in Fremont's absence. 
Away rode the Pathfinder to Sonoma to frustate the scheme, but no enemy put in an appearance. On 
the contrary, it proved to have been a strategem to get rid of the Americans from the vicinity of San 
Rafael while the Californians were making their escape by water from Saucelito to join Castro, a feat 
which they successfully accomplished. 

On the twenty-eighth of June, three Californians, bearers of dispatches from Castro to de la Torre, 
were captured by Fremont's command at Point San Quentin, and all of them were shot by Fremont's 
orders, in retaliation for the inhuman murder of the two Americans at Santa Rosa. The name of the 
oldest of those unfortunate victims of the chances of war was Don Jose Reyes Berryessa, who left a wife 
and nine children to mourn the unhappy fate of the father. The other two were young men, twin 
brothers, named Ramon and Francisco de Haro. On the twenty-ninth of June, General Castro returned 
to Santa Clara, and July 1, Fremont, with twenty men, crossed the bay and spiked the guns at the 
presidio. He started on the second for Sonoma from Saucelito, after having received supplies from the 
American barque Moscow. Before starting, however, he took possession of a generous supply of ammu 
nition that had been left with a guard by Captain Montgomery, of the war- vessel Portsmouth, on shore 
to dry, placed there expecting Fremont would capture it. This ruse was adopted in furnishing munition 
of war to the rebels, to avoid making the United States government responsible for the act. Before 
leaving Sacramento, Fremont had sent Dr. Robert Semple with ten men to capture Capt. R. T. Ridley, 
the commandant of the fort at Yerba Buena. The feat was successfully accomplished, and Captain Ridley 
was delivered at Sutter's Fort on the eighth of July, as a prisoner of war. Fremont arrived at Sonoma 
on the fourth of July, and on the following day his battalion was organized, two hundred and fifty strong. 
The people assembled there, declared their independence, and chose Fremont to take the management 
of affairs. On the sixth he started with one hundred and eighty men for Sutter's Fort, by way of 
Knight's Landing, and on the tenth, when within nine miles of there, Captain Jack Scott brought to 
him from Sonoma the news that Commodore Sloat had captured Monterey on the seventh ; that Mont 
gomery had hoisted the American flag at Yerba Buena on the eighth, and that the Stars and Stripes 
had been raised at Sonoma on the tenth. On the morning of the eleventh of July, Robert Livermore 
carried to Sutter's Fort the same welcome news, and the Bear Flag came down as the Stars and Stripes 
went up, amid general rejoicing and a salute of twenty-one guns from the little brass four-pound cannon 
called " Sutter ; " and thus was ended the Bear-Flag war, by the United States taking the struggle off 
from the hands of those who had commenced it. 

General Castro received the news of Sloat's operations on the eighth, at Santa Clara, and immedi 
ately started for Los Angeles with his forces, taking along with him three prisoners, Capt. C. M. Weber, 
Washburne and D. T. Bird, having captured them in Santa Clara as they were about to join a company 
then congregating in the adjacent mountains to assist in the northern insurrection. 


The War Commenced by the Bear-Flag Party Ends in the Conquest of California 

by the United States. 

Authorities at Washington want more Territory The War Cloud Our Minister Leaves Mexico and Hostilities Begin 
Battles Fought War Declared Lieutenant Gillespie Delivers to Fremont Important Dispatches, that Cause 
him to Turn Back from Oregon and Re-enter California Commodore John D. Sloat Suspects that War has been 
Inaugurated in the East He sails to Monterey and Salutes the Mexican Flag Dispatches from the North Advise 
him of the Bear-Flag War Critical State of Affairs He Decides not to Act and then Changes his Mind Mon 
terey Seized and the American Flag Raised there Sloat's Proclamation Flag Raised at Yerba Buena, Sonoma 
and Slitter's Fort Fremont Goes Overland to Monterey and Captures the Mission Arsenal of San Juan with its 
Munitions of War What Bewildered Commodore Sloat Interview between Sloat and Fremont Sloat Refiises to 
assume further Responsibilities in the Prosecution of the War Commodore Stockton Takes Command of the Land 
Forces and the California Battalion is Formed by him out of Fremont's Command Sloat Sails for Washington and 
Fremont for San Diego Stockton Issues his Proclamation and then Sails for San Pedro His Strategy and its 
Effect What Castro's Envoys Wanted Stockton Captures Los Angeles Why it was a Bloodless Victory Cas 
tro Takes Captain Weber along as a Prisoner when he Leaves the Country The Country Organized as a Territory 
of the United States Stockton's Scheme of a Brilliant Military Movement He Visits Yerba Buena While there 
he Learns of the Insurrection at Los Angeles, under Flores, and the Danger of Gillespie's Capture A Furious Ride 
The Rider. 

For many years the authorities at Washington had been exercising their diplomacy with a view of 
adding to the area of the United American States, by an acquisition from Mexico of Texas, New Mex 
ico and California that included what is now Colorado and Arizona. Texas had revolutionized in 
1835, gained her independence in 1836, and was admitted into the Union December 29, 1845. The 
Mexican authorities were seriously opposed to the absorption of that State by their rivals of the north ; 
and our Government being secretly not opposed to a collision, misunderstandings rapidly accumulated 
after that event, until April 1, 1846, when Slidell, our minister, left Mexico, the act being in itself 
equivalent to a declaration of war on the part of the United States. On the nineteenth of the same 
month Lieutenant Porter of our army was defeated near Matamoras, Mexico ; and hostilities had be 
gun. The battle of Palo Alto was fought on the eighth of May, and on the next day that of Resaca 
de la Palma, both on the soil of Texas, our army being commanded by Brigadier-General Taylor. On 
the thirteenth of that month war was declared against Mexico by the United States. On the day 
that the battle of Resaca de la Palma was fought in Texas, Lieutenant Gillespie delivered his private 
dispatches to Captain Fremont, near the north line of California, which turned him back with the 
intention of taking that territory from Mexico. War had begun, but the fact was not known on the 
Pacific coast. Com. John D. Sloat commanded the Pacific squadron, and was at Mazatlan with private 
orders to seize California as soon as he learned of the commencement of hostilities, and not to wait for 
official information. Thirty days after the battle of Palo Alto was fought he sailed from Mazatlan, 
with a clear sky and befogged brain, not having received any direct message stating that war was in 
progress between Mexico and the United States, but strongly impressed with a suspicion that such 
was the case. 


On the second of July Sloat sailed into the harbor of Monterey, and saluted the Mexican flag. The 
Levant and Cyane wei'e already lying in that port, and all were anxiously awaiting developments, as the 
passing time was unquestionably charged with influences that ere many days, possibly hours, would 
decide the destiny of California. The fourth of July came and passed, yet carried with it no inspiration 
that caused the Commodore to risk planting the flag on Mexican soil. The sixth came, and still he 
hesitated, when just before night a little sail appeared in the offing, standing into the harbor. It was a 
launch, sent from Yerba Buena by Captain Montgomery, with Lieutenant N. B. Harrison and a crew of 
sixteen men, to advise Sloat of the Bear-Flag war in the north. They had been fifty-six hours at sea ; 
and, as they moored alongside the flag-ship, were refused permission to leave their boat, and instructed 
to hold themselves in readiness to return immediately with dispatches for Captain Montgomery, ordering 
him to render no assistance to the Americans in their insurrection on the northern frontier. The 
fatigued and weatherworn condition of the little crew so worked upon the officers of the flag-ship that 
they intei-ceded for them, and Sloat modified his order so far as to allow them to come on board for the 
night. The news spreading in the squadron of the tenor of the proposed order to Captain Montgomery 
caused considerable excitement and regret, as the officers were of the opinion that circumstances war 
ranted the seizure of the country. So strongly were they impressed with this belief that R. M. Price, 
the purser of the Cyane (since governor of New Jersey), determined to visit the commodore, though it 
was late at night, and urge his taking immediate possession of Monterey. He did so, was kindly 
received by that officer, and fortunately was successful in his mission, returning to his vessel with orders 
from Sloat for Capt. William Mervine to notify the people of Monterey that he should hoist the Stars 
and Stripes there, in the name of the United American States, at 10 A. M. in the morning. The orders 
to Captain Montgomery were changed, and he was instructed to take possession of Yerba Buena ; and 
Lieutenant Harrison, in the morning, started on his return with the dispatches. In accordance with the 
notice, at 10 A. M. on July 7, 1846, Captain Mervine landed with Parser Price and Lieutenant 
Higgins, supported by two hundred and fifty men, raised the American flag, and took possession of the 
town and country in the name of the government, Purser Price reading the commodore's proclamation 
to the people in both English and Spanish. 

We append the proclamation, as it is the declaration by which California became a part of the 
United States. The instrument shows that Sloat must have had tolerably correct information as to the 
beginning of the war and the progress it had made, although it was from sources not American, conse 
quently not relied upon by him until strongly urged. He was afraid of repeating the blunder made by 
Commodore Jones, who seized Monterey in 1842, having been induced to do so by false information 
received of a war between the United States and Mexico, that had come to him through a similar 



The central government of Mexico having commenced hostilities against the United States of 
America, by invading its territory, and attacking the troops of the United States, stationed on the north 
side of the Rio Grande ; and with a force of seven thousand men, under command of General Arista, 
which army was totally destroyed, and all their artillery, baggage, etc., captured on the eighth and ninth 
of May last, by a force of two thousand and three hundred men, under command of General Taylor ; and 
the City of Matamoras taken and occupied by the forces of the United States ; and the two nations being 
actually at war by this transaction, I shall hoist the standard of the United States at Monterey immedi 
ately, and shall carry it throughout California. 


I declare to the inhabitants of California that, although I come in arms with a powerful force, I do 
not come among them as an enemy to California ; on the contrary, I come as their best friend, as hence 
forth Colifornia will be a portion of the United States ; and its peaceable inhabitants will enjoy the same 
rights principles they now enjoy together with the privilege of choosing their own magistrates and 
other officers, for the administration of justice among themselves, and the same protection will be ex 
tended to them as to any other State in the Union. They will also enjoy a permanent government, 
under which life, property and the constitutional right and lawful security to worship the Creator in 
the way the most congenial to each other's sense of duty, will be secured, which, unfortunately, the 
central government of Mexico cannot afford them, destroyed as her resources are by internal factions and 
corrupt officers, who create constant revolutions to promote their own interest and oppress the people. 
Under the flag of the United States, California will be free from all such troubles and expenses ; conse 
quently, the country will rapidly advance and improve, both in agriculture and commerce, as, of course, 
the revenue laws will be the same in California as in all parts of the United States, affording them all 
manufactures and produce of the United States free of any duty, and on all foreign goods at one-quarter 
of the duty they now pay. A great increase in the value of real estate and the products of California 
may also be anticipated. 

With the great interest and kind feeling I know the government and people of the United States 
possess toward the citizens of California, the country cannot but improve more rapidly than any other 
on the continent of America. 

Such of the inhabitants of California, whether native or foreigners, as may not be disposed to accept 
the high privileges of citizenship, and to live peaceably under the government of the United States, will 
be allowed time to dispose of their property and to remove out of the country, if they choose, without 
any restriction ; or remain in it, observing strict neutrality. 

With full confidence in the honor and integrity of the inhabitants of the country, I invite the 
judges, alcaldes and other civil officers to execute their functions as heretofore, that the public tranquility 
may not be disturbed ; at least, until the government of the territory can be more definitely arranged. 

All persons holding titles to real estate, or in quiet possession of land under color of right, shall 
have those titles guaranteed to them. 

All churches and the property they contain, in possession of the clergy of California, shall continue 
in the same rights and possessions they now enjoy. 

All provisions and supplies of every kind furnished by the inhabitants for the use of the United 
States ships and soldiers will be paid for at fair rates, and no private property will be taken for public 

use without just compensation at the moment. 


Commander-in-chief of the U. S. force in the Pacific Ocean. 

On the eighth of July Captain Montgomery landed at Yerba Buena and hoisted the Union colors 
on the Plaza ; on the tenth, at Sonoma, the Bear Flag was lowered and the Stars and Stripes run up in 
its place. The same day, nine miles from Slitter's Fort, Fremont unfurled the banner that had waved 
in the breeze at Gabelan Mountain on the previous sixth of March, when the government of California 
had been startled into a realization of the presence in its territory of a power that was to begin for 
them a new civil era. 

Fremont started with his command for Monterey, by way of San Jose, immediately after the raising 
of the flag at Slitter's Fort, and on the seventeenth dashed up to the mission of San Juan, located about 
thirty miles from Monterey, and captured that place without the firing of a gun. This mission was the 


government arsenal, where surplus ammunition and arms belonging to the authorities were stored, 
Since the time when Jones had captured Monterey, the governors of California, not wishing to run the 
risk of their military stores falling into the possession of some other ill-informed commander of a war- 
vessel, had removed from the sea-port all arms, ordnance and ammunition not deemed necessary for immedi 
ate use. Such articles as were at the time stored at the mission fell into Fremont's hands, consisting of: 

Cannons 9 

Kegs of Powder 20 

Muskets (old) 200 

Cannon shot 60,000 

He had been in possession but one hour when Purser Fountleroy, with a company of mounted 
marines, rode into the place, having been sent by Sloat on the same errand. 

The next day, the eighteenth of July, Fremont and Gillespie entered Monterey, and there ensued 
an immediate interview between Commodore Sloat and those parties. , 

For months the commander of the Pacific squadron had been groping in a mental fog. He had 
taken command in the western waters, knowing that the men who represented our government at 
Washington desired the annexation of California. He knew that war was a popular means through 
which they expected the end was to be accomplished ; a means to which a strong party in the States 
was opposed. He knew of the efforts of our consul, Larkin, to achieve the result by a far different 
process, the repetition of the Texas plan of first independence, then annexation ; that previous to Fre 
mont's arrival Larkin's plan was in a fair way of producing the desired result. He knew that both of 
these programmes were being seriously interfered with by the British government, which also wanted 
California, and proposed to have her if possible. He knew that he was placed in command with the 
expectation that he would act promptly in the furtherance of either of those plans that should finally 
be adopted, as the one best calculated for success. The question that to him had become a momentous 
one was, which policy should he pursue in the absence of any certain information as to the one the 
government had adopted. He believed that Fremont possessed information of the secret intention of 
the Washington authorities, not yet made public or transmitted to him, and that the knowledge of such 
secret intention had caused that officer to levy war. This last belief, confirmed by the overland runners 
among Indians and natives, that on dates named battles had been fought, had been his inward justifi 
cation for having taken possession of the territory and issued to the people his proclamation ; although 
he had been forced to take that responsibility because of the imminent danger in longer delay of the 
country being seized by Admiral Sir George Seymour for the British crown. 

That interview was an unpleasant one on the part of all. The commodore asked Fremont upon 
what authority he had commenced hostilities against Mexico in California, and was informed that it 
was upon his own responsibility. In turn, Fremont was told by that officer that he could continue to 
prosecute it upon his own responsibility, as he, Sloat, did not propose advancing farther in the premises; 
that he should turn the control of affairs over to his junior officer, and return to Washington. Commo 
dore R. F. Stockton, who had arrived on the fifteenth, and reported for duty to Sloat, now asked per 
mission of that officer to assume command of the land forces. The request was granted, and Fremont 
at once reported to him for duty; and from that time forth there was no hesitation in the policy to be 
pursued. On the twenty-third of July, the old commodore sailed for home, and Stockton assumed full 
command of land and naval forces of the United States on this coast. That day, the California Bat 
talion* was organized, and sailed, under Fremont, for San Diego, from where he was to join in the 

* Printed reports by a committee to the State Senate in 1852 say July 12th evidently an error, as Stockton diil 
not arrive in California vintil the fifteenth. (See Appendix to Senate Proceedings, page 557. ) 


advance on Castro. On the twenty-eighth of July, Stockton issued his proclamition ; on the first of 
August, he sailed from Monterey, took possession of Santa Barbara, on his way down the coast, without 
opposition, and finally disembarked his forces at San Pedro on the sixth, where he learned that Castro 
was at Los Angeles, thirty miles inland, with a force of between seven hundred and one thousand men 
and seven pieces of artillery. 

Immediately upon landing, his camp became one of instruction, where the marines were drilled in 
the manner of forming in line, in hollow squares, changing front, etc., movements that might be neces 
sary on land and in resisting a cavalry charge. Five days were occupied in this, during which two flags- 
of-truce entered camp with messages from Castro, their principal object being to ascertain the strength 
of the invading force. Stockton was a strategist, and received Castro's envoys in front of the yawning 
mouth of an immense mortar, so covered with skins and blankets as to have the appearance of a cannon 
in compaiison with which the Mexican ordnance dwindled into insignificance. They were further enter 
tained by observing, at some little distance away, a steady moving force of American infantry, marching 
in column of twos directly from them over an elevation, beyond which they disappeared ; judging from 
the time it took them to pass over the place where they could be seen, they must have numbered three 
thousand men or more. They were Stockton's three hundred marines, marching in open order, with an 
interval of ten feet between each set of twos ; but they were moving directly away from the observers 
instead of across their line of vision, and this little discrepancy was not detected. The communication 
from Castro was disposed of by Stockton in a manner that gave strength to the general appearance of 
perfect confidence in his ability, by force, to dispose of the territorial army and authority with ease. 
General Castro had asked a truce until the war was ended between their respective governments in the 
East, when each was to acquiesce in the result of final negotiations between the United States and 
Mexico as to which of those countries should possess California. The proposition was haughtily rejected, 
and a demand made for the immediate surrender of the entire Mexican force in the country, upon pain 
of summary treatment if the demand was not at once complied with. Those envoys returned to Los 
Angeles fully impressed with the hopelessness of any resistance, and the conquest was practically achieved. 

On the eleventh, Stockton moved from San Pedro towards Los Angeles with his three hundred men 
and six pieces of artillery, and on the thirteenth entered and took possession of that place without firing 
a shot. His strategy had won him a bloodless victory. Upon the approach of his dreaded host, with 
whom was supposed to be the monster gun, the army of Californians melted away, finally being disbanded 
by the general, who, seeing no hope in the contest, had himself taken to flight, and was losing no 
unnecessary time in his efforts to reach Sonora, Mexico. 

When Castro disbanded his ai-my he did not release the three prisoners captured at San Jose. 
Lieut. D. T. Bird says: " We were separated, and each supposed the others had been shot." Bird and 
his companion were taken towards Monterey and made their escape; Captain Weber was forced to accom 
pany the general in his flight for two days, and was then released. Castro had feared to give him liberty 
sooner, knowing that with the captain free his own chances for escape were materially lessened. 

The whole country was in possession of our forces ; the Mexican flag was flying nowhere in it. 
Fremont joined Stockton, who issued a proclamation organizing the territory and recommending the 
fifteenth of September as the day on which the people should assemble and choose officers under his or 
ganization. He detailed Captain Gillespie with fifty men to remain at Los Angeles, and Lieut. T. Talbot 
with a small force to hold Santa Barbara, sent a detachment to San Diego, and returned with the 
remainder of his command to Monterey. Having closed the war in California, he now contemplated a 
more extensive campaign, a daring scheme, that, had it been successfully prosecuted, would have been 
the most brilliant achievement of the Mexican war. The following dispatch explains the design : 

(Confidential. ) 

U. S. FRIGATE "CONGRESS," BAY OF MONTEREY, September 19, 1846. 

DEAR SIR : I have sent Maj. Fremont to the north to see how many men he could recruit, with a 
view to embark them for Mazatlan or Acapulco, where, if possible, I intend to land and fight our way 
as far on to the city of Mexico as I can. 

With this object in view, your orders of this date in relation to having the squadron in such places 
as may enable me to get them together as soon as possible, are given. 

You will, on your arrival on the coast, get all the information you can in reference to this matter. 

I would that we might shake hands with General Taylor at the gates of Mexico. 

Faithfully, your obedient servant, R. F. STOCKTON, Commodore, etc. 

To CAPT. WM. MERVINE, U. S. Frigate Savannah. 

The commodore, hearing rumors of hostile movements among the Indians in the north, sailed for 
Yerba Buena, where he found that the information was incorrect, and was received at that place by the 
inhabitants with banquets and general rejoicing. This state of things was doomed to a short-lived 
existence ; the hope of " shaking hands with General Taylor at the gates of Mexico " vanished, as a 
courier dashed into Yerba Buena with the news that he had, four days before, worked his way out of 
Los Angeles, where Captain Gillespie was besieged by the Californians under General Jose Ma. Flores, 
who had hoisted the standard of revolt. This was one of the most noted rides on record, performed by 
John Brown, called by the Spaniards Juan Flacco, who died at Stockton, California, in 1863. When 
Captain Gillespie found that he must have assistance or surrender, this man volunteered to convey 
dispatches calling for relief. He succeeded in working his way through the enemy's lines, but was dis 
covered as he was passing beyond their reach, and a determined pursuit was at once dispatched to capture 
or kill the courier. His horse was shot under him, and escaping on foot he ran twenty-seven miles to 
the rancho of one friendly to the Americans, and again mounting, rode three hundred and fifteen miles 
to Monterey in three days, and not finding Stockton there, rode to Yerba Buena, one hundred and thirty 
miles, between sunrise and eight o'clock p. M. of the same day. 


The Flores Insurrection. 

Flores and his Associates Learn that they have Surrendered to a Force Inferior in Numbers to that of the Californians 
The Effect of such Knowledge The Insurrection Breaks out John Brown, the Courier Captain Gillespie 
Surrenders, Conditionally, at Los Angeles Lieutenant Talbot Escapes with his Command from Santa Barbara 
The Flores Proclamation of War The Savannah Dispatched to San Pedro Arrives too Late Our Forces Re 
pulsed Fremont Sails for Santa Barbara Commodore Stockton Sails for San Pedro ; Lands there ; Re-embarks, 
and Sails for San Diego He Establishes himself There, and Opens a Camp of Instruction General Kearny 
Appears upon the Scene He is Defeated, and Sends for Help The Rescue and Return Kearny Refuses the Chief 
Command, and Serves under Stockton Fremont Leaves Santa Barbara and Marches to Monterey He Sends 
Dispatches to Sutter's Fort, Asking for Recruits Two Companies go from there to Join him Recruiting Soldiers 
in the North San Joaquin County Indians Join Lieutenant Bartlett A Battle on the Road between San Jose and 
Monterey U. S. Consul Larkin's Description of it The California Star of November 21, 1846, on the Same 
Subject Fremont Marches to the Assistance of his Recruits Captain Charles M. Weber Sends Horses to Fremont 
by Lieutenant Bryant The California Battalion Starts for Los Angeles List of the Officers and Companies 
There are Three Incidents Worthy of Note in their March : first, an Indian Spy Shot ; second, Don Jose de Jesus 
Pico Condemned to be Executed, but Reprieved ; third, the Terrible March down the Mountain 011 Christmas 
Night Closing in on Los Angeles Hostilities Break Out in the Rear of the Army under Francisco Sanchez 
Lieutenant Bartlett Captured List of the Force that March to his Rescue The Battle at Santa Clara, and 
Surrender of Sanchez Stockton's Command, what it Consisted of He Moves on Los Angeles Battle of the 
eighth and ninth of January, 1847 He Enters the Town, and the Flag is again Hoisted there The Enemy Sur 
render to Fremont Articles of Capitulation The Insurrection Ended. 

At the time Stockton captured Los Angeles there were a number of Mexican officers who surren 
dered a^ prisoners of war and were allowed to go free on their parole. Among those set at liberty was 
Gen. Jose M. Flores. When he and his associates came to know that the force of the Americans was 
far inferior in numbers to what they had supposed at the time of the surrender, they were filled with 
chagrin and shame, and Flores, forgetting that he was bound by the laws of honor and of nations to 
refrain from hostile acts while under parole, commenced gathering his scattered forces immediately after 
the commodore had sailed for the north, and on the twenty-third of September, forty days after the 
capture of Los Angeles by Stockton, he invested the place and demanded the surrender of Captain Gil 
lespie and his fifty men as prisoners of war. From the besieged garrison John Brown, as a courier, 
made his escape and famous ride. Captain Gillespie was forced to surrender, conditionally, on the 
thirtieth of September, and retired to Monterey. Lieut. T. Talbot was next besieged at Santa Barbara 
by an overwhelming force, but refused to surrender, and finally made his escape to Monterey. The 
following proclamation shows that the people of Southern California were animated by a bitter feeling 
of hostility, and that something more than imaginary big guns and large armies would be required to 
subdue them ; plainly, it meant " war to the knife :" 



FELLOW CITIZENS : It is a month and a half that, by lamentable fatality, fruit of cowardice and 
inability of the first authorities of the department, we behold ourselves subjugated and oppressed by an 
insignificant force of adventurers of the United States of America, and placing us in a worse condition 
than that of slaves. 

They are dictating to us despotic and arbitrary laws, and loading us with contributions and onerous 
burdens which have for an object the ruin of our industry and agriculture, and to force us to abandon 
our property, to be possessed and divided among themselves. 

And shall we be capable to allow ourselves to be subjugated, and to accept by our silence the 
weighty chains of slavery 1 Shall we permit to be lost the soil inherited from our fathers, which cost 
them so much blood and so many sacrifices 1 Shall we make our families victims of the most barbarous 
slavery ] Shall we wait to see our wives violated ; our innocent children punished by the American 
whips ; our property sacked ; our temples profaned ; and, lastly, to drag through an existence full of 
insult and shame 1 No ! a thousand times no ! countrymen ; first, death ! 

Who of you does not feel his heart beat with violence ; who does not feel his blood boil, to contem 
plate our situation 1 And who will be the Mexican who will not feel indignant, and who will not rise 
to take up arms to destroy our oppressors 1 We believe there is not one so vile and cowardly. With 
such a motive the majority of the inhabitants of the districts, justly indignant against our tyrants, raise 
the cry of war with arms in their hands, and of one accord swear to sustain the following articles : 

1st. We, the inhabitants of the department of California, as members of the great Mexican nation, 
declare that it is, and has been, our wish to belong to her alone, free and independent. 

2d. Consequently, the authorities intended and named by the invading forces of the United States 
are held null and void. 

3d. All the North Americans being enemies of Mexico, we swear not to lay down our arms till 
they are expelled from the Mexican territory. 

4th. All Mexican citizens, from the age of fifteen to sixty, who do not take up arms to forward 
the present plan, are declared traitors and under pain of death. 

5th. Every Mexican or foreigner, who may directly, or indirectly, aid the enemies of Mexico, will 
be punished in the same manner. 

6th. The property of the North Americans, in the department, who may, directly or indirectly, 
have taken part with, or aided, the enemies, shall be confiscated and used for the expenses of war, and 
their persons shall be taken to the interior of the republic. 

7th. All those who may oppose the present plan will be punished with arms. 

8th. All the inhabitants of Santa Barbara, and the district of the north, will be invited immedi 
ately to adhere to the present plan. 


CAMP IN ANGELES, Sept. 24, 1846. 

(Signed by more than three hundred persons.) 

As soon as Brown, the courier, reached Yerba Buena, October 1, Stockton dispatched the Savannah 
to San Pedro, with three hundred and twenty men under Captain Mervine, to aid Captain Gillespie. 
They arrived too late; and landing, met the enemy some twelve miles out, and were repulsed with a 
loss of five killed and six wounded. Fremont was recalled from Sutter's, and sailed for Santa Barbara 
on the twelfth, with one hundred and sixty men, from where he was expected to mount his command 
and join in the recapture of Los Angeles. Stockton sailed from Yerba Buena as soon as he had com- 


pleted plans by which he deemed the north would be made secure, and disembarked at San Pedro on 
the twenty-third of Octobei-. Some eight hundred of the enemy were there, but did not attempt to 
prevent the landing, and fell back into the interior. When he had landed it was found that the chances 
of procuring supplies were very limited, and knowing that he had no safe anchorage for his vessels, and 
wishing to give Fremont time to mount his battalion, he decided to re-embark and sail for San Diego, 
where he unfortunately beached one of his vessels, but made a landing, drove the enemy from the place 
and took possession. He immediately established himself there and commenced erecting a fort, making 
shoes, saddles, and various things necessary in the outfit for his army, not forgetting the drill that was 
to convert his marines into land forces. Capt. S. J. Hensley was sent down the coast, and succeeded in 
capturing one hundred and forty horses and five hundred cattle. 

On the third of December a courier rode into camp with a dispatch from General Kearny, stating 
that he was approaching from the east and wished to open communication. The same evening, Captain 
Gillespie was sent with thirty -five men to meet the general and escort him to San Diego. Three days 
later, another messenger upon a foam-flaked horse brought the startling news that Kearny had been 
defeated at San Pasqual with a loss of eighteen men killed and thirteen wounded, the general and Cap 
tain Gillespie being among the latter, and that one of his howitzers had been captured. Other informa 
tion followed that led Stockton to believe the case was not desperate, and prevented his moving with his 
whole command, as he had at first contemplated ; but on the ninth Kit Carson, Lieutenant Beal and an 
Indian reached him, direct from General Kearny, asking for reinforcements. The news soon spread in 
the camp that Kearny was besieged at the hill of San Fernando, hemmed in, out of ammunition, provis 
ions nearly exhausted, and encumbered with wounded, was standing at bay, anxiously looking towards 
San Diego for relief; that the enemy kept the exhausted troops constantly harassed from every side, and 
unless succor came speedily they would have to choose between death and surrender. The long-roll 
sounded to arms, and the response showed the eagerness of those sailors to be led to the rescue of their 
comrades and the dragoons. Two hundred and fifty men were selected and despatched under Lieutenant 
Gray to the scene of action, and on the night of the tenth the Californians suddenly retreated, having 
heard the advancing hoof-beats of horses upon the road as the mounted marines moved on the gallop 
march to raise the siege. On the twelfth the exhausted little command entered San Diego. The general 
had left New Mexico, having conquered that territory and established a civil government there, and was 
on his way here, knowing that California had been already subjugated, to establish a civil government. 
He had with him but a small detachment of dragoons and Kit Carson, whom he had met on his way 
east with dispatches, and turned back. Commodore Stockton offered to yield the command of the army 
to General Kearny, but the compliment was declined, and the general took service under Stockton. 

In the north, Fremont had found that it was impossible to mount his command at Santa Barbara, 
and had moved up the country to Monterey, where recruiting, as well as the procuring of horses to trans 
form his force into cavalry, was prosecuted with energy. On the evening of the twenty-eighth of Octo 
ber, a courier from Fremont at Monterey arrived at Slitter's Fort, the bearer of dispatches, giving to the 
north the news of the defeat of Captain Gillespie at Los Angeles, Lieutenant Talbot at Santa Barbara, 
and Captain Mervine at San Pedro, and in the dispatch Fremont asked for horses and men. On that 
day J. F. Reed, of the ill-fated Donner party, reached Slitter's Fort. He immediately put down his 
name as a recruit for the war, in the company that commenced its organization that night, which after 
wards became two companies, one commanded by Captain Burroughs, who was killed on the sixteenth, 
near San Juan, the other by Capt. R. T. Jacobs, Lieut. Edwin Bryant (afterwards alcalde at San Fran 
cisco) and Lieut. George M. Lippincott. In this company five men enlisted at the ranch of William 
Gordon, in Yolo county; also Mr. Grayson, who lived in a log house near the mouth of Capay valley. 


Seven men were temporarily camped on Puto creek, en route for Sonoma. Lieutenant Bryant chanced 
to pass that way, and five of them became recruits ; and thus the spark, kindling to a flame, swept the 
country, swelling the little battalion of 180 to 428 before it had moved beyond Gilroy in its march 
toward Los Angeles. 

A company was enlisted in Napa valley and vicinity, commanded by John Grigsby, D. T. Bird, of 
Yolo county, being its second lieutenant. Another company, under Captain Thompson, recruited by 
Captain Weber at San Jose, was added to the California Battalion. 

The organization of the company at Sutter's Fort had not yet been completed, when about sixty, 
the total number at the rendezvous at the time, left for Monterey under command of Captain Burroughs, 
having in charge some four hundred government horses that Fremont had requested should be sent to 
him. On the sixteenth of October, Bryant, Reed and Jacobs started south with what recruits had as 
sembled at the foi-t since the departure of the main body. In passing through what is now San Joaquin 
county, they were joined by thirty Indians, among whom was the chief, Jose Jesus. They arrived at 
San Jose on the twenty-first, where they first learned of the engagement that had taken place on the 
sixteenth between those preceding them under Captain Burroughs and the Californians, ten miles south 
of San Juan, on the Monterey road. What had led to this encounter and its results is thus described by 
Thomas O. Larkin, United States consul, who was a prisoner at the time. 

" On the fifteenth of November, from information received of the sickness of my family in San 
Francisco, where they had gone to escape the expected revolutionary troubles in Monterey, and from 
letters from Captain Montgomery, requesting my presence respecting some stores for the Portsmouth, I, 
with one servant, left Monterey for San Francisco, knowing that for one month no Californian forces 
had been within one hundred miles of us. That night I put up at the house of Don Joaquin Gomez, 
sending my servant to San Juan, six miles beyond, to request Mr. J. Thompson to wait for me, as he 
was on the road for San Francisco. About midnight I was aroused from my bed by the noise made by 
ten Californians (unshaved and unwashed for months, being in the mountains) rushing into my chamber 
with guns, swords, pistols and torches in their hands. I needed but a moment to be fully awake and 
know my exact situation ; the first cry was, ' Comoestamos Senor Consul,' ' Vamos Senor Larkin.' At 
my bedside were several letters that I had re-read before going to bed. On dressing myself, while my 
captors were saddling my horse, I assorted these letters and put them into different pockets. After 
taking my own time to dress and arrange my valise, we started and rode to a camp of seventy or eighty 
men, on the banks of the Monterey river. There each officer and principal person passed the time of 
night with me, and a remark or two. The commandante took me to one side and informed me that his 
people demanded that I should write to San Juan to the American captain of volunteers, saying that I 
had left Monterey to visit the distressed families on the river, and request or demand that twenty men 
should meet me before daylight, that I could station them, before my return to town, in a manner to 
protect these families. The natives, he said, were determined on the act being accomplished. I at first 
endeavored to reason with him on the infamy and the impossibility of the deed, but to no avail ; he said 
my life depended on the letter ; that he was willing nay, anxious to preserve my life as an old ac 
quaintance, but could not control his people in this affair. From argument I came to a refusal ; he 
advised, urged and demanded. At this period an officer called out ( * * * * come here those 
who are named). I said : ' In this manner you may act and threaten night by night ; my life on such 
condition is of no value or pleasure to me. I am by accident your prisoner make the most of me ; 
write I will not ; shoot as you see fit, and I am done talking on the subject.' I left him and went to 
the camp-fire. For a half-hour or more there was some commotion around me, when all disturbance 

"At daylight we started, with a flag flying and a drum beating, and traveled eight or ten miles, 
when we camped in a low valley or hollow. There they caught with the lasso three or four head of 
cattle belonging to the nearest rancho, and breakfasted. The whole day their out-riders rode in every 
direction, on the lookout to see if the American company left the mission of San Juan, or Lieutenant- 
Colonel Fremont left Monterey ; they also rode to all the neighboring ranches and forced the rancheros 
to join them. 

"At one o'clock they began their march with one hundred and thirty men (and two or three hundred 
extra horses); they marched in four single files, occupying four positions, myself, under charge of an officer 
and five or six men, in the center. Their plan of operations for the night was to rush into San Juan ten or 
fifteen men, who were to retreat, under the expectation that the Americans would follow them, in which 
case the whole party outside was to cut them off. I was to be retained in the center of the party. Ten 
miles south of the mission they encountered eight or ten Americans, a part of whom retreated into a low 
ground covered with oaks; the others returned to the house of Senor Gomez, to alarm their companions. 
For over one hour, the hundred and thirty Californians surrounded this six or eight Americans, occa 
sionally giving and receiving shots. During this period I was several times requested, then commanded, 
to go among the oaks and bring out my countrymen, and offer them their lives on giving up the rifles 
and persons. I at last offered to go and call them out on condition that they should return to San Juan 
or go to Monterey, with their arms ; this being refused, I told the commandante to go in and bring them 
out himself. While they were consulting how this could be done, fifty Americans came down on them, 
which caused an action of about twenty or thirty minutes. Thirty or forty of the natives leaving the 
field at the first fire, the remainder drew off by fives and tens until the Americans had the field to them 
selves. Both parties remained within a mile of each other until dark. Our countrymen lost Captain 
Burroughs, of St. Louis, Missouri, Captain Foster and two others, with two or three wounded. The 
Californians lost two of their countrymen and Jose Gai-cia, of Yal., Chili, with seven wounded." 

The Calif ornian, of November 21, 1846, published at Monterey, says, in addition to what was 
recorded by Larkin, that " Burroughs and Foster were killed at the first onset. The Americans fired 
and then charged on the enemy with their empty rifles and i'an them off. However, they still 
kept rallying and firing now and then a musket at the Americans, until about 11 o'clock at night, 
when one of the Walla Walla Indians offered his services to come into Monterey and give Colonel 
Fremont notice of what was passing. Soon after he started he was piirsued by a party of the enemy. 
The foremost in pursuit drove a lance at the Indian, who, trying to parry it, received the lance through 
his hand ; he immediately, with the other hand, seized his tomahawk and struck a blow at his opponent, 
which split his head from the crown to the mouth. By this time the others had come up, and with the 
most extraordinary dexterity and bravery the Indian vanquished two more, and the rest ran away. He 
rode on towards this town as far as his horse was able to carry him, and then left his horse and saddle 
and came in on foot. He arrived here about 8 o'clock on Tuesday morning, Nov. 17th." 

Fremont at once marched to the assistance of the Americans, but failed to meet the enemy, and 
camped at San Juan, where for several days he waited for reinforcements. The first night after his 
arrival at the mission some of the soldiers were attacked, when sleeping, by numerous half-starved dogs 
that had been left behind by the people when they removed from the mission. One soldier had his nose 
bitten off, and in the morning some three hundred of these famishing curs were shot by order of Fremont. 

On the twenty-sixth of November, Lieutenant Biyant left San Jos6 en route for San Juan, to join the 
battalion. He had with him between two and three hundred horses, which Capt. C. M. Weber had suc 
ceeded in securing for our forces, and had availed himself of this opportunity to forward them. On the 
thirtieth of November, the battalion starter! for Los Angeles, commanded by Colonel Fremont, under 


whom were 428 men, rank and file, including Indians and servants, accompanied by about 600 loose 
horses for a change. The battalion was officered as follows : 

Officers. Rank or Remarks. 

J. C. Fremont * Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding. 

A. H. Gillespie : Major. 

P. B. Reading Paymaster. 

Henry King . Commissary. 

J. R. Snyder Quartermaster. 

Wm. H. Russell Ordnance Officer. 

T. Talbot Adjutant. 

J. J. Myers Sergeant-Major. 

Appointed Lieutenant in June, 1847. 

Company A. 

Richard Owens Captain. 

William N. Loker 1st Lieutenant. 

Appointed Adjutant Feb. 10, 1847. 

B. M. Hudspeth 2d Lieutenant. 

Appointed Captain February, 1847. 

Wm. Findlay Lieutenant. 

Appointed Captain February, 1847. 

Company B. 

Henry Ford , . Captain. 

Andrew Copeland 1st Lieutenant. 

Company C. 

Granville P. Swift Captain. 

Wm. Baldridge 1st Lieutenant 

Wm. Hartgrove 2d Lieutenant, 

Company D. 

John Sears ,. t ...... Captain, 

Wm. Bradshaw f , ., , 1st Lieutenant. 

Company JE, 

John Grigsby '. Captain. 

Archibald Jesse 1st Lieutenant. 

D. T. Bird 2d Lieutenant, 

Company F, 

L. W. Hastings (author of a work on California) Captain. 

M. M. Wombough ,,,,.... , 1st Lieutenant. 

J. M. Hudspeth , ... ; , : . ; .... 2d Lieutenant, 

Company 6?, 
- Thompson Captain. 

Davis 1st Lieutenant, 

Rock . , ::::: ?d Lieutenant, 


Company If. 

R. T. Jacobs Captain. 

Edward Bryant (later alcade of San Francisco) 1st Lieutenant. 

Geo. M. Lippincott 2d Lieutenant. 

Artillery Company. * 

Louis McLane (afterwards Major) Captain. 

John K. Wilson (made Captain in January, 1847) 1st Lieutenant. 

Wm. Blackburn (later alcade at Santa Cruz) 2d Lieutenant. 

This company had two pieces of artillery. There were a number of officers who did not accompany 
their battalion on this march, but were performing duties in other parts of the state, as follows : 

S. J. Hensley Captain. 

S. Gibson (lanced through the body at San Pasqual) Captain. 

Miguel Pedrorena (a Spaniard) Captain. 

Stgo Argiiello (a Californian) Captain. 

Bell (an old resident of Los Angeles) Captain. 

H. Rhenshaw 1st Lieutenant. 

A. Godey 1st Lieutenant. 

Jas. Barton 1st Lieutenant. 

L. Argiiello (a Californian) 1st Lieutenant. 

The march south was during the rainy season, and the suffering of the troops before reaching 
Santa Barbara on the twenty-seventh of December was veiy severe, and the loss in horses was so great 
that not enough were left to mount the command. Only three events of special interest had occurred 
up to that time on the march through the country. The first was the capture of an Indian, who was 
condemned and shot as a spy on the thirteenth of December, about fifteen miles out from the mission of 
San Miguel, on the road to San Luis Obispo. He was fired upon by a file of soldiers, and, says Lieuten 
ant Bryant, " He fell upon his knees, and remained in that position several minutes without uttering a 
groan, and then sank upon the earth. No human being could have met his fate with more composure 
or with stronger manifestations of courage. It was a scene such as I desire never to witness again." 
We called Lieutenant Bird's attention to this passage in Bryant's work, and he said, " It's all right 
except the courage part. I saw him shot, and thought he was badly scared." The dead Indian had 
been the servant of Jose de Jesus Pico, and two days later his master was captured at San Luis Obispo, 
and condemned to be executed, but a procession of females with covered faces, except the leader, who was, 
says Bryant, " of fine appearance, and dressed with remarkable taste ***** whose beautiful 
features * * * * required no concealment," visited the quarters of Fremont, praying that the life 
of Pico might be spared. The Colonel deemed it policy to grant a pardon and the prisoner went free, 
although he was to have been executed for having broken his parole. The third event was the terrible 
march of the army, on Christmas day and night, from the summit of St. Ines mountain down into the 
valley of Santa Barbara. Again we introduce an extract from that excellent journal kept by Lieutenant 
Bryant, when accompanying the California battalion as an officer in' its march to Los Angeles : 

" DECEMBER 25th. Christmas Day, and a memorable one to me. Owing to the difficulty in hauling 
the cannon up the steep acclivities of the mountains, the main body of the battalion did not come up 
with us until twelve o'clock, and before we commenced the descent of the mountain a furious storm com 
menced, raging with a violence rarely surpassed. The rain fell in torrents, and the wind blew almost 


with the force of a tornado. This fierce strife of the elements continued without abatement the entire 
afternoon, and until two o'clock at night. Driving our horses before us, we were compelled to slide 
down the steep and slippery rocks, or wade through deep gullies and ravines filled with mud and foam 
ing torrents of water, that rushed downward with such force as to carry along the loose rock, and tear 
up the trees and shrubbery by the roots. Many of the horses, falling into the ravines, refused to make 
an effort to extricate themselves, and were swept downward and drowned. Others, bewildered by the 
fierceness and terrors of, the storm, rushed or fell headlong over the steep precipices and were killed. 
Others obstinately refused to proceed, but stood quaking with fear or shivering with cold ; and many of 
these perished in the night from the severity of the storm. The advance party did not reach the foot of 
the mountain, and find a place to encamp, until night and a night of more impenetrable and terrific 
darkness I never witnessed. The ground upon which our camp was made, although sloping from the 
hills to a small stream, was so saturated with water that men as well as horses sank deep at every step. 
The rain fell in such quantities that fires with great difficulty could be lighted, and most of them were 
immediately extinguished. 

" The officers and men belonging to the company having the cannon in charge, labored until nine or 
ten o'clock to bring them down the mountain, but they were finally compelled to leave them. Much of 
the baggage, also, remained on the side of the mountain, with the pack-mules and horses conveyin^ them, 
all efforts to force the animals down being fruitless. The men continued to straggle into the camp until 
a late hour of the night ; some crept under the shelving rocks, and did not come in until the next morn 
ing. We were so fortunate as to find our tent, and after much difficulty pitched it under an oak tree. 
All efforts to light a fire and keep it blazing proving abortive, we spread our blankets upon the ground 
and endeavored to sleep, although we could feel the cold streams of water running through the tent, and 
between and around our bodies. In this condition we remained until about two o'clock in the morning, 
when, the storm having abated, I rose, and shaking from my garments the dripping water, after many 
unsuccessful efforts succeeded in kindling a fire. Near our tent I found three soldiers who had reached 
camp at a late hour. 

" They were fast asleep on the ground, the water around them being two to three inches deep ; but 
they had taken the care to keep their head above water by using a log of wood for a pillow. The fire 
beginning to blaze freely, I dug a ditch with my hands and a sharp stick of wood, which drained off the 
pool surrounding the tent. Qne of the men, when he felt the sensation consequent upon being ' high 
and dry,' roused himself, and sitting upright, looked around for some time with an expression of bewil 
dered amazement. At length he seemed to realize the true state of the case, and exclaimed in a tone of 
energetic soliloquy: 

" ' Well, who wouldn't be a soldier and fight for California]' 

" ' You are mistaken,' I replied. 

"Rubbing his eyes, he gazed at me with astonishment, as if having been entirely unconscious of my 
presence ; but, reassuring himself, he said : 

" ' How mistaken V 

" ' Why,' I answered, ' you are not fighting for California.' 

" ' What the d 1, then, am I fighting for T he inquired. 

" 'For Texas.' 

" 'Texas be d d ; but hurrah for Gen'l Jackson!' and with this exclamation he threw himself back 
again upon his wooden pillow, and was soon snoring in a profound slumber. 

"DECEMBER 26TH. Parties were detailed early this morning, and despatched up the mountain to 
bring down the cannon and collect the living horses and baggage. The destruction of horseflesh, by 


those who witnessed the scene by daylight, is described as frightful. In some places large numbers of 
dead horses were piled together. In others, horses half buried in the mud of the ravines, or among the 
rocks, were gasping in the agonies of death. The number of dead animals is variously estimated at from 
seventy-five to one hundred and fifty by different persons. The cannon, most of the missing baggage 
and the living horses were all brought in by noon. The day was busily employed in cleaning our rifles 
and pistols, and drying our drenched baggage." 

On the third of January, 1847, Fremont resumed his march for Los Angeles, approaching it from 
the north, while Commodore Stockton, who had started from San Diego on the twenty-ninth of Decem 
ber, was approaching that place from the south, neither of those commanders knowing what the other 
was doing. Leaving them on the march, let us retxirn to the north and see what had transpired there 
after the removal of so many Americans, who had gone to the south by sea and land with the two 

At the time Fremont left Gilroy, the fii-st of December, Capt. C. M. Weber had started from San 
Jose to join him with a company of men he had recruited for that purpose, and there were but ten men 
left in San Jose and Santa Clara to protect the families of those who had joined the armies from those 
places. The captain and his lieutenant, James Williams, became so strongly impressed with the fact 
that danger and duty both demanded of them to turn back and protect the families and homes of those 
who were away, that both left their command, which continued on its way and joined Fremont, and 
immediately set about recruiting another company for that purpose. With the assistance of John M. 
Murphy, Weber was so far successful as to enlist thirty-three men, some of whom were from Yerba 
Buena. He was at that place with his company when Lieut. Washington A. Bartlett was captured in 
the outskirts of that town by Francisco Sanches, who had raised the standard of revolt as soon as the 
California battalion had reached in its march a point sufficiently far south to make it (as he supposed) 
safe for him to do so. Bartlett was a friend of Weber, and the latter immediately tendered his services 
and that of his company of mounted men to Captain Montgomery, for immediate service in going to 
his rescue. Montgomery at once accepted the offer, and promptly fitted out a party under Capt. Ward 
Marston to pursue Sanches. That expedition marched, one hundred and one strong, from Yerba Buena 
on the twenty-ninth of December, 1846, the same day that Commodore Stockton started from San Diego 
for Los Angeles, Fremont being then with the California battalion in Santa Barbara, 

The following is a list of the force constituting the command that marched from Yerba Buena in 
pursuit of Francisco Sanches : 


Wai'd Marston, U. S. M. Corps Captain commanding. 

J. Duval Assistant Surgeon, acting Aid de Camp. 

John Pray Interpreter. 

Tansil Lieutenant in command of 34 marines. 

Wm. F. D. longh, Master ) 

> commanding one field-piece and 10 men. 

John M. Kell, Midshipman J 

C. M. Weber, Captain j 

John M. Murphy, 1st Lieutenant. . > commanding San Jose Vols., 33 men. 

John F. Reed, acting 2d Lieutenant ) 

Wm. M. Smith, Captain ^ 

John Rose, 1st Lieutenant / commanding Yerba Buena Vols., 12 men. 

Julius Martin, 2d Lieutenant ) 

Total.. .101. 


On the second of January, 1847, they came up with Sanches, who, with one hundred men and one 
piece of artillery, was about to attack the Santa Clara mission, where some thirty immigrant families 
had congregated, with only fifteen men under Capt. Joseph Aram to protect them. All night the camp- 
fires of Sanches' forces had been seen within a half-mile of the mission. The fifteen riflemen were out 
as skirmishers and in the belfry of the church, watching for the enemy with feelings better imagined 
than described. They knew of the fate of the Americans at the Alamo. As the morning came, with a 
heavy fog obscuring everything from view, there suddenly broke upon the ear of the sentinel in the 
tower, the report of a rifle-shot, then another, followed by an uneven rumbling detonation that led the 
watchers to believe that Sanches was driving back into town the weak little line of skirmishers, who had 
no force to support them. There were others beside the sentinel listening helpless women and children, 
whose paled faces marked the agony of fear, as they waited with bated breath and white lips a some 
thing that should tell if there was hope for them out yonder in the gloom and fog. Suddenly there 
came a sound like the falling of a distant tree, then another and another, when the watchman quickly 
comprehended the cause, and shouted from the tower to the listeners below : " It's volleys of mus 
ketry they are firing by platoons. It's Weber come to our rescue with the marines." Elmer 
Brown, who was that sentinel, in speaking of the event says : " It caused many a big tear to trickle 
down the faces of the poor immigrants," as they realized the glad message borne to them on the air from 
over the plains, like a Scottish slog in, telling them that friends were coming through the smoke of battle 
to their relief. The fog was soon dispelled, and the people at the mission could see the contending 
forces from the house-tops. An old Californian, at the mission, whose feelings were hostile to the Amer 
icans, kept saying of his friends as he watched the strife : " Oh ! they can't shoot 1 They can't fight ! ! " 
The enemy were finally driven away, and our forces entered Santa Clara, about eleven A. M., on the 
second of January. 

The following extract we take from The California Star, of Feb. 6, 1847, a paper published by 
Samuel Brannan and edited by E. P. Jones, at Yerba Buena : 

"The following particulars of the recent expedition from this place we have received from an au 
thentic source. We believe it to be * * * the most correct account of the movement of our 
troops and of the enemy, and of the final settlement of the difficulties, yet given to the public." The 
article, in speaking of the battle on the plains of Santa Clara, after bringing the two forces together, 
says: "An attack was immediately ordered, the enemy was forced to retire, which they were able to 
do in safety, after some resistance, in consequence of their superior horses. 

" The affair lasted about one hour, during which time we had one marine slightly wounded in the 
head, and one volunteer of Capt. Weber's company in the leg, and the enemy had one horse killed and 
some of their force supposed to ba killed or wounded. In the evening the enemy sent in a flag-of-truce, 
with a communication requesting an interview with the commanding officer of the expedition the next 
day, which was granted, when an armistice was entered into preparatory to a settlement of the difficulties. 

"On the third of January the expedition was reinforced by fifty -nine mounted Monterey volunteers, 
under command of Capt. Wm. A. T. Maddox, and on the seventh of the same month, by the arrival of 
Lieut. Grayson with fifteen men. On the eighth a treaty was concluded by which the enemy surren 
dered Lieut. Bartlett and the other prisoners, as well as all their arms, including a small field-piece, 
their am inanition and accoutrements, and in return were permitted to go peaceably to their homes and 
the expedition returned to their respective ports. Since the above was put in type, we have learned 
from persons from Santa Clara that it has bean ascertained that four Californians were killed and five 
badly wounded." 


With the capitulation of Sanches there was nothing left of the rebellion except the force under 
General Flores, possibly 1,000 strong, camped at Los Angeles, that was being rapidly approached from 
both north and south by our little armies. 

Stockton's forces had moved from San Diego on the twenty-ninth of December, and consisted of : 

Commodore R. F. Stockton Commander-in-Chief. 

General S. W. Kearny Commanding Troops. 

Commanding Marines. 

Capt. Txirner, one Co. 1st U. S. Dragoons (Kearny 's) 60 

Capt. .Tilghman, one Co. artillery with six guns. 

(3) , Co. A, Cal. Battalion Mounted Rifles 

(3) - , Co. B, " " " }. 540 

Detachment U. S. Marines. 

Kit Carson and his scouts. j 

Total 600 

As Stockton advanced, propositions were received from Flores, asking negotiations, but his messen 
gers were informed that no communication would be held with him ; on the conti-ary, that if he or any 
of his coadjutors who had forfeited their paroles were taken, they would be unceremoniously shot. On 
the evening of the seventh of January, they arrived near the south bank of the San Gabriel river, and 
on the following morning found the enemy on the north bank of that stream, ready to dispute their pas 
sage. The guns were all discharged and freshly loaded. The command formed in a hollow square, with 
the baggage and cattle in the centre, and moved towards the ford. 

On the opposite side, on an elevation of about fifty feet, the enemy's artillery was placed some fifty 
yards from the crossing. The Americans were thrown into line as they approached the stream, and were 
ordered to refrain from firing a gun until the river was crossed. General Kearny, with the advance, 
sent word to Stockton that the bed of the stream was quicksand and the artillery could not cross, though 
the water was only about four feet deep. Stockton immediately repaired to the front, and seizing the 
rope himself helped to land the guns on the opposite side. The line of battle was again formed, and the 
artillery, trained by the commodore, so effectually silenced the enemy's guns that they were deserted, 
and General Kearny started to bring them in, but the Californians rallied and carried them off before he 
could reach the point where they were abandoned. Stockton's left was then violently assailed, but the 
attack was repxxlsed. Again they formed on the high ground, and the artillery being brought into play, 
the commodore sighted his own guns, and the enemy's lines were again broken. They made a charge 


and were repulsed, when a detachment crossed the stream and attempted to capture the stores and bag 
gage and stampede the cattle, but were driven back again in confusion by Captain Gillespie. They then 
retreated from the field, carrying their dead and wounded with them. Our loss was trifling, only two 
having been killed and nine wounded. What the Californians lost was never known. On the following 
day, Stockton marched about six miles towards Los Angeles, finally coming upon the enemy, posted upon 
the plains of the Mesa, He again formed in a hollow square, with the cattle, horses and baggage in the 
center, and awaited the result. The charge made by the Californians and their gallant and repeated 
effort to penetrate that square is thus described in the Annals of San Francisco : 

(3) Bryant places these two companies with Fremont ; Commodore Stockton names them in his marching orders 
as being at San Diego on December 23, 1846, and unless there were at that time two A and B companies recognized as 
belonging to the California Battalion of Mounted Rifles, then Bryant is in error, and they were with Stockton and not 
with Fremont. 



" It is said, by those who witnessed it, to have been a brilliant spectacle. Gayly caparisoned, with 
banners flying, mounted on fleet and splendid horses, they bounded on, spurring to the top of their 
speed, on to the small but compact square into which the American force was compressed. The very 
earth appeared to tremble beneath their thundering hoofs, and nothing seemed capable of resisting such 
cavalry. But, inspired with the cool courage and dauntless heroism of their leader, his men patiently 
awaited the result. The signal was at length given, and a deadly fire, directed, according to orders, at 
horses, was poured into the ranks of the advancing foe, which emptied many saddles and threw them 
into complete confusion. Retreating a few hundred yards, they again formed, and, despatching a part 
of their force to the rear, they attacked simultaneously three sides of the square. Orders were renewed 
to reserve fire until the enemy's near approach, and with the same decisive result, their ranks breaking 
up and retreating in disorder. A third time, having rallied, they returned to the charge, but once more 
their ranks were thinned by the deadly aim of the assailed ; and, despairing of their ability to cope with 
men so cool, unflinching and resolute, confused and discomfited, they scattered and fled in every direction." 

On the tenth, the American forces entered Los Angeles as the enemy retreated towards San Fer 
nando, in the direction from which the California battalion was approaching under Fremont, and Major 
Gillespie again raised the flag in the little Spanish town where he had been forced to lower it three 
months before. 

In the meantime, Fremont had been making haste to reach the scene of action from the north. On 
the ninth, he had received a dispatch from Stockton, advising him to avoid a collision with the enemy 
until he (Stockton) was within striking distance. The dispatch bore date of January 5, three days 
before the battle had begun. On the eleventh, as the battalion was on the march and entering the head 
of Couenga plain, news came to Fremont of the battles of the eighth and ninth and the occupation of 
Los Angeles, and also a letter from General Kearny. That night he camped at the mission of San Fer 
nando, and the next morning Don Jos6 de Jesus Pico, accompanied by two of the enemy's officers, 
entei-ed camp to treat for peace. The terms were partially arranged, and they departed about noon. 
The march was resumed, and the next halt was made twelve miles out from the town, at the foot of the 
Couenga plains, where the peace commissioners from Fremont met those from the hostile force, and the 
terms of a capitulation were entered into, of which the following is a copy: 


Made and entered into at the ranch of Couenga, this thirteenth day of January, 1847, between P. 
B. Reading, Major; Louis McLane, Jr., commanding Third Artillery; Wm. H. Russell, Ordnance 
Officer, commissioners appointed by J. C. Fremont, Colonel U. S. Army and Military Commander of 
California, and Jose Antonio Carrillo, Commandante Squadron, Augustin Olivera, Deputado, com 
missioners appointed by Don Andreas Pico, Commander-in-Chief of the California forces under the 
Mexican flag. 

Article 1st The commissioners on the part of the Californians agree that their entire force shall, 
on presentation of themselves to Lieutenant-Colonel Fremont, deliver up their artillery and public arms, 
and that they shall return peaceably to their homes, conforming to the laws and regulations of the 
United States, and not again take up arms dining the war between the United States and Mexico, but 
will assist and aid in placing the country in a state of peace and tranquility. 

Article 2d The commissioners, on the part of Lieutenant-Colonel Fremont, agree and bind them 
selves, on the fulfillment of the first article by the Californians, that they shall be guaranteed protection 
of life and property, whether on parole or otherwise. 


Article 3d That until a treaty of peace be made and signed between the United States of North 
America and the Republic of Mexico, no Californian, or other Mexican citizen, shall be bound to take 
the oath of allegiance. 

Article 4tth That any Californian, or citizen of Mexico, desiring, is permitted by this capitulation 
to leave the country without let or hindrance. 

Article 5th That, in virtue of the aforesaid articles, equal rights and privileges are vouchsafed to 
every citizen of California as are enjoyed by the citizens of the United States of North America. 

Article 6th All officers, citizens, foreigners, or others, shall receive the protection guaranteed by the 
second article. 

Article 7th This capitulation is intended to be no bar in effecting such arrangements as may in 
future be in justice required by both parties. 


CUIDAD DE Los ANGELES, January 16, 1847. 

That the paroles of all officers, citizens, and others, of the United States, and of naturalized citizens 
of Mexico, are by this foregoing capitulation canceled, and every condition of said paroles, from and after 
this date, are of no further force and effect, and all prisoners of both parties are hereby released. 

P. B. READING, Major California Battalion. 

Louis McLANE, Commanding Artillery. 

WM. H. RUSSELL, Ordnance Officer. 

JOSE ANTONIO CARRILLO, Commandant of Squadron. 

Approved : 


Lieutenant-Colonel U. S. Army, and Military Commandant of California. 

Commandant of Squadron and Chief of the National Forces of California. 

On the morning of the fourteenth, the brass howitzer that Kearney had lost at San Pasqual was 
brought in and delivered over to Fremont, and the same day he entered Los Angeles, and the insurrec 
tion had ended. There was no longer an armed enemy to the United States in California, and from that 
day to this there has been none. 


California after the Conquest, until Admitted into the Union as a State, in 1850. 

Peace Having Been Restored with the Enemy, Hostilities Commence between the Army Officers Stockton's Views 
Kearny's Opinion Fremont in a Difficult Position What Kearny Wished him to do, and what Stockton Expected 
of him Fremont Decides against Kearny Stockton and the General both Leave Los Angeles Fremont Made 
Governor Commodore Shubrick Arrives, and Assumes Command He Joins Kearny in an Order Declaring that 
the General is Governor Kearny Issues his] Proclamation How it was Received Fremont Becomes Satisfied 
that he will not be Sustained He Yields to Kearny, and is Taken by that Officer a Prisoner to the States The 
Result Colonel R. B. Mason Becomes Governor His Distinguished Subordinates The Effects of the Discovery 
of Gold upon the Californians The Tidal-wave from Abroad The Necessity of a Change in the Government 
Chronological Events General Riley Succeeds Mason as Governor The Condition of the Country at that Time 
A Convention Frames a Constitution The Vote upon its Adoption Officers Elected The Struggle among the 
Titans in Congress over the Admission of California The Territorial Legislation What it did State Admitted 
into the Union Final. 

Stockton, Kearny and Fremont, having conquered peace, at once inaugurated war among them 
selves. No longer having a common enemy to fight, they became hostile to each other. General Kearny, 
as we have before stated, came from New Mexico with orders if he subdued the country on the Pacific 
coast to establish a civil government there. He had entered the ten-itory, met the enemy at San Pas- 
qual, and, but for the timely assistance from Stockton, would have been theirs ; therefore, he was not in 
a position to assume the right to civil control at the establishment of peace, on the grounds of having 
conquered the country. The commodore claimed that the general could set up no other reason for au 
thority, as conquest was a condition precedent in the government orders to him ; that, the conditions 
not having been complied with, the whole was null and void, and, consequently, the general was only 
"a looker-on-here in Vienna." 

General Kearny was not of the same opinion regarding the orders, under which he claimed the 
right to assume command and control on land. He interpreted them to be the expression on the part 
of our government of an intention, not that control should be given as a reward for services in gaining 
battles, or subjugating the land, but that he (Kearny) should establish a civil government in California 
after it had been conquer-ed ; and that the condition precedent was, that the country should be subdued, 
not that he should do it. The country being now at peace, he claimed to be its governor and to be en 
titled to assume command. He also believed it to be his right by virtue of his rank as general. 

This difference of opinion had arisen immediately upon the occupation of Los Angeles, and Fremont 
had become aware of the fact before entering the place. He was outranked by both those officers, and 
the question became a serious one with him as to which of them he should report and thus recognize as 
the head of the western or Pacific department. The one to whom he reported for orders would be 
placed in a position to maintain his supremacy by force of arms, if necessary, by the support of the 
California battalion. General Kearny said, " Recognize my authority, and eventually I will leave you 
here as governor." Commodore Stockton said, " You have been acting under my oi'ders ; there is a 
doubt as to who is entitled to control ; give me the benefit of the doubt, and I will make you governor 
at once." Fremont reported to Stockton on the fourteenth of January, 1847, and received his appoint- 


ment as governor from that officer two days later, with Col. W. H. Russell as secretary of state. On 
the eighteenth of January, Kearny left for San Diego with his dragoons. On the nineteenth, Stockton 
also departed for San Pedro, where he embarked and sailed for Mexico. On the twenty-second, Fremont 
issued at Los Angeles his proclamation, signing it as "Governor and Commander-in-chief of California." 
On the next day, Com. W. B. Shubrick arrived at Monterey, and assumed the title and duties of com- 
mander-in-chief, as evinced in his proclamation of February 1, 1847. One month later he joined Gen 
eral Kearny in the following circular order, it being practically a notice to Fremont that he was an 
usurper, and that if he played at being governor any longer, it would be at his own peril : 


To all whom it may concern, be it known That the president of the United States, desirous to give 
and secure to the people of California a share of the good government and happy civil organization en 
joyed by the people of the United States, and to protect them at the same time from the attacks of 
foreign foes and from internal commotions, has invested the undersigned with sepai^ate and distinct 
powers, civil and military, a cordial co-operation in the exercise of which, it is hoped and believed, will 
have the happy result desired. 

To the commander-in-chief of the naval forces the president has assigned the regulations of the 
import trade the conditions on which vessels of all nations, our own as well as foreign, may be admitted 
into the ports of the territory, and the establishment of all port regulations. 

To the commanding military officer the/ president has assigned the direction of the operations on 
land, and has invested him with administrative functions of government over the people and territory 
occupied by the forces of the United States. 

Done at Monterey, capital of California, this first day of March, 1847. 

Commander-in-Chief of the Naval Forces. 

Brigadier-General U. S. A. and Governor of California. 

On the same day Kearny issued the following proclamation as Governor, in which he ignored the 
existence of the treaty of Couenga, and notified the Californians that they were citizens of the United 
States and were absolved from allegiance to Mexico : 


The president of the United States having instructed the undersigned to take charge of the civil 
government of California, he enters upon his duties with an ardent desire to promote, as far as he is 
able, the interests of the country and the welfare of its inhabitants. 

The undersigned has instructions from the president to respect and protect the religious institutions 
of California, and to see that the religious rights of the people are in the amplest manner preserved to 
them, the constitution of the United States allowing every man to worship his Creator in such a manner 
as his own conscience may dictate to him. 

The undersigned is also instructed to protect the persons and property of the quiet and peaceable 
inhabitants of the country against all or any of their enemies, whether from abroad or at home ; and 
when he now assures the Californians that it will be his duty and pleasure to comply with those instruc 
tions, he calls upon them all to exert themselves in preserving order and tranquility, in promoting har 
mony and concord, and in maintaining the authority and efficiency of the law. 


It is the wish and design of the United States to provide for California, with the least possible delay, 
a free government, similar to those in her other territories, and the people will soon be called upon to 
exercise their rights as freemen in electing their own representatives to make such laws as may be 
deemed best for their interest and welfare. But, until this can be done, the laws now in existence, and 
not in conflict with the constitution of the United States, will be continued until changed by competent 
authority ; and those persons who hold office will continue in the same for the present, provided they 
swear to support the constitution and to faithfully perform their duty. 

The undersigned hereby absolves all the inhabitants of California from any further allegiance to the 
Republic of Mexico, and will consider them as citizens of the United States. Those who remain 
quiet and peaceable will be respected in their rights and protected in them. Should any take up arms 
against or oppose the government of this territory, or instigate others to do so, they will be considered 
as enemies and treated accordingly. 

When Mexico forced war upon the United States, time did not permit the latter to invite the Cali- 
fornians as friends to join her standard, but compelled her to take possession of the country to prevent 
any European power from seizing upon it, and, in doing so, some excesses and unauthorized acts were 
no doubt committed by persons employed in the service of the United States, by which a few of tho 
inhabitants have met with a loss of property. Such losses will be duly investigated, and those entitled 
to remuneration will receive it. 

California has for many years suffered greatly from domestic troubles. Civil wars have been the 
poison fountains which have sent forth trouble and pestilence over her beautiful land. Now those 
fountains are dried up, the star-spangled banner floats over California, and as long as the sun continues 
to shine upon her, so long will it float there, over the natives of the land as well as others who have 
found a home in her bosom ; and, under it, agriculture must improve, and the arts and sciences flourish, 
as seed in a rich and fertile soil. 

The Americans and Californians are now but one people. Let us cherish one wish, one hope, and 
let that be for the peace and quiet of our country. Let us, as a band of brothers, unite and emulate 
each other in our exertions to benefit and improve this beautiful, and, which soon must be, our happy and 
prosperous home. 

Done at Monterey, capital of California, this first day of March, A. D. 1847, and in the seventy- 
first year of independence of the United States. 


Brigadier-General U. S. A. and Governor of California. 

Lieut. E. Bryant records that " The proclamation of General Kearny gave great satisfaction to the 
native as well as the immigrant population of the country." That was probably true as regarded the 
immigrants and some of the natives, but as to a majority of Californians it was not correct. They had 
been forced to surrender upon agreed conditions, signed at Couenga, and those conditions had been 
ignored. It was a breach of faith, and they were justified in doubting the integrity of those into whose 
hands they had fallen. 

On the eleventh of March, orders reached Fremont that satisfied him of the intention on the part of 
the home government to sustain neither Commodore Stockton nor himself. He received orders to either 
disband the California battalion or muster it into the United States service ; and that force refused to 
be mustered, and asked for their pay. Fremont immediately visited Kearny at Monterey, to see if his 
men could be paid, and was ordered to return and ship by water such of his command to Monterey as 
would not muster, and to follow it by land. 


Upon Fremont's return to Los Angeles, he found that Col. P. St. George Cook, of the Mormon 
battalion, had arrived during his absence and demanded possession of his artillery, the demand not hav 
ing been complied with. Col. R. B. Mason (afterwards governor) visited Los Angeles with the inten 
tion of mustering out or into the United States service the battalion. He was followed early in May 
by General Kearny, when Fremont yielded to the pressure, and on May 31, 1847, started with General 
Kearny overland for the east, a prisoner. He was tried at Fortress Monroe, and convicted by a military 
court-martial of having been guilty of mutiny, disobedience and disorderly conduct, and was sentenced 
to forfeit his commission in the army. The president approved the finding of the court, but ordered 
him on duty again. This he declined, and abandoned the military service. A few years later he 
narrowly escaped being made president of the United States, because of the opinion that had become 
rooted in the minds of the people, that he had through jealousy been made a victim by his superiors in 
rank, because of his justly-earned fame in the acquisition of California. At present (1881) he is gov 
ernor of Arizona. 

With Fremont's departure dissentions ceased, and Col. R. B. Mason, of the first United States 
dragoons, assumed the duties of governor, with W. T. Sherman (now one of the world's great captains), 
as his adjutant-general, and H. W. Halleck (the late commanding general of the United States army), 
as secretary of state. Colonel Mason died of cholera in St. Louis, in 1849, and his widow married 
Gen. D. C. Buell, and is now living in Kentucky. 

The administration of Governor Mason commenced May 31, 1847, and ended April 13, 1849. It 
was, therefore, during his administration that gold was discovered at Coloma, on the nineteenth of Jan 
uary, 1848. Fourteen days later, a treaty was made between the United States and Mexico, that gave 
to the former the territory of California and New Mexico, for which the United States government paid 
that country $15,000,000, besides assuming an indemnity debt of $3,500,000, which Mexico owed citizens 
of our republic ; neither of the contracting parties knowing, at the time, of the discovery of gold, for 
the particulars of which the reader is referred to another chapter devoted to that subject. 

When the people on this coast began to realize that the royal metal lay hidden away in the foot 
hills and along the mountain streams of the Sierra, a change, swdden and absolute, " came o'er the spirit 
of their dream," leaving the desire for sudden wealth as the only predominent impulse that moved the 
masses and controlled their acts. Those who had come to California intent upon making in this country 
their permanent homes, suddenly lost sight of that fact, and became possessed of an irresistible desire to 
abandon them that they might dig wealth from nature's secret places, and then return to enjoy the fruits 
of their brief labors. During 1848, those only were benefited by the gold discovery who were residents 
of the country, or upon the coast. But the herald had gone forth into the highways and by-places of 
earth to summon the adventuresome of all countries to the El Dorado of the world. 

The news of the discovery of gold in 1848 did not reach Oregon until the last of August, when it 
was brought by a vessel that sailed into the Columbia from the Sandwich Islands. Immediately there 
was great excitement, and a company with twenty wagons sorted overland to California, while as many 
as could get passage on the few vessels that were accessible went to San Francisco by sea. Others passed 
down the old trail through Shasta valley. The wagons turned off in the Rogue River valley and 
followed up the emigrant road to Pit river, where they came upon the wagon trail made by Peter Lassen 
and a party of emigrants a few weeks before. This they followed, and overtook them near Lassen's 
Peak, at the head of Feather river, out of provisions and unable to move. By the aid of the Oregonians 
the party reached the valley, being the first company to enter California by the Lassen road, and the 
Oregonians being the first to take wagons from Oregon to California. 

The estimated population of California on the first of January, 1849, was : 

Californians 13,000 

Americans 8,000 

Foreigners 5,000 

Total 26,000 

Early in the spring the first vessel came laden with gold-seekers, who were followed in rapid suc 
cession by others. This was the premonition of the tidal-wave that swept this shore that and the ensu 
ing year from the outside world. Between the twelfth of April, 1849, and the twenty-eighth of Febru 
ary, 1850, there arrived in San Francisco 43,824 passengers, of whom 31,725 were American men, 951 
American women, 10,394 foreign men, 754 foreign women. 

At the same time that the high seas were bringing this throng of humanity to our shores, a steady 
stream of immigration was pouring over the mountains from the plains. The experience of Lassen's 
party in 1848 was repeated the next year, when a large emigration came over that route, and became 
snowed in and out of provisions on the head-waters of the Feather river. When word of their preca 
rious situation reached the valley, the people of San Francisco, Stockton and Sacramento, who remem 
bered the sad fate of the Donner party, made a great effort in their behalf. Their condition was repre 
sented to Gen. Percifer F. Smith, who, with the consent of Gen. Bennett Riley, the military governor, 
placed one hundred thousand dollars in the hands of Major Rucker, United States quartermaster, to 
purchase animals and supplies for their relief. The military authorities were the more moved to this act 
of humanity because General Wilson, United States Indian agent, was among the sufferers. John H. 
Peoples, who was afterwards drowned in one of the Trinidad expeditions, was selected to lead the relief 
party. About the first of October, Mr. Peoples started with twenty-four pack-animals, three wagons, 
and fifty -six beef-cattle, having twenty-five men in his party. He found the emigrants in the snow on 
Pit river, out of food and suffering with the scurvy. On the first of December he brought in fifty 
families to Lassen's ranch, including General Wilson's, the last thirty miles being traversed through a 
blinding snow-storm. The majority of the emigrants settled in the head of Sacramento valley, or went 
to the Trinity mines in the early spring. 


Year. Population. Increase. 

January 1, 1849 (Estimated) 26,000 

1850 107,069 81,069 

1852 264,435 171,838 

1860 379,994 115,559 

1870 560,247 180,253 

1880 864,836 304,589 

It needs but a glance at this table to see the necessity that existed of some acceptable form of gov 
ernment for this territory, which was receiving those tens of thousands, coming from the pulpit (but few), 
the college, the bar, the factory, the shop, the farm, the dens of vice, the prison-ships and penal colonies 
of the world. 

Gold was discovered January 1 9 ; the treaty of peace was signed February 2 ; the United States 
ratified that treaty March 10 ; Mexico ratified it May 24 ; official news of the gold discovery was sent 
to Washington August 17, and the official news of peace was received by Governor Mason in September; 
all in 1848. 


From the seventh of July, 1846, when Sloat hoisted the flag at Monterey, until the news was 
received officially in September, 1848, that peace was declared, a military governor was the proper head 
of the government here. From that time forward there was no law existing, under which the military 
branch of the United States government could, yet it did, continue to control the country. Gen. Ben 
nett Biley superceded R. B. Mason as governor April 13, 1849, and upon going into office, found that 
a spirit of discontent pervaded the people, because of the uncertainty that seemed to exist in regard to 
what laws were operative in the territory. They were given to understand that those existing at the 
time of its conquest remained in force within its limits, provided that they were not contrary to the 
constitution of the United States, and would continue to do so until changed by competent authority. 
This fact was not a popular one with the incoming inhabitants, especially the American portion of it, 
and the result was that but little respect was paid to any law except that of the revolver. 

With such a state of affairs, General Riley, under advice of the president, deemed it advisable to 
set on foot a territorial organization, although not authorized by law to do so. Consequently, June 3, 
1849, he issued a call for an election of delegates to take place on the first day of the coming August, at 
which time alcaldes (justices of the peace) and judges of the courts of the first instance were also to be 
elected in places entitled to such officers. The election occurred in accordance with the call, and the 
delegates assembled at Monterey, September 1, when they commenced the organization of a territorial 
government by framing a constitution, and, completing their labors, adjourned October 13, 1849. The 
constitution was submitted to the people on the thirteenth of the next month (November), at which time 
a general election of state officers occurred. The vote was almost solid in its favor, twelve thousand and 
sixty-four having been cast for, and only eight hundred and eleven against its adoption. At the election 
the votes cast for governor were : 

Peter H. Burnett 6,716 

W. Scott Sherwood , 3,188 

J. W. Geary 1,47^5 

John A. Sutter 2,201 

Wm. M. Stewart. . 619 

Total vote for governor 14,199 

John McDougall was elected lieutenant-governor, and Edward Gilbert and George W. Wright 
were chosen to represent the territory in congress. The light vote, where a few weeks later a population 
of 107,069 was claimed, proves conclusively that the miners cared but little for politics. 

On the fifteenth of December the legislature met at San Jos, and on the twentieth of the same 
month General Riley turned over the governmental control of affairs to the care of the newly-elected 
territorial officials, and the machinery of state was set in motion. "The legislature of a thousand 
drinks " immediately inaugurated business, and on the sixth day went into a joint convention for the 
election of two United States senators to represent the state at Washington as soon as she became such 
by being admitted into the Union. The balloting resulted in the choice of John C. Fremont and William 
M. Gwin, who afterwards served for a few days in the capacity for which they were elected. Those 
gentlemen, our first senatorial repiesentatives, witnessed that fierce contest of the Titans as they strug 
gled against each other in congress over the question of slavery, a firebrand the California constitution 
had hurled into their midst, igniting a flame quenched only by the shock of the legions that melted 
away under Grant and Lee around Richmond. 

The people on the Pacific coast had said in their organic law that slavery should not be tolerated 


within their territory. Calhoun, Foote and Jefferson Davis replied, backed by an almost unanimous 
South, that we should never become a state of the Union while such a declaration was engrafted in our 
constitution. It was in response to such a sentiment, coming from Jefferson Davis, that the great 
American orator, Henry Clay, rose in that body and said: "Coining, as I do, from a slave state, it is 
my solemn, deliberate, and well-matured determination, that 110 power no earthly power shall compel 
me to vote for the positive introduction of slavery, either south or north of that line." (Missouri com 
promise line.) In this debate Daniel Webster, always Calhoun's antagonist, uttered one of those 
sentences that fasten themselves upon the memory of mankind : " I would not take pains to reaffirm an 
ordinance of nature, nor to re-enact the will of God." William H. Seward, then young in the senate, 
was found battling side by side with Webster, Clay, Bentoii, and the Little Giant of Illinois, Stephen 
A. Douglas, in their efforts to gain admission for California, and in his enthusiastic warmth uttered the 
following beautiful thought : " Let California come in California, that comes from the clime where the 
west dies away into the rising east. California, that bounds at once the empire and the continent. 
California, the youthful Queen of the Pacific, in the robes of freedom, gorgeously inlaid with gold, is 
doubly welcome. She stands justified for all the irregularities in the method of her coining." 

While this contest was in progress, the territorial legislature had gone quietly on enacting laws. 
One was passed February 18, 1850, dividing California into counties, and on March 2 another was 
enacted, authorizing the first county elections that took place on the first of April. On the twenty - 
second of April the legislature adjourned, having enacted in its four months' session one hundred and 
forty laws that were supposed to so completely cover the requirements of the times as to warrant that 
body, in its own judgment, in making their enactments the only existing law. 

Four months after the adjournment of the legislature, the bill for the admission of California passed 
the senate, the vote being taken August thirteenth, and going to the lower house, passed that body Sep* 
tember seventh. It was signed by President Fillmore on the ninth of the same month, and Senators 
Fremont and Gwin were permitted to take their seats, as well as the other two representatives of the 
youthful ''Queen of the Pacific," and October 18, 1850, Genei-al Bidwell arrived in San Francisco on 
the steamer Oregon, the bearer of the welcome news. 

With California standing as a state at the threshold of her destiny; with her limits defined and 
laws established ; with her name a magic talisman to the world ; with the $100,000,000 in gold from 
her ravines, gulches and canons distributed among the nations ; with her $455,000,000 that, in the 
coming eight years, were to follow in the same channel ; with the little that is said and the much that 
remains untold, we are compelled to close this history. 



Name. Term. 

1. Com. John D. Sloat July 7, 1846. August 17, 1846. 

2. Com. Robert F. Stockton August 17, 1846. January 16, 1847. 

3. Col. John C. Fremont January 16, 1847. March 1, 1847. 

4. Gen. Stephen W. Kearny March 1, 1847. May 31, 1847. 

5. Col. Richard B. Mason May 31, 1847. April 13, 1849. 

6. Gen. Bennett Riley April 13, 1849. Dec. 20, 1849. 


wrs of California ( 'ontiuued. 


Name. Inauyurated. 




* Peter H. Burnett 

. . December 

20, 1849. 
9, 1851. 
8, 1852. 
8, 1854. 
8, 1856. 
8, 1858. 
8, 1860. 
14, 1860. 
8, 1862. 
2, 1863. 
5, 1867. 
8, 1871. 
27, 1875. 
9, 1875. 
8, 1880. 

John McDougall . 

. . January 

John Bigler 

. . January 

John Bigler 


J Neely Johnson 


John B. Weller 

. . January 

* Milton S. Latham 

. . January 

John G. Downey . . . 


Lei and Stanford 


*t* Frederick F Low 

. . December 

Henry H. Haight 


* Newton Booth 


Romualdo Pacheco 


^V^m Irwm . . 


Greoro'e C Perkins 


* Resigned, 
t Term of office increased from two to four years. 















. 539 
* 15,515 





1 5,593 
|| 9,522 
t 8,651 
i| 5,088 





San Benito 


San Bernardino . . . 


Calaveras . 

San Diego. . . . 

. . 4,951 


San Francisco. . 


Contra Costa. 

San Joaquin . 


Del Norte 

San Luis Obispo . . 


El Dorado 

San Mateo 



Santa Barbara .... 

7,784 , 


Sauta Clara 


Invo . . 

Santa Cruz 









t 4,700 


* 6,848 




Los Angeles 













Trinity . 










Monterey . 

Ventura . . . 








. . . 560,247 


* By act approved March 28, 1874, the territory comprised in the county of Klamath was annexed to the counties 
of Humboldt and Siskiyou. 

t Modoc county was formed from the eastern part of Siskiyou county. 

t San Benito county was formed from the eastern part of Monterey county. 

.; Ventura county was formed from the eastern part of Santa Barbara county. 



The histories of California, since its acquisition by the United States, have all given a similar 
version of the position, acts and intentions of the British government, in regard to the possession of 
this state, prior to and at the time when Commodore Sloat solved the problem of possession by the seizure 
of Monterey. Thinking from the tone of those versions that it was possible they might be partizan 
statements, instead of authentic history, a letter of inquiry was addressed to J. Alex. Forbes, ex-vice- 
consul of Great Britain, and the following reply, that speaks in no uncertain terms, was received : 


DEAR SIR : I received duly your letter of the tenth current, informing me that you are engaged in 
writing a California State History, and desiring to adhere strictly to correctness, in your narration of 
political occurrences in this state prior to its acquisition by the United States, you send me two extracts 
from historical compilations of California, by Messrs. Tuthill and Cronise, for the purpose of testing the 
accuracy of certain statements therein published, relative to negotiations which they allege I had, in 
1846, with Governor Pico, General Vallejo and General Castro, for affecting a separation of California 
from the Mexican Republic, and for placing the former under the protection of Great Britain. 

As I have taken no exception to those statements, my silence regarding them may perhaps be 
ascribed to a tacit recognition of the same as true. Never having seen those compilations, I was en 
tirely ignorant of the inaccuracies therein published until I read the above-mentioned extracts. My 
notice thereof, at this late day, may appear supererogatory, and, so far as concerns myself, I regard those 
statements with indifference ; but I feel it my duty to defend the aforesaid respectable Calif ornians 
-from the illiberal unauthorized imputations cast upon them by those compilers in their erroneous asser 
tions, respecting which, even if those statements were true in fact, I deny the right of Messrs. Tuthill 
and Cronise to censure Governor Pico, General Vallejo and General Castro for their personal or official 
acts, in proceedings which they were at perfect liberty to carry into full effect for achieving the inde 
pendence of California, by and with the consent of a majority of the inhabitants thereof, and without 
the least responsibility to any foreign power. Furthermore, I declare that the statements contained in 
the aforesaid extracts are absolutely inaccurate, unfounded in fact, and based upon hearsay evidence, 
originating in incorrect official reports of Mr. Thos. O. Larkiii to the United States government, under 
which, since 1844, he held the appointment of consul at Monterey, of whose official acts alone and with 
nine respect to his memory I speak in this connection. 

Mr, Larkin's very limited knowledge of. the Spanish language, and his exclusiveness, prevented him 
from exercising political or social influence with the rulers oy the people of California, and rendered 
difficult his acquisition of reliable information of Uie political occurrences that were passing in the 
spring of 1846, when he informed his government that he had discovered the existence of an intrigue or 
scheme, in which Govei-nor Pico, General Vallejo, General Castro and myself were secretly negotiating 
" for passing their country to the possession of F^nglaiid, under the direction of a Catholic priest named 
Macnamara, who was to conduct a colony of Irishmen to California, as he had petitioned the Mexican 
government for large grants of lands around the bays of San Francisco and Monterey, at Santa Barbara 
and along the San Joaquiii, of which lands that government had readily granted, not all that Macnamara 
asked, but three thousand square leagues in the San Joaquin valley, and for the perfection of the patent 
it only needed the signature of Governor Pico." Here we have the absurd assertion that the executive 
authority of a departmental governor suddenly became superior to that of the supreme government of 
Mexico, in that th e former had to approve the official act of the latter, by signing the patent for the said 


grant made to Macnamara, whom Mr. Cronise says was " an agent of the British government,'' and that 
his title deeds for said land " fortunately fell into the hands of the Federal government before they were 
signed by Governor Pico ! " etc. And further, " to show how thoroughly informed the Federal govern 
ment were of this design, we quote the following instructions from Secretary Bancroft to Commodore 
Sloat, under date of July 12, 1846, only two months after Forbes' contract had been signed." I now ask, 
what contract, when and where signed 1 

In justice to Governor Pico, General Vallejo and General Castro I say that neither of them ever had 
any negotiation with me as above stated. I deny that the Rev. Mr. Macnamara was an agent of the 
British government. That gentleman came from Ireland to Mexico for the purpose of soliciting a grant 
of land for colonizing it with Irish emigrants. He was informed by the Mexican president that large 
grants of land suitable for colonization could only be obtained in California, as there were large tracts 
vacant in this department. Accordingly Mr. Macnamara went to Mazatlan to take passage for Mon 
terey, but not finding any vessel there bound for this coast, he finally succeeded in obtaining a passage 
in an English corvette, whose captain was a countryman of Macnamara. He arrived at Monterey in 
June, 1846, when I made his acquaintance, and being informed by him of his desire to petition Governor 
Pico for a large tract of land for colonization, I informed him that the only lands suitable for his purpose 
were situated in the San Joaquin valley. He petitioned the governor and received a grant of two 
hundred square leagues, subject to the approval of the supreme government of Mexico, and with the 
condition of placing two hundred families of immigrants upon said lands within one year from the date 
of his grant. 

These are the facts respecting the occurrences that caused so much apprehension in the mind of 
Mr. Consul Larkin, that the United States would be cheated out of the principal prize that made war 
acceptable to her. 

Mr. Cronise states that the deeds for three thousand square leagues of land in the San Joaquin 
and Sacramento valleys, made in favor of this Macnamara, very fortunately fell into the hands of the 
Federal government before they were signed by Governor Pico. Mr. Macnamara had no muniment of 
title upon which to base his tremendous claim for compensation : consequently notcoy was injured by 
his petition to the governor for that grant of land, and there was no necessity for the unfounded animad 
version of the aforesaid alleged participants in the pretended political above-mentioned intrigue. Mr. 
Cronise forgot to explain to his readers how Mr. McNamara's deeds for three thousand square leagues 
of land fell into the hands of the Federal government before they were signed by Governor Pico. 

Those unsigned title deeds were the copies or register of Macnamara's grant, which were doubtless 

found in the government archives after the change of flag, and, of course, they were unsigned by Gov- 

ernor Pico. Macnamara had the original. 

The only facts upon which Mr. Consul Larkin based his official report to the United States govern 
ment of the supposed intrigue for placing California under British protection, originated in the following 
information imparted to him by myself : 1st. That Governor Pico and two members of the departmental 
assembly, who were Don Juan Bandini and Don Santiago Argtiello, had informed me, that as California 
was in reality abandoned by the government of Mexico, the authorities of this department were seriously 
discussing the necessity of severing their political relations with that republic for the purpose of solicit 
ing the protection of a foreign power, for which object the governor and said members requested me to 
inform her Majesty's government thereof, to ascertain if its protection woidd be extended over California. 
2d. That, in reply thereto, I informed Governor Pico and the said members, that I was absolutely 
without authority to give them any official answer upon the subject, but that I would duly inform her 
Majesty's government of the matter. 


On the seventeenth of July, 1846, Rear Admiral Si.- George Seymour, in command of her Majesty's 
ship Collingwood, arrived at Monterey, and forthwith addressed an official letter to Governor Pico, at 
Los Angeles, informing him that, in view of the existing war between the United States and Mexico, 
her Majesty's government would not interfere in the affairs of California. That official note was sent by 
me to Governor Pico, by a special messenger, under a safe-conduct granted by Commodore Stockton. 
On the return of the messenger to Monterey, I paid him one hundred dollars for his service, and delivered 
the safe-conduct into the hands of Captain Mervine, then in command of the United States forces at that 

In conclusion, I deny positively that the British government ever had any intention of establishing 
a protectorate over California. 

Respectfully yours, J. ALEX. FORBES. 



For twenty years, while California was a Mexican territory, the streams of the great Sacramento 
valley and in the northern portion of the state were constantly visited by bands of trappers, belonging both 
to the several American fur companies and to the great Hudson Bay Company. A brief outline of the 
character of these companies will be necessary to a proper understanding of the nature of the trapper 
occupation of California. 

The first and most important of these is the celebrated Hudson Bay Company. Very soon after 
the first colonization of America, the shipment of furs to England began, and in 1670 Charles II. 
granted a charter to Prince Rupert, the Duke of Albemarle, the Earl of Craven, Lord Ashley and others, 
giving them full possession of the country about Hudson Bay, including all of British America not 
occupied by the Russians and the French. They established forts and a system of government, and 
became a most powerful corporation. The Canadians established a trading-post at Mackinaw, and many 
individuals were engaged independently in the fur trade beyond the limits of the territory occupied by 
this vast monopoly. In 1783, these traders united in one association, called the Northwest Company, 
and soon became formidable rivals to the English company. It was McKenzie, of this new organization, 
who, in 1789, penetrated to the Arctic ocean by the way of Slave lake and McKenzie river, and, in 
1792, crossed the Rocky fnountains, discovered Fi'azer river, and on the twentieth of July reached the 
Pacific ocean near King's island, in latitude 52, having made the first overland journey across America. 
From this time the competition was sharp and brisk between the rival associations, and they both became 
powerful and well settled. The expedition of Lewis and Clark to the Columbia, and their residence 
among the Mandans, in the winter of 1804-5, attracted the attention of these companies to this region, 
and in 1806, Simon Frazer, a partner in the Northwest Company, established a post on Frazer lake. 

The pioneer among American traders in this region was John Jacob Astor, who had been engaged 
in the fur business in the East since 1784, as founder and manager of the American Fur Company. In, 
1810, he organized the Pacific Fur Company, and sent the ten-gun ship Tonquin to the month of the 
Columbia, where it arrived March 22, 1811. McDougal, Tom McKay and David Stuart, partners in 
the company, were passengers. They erected a fort near the mouth of the river, and named it Astoria. 
Captain Thorn then sailed with the vessel along the coast, to trade with the natives, and himself and all 
on board, save the interpreter, were killed by Indians at Vancouver's island. In July, a party of the 
Northwest Company, under Mr. Thompson, arrived at Astoria, with the intention of taking possession 
of the mouth of the Columbia river, but, finding themselves anticipated by the Americans, retraced 
their steps to Montreal. On the fifteenth of February, 1812, a party of the Pacific Fur Company under 
Wilson Price Hunt arrived at Astoria, after an overland journey of privation and danger lasting eight 
een months. In May, of the same year, the ship Beaver arrived from New York with supplies. Posts 
had been established on the Okinagan, on the Spokane, and above the mouth of the Shiihaptan ; Imt, in 


1813, news was received of the war between Great Britain and the United States, and the expected 
arrival of a British war- vessel. 

The interior posts were abandoned, and the non-arrival of supply-ships from New York, caused by 
the uncertainties of war and the dangers of navigation, so unsettled McDougal, the partner in charge, 
that when two parties of the Northwest Company, under McTavish and Stuart, arrived at Astoria, in 
October, 1813, and announced the expected arrival of two war- vessels, the Plwebe and Isaac Todd, he 
sold all the property to that association for one-third its value, and, to show his bad faith, soon after 
became a partner in the same company. A little later the Raccoon arrived and took possession of 
Astoria in the name of His Britannic Majesty, and changed the name to Fort George. 

The fort was restored to the United States in 1818, under provisions of the treaty of Ghent, but 
the govei-nment failed to grant the encouragement to Mr. Astor that he solicited, and should have 
received, and this region was left to the occupation of the Northwest Company. After a war of two 
years between the rival English companies, in which a bloody battle was fought in the Red River 
country, they united, in 1824, in one corporation, under the name of the Hudson Bay Company, the 
principal establishment on the coast being Fort Vancouver, built by the Northwest Company in 1821. 
For years they dominated this region, having posts in the whole Columbia basin, until the establishment 
of the boundary line north of Washington Territory compelled them to withdraw into British America, 
in 1845. The charter of the company having expired, it now possesses no territorial rights, and is 
simply a trading company, handling, with C. M. Lampson & Co., of London, the bulk of the fur trade 
of the world. 

Next in importance are the companies of American trappers that approached from the east, crossed 
the Rocky mountains and made their way to the Pacific coast. In 1762, the province of Louisiana, 
embracing all of the western portion of the United States not claimed by Spain, belonged to France, and 
the governor^ chartered a fur company under the name of Pierre Ligueste Laclede, Antoine Maxan & 
Co. Laclede established St. Louis the following year, and it became a headquarters for the fur trade 
similar to Mackinaw and Montreal. The business of this company and many others that engaged along 
the Missouri in the trapping of beaver became very large. The acquisition of Louisiana by the United 
States threw this trade into the hands of the Americans. In 1815, Congress passed an act expelling 
British traders from all the territories east of the Rocky mountains, and the American Fur Compairy, 
at the head of which Mr. Astor had been for many years, began to send trappers to the head-waters of 
the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Ameiican trappers also penetrated into New Mexico and estab 
lished a trade between St. Louis and Santa Fe. Up to this time but one attempt had been made by 
trappers to penetrate the Rocky mountains, and that was in 1808, by the Missouri Fur Company, at the 
head of which was a Spaniard named Manuel Lisa. Posts were established on the Upper Missouri and 
one on Lewis river, the south branch of the Columbia ; but the failure of supplies and the hostility of 
the savages caused its abandonment by the manager, Mr. Henry, in 1810. 

In 1823, Gen. W. H. Ashley, a St. Louis merchant long engaged in the fur trade, pushed a trapping 
party into the Rocky mountains. He went up the Platte to the Sweetwater, and up that stream to its 
source, discovered the South pass, explored the head-waters of the Colorado (or Green) river, and 
returned to St. Louis in the fall. The next year he again penetrated the mountains and built a trading 
fort on Lake Ashley, near Great Salt Lake, both of which bodies of water were discovered by him that 
year, and returned, leaving there one hundred men. From that time the head-waters of the Missouri 
and its tributaries, the Green and Columbia rivers and their tributaries, were the trapping-ground of 
hundreds of daring men, whose wild and reckless life^ privations and encounters with the savages, make a 
theme of romance that has occupied thr pen of Washington Irving and many authors of lesser note, and 


been the source from which the novelists of the sensational school have drawn a wealth of material. It 
was the custom to divide the trappers into bands of sufficient strength to defend themselves against the 
attacks of savages, and send them out in different directions during the trapping season, to assemble the 
next summer at a grand rendezvous previously appointed, the head-waters of the Green river being the 
favorite locality for the annual meeting. 

In the spring of 1825, Jedediah S. Smith led a company of this kind, consisting of about forty men, 
into the country west of Great Salt lake, discovered Humboldt river and named it Mary's river ; followed 
down that stream and crossed the Sierra Nevada into the great valley in July. He collected a large 
quantity of furs, established a headquarters on the American river near Folsom, and then, with two 
companions, recrossed the mountains through Walker's pass, and returned to the general rendezvous on 
Green river, to tell of the wonderful valley he had visited. 

Cronise speaks of American trappers having penetrated into California as early as 1820, but is evi 
dently mistaken, as there is no record of any party crossing the Rocky mountains previous to the expe 
dition of Mr. Ashley in 1823, save Lewis and Clark in 1804, Missouri Fur Company in 1808, and the 
Pacific Fur Company, under Wilson P. Hunt, in 1811. Jedediah S. Smith must stand in history as the 
first white man to lead a party overland into California. 

The return of Smith with such a valuable collection of furs, and specimens of placer gold he had 
discovered on his return journey near Mono lake [see article on the Discovery of Gold], led to his being 
sent again the next season, with instructions to thoroughly inspect the gold placers on the way. This 
time he went as a partner, Mr. Ashley having sold his interest to the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, 
consisting of William Sublette, Jedediah S. Smith and David Jackson. He passed as far south as the 
Colorado river, and here had a battle with the Indians, in which all but himself, Turner and Galbraith 
were killed. They escaped and arrived at the Mission San Gabriel, where they were arrested as 
filibusters and sent to San Diego, but were released upon a certificate from the officers of some Amer 
ican vessels which chanced to be on the coast, that they were peaceful trappers and had passports from 
the commissioner of Indian affairs. This certificate bears date December 20, 1826, and in the following 
May we find them in camp near San Jose, where the following letter was written to Father Duran, who 
had sent to know what their presence there signified: 

REVEREND FATHER : I understand, through the medium of one of your Christian Indians, that you 
are anxious to know who we are, as some of the Indians have been at the mission and informed you 
that there were certain white people in the country. We are Americans on our journey to the River 
Columbia ; we were in at the Mission San Gabriel in January last. I went to San Diego and saw the 
general, and got a passport from him to pass on to that place. I have made several efforts to cross the 
mountains, but the snows being so deep, I could not succeed in getting over. I returned to this place 
(it being the only point to kill meat), to wait a few weeks until the snow melts so that I can go on ; the 
Indians here also being friendly, I consider it the most safe point for me to remain, until such time as I 
can cross the mountains with my horses, having lost a great many in attempting to cross ten or fifteen 
days since. I am a long ways from home, and am anxious to get there as soon as the nature of the case 
will admit. Our situation is quite unpleasant, being destitute of clothing and most of the necessaries of 
life, wild meat being our principal subsistence. I am, Reverend Father, your strange but real friend 

and Christian brother, 

May 19th, 1827. 


Reuniting himself with the company he had left on the American river the year before, Smith 
started for the Columbia river. Near the head of the Sacramento valley he passed out to the west, 
reaching the ocean near the mouth of Russian river, and followed the coast line as far as the Umpqua 
river, near Cape Arago, when all but himself, Daniel Prior and Richard Laughlin, were treacherously 
murdered by savages, losing all their traps and furs. These men escaped to Fort Vancouver and related 
their misadventure to Dr. McLaughlin, the agent of the Hudson Bay Company. Smith proposed to 
the agent that if he would send a party to punish the Indians and recover his property, he would con-" 
duct them to the rich trapping-grounds he had just left, and for this reason as well as because it was 
the policy of that corporation never to let an outrage go unpunished, an expedition was sent out, chas 
tised the savages and recovered most of the stolen property. Smith and a portion of this company 
returned to Vancouver, while the balance, led by Alexander Roderick McLeod, entered California that 
fall by the route Smith had come out, and trapped on the streams of the valley. In the early part of 
the winter they were caught in a severe snow-storm on one of the tributaries of the Sacramento, in 
Shasta county, and narrowly escaped starvation. They lost all their horses, and cached their furs, and 
after terrible suffering and exposure made their way back to Vancouver. This stream has since borne 
the name of the leader of this pioneer party, but by one of those lapses of ignorance and carelessness, 
by means of which history is constantly being perverted, the stream is set down upon the maps as the 
McCloud. The reason for this is that the pronunciation of the two names is quite similar, and that 
Ross McCloud, a very worthy and well-known gentleman, resided on the stream in an early day, but 
not for a quarter of a century after it received its baptism of McLeod. The original and true name 
should be restored to it. A recent discovery may throw some light upon the events of this disastrous 
expedition. The story is best told by Hon. E. Stesle in a letter to the Yreka, Journal, November 4, 
1874. Mr. Steele says : 

" WHEN ? By WHOM ? AND WHY 1 The above inquiry was suggested to my mind on arriving at 
Battle's milk-ranch, on the north fork of McCloud river, on my late visit to Modoc county. At the 
ranch I met the old gentleman, Mr. Battle, who asked me to take a walk with him to the summit of a 
hill on the north side of the river, and about six hundred yards distant therefrom, to examine an old 
trough that he had unearthed there. On arriving at the spot designated, I found a trough about sixteen 
feet long, about eighteen inches wide and a foot deep, dug out of a cedar tree, that lay under the surface 
of the ground about three feet, and was much decayed by time. The trough had been hewn out of a 
tree about two feet through, as near as I could judge, and then the inside burned, the work bearing evi 
dences of having been executed with a good, sharp axe and by a handy axeman. It was buried in the 
summit of the hill in a red-clay soil, and had lain there until it had nearly decayed, the form and charac 
ter of the wood and the charred coating of the inside only remaining. The earth had been so long upon 
it that it had assumed its natural appaarance of an undisturbed soil, no evidence being discernable of its 
ever having been dug, roots of the shrubs and trees passing all through the clay above the trough. 
Upon the surface of the ground, lying lengthwise over the spot upon which the trough was buried, was 
an old pine tree, about three feet in diameter, which had blown down since the ground had been 
disturbed, in falling burying some of its branches a foot or more into the soil, and which had lain thus 
until it was nearly rotted away, the portion directly over the trough having been consumed by fire. 
About ten. feet from the south end of the trough were some old, rusty gun-locks, buried about one foot 
under ground. 

" The only account which we can get of the trough was the history of its burial, as given by an 
aged Indian, which induce 1 the excavation by Mr. Battle. The Indian's story was that, when he was a 
srnill boy, threa white man, a people before then never seen by the Indians, were discovered by him 



making a cache of blankets, etc., in this trough, or canoe, as he called it. He went to the spot, and 
after looking around for a while, he fixed upon a place to commence digging, and there found the old 
gun-locks and some other trifling things, but not his canoe. He again made observation, and fixed upon 
another place about ten feet further north, and on digging there, the canoe was found in it. He further 
said there was a camp of other white men, at the time, about fifteen miles off, which was discovered by 
the Indians, and the white men killed. Then these, he said, left. He could give no date or time other 
than that it was when he was a small boy, and he is now an old man, probably fifty years or upwards. 
The Indians undoubtedly raised the cache, as nothing was found in the trough, and no cover over it, the 
hollow side being upwards." 

In connection with this discovery and the tale of the Indian, it will be remembered that the party 
of Hudson Bay Company men, under McLeod, when caught by the snows of winter cached their furs , 
and other articles somewhere on the McLeod river, which they went back for afterwards, but found to 
be spoiled. None of this party was killed by natives, and in that respect the story of the Indian does not 
tally. On this subject Stephen Meek says that McLeod's (whose name, he says, was John McCloud) 
party was attacked on this river by the Indians, and all killed but McLeod himself and one companion, 
who succeeded in making their way back to Vancouver after many months of privation and terrible 
suffering. The information about McLeod came from J. Alexander Forbes, for years agent of the Hud 
son Bay Company in California, and author of Forbes 1 California, written in 1835 and published in 
London in 1839, and presumed to be far better posted on the subject than Mi-. Meek, although the latter 
gentleman assures us that he has often conversed with McLeod about the affair. In the fall of 1880, 
a government agent passed through that section, seeking traces of an old exploring expedition sent 
out a number of years before Fremont visited the coast, and which never returned. By patient 
and careful search, he had followed them to the eastern slope of the Sierra, in northern Nevada, but 
had there lost all trace of them. An effort is being made to secure the old gun-locks that were found, so 
that by them some clue to their unfortunate possessors may be obtained. By the carelessness of 
thoughtless parties, these relics have been mislaid, but hope is entertained of finding them, and thus, 
possibly, of answering the question, who were they ? 

Upon the return of McLeod's unfortunate party to the fort, another, under Capt. Peter Ogden and 
accompanied by Smith, started for the new trapping-grounds by a different route. They passed up the 
Columbia and Lewis rivers to the source of the latter, at which point Smith left them and returned to 
the rendezvous of his company, to report his many misfortunes. He sold his interest in the Rocky 
Mountain Company in 1830, and in 1831 was treacherously killed by Indians while digging for water 
in the dry bed of the Cimeron river, near Taos, New Mexico, and was buried there by his companions. 
This is the last resting-place of the pioneer overland traveler to the beautiful valley of California. After 
Smith took his leave on Lewis river in 1828, Ogden's party continued south-west through Utah and 
Nevada, and entered the San Joaquin valley through Walker's pass. They trapped up the valley to its 
head, and then passed over to the coast and up to Vancouver by the route Smith had formerly traveled. 

When Smith sold his interest in the Rocky Mountain Company, William Sublette and David 
Jackson retired, also, and the new partners were Milton Sublette, James Bridger, Robert Campbell, 
Fitzpatrick, Frapp and Jarvais. In 1831, the old American Fur Company, that had been managed so 
long by Mr. Astor, but now superintended by Ramsey Crooks, began to push into the trapping-grounds 
of the other company, and sent out a large and well-appointed pai-ty under the command of Major Van- 
derburg and Mr. Dripps. Great rivalry sprang up between the two companies, intensified the following 
year by the appearance of a third competitor in the person of Capt. B. L. E. Bonneville, with a well- 
organized party of one hundred and ten men, and a small party of Massachusetts men under Nathaniel 


Wyeth, who built a fort in 1834 on Snake river, called Fort Hall, and sold it to the Hudson Bay Com 
pany the following year. 

In the spring of 1832, Michael Laframbois entered the Sacramento valley at the head of a party of 
Hudson Bav Company's trappers, visiting the streams as far south as Tulare lake, and returned over the 
usual route along the coast to Fort Vancouver the following spring. 

In the winter of 1829-30, Ewing Young had led a party into the San Joaquin valley, through 
Walker's pass, and had trapped on the streams of that valley and those that flow into Tulare lake. He 
had for several years been in charge of trapping parties that operated upon the head-waters of the Del 
Norte, Rio Grande and Colorado rivers. In the fall of 1832, Young again entered the valley from the 
south by the Tejon pass, when the Hudson Bay party under Laframbois was trapping there. Young 
ascended King's river to the foothills and struck north, reaching the San Joaquin where it debouches 
from the mountains. A canoe was made, in which the men navigated the stream down to the mouth of 
the Merced, where they were joined by the balance of the party. Having found, on both of these 
streams, evidences of a recent visit by trappers, they struck across the country with the design of getting 
in advance of their rivals, and on the Sacramento, ten miles below the site of Sacramento city, they came 
upon Laframbois and his party. Young pushed on to the mouth of Feather river, then went west and 
camped for a while in Capay valley, finally crossed the mountains to the coast and continued north to 
the Umpqua, where Smith had met with such a disaster five years before. They then recrossed the 
mountains to the eastward, pursuing their occupation on the tributary streams of the Columbia, entering 
the Sacramento valley again in the winter of 1833-4, from the north. They continued towards the 
south, trapping on the various streams, and finally passed out to the east by the Tejon pass. 

The condition of the Indians in the valley as Young passed down this last time was truly pitiful. 
During the previous summer an epidemic scourge had visited them and swept away whole villages and 
tribes. Where before had been many happy bands of natives who gazed upon their white visitors with 
awe and astonishment, now was mourning and desolation, and the few remaining natives that had sur 
vived the general reign of death fled from the approach of the whites, for to them did they ascribe the 
visit of the death angel. The chief of a small band of these survivors, still living in Capay valley, says 
that the first white men came there and camped for a few days and hunted, thea passed over the moun 
tains to the west. When they had gone the Indians took sick and died, his father, mother and friends, 
and they believed the white men had brought the "great death." Col. J. J, Earner, of Los Angeles, 
was with Ewing Young on this expedition. 

Still another band of trappers visited the valley in 1833. Captain Bonne ville sent Joseph R. 
Walker with a party of forty men to explore the country about Great Salt lake, the company starting 
from the Green river rendezvous in July, 1833. They suffered from want of food and water in the 
desert to the west of the lake, until they struck Mary's, or Ogden's river, now the Hurnboldt, which 
they followed to the sink and then decided to cross the mountains into California. Stephen H. Meek, 
now living in Siskiyou county and pursuing his old occupation of hunting and trapping, was a member 
of this party and has related the particulars to. the. writer. While looking for water, one of the men, a 
Canadian trapper named Baptiste Truckee, came upon the Truckee river, near the Meadows, and rode 
back to camp in haste, swinging his hat and shouting, " A great river ! A great river !" His name was 
then given to the stream.* They continued up the river and then tried to cross the mountains, but got 
no farther than Donner lake, fearing to attempt the passage through the snow, it being then early in 

*There have been published two other versions of the christening of this river, but the writer has considered them 
all and thieves this to be the correct oi>e. The circumstances mentioned in the others admit of explanation satisfac 
tory ^, $tys incident. 


December. Retracing their steps, they passed through Washoe valley, discovered Carson and Walker 
rivers, named after Kit Carson and Joseph Walker, and finally crossed through Walker's pass and 
camped on the shore oi Tulare lake. Walker then look ten men and passed down the San Joaquin 
valley, visited Monterey, where they spent several weeks in jollification with the natives, and then 
returned to the camp at the lake. They retraced their steps to the Humboldt, had a difficulty with the 
natives, turned south to the Colorado, and finally reached the rendezvous on Green river. 

The company failed entirely to accomplish its mission, and the disappointment and loss of this expe 
dition, as well as failure in other ventures, caused Captain Bonneville to abandon the fur trade and 
return to the States. In 1835, the two rival fur companies united as the American Fur Company, 
Bridger, Fontenelle and Dripps being the leaders. The same year, also, Mr. Wyeth sold Fort Hall and 
his stock of goods to the Hudson Bay Company, and retired to civilized life. This left the consolidated 
company and a few " lone traders " the only competitors of the great English corporation. For several 
years longer the competition was maintained, but gradually the Hudson Bay Company, by reason of its 
position and superior management, absorbed the trade until the American trappers, so far as organized 
effort was concerned, abandoned the field. 

Every party of American trappers that passed through California left a few of its number here, and 
when the fur trade began to break up in 1838 and the succeeding few years, many of them came to settle 
here and in the Willamette valley, in Oregon. 

The Hudson Bay Company, whose agents here from 1833 were J. Alexander Forbes and W. G. 
Ray, withdrew from this region in 1845, and the fur business in California came to an end. During 
the time they visited California their headquarters were at Yerba Buena. Trapping stations were 
established at French Camp, in San Joaquin county, and at French Camp, in Yolo county. Michael 
Laframbois, the celebrated Tom McKay, a half-breed named Finley, and Ermetinger conducted the 
California trapping expeditions, the last one, in 1844, being led by Ermetinger. It was the policy of 
this company to avoid all trouble with the natives, and, by just and even generous treatment, bind the 
Indians to them by a community of interest. Yet they never let an act of treachery or bad faith go 
unpunished. And thus, by an exhibition of justness on the one hand and power on the other, main 
tained unquestioned authority among the savages of a hundred tribes, and over thousands of miles of 
wilderness. California was but one little corner of their dominions. A simple jargon, containing a 
vocabulary of but eighty words, was prepared by them, and spread among all the Indian tribes with 
whom they had dealings, and by this means a common language was introduced which all could speak. 
It is known as the Chinook jargon. Had the American companies pursued the same policy as their 
great English rivals, far different would have been the result of their enterprises. 

The rigid discipline maintained by this great corporation is aptly illustrated by the case of Erme 
tinger, who led the last California company back to Fort Vancouver. F. T. Gilbert, in his History of 
Yolo County, says : "After the return of Ermetinger to the fort, he was so injudicious as to marry a 
woman he loved, without first obtaining the consent of the company. It was against their policy to 
allow the men to burden themselves with a family, because they would enter reluctantly upon expedi 
tions that were likely to cause a protracted separation. This flagrant breach of discipline was considered 
to be one that called for a punishment that would serve to prevent a repetition of the offense, and the 
unfortunate Ermetinger was ordered to head an expedition at once, its destination being Siberia. 
Through long years he was kept in those frozen regions, always moving a little farther from the young 
bride that had been left behind, until he passed through the frigid zone overland to St. Petersburg, in 
Russia. It's all a sad tale, a romance in real life ; one of those events that pro^e truth to be stranger 
than fiction. The years passed by, and the young wife, growing old, watched at the outer door for one 


who never came. The snows of many winters had begun to leave their color on her raven locks ere 
hope faded from her heart, and with it the spirit that had become a burden, leaving behind to greet him 
on his return a grave only and a broken life, when Ermetinger should seek, as an old man, the bride of 
his early years." 

Mr. Forbes, the Hudson Bay Company's agent, resided in Oakland until his death, in the spring 
of 1881. Still pursuing his old occupation along the mountain streams of northern California, is the 
old trapper, Stephen H. Meek, one of the few of those early mountain men who still cling to this earthly 



la his History of Yolo County, F. T. Gilbert thus describes the central basin of the state : 
" The great valley of California, lying between the Sierra Nevada and the Coast Range mountains, 
is 400 miles long, averages a trifle less than fifty-one miles in width, and contains 20,394 square miles. 
Its general course from the south is in a northerly direction, bearing to the west about 13. Approach 
ing each other, through its center, two large rivers flow; one from its source among the mountains 
bordering upon Oregon, the other from the south, where the Sierra Nevada arid Coast Range lose them 
selves in the Mohave desert ; and, joining from the north and south, their waters mingle and move away 
into the ocean through the straits of Carquinez and the bays of Suisun, San Pablo and San Francisco. 
These two rivers are the channels through which flow back to their original fount the waters cast by the 
winds, in rain and snow, upon 33,574 square miles of mountains, peaks, slopes and canons, flanking this 
great valley of California. They are both fed by numerous small streams, the one north being known 
as the Sacramento, that from the south as the San Joaquin ; and their names are given to the country 
through which they flow. Thus we have the great valley divided by names into lesser ones ; starting 
with Kern on the extreme south, bordering upon the Mohave desert, the Tulare joining on its north, 
followed by the San Joaquin, until the north line of the county by that name is reached, where the 
Sacramento the section in which the majority of our readers are more especially interested begins, 
and stretches away to the north, one hundred and fifty miles, to the head of Iron canon. This last- 
named subdivision of the great valley maintains a gradually diminishing width for a distance of ninety- 
five miles from its south line, starting with a width of about fifty-five miles and losing but ten in that 
distance north. Beyond that point, the east and west borders approach each other more rapidly until a 
point is reached fifty-five miles further up, at the head of Iron canon. The Sacramento i-iver makes its 
irregular, tortuous course through the valley, approaching nearer the Coast Range than the Sierra 
Nevada, and in its windings has established a channel 255 miles long through 150 miles of low lands. 
In this great basin, in various places, have been found the remains of extinct species of animals, among 
which are those of the hairy elephant that followed upon the track of the receding glaciers, the first of 
known herbiverous animals to feed upon the primative verdure of the earth ere man appeared upon the 
scene a prehistoric animal that became extinct while the human race was in its infancy. "Wm. Culleii 
Bryant, in referring to our ancestors of that time, describes them as ' Mei-e naked savages, with an 
instinct to kill and to eat, to creep under a rock as a shelter from the cold and the rain ; who, in the 
course of time, learned that fire would bum and cook, that there was warmth in the skin of a beast, that 
a sharpened stone would kill and would scrape much better than a blunt one. From generation to gen 
eration, they lived and died in the caves where they have left the evidences of their existence ; and it is 
a curious and interesting mark of their progress, that some of these troglodytes in the south of France 
made tolerable carvings in bone and drawings of various animals upon horn and tusks of ivory. 
Pictures of the long-haired elephant and of groups of reindeer * * * prove that these artists were 


familiar with the animals they sketched, of which one (the long-haired elephant) is known to the modern 
world only by its fossil remains.' A portion of the skeleton of one of these hairy monsters was found 
in sinking a well in Tulare township, San Joaquin county. It was resting upon a bed of water-charged 
gravel, fifty-one and a half feet below the present surface of the ground. Some of the hair was yet 
preserved after this lapse of ages, and Hiram Hamilton, an acquaintance of ours, wore for several years 
a braided watch-chain of the hair. It was a coarse fiber, about eighteen inches in length, and resembled 
that constituting the mane of a horse. 

"The remains of another are said to have been recently discovered about one mile above Yuba city, 
by parties who were building a levee on the west bank of Feather river. The remains were found 
imbedded in a hard-pan soil, in a standing position, three feet below the surface. Some of the teeth 
weighed four and a half pounds each. At the Bank of Woodland is a portion of a tusk of one of that species 
of animal, which measures six and a half feet in length and twenty-two inches in circumference at the largest 
point, and in form describes a half circle. A portion from each end of the tusk is gone, and its original 
length cannot, therefore, be determined. It was found in a wash, in 1874, embedded in a cement, water- 
charged gravel, on the farm of Messrs. Gable Brothers, eight miles west of Black's station, in Yolo 
county, and taken out by them. The locality where it was discovered is in the hills, considerably above 
the level of the valley, a little below where water from a spring coming out of the ground has cut a 
channel some sixteen feet deep in the soil in its course towards lower ground, thus bringing to light the 
fossil remains. Overlying the cement in which it was found are four strata of deposit, varying from onft 
to five feet in thickness. Next above the cement lies one foot of loose gravel and sand supporting a 
three-foot stratum of yellowish clay, on which rest three feet of adobe overlaid with five feet of sediment 
surface soil. Within thirty feet of this place, two years earlier, in the same cement stratum, which 
seems to contain the fossil remains of other contemporaneous animals, was found the under jaw of some 
prehistoric monster, that most resembled that of an ox. The bone weighed nearly seventy pounds, and 
its grinder teeth, all perfect, measured each four and a half inches across. The fossil remains of these 
hairy monsters of the prehistoric time are found in fabulous quantities in the frozen regions of the north, 
where nature seems to have poured out her vials of wrath upon them, enfolding their bodies often in 
fields of ice to keep for the inspection of the present generation. Their flesh, embalmed in those frigid 
tombs, is often so perfectly preserved that, when thawed, dogs eat of the animal possibly ten thousand 
years dead. It is a long way back that those remains cariy the fancy, but they come down to us from 
a time, perhaps, when the great plan of creation had not developed sufficiently to admit mortals among 
its results, and because of its ancient date is worthy of a place in the memory of men and among the 
monuments of the past that are not to be forgotten. It brings a strange, weird sensation of loneliness, 
a feeling of isolation, as though in this great world you were alone, when the mind comes home with the 
thought that once, in this now beautiful valley, those animal-monsters roamed at will when man was 
nowhere to be found upon the earth. 

"The bones of these ancient monarchs are not the only relics that come to us out of the past from 
this great California valley, for near her borders was found the most ancient evidence of earth's occupa 
tion by man. A human skull was found imbedded in cement one hundred and fifty feet below the 
surface of the ground, two miles from Angelos, in Calaveras county. Over it rested five distinct deposits 
of volcanic matter and four beds or layers of gold-bearing gravel, solid and compact. In this mass of 
accumulation through the centuries there was not a crack or crevice to have given it access to the place 
where found. It must have gained the position when that stratum, now turned to cement, was the 
surface of the earth ; since when volcanoes have been born in those mountains, which, ere the hand of 
time extinguished them, had joined the elements in five separate efforts, with their fiery outbursts of 


ashes and lava, to cover the remains and evidence that could tell us of the age when this Adam of Cal 
ifornia lived." 

On the thirtieth of March, 1773, four years after the founding of the first mission at San Diego, 
Father Crespi discovered the San Joaquin river. He was at the head of a Spanish expedition, and had 
strayed into the great valley near the site of Antioch. No Caucasian eye had ever seen, nor white foot 
pressed its flowery carpet until this emissary of the cross stood upon its verge. It was in 1813 that a 
Spanish lieutenant named Marago entered and explored the southern end of the valley, which he called 
the Voile de los Tulares. He it was who named the stream, discovered forty years before by Father 
Crespi, the San Joaquin. By orders of the governor of California, Capt. Louis A. Argiiello passed up 
the Sacramento valley in 1820, and penetrated as far north as the Hudson Bay settlements on the 
Columbia river. He discovered and named the Marysville Buttes, calling them Picachos. They were 
called the Buttes in 1829 by Michael Laframbois, a Hudson Bay Company trapper, and have since been 
variously denominated Los Tres Picas, Sutter Buttes and Marysville Buttes. 

These curious productions of nature are situated in Sutter county, just west of the Sacramento 
river and ten miles from Marysville. They consist of three principal peaks, called the North, South, 
and East Butte, the highest having an altitude of about two thousand feet, with a great number of 
lesser peaks lying between and around them. The north and east sides are covered with a stunted 
growth of oak, while the opposite appear bleak and barren. They are undoubtedly of volcanic origin, 
and form but one line in a chain of volcanic peaks, being distinguished, however, from the others by 
rising abruptly from the plain, apparently disconnected and alone, standing like ever-wakeful sentinels 
to guard the slumbering valley. That they are of no recent formation is evident ; they bear the same 
marks, fossils and shells as are found on Mount Diablo and the Coast Range. Large springs are found 
almost at the summit of the highest peak, welling up through crevices in the rock, perpetually flowing 
through summer and winter. The source of these is no doubt the distant moiintains, probably the Coast 
Range, with which they must be connected by an under stratum of gravel. Some of these furnish run 
ning water during the long dry season, a thing impossible did they depend for their supply upon the rain 
that falls there in winter. Long arms and ridges of volcanic rocks reach out towards the northwest and 
southeast, and shorter spurs shoot out from all sides. Between these, aiid winding in and ai'ound the 
lower hills, are little fertile valleys, in summer yellow with waving grain. 

Once the plains around them were covered with a scattered growth of noble oak and sycamore, 
among whose wreathing branches birds of varied plumage made the air vocal with their songs of joy. 
Flowers of every hue filled the air with fragrance, and formed a brilliantly-colored carpet for the foot of 
the wanderer. Far up the rugged sides of the mountain was seen the verdant hue of the live oak, its 
gnarled and knotted branches wreathed around the sharp edges of the rocks. Clear springs of water 
formed little foaming rivulets, which met in some secluded spot in the ravines, forming lovely mountain 
tarns, whose mirror-like waters reflected the trees and rocks that surround and give them shelter. From 
these larger streams ran down the sloping hills and found their way to the rivers in the valley. These 
little streams were the home of many varieties of the finny tribe, that leaped and sported in their 
crystal waters. 

From the summit the great ranges of mountains can be seen on either hand enclosing the valley 
with their rocky walls, until away in the north they meet where the snow-crowned brow of Mount 
Shasta rears itself far into the heavens. A beautiful sight are these hills in winter, frequently crowned 
with a fringe of snow, over which play the sunbeams and dark shadows of the clouds, while the valley 
lies robed in green at their feet ; or when the clouds hang low and sullen o'er the valley and the three 



peaks disappear, their lofty top-s thrust far into the murky blackness, or rise above them fringed with 
the encircling mist. 

The ever-busy finger of time has wrought many changes. The shady groves and prismatic flow 
ers that mantled the plains have disappeared before the axe and plow of the husbandman ; the breezes 
that once fanned the leaves into rustling music now sweep in waving billows the golden grain; 
the limpid streams, filled with sporting fish, are seen no more, but in their stead are mountain torrents 
in winter and dry water-courses in summer ; the noble growth of trees that skirted the mountain sides 
has given away to a fringe of stunted oaks and bushes. From the apex the view is still as grand and 
beautiful ; the mountains rear themselves as proudly as of yore, their snowy tops brushing the clouds 
from the blue vault of heaven ; the rivers still wind their devious courses to the awaiting sea ; the sun 
in all its grandeur rises and declines, bathing the rocks in roseate hues, as has been his wont for ages 
past. Below, how great a change : where once stood the humble cot of the settler, now noble cities, 
busy with the hum of life, *ear their lofty spires ; villages, with their quiet thrift, dot the landscape ; 
while on every hand the husbandman wins peace and plenty from the yielding earth, over which ranged 
the bounding antelope and the antlered elk. Through cycles the Buttes have stood mute witnesses of an 
ever-changing scene, and in the long ages of the future, when time has wrought still greater changes in 
this fair valley, they yet will stand and gaze upon the shifting scene, and in their silent aspect seem to 
say, "We, the hills, are alone eternal." 

Cronise states that as early as 1820, "numerous hunters and trappers from the West (as it was then 
called in the eastern states, meaning the Missouri river country), while wandering in search of the posts 
on the Columbia river, found their way across the Sierra Nevada into California." He also says that 
a party of American trappers lived on the American river from 1822 to 1830, which fafe gave to the 
stream, the name it now bears. He is beyond question mistaken, as no Americans came overland as 
early as 1820, save Lewis and Clark, in 1804, the Missouri Fur Company, in 1808, and the Pacific Fur 
Company, in 1811, none of whom went south of the Columbia river. Indeed, the American trappers 
confined themselves to the eastern side of the Rocky mountains until General Ashley led a company of 
men into those mountain fastnesses in 1823. [See article on Fu,r Companies.] In 1825, the first party 
of Americans that ever came overland to California reached the Sacramento valley. They were a band 
of trappars led by Jeiediah S. Smith. [See articles on Fur Companies and Discovery of Gold.] They 
spent the winter of 1825-6 on the American river, and this is no doubt the company of which Mr. Cro 
nise speaks. That any company of trappers spent so long a time as he states is highly improbable, as 
they were too far from either a base of supplies or a market for their pelts. They could not have been 
in any way connected with the Hudson Bay Company, for that corporation did not penetrate into Cali 
fornia until 1828, nor establish a headquarters here till 1833. Jedediah S. Smith must stand in history 
as the pioneer overland traveler to California, and his band of trappers the first Americans to set their 
traps in the Sacramento valley. 

For the next fourteen years, trappers of the American companies and the Hudson Bay Company 
roamed the valley, and then there came a change a change so marked that it may well be called the 
beginning of the reign of civilization in the Sacramento valley. This was no less than the settlement 
near the junction of the Sacramento and American rivers, of Capt. John A. Sutter. This gentleman, 
the most renowned of all the California pioneers, was born in Baden, Germany, February 28, 1803, so 
late in the day that his birth is often given as having occurred on the first of March. His parents were 
Swiss, and he is generally spoken of as a native of Switzerland. He entered the military academy of 
Berne, Switzerland, and after graduating became a lieutenant in the celebrated Swiss Guard of the French 
army. In 1830, he returned to Switzerland and served four years in the army of that country, reaching 


the rank of captain. Imbued with republican ideas and possessed of an independent and adventuresome 
disposition, which his military life had served to strengthen, he bade adieu to the despotism of Europe 
and sailed for America, landing in New York in July, 1834. He first settled at St. Louis, Missouri, and 
then at West Point in the same state. For several years he engaged in the cattle trade upon the frontier, 
occasionally making journeys to Santa Fe. The whole frontier was crowded with trappers and mountain 
men who had traversed the broad west from end to end, many of whom had been to the Willamette 
valley, and some to California with Bonneville's company in 1833. Santa Fe was a great centre for 
trappers, and many who had been to California with Ewing Young in 1829 and 1833, were continually 
sounding the praises of the beautiful and fertile valley of the Sacramento, which had seemed so much like a 
paradise- to them, fresh as they were from the sands of the desert and snows of the mountain. 

Like seed upon rich soil fell these eulogies upon the ear of Captain Sutter, taking root in his mind 
and springing up into a firm resolve to make that lovely valley his future home. Early in April, 1838, 
he accompanied a band of trappers to the Rocky mountains, and then with six companions pushed reso 
lutely on till he reached Fort Vancouver, on the Columbia river. He did not go direct to California, for 
the route thither was practically unknown, and the Bonneville party had reported it dangerous from 
lack of both food and water ; while the Oregon route, by way of Fort Hall, was familiar to every moun 
tain man, either by experience or reputation. 

Finding no vessel there by which he could i-each any port of California, he took passage on a vessel 
for the Sandwich Islands, hoping there to find a ship whose destination was Yerba Buena. There he 
gathered a number of native Kanakas under his wing, to enable him to plant a strong colony, and sailed 
in a brig bound for Sitka, Russian America ; from which place it sailed down the coast and cast anchor 
off Yerba B^na, in San Francisco bay, on the second of July, 1839. More than a year of constant 
effort had it taken to reach the land of his choice and his future destiny. His reception was the reverse 
of cordial, for an order to leave the port was his only greeting. Having been allowed forty-eight hours 
in which to make repairs, he put to sea at the end of that time and sailed for the port of Monterey, for 
the purpose of interviewing the governor in regard to his colonization project. Governor Alvarado was 
pleased with the intentions of the old pioneer, for he saw that Sutter's settlement would be a strong 
defense on their frontier, where hostile Indians annoyed the Californians exceedingly, and kept them 
pretty well confined to the strip of land along the coast, where all their settlements were located. The 
San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers were on the extreme frontier, and no attempt had been made by the 
Californians to occupy the valley, because of the hostility to them of the native tribes. Sutter's settle 
ment, then, was just what they desired ; and Alvarado assured him that, if he would make a selection 
of land on the Sacramento river, and occupy it one year, he would be given a title to the tract, be in 
vested with Mexican citizenship, and be made a civil and military authority in that department. 

Sutter then retired to Yerba Buena, dispatched the brig back to the Sandwich Islands, purchased 
some launches, chartered a small schooner called the Isabella,, and commenced the voyage through the 
bays and up the Sacramento river. Having penetrated as far as the mouth of Feather river, he was 
met by a mutiny on the part of the crew, who, not liking the appearance of the natives and the isola 
tion from civilization a settlement in the unoccupied valley indicated, demanded that they be permitted 
to take the schooner back to Yerba Buena. Sutter was perplexed, and told them he would give them 
an answer in the morning. The order to drop down the stream which he gave the next morning was 
obeyed with alacrity, and no opposition was manifested even when he ascended the American river a 
few miles. On the south bank of this stream he disembarked his effects, erected tents for shelter, placed 
his three cannon in position for defense, and then called his colony around him. -This was on the twelfth 
of August, 1839. His little party consisted of eight Kanakas, two of whom had wives, and six white 


men, some of them mechanics, and upon whom he had placed his chief reliance both in building up his 
settlement and in defending and preserving it from destruction by the savages. These six were the dis 
contented ones, and to them Sutter addressed himself. He said that he had now settled himself where 
he proposed to stay ; that if they did not desire or were afraid to remain with him and the others, they 
were at full liberty to return to Yerba Bftena in the Isabella, which he intended to send below in the 
morning. With these words he left them ; but what was the tumult of emotions in his heart 1 For 
nearly a year and a half had he bent every effort and directed every energy to stand where he was that 
night. Dangers had been encountered, hardships endured, and difficulties overcome, that he might 
plant the seed of civilization in this lovely valley ; and now, on the threshold of his hopes, in the very 
door of his ambition, he was threatened with a complete annihilation of his dream by the desertion of 
those upon whom he had placed his chief reliance. It was a bitter thought, and the sturdy old pioneer 
never after referred to that moment without showing a trace of the emotion that then filled his heart. 
When the time came for the schooner to sail, three of the men announced their intention to remain, 
and the three deserters were allowed to depart with but few regrets. The place was named New Hel 
vetia, in honor of Sutter's native land, and thus began the first settlement in this vast valley. 

The trials and triumphs of that first year were many. Through dangers from without and jealousy 
from within, through disappointments and vexations incident to a pioneer colony, Captain Sutter's care 
ful management brought them in safety ; and the next year found him securely settled, with the nego 
tiations on foot for acquiring a Mexican title to his land. By promptly resenting any insult, he so 
impressed the natives with his inclination and ability to punish them for any outrage as to deter them 
from stealing his stock, or interfering with his settlement in any way. Some of these difficulties with 
the Indians, and other incidents, are told by Dr. J. F. Morse, to whom they were related by Sutter 
himself. He says : " Their intercourse was at once distinguished by acts of kindness, by freedom of 
communication, and even by manifesting an interest in sharing some of the toils and hardships of the 
colonists. By this conduct, they acquired the confidence of the captain and his associates, and lulled 
them into a conviction of security that came near fixing their fate forever. Indeed, nothing rescued 
them from a wily and malignant plot of assassination but the superior instinct and vigilance of an 
immense bull-dog belonging to the captain, and whose claims as an integral and fortunate portion of the 
colony have been almost criminally overlooked. 

"A few of the most daring Indians had determined, as soon as they discovered a sufficient lack of 
caution on the part of the whites, to steal upon them in the night with such a force as to enable them to 
murder the entire company at a single blow. In the daytime they were around the camp, exhibiting a 
kindness, a familiarity, and a general friendliness which was rapidly conciliating the good will of the 
colonists, and, for the time being, overruled the suspicions of the faithful bull-dog. So well did they 
perform their part in the maturing conspiracy, that the captain and his friends began to welcome night 
and sleep without the disagreeable necessity of a constant sentinelship. This was recognized with a 
sort of savage congeniality by the villainous conspirators. They watched its progress with the eager 
ness of fiends, and yet were never surprised into a betrayal of their own feelings. One precaution after 
another was abandoned, until little show of suspicion was evinced ; and then the Indians prepared for 
the contemplated slaughter. Furnishing themselves with hunting-knives, procured from the southern 
tribes in trade, they sallied out one night, at an hour when all was silent and quiet in the camp of the 
colonists, and stealthfully crawled up towards the tents. All thus far was most promising to their 
appetite for vengeance and plunder. Every one of the tired colonists; w^S buried in sleep, while the 
approaching murderers had stolen, in perfect security, to within a few feet of the intended victims ; and 
the ringleader, in advance of the rest, was about crawling into the mouth of the old captain's tent. 


Fortunately for the unsuspecting adventurers, who were upon the very verge of an awful slaughter, 
there was a friendly sentinel about that never slept, whose instinct was the watchword of fidelity, and 
whose sense of danger could be aroused where stillness reigned. Thus was it with the noble old bull-dog 
referred to. Close to his master's tent, concealed from view by darkness of night, he watched the move 
ments of the murderous wretches until he could stand their impudence no longer, and then, selecting the 
boldest one, he pounced upon him without a bark or growl, and sinking his teeth into a protuberant 
angle of his body, he put the speediest possible end to the conspiracy. The air was instantly filled with 
the piteous yells of the ringleader, whose misery and torment, and the cause thereof, the accom 
plices did not stop to investigate. The camp was, of course, aroused ; and whoever has observed or 
experienced the power of a bull-dog's grip, can appreciate the difficulty of the Indian attempting his 
escape. Instinct, which in this case was a sort of aposteriori argximent, induced the villain to throw 
away his intended instrument of destruction, and, assuming a less criminal intent, get some of the 
captain's men to choke off the dog. In this he succeeded so well as to escape the punishment due him ; 
and twice afterwards were similar stratagems concocted, and each time defeated through the sagacity of 
this noble animal. The nature of the conspiracies were revealed to the captain subsequently by his 
civilized and educated Indians. 

" Before Captain Sutter came up the river, he purchased a number of horses and cattle from the 
rancho of Senor Martinez, but it was with great difficulty that he succeeded in getting his stock up to 
his station. The Indians were so troublesome that he had to detail almost the whole of his force from 
the camp, and then they could barely accomplish the undertaking. They did, however, finally get to 
their new home about five hundred head of cattle, fifty horses and a manada of twenty-five mares. 

" Prior to the arrival of the stock, they had subsisted principally upon game elk, deer, bear, etc. 
which existed in great abundance, and which probably constituted the principal subsistence of Captain 
Joseph Walker in the year 1833. 

"After the captain had got his stock together, and after he had succeeded in getting the natives to 
render him some assistance, he began to lay out different and more substantial plans for the future. The 
site first selected he did not feel satisfied with, and accordingly changed his location from the bank of the 
American up to the present location of the old fort. With the Indians and his own men, he soon made 
enough adobes to build one good-sized house and two small ones within the grounds afterwards enclosed 
by the walls of the fort. His Kanakas built themselves three grass houses, such as they were in the 
habit of living in at the Sandwich Islands. These houses, which were subsequently burned, afforded 
them very comfortable quarters during their first rainy season or winter. 

" At the same time that he was prosecuting these important and very commendable improvements 
at the fort, he was also employing a number of his friendly Indians in opening a road direct to the 
Sacramento where it was intersected by the American. After completing this road of communication, 
which required a vast deal of labor, on account of the almost impenetrable chapparel through which the 
road had to be cut, he named his landing-place upon the main river his Embarcadero now the city of 

The first company of overland emigrants reached California in 1841, among the number being Gen. 
John Bidwell, of Chico, and the late Capt. Charles M. Weber, of Stockton. Mr. Bidwell became secretary 
and general advisor to Captain Sutter, and remained with him about six years. It was after the arrival 
of this company that the famous fort was built, enclosing the large adobe building previously erected, the 
ruins of which may still be seen and are faithfully portrayed in the accompanying illustration. In 1842, 
Sutter made another settlement on the west bank of Feather river, which place he called Hock Farm, 
after a large Indian village that stood there. Here he removed a large band of cattle and horses, and 


made this his principal stock-farm, the range embracing that part of Slitter county south of the Butte 
mountains. In 1850, Sutter took up his residence at Hock Farm, and made it his home for many 
years. He lived in Pennsylvania the few years preceding his death, which occurred in 1880, having 
become impoverished through his inability to fathom the ways of the American swindler. 

A little later, in 1842, Sutter settled Nicolaus Altgeier on the east bank of the Feather river, 
where the town of Nicolaus now stands, and where he lived till the day of his death. The settlement 
of Theodore Cordua on the site of the city of Marysville, soon followed in 1842. Cordua, who occupied 
the land under a lease from Sutter, called it New Mecklenburg, and made a stock-farm of it, and to some 
extent a trading-post. He obtained more or less otter, beaver, and other skins from passing traders 
and hunters, and frequently went to Yerba Buena to exchange them for goods, navigating the rivers, and 
sometimes the bays, in a lai'ge canoe. He became a Mexican citizen in 1844, and obtained a grant of 
land embraced between the Yuba and the Honcut, Feather river and the foot-hills of the Sierra Nevada. 
Cordua amassed considerable wealth, but lost it, became discouraged and broken-down in health, and 
went to the Sandwich Islands, where he died. 

The first settlement made after that at New Helvetia, and before Hock Farm was established, was 
that of John Sinclair, in 1841, about two miles northeast of Sutter's and on the opposite side of the 
American river. This was made in the interest of Capt. Eliab Grimes and his nephew,, Hiram Grimes, 
to whom Sutter afterwards conveyed the land. It was a good stock-farm, and is now known as the 
Rancho del Paso. 

In 1842, three settlements were made besides those at Nicolaus, Hock Farm and Marysville, those 
having all been on Sutter's property. They were "William Gordon on Cache Creek, J. R. Wolfskill on 
Puto creek, and Manuel Baca and Felipe Pena, at the present town of Vacaville. Mr. Gordon was an 
old trapper and had come to Los Angeles from New Mexico in 1841. He died in Lake county in 1876. 
A grant was made to Charles W. Flugge in the north end of Sutter county, which was afterwards pur 
chased by Thomas 0. Larkin, who failed in an effort to have it located in the mining regions. 

In 1843, Thomas M. Hardy located on a grant to him of six leagues, situated on Cache creek, 
between Gordon's line and the Sacramento. His rude hut was erected opposite the mouth of Feather 
river, on the site of the town of Fremont. He was an Englishman, and during the American conquest 
aided the Mexicans. He died in 1849. The same year, also, William Knight settled in Yolo county. 
He was from Baltimore, had graduated in the stxidy of medicine, lived at Santa Fe, where he became a 
Mexican citizen, and pushed on to Los Angeles in 1841. Knight's Landing 011 the Sacramento and 
Knight's Ferry on the Stanislaus both received their names from this gentleman, who died in Novem 
ber, 1849. 

It was in 1843 that John Bidwell, Peter Lassen and James Bruheim pursued a party bound for 
Oregon as far as Red Bluff, and recovered some stolen animals. On his return, in March, Mr. Bidwell 
made a map of the upper Sacramento valley, on which most of the streams were laid down and have 
since borne the names then given them. From this Peter Lassen selected his grant on Deer creek, in 
Tehama county, and started to go there in December, but did not reach there until the next February, 
having camped at the Butte mountains. This was the first settlement north of the Sutter grant, that is, 
north of Cordua at Marysville. Lassen's ranch became a well-known landmark in the next few years. 
From this point Fremont started for Oregon in the spring of 1846, and Peter himself guided Lieutenant 
Gillespie, a few days later, in search of the Pathfinder, and overtook him that memorable night on the 
bank of Klamath lake. He laid out the Lassen road for emigrants, and gave his name to the great Lassen 
peak, that stately monument of nature that rears its snowy head so loftily but a few miles to the north 
of his old home. He removed to Honey Lake valley in 1857, and built him another pioneer home, 


meeting his death in 1859 at the hands of the Pi Ute Indians in the mountains north of Pyramid lake. 
When that section was created a county, in 1863, it received the name of the old pioneer. 

A party arrived from across the plains in 1843, coming by the way of Fort Boise and Pit river, 
following down the west side of the Sacramento, which they crossed below the mouth of Stony creek. 
Among these was Pearson B. Reading, afterwards major in the California battalion during the American 
conquest. This gentleman sketched the country lying about the mouth of Stony creek. He was not a 
Mexican citizen, and, therefore, gave the map to a Mexican woman, the wife of Dr. Stokes, of Monterey, 
who obtained a grant of four leagues and gave one-half to Mr. Reading. It was first settled on by a 
man named Bryant in 1846. Major Reading procured a grant for himself on Cottonwood creek, in 
Shasta county, and sent a man named Julian to locate on it in 1845. Mr. Reading settled there in 
1847, after the cessation of hostilities in California. Reading's ranch was a noted place in the days of 
early mining, and the major vainly endeavored to make a large city there during the Trinity excite 
ment of 1850. 

Another emigrant party came in from the north in 1843, among whom was L. W. Hastings, a 
civil engineer, who laid out a number of California towns in the early days. They had crossed the 
plains to Oregon the year before, guided by the well-known mountain man, Stephen H. Meek. This 
was the first regular train of emigrants, consisting of families and using wagons, that had made the 
overland journey. Their wagons were abandoned at Fort Hall, from which point they used pack- 
animals, by way of the Snake and Columbia rivers, to the Willamette valley. That winter, Mr. Hast 
ings laid out Oregon City, as agent for Dr. McLaughlin. In the spring of 1843, Mr. Hastings and 
others became dissatisfied with Oregon, and Meek piloted them to California by the old Hudson Bay 
trail, through Shasta valley and down the Sacramento. Near Cottonwood creek, in Shasta county, they 
had a little difficulty with Indians, on account of a theft committed, in which an Indian was shot. As 
they progressed southward their reputation seemed to precede them, and when they reached the neigh 
borhood of the present town of Colusa, they encoiintered a large array of savages, apparently assembled 
with hostile intent. Meek had been used to the summary manner of treating Indians in vogue among 
the trappers of the Rocky mountains, and, with several others, fired a volley into the crowd of natives, 
that put them to ignominious flight, a few being killed. When the party arrived at New Helvetia 
they reported that they had been attacked by Indians, and Sutter marched against them with a force of 
forty men, chiefly Indians in his employ whom he had taught the use of firearms, and punished them 
severely. These Indians were of the Willey tribe. 

In 1844, a number of locations were made in the valley. Edward A. Farwell and Thomas Fallen 
settled on the Farwell grant, in Butte county. Thomas O. Larkin, United States consul at Monterey, 
having secured a grant of ten leagues for his children, employed Mr. Bid well to locate it for him, and 
that gentleman selected the land in Colusa county in July. It was first settled in the fall of 1846, by 
John S. Williams, in the employ of Larkin. Samuel Neal and David Dutton settled on Butte creek, 
seven miles south of Chico. William Dickey, Sanders and Yates settled on the Dickey grant, on Chico 
creek the present property of Hon. John Bidwell. The same year, A. G. Toomes, R. H. Thomes, Job 
F. Dye, William G. Chard and Josiah Belden selected and received grants for land in Tehama county, on 
which they settled the following spring. The grant to S. J. Hensley, in Butte county, was also located 
upon in the spring of 1845, by James W. Marshall, the discoverer of gold, and Northgrave. 

South of the Sutter grant but few settlements were made at that early date, the Americans prefer 
ring the upper end of the valley. William Daylor settled on the Sheldon grant, on Cosumne river, still 
known as the Daylor ranch, a map of which was first made by Dr. Sandels in 1843. Charles M. Weber, 
then keeping store in San Jose, having obtained, through Guillermo Gulnac, a grant where the present 


city of Stockton stands, Thomas Lindsay was engaged to locate there in August, 1844. He was killed 
by Indians that winter, and Sutter, upon his return from aiding Micheltorena in the war with Castro, 
the following spring, punished the perpetrators, a number of them being killed, as was also a member of 
Sutter's party Juan Baca, a relative of the Bacas of Yacaville, and a son of an ex-governor of New 
Mexico. After the American conquest, Captain Weber settled there permanently and laid out a town 
which he called Tuleburg, but afterwards rechristened Stockton, in honor of the fiery conqueror of 

Pablo Gutierez, a vaquero in the employ of Captain Sutter, obtained a grant of five leagues on the 
north side of Bear river, and settled there in 1844. That winter he was executed as a spy, having been 
captured while carrying dispatches from Sutter to Micheltorena. His grant and cattle were sold at 
auction by Captain Sutter, as magistrate, and were purchased by William Johnson and Sebastian Kyser, 
for one hundred and fifty dollars. This place was thereafter known as Johnson's ranch, and was a great 
landmark in the early days. Opposite this grant, on the south side of Bear river, Theodore Sicard, a 
French sailor who had first come to California in 1835, and who had been Sutter's superintendent in 
1842-3 at Hock Farm, settled upon a grant of four leagues of land in 1845. 

At the time the Castro rebellion was inaugurated, in the fall of 1844, there were pending before 
the Mexican authorities a large number of grants in the upper end of the valley, including the second 
grant to Captain Sutter. The settlers and applicants in that section viewed with alarm the probable 
overthrow of the power their interests required should be maintained, at least until their grants had 
been legally made and ratified. When, therefore, Micheltorena appealed to Sutter for aid to put down 
the rebellion of Castro, that gentleman imposed the condition that all the applications for grants which 
he, as magistrate, should approve, were to be considered as granted, and that a general title, at that 
time confei'red by the governor, should be considered as binding as a formal grant. On these terms the 
settlers joined Sutter and marched to the aid of Governor Micheltorena. How the war was ended and 
the governor expelled from California, is a well-known matter of history. This general title and the grants 
claimed under it were not confirmed by the United States courts, when, in after years, title was sought 
from the government. 

A large train of immigrants came to California in 1844, and each year thereafter saw constantly- 
increasing numbers of settlers pouring in from across the plains, many joining the American forces in 
the war for the conquest of California immediately upon their arrival. The majority of these emigrants, 
many of whom brought their families, settled at various points in the valley, Sutter's fort, however, 
being looked upon as the general headquarters and rally ing-point in time of danger. Not only was 
Sutter's settlement the seed of civilization that took root and has developed into the splendid growth of 
to-day, but Sutter, himself, was the generous patron of all emigrants seeking a home in the valley. By 
his energy and enterprise he gathered men about him who aided in the development of the resources of 
the country, and when strong enough to do so, branched out, as we have seen, and made companion 
settlements, still relying upon Sutter for aid and protection. He gathered the Indians about him and 
taught them how to till the soil, herd cattle, use the mechanic's tools and engage in manufacturing. He 
covered the valley with cattle, horses, and sheep ; first subdued to the yoke of the plow the unbroken 
soil, and filled the air with perfume from the ripening grain. He made brick, built a woolen-mill, 
where cloth was manufactured, established blacksmith and wagon-shops, built a grist-mill and saw-mill, 
erected a strong fort, on the walls of which were planted cannon, and trained a body of natives in the 
use of firearms, to serve as a defense in case of danger, and was always ready to make his place a harbor 
of refuge for the surrounding settlers when threatened by Indian outbreaks or by hostility of the Cali- 
fornians. To him, then, is due the highest meed of praise of all the pioneers of California, and though 


not the man whom accident led to pick up the first piece of gold, yet ought he to be honored as the true 
discoverer the one through whose energy and sacrifice a condition of affairs was created which led 
directly to the discovery, and made that discovery valuable. 


(Where gold was disc vered by James W. Marshall, January 19, 1848.) 



History fails to inform us of a time when gold was unknown. The researches of the achaeologist 
convince us that, in the dim twilight of civilization, jewels and the precious metals were unknown or 
unappreciated, but the earliest authentic records that now exist of the most ancient civilized nations 
speak of gold being used, both as a commercial medium and an ornament. The great Pharaohs of 
Egypt procured it in the Zabarah mountains in great quantities, and of this gold were made the orna 
ments of which the children of Israel spoiled the Egyptians when they fled from the land, as well as the 
golden calf that Aaron set up for the discontented people to worship at the base of the holy mountain 
of Sinai. In the reign of Solomon, one of the most splendid and magnificent the world has ever known, 
gold abounded in great profusion, and was wrought into ornaments and vessels for the temple with 
astonishing prodigality. This was the celebrated gold of Ophir, brought by the Phoenicians and Jews 
from that unknown land of Ophir, whose location is a puzzle to historians. From the coast of Asia 
Minor, a voyage thither and return consumed three years, and it is supposed to have been on the south 
east coast of Africa or in the East Indies. In the Ural mountains, that still yield their yellow treasure, 
gold was being mined in the time of Herodotus, and ancient Ethiopia and Nubia added their contribu 
tions to the precious store. The Romans procured it in the Pyrenees and in the provinces of Italy bor 
dering on the Alps, while the Athenians obtained it in Thessaly and the island of Thasos. The ancient 
Spaniards washed the golden burden of the river Tagus, while the nations of Eastern Asia found it in 
abundance in their own country. 

At the time of the discovery of America and the opening to Europe of the vast store of treasure 
accumulated by the Aztecs and Incas, as well as the inexhaustible mines, the estimated supply in Europe 
was but $170,000,000. Its production had, to a great degree, ceased, so that only enough was annually 
added to replace the loss by wear and usage. For years, the alchemists had been endeavoring to trans 
mute the baser metals into gold, many of them claiming to have succeeded, and were persecuted by the 
ignorant, credulous and bigoted populace for witchcraft and being in league with the devil ; and long 
after the great store-house of America was thrown open did these deluded and deluding scientists pursue 
the ignis fatuus of gold. Humboldt estimated the quantity of gold sent from America from the time 
Columbus planted the cross on San Domingo until Cortez conquered Mexico, in 1521, at $270,000 
annually, but from that time the golden stream that flowed into Spain made that nation the richest in 
Europe. An idea of the vast quantity possessed by the natives, and used chiefly for ornaments, can be 
had from the statement that the celebrated PizaiTO received for the ransom of the captured Inca, in 
Peru, a room full of gold, that is estimated to have been of the value of $15,480,710. The discovery 
of the great silver-mines of Potosi, in 1545, added to the vast mineral wealth that poured into Spain 
from Mexico, Peru and the East Indies. 

Although gold is found in small quantities in nearly every country, the three great centers of pro 
duction are California and the western states and territories, Australia, and Russian Siberia. Gold is 


found in considerable quantities in Italy, Austria, Hungary, Ural mountains, Siberia, China, Japan, 
India and the Indian Archipelago, Borneo, and the other large islands of that group, Australia, New Zea 
land and Africa, and in small quantities in Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales, France, Spain, Switzerland, 
Germany, Russia in Europe, and, in fact, in nearly every land in the Old World. In the western hemi 
sphere it is found and mined in Brazil, and from Chili, following up the Andes, Cordilleras, Rocky, 
Sierra, and connecting chains of mountains, clear into British Columbia, and now, by recent discoveries, 
even in Alaska. Canada and Nova Scotia add their quota, while the Appalachian gold-fields, running 
through Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, have yielded a golden 
treasure since the first discovery was made, in 1 799, in Cabarrus county, North Carolina. 

Until the discovery in California, followed by Australia three years later, Russia was the greatest 
producer in the world. The home of big nuggets seems to be in Axistralia, where were found the great 
Ballarat nugget of 2,217 oz. 16 dwts., valued $50,000, and exhibited at the great Paris Exposition, and 
the still larger one, called the Sarah Sands, weighing 233 Ibs. 4 oz. troy. The first discovery of the 
metal in Australia was made in 1839, but the government officials, fearing the effect upon the 45,000 
convicts there, caused it to be kept a secret. Several times was the fact that gold lay hidden in the 
soil ascertained and the knowledge suppressed, but at last, in 1851, E. H. Hargreaves returned there 
from the mines of California, prospected on the river Macquarie, in New Soxith Wales, and made the 
discovery that brought thousands thither, and to the still richer mines of Victoria, and added millions to 
the world's store of precious metals. 

The estimated production of gold in the United States, from 1848 to 1873, is $1,240,750,000, of 
which California gave $995,800,000. 

Blake gives the following table of the gold-yield of the world for the year 1867 : 

California $25,000,000 

Nevada 6,000,000 

Oregon and Washington Territory 3,000,000 

Idaho 5.000,000 

Montana 12,000,000 

Arizona 500,000 

New Mexico 300,000 

Colorado 2,000,000 

Utah and Appalachians 2,700,000 

Total for the United States $56,500,000 

British Columbia 2,000,000 

Canada and Nova Scotia 560,000 

Mexico 1,000,000 

Brazil 1,000,000 

Chili 500,000 

Bolivia 300,000 

Peru 500,000 

Venezuela, Columbia, Central America, Cuba and Santo 

Domingo 3,000,000 

Australia 31,550,000 

New Zealand 6,000,000 

Russia 15,000,000 


Austria 1,175,000 

Spain 8,000 

Italy 95,000 

France 80,000 

Great Britain 12,000 

Africa 900,000 

Borneo and East Indies 5,000,000 

China, Japan, Central Asia, Roumania and other unenumer- 

ated sources 5,000,000 

Total $130,180,000 

One of the chief allurements possessed by the unknown country to the northwest of Mexico, to 
Cortez and other explorers, was its supposed richness in gold, silver, and precious stones. In his letter 
to Charles V. of Spain, in 1524, Cortez speaks of this unknown land "abounding in pearls and gold." 
Still later the not-over-veracious chaplain, Mr. Fletcher, who chronicled the events of Sir Francis 
Drake's voyage along the coast in 1589, in speaking of the country just north of the bay of San Fran 
cisco says, " There is no part of earth here to be taken up wherein there is not a reasonable quantity of 
gold or silver." As at the same time, in the month of June, he speaks of snow and weather so cold 
that meat froze when taken from the fire, one at all acquainted with the nature of the climate there 
and knowing that snow seldom falls in winter and that the thermometer, even in the most severe sea 
sons, sees the freezing point but occasionally, needs not be assured that the worthy chaplain was addicted 
to drawing largely upon his imagination in chronicling events. No gold has ever been discovered there, 
and the probable possession of it by the natives may have been the foundation for his assertion. The 
opinion that the precious metals existed in California seems never to have entirely died out, although it 
lost its potent influence in stimulating exploration and conquest. 

J. Ross Browne, in his report to Congress in 1867, says : 

" The existence of gold in California was known long before the acquisition of that territory by the 
United States. Placers had long been worked on a limited scale by the Indians, but the priests who 
had established the missionary settlements, knowing that a dissemination of the discoveries thus made 
would frustrate their plans for the conversion of the aboriginal races, discouraged, by all means in their 
power, the prosecution of this pursuit, and in some instances suppressed it by force. As early as Decem 
ber, 1 843, however, Manuel Castanares, a Mexican officer, made strenuous efforts to arouse the attention 
of the Mexican government to the importance of this great interest." 

The first actually known of the metals was the reported discovery, as early as 1802, of silver at 
Alizal, in Monterey county. 

The following letter is an important document, showing that Jedediah S. Smith was not only the 
first white man to come overland to California, but that he was also the discoverer of gold : 

Kdmund Randolph, Esq., San Francisco : UENOA ' ARSON VALLEY ' Se P tember 18 > 1860 ' 

Friend Randolph I have just been reading your address before the Society of Pioneers. 1 have 
known of the J. S. Smith you mentioned, by reputation, for many years. He ivas the first white man 
tJiat ever went overland from the Atlantic States to California. He was the chief trader in the employ 
of the American Fur Company. At the rendezvous of the company, on Green river, near the South 
pass, in 1825, Smith was directed to take charge of a party of some forty men (trappers) and penetrate 
the country west of Salt Lake. He discovered what is now called Humboldt river. He called it Mary's 


river, from his Indian wife Mary. It has always been known as Mary's river by mountain men since 
a name which it should retain for many reasons. 

Smith pushed on down Mary's river, and being of an adventuresome nature, when he found his road 
closed by high mountains, determined to see what kind of a country there was on the other side. It is 
not known exactly where he crossed the Sierra Nevada, but it is supposed that it must have been not 
far from where the old emigrant road crossed, near the head of the Truckee. He made his way southerly 
after entering the valley of Sacramento, passed through San Jose and down as low as San Diego. After 
recruiting his party and purchasing a large number of horses, he crossed the mountains near what is 
known as Walker's pass, skirted the eastern shore of the mountains till near what is now known as Mono 
lake, when he steered an east-by-north course for Salt lake. On this portion of his route he found 
placer gold in quantities, and brought much of it with him to the encampment on Green river. 

The gold that he brought 'with him, together with his description of the country he had passed 
through, and the large amount of furs, pleased the agent of the American Fur Company so well, that 
he directed Smith again to make the same trip, with special instructions to take the gold-fields on his 
return and thoroughly prospect them. It was on this trip that he wrote the letter to Father Duran. 
The trip was successful until they arrived in the vicinity of the gold-mines, east of the mountains, where 
in a battle with the Indians, Smith and nearly all his men were killed. A few of the party escaped and 
reached the encampment on Green river. This defeat damped the ardor of the company so much that 
they never looked any more for the gold-mines. 

There are one or more men now living who can testify to the truth of die above statement, and 
who can give a fuller statement of the details of his two journeys than I can. 

The man Smith was a man of far more than average ability, and had a better education than falls 
to the lot of mountain men. Few or none of them were his equals in any respect. 


This is the first known discovery of gold in California, and much of the honor that is showered upon 
James W. Marshall should properly fall upon this intrepid and enterprising pioneer trapper, Jedediah 
S. Smith. 

In 1828, at San Isador, in San Diego county, and in 1833, in the western limits of Santa Clara 
county, gold was also discovered. Gold placers were discovered in 1841, near the mission of San Fer 
nando, forty-five miles north-east of Los Angeles, by a French Canadian named Baptiste Ruelle. He 
had for many years been a trapper in the Rocky mountains, whence he had found his way into New 
Mexico, and there learned to work in the placer mines. He continued on to California, and in 1841 
made the discovery referred to. The mines did not prove sufficiently rich to attract attention, and 
though worked by half a hundred men, produced on the average but about six thousand dollars an 
nually. In rare instances nuggets were found, some weighing an ounce, but the average wages were 
about twenty-five cents a day. When visited by Dr. John Townsend and John Bidwell, in March, 1845, 
these mines were still being worked, but in such an unprogressive manner, with wooden bowls, that in 
three and one-half years the gravel-banks had been penetrated little more than twenty-five feet. Baptiste 
Ruelle went to Sutter's fort in 1844, where he stayed till 1848, when, after working in the mines a 
short time, he settled on Feather river above the Honcut, and there lived till the time of his death. 

In 1842, James D. Dana, the well-known geologist, visited the coast with the Wilkes Exploring 
Expedition, and wrote later as follows :- 

" The gold rocks and veins of quartz were observed by the author in 1842, near the Umpqua river, 
in southern Oregon, and pebbles from similar rocks were met with along the shores of the Sacramento, 


in Califoi-nia, and the resemblance to other gold districts was remarked ; but there was no opportunity 
of exploring the country at the time." 

The next year, Dr. Sandels, an educated Swedish gentleman of much experience in the mines of 
South America, visited Sutter's Fort, and was persuaded by Captain Sutter to make an examination of 
the country to see if gold did not exist there. The Doctor had but little time to spare, but he made an 
excursion up the Sacramento river as far as the site of Chico, and gave the opinion that, "Judging from 
the Butte mountains, I believe that there is gold in the country, but do not think there will ever be 
enough found to pay for the working." 

Gen. John Bidwell narrowly escaped reaping the honors of a gold discoverer, in 1844. At that time 
he was in charge of Sutter's establishment at Hock Farm, and under him was a Mexican vaquero named 
Pablo Gutierez, who was familiar with placer mining in his own country. He one day informed Bidwell 
that in the foot-hills on Bear river he had found black sand and other signs of gold, which he pointed 
out to him when the two visited the locality to investigate. He said that to work it a peculiar imple 
ment called a batea was required, and that it would be necessary to go to Mexico for this. His means 
being limited, Bidwell was unable to do this, and requested the vaquero to keep the matter a secret until 
they could procure the indispensable implement. The secret was faithfully kept until the death of 
Gutierez, which occurred the following winter, during the Castro rebellion. He was the bearer of dis 
patches from Sutter to Micheltorena,was taken prisoner and instantly executed, near the site of the pres 
ent town of Gilroy. This event postponed, for a time, all thought of gold discovery, but Bidwell never 
lost hope. He paid the mines of Los Angeles a visit, and also went into mountains south of the Cosumne 
river in July, 1845, but the lack of the supposed necessary batea, prevented him from succeeding in his 
purpose. Less than four years later he saw, at almost that very point south of the Cosumne, a busy 
mining camp arid diggings of great richness. 

Had he known that the wonderful batea was simply a wooden bowl, and that any tin dish or most 
any kind of receptacle woiild have answered the same purpose, the name of John Bidwell would have 
gone down to history instead of James W. Marshall. 

The man who made the final discovery of the precious metal in the mill-race at Coloma, January 19, 
1848, the news of which brought thousands from all points of the compass, was James "W. Marshall. 
He came down from Oregon in 1845, whither he had gone overland from Missouri the year before; he 
entered the employ of Captain Sutter, took part in the American conquest as a member of the California 
battalion, and when the war ceased, in 1847, he returned to Sutter's Fort, at which place he had enlisted. 
He soon after made an excursion up the American river, and was so pleased with the water-power at a 
place on the south fork, called by the Indians " Culloomah," known now as Coloma, that he desired to 
build a saw-mill there. Having entered into a partnership agreement with Captain Sutter, by 
which he was to superintend the erection and operation of the mill, and Sutter to furnish the 
means, the contract being written by John Bidwell, he started for the field of action on the 
twenty-eighth of August, 1847, with workmen, tools, etc. By January the building* and tail-race 
for carrying off the water after being used, were completed. The method of making the race was what 
led to the discovery. A ditch was cut to direct the course of the current, and at night the head-gates 
were raised and the stream allowed to rush through the ditch, carrying with it mud and sand and leaving 
the stones, which were thrown out the next day by Indians. In this way the race was gradually 

The following extract from The Life and Adventures of James W. Marshall contains the best and 
most authentic account of the circumstances attending the discovery. It was published by Marshall in 


1870 (who was then, and is now, in straightened circumstances, living not far from the scene of his 
discovery), and written by George F. Parsons : 

" We now approach the most important event, not only in the life of Marshall, but in the history 
of California ; and as many erroneous statements have been made and published, from time to time, 
concerning the manner of the first discovery, and as attempts have been made to foist a spurious discov 
ery upon the public, we deem it proper to enter into details with such minuteness as the historical value 
of the events appears to demand and to warrant. 

" The names of the men who were then working at the mill, and who, if living, can substantiate 
the accuracy of this narrative, are as follows : Peter L. Werner, William Scott, James Bargee, Alexander 
Stephens, James Brown, William Johnson and Henry Bigler. The latter afterwards moved to Salt 
Lake, together with Brown, Stephens and Bargee, and became an elder in the Mormon church. 

" On the morning of that memorable day Marshall went out, as usual, to superintend the men, and 
after closing the fore-bay gate, and thus shutting off the water, walked down the tail-race to see what 
sand and gravel had been removed during the night. This had been customary with him for some time, 
for he had previously entertained the idea that there might be minerals in the mountains, and had ex 
pressed it to Sutter, who, however, only laughed at him. 

" On this occasion, having strolled to the lower end of the race, he stood for a moment examining 
the mass of debris that had been washed down, and, at this juncture, his eye caught the glitter of some 
thing that lay lodged in a crevice or a riffle of soft granite, some six inches under water. His first act 
was to stoop and pick up the substance. It was heavy, of a peculiar color, and unlike anything he had 
seen in the stream before. For a few minutes he stood with it in his hand, reflecting and endeavoring 
to recall $11 he had heard or read concerning the various minerals. After a close examination, he 
became satisfied that what he held in his hand must be one of three substances mica, sulphuret of 
copper, or gold. The weight assured him that it was not mica. Could it be sulphuret of copper ? He 
remembered that that mineral is brittle, and that gold is malleable, and, as this thought passed through 
his mind, he turned about, placed the specimen upon a flat stone, and proceeded to test it by striking it 
with another. The substance did not crack or flake off it simply bent under the blows. This, then, 
was gold ; and, in this manner, was the first gold found in California. * * * 

" The discoverer proceeded with his work as usual, after showing the nugget to his men and indulg 
ing in a few conjectures concerning the probable extent of the gold-fields. As a matter of course, he 
watched closely, from time to time, for further developments, and, in the course of a few days, had col 
lected several ounces of the precious metal. 

" Although, however, he was satisfied in his own mind that it was gold, there were some who were 
skeptical, and as he had no means of testing it chemically, he determined to take some down to his 
partner at the fort, and have the question finally decided. Some four days after the discovery it became 
necessary for him to go below, for Sutter had failed to send a supply of provisions to the mill, and the 
men were on short commons. So, mounting his horse, and taking some three ounces of gold-dust with 
him, he started. Having always an eye to business, he availed himself of this opportunity to examine 
the river for a site for a lumber-yard, whence the timbers cut at the mill could be floated down ; and 
while exploring for this purpose he discovered gold in a ravine in the foot-hills, and also at the place 
afterwards known as Mormon Island. That night he slept under an oak tree, some eight or ten miles 
east of the fort, where he arrived about nine o'clock the next morning. Dismounting from his horse, 
he entered Sutter's private office, and proceeded to inquire into the cause of the delay in sending up the 
provisions. This matter having been explained, and the teams being in a fair way to load, he asked for 
a few minutes private conversation with Colonel Sutter, and the two entered a little room back of the 


store, reserved as a private office. Then Marshall showed him the gold. He looked at it in astonish 
ment, and, still doubting, asked what it was. His visitor replied that it was gold. " Impossible !" was 
the incredulous ejaculation of Sutter. Upon this Marshall asked for some nitric acid to test it, and a 
vaquero having been dispatched to the gunsmith's for that purpose, Sutter inquired whether there was 
no other way in which it could be tested. He was told that its character might be ascertained by weigh 
ing it, and accordingly some silver coin ($3.25 was all that the fort could furnish) and a pair of small 
scales or balances having been obtained, Marshall proceeded to weigh the dust, first in the air and then 
in two bowls of water. The experiment resulted as he had foreseen. The dust went down, the coin 
rose lightly up. Sutter gazed and his doubts faded, and a subsequent test with the acid, which, by this 
time had arrived, settled the question finally. Then the excitement began to spread. Sutter knew well 
the value of the discovery, and in a short time, having made hurried arrangements at the fort, he 
I'eturned with Marshall to Coloma, to see for himself the wonder that had been reported to him." 

The following, from the Memoirs of General W, T. Sherman, would indicate that Marshall was not 
so excessively cool about the discovery as would appear from his own account : " Captain Sutter himself 
related to me Marshall's account, saying that, as he sat in his room at the fort one day in February or 
March, 1848, a knock was heard at his door, and he called out, 'Come in.' In walked Marshal, who 
was a half-crazy man at best, but then looked strangely wild. ' What is the matter, Marshall 1 ' Mar 
shall inquired if any one was within hearing, and began to peer about the room and looked under the 
bed, when Sutter, fearing that some calamity had befallen the party up at the saw-mill, and that Marshall 
was really crazy, began to make his way to the door, demanding of Marshall to explain what was the 
matter. At last he revealed his discovery, and laid before Captain Sutter the pellicles of gold he had 
picked up in the ditch. At first Sutter attached but little importance to the discovery, and told Mar 
shall to go back to the mill and say nothing of what he had seen to his family or any one else. Yet, as 
it might add value to the location, he dispatched to our headquarters in Monterey, as I have already 
related, the two men with written application for a pre-emption to the quarter-section of land at 

On the same subject, the following extract from a diary kept at the time by John A. Sutter will be 
found highly interesting. It is given just as written by that gentleman : 

"January 28, 1848, Marshall arrived in the evening. It was raining very heavy, but he told me 
that he came on important business. After we was alone in a private room, he showed me the first 
specimens of gold ; that is, he was not certain if it was gold or not, but he thought it might be ; imme 
diately I made the proof and found that it was gold. I told him even that most of all is twenty-three 
carat gold. He wished that I should come up with him immediately, but I told him that I have first 
to give my orders to the people in all my factories and shops. 

" February 1st. Left for the saw-mill attended by a vaquero (Olimpio) ; was absent second, third, 
fourth, and fifth. I examined myself everything and picked up a few specimens of gold myself in the 
tail-race of the saw-mill, this gold and others which Marshall and some of the other laborers gave to me 
(it was found while in my employ and wages). I told them that I would a ring got made of it so soon 
as a goldsmith would be here. I had a talk with my employed people all at the saw-mill. I told them 
that as they do know now that this metal is gold, I wished that they would do me the great favor and 
keep it secret only six weeks, because my large flour-mill at Brighton would have been in operation in 
such a time, which undertaking would have been a fortune to me, and unfortunately the people would 
not keep it secret, and so I lost on this mill, at the lowest calculation about $25,000." 

In speaking of the finding of the first piece of gold and the tests Marshall submitted it to, Tuthill 
says : 


" Peter L. Werner claims that he was with Mai*shall 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. 
Werner, and asked her to boil ifc 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." 

The credit of this discovery is chiefly due to Captain Sutter, by whose energy and courage the Sac 
ramento valley was settled, and a condition of society created so as to take advantage of the discovery. 
It was Sutter's enterprise that demanded and paid for the mill, while Marshall was the man who, by 
accident, happened to see the first piece of gold. 

It did not take long for the news to spread throughout the coast. About the first of March, Gen. 
John Bidwell went to San Francisco with some specimens, which were pronounced genuine gold by 
Isaac Humphrey, an old Georgia miner. This man's experience taught him that such coarse gold was 
only found in rich placers, and in vain he sought to induce some one to go with him on a prospecting 
trip to Coloma; they all thought it a brainless folly. On the seventh of March he arrived at the mill, 
and after prospecting a day, made a rocker and commenced the first of that gold-mining that was the 
life of California for many years. In a few days Baptiste Ruelle, who had discovered gold near Los 
Angeles in 1841, joined Humphrey and went to work. One and two at a time the people slowly arrived 
to see for themselves and to go to work, and on the twenty-fifth of March the California Star announced 
that gold-dust was an article of traffic at New Helvetia (Sacramento). 

The discovery at Coloma was soon followed by the finding of gold on many other streams. The 
circumstances surrounding the first gold-mining on the Calaveras, Stanislaus, Mokelumne, Yuba, Feather, 
Trinity, Klamath and Scott rivers, which, with the American, form the principal streams along which 
mining has been carried on, are of peculiar interest. 

Specimens of scale gold were carried to Tuleburgh (Stockton) in the latter part of March, and 
exhibited to Charles M. Weber. He did not rush to Coloma, as many did, with the idea that it was 
there only that gold could be found, but fitted out a prospecting party, in which were a number of 
Si-yak-um-na Indians, and commenced the exploration of the mountains north from the Stanislaus river. 
The History of San Joaquin County says : " But the gold fever had taken possession of them, and haste 
and nuggets became their watchword, inexperience their companion, and failure the resxilt, until the 
Mokelumne river was reached. Here the captain decided to make a more deliberate search, the result 
being a discovery by him of the first gold found in the region of country afterwards known as the 
southern mines. They were so called to distinguish them from those that, from geographical location, 
were more easily approached from Sacramento. After this they prospected with more care, and gold 
was found in every stream and gulch between the Mokelumne and American rivers. A location was 
not made, however, until the latter was reached, where they commenced work in earnest on what has 
since been known as Weber creek. As soon as the Indians accompanying the expedition had learned 
how to prospect, the captain sent them all back to their chief, Jesus, on the Stanislaus river, where 
Knight's Ferry now is, with instructions to prospect that stream and others for gold, and report results 
to his Major-domo at Tuleburgh. Not many days had passed before an express rider dashed into 
Weber's camp with the exciting news that his Indians had found gold in quantities everywhere between 
the Calaveras and Stanislaus rivers. He immediately returned to his home, fitted out the Stockton 
Mining Company, and inaugurated the working of those afterwards famous mines. The operations of 
this company were numerous and covered a large extent of country. They had a small army of Indians 
in their employ, the different members conducting their various enterprises. Murphy's Camp, Sullivan's 
Diggings, Sansevina Bar, Jamestown Wood's Creek and Angel's Camp all derived their names from 


members of that pioneer company." This was the first working of the southern mines, that after 
wards yielded their millions and resounded to the busy clatter of thousands of rockers. 

The discoverer of gold on the celebrated Yuba river was Jonas Spect, who, on the twenty- 
fourth of April, 1848, encamped at Knight's Landing, on the Sacramento river, on his way from 
San Francisco to Johnson's ranch to join a party being made up for an overland journey to the 
States. He relates his discovery as follows : 

" Up to this time there had been no excitement about the gold-diggings ; but at that place we 
were overtaken by Spaniards, who were on their way to Sutter's mill to dig gold, and they reported 
stories of fabulously rich diggings. After discussing the matter we changed our course to the gold 
mines, and hurried on, arriving at the mill on the thirtieth of April. It was true that several rich 
strikes had been made, but the miners then at work did not average two and one-half dollars per 
day. Marshall and Sutter claimed the land and rented the mines. Every one supposed gold was 
confined to that particular locality. We did not engage in mining, and concluded to resume our 
journey across the plains. On our return trip we learned that gold had been found on Mormon 
island ; but we took no further notice of it, and on the twelfth of May arrived at Johnson's ranch. 
We found one man there awaiting our arrival, but we expected many others in a short time. We 
waited until about the twenty-fifth, when we learned that there was another rush to the mines, and 
then vanished all prospect of any company crossing the mountains that summer. My partner left 
for the American river, and I proposed to Johnson that we should prospect for gold on Bear river. 
We went some distance up the stream, and spent three days in search without nny satisfactory 
results. I then suggested to Johnson that he should send his Indian with me, and I would prospect 
the Yuba river, as that stream was about the size of the south fork of the American river. We 
prepared the outfit, and on the first of June we struck the river, near Long bar. After a good deal 
of prospecting I succeeded in raising ( color.' That night I camped in Timbuctoo ravine, a little 
above where we first found gold. The next day, June second, I continued prospecting up the 
stream, finding a little gold, but not enough to pay. The Indian was well acquainted, and he 
piloted me up to the location of Rose bar, where we met a large number of Indians, all entirely 
nude, and eating clover. I prospected on the bar and found some gold, but not sufficient to be 
remunerative. Greatly discouraged, I started on my return home. When I arrived at a point on 
the Yuba river, a little above Timbuctoo ravine, I washed some of the dirt, and found three lumps 
of gold, worth about seven dollars. I pitched my tent here on the night of June second, and sent 
the Indian home for supplies. In about a week I moved down on the creek and remained there 
until November twentieth, when I left the mines forever. June third, the next day after the 
location of my camp, Michael Nye and William Foster came up the creek prospecting for gold." 

Since then the name Yuba has become as familiar as a household word, and dear to the heart of 
every old Californian. Many a partaker of the excitements of these early days, quietly sitting in 
his eastern home, wishes himself again on the banks of the swift-rushing Yuba ; but, alas ! Avould 
he recognize in its mud-burdened waters the crystal home of the salmon he knew so long ago? 

About the first of March, some six weeks after the discovery at Coloma, John Bidwell went 
from his ranch on Chico creek to Sacramento. There the wonderful tale was related to him, and 
pieces of the precious metal exhibited in confirmation. Some of this he took with him to San 
Francisco, and the result, as has been related, was the inauguration of mining on the American 
river. A few days later, having visited Coloma, he returned to his home, satisfied that all the gold 
in California was not to be found on the American river. On his way home, therefore, he camped 
for the night on the bank of Feather river, where the town of Hamilton was afterwards laid out. 


Hero was a broad gravel-bar, on which, while supper was being prepared, he washed a few pans of 
dirt, and obtained a small quantity of light scale-gold, harbinger of the vast fortunes lying in that 
stream awaiting the pick, shovel, and pan of the early miner. 

He went to his home and immediately fitted out an expedition, composed chiefly of Indians* 
and prospected the river, finding gold in large quantities. His camping-place is still known as 
Bidwell's bar, and was for a time the county-seat and most important place in Butte county. Here 
he established a trading-post, and commenced a highly profitable trade with the natives, who soon 
learned that the "yellow stuff" in these streams, where they and their fathers had fished for years, 
was valued by the whites, and could be exchanged for such desirable articles as beads, sugar, 
blankets, etc. 

Bidwell's success in finding gold brought to the river all the settlers in the upper end of the 
valley, each one accompanied by a score or more of Indians, who did the mining under direction of 
their employers, their wages being plenty of meat to eat, and trinkets of little value. Of these, 
Potter, from the Farwell grant, settled at Potter's bar, on the north fork ; Neal at the place on the 
main stream afterwards known as Adamstown, directly opposite Long bar; Davis, from Lassen's 
ranch, on the main Feather river, near Thompson's flat, just below the mouth of Morris ravine. 
Others came in later and worked at various points along the stream, the majority of them aided by 
Indians, and nearly all securing a fortune. 

Such was the manner in which gold was discovered on those marvelously rich streams, and in 
that first year nearly every man in California paid a visit to some of the mines. Crops were per 
mitted to rot in the fields, buildings were left incompleted, and all the avenues of industry were 
deserted men even refusing to work for fifteen dollars a day, so great was their eagerness to get 
to the mines. From Oregon and along the coast a great many arrived that fall to seek the yellow 
treasure, and hundreds worked in the mines, became rich or disgusted, and abandoned them 
forever, before the advance guard of that army of Argonauts of 1849 began to make its appearance. 
Such a one was David Parks, who worked on the celebrated Parks' bar, on Yuba river, returned 
east, and arrived in New Orleans early in the spring of 1849, to meet the first tide of emigration and 
to enthuse them with the sight of eighty-five thousand dollars in gold-dust that he had brought 
back with him. When these, the forty-niners, began to arrive, they went to the streams on which 
gold had been found and commenced to work. Soon they were in such numbers that claims were 
not plentiful enough on the bars then being worked. Farther up the streams they pressed, finding 
new and rich diggings on every bar, ravine, gulch, and creek, until in a year there was scarcely a 
stream in the heart of the Sierra that had not its quota of industrious miners. 

To what is generally known as the Trinity excitement we must look for the development of 
the mines in the northern section of the state. In 1858 Major Pearson B. Reading, the old trapper 
and pioneer Californian, gave the following account of the first mining in northern California. At 
the time he named it, Trinity river was not an unknown stream to the trappers of the Hudson Bay 
Company, who were familiar with any stream of consequence in this portion of the state ; that they 
had ever given it a name, however, is uncertain ; if so, it is unknown to history. 

"In the spring of 1845, I left Slitter's fort for the purpose of trapping the waters of upper Cal 
ifornia and Oregon. My party consisted of thirty men, with one hundred head of horses. In the 
month of May, I crossed the mountains from the Sacramento river, near a point now called the 
Backbone ; in about twenty miles' travel reached the banks of a large stream, which I called the 
Trinity, supposing it led into Trinity bay, as marked on the old Spanish charts. I remained on the 
river about three weeks, engaged in trapping beaver and otter ; found the Indians very numerous, 


but friendly disposed. On leaving the Trinity I crossed the mountains at a point which led me to 
the Sacramento river, about ten miles below the soda springs. I then passed into the Shasta and 
Klamath settlements, prosecuting my hunt. Having been successful, returned in the fall to gutter's 

" In the month of July, 1848, I crossed the mountains of the Coast Range, at the head of middle 
Cotton wood creek; struck the Trinity at what is now called Reading's bar, prospected for two 
days, and found the bars rich in gold ; returned to my house on Cottonwood, and in ten days fitted 
out an expedition for mining purposes ; crossed the mountains where the trail passed about two 
years since from Shasta to Weaver. 

" My party consisted of three white men, one Delaware, one Walla Walla, one Chinook, and 
about sixty Indians from the Sacramento valley. With this force I worked the bar bearing my 
name. I had with me one hundred and twenty head of cattle, with an abundant supply of other 
provisions. After about six weeks' work, parties came in from Oregon, who at once protested 
against my Indian labor. I then left the stream and returned to my home, where I have since 
remained, in the enjoyment of the tranquil life of a farmer." 

Oregonians could not have disturbed him in 1848, as news of the gold discovery did not reach 
Oregon until September of that year, and Mr. Reading has, perhaps, placed his mining expedition 
one year too early, and should have said in 1849, or else he went back again the next year some 
thing that his language implies, though it does not positively state, be did not do. At all events, 
he did go to Trinity river in the summer of 1849, for a report of his trip was given by the Placer 
Times, of Sacramento, in August of that year. In June, 1849, Major Reading started from his ranch 
with a small party, for the purpose of exploring this stream. They went up Clear creek and 
then crossed the mountains to the river, going up the stream some distance, and finding gold in 
abundance. About the first of August they returned to the Sacramento valley, and reported that 
they had made forty dollars per day to the man, for the few days they had worked. They also laid 
considerable stress on the fact that, in crossing the summit, they had camped one night above the 

The effect of such a statement as this can well be imagined. Emigrants were then coming 
down from Oregon, or entering the upper end of the Saci'amento valley by the Lassen route from 
across the plains, and, while most of these preferred to go on to the well-known mines farther south, 
a few were venturesome enough to cross the high mountains to Trinity river. In this way quite a 
number of miners gathered and worked on the banks of Trinity in the fall of 1849. The reports 
sent out and brought out by these men created quite a fever <5f excitement, but the fears of the 
rigors of winter were so great that few dared to go into the mountains until spring, and a majority 
of those who were on the river in the fall went back to the valley for the same reason. 

The error made by Major Reading, in supposing that the river he had named Trinity flowed 
into the old Trinidad bay of the Spanish explorers, was communicated to others, and became the 
general opinion. It was then conceived that the best route to the mines must be to go to Trinidad 
bay in a vessel, and thence up the river to the mines. All that was known of the bay was the 
record of the explorers, and the indication of such a place at an indefinite point on the northern 
coast. To find Trinidad bay, then, became the next and the all-absorbing question. It had been 
discovered by an exploring expedition, consisting of a frigate commanded by Bruno Ezerta, and a 
sloop under Juan de la Quadra Y. Bodega, on the eleventh of June, 1775. This was the Sunday 
of the Holy Trinity, and the bay was named Trinidad in consequence. 'As the bay discovered by 
the Americans and named Trinidad is an open roadstead, and scarcely deserves the name of bay, it 


is possible that the one the Spaniards christened Trinidad was the one known to us as *Humboldt 

As early as March, 1848, a call was made in San Francisco for a public meeting to take steps 
to re-discover and explore Trinidad bay, to see what kind of a harbor it presented, and what was 
the character of the country tributary to it. The announcement of the gold discovery at Slitter's 
mill, however, put an end to all such designs, and the matter lay in abeyance until the reports from 
the Trinity mines revived it. 

In the month of November, 1849, two parties left the Trinity mines to discover the desired 
harbor. One of these went over to the Sacramento valley, and .down to San Francisco, where they 
commenced fitting out a sea expedition. The other party, consisting of Josiah Gregg, L. K. Wood, 
D. A. Buck, Van Dusen, J. B. Truesdall, C. 0. Southard, Isaac Wilson, and T. Sebing, fol 
lowed down the Trinity to the Bald hills, and then crossed over to the coast, thus failing to discover the 
fact that the Trinity did not empty into the ocean direct. They came upon the coast at Mad river, 
which was so named by them because Gregg flew into a passion there, when some of the party 
wanted to abandon the enterprise and not go up the coast a few miles to examine a bay the Indians 
told them lay in that direction. They had endured many hardships on the mountains, and now 
gladly accepted the fish the Indians offered them. As directed by the natives, they went up the 
coast, and discovered a bay about fifteen miles long and eight wide, supposing the river and bay to 
be the Trinity and the Trinidad. These were, in reality, Mad river and Trinidad bay. From this 
point they traveled south inland, and soon came upon a stream whence they found Indians taking 
fish in great abundance. They named the stream Eel river, and continued up its banks and through 
the Coast Range to Sonoma, reaching there some time in February. The news that Trinidad bay 
had been discovered spread like wildfire, and a dozen expeditions began to fit out : a few by land, 
but most of them by sea, some of them having members of the late exploring party connected with 
them, and some " going it blind " an good principles. 

Meanwhile, the other party that had come down to San Francisco in November had chartered 
the brig Cameo, and sailed on the ninth of December. They utterly failed to find any such bay, 
and returned with the report that Trinidad was a myth, only to be greeted by the appearance of 
the land party, and the assurance that it certainly did exist. Away sailed the Cameo again, fol 
lowed by the others as rapidly as they could be gotten ready. 

Up and down the coast they sailed, meeting with numerous adventures and mishaps, but failing 
utterly to find any bay. Some of them returned with reports of their ill success, claiming the bay 
to be a myth, while others still maintained the search. The return of the unsuccessful searchers 
did not restrain others from attempting the voyage. Ships sailed loaded with adventurers, some of 
them being on the co-operative plan, while others charged from fifty to one hundred dollars for 

* In regard to the knowledge the trappers had of this region, Mr. Meek writes as follows: 

ETNA, Siskiyou Co., Gal., January 4, 1882. 

MB. H. L. WELLS Dear Sir: As regards the early history of Humboldt bay, it is very clear that the first 
exploration along that coast, and within the bay itself, -was made by Mr. William G. Kay, a factor of the Hudson Bay 
Company, who was sent down the coast from Vancouver to attempt the establishment of one or more stations on the 
coast, about the year 1830 or 1831. He entered this bay (being under the impression that it was Drake's bay), passing 
close under the bluff called Table bluff, and discovered what he named Clearwater bay, on account of the purity of its 
waters. On lauding he found the Indians so hostile that no permanent station was established at that time, whereupon 
he sailed farther south and established a post at Drake's bay, which is there yet, I believe. This same Mr. Ray, as 
good a man as ever lived, at the beginning of the Mexican war, being still an employee of the Hudson Bay Company, 
took sides with the Americans in the contest, contrary to the wishes of his employers, for which action he was cash 
iered. This disgrace preyed upon his mind to such an extent that he committed suicide in his own house in San Fran 
cisco, and was buried in the garden of the old establishment, from whence his remains have been removed to a 
cemetery. Yours truly, STEPHEN H. MKEK. 


passengers. In this way, the Cameo, Sierra Nevada, James It. Whiting, Isabel, Arabian, General 
Morgan, Hector, California, Paragon, Laura Virginia, Jacob M. Ryerson, Mailer oy, Galinda, 
and Petapsco, had all gone in search of the mysterious bay by the first of April, 1850, at which 
time news of its discovery reached San Francisco from passengers of the Cameo, the first 
to sail, and the first to discover, though not till three months afterwards, the long-sought harbor. 
On the sixteenth of March, 1850, the Cameo rounded to off Trinidad heads, and sent a boat's crew 
to examine a point that made out into the sea. This crew, among whom was W. C. R. Smith, 
rounded the point, and found the entrance to a harbor which they believed to be the long-sought 
Trinidad. The Cameo was compelled to sail on account of the stormy weather, and proceeded to 
Point St. George, where she landed her passengers, unaware that the men in the boat had dis 
covered the bay. The deserted men explored the bay, near the head of which they found a tree 
with the following insci-iption : 

Lat. 41 3' 32" 
Barometer 29 86' 
Ther. Fah. 48 at 12 M. 
Dec. 7, 1849. J. Gregg. 

This was the record left by the other party, and proved the truth of their story about having 
seen the bay. Some twenty miles north of the bay they discovered a river entering the ocean, 
which they supposed to be the Trinity. They were on shore eight days, and were nearly starved, 
when the Laura Virginia arrived in the offing, arid was piloted in by the hungry explorers, being 
the first vessel to enter the harbor. She was soon followed by the James R. Whiting and Califor 
nia. The California sailed for San Francisco on March 28, with news that the bay had been 
found, and the Cameo supposed to be lost. 

Late in March, Selim Franklin, C. E. Gordon, Captain McDonald, and G. Chandler, with two 
sailors, left San Francisco in a whale-boat in search of Trinidad. Early in April they came to the 
mouth of Eel river, which they supposed to be the Trinity. The schooner Jacob M. Ryerson 
appeared a few hours later, and the two companies united in exploring the stream a distance of 
forty miles, finding deep water. A town was laid out, and some of the men went over to Trinidad 
to get goods that had been shipped to that point. Franklin returned from there to San Francisco 
to procure supplies and to advertise the new town, which he did by assuring every one that the 
river led direct to the mines, though he had no evidence of the fact beyond his hope that it was true. 

A few days prior to this, however, Eel river had again been discovered and named. Samuel 
Brannan had fitted out the schooner General Morgan, commanded by his brother John, and on the 
fifth of April anchored off the mouth of Eel river ; the Laura Virginia, which had left Trinidad, 
also coming to anchor there. Two boats, each commanded by a Brannan, entered the river, which 
they named Brannan river, followed by a boat from the other vessel, which was swamped in the 
surf, and Julius S. Rowan drowned. The Laura Virginia sailed north, and entered a fine bay, 
which Captain Ottinger named Humboldt in honor of the renowned traveler, and located the town 
of the same name. The Brannans explored the river some distance, and the next day crossed a 
neck of land at tl.e front of a high bluff, which they named Brannan bluff, dragging their boat 
after them, and entered Humboldt bay. This they called Mendocino bay, after the cape not far 
distant, apparently forgetting to apply the name Brannan to it also. They went to Trinidad, com 
menced to lay out a town there with R. A. Parker's company, quarreled about the division of the 
lots, and returned to San Francisco in disgust. 


About a dozen men from the different vessels were drowned by the upsetting of boats in the 
surf, among whom were Lieutenants Bache and Browning, of the United States coast survey, and 
John H. Peoples, the man who had gone to the relief of the suffering emigrants on the Lassen 
route the fall before. 

When news of the discovery of the long-sought bay of Trinidad reached San Francisco, there 
was great excitement, and vessels at once advertised to start thither with freight and passengers. 
Nor were these enterprises confined to ventures by sea, for even before the bay was found, parties 
had started overland for the Trinity mines ; and when word was received of the discovery of the 
bay that many had begun to believe mythical, a new impulse was given in this direction. Men 
went from all over the state, and by various routes, generally through Napa valley, or up the 
Sacramento river and by way of Shasta. 

After the discovery of the bay, the geography of that section of the country was soon settled 
by the indefatigable prospector. The Trinity was discovered to be only a tributary of the Klamath, 
which stream was at first supposed to be Rogue river. Within a few weeks gold was found on the 
Klamath, Salmon, and Scott rivers, and at the celebrated Gold Bluff, which caused such an excite 
ment the following winter. The towns of Trinidad, Huinboldt, Eureka, Uniontown, and Klamath 
City were laid out, and during that and the next season the whole northern portion of the state 
was opened up and added to the gold-fields of California. 










Topography 133 j Snow and Rain 140 

Geology ... 134 Snow-slide 1 40 

Lassen Peak 136 Perils of the Snow 141 

Beckwith's Exploring Party 136 Snow-shoeing 142 

Altitudes... 137 Floods ...143 

Population 138 I 


Trappers and Explorers 144 Development of Plumas 152 

Lassen Route 144 Exodus of 1852 152 

Gold Lake Excitement 145 Sufferings in the Snow 153 

First Diggings in the County 151 Sage-Brush War (see Lassen county). 

Formation of Butte County 151 


Reasons for a New County 156 First Election 160 

Organic Act 157 Sharpe vs. Kingsbury 160 

Meeting of Commissioners 159 Buckbee and Porter play Seven-up 160 

Townships created by Butte County . ... 159 Harbison's Election 1 60 


First Townships 161 Annexation of La Porte 163 

First Board of Supervisors 161 Boundaries of Plumas 163 

New Townships 162 Present Townships 164 

Creation of Lassen County 162 Supervisor Districts 1 66 


District Court 166 Officers of Court of Sessions 171 

County Court 1 68 Superior Court 171 

Probate Court 1 69 Justices of the Peace 172 

Court of Sessions 169 The Bench and Bar, with Names and Biogra- 

First Grand Jury 170 phies of Judges and Attorneys 174 


Biographies of County Clerks 183 List of County Officers 192 

Biographies of Sheriffs 185 Senators and Assemblymen 195 

Yeates-Clark Contest 187 Presidential and Gubernatorial Vote ... .199 

Biographies of Treasurers 188 





Old Butte County Debt 200 

Foreign Miners' Licenses 200 

Sharpe's Defalcation 201 

Miners' Shortage 202 

Chapman's Defalcation 202 

County Debt 203 

Licenses in 1854 203 

Assessment and Taxes. . . 206 


The Rich Bar Painting 206 

Early Justice in Plurnas 207 

Miners' Meeting at Rich Bar 207 

Miners' Meeting at Eocky Bar 207 

The Peregrinating Justice 208 

The Slate Creek Tragedy 209 

The Gilson-Wilson Tragedy 210 

The Leggett-Morrison Duel 211 

Lynching of the Negro Joshua 211 

Pioneer Probating . 213 

Indian Troubles in Indian Valley 213 

Hanging of George Rose 214 

Nelson Creek Vigilantes 214 

The Jacinto Arro Case 215 

A Model Inquest 216 

Three Fugitive Murderers 216 

O'Brien's Brief Bonanza 216 

Execution of Elder and Jenkins 217 

Got the Wrong Witness 217 

t 206-230 

Barton's Bail Bond 218 

Tragic Death of Ransom Grisvvold 218 

Hanging of Amada Cardinez . .219 

Fredonyer's Talk against Time 219 

Lynching of Ross and Williams 220 

The Francis Trial 220 

Killed for a Bear 221 

The Centennial in Quincy 221 

A Plucky Chinaman 224 

Murder of A. Z. Page 225 

Phillips Killed by Kelley 226 

The Cravvford-Eoss Tragedy 226 

Murder of John R. McVay 226 

Fire in Green Mountain Mine 227 

Anderson's Administration 228 

List of Felony Convictions 228 

Patients in the Insane Asylum 229 

Veterans of the Mexican War . . . .230 


Methods 230 

Express Lines 231 

Dog Express 232 

Stage Lines 233 

Snow-shoes on Horses 233 

Quincy and Spanish Ranch Road 234 

Pioneer Wagon Road 234 

Plumas Turnpike Company 234 

Chico and Humboldt Road 235 

Oroville and Beckwourth Pass Eoad. ...235 


Quincy and Indian Valley Eoad 235 

La Porte and Quincy Eoad 235 

The $10,000 Folly 237 

Red Clover Wagon Eoad 237 

Oroville and Honey Lake Eoad 237 

Oroville and Virginia City R. R. Co 237 

Sierra Iron and Quincy R. R. Co 240 

Telegraph Lines 240 

Telephone Line 241 


Discovery of Quartz 241 Johnsville 242 

Plumas Eureka Mine 242 

Jamsion City 242 

Mohawk Valley 242 


Rich Bar 246 

Pap McShane's Hat 248 

First White Lady and Child 249 

Old Man McCullough 249 

Robert M. Blakemore . . . . 250 

Spanish Eanch .... . . . 250 

Meadow Valley 251 

Buck's Ranch ...'.. 253 

Spanish Peak 255 

Monte Christo Mine . . . . 255 



SIERRA VALLEY '. , . . 256-275 

Discovery of Beckwourth Pass 257 

Discovery and Settlement of Sierra Val 
ley 259 

Beckwourth 260 

Summit.. ..260 

Loyalton 260 

Craycroft 261 

Antelope District 261 

Sierraville 261 

Randolph 261 

PLUMAS TOWNSHIP . . 275-286 

Description 275 

Settlement of American Valley 275 

Elizabethtown, or Betsyburg 276 

Quincy 277 

Court-house and Jail 278 

Quincy Schools 279 

Town Hall Association 279 

Quincy Hose Company 280 

Quincy Church 280 

Young Men's Reading Club 281 

Quincy Lodges 281 

Plumas Rangers 282 


First Discoveries 287 Little Grass Valley 290 

Rich Bar 287 Onion Valley 290 

Mining Camps on Middle Fork 288 Saw Pit Flat 290 

Nelson Creek and Xelson Point 288 La Porte 290 

Butte Bar 289 Sierra County Blues 292 

Incident of Butte Bar 289 


Humbug Valley 293 | Big Meadows and Prattville 293 

INDIAN VALLEY . . 295-311 

Early Settlement 295 Crescent Mills . . 298 

Taylorville 296 Round Valley 298 

Greenville 297 Red Clover Valley 299 


Newspapers and their editors. 


Early Schools 313 | Pioneer District 314 


By Rev. L. Ewing. 


Agriculture 316 Saw-mills 317 

Dairying 317 Mining 318 

P'lour Mills 317 


Abbott, Joshua C 294 Beaton, Alexander 263 Bonner, Thomas D . . . . 208 

Adams, J. C 27 1 Beckwourth, James P 256 Boring, Isaac C 188 

Bacher, Antone 307 Bidwell, Henry C 302 Brabban, Dixon 292 

Banet, Walter M 267 Black, Thomas 265 Bringham. Marion C 262 

Barnett, Robert 1 182 Blakemore, Robert M 250 Brown, A. M 274 

Battelle, T. S 270 Blood, J. M 301 Brown, J. C 268 

Baugh, B. B 310 Blough, W 309 Buckbee, Hon. John R 182 


Bunnell, L. Wellington 322 

Buxton, G. Q 273 

Byers, James D. (see Lassen 

County also) 186 

Byers, William T 185 

Carter, Dr. J. S 307 

Cate,DanielR 188 

Cate, La Fayette, M, D 284 

Chambers, Robert Craig.. . . 186 

Chapman, Albert P 265 

Chapman, John C 190 

Cheney, Judge W. A 180 

Church, Isaac S 274 

Church, William S 183 

Clark, Stephen J 187 

Clinch, John 286 

Clough, Judge G. G 321 

Compton, John D 307 

Connolly, Patrick 269 

Cooksey, James 310 

Corcoran, T 309 

Cox, Thomas 180 

Crane, Hon. W. H. (see also 

Lassen County) 196 

Cunningham, Noble C . . . .302 

Davis, Aaron 270 

Davis, Charles H 273 

Dean, Wilson S 189 

De Haven, Capt. W. N. ... 184 

Dolley, E. P 274 

Ede, Walter 264 

Edman, J. A 254 

Edwards, James E . . . 323 

Elwell, William 245 

Emmons, Theodore F 300 

Evans, J. F 306 

Fagg, J. D 269 

Finlayson, Donald R 285 

Firmstone, H. T 306 

Fletcher, A. W 308 

Flournoy, Robert S 301 

Ford, James 300 

Forgay, Nathaniel B 300 

Forman, William 311 

Fralich, Matthias 304 

Freeman, Joel E 271 

Fritsch, John B 304 

Fritsch, Martin 307 

Gallagher, E. J 275 

Gansner, Florin ..... ... 285 

Gear, Hiram L 182 

Gentry, J. C ...189 

Goodwin, Judge John D. . . 177 

Graham, Will D. R 311 

Gray, Rothens A. 323 

Grazer, Henry 245 

Haggard, Thomas L 190 

Haines,G. P 271 

Haley, Mrs. Julia 254 

Hallsted, Alanson A 253 

Hallsted, Peter L 188 

Hamlen, E. H 275 

Harbison, John 183 

Hardgrave, John 302 

Hardin, M 270 

Hartwell, John F 283 

Hedrick, Duskin 310 

Hendel, Charles W 190 

Herring, George H 309 

Hersey, Thomas F 284 

Hill, Charles M., M. D . . . 245 

Hill, John W. . . . 244 

Hogan, Judge E. T 179 

Hosselkus, Edwin D 302 

Houghton/George E 315 

Howk, Corel 266 

Hughes, B. B 286 

Hughes, Marshall 272 

Hughes, Thomas 252 

Humphrey, George W 266 

Hundley, Judge P. O.. .... 181 

Ingersoll, William S 189 

Irwin, Hon. Richard 195 

Jacks, Richard 253 

Johnson, William F 285 

Jones, Judge Israel (see also 

Lassen County) 179 

Jones, William E. (Paul) . .263 

Keddie Arthur W 322 

Kelley, Hon. Ripley C 196 

Kellogg, Henry W 251 

Kellogg, Hon. William W . 183 

Keyes, David B 266 

Kinney, Hon. Asa 196 

King, Mrs. R 244 

Kirby, Alexander 262 

Knoll, Matthias 306 

Knuthsen, Jacob 272 

Largent, John C 306 

Larison James H 284 

Lassen, Peter 332 

Laufman, Cyrus 299 

Lemmon, B. F 273 

Lemmon, William C 272 

Lewis, Hiram 269 

Lewis, Judge J. E. N 181 

Lott, Judge Charles F. . . . 176 

Lovejov, John K 313 

Lowry'john 309 

Maddux, Theophilus 272 

Mahoney, D. J 256 

Manson, William 284 

Martin, Richard 262 

McBeth, John 305 

McCorkle, Judge J. W ] 75 

McCullough, George B 249 

McGee, Hon. John B 195 

McGill, Robert L 305 

McLear, George S 243 

McShane, Joshua B 248 

Meyerwitz, Isadore .... 295, 333 

Meylert, Gurdon W 506 

Miller, James 271 

Miller, William H 323 

Miner, T. J 202 

Moore, Judge A. P 179 

Myers, J. D 274 

Nevill, John 246 

Newman, David D 268 

Nicholson, James 270 

Orton, Thomas 248 

Parsons, E. 1 256 

Patch, Isaac C 305 

Patterson, David B 268 

Peck, Hon. Elkha T 195 

Peel, John J. L 190 

Peter, W. T 310 

Phipps, John A. . . T 245 

Pierce, P^lisha H 186 

Pratt, Dr. Willard 294 

Pratt, W. M 246 

Price, William S 189 

Prowattain, E . . . 308 

Rains, W. Smith 269 

Rawden, William B 274 

Rockwell, Col. Calvin W.. .284 

Rodgers, Charles G 303 

Rodoni, F 246 

Rowland, Francis M 264 

Ruppert, Charles 286 

Russell, Gen. H. P 186 

Searls, Judge Niles 176 

Seltier, Claude F 264 

Sexton, Judge W. T 176 

Shannon, Hon. T. B . .. 196 

Sharpe, George W 185 

Sheer, Roy R 273 

Sherwin, Hon. J. L. C 197 

Simons, Charles O. ....... 311 

Smith, J. H 309 

Smith, Capt. O. H 256 

Sperry, W. A 265 

Stamfli, N. . 310 

Stark, Lewis 286 

Stover, R 322 

Strang, Jared 263 

Taylor, E. W 301 

Taylor, J. Charles 311 

Taylor, Jobe T 299 

Taylor, Judge R. H 168 

Thomas, Charles C 293 

Thompson, Richard (Span 
ish Ranch) 251 

Thompson, Richard (Indian 

Valley) 305 

Treleaven, Thomas 308 

Van Clief, Judge Peter 16S 

Variel, R. H. F 183 

Wagner, William 254 

Ward, Judge John S 374 

Ward, William E 312 

Ward, Judge William T. . .178 

Webber, Dr. D. G 267 

Welden,A. J 283 

West, T. F 269 

Weston, I^aac 268 

Whiting, Fenton B ........ 184 

Whitlock, Maj. James H. . 197 

Willoughby Bros 245 

Wing, Emory 308 

Winston, Hon. Joseph 197 

Wood, Gen. Allen 197 

Woodward, George 246 

Wright, Norman K 252 

Yeates, James Hughes 187 

Young, John C 306 

Young, R. W 304 

a 5 


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IN preparing the history of Plumas County, the writer has, in a great measure, relied upon 
information and data furnished by Mr. Fenton B. Whiting, now and for years past the popular 
clerk of Plumas county. Imbued with a strong desire to preserve for posterity the annals of the 
county which has been his home for thirty years, and where the most stirring scenes of his life have 
been enacted, Mr. Whiting has f.r a number of years been engaged upon the work of collecting 
the data which he has so kindly placed, together with his enthusiastic assistance, at our disposal. 
This has been combined with information obtained from many and varied sources, making a his 
tory both complete and accurate. In this way Mr. Whiting's identity has been to a large degree 
lost, but here and there his friends will readily recognize his handiwork. Our thanks are also due 
to the gentlemen who have contributed from their own experiences to aid Mr. Whiting in his 
labors, as well as to those who have made their contributions to us direct. They will all feel a 
proprietary interest in the following pages. 


Plumas is a county of mountains, whose lofty chains hold in their firm embrace many green 
and fertile valleys, as lovely as an.y that fall beneath the eye of Apollo in his daily round. Lofty 
peaks and sloping hills, rich with their robes of green, greet the eye ; while winding through and 
around them are hundreds of clear mountain brooks, singing and babbling in their joy, as they 
hasten onward to unite their waters with the great streams that carry them onward to the valley, 
and thence to the bosom of the mighty ocean. Three great divisions of the Feather river the 
middle fork, the north and east branches of the north fork have their sources in the county, 
and from their multitude of tributaries receive the water that falls as rain or snow on the lofty hills 
or imprisoned valleys, having their ramifications in every nook and corner of the vast expanse of 
mountains. High up among the peaks are lakes of clear, pellucid water, lovely mountain tarns, 
sweetly reposing in their secure abode far above the busy scenes of life below. Children of the 
glaciers, they carry the thoughts back to those distant ages when those immense fields of ice 
ground and furrowed their way over the mighty hills, plowing in their onward march the deep 
canons and ravines that form our water-courses, filling the valleys with that alluvial deposit which 


now yields such rich rewards to the labor of the husbandman, uncovering those vast storehouses of 
gold that have replenished the world's wealth for a third of a century ; and finally, as they disap 
peared, leaving these little lakes in their rocky prison, fashioned by their icy hands, far. up among 
the loftiest peaks of the Sierra. 

Plumas county lies wholly on the western slope of the mountains. The summit that divides 
the waters that find their way into the Sacramento valley from those that flow into the great 
Nevada basin forms its eastern boundary line. It lies between Shasta and Lassen counties on the 
north, Lassen on the east, Sierra and Yuba on the south, and B.utte and Tehama on the west; and 
its different sections are intimately connected with each of them, save Tehama and Shasta. Its 
greatest length is from the north-west to the south-east, or, more definitely speaking, from Lassen 
peak to Beckwourth pass, a distance of eighty-five miles ; transversely, from south-west to north 
east, it is but forty-five miles. The whole embraces an area of over two thousand square miles, or 
twelve hundred and eighty thousand acres. Of this, some two hundred thousand acres are agricul 
tural land, distributed among a number of valleys, large and small, the chief ones being American, 
Indian, Big Meadows, Buck's, Meadow, Mohawk, Genesee, Sierra, Beckwourth, Long, Red Clover, 
Round, Last Chance, and Onion. The major portion, however, is composed of mountains covered 
with a noble growth of coniferous trees, such as sugar pine, yellow pine, spruce, balsam fir, and 
cedar; while mountain oak, manzanita, laurel, buckeye, alder, and chaparral grow in great profu 
sion. These forests have supplied timber for flumes, mines, and improvements since the first white 
man penetrated into this region, and thousands of feet of lumber are still cut annually, though the 
forests seem as dense as ever, save here and there where the saws have been most busily at work. 

In his " Geological Survey of California," Vol. I., Professor J. D. Whitney, state geologist, 
thus describes Plumas county and its main topographical and geological features : 

" Pilot Peak, which is near the southern line of the county, is an isolated, volcanic knob of 
hard, ash-gray, crystalline, basaltic rock, which is most beautifully columnar on its northern slope. 
The view from the summit is peculiarly fine, Lassen's Peak being visible in the north-w, st, and the 
Coast Ranges in the south-west. Fifteen or twenty miles to the north-west, mountains are seen which 
are of about the same hight as Pilot Peak, and very deeply wooded on all sides; indeed, the whole 
region to the east and north-east is furrowed by tremendous canons, many of them being over two 
thousand feet deep. In the south-east the Downieville buttes were seen, with a very rugged outline. 
The most elevated points in the range lie east of the line connecting Pilot Peak and the Downie 
ville buttes; the highest of these is perhaps five hundred feet higher than Pilot Peak itself: Table 
Mountain lies to the west, and is nearly as high. The whole region to the south of the summit is very 
rough, and its sky outline very serrated. On the peak the magnetic needle is very irregular, and 
was observed to be directed towards nearly every point within the space of a few square rods. The 
elevation of Pilot Peak above the sea is 7,605 feet, and of this the upper portion is exclusively vol 
canic ; the lava forming a mass about 650 feet thick, as estimated from observations taken at Onion 
valley, 1,216 feet below the summit of the peak. 

"The auriferous slates are very finely exposed on the north side of the mountain, having a north 
and south strike, and a dip to the east of about eighty degrees ; they are cut squarely off at the top, 
and covered with lava. The strike of the slates, however, is not uniform in this region. One mile 
north-east of Onion valley large masses were observed with a trend of N. 35 degrees W., and a 
south-westerly dip; and again, upon descending into the canon of the Middle Yuba (Feather?), 
they were seen running N. 15 degrees W., and from that to N. 35 degrees W., and standing nearly 
vertical. Great masses of serpentine occur along the trail between Pilot Peak and Onion valley ; 
and between this and Nelson's Point a variety of magnesian rocks were noticed. 


"The canon of the Middle Yuba (Feather?) is exceedingly deep, the difference of level 
between the river at Nelson's Point and the summit of Pilot Peak being fully 3,650 feet. From 
the bottom of the canon to the top of the slates the vertical hight is not less than 3,000 feet, all of 
which has been removed by the agency of water since the time of the eruption of the overlying vol 
canic materials. Nowhere in the Sierra do we find more stupendous examples of denudation than 
occur in the region north and north-east of Pilot Peak, in the canons of Middle Yuba (Feather?) and 
its branches. At Nelson's Point tho slates stand nearly vertical, and crop out in grand masses along 
the sides of the canon. But on the steep slopes on both sides the surface strata often curve, as if 
bent by sliding down the hill, so as to give the impression of a dip to the east, when in fact they 
stand perfectly vertical below. The elevation of Nelson's Point above the sea is 3,858 feet. 

"The basin called the American valley, in which the town of Quincy is situated, is about 
eleven miles long, and from two to three wide; it has an elevation of 3,500 feet above the 
sea. In the range of mountains which was crossed in going from Quincy to Elizabethtown, and 
which is about eight rnihs wide, slates and sandstones were observed, sometimes but little meta 
morphosed. They had the usual north-west strike, but dipped towards the south-west. These 
slates are capped at the summit of the range by hard lava, which occupies only a narrow belt, the 
flanks of the mountain on the north side being of metamorphic rocks, similar to those seen on the 
south. Some granitic masses occur in this region. A bold and elevated ridge of this rock was seen 
a few miles west of Quincy, and again about two miles before reaching Elizabethtown, where it 
occupies a belt about a mile in width. The slates, however, are the predominating formation. 
This part of the county is principally occupied by the metamorphic rocks, over an area of about 
thirty miles in diameter; but this is almost entirely surrounded by volcanic materials, the great 
lava streams which have come down from Lassen's Peak on the north, and Pilot Peak on the south, 
uniting with the volcanic crest of the Sierra, so as to cover the slates around three-quarters of the 
circumference of the circle. 

"From Indian valley the route followed led up to Genesee valley, following Genesee creek, a 
branch of Spanish creek. This stream runs nearly west, through a canon which a few miles higher 
up opens out into a valley about four miles long and three-fourths of a mile broad ; the upper part 
of this is occupied by granitic rocks, the lower by slates. In the canon, about a mile and a half 
from its mouth, Messrs. Brewer and King discovered a locality of fossils, where a considerable 
number of specimens of various genera and species were obtained. They were found principally 
on the spurs of rock coming down from the north, and in the canons between them. The rock is a 
metamorphic sandstone, rather fine-grained, and. portions of it are of a deep red color, resembling 
in appearance much of the Old Red or Devonian sandstone in England or on the continent. In 
places it is so much changed that the fossils have become nearly or even quite obliterated ; but a 
number of species were obtained in a sufficiently good state of preservation to be determined. The 
specimens obtained here were referred to Mr. Meek for examination, and were considered by him 
to be almost certainly of Jurassic age. The strata in which the fossils were found vary from 
east and west to north-east and south-west, and they dip to the south at all angles between thirty 
degrees and eighty degrees. This locality is about four miles below Gifford's ranch, and near a 
small grassy flat into which the canon opens, and is called Mormon Station. 

"Above this the valley contracts again into a narrow canon; but two miles farther up it opens 
into another and larger basin, called Genesee valley. Along the ravine the rocks are highly meta 
morphosed, and their stratification is much disturbed. It is in this valley that Gifford's ranch is 
situated, and near it is the junction of the granitic and metamorphic rocks. Near the line of 


contact of the two formations is a belt of limestone which is highly crystalline, but contains a few 
obscure fossils, apparently the fragments of stems of crinoids, and which are probably of Carbonif 
erous age, although this question could not be definitely settled. 

" At one locality, between the main belt of limestone and the granite, where there is a curve 
in the strata, there is a limited patch of calcareous slate containing quite a number of fossils, some 
of them in very good preservation. These fossils belong to the Triassic series, and prove clearly 
the existence at this point of the same formation which is so well developed in the Humboldt 
mining region in Nevada, and also at Washoe, an<l which, as we have abundant evidence to prove, 
extends over a vast area on the Pacific const. 

"We have strong r-easons to believe that a large portion of the auriferous slates belong to the 
same formation with those of Genesee valley, which are themselves worked fur gold, there being 
placers all along the range on the south side of the creek quite up to the locality in question. 

"From Genesee valley our party returned to Indian valley, and thence made their way in a 
westerly direction to Big Meadows, in order to explore the vicinity of Lassen's Peak and seek 
out a route to its summit. Indian valley is from ten to twelve miles long, and is a fertile and 
pleasant spot, although its elevation is considerable. It is quite surrounded by high mountains, 
those on the east having an elevation of about 6,000 feet. In passing down the valley the 
slates which are seen on the east side were observed to contain more jaspar than is usual in the 

" Between Indian valley and the Big Meadows, the edge of the great volcanic region is 
struck ; from here the mass of lava extends almost uninterruptedly to the Oregon line, and 
far beyond. The Big Meadows are on the north fork of the Feather river, and form a delightful 
valley of about fifteen miles long and from two to three wide ; it is quite surrounded by volcanic 
tables and ridges, those on the east side having an elevation of about five hundred feet above the 
valley, which is itself 4.564 feet above the sea. This elevation was taken at the lower end of the 
valley, near Bidwell's store, where the Chico road crosses. 

"All the pebbles eeen about here were of volcanic rock; but the metamorphic slates are 
reported to occur at Mountain Meadows, which is a basin similar to the Big Meadows, and about 
fifteen miles farther to the north-east. The soil of this valley is rather sandy, especially towards its 
upper end, and the elevation is too great for any other agricultural occupation than that of pastur 
ing cattle. The views of Lassen's Peak, rising above the upper end of the Big Meadows, are 
particularly grand. The mountain does not show a distinct conical shape Avhen seen from this 
direction, as it does from others, but its slopes are very steep, especially the eastern one." 

A description of Lassen's Peak will be found in the first part of the Lassen county history, as 
will also an account of the exploration of Noble's pass by Lieutenant E. G. Beck with. 


The following table of altitudes has been complied by Authur W. Keddie, civil engineer, and 
compiler of the splendid map of Plumas county that hangs in the office of the county clerk. Two 
authorises are given, Lieutenant Tillman and J. E. Mills, between whose estimates of some points 
there is a slight variation. 



Feet. Feet. 

Quincy (Plumas House) 3,381 3,416 

Claremont Hill 6,998 6,951 

Mt. Hough 7,391 7,431 

Old toll-house between Quincy and Taylorville. 5,509 

Spanish Peak 6,920 

Monte Christo tunnel 6,288 

Spanish Ranch 3,636 3,631 

Meadow Valley 3,757 3,757 

Robinson's toll-gate 4,518 

Buck's Ranch 5,112 

Buckeye ... 4,938 

Kingsbury's (Hallsted's) 2,678 

Cariboo bridge, north fork of Feather River 2,843 

Dead wood Pass, head of Rich Gulch 4,628 

Miller's, Butt Valley 4,055 

Lett's mine. 6,309 

Butt Creek bridge, Chico road 4,692 

Longville, Humbug Valley 4,309 

Prattville, Big Meadows 4,394 

Geysers 5,864 

Solfatara, Mud Lake 5,908 

Hot Spring?, Hot Spring Valley 6,080 

Willow Lake 5,382 

Mt. Harkness, above Warner Valley 8,875 

Cinder Cone, top of crater : 6,741 

Cinder Cone, bottom of crater 6,596 

Warner Creek bridge 4,826 

Stover's ranch, west arm of Big Meadows 4,464 

Big Spring, east arm of Big Meadows 4,285 

Dutch Hill 4,692 

Grizzly Hill, above Savercool mine 5,709 

Greenville 3,544 

Forgay's ranch, Indian Valley 3,481 (?) 

Ford's ranch, Indian Valley 3,518 

Taylorville , 3,521 

Hosselkus ranch 3,635 

Kettle Rock 7,843 

Moonlight Valley, above Ford's 5,434 

Crescent 3,406 (?) 

Arlington bridge 3,375 (?) 

Shoo Fly bridge 3,071 

Spanish Creek, six miles from Quincy 3,136 

Summit of La Porte road, above Thompson's 4,458 




Feet. Feet. 

Bridge at Nelson Point 3,859 

Parker's ranch, Little Long Valley 4,136 

Elwell's marble ledge, Little Long Valley 4,625 

Sulphur Springs, Mohawk Valley 4,466 

Delaney's ranch 4,840 

Beckwourth 4,887 

Old Bobo ranch, Sierra Valley 4,910 

Summit, Sierra Valley 4,975 (?) 

Mape's ranch, Sierra Valley 5,039 

Crow's ranch, Red Clover Valley 5,464 

B^gley's ranch, Eed Clover Valley x 5,387 

Omjumi Peak 8,293 

Frenchman's Cove, Last Chance Valley 5,565 

Mt. Ingalls, between Eed Clover and Grizzly Valleys 8,471 

Mt. Wellington, or Smith's Peak 7,665 

Junction of Last Chance and Squaw Queen Creeks 5,268 

The altitude of Eureka Peak is given at 7,520, and Eureka Mill 6,200 ; also the following 

points on the boundary line of Plumas county, taken by Mr. Tillman : 

Walker's plains, Butte line 5,000 (?) 

Head of Chipp's Creek, Butte line 5,953 

Summit of Humbug road, Butte line 6,706 

Butt Mountain, Tehama line , . . . 7,831 

Deer Creek Meadows, Tehama line 4,518 

Lassen Peak, Tehama line . . . 10,437 

Mt. Dyer, Lassen line 7,363 

Summit Taylorville and Susanville road, Lassen line 6,428 

Thompson Peak, Lassen line 7,752 

Pass south of Milford, Lassen line 5,999 

McKissick Peak, Lassen line 7,083 

Adams Peak, Lassen line 8,432 

Beckwourth Pass, Lassen line 5,192 

Summit Peak, Sierra line 8,302 

Sierra Valley, Sierra line 4,800 


The first census taken in Plumas county was enumerated by F. B. Whiting in 1860, at which 
time the population had fallen off considerably from the amount at the time of the organization of 
the county. Mr. Whiting's report shows a total of 4,554, distributed as follows: 

White. Chinese. Indian. Colored. 
American valley. ... 207 31 

Filmore township 461 144 

Honey Lake valley 476 


White. Chinese. Indian. Colored. 

Indian valley 362 12 105 

Mineral township 398 78 1 3 

Mount Pleasant 96 64 

Plumas township 214 17 ... 1 

Quincy 191 

Quartz township 151 

Rich Bar township 320 

Seneca township 427 53 

Sierra valley 478 . . . . 1 

Washington township 261 . . 2 

Total 4,042 399 108, 5 

In 1864 the county of Lassen was cut off, taking territory that contained in 1860 a population 
of 476, which loss was recovered in the next six years by the increase of the part remaining. In 
1870 G. W. Meylert was the enumerator, and returned a total population of 4,489, distributed 

among the townships as follows : 

Native. Foreign. White. Chinese. Total. 
Goodwin 223 416 391 248 639 

Indian* 611 269 817 57 880 

Mineral f 129 271 225 174 400 

Plumas 383 257 505 135 640 

Quartz.... 569 241 785 25 810 

Rich Bar 69 131 144 56 200 

Seneca 262 138 327 73 400 

Washington...., 168 352 377 143 520 

Total 2,414 1,875 3,571 911 4,489 

During the next decade, the population increased nearly one-half a steady, permanent growth, 
founded on the prosperity and resources of the county. The census for 1880 shows the population 
of the county to be 6,262, as follows : 















.... 884 










3 259 





* Also 5 Indians and 1 Negro. 
277 males and 250 females. 

t Also 1 Negro. 
|| 1 colored person. 


849 males and 15 females. 



Plumas county lies entirely within the section drained by the Feather river, one of the prin 
cipal confluents of the Sacramento. Scarcely a drop of water or a flake of snow falls within the 
county that does not find its way into one of the many tributaries of the Feather, and thence to the 
sea. The watershed between the Nevada and Sacramento basins forms the dividing line between 
Plumas and Lassen, while the dividing ridge between the Feather and Yuba rivers forms the 
Sierra county line. On the north-west, the dividing ridge between the waters of the Feather and 
of Butte and Deer creeks forms the county line, so that Plumas county lies solely within the 
dominion of Feather river. 

Moisture falls in these high mountain regions chiefly in the form of snow, especially on the 
mountains, though in the early and latter parts of the rainy season the valleys are refreshed 
with copious showers of rain while the mountain tops are white with snow. Thus it often happens 
that while the roads in the valley are almost impassable on account of mud, the mountain roads are 
equally blockaded by the drifts of snow. The heaviest fall of snow occurs on the ridge lying west 
of the American and Indian valleys, and also between Nelson Point and La Porte. Across this 
ridge communication is frequently maintained only by messengers on snow-shoes, and mails and 
express are often transported in that way. [See article on Express and Stages."] The stoppage by 
snow of the routes of travel has often caused great privation, and even death, especially in the 
early years. [See Early History and Migration of 1852.~\ Great suffering has been endured by 
those caught on the mountains in the winter storms, and many have perished amid the bleak 
forests, far from help or friends, and others almost within reach of shelter. One of the saddest of 
these incidents happened but a year ago. 

On Tuesday, January 25, 1881, John Harold, a workman at the Monte Christo mine, and 
Mrs. John Nibecker, wife of the engineer at the same place, started from Buck's ranch to go to 
the mine on Spanish Peak. At the time they left it was storming some, but before they reached 
the top of the grade the wind and snow were beating down the mountain in a terrific manner. A 
few rods from where the road to the mine turns off from the stage road they were overtaken by 
James Parker, driver of the stage, with his sled, and rode as far as the junction. When Parker 
learned of their intention to go to the mine, he endeavored to persuade the woman to go on with 
him to the toll-house and stay all night, and not attempt to climb the mountain until the storm 
ceased. He told them that they were now sheltered from the force of the storm, but that when 
they got upon the top of the hill the wind would be terrific, and they would perish from cold and 
fatigue, and be buried by the drifting snow. His warnings were not heeded, and they started up 
the hill, accompanied by a dog that had been their companion, while Parker drove on to Quincy. 
When Parker reached the same point on his trip back the next morning he observed the dog, and 
at once surmised that his prediction had been realized. Taking a shovel from his sled, he followed 
the dog a few rods from the road, and began digging at the foot of a tree where the dog had evi 
dently spent the night, not, however, without a show of displeasure by the canine guardian. He 
soon uncovered the stiffened form of Harold, but searched in vain for his companion. He went on 
to the mine, and gave the intelligence that soon started a party in search of the missing lady. 
The previous afternoon George Massey, while on his way from the mine to the toll-gate, saw a 
man walking down the wagon road, but thought nothing of it. Soon after he heard a cry that 
sounded like a woman's call for aid. He answered it, and received a response. Again answering, 


he went in the direction of the sound, but heard nothing more. Satisfied that he had heard the 
scream of a California lion, he resumed his journey to the toll-gate. When he heard of the loss of 
Mrs. Nibecker, Mr. Massey went to the peak, and search was made in the direction of the cry he 
had heard, and the frozen body of the lady was soon found. This was Thursday, the search 
having lasted since the day before. It seems evident that the two had progressed to this spot, 
when the lady became unable to proceed, and the man started alone for assistance, went in the 
wrong direction, and finally perished near the roadside. The cry for help heard by Mr. Massey 
must have been the last effort of exhausted nature, and the hope raised in the lady's breast by the 
answers, followed by despair when help came not and she was no longer able to speak, were both 
soon lost forever in the icy sleep of death. 

The sad tragedy came not to an end with the death of the first two actors. When Mr. Parker 
carried the news to the mine on Wednesday, the gentleman in charge there, E. J. Parsons, selected 
George Robinson, a young man twenty-one years of age, to carry the intelligence to the toll-house 
and Meadow valley, and to procure a large sleigh for the purpose of carrying the bodies to the 
valley. He strapped on his snow-shoes and started down the mountain, and headed directly for 
the tollhouse, where lived his parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. Robins >n. Late in the afternoon some of 
the searchers for Mrs. Nibecker went to the toll-house, and were horrified to learn that young Rob 
inson had not been there. They at once thought of a large snow-slide they had observed across 
the road, and hastened back. to see if perchance the body of the young man lay beneath it. 
When they reached the point, about a mile above the toll-gate, they found an immense mass of 
loose snow lying across the road, that had slid down a little hollow. The wind had blown it over 
the edge of the" bank, where it accumulated until it broke off by its own weight and went rushing 
down the hollow, just in time to meet and bury out of sight the messenger of mercy. The young 
man was coming down the mountain to the road with the speed of the wind, going in a course 
diagonal to the avalanche, which the howling of the storm and the beating of the snow prevented 
him from observing. As he reached the road he was struck by the descending mass, possibly 
killed by the shock, and covered in a twinkling with a spotless shroud of snow. All this was but 
too plainly revealed by the tracks of his snow-shoes that led directly into the slide. Work was at 
once commenced to excavate the body. Day and night did eager hands ply the shovel, fresh men 
taking the places of the exhausted ones. Robinson was a young man of splendid character, and a 
general favorite with all ; and when the intelligence was spread abroad that he lay beneath an 
avalanche of snow, many hastened to render what assistance they could in recovering his body. 
Thus they labored, half a hundred men, from Wednesday afternoon until Sunday, night and day; 
until, on that quiet Sabbath morning, the body was uncovered and taken to his home but a mile 
away. His funeral the next Tuesday was attended by a large number of friends, who came many 
miles through the snow to pay their last respects to the inanimate clay of him who had offered up 
his young life on the altar of mercy. 

Another incident, one that occurred during the winter of 1857-58, will suffice to illustrate the 
perils of the snow. Heavy falls of snow that season had made traveling dangerous to the inexpe 
rienced. Few ventured a trip over the mountains, unless in company with the hardy expressmen, 
who were experts in the art of snow-traveling, and were always provided against emergencies. 
Occasionally, however, some daring spirit would start out alone, and oftentimes realize but too 
painfully the folly of his. undertaking. The following adventure is but one of the many similar 
ones that have occurred yearly since the county was first inhabited. Mining on Rich bar, east 
branch, that winter, was an old pioneer, William L. Perkins, an old sailor who had pursued the 


mighty leviathan of the deep in the icy seas for many years. One bright morning he left 
Meadow valley, and followed the trail left by others in the snow to Buck's ranch, at which place 
he arrived about ten o'clock in the forenoon. After resting a short time, he pushed on towards 
Buckeye, only to encounter the deep snow on the summit. Through this he struggled and 
plunged until he became completely exhausted, and he sank powerless in the snow within two 
miles of the station he was striving to reach. Fully realizing his terrible condition, he managed to 
crawl through the snow several hundred yards, and then, overcome by cold and fatigue, lay down 
in his cold couch and surrendered himself to his fate. The drowsy numbness that precedes death 
in this form soon released him from the agony of a consciousness of his impending fate, and he 
sank into that slumber that, unless rudely disturbed, leads surely to the embrace of death. A 
deliverer was at hand. With papers, packages, and letters strapped upon their backs, and fighting 
sturdily against the elements in their endeavor to make as quick time as possible to American 
valley, came the energetic expressman, F. B. "Whiting, and an assistant. It was about ten o'clock 
at night when they came upon the unconscious form of a man in the snow, in which Mr. Whiting 
at once recognized his old friend Perkins. Quickly raising him to his feet, it was found that he 
was unable to stand or move, and seemed to be beyond hope of resuscitation. The assistant was 
dispatched in haste to Buckeye for help, blankets, and restoratives. When these arrived, wine 
was forced down the throat of the benumbed man, which revived him so that he exhibited unmis 
takable signs of life. He was then placed upon a blanket and drawn through the snow to the 
station, where he was fully restored. Though his feet were badly frozen, he continued his journey, 
after recruiting a few days at the Buckeye. Some years subsequent to this he was crossing the 
river in a boat at Twelve Mile bar, was capsized, and though a strong swimmer, was drowned 
with three companions. 

Snow-shoeing is quite an art, and to become expert in the use of these implements requires 
considerable practice. Like skating, it demands natural strength and dexterity to become an adept. 
All through the mountains this method of travel is adopted to go from place to place, where high 
mountain ridges covered with deep snow have to be crossed. Two kinds of snow-shoes are used, 
the Indian and the Norwegian. The former is an egg-shaped hoop, filled with a network of 
threads. When it is placed upon the foot, the wearer has his weight distributed over a large 
surface, but has to walk in order to make any pi'ogression. The Norwegian shoe, or rather skate, 
is excellently well adapted to locomotion on the frozen crust of the snow more so, even, than on 
the loose snow when newly fallen. It consists of a bar shaped like the runner of a sled, six to ten 
feet long, four inches wide, two inches thick in the middle, and grooved underneath. The foot is 
strapped upon the middle of the shoe, and with a long pole in his hand by which to steer, the 
skater shoots down the hill like a rocket. Climbing the hills by the aid of the pole is not so easy, 
but still is rapidly done by an experienced skater. The skill displayed in the Scandinavian moun 
tains by the originators of these wooden skates is marvelous in the extreme ; and for many months . 
in the year all travel among the icy bergs is done by means of the swiftly gliding skate, and many 
a legend and tradition hangs about the precipitous mountain passes. One of these relates the bold 
feat of a Norseman who was captured by a band of Swedes on their way to make a raid into some 
mountain village of his countrymen^ and compelled to act as a guide through the dangerous mountain 
defiles. He conducted them safely until he came to a place where the trail turned sharply around 
the face of a cliff but a few feet from the verge of a yawning chasm. Yelling to his captors to 
follow him, he shot like an arrow down the descent that led to this dangerous pass, and then turned 
sharply to one side and disappeared around the cliff; while thoe behind, unaware of the precipice 


until right at its verge, and unable to either stop or turn, plunged, one after the other, over its 
slippery side, and were dashed to pieces on the rocks and ice below. 

The rain-fall in Plumas is the same that is common to the more northern portion of the Sierra. 
Much of it comes in the form of snow, and it is customary to estimate a foot of snow as an inch of 
rain, and in this way pretty accurate records can be kept. Aside from the damage to bridges and 
mining claims, which has sometimes been very great and disastrous, high water has but few terrors 
for the people in the mountains. Water frequently covers the valleys of this county in low places, 
but as it leaves nothing behind it but a little of the soil washed down from the mountain-sides, it is 
rather a benefit than otherwise. 

The earliest information we have of a flood exists in the traditions of the savages, who say 
that years ago there was a terrible flood, in which thousands of natives lost their lives, and 
hundreds of rancherias on the banks of rivers were washed away and destroyed. It is an era in 
their history from which they date events in the Sacramento valley, and occurred in the beginning 
of the present century, about the year 1805. The annals of the Hudson Bay Company show that 
the year 1818 was one of excessive storms and tremendous floods. The winter of 1826-27, when 
Jedediah S. Smith passed through California with his trapping party, the water rose so high in the 
Sacramento valley that he was driven to the Marysville buttes for a camping place, which he found 
teeming with elk, antelope, and bear that had also sought refuge there. 

A number of other wet seasons are reported by the early pioneers. All remember the wet 
and muddy winter of 1849-50, and the difficulty experienced in keeping the mining camps supplied 
with food. The winter of 1852-53 was a disastrous one throughout the whole state. The Sacra 
mento valley was one vast sea of water, and great damage was done to the cities, and to all 
improvements, such as mining appliances, bridges, mills, etc. In Plumas county there was little 
to damage except the flumes and wing-dams in the rivers, but the storms so blockaded the moun 
tain trails that many were in danger of starving. [For the particulars of this see The Exodus of 
1832, farther on.] The winter of 1861-62 was one that will long be remembered in California for 
its devastating floods, that came pouring down the mountains, sweeping everything before them, 
and leaving ruin and desolation in their pathway. The cities of Marysville, Sacramento, and 
Stockton, as well as dozens of towns lying in the great valley, were inundated, and suffered great 
loss of life and property. The whole valley was flooded, and covered by a great inland sea miles 
in extent. Houses, barns, fences, and al! kinds of objects went whirling down on the bosom of 
the torrent, and hundreds of animals mingled their piteous cries with the r.oar of the angry waters 
that were rapidly bearing them away to destruction. Every river seemed bent upon adding its 
quota to the great sum of damage ; and when spring set in, scarcely a bridge of any importance in 
the state remained to boast of successful battle with the foe. In Plumas county, as in the other 
mining counties of the Sierra, the damage to bridges and mining claims was considerable, 
and the flood caused many to go to Idaho who would otherwise have remained in the mines of 
California. Since that time there have been a number of seasons of comparatively high water; 
but it was reserved for the storms of January and February, 1881, to strike the severest blow. 
Scarcely a bridge of any importance in the county was left standing, and the bridge bill of the 
county for the past year, to repair the damage caused by those two weeks of storm, amounts to 
a fortune. 



With the early history of California, its missions and priests, its Spanish and Mexican rulers, 
and its conquest by the Americans, these mountain regions have but little part. The .native 
Calif ornians never penetrated into the heart of the mountains that skirt the Sacramento valley 
on the east. Gazing from a distance upon their snowy crests, they had named them Sierra 
Nevada the snowy mountains but beyond this they remained terra incognita to them. The 
trappers of the Hudson Bay Company and the American Fur Company crossed the mountains 
first in 1825, and frequently thereafter, but farther to the south, or by the way of Pit river or 
the Sacramento. This region remained unknown and unexplored until the ignis fatuus of gold 
drew into the mountain recesses an eager band of adventurers, and opened to the world these 
grand mountains and lovely valleys. 

The early history of Plumas properly begins with the naming of the river from which its 
name was derived, and whose arms and tendrils reach out into the county in all directions. Its 
patron stream, the Feather river, has been for years the fountain of its wealth and the source 
of its prosperity. In 1820 a Spanish exploring expedition passed up the valley, headed by 
Captain Louis A. Argiiello. By this party the name Rio de las Plumas, or Feather river, was 
bestowed upon the stream, because of the great number of feathers of wild fowl floating on its 
bosom. At the same time the Yuba river was christened Rio de los Uva. As the Spanish 
pronunciation of the word was " Ooba," it is easy to see how it was Americanized into " Yuba " 
by the heedless miner. Bear river was named Mio de los Osos by the same party. 

Passing on, we find the next step to be the settlement of Peter Lassen at the celebrated 
Lassen's ranch, on Deer creek, in Tehama county. [See Early History of Lassen County, 
farther on.] It was in December, 1843, that this old pioneer started from Sutter's Fort to settle 
on his grant on Deer creek, which he reached about the first of February, 1844, having camped for 
several weeks at the Marysville buttes. This was the first settlement north of Marysville, where 
Theodore Cordua was then living, and was a celebrated place in the early days and during the 
first few years of the emigration to the gold fields. Associated with Lassen in the pioneer days 
was a Russian or Pole named Isadore Meyerwitz. It is probable that these two were the first 
white men to set foot within the limits of Plumas county. Certain it is that they were here in 
1848, and how much sooner it is impossible to say possibly never before that year. In the year 
1846 a company of men from the Willamette valley laid out what is known as the southern 
route to Oregon [see page 59], running from Fort Hall west to Goose lake, then to Tule lake 
and through the Modoc country, across Lost river, around the south end of Klamath lake, 
through the pass to Rogue River valley, and thence up to the Willamette by the old Hudson 
Bay Company's route. The route followed by emigrants to Yreka and vicinity, in 1851, and 
later years, was this Oregon trail as far as Klamath lake, and there it turned to the south-west 
to Yreka by the way of Sheep Rock. Two years after the Oregon road was laid out, Peter 
Lassen opened up the celebrated Lassen route to California. This was nothing more nor less 
than the Oregon road as far as the head-waters of Pit river. There it branched to the south, 
and followed down that stream till north of Lassen Peak, then passing along the eastern base of 
that lofty mountain it struck Mountain Meadows, then west to the Big Meadows in this county, 
then to the head-waters of Deer creek, and down that stream to Lassen's ranch, where most of 
the emigrant parties disbanded. 
















Lassen, accompanied by Paul Eicheson, went to Fort Hall in the summer of 1848, and induced 
a train of emigrants to submit themselves to his guidance, and try the new route to California; the 
route theretofore traveled leading down the Humboldt, over to the Truckee, up that stream and 
across the mountains by the way of Donner lake and Bear river to Johnson's ranch on the latter 
stream, and thence to Sutter's Fort. There were twelve wagons in the train that decided to 
attempt the new road, and Lassen led them along safely, though they encountered some extremely 
rugged and difficult mountains, until they reached Mountain Meadows or Big Meadows, where 
their provisions and animals both became exhausted, and they stopped to recruit the one and sup 
ply the other. Here they were overtaken by a company from Oregon with twenty wagons, on 
their way to the gold fields of California news of the great discovery not having reached Oregon 
till the last of August. This was about the first of November. With the aid of the Oregon party 
they made their way safely to Lassen's ranch, where the train disbanded. A large emigration was 
diverted from the Carson route in 1849 and 1850, and induced to follow Lassen's cut-off, or, as it 
was sometimes called, Lassen's Horn route, sarcastically classing it with the journey around Cape 
Horn. The point of divergence from the main route down the Humboldt was indicated by a post 
stuck in the desert sands, surrounded by a watchful body-guard of sage brush, and inclined at an 
angle of forty-five degrees, across which was a shake bearing the legend "Lassen Road," to woo the 
unwary emigrant from the crooked and broad way he had been following. Many were wooed and 
won, and turned from the beaten track to follow this new road, of which they knew nothing save 
that it was claimed to be a shorter route to the mines. One of these was Cyrus Laufman, now and 
for years a prominent citizen of this county. Those who came later than Mr. Laufman had a 
severe experience with snow and scarcity of provisions, and many would have perished but for the 
timely succor sent to them from the valley. [See page 87.] 

Of the hundreds that traveled through the county, none remained even to prospect its streams. 
They were bound for California ; and no emigrant thought himself at his journey's end until the 
Sacramento valley was reached. Sacramento City was the objective point of the majority, and 
thousands passed by camp after camp of miners to reach that point, only to retrace their steps to 
the same mines they had passed a month before. For this reason, Plumas county retained none of 
the many that passed through it in 1849. Yet one of these emigrants was the cause of the opening 
up of this region the following season, the hero of an adventure so shrouded in mystery, so possible 
and yet so improbable, that people with equal opportunities for forming an opinion on the subject 
differ widely from each other in the amount of credence they give to the story he related. The 
writer has conversed with many who were connected with the Gold lake excitement, listened to 
their narratives, and heard their speculations and opinions, and feels himself unable to do more 
than give the story in its different phases as it has been presented to him. 

Gold lake, of which Plumas and Sierra counties each has one, is none the less a creature of 
tradition. If it ever had an existence other than in the brain of the man who claimed to have 
found it, some other name has been applied to it, and its identity has never been established. We 
are confronted at the outset by two stories of the way the author of the excitement claimed the 
lake was first discovered, the most probable of which is as follows: Among the emigrants by the 
Lassen road in the fall of 1849 was a man named Stoddard, the cause of all the subsequent excite 
ment. When they arrived in the Sierra, probably in the neighborhood of Big Meadows, Stoddard, 
with one companion, went out upon a hunting expedition, for the purpose of replenishing the 
depleted larder of his company. Unversed in mountain life and unskilled in woodcraft, the two 
Nimrods lost their way, and wandered about for several days in search of the camp they had left, 


but in vain. They then undertook to get out of the mountains by following the course of the 
streams. They came one day upon a small lake, with an area of from ten to fifteen acres, inclosed 
by high and rocky mountains. In a ravine on the lake shore, where the water from the melted 
snow of the previous spring had washed the bed-rock bare, they found some large chunks of gold. 
Frightened by their precarious condition in an unknown wilderness of mountains, exposed to 
dangers they know not what, and feeling that no time nor effort must be wasted if they would 
extricate themselves from their enforced seclusion and reach the homes of civilization, they did not 
stop to examine the place critically, nor even to make such observations as would enable them to 
return to the spot, but put a few of the golden pieces in their pockets, and hurried on. The next 
day they were suddenly treated to a shower of arrows from a party of Indians, and Mr. Stoddard 
took to his heels, and by dint of hard running made his escape. What became of his companion 
he knew not, but supposed that he fell a victim to their savage assailants. For several days he 
toiled over high mountains and through dark and rocky canons, scarcely stopping to rest, until at 
last he reached the north fork of Yuba river. Here he found the advance guard of the miners, 
who had pushed themselves up that stream, and obtained food and shelter. His story was related, 
but as the winter was just setting in, no one dared to trust himself to the cold mercies of a winter 
in the Sierra, so far from supplies, and in a region as yet unknown. The sad fate of the Donner 
party, in the winter of 1846-47, was fresh in their minds, and the dangers and hardships of a 
winter in the Sierra were dreaded by all. Many who had faith in the tale of Stoddard decided to 
go into the unknown region in the spring, with the hope that if the celebrated lake was not found, 
or even was a myth, something rich enough to reward them would be discovered. During the 
winter the miners moved about from place to place, and in this way the story of Stoddard and the 
wonderful Gold lake was circulated along the Yuba and Feather rivers. 

Meanwhile, Stoddard went to San Francisco, where he knew were friends of his unfortunate 
companion, to see if, by chance, he had also escaped, and had gone to meet his friends in that city. 
Nothing had been heard of the missing man ; and after waiting several weeks, Stoddard became 
convinced that his body was lying not far from the wonderful lake. He then went back to the 
Yuba, and sought to organize a company to go in search of the marvelous lake of gold. So 
strange was his tale, that many believed him crazy, and would have nothing to do with him. His 
specimens were a convincing argument, however, and hundreds who placed no reliance upon the 
account he gave of the way he had procured them were none the less anxious to be led to the 
place where such chunks of gold could be found, without caring whether they came from a lake, 
river, or any particular place. At that time the miners had a theory that the " source of gold " 
lay high up in the mountains. They had noticed that the gold became coarser as they ascended 
the streams; and what was more natural than to suppose that there was some place up in the 
mountains where it all came from, and where it could be picked up in chunks such as those 
exhibited by Stoddard? In many places around the old claims, generally in crevices, had been 
found "pockets," from which several hundred dollars were taken out in a few minutes, and it was 
not a violent assumption to think that " farther up," near or at the " source of gold," they could 
gather in twenty-four hours as much of the precious metal as could be carried away. Stoddard 
was therefore watched by those who felt a desire to try their luck in the search for Gold lake. 

It is best at this point, perhaps, to relate the other story about the way in which the wonderful 
lake of gold was found. This version says that, in the spring of 1850, Stoddard and four others 
went into the mountains to prospect, some fifty or sixty miles north-east of Downieville, when they 
lost their way and wandered about for a number of days. One day they came upon a lake, and 


went down to the bank to slake their thirst. While stooping over, they saw something shining 
among the moss at the bottom, which proved, upon investigation, to be lumps of pure gold. While 
taking some of these out, they were suddenly attacked by Indians, and two of the party killed. 
Stoddard and the other two succeeded in making their escape in different directions, and were 
never afterwards reunited. Stoddard made his way out of the mountains and went to San Fran 
cisco, where there were friends of the two others who, he thought, had escaped, to see if tidings 
had been received from them. Nothing had been heard of them; and being convinced that they, 
too, had fallen victims to the savages, Stoddard went to the Yuba to organize an expedition to 
search for the "bonanza" that had nearly cost him his life. The improbable part of this version, 
and one that refutes it, is that it is not possible any one could have gone into the upper mountain 
regions prospecting so early in the season. The winter of 1849 was a stormy one, and snow lay 
upon the mountains thirty feet deep. Snow-shoes had not yet been introduced. The miners were 
unused to winter travel in the mountain wilds; and that a party of prospectors had attempted or 
were even able to penetrate into this region at that season, is highly improbable. Allowing Stod- 
dard's t-tory any foundation in fact at all, the former version must be nearly the correct one. 
However that may be, that Stoddard appeared on the Yuba river, told a wonderful tale of heaps of 
gold to be found in or near by some mysterious lake high up amid the summit peaks of the Sierra, 
and exhibited some large specimens of pure gold, varying in value from eight to twenty-five dollars, 
in support of his story, are facts beyond dispute. Lake or no lake, the chunks of gold were proof 
positive that Stoddard had found something, and a great sensation was created thereby. 

It was about the last of May, 1850, that Stoddard appeai'ed at Nevada City with his story and 
specimens. He exhibited a scar on his leg which he said was the result of a wound received from 
an arrow at the time he escaped from the Indians ; but the fact that the wound was completely 
healed did not seem to be noticed at the time. He organized a select party of twenty-five to go in 
search of the lake. They had an opportunity to receive five hundred members, who were willing 
to pay anything for the privilege, but the party was considered large enough as first organized. 
The only member of this original party that the writer has ever met or knows of, save Stoddard 
himself, is George E. Brittan, now residing in Sutter county. About the first of June they started 
for the upper country, followed by from five hundred to one thousand men, who had kept a close 
watch upon their preparations, and were ready to follow them to the end of the world if necessary. 
They struck right north from Nevada City to the divide between the North Yuba and Middle 
Feather, and followed the ridge to the head-waters of that stream. Wherever they went the crowd 
of miners clung to them like a shadow. Having reached the neighborhood where he supposed the 
lake to be, Stoddard appeared to know as little about its actual locality as any of his followers. He 
wandered about from place to place with his party, closely watched and followed by the crowd of 
hangers-on, who supposed that the apparently aimless movements were made for the purpose of 
throwing them off the scent and to tire them out. They entered Sierra valley, crossed north to 
Red Clover valley, and then to Last Chance valley (so named from what happened there at that 
time). It had now become evident that Stoddard was incapable of leading them to the wonderful 
lake, to reach which they had encountered so many hardships. There were three opinions held by 
the deluded men who were then gathered in consultation in Last Chance valley. Some thought 
that Stoddard was crazy, and the lake simply a product of his diseased brain ; others that he had 
never visited the supposed lake, but had heard the story from some one but imperfectly, and had 
represented the adventure as happening to himself, with the hope of forming a party, as he had 
done, and being able to discover the lake from the faint idea he had of its general location ; others 


thought that his story was true, but that his sense of locality was bad, and he had become again 
lost, as he was when the adventure happened to him. The party was badly demoralized. Many of 
their animals had perished, some in the deep snow, and others by being dashed to pieces upon the 
rocks of some dark and precipitous canon. For a number of days they had been discontented, and 
now they rebelled openly. A meeting was called to discuss the situation, and it was decided to 
hang the author of their woes at once. The sentence of summary execution was suspended for one 
day at the solicitation of the few who still believed that the lake existed, and that Stoddard had 
only lost his way ; but the condemned man was informed that he would be given a " last chance," 
and if the lake was not found by the next night he would be strung up to the limb of a tree and 
left for the birds to roost upon. If he was crazy, Stoddard had enough " method in his madness" 
to steal quietly from camp that night and retrace his steps to the mines below, leaving his judges 
to follow their own inclinations. This incident is claimed by some to have occurred in Humbug 
valley, Plumas county, and to have been the cause of bestowing that appellation upon the valley. 

This was but a small part of the excitement, and these men were but the advance guard of the 
army of "gold lakers" who rushed into the mountains that spring. The news that Stoddard and 
his party, followed by a crowd of miners, had left Deer creek in search of Gold lake spread like 
wild-fire among the mines of the Yuba and Feather rivers. Many who had before heard of the 
mysterious lake, and many others who now learned of it for the first time, rushed off in the direc 
tion the searchers had gone. All the floating population of the mines imbibed the fever, and many 
also who had good claims abandoned them to go in quest of the place where one day's work was 
worth a thousand. Away they rushed, carrying but few provisions to subsist upon, and little 
money or dust with which to buy. It was a perfect stampede. Some organized into small parties ; 
but as a general thing they went along in twos and threes, striving to reach the magic lake as soon 
as possible. Hundreds had but an indistinct idea of what they were in search of. All they knew 
was that somewhere up in the mountains there was a place where gold could be picked up in 
chunks, and they were willing to abandon everything and seek the charmed spot. The infection 
extended to the American river and the southern mines, and many started from there to follow in 
the wake of the others. A party of these went as far as Donner lake, and the country imme 
diately to the north of it. The prices of horses, mules, and oxen went up at a rapid rate. Some 
started with wagons, but owing to the character of the country, and the absence of even a trail, this 
method of conveyance was soon abandoned, and the pilgrims hurried on, packing their effects upon 
the backs of their animals. Many of these, as well as some of their owners, slipped on the precip 
itous sides of rocky canons, and plunged headlong to their death, hundreds of feet below. Perceiv 
ing an opportunity for profitable traffic, a number of merchants accompanied the eager throng with 
loads of provisions, which they sold at exorbitant prices, even killing the cattle that drew the 
loads, and disposing of the meat to the hungry crowd. 

It is claimed by some that miners from Feather river started up that stream even before the 
Stoddard party left Deer creek, and were, therefore, the pioneer prospectors of Plumas county. 
The writer has met or heard from no one who claims personally to have been, or knows surely of 
any one who mined, within the limits of this county prior to June, 1850, and there is but little 
doubt that the Stoddard party headed the army of invaders. The files of the Marysville Herald^ 
the Sacramento Placer Times, and the Alta California for the month of June speak of Stoddard's 
party as having just started, and contain long accounts of the excitement and exodus of miners a 
correspondent of the Placer Times accompanying the throng to the vicinity of the present town of 
La Porte, where word was received that Stoddard's party had abandoned the search, and he 


returned. The excitement lasted but about a month, and then rf solved itself into the regulation 
movement from old to new mines. When the party awakened that June morning in Last Chance 
valley, and discovered that their intended victim had fled in the darkness of night, they concluded 
to abandon the search upon which they had been engaged. They started back, prospecting as they 
went. The cloud of followers also took to prospecting. The news passed along the line of the 
army of invaders that Stoddard was a fraud and Gold lake a myth, carried along by the disgusted 
ones who were hastening back to the claims they had abandoned. The thousands that had rushed 
into the mountains commenced prospecting in all directions, or hastened back again, only to find 
their claims in the happy possession of others. News of the utter failure of the Gold lake expedi 
tion was received on Deer creek within a month from the time it had started from that place. 

Before considering the effect of this expedition upon Plumas county, it is well to dispose of 
the Gold lake story entirely. Upon his return to the lower mines, Stoddard endeavored to form 
another company to search for the elusive lake, but in vain. He was looked upon as crazy, and no 
one would place any confidence in him or his story. For three or four years he hung about the 
mines, chiefly on North Yuba river, relating his tale to every one who would listen to him, and 
spending his summers searching for the lake in the existence of which he appeared to have 
unshaken confidence. Mr. Brittan, who was a member of Stoddard's party, does not believe him 
to have been crazy. He thinks the specimens exhibited were ample evidence that Stoddard had 
found something. To be sure, he could have procured these little nuggets in the lower mines, for 
they were frequently found ; but there appeared to be no reason why he should do that, and then 
lead a company up into the mountains on an apparently hopeless errand. Many believe that he 
was perfectly sincere and truthful, and account for the fact that the lake was not there, and has not 
since been found, with the theory that a landslide occurred that winter and filled up the lake, or 
covered that portion where the gold was discovered. If this be true, the Gold lake must be one of 
a number of little lakes known by different names in this section, none of which have given any 
indication of possessing deposits of gold like the one in the legend. There is still another story 
that may give a clue to the whole affair. Before the excitement broke out there occurred a secret 
expedition to the same locality, which was beyond doubt the first prospecting trip into this county, 
and the members of the party the first miners to penetrate into this region. This was related to us 
by John Rose, an old pioneer who came to California in 1841, and after whom the celebrated Rose 
bar on the Yuba river was named, and near which he is still living. Early in 1850, two men, one 
of them named Marks, were living with the Indians north of the Yuba river, when an Indian 
came into camp with some splendid specimens, and said that he had found them on a river farther 
north, and that they lay loose in the gravel. Marks did not understand the Indian tongue as well 
as the other man, and asked him what the Indian said, but the man would not tell him, intending, 
when he recovered from an attack of sickness with which he was then suffering, to go in search of 
the place himself. Marks had understood enough of the Indian's tale to learn the general direction 
and about how far to go to reach the desired spot. He went to Marysville and related a tale of 
adventure, saying that he had been to a, certain place and found great quantities of gold on the 
river bank, and had been driven away by Indians. He offered to lead a company there ; and a 
select company of thirty, of which John Rose was one, started with him in search of the river. 
Marks led them along the divide between the Yuba and Feather rivers, as far as the mouth of 
Nelson creek, where he admitted that he had lost his way. The party returned in disgust. Mr. 
Rose thinks that Rich bar, on the middle fork of Feather river, was the place where the Indian 
obtained his specimens, and that Marks, who had led them to the general locality, was unable to 


find the exact place because he had never been there. These were no doubt the pioneer prospect 
ors of Plumas county. There is an idea suggested by this story, which, so far as the fact of a 
party having been led by Marks to the mouth of Nelson creek is concerned, is certainly true. The 
idea is, that Stoddard may have received his inspiration from this source, and adopted the same 
ruse employed by Marks to form his company, claiming the adventure to have happened to him for 
the purpose of inspiring more confidence, and trusting to luck to find something when they reached 
the proper locality. 

There is still another phase of the Gold lake story which carries out the idea that Soddard 
had a foundation to build upon, but claimed, as happening to him, an adventure that he had simply 
chanced to hear of, and for that reason was unable to lead the party to the lake which he firmly 
believed to exist. The following version was published in the Marysville N~ews in 1858 : " Our 
friend and fellow-citizen, William C. Stokes, of the firm of Stokes & Shields, proprietors of the 
United States Hotel of Marysville, has furnished us with a statement in relation to this Stoddard 
and Gold lake affair which strips it of much of its mystery. Early in 1850 Mr. Stokes was 
working as a hired hand for a Mr. Terrel, in a rich claim at Deer creek, now Nevada City. One 
day a man, a stranger to all hands, came to Mr. Terrel's cabin with a large sack of gold. He held 
a long and confidential conversation with Mr. Terrel, which was overheard by Mr. Stokes, who 
was lying in a bunk and supposed to be asleep. He wished to raise a company to return with him 
to a lake somewhere north-east of the " Forks," now known as Downieville, where gold was to be 
found in great quantities on the shores. His large sackful had been gathered there, with the 
aid of the Indians, whom he had left under promise to procure provisions and return to them. 
The only tools necessary for the expedition, he told Mr. Terrel, would be crowbars, cross-cut 
saws, picks, shovels, and pans. The saws were to be used in cutting out wheels from the trunks 
of trees to make cars to haul the auriferous earth to the lake for washing. The reason be gave 
for not wishing to go back alone was his dread of the Indians, with whom he had been guilty of 
bad faith in not returning with the provisions as he had promised. He offered to pledge his 
gold to Mr. Terrel for the truth of his story, if Mr. Terrel would raise the required company. 
Mr. Stokes never knew the reason why Mr. Terrel did not close with the stranger's proposition. 
All he knows on this point is, that no company was raised, and that the stranger disappeared 
from Terrel's mining claim, and Mr. Stokes has never seen or heard of him since. Not long after 
this it was in April, 1850, when Mr. Stokes was mining at French Corral a man who gave his 
name as Stoddard came to his cabin, stating that he was a miner fi'om Frenchman's bar on the 
South Yuba, and that he was out on a prospecting tour. Mr. Stokes received him hospitably, 
after the manner of miners in 1850, invited him to dinner, and after dinner, as the weather was 
warm, spent three hours in social chat. Mr. Stoddard gave a history of his life. He was of either 
Scotch or Yorkshire parentage, had served in his younger days in the British navy, was on 
board the Asia, a ship of the line, on which he was wounded at the bombardment of Acre. He 
showed his scar of the wound on one of his legs, which might readily be mistaken for the scar 
made by an arrow wound. Afterwards he had resided in Pennsylvania, and had flourished as 
a school-master and also as an editor in Philadelphia. In process of time he had followed the 
crowd of fortune-seekers and come to California. When he finished his autobiography he asked 
Mr. Stokes to tell him his experience, which Mr. Stokes did, making a considerable feature of that 
portion of it which related to the man with the heavy sack of gold, who wished Terrel to join 
him in an expedition to the lake where gold was so abundant. Mr. Stokes is not certain, but he 
rather thinks that he amplified this portion of his experience very considerably. On this slender 


foundation Mr. Stokes feels certain Mr. Stoddard based his theory of Gold lake, and induced 
some hundreds of romantic miners to trot after him, over mountain and dale, in search of his 
fabulous El Dorado. The next time, which was the last time that Mr. Stokes saw Stoddard, 
was the first of June, 1850. It was in the previous April when he first saw him. Mr. Stoddard 
had then got his company of adventurers at his heels, and happened to bring up in the evening 
at a roadside house which Mr. Stokes, having dropped mining, was keeping at a place called 
Deerville, twelve miles from Middle Yuba. Mr. Stoddard entered Mr. Stokes's house, but declined 
recognizing him. He had a crowd with him, some of whom Mr. Stokes endeavored to dissuade 
from the rash enterprise, but in vain. 

The result was, as may readily be anticipated, that poor Mr. Stoddard, having no other 
knowledge of the golden lake than had been furnished to him by Mr. Stokes, never found it. 
His followers undertook to hang him, but relented, and he is now a living man, and as the Sierra 
Citizen certifies, well to do in the world. Mr. Stokes, we may as well remark, is himself 
fully convinced that such a lake as was described to Mr. Terrel does really exist, and that it will 
yet be found somewhere to the north-west of Downieville." With this, we will dismiss Gold 
lake from our thoughts, and turn to what is known of the results upon this section that flowed 
from the great crusade. 

Even before the search for Gold lake was abandoned by the Stoddard party and their imme 
diate followers, who then amounted nearly to a thousand, considerable prospecting was indulged in 
by those who came a few days later than the first invaders. The result was, that the diggings on 
Nelson, Poorman's, and Hopkins creeks were discovered early in June; and those on Rich bar, 
middle fork, but a few days later. As soon as the mythical character of Gold lake was proclaimed, 
these places were flooded by the disappointed gold seekers. They poured in upon the few who 
were at work there, and took up every inch of ground. In many cases where the first workers had 
measured off generous-sized claims, the new-comers called a meeting, made laws reducing the size 
of claims, and proceeded to stake out their locations. Even this failed to give claims to all, and 
the hundreds who did not secure ground in these places sought elsewhere. Rich bar, on the east 
branch, was discovered about this time, and an immense crowd rushed to that place. In this way, 
the middle fork, east branch, and north fork, with their tributaries, were occupied by several 
thousand miners during the summer and fall of 1850. [See the local histories of these places for 
details of the discovery of each.] The fear of wintering in the mountains had not yet become 
dispelled, and as the winter season set in, the miners began to depart for the foot-hills, leaving the 
mines almost deserted. Where the smoke of hundreds of camp-fires had ascended, and where the 
rattle of many rockers had echoed from the rocky walls of the river cafions, now was scarcely a 
sign of animation to be found. Many went to Bidwell's bar and other points on Feather river; 
others to Downieville and the Yuba river mines ; while many more passed the winter in Onion and 
Strawberry valleys. A few who were well provided with supplies decided to brave the rigors of 
winter in the strong log cabins they here and there erected. The mines were practically deserted. 

Before the Gold lake excitement occurred, the first legislature of California had divided the 
state into counties, attaching to Butte county this whole region then, of course, an unknown 
wilderness. This work the legislature had found to be one of great perplexity. Not only was the 
geography of the state but imperfectly known, but the population was so shifting and uncertain 
that a proper assignment of territory was impossible. Sections that were then unoccupied, and 
almost unknown, were liable in a few days to be filled with thousands of eager miners, or perhaps 
might never become populated or of sufficient importance to demand a county organization. In 


this dilemma, they did the best the circumstances and a crowd of eager land and city proprietors 
as members and lobbyists would permit. The courses of the rivers and the character of the 
mountains were unknown, and thus many queer boundaries were given to counties of a most 
ungainly shape. From the Sacramento river to the .eastern line of the state was a general and 
most absurd boundary, thus cutting up the valley into little patches, and tacking each patch as a 
tail to a long strip of mountainous -country, and curiously enough making " the tail wag the dog " 
by locating the seat of justice in the ralley portion, generally at the extreme end. A little stream 
that scarcely floated a feather in summer, as the Honcut between Yuba and Butte, would separate 
contiguous and easily accessible sections of valley land ; while within the limits of the county to 
which either belonged were to be found high mountains, whose deep snows almost severed the one 
part from the other for months at a time. One of the counties thus formed by the Act of February 
18, 1850, was Butte, embracing the present counties of Butte and Plumas, the major portion of 
Lassen, and a part of Tehama, Colusa, and Sutter. 

With the return of spring in 1851 came a throng of miners, who crowded the streams of 
Plumas county, spreading out and making new discoveries in all directions. Claims were taken 
upon all sides ; flumes and wing-dams were built ; substantial cabins were erected, and in every 
way the people indicated their intention of staying at least as long as the diggings held out. A few 
took up land claims in Indian, American, and other valleys; several saw-mills were built, and in 
every way tokens of a permanent occupation were given. Large stocks of goods were laid in as 
the winter approached, and though a great many returned to the valley, the majority of miners 
who expected to woi'k there the next season remained on the ground. The winter was passed 
without much inconvenience, and work that had been for the most part suspended was resumed ; 
while spring brought with it several thousand men to try their fortune in the rich mines of 
Plumas county. 

During the year 1852 a number of settlements were made on the fine agricultural land of the val 
leys. The fall before, the court of sessions of Butte county had set off this section into townships, 
and justices of the peace and constables were elected; but the authority exerted by these was slight, 
the miners for the most part preferring to settle their disputes in their own way miners' courts 
being the tribunals for the adjudication of differences and the trial of offenders. [See Courts and 
Judiciary, Miners' Courts, and Criminal Annals.] Though a part of Butte, Plumas county was 
governed but little by it. During the year 1852 emigrants came into this region through Beck- 
wourth pass, in which the celebrated Crow chieftan, Jim Beckwourth, had built a cabin and hotel. 
Many of these were families, and it was this season that the gentler sex began to appear in the 
camps in considerable numbers. The effect of their presence was beneficial in the extreme. The 
softening and ennobling influence of women and the presence of children soon changed the rough 
scenes of the pioneer mining into the homes of civilization. The camp-fire gave place to the 
domestic hearth. 

The winter of 1852-53 will never be forgotten by the pioneers of California so long as one 
remains who witnessed its scenes of 'death and destruction. All summer the miners on the rivers 
had been working on flumes and wing-dams, only to find, in a majority of cases, that their labor 
had been very unprofitable. In this condition of affairs the merchants failed to lay in as large a 
stock of goods for the winter as would otherwise have been the case. In addition to this, the 
winter set in early, blocking up the mountain trails with SHOW in November. The miners confi 
dently expected new supplies of goods until late in December, when it became certain that the 
trails were sealed against all pack-trains for many weeks to come. A great rush was then made 


from all parts of the county to reach some source of supplies. Many mining camps were completely 
deserted, while in others there remained but two or three seldom more than half a dozen men 
who had purchased the scant supplies of those who departed, and had thus secured sufficient 
to last them till spring. Miners from the middle fork and its tributaries spent the winter in 
Onion or Strawberry valleys, to which points goods could be brought from Marysville, or scattered 
themselves through the mines on Yuba river. Those from the north fork and east branch went to 
Bidwell's bar and other points on the Feather river. Many of these took their departure before 
the dangers of travel became so great ; but the later ones encountered hardships that the pen 
fails adequately to describe. The severest storms of the season occurred during the week between 
Christmas and New Year's, and for several days thereafter ; and in those dreadful tempests suffering 
and death came to many amid the snow of the mountains. Men who had families in the valleys 
struggled bravely with wind and snow to go for the food they required. Pack-trains were brought 
up by almost superhuman exertion nearly to Nelson Point, and then their loads were taken in small 
lots upon the backs of men. One instance is recorded where a man took a pack-train to within one- 
half mile of his destination, and then had to pay fifty cents a pound to have the goods taken by 
men the remainder of the distance. At another point a train of mules refused to go over the top 
of the mountain where the wind had piled the snow up in a huge bluff ; and they were blindfolded, 
led to the top, and pushed over, rolling with their packs clear to the bottom. Such extreme 
measures as these had to be resorted to that food could be taken to those who otherwise would 
have starved. 

It was early in the morning of December 28 of that dreadful winter that the miners on Rich 
bar, east branch, came to the conclusion that they must make a bold push to pass the barrier of snow 
and reach Bidwell's bar, or they would all perish from starvation. The snow lay four feet deep 
on the level at the river, and on the mountains it was about thirty feet, the top four or five feet 
being loose, newly fallen snow. They had but a week's provisions, with no prospect of any more. 
These were purchased by seven men who decided to remain, and the others, taking some cooked 
food with them, started on their perilous journey. It was a motley throng that commenced the 
ascent of the mountain that icy winter morning. There were over seventy in all Americans, 
Frenchmen, Mexicans, Kanakas, and Chinamen. At that time snow-shoes were unknown, and the 
traveler had to flounder through the soft snow as best he could. The men took turns in plunging 
into the snow and beating out a path, so that the others could follow. In this way a man would 
work at the head of the column for a few yards, and then step aside into the snow until the others 
passed him, and fall in at the rear. By wallowing in this way, the party advanced foot by foot, 
several of the men becoming so exhausted in their efforts that they were unable to proceed, and per 
ished in the snow. The remainder reached the cabin on top of the mountain, six miles from the bar, 
which was vacant, and was found after much searching. The snow there was over fifteen feet 
deep, and a descent was made through it and into the cabin by means of the doorway. The shakes 
which composed the floor were torn up to make a fire to instill a little warmth into their benumbed 
bodies. After taking a hearty meal of the food they had brought with them, the party rolled them 
selves up in their wet blankets, and, cold, shivering, and completely exhausted, sought the presence 
of the " sweet restorer." Such a motley crew never before lodged together in so contracted quar 
ters. So packed and woven in together were they, that when one awoke in the morning it took him 
some time to discover whether he was a Chinaman, Kanaka, or white man. Early the next morn 
ing they renewed their struggle with the snow and a terrible storm that had set in, and after 
wallowing through it all day, reached Spanish Eanch, six miles distant, where they procured { 


good warm supper. Here they found a great crowd of miners who had come from other points, 
and so many were there that the landlord sent them all away the next morning, as his stock of 
provisions were too low to spare any for so great a crowd. They went on to Meadow Valley 
house, two miles distant, and Dean & McCoy, the proprietors, kept them one day, and then told 
them they must move on. The next day they set out for Buck's Eanch, kept by R. H. Fail-child?, 
and struggled through the eight miles of snow to that place. Here they paid one dollar and a half 
each for supper and breakfast, and one dollar for the privilege of spreading a blanket on the floor 
for a bed. During the night it rained a little, and then froze, forming a hard crust on the snow, so 
that their journey of sixteen miles to Peavine the next day was comparatively easy. Another day 
brought them to Bid well's bar, where the river was "booming." All travel by the ferry across the 
turgid stream had ceased ; but a man was engaged in crossing travelers in a small boat, taking only 
one at a time. It was a most perilous undertaking ; but the river was between them and food, and 
go they must. One at a time they crossed, the last two being old sailors, who rigged ropes to the 
ferry cable, and pulled themselves over. Now that they had reached the land of Canaan for which 
they had struggled and suffered, they felt as jubilant as children. They scattered through the mines 
in search of claims, and early in the spring returned to their old claims in Plurnas county, drag 
ging provisions over the snow on hand-sleds from Buckeye, where they had paid fifty cents a 
pound for them. This is but one incident of the great exodus of that memorable season. 

We will relate two more incidents of that terrible exodus, and that must suffice. Late in 

December, 1852, M. Madden, Thomas Schooly, Mordicai Dunlap, and Bain, left Soda bar 

to break their way through the snow out of the mountains. After two days of struggle with 
snow and water, during which they one time waded in water up to their waists, they reached 
Buck's Ranch. On the morning of the 2nd of January, 1853, they left that place for Peavine, 
against the advice of Captain Fairchilds, the proprietor, who' called their attention to a storm 
that was gathering. Bain was the only member of the party that had ever been over the route ; 
but as others had left the place that morning, they gave no heed to Fairchilds's warning, and set 
out to follow the tracks left in the snow. They had gone but a few miles when a severe storm 
set in. The wind blew a perfect gale, and the rapidly falling snow was blown into their faces, 
nearly blinding them. Lowering their heads, they struggled on against the tempest. They were 
but scantily clothed for such a journey. None had a full suit of clothes ; and Bain wore but boots 
pants, hat, and woolen shirt, from which the buttons were gone, leaving his breast exposed to the 
storm. When they reached Frenchman hill they began to experience difficulty in keeping the 
trail, which was fast being obliterated by the snow. They walked four abreast, so that the judg 
ment of all could be used as to the location of the trail. In this way they reached the ruins of the 
old Rock River honse, and pushed on to strike Walker's plains. Soon they discovered that they 
were not in the road, and followed their tracks back again to the Rock River house, to take a 
new start. This they tried several times, losing their way each time, and having great difficulty 
in retracing their steps; for though they sank nearly to their hips at every step, the drifting snow 
soon filled up their tracks. The last time they found themselves astray they were close to an old 
pine stump, the hollow part of which was filled with pitch. This they knew would burn all night 
if they could ignite it, but all their efforts were fruitless because of the dampness of their matches. 
They then struggled back to the Rock River house in the hope of getting shelter, but were again 
grievously disappointed. Only a few of the peeled poles that once formed a frame upon which 
to stretch canvas remained to testify to a house having once stood there. . After digging about in 
the snow with their hands, to see if they could not resurrect something to aid them in constructing 


a shelter, they abandoned hope of accomplishing anything. What a terrible situation was theirs 
cold, wet, exhausted with fatigue, poorly clad, the darkness of night enshrouding them, miles away 
from food, warmth, or shelter, and exposed to the drivings of a pitiless storm! A faint-hearted 
man would have lain himself down in the drifting snow and died. But a few yards from the old 
ruin was a brook, running in a narrow channel between walls of snow twenty feet deep, where it 
had been banked up by the wind. Into this they descended, and waded up and down in the water, 
which was less than a foot deep, and was warmer than the snow. Here, also, they were sheltered 
from the fury of the gale by the banks of snow on either hand. Up and down the creek they 
waded, always moving to keep the blood circulating, until poor Bain gave up in despair, and could 
make no further effort to retain his hold upon the thread of life that was fast slipping from his 
grasp. His companions caved down some snow on one side, and made a level bench on which they 
sat in turns, holding Bain in their laps. The poor fellow died in Schooly's arms. In this way the 
night wore on; the suffering men scarcely hoping to see the return of another day. At last the 
dawn appeared. Their pilot was dead ; they knew not the road ; all traces of travel had been long 
since obliterated ; and in this dilemma they decided to find their way back to Buck's Ranch if 
possible. Their weakened condition and the increased depth of loose snow made pi'ogress extremely 
difficult, and after struggling along for some time, and finding themselves going down a mountain 
they had never seen before, they made a resolve to turn back and push as hard toward the south 
as possible, with the hope of getting out of the deep snow and reaching Peavine. They retraced 
their steps, nearly covered by the falling snow, to where they had spent the night, took Bain's 
pistol and money, and started in a southerly direction. Soon they saw a blaze on a tree, then 
another, and renewed energy and hope came with the knowledge that they were on the trail again. 
The storm ceased, and the sun came out to cheer them, but the darkness of another night settled 
down before they had reached their destination. Among the heavy timber they tramped a long 
path of solid snow, up and down which they paced, occasionally leaning against a tree for a short 
nap, and to dream of warm' firesides and tables groaning with the weight of juicy meats, and then 
waking to tramp the path in cold and hunger, until again the morning broke and lighted them on 
their way. The last efforts of exhausted nature brought them to Peavine, where they were most 
kindly treated, and their frozen members nursed back to vitality. After resting a few days they 
went back and gave poor Bain's body a decent burial, then continued their journey to Marysville, 
where Bain's money was deposited in Adams & Co.'s bank to the credit of his partner, who had 
remained on Soda bar. This was but one of the many cases of suffering and death amid the snows 
of that dreadful winter. 

Early in the month of January another party of twelve started from Nelson Point to make 
their way out of the mountains. The first day they reached Onion valley, where they remained 
for the night. In the morning, six of them, led by J. H. Whitlock, started to break a path through 
the snow, it being agreed that the other six would follow their trail at noon and break the road for 
the balance of the day. The first party became lost in the snow, and wandered about for three 
days, suffering from cold and hunger to a degree beyond description, and finally reaching a house 
alive, but in a most pitiable condition. The second party followed the trail of the first until they, 
too, became bewildered, and sought to retrace their steps to Onion valley. One of them succeeded 
in doing this, and sent help to the others. The relief party found Walter Goodspeed dead, and 
H. Brown and William Phillips so badly frozen that they both died afterwards. 

In the spring of 1853 the miners came flocking back to the deserted claims, and once again 
was seen the stir of civilization, and the transformation of the wilderness into the abode of man. 


Emigrants came pouring in through Beckwourth pass, with their families, to settle upon the rich 
lands of the valleys ; and these, with the settlements that had been previously made, laid a solid 
foundation for the prosperous communities that afterwards sprang up. No more fear, then, of 
starvation; no more necessity to flee to the valley at the approach of winter; a new era had 
dawned upon Plumas, and it had begun to be self-sustaining. 


We have seen how the tireless feet of the prospector explored this region from end to end ; 
how the rich gold deposits drew thousands of men into the mountains to delve for the precious 
metal; how the fertile valleys invited the emigrant to abide among these mountain peaks, and 
build there a home for himself and his children ; how happy and prosperous communities sprang 
up, with all the needs and requiring all the advantages of their sisters beyond the mountains. 

For four years this section performed the function of tail to the Butte county kite, and then 
the tail became too heavy. The kite was not properly balanced, and would not fly as gracefully as 
before. No law existed here but that to be found in the self-constituted courts of the miners. A 
few justices of the peace and constables were elected for the townships of Quartz and Mineral, 
which had been established by the court of sessions of Butte county; but there was little for 
them to do, and the county officers, save when electioneering for votes and the tax-collector 
striving for his commissions, never visited this section of the county. Nut only were the people 
remote from the county seat, but for several months in the winter season they were cut off from it 
entirely by snow. Nature had so managed affairs that they were compelled to rely solely upon 
themselves for months at a time ; and to go to the valley for the transaction of official business 
was a hardship always, and often an impossibility. 

So large a population had gathered here in 1853, that both of the great political parties, the 
whigs and the democrat*, held their county conventions in this region, where at least half of the 
voting population resided. They realized then that they were strong enough to support a county 
government. They wanted protection of the law ; they wanted schools for their children ; they 
wanted roads from valley to valley and from town to town, instead of the narrow and dangerous 
pack trail; they wanted all the blessings and advantages that flow from a well-administered 
county government. The subject was much discussed in 1853 and the following winter. The 
people in the western part of the county were willing to let them go. They were strong enough, 
and their county large enough, without keeping the mountain section tied to them against their 
will. At that time the Butte Record, the only paper then published in the county, spoke thus of 
the project of the formation of a new county: 

"We can begin to realize some of the dangers and difficulties attending communication with 
remote parts of the county during several months of the year, when we consider, that, beyond the 
most dangerous and difficult of these passes, and beyond the range of hills where is usually 
experienced the heaviest rains and. the greatest depth of snow, there are large and fertile valleys 
with comparatively temperate winters, where hundreds of families are now settling, and preparing 
beautiful farms and comfortable, happy homes ; that all of them have been reared in a land bit ssed 
with civil and religious institutions ; that, scattered at frequent intervals throughout that vast 
country are immense stores of goods, of from four to six months' supply of the necessaries and 
comforts, and even many of the luxuries, of life; and that an immense amount of exchange is thus 


daily carried on among the inhabitants. Constituted as man is, disputes must necessarily arise 
which must be settled by some tribunal, and the almost absolute impossibility of reaching the 

tribunals organized under the laws of the State is felt The people in such sections very 

naturally complain of such boundary lines of counties as debar them for a large portion of the year 
from access to any seat of justice; and even when the roads are in their best state, they feel that 
they are oppressed with a grievous burden when required to leave their work and travel from one 
hundred to one hundred and fifty miles to attend court, as witness, juryman, or in any other 
capacity. The effect of such a state of things is disastrous and unfortunate in the extreme, and in 
more ways than one. The result is that crime either in a great measure goes unpunished, or is 
punished by mob law." 

At that time one of the members of the assembly, representing Butte county, was John B. 
McGee, who lived within the limits of the proposed new county. He introduced a bill on the 14th 
of Februai-y creating the county of Plumas, and so ably supported the measure that it passed the 
assembly, and was sent to the senate* That body took favorable action upon it on the 7th of 
March, and on the 18th of the month the signature of Governor John Bigler made it a law. The 
name given to the county by this Act was derived from the river that runs through it in three 
branches. It was eminently fitting that the name of the river should be given to the county in 
which were found its fountain-heads. 

The complete organic act of Plumas county is as follows : 


BUTTE COUNTY. (Passed March 18, 1854.) 

The People of the State of California, represented in Senate and Assembly r , do enact as follows: 

SECTION 1. The county of Butte shall be divided so as to form a new county out of the 
north-eastern portion, which shall be called Plumas. 

SEC. 2. The said county of Plumas shall be bounded as follows, to wit : Commencing at the 
Buckeye house, on the line between Yuba and Butte, and running in a right line across the 
southern portion of Walker's plains and Feather river to the summit of the dividing ridge divid 
ing the waters of the west branch and the main Feather river ; thence following the said divide 
to tlie summit of the main divide, separating the waters of the Sacramento and the main north 
Feather; thence following said divide to the line of Shasta county, dividing Shasta and Butte. 
(This line was defined March 19, 1853, as "beginning at a point in the middle of Sacramento 
river, opposite the mouth of Red Bank creek, below the Red Bluffs, and thence running due east 
to the dividing ridge which separates the waters flowing into the Sacramento river below the Red 
Bluffs, and into Feather river, from those flowing into Sacramento river above the Red Bluffs ; 
thence following the top of said dividing ridge to Sierra Nevada; thence due east to the boundary 
of the State.") Thence along said line to the boundary of the State; thence along the eastern 
boundary of the State to the north-east corner of Sierra county ; thence following the north 
western boundary of Sierra and Yuba to the place of beginning. (This line was from a point on 
the State line " opposite the dividing ridge between the Feather and Yuba rivers ; thence west 
erly to the said dividing ridge, and following the same to the source of the Honcut.") 

SEC. 3. There shall be an election for county officers in the county of Plumas on the second 
Saturday in April, 1854, at which election the qualified voters of said county shall choose one 
county judge, one district attorney, one county clerk, who shall be ex-officio county recorder, one 
sheriff, one county surveyor, one county assessor, one coroner, and one county treasurer. 


SEC. 4. H. J. Bradley, W. Dean, and John Thompson are hereby appointed commissioners 
to designate the necessary election precincts in 'the county of Plumas for said election, and to 
appoint the judges and inspectors of election at the several precincts designated ; to receive the 
returns, and issue certificates of election to the parties receiving the highest number of legal votes ; 
and in all other respects said election shall be conducted according to the provisions of the act to 
regulate elections, passed March 23, 1850. 

SEC. 5. For the purpose of designating the several precincts in said county, said commission 
ers shall meet at least ten days previous to the day of election, and after having been duly sworn 
by a competent officer to well and truly discharge their duties, shall designate the judges and in 
spectors for such precincts; the commissioners shall appoint one of their number as president, and 
one as clerk, who shall keep a record of their proceedings, which record shall be deposited in the 
clerk's office after the commissioners shall have closed their labors. A majority of said commis 
sioners shall at all times constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. 

SEC. 6. The commissioners shall immediately after said meeting give notice of such election, 
and the names of the officers appointed to conduct the same, by notices to be posted at each of the 
precincts at least ten days before the election. 

SEC. 7. Sealed returns from the officers of election shall be delivered to the president of said 
board. The commissioners shall meet at the house of H. J. Bradley, in American valley, on the 
tenth day subsequent to the day of election, and the returns shall then be opened and canvassed 
by said commissioner?:, and the persons having the highest number of legal votes for the several 
offices to be filled shall be declared elected, and the president shall immediately make out and 
deliver to each person chosen a certificate of election, signed by him as president of the commission, 
and attested by the clerk. 

SEC. 8. Each person shall qualify and enter upon the discharge of the duties of his office 
within ten days after the receipt of his certificate of election. The county judge shall qualify be 
fore the president of the commissioners. Persons elected to the other offices may qualify before 
the county judge, or before said president. 

SEC. 9. The president of the commissioners shall transmit, without delay, an abstract of said 
election returns to the Secretary of State, and retain the original returns until the clerk shall 
qualify, when he shall file the same in the clerk's office. 

SEC 10. The officers elected under this Act shall hold office until the next general election, 
and until their successors are qualified according to law. The county judge and two associate 
justices, to be chosen as provided by law, shall form the Court of Sessions for the transaction of all 
county business. 

SEC. 11. The county judge of Plumas county shall receive for his services as judge of said 
county one thousand dollars per annum. 

SEC. 12. The County of Plumas shall be and remain a portion of the Ninth Judicial District. 
The district judge of the said district shall hold at least three terms of his court annually in 
Plumas county, and shall, as soon as practicable after this Act takes effect, notify the people of 
the said county of the time of holding said terms. 

SEC. 13. The county auditor of the county of Butte shall ascertain the county indebtedness 
of Butte at the time this Act shall take effect, and also the assessed value of the property of the 
respective counties of Butte and Plumas, as exhibited by the assessment roll of eighteen hundred 
and fifty-three ; and upon presentation of the same, duly authenticated, to the auditor of Plumas 
county, the said auditor of Plumas county shall draw his warrant on the treasurer of his county, 


and in favor of the treasurer of Butte county, for a sum which shall be ascertained upon the 
following basis : Each county shall be liable for the present indebtedness of Butte, in ratio of the 
taxable property of the respective counties, determined as above set forth. 

SEC. 14. The counties of Butte and Plumas shall compose one Senatorial District. Butte 
county shall elect two assemblymen, and Plumas one, in the year 1854; and in the year 1855, 
Butte shall elect one assemblyman, and Plumas two; and alternate thereafter until there shall 
have been another apportionment of the State by the Legislature. 

SEC. 15. The county of Plumas shall set aside twenty per cent, of her annual county revenue, 
which shall be and remain an inviolable fund for the payment of the interest and principal of debt 
due to Butte county; and the same shall be paid annually to the treasurer of Butte county, and 
when paid shall be placed to the credit of the general fund for the liquidation of the indebtedness 
of Butte county. 

SEC. 16. The people of Plumas county shall determine, by their vote at the next general 
election, at what place the county seat shall be permanently located ; until such time, the tem 
porary county seat of Plumas county shall be located in the American valley, at such place as the 
Court of Sessions shall direct. This Act shall take effect from and after the first day of April, 

The three commissionei's, H. J. Bradley, Wilson S. Dean, and John W. Thompson, met at the 
American ranch, in American valley, at the hotel of H. J. Bradley, and proceeded to discharge the 
duties assigned to them. The only townships that had been created in this section of Butte 
county had been set off by the court of sessions August 6, 1851, and embraced nearly all of 
Plumas county. They were townships of a generous size, as the following descriptions indicate : 

" MINERAL TOWNSHIP. Bounded as follows, to wit : Commencing at a point on the north fork 
of Feather river, at the mouth of the east branch on said fork ; thence up the said north fork to its 
source ; thence south-east to the head-waters of the main branch of the middle fork ; thence down 
the said middle fork to a point three miles below the mouth of Onion creek, it being on the north 
line of Oro township ; thence north along said line to the place of beginning. 

" QUARTZ TOWNSHIP. Bounded as follows, to wit : Commencing at a point on the middle fork 
of Feather river, three miles below the mouth of Onion creek ; thence up said middle fork to its 
source; thence due east to the line of the county; thence along said line to Missouri ranch ; thence 
north along the upper line of Oro township to the place of beginning." It will be seen that these 
two townships comprised nearly all of Plumas county as it stands to-day, the Lassen county 
portion being at that time unsettled and almost unknown. Mineral embraced Indian and Plumas, 
and portions of Mineral, Seneca, Quartz, and Beckwourth townships; while Quartz embraced 
Goodwin (formerly Washington), and part of Quartz and Beckwourth. 

Although the Act required the board of commissioners to keep a record of their proceedings 
and deposit it in the office of the county clerk, such record cannot be found among the files of that 
office, nor can an abstract of the election be found in the office of the secretary of state at Sacra 
mento. It is therefore impossible to present the returns of the first county election, or the 
proceedings of the commissioners. In the absence of official documents we are compelled to rely 
upon oral testimony, and from that source learn that the election was duly held on the second 
Saturday in April, and resulted in selecting the following gentlemen for the first officers of Plumas 
county : 


COUNTY JUDGE William T. Ward. 


COUNTY CLERK John Harbison. 

SHERIFF . . . . , George W. Sharpe. 

TREASURER Daniel R. Gate. 

ASSESSOR John R. Buckbee. 

SURVEYOR Jobe T. Taylor. 


These gentlemen qualified before the county judge, to whom the president of the board of 
commissioners had administered the oath of office, and commenced the discharge of their official 
duties. Temporary accommodations were made for them at the American ranch. [See County Seat 
and County Buildings.] 

The opponent of Mr. Sharpe for the office of sheriff was William V. Kingsbury, and the 
election was very close. William Lint of Marysville went to the Plumas Eureka mines in the 
interest of Mr. Sharpe, and lived with the Mexicans there, sleeping and eating with them, and 
keeping them well supplied with tobacco and whisky. When election day came, he marched them 
up to the polls and cast one hundred and twelve votes for Mr. Sharpe. This decided the election 
in that gentleman's favor. When Mr. Kingsbury learned the cause of his defeat, he threatened to 
contest the election, on the ground that these were unnaturalized foreigners, and not entitled to 
vote. His friends, however, suggested that, by the treaty of peace between Mexico and the United 
States, all citizens of Mexico residing in California at the time of the conquest, who should elect to 
remain, were declared citizens of the United States, and that it could not be proved that these 
Mexican votes were not of this class. He decided not to waste his time and money in a hopeless 

Another incident connected with this initial election is very amusing, and illustrates the non 
chalant spirit of the times. John R. Buckbee and Christopher Porter contested for the office of 
assessor, and were both surprised to find that the vote was a tie, and neither of them elected. In 
this exigency, the law provided that the county judge should make an appointment to fill the 
vacancy. Buckbee, the whig candidate, was a warm personal friend of Judge Ward, and was 
considered certain to receive the appointment. In this emergency the democratic friends of 
Porter, as the only hope left, prompted that gentleman to challenge Buckbee to play a game of 
seven-up for the office. The challenge was accepted, and the two aspirants sat down to a table at 
Bradley's hotel, surrounded by a crowd of interested spectators. The fates were against Porter to 
the last, and Buckbee arose from the table winner of the game and the office of assessor of Plumas 
county; for it is needless to say that Judge Ward recognized this honorable and equitable settle 
ment of the question, and appointed Buckbee accordingly. The thirsty crowd that witnessed the 
game must have reduced the net earnings of Buckbee's office considerably by their liberal potations 
at his expense; for that, too, was as much a point of honor as the action of Judge Ward. 

Still one more incident of the election is related. Living on the east branch of Feather river 
at that time was John Harbison, an extremely popular gentleman who had been a county clerk in 
Missouri before coming to the Golden West. He was a whig, but the delegates from that region 
to the democratic nominating convention were instructed to pledge the united support of both 
parties to John Harbison. They were successful, and he was nominated by the democrats and 
elected, though a whig in politics. 

[Reference is made to the Courts and Judiciary, and the County Seat and Court-house, for fur 
ther information in regard to the organization of the county.] 




As has been stated, the records of Butte county disclose the formation in this section of but the 
two townships of Quartz and Mineral by the court of sessions of that county. Just when and by 
whom the original townships in the county of Plumas were set off the records fail to inform us, 
but it must have been done by the court of sessions soon after the organization of the county. 
The board of commissioners named in the organic Act were not empowered to divide the county 
into townships, but simply to designate election precincts ; and therefore it must be assumed that 
this act was performed by the court of sessions whose function it was. The first justices of 
Washington and Plumas townships qualified in September, 1854, which is conclusive evidence that 
the townships were created that summer by the court of sessions. There were then five of these 
judicial divisions, Quartz, Washington, Plumas, Mineral, and Seneca. Quartz embraced the 
present township of that name and a portion of Beckwourth and of Lassen county ; Washington 
was the present township of Goodwin, exclusive of the La Porte district; Plumas contained its 
present territory, a portion of Indian and Beckwourth townships, and the larger part of what was 
afterwards set off to Lassen county; Mineral had nearly its present limits; Seneca contained, in 
addition to its present territory, a share of Indian township and of Lassen county. 

The civil reign of the court of sessions in Plumas county was short. Since 1850 that body 
had exercised the functions now discharged by a board of supervisors in the state of California, 
and for a year all civil affairs of this county were regulated by that court. By the Act of March 
20, 1855, boards of supervisors were created in the various counties to manage their civil affairs. 
By the provisions of the Act, the county clerk, assessor, and surveyor were appointed a special 
board for the purpose of dividing the county into supervisor districts, and giving notice of the 
election which was fixed by the statute for the ninth of April. The brief record left by the board 
thus created, which assembled in Quincy on the fourth of April, is as follows: 

" In accordance with the provisions of an Act to create a board of supervisors in the counties of 
this state, and to define their duties and powers, the undersigned have divided the county of 
Plumas into three districts, as follows, to wit: 

" 1st district, composed of the township of Quartz and the township of Washington. 2nd dis 
trict, composed of Plumas township. 3rd district, composed of townships Mineral and Seneca. 

April 4, 1855. 


By R. I. BARTSTETT, Deputy. 
C. PORTER, Assessor. 

By M. R. STREETKR, Deputy. 
J. C. CHURCH, County Surveyor." 

The election resulted in the choice of John C. Lewis of Nelson creek for supervisor of district 
No 1 ; Thomas B. Shannon of Elizabethtown for district No. 2 ; and Joseph Winston of Meadow 
valley for district No. 3. These gentlemen qualified, organized the board, and assumed the helm 
of the county which is still grasped by the hands of their elected successors. They did not at once 
make a new subdivision of the county into townships, as was the case in many counties, but con 
tented themselves with altering the boundary lines here and there, and creating new townships 
from time to time. 


The township of Plumas was divided September 22, 1855, hyaline running on " the divid 
ing ridge between the American and Indian valleys." The portion lying east or north-east of said 
line was created Indian township. 

On the sixth of May, 1856, the board created the township of Fillmore, embracing that portion 
of the county lying south of the middle fork of Feather river, and west of Little Grass valley. 

The next day Eich Bar township was created, embracing the north fork of Feather river from 
one mile east of Kingsbury's ferry to the Butte county line, the line dividing it from Mineral 
township running one mile south of the river. 

Jackson township was organized out of Plumas and Quartz, November 13, 1856, "beginning 
at Poplar bar on the middle fork of the Feather river ; thence up the stream, including both 
banks, to the mouth of Jamison creek; thence across to Grizzly valley divide; thence with said 
divide to the line dividing Plumas and Quartz ; thence south on said line to the beginning." This 
was a small township compared to most of the others. On the first of December the north-west 
corner was defined to be a point opposite the east end of Yeates' ranch, from which the line ran 
south to Poplar bar. 

August 4, 1857, Honey Lake township was formed out of portions of Indian and Seneca 
townships, embracing territory now lying within the limits of Lassen county. 

No change was made in townships until November 4, 1862, when Summit township was 
created, "to comprise the whole of Sierra valley, Beckwourth valley, and Long valley." 

The reader is referred to the early history of Lassen county in another portion of this work 
for a full understanding of the causes that led to a dismemberment of Plumas, and the creation 
of the county of Lassen. The Act of April 1, 1864, creating that county, cut off from Plumas all 
the territory lying east and north-east of the following line : " Commencing on the boundary line 
dividing Sierra and Plumas counties, at a point on the summit of the ridge which crosses said 
boundary line, and which divides Long valley from Sierra valley ; thence following the summit of 
said ridge (north-westerly), which separates the waters of Feather river from those which flow 
into the Great Basin and Honey Lake valley, to a point due south from the town of Susanville ; 
thence due south to the summit of the ridge separating the waters which flow into the east branch 
of the north fork of Feather river, running through Indian valley, from those which flow into the 
north fork of Feather river, running through the mountain meadows; thence following the summit 
of said ridge to a point due south from a point where the old and present traveled road from the Big 
Meadows, via Hamilton's ranch, first crosses the said north fork of Feather river; thence due 
north to the south boundary line of Shasta county." This included all of Honey Lake township 
and a portion of the new township of Summit ; in short, all that portion of the county which lay 
on the eastern slope of the Sierra, giving to Lassen the territory drained by the waters of the Great 
Basin of Nevada, and leaving in Plumas the country whose waters flow down to the Sacramento 
valley. The Act also provided that Lassen county should pay Plumas the sum of Si, 000 on the 
first of January, 1868, and $1,500 a year later. This region, which showed by the census of 1860 
a population of 476 white people, must have contained at this time fully a thousand, and was a 
great loss to the county of Plumas. The winds soon shifted, however, and filled Plumas' sails to 
speed her on her way, by the addition of a strip of desirable territory. 

For some time there had been great dissatisfaction felt by the people of the town of La Porte 
and vicinity, with their connection with Sierra county. The same natural barriers of mountain and 
snow separated them from their county seat as had been complained of by the people of this county 
when attached to Bntte. In the winter season it was impossible to go from La Porte to Downio- 


ville except by a long and circuitous route to pass around the intervening ridge of mountains; and 
the inconvenience became so annoying that it was loudly complained of. Aside from this, there 
was but little community of interest between the two sections; they were upon different routes of 
travel, and in many things their interests were antagonistic. In view of these things, the citizens of 
La Porte sought for several years to sever their connection with Sierra county. They endeavored 
to have a new county established, to be composed of that portion of Sierra county contiguous to La 
Porte, and a part of the county of Plumas lying north of them. To this was given the ill-fated 
name of Alturas a name that has brought defeat wherever it has been applied, as it has been to 
several prospective counties in the state, and has finally settled down upon a little town in Modoc 
county, where its power for harm is small. This movement was headed by Creed Haymond and 
James E. Johnson, both resident lawyers of Sierra county, who sought to make La Porte the seat 
of justice of the new county. Much money was used by both parties to this contest, and the result 
was a complete failure of the scheme. The matter was not allowed to drop. A movement was set 
on foot to annex La Porte to Plumas county. As a part of this scheme, it was designed to build a 
fine wagon road from Quincy to La Porte, to more closely connect the two sections [see T^a Porte 
Wagon Road], and give the farmers of Plumas county a new market for their produce. This 
would be an improvement upon the situation of La Porte at that time, but still it left them without 
a complete remedy for the evils they had complained of, as the snow on the mountains between La 
Porte and the new county seat, Quincy, so completely severs the two places in winter that commu 
nication is only maintained for weeks at a time by means of snow-shoes. However, to be released 
from Sierra county, at whatever cost, was the desire of the La Porte people. Plumas county was 
represented in the assembly in the session of 1865-66 by John D. Goodwin, who introduced a bill 
to annex the La Porte region to Plumas county. F. M. Smith was then the senator from Plumas. 
To represent their interests in the lobby the people of La Porte sent John Conly, Creed Haymond, 
Dr. Brewster, and others to Sacramento. Sierra county was represented in the assembly by 
M. A. Singleton and G. Meredith, and in the senate by L. E. Pratt; but not content with these, the 
county authorities sent the county auditor, W. S. Day, to watch the legislature, and guard the 
interests of Sierra county. The legislature adjourned, and the Sierra county delegation returned 
to their homes to find themselves hanging in effigy. The knowledge of the loss of their territory 
by the passage of the Act entitled An Act to Amend an Act to Organize the County of Plumas out 
of a Portion of the Territory of Butte County, approved March 18, 1854, was first made known 
to them on their arrival in Downieville, whither they had returned to render an account of their 
stewardship. The assessor and collector of Sierra county immediately set out to assess and collect 
the taxes of the lost territory, but were arrested in La Porte for usurpation, and gave bonds. The 
case went to the supreme court, and was decided in favor of Plumas county, and La Porte was 

The Act above referred to was approved on the thirty-first of March, 1866, and took effect im 
mediately. The new boundaries given to Plumas county by it were as follows: "Commencing at 
the Buckeye House, on the line between Yuba and Butte, and running in a right line crossing the 
southern portion of Walker's plains and Feather river to the summit of the dividing ridge 
dividing the waters of the west branch. and the main Feather river; thence following said divide 
to the summit of the main divide separating the waters of the Sacramento and the main North 
Feather ; thence following said divide to the line of Shasta county dividing Shasta and Butte ; 
thence along said dividing line between Shasta and Butte counties to the western boundary line of 
Lassen county ; thence along said western boundary line of Lassen county to the northern 


boundary line of Sierra county ; thence along said northern boundai-y line of Sierra county to a 
point on said lines (?) six" miles in a north-easterly direction from the Lexington House ; thence 
south five miles; thence south-west five miles; thence north three miles; thence in a direct line to 
said Buckeye House." It will be seen by comparing this description with the county maps that 
Yuba county also contributed a little territory to Plumas. The Act of March 28, 1868, restored 
to Sierra county a small portion : " All that portion of the territory of Plumas county lying south 
of Slate creek is reaimexed to the county of Sierra, and hereby declared to be a part of Sierra 
county." This strip also embraced the portion that had been taken from Yuba, and it is to Sierra 
and not Plumas that Yuba county must look for its lost domain. The board of supervisors of this 
county, in honor of John D. Goodwin, the man to whom was chiefly due the acquisition of this 
valuable territory, created it into a new and separate township upon which they bestowed his 
name. Under this name it still exists, but has had the old township of Washington annexed to it. 

On the ninth of August, 1866, a complete resubdivision of the county into eight townships was 
made, and the boundaries of each were fully defined. Goodwin and Washington embraced sub 
stantially the territory now composing Goodwin township; Quartz township comprised the 
present one by that name and the lower half of Beckwourth; Plumas was nearly the same as at 
present ; Indian embraced the present township of Indian and the upper half of Beckwourth ; 
Seneca township was the same as at present ; Rich Bar embraced the north-west and Mineral the 
south-east half of the present township of Mineral. 

On the twenty-ninth of August, 1871, the board authorized the county surveyor, A. W. Keddie, 
to make a county map. He was engaged upon this work for more than two years, and on the fifth 
of May, 1874, it was accepted, by the board, and 'three thousand dollars paid for it. The map is 
accurate, and a splendid specimen of drafting, and hangs in the supervisors' room at the court 
house, as the official map of the county. On the same day on which the map was accepted, the 
board declared the boundaries of the townships as thereon shown defined as follows : 

SENECA TOWNSHIP. Beginning at the point on the county line between Plumas and Lassen 
counties, where the government range line between ranges 8 and 9 E., Mount Diablo meridian, 
would cross said county line, and running thence south on said range line to the south-west corner 
of T. 26 N., R. 9 E. ; thence due west to the county line ; thence northerly on county line to 
Lassen Butte ; thence east and southerly, following the boundary of Plumas county, to the place of 

RICH BAK TOWNSHIP. Beginning at the south-west corner of Seneca township, on the county 
line between Plumas and Butte, and running thence south-westerly and south-easterly along said 
county line to a point three miles westerly from -the Buckeye House, a station on the Oroville and 
Quincy wagon road ; thence north-easterly in a direct line to the summit of Fale's hill ; thence 
easterly to the summit of the divide between Spanish creek and the east branch of the north fork 
of Feather river, to a point where the government range line between ranges 8 and 9 east would 
cross said divide ; thence north to the south boundary of Seneca township ; thence westerly along 
the south boundary of Seneca township to the place of beginning. 

MINERAL TOWNSHIP. Beginning at the south corner of Rich Bar township, on the county 
line between Plumas and Butte, and running thence north-easterly and easterly along the boundary 
of Rich Bar township to the government range line between ranges 8 and 9 E. ; thence due south 
on said range line to the middle fork of Feather river ; thence down the said middle fork to the 
county line between Plumas and Butte ; thence north- westerly along said county line to the place 
of beginning. 


GOODWIN TOWNSHIP. Beginning at the south boundary of Minei'al township, where the 
middle fork of Feather river crosses the county line between Plum as and Butte, and running 
thence up the said middle fork to the government range line between ranges 10 and 11 ; thence 
south on said range line to the summit of the divide between Nelson creek and Poplar creek; 
thence southerly on said divide to the county line between Plumas and Sierra ; thence north-west 
erly, south-westerly, and north-westerly on the south boundary line of Plumas county to the place 
of beginning. 

QUARTZ TOWNSHIP. Beginning at the south-east corner of Goodwin township, on the county 
line between Plumas and Sierra, and running thence easterly on said county line to the government 
range line between ranges 13 and 14 east ; thence northerly on said range line to the north-east 
corner of T. 23 N., E. 13 E. ; thence west on government township line to the summit of the 
divide between the waters of the north and middle forks of Feather river; thence south-westerly 
along the summit of said divide to the government range line between ranges 10 and 11 east; 
thence south to the summit of the divide between Nelson and Poplar creeks; thence southerly 
along the east boundary of Goodwin township to the place of beginning. 

BECKWOURTH TOWNSHIP. Beginning on the east line of Quartz township, at the south-west 
corner of T. 22 N., E. 14 E., Mount Diablo meridian, and running thence north along the east 
boundary of Quartz township to the north-east corner of T. 23 N., E. 13 E. ; thence west along 
the north line of Quartz township to the north-west corner of T. 23 N., E. 13 E. ; thence north, 
following the government range line between ranges No. 12 and 13, east to the county line between 
Plumas and Lassen ; thence south-easterly and southerly along said county line to the south-east 
corner of Plumas county ; thence west along the county line between Plumas and Sierra to the 
place of beginning. 

INDIAN TOWNSHIP. Beginning at the north-Avest corner of Beckwourth' township, on the 
county line between Plumas and Lassen, and running thence north-westerly, south-westerly, and 
westerly, along the county line to the east line of Seneca township ; thence south on the said east 
line and east line of Rich Bar township, to the east branch of the north fork of Feather river ; 
thence up said east branch to the junction of Indian and Spanish creeks; thence easterly and south 
easterly, following the summit of the ridge dividing the waters of Indian and Spanish creeks to the 
summit of the main divide between the waters of the north fork and middle fork of the Feather 
river, on the north boundary of Quartz township; thence north-easterly along said main divide 
and north boundary of Quartz township to the west line of Beckwourth township ; thence northerly 
on said west line of Beckwourth township to the place of beginning. 

PLUMAS TOWNSHIP. Commencing at the south-west corner of Indian township, where the 
east line of Eich Bar township crosses the east branch of the north fork of Feather river, and 
running thence easterly up the said east branch and the summit of the divide between Indian and 
Spanish creeks, along the south boundary of Indian township, to the north boundary of Quart/ 
township ; thence south-westerly along the summit of the divide between the middle and north 
forks of Feather river to the government range line between ranges 10 and 11 east; thence south 
on said range line to the north-east corner of Goodwin township in the middle fork of Feather 
river ; thence westerly down the middle fork of Feather river and north boundary of Goodwin 
township to the government range line between ranges 8 and 9 east ; thence north on said range 
line to the place of beginning. 

The above are the boundary lines as they exist to-day, with slight variations made by the board 
subsequently. On the seventh of August, 1877, the boundary line between Indian and Seneca t<>\vn- 


ships was moved westward about two miles : " commencing at the summit of Mt. Dyer on the east 
boundary of Seneca township, and running thence southerly on the dividing ridge between the 
north fork of Feather river and the waters of Indian and Rush creeks, to the north line of Rich Bar 
township ; thence east on said north boundary to the west line of Indian township ; thence south 
easterly, northerly, and westerly on the line of Indian township already established to Mt. Dyer, 
the place of beginning." On the seventh of February, 1879, a strip from the north side of Goodwin 
township and a small piece from the north-west corner of Quartz township were added to Plumas 
township by changing the boundary of Plumas : " beginning on the divide between nortli and 
middle forks, on a line between sections 33 and 34, T. 24 N., R. 11 E., and running south to the 
section point corner sections 3 and 4 on the north line of T. 23 N., R. 11 E. ; thence south on 
section lines four miles; thence west to middle fork of Feather on south line of Plumas toAvnship." 
On the same day Rich Bar and Mineral townships were united in one under the name of Mineral 
township, the outside boundaries remaining as before defined. 

On the seventh of September, 1880, the board apportioned the townships to the three super 
visor districts, as follows : District No. 1, Beckwourth, Quartz, and Goodwin ; No. 2, Plumas and 
Mineral ; No. 3, Indian and Seneca. These districts are now respectively represented on the board 
by George S. McLear, William Wagner, and E. D. Hosselkus. 


About the courts of a country cling some of its most interesting reminiscences, and by their 
acts are formed many of its most important historical pages. These will be found scattered 
through the volume in many places ; while in the pages immediately following will be given a 
history of the organization of the various courts, and the changes in their composition. This will 
be followed by a list of the justices of the peace who have qualified and served since the organiza 
tion of the county. Also will be given a list of the judges and members of the bar, with biographies 
of those gentlemen of the most prominence. 


Section 12 of the Act of March 18, 1854, organizing Plumas county, provided that "the 
county of Plumas shall be and remain a portion of the Ninth Judicial District. The District Judge 
of the said district shall hold at least three terms of his court annually in Plumas county, and shall, 
as soon as practicable after this Act takes effect, notify the people of the said county of the time of 
holding said terms." It was also provided by the Act of May 6, 1854, that all indictments in the 
county of Butte for offenses committed in the territory set off to Plumas should be certified to the 
proper court of Plumas county. 

The ninth district was then composed of the counties of Shasta, Butte, Colusa, and Plumas, 
and the judge was Joseph W. McCorkle, who had been appointed in 1853 by Governor Bigler to 
fill the vacancy caused by the death of Judge George Adams Smith. In accordance with the 
provisions of the statute, Judge M<-Corkle appointed the nineteenth day of June, 1854, for opening 
the first term of the district court in Plumas county, meeting at the American valley, the temporary 
county seat designated by the statute. P. H. Harris, of Butte county, R. I. Barnett, a miner living 
on Nelson creek, and Tom Cox, a miner residing on Grub flat, were present to greet the judge and aid 


in huragorating the first term of the district court held in Plumas county. The following is a 
transcript of the proceedings : 


June Term, A. D. 1854. American Valley, June 19th, 1854. 2 o'clock p. M. 

Court meets piirsuant to appointment of the Hon. J. W. McCorkle, District Judge of the 9th 
Judicial District, the Hon. J. W. McCorkle presiding. 

And now the sheriff returns the venire for twenty-four trial jurors, with the following-named 
persons summoned, to wit : Newton Judd, J. D. Ritche, Charles M. Butts, Hugh J. Bradley, H. P. 
Russell, Jacob Vandike, Saml. S. Stinson, S. H. Mather, H. W. Hays, Geo. W. Robison, Peter 
Day, Geo. Farrier, T. C. Fowler, Joseph Boler, David Potts, Stephen Goodridge, Franklin Peade, 
J. Rodgers, A. Anderson, William Demerest, Joseph Adams, Thos. Powell, John Emerson, William 

There being no cause for a trial jury at the present term of court, the court discharges all the 
trial jurors from further attendance at the present term. 

And now comes P. H. Harris, Esq., an attorney of this court, and upon affidavit of R. I. 
Barnett, Esq., herein filed, setting forth that he was admitted as an attorney and counselor at law 
in the state of Missouri prior to his emigration to this state, and moves the court to admit said 
Barnett as an attorney and counselor of this court. Whereupon, it appearing to the satisfaction of 
the court that R. I. Barnett, Esq., is duly qualified as required by law, it is ordered by the court 
that he be admitted and duly sworn in as an attorney and counselor at law of this court. 

And now comes P. H. Harris, Esq., an attorney of this court, and upon affidavit of Thomas 
Cox, Esq., being filed, setting forth that he was admitted as an attorney and counselor at law in the 
state of North Carolina, prior to his emigration to this state, and moves the court to admit said 
Thomas Cox as an attorney and counselor at law of this court. Whereupon, it appearing to the 
satisfaction of the court that Thomas Cox, Esq., is duly qualified as required by law, it is ordered 
by the court that he be admitted and duly sworn as an attorney and counselor at law of this court. 

Court adjourns till the 20th instant, 9 o'clock A. M. 

9 o'clock A. M., June 20, A. D. 1854. The court meets pursuant to adjournment. 

In the matter of F. W. SHAFFER us. W. V. KINGSBURY and W. W. HALL. 

(After hearing this case and giving judgment for the plaintiff, the court took a recess until two 
o'clock P. M., at which time it again opened.) 

And now at this time comes John R. Buckbee, and makes application for license to practice as 
an attorney and counselor at law in this court, and after due examination in open court, and being 
duly sworn according to law, it was ordered by the court that the said John R. Buckbee be 
admitted to practice as an attorney and counselor at law in this court. 

Com-t adjourned until next term in course. J. W. McCoRKLE, Dist. Judge. 

In the fall of 1854 Hon. William R. Daingerfield was elected to fill the unexpired term of 
Judge Smith, and held court in Quincy the following summer. By the Act of April 16, 1855, 
Plumas was annexed to the fourteenth district, with Sierra and Nevada counties, of whicli Hon. 
Niles Searles, of Nevada City, Avas the judge. Court was held here by Judge Searles at the stated 
terms till October, 1857, when Hon. C. E. Williams succeeded him, the Act of March 31, 1857, 
having placed Plumas in the fifteenth district, with Butte, Colusa, and Tc-liama counties. 


That fall a hard-fought struggle occurred between Warren T. Sexton and J. E. N. Lewis for 
the position of judge of the fifteenth district. They were both Democrats, and upon Mr. Sexton 
becoming successful in receiving the nomination, the friends of Mr. Lewis " bolted," and that gen 
tleman ran independently. It is said that $15,000 were spent in conducting this exciting contest, 
which resulted in the election of Judge Sexton. He held court here until this county was taken 
from his district by the Act of January 27, 1 859, and with Sierra county erected into a new district, 
the seventeenth. Hon. Peter Van Clief, of Downieville, was appointed judge of the new district by 
Govenor Welter. He was succeeded the same fall by Hon. Eobert H. Taylor, elected by the people. 
Judge Taylor presided till 1862, when he went to Nevada, and Hon. L. E. Pratt succeeded him. 
After the creation of the county of Lassen, the Act of April 4, 1864, combined Butte, Tehama, 
Plumas, and Lassen counties in the second judicial district, of which Hon. Warren T. Sexton was 
judge, and so remained till he was succeeded by Hon. Charles F. Lott, in January, 1870. The Act 
of February 15, 1876, created the twenty-first district, embracing the counties of Plumas, Lassen, 
and Modoc, and Governor Irwin appointed Hon. John D. Goodwin to preside until after the judicial 
election in 1877. At that time the Hon. G. G. Clough was elected, and held the position until 
the court was abolished by the new constitution January 1, 1880. 

By the provisions of the new state constitution which took effect on the first of January, 1880, 
the district court was abolished, and all its powers were conferred upon the new superior court. On 
the twenty-ninth day of December, 1879, the district court convened in Quincy for the last time, 
Hon. G. G. Clough presiding. There were also present, as members of the bar, Judge John D. 
Goodwin, Judge E. T. Hogan, William W. Kellogg, and District Attorney R. H. F. Variel. No 
business was transacted, but speeches were made by the members of the bar in commendation of the 
course pursued by Judge Clough while presiding the past two years. He responded in a happy 
manner, and then the following order was spread upon the record : 

It is hereby ordered that all books, papers, and proceedings in this court, or belonging thereto, 
be transferred on the first day of January, A. D. 1880, to the superior court of the county of 

Ordered that this court do now adjourn sine die. 

G. G. CLOUOH, Dist. Judge. 


By the organic Act of the county, the salary of the county judge was fixed at one thousand 
dollars per annum. Hon. William T. Ward was chosen to the position at the first county election, 
and by virtue of his office held also the probate court, and presided in the court of sessions. By 
the Act of March 25, 1857, the salary was doubled, and that fall Hon. E. T. Hogan was elected 
judge, and in 1861 was again chosen to the same position. In 1863, by reason of the constitutional 
amendments, a new election was held, and Israel Jones was chosen, but died before assuming the 
office. By appointment of the governor, Hon. A. P. Moore filled the position till the fall of 1865, 
when Judge Hogan was again elected. In 1869 Hen. A. P. Moore was elected, and in 1873 Judge 
Hogan was again chosen to the office. The election of 1877 resulted in the choice of Hon. William 
A. Cheney, who held the position till the court was terminated by the adoption of the new consti 
tution. The last record of this court made on the last day of December, 1879, is as follows : 




December Term, A. D. 1879. 

It is ordered that nil the papers, records, actions, books, ajid cases pending in this court, or 
belonging to the files thereof, and all actions and proceedings hereafter commenced herein, and all 
other matters and things pertaining to said court, be and the same are hereby ordered to be trans 
ferred to the superior court of Plumas county, on the first day of January, 1880, and to become the 
records of said latter court. 

Witness my hand this thirty-first day of December, 1879. 

WM. A. CHENEY, County Judge. 

It is hereby ordered that this court be adjourned sine die, and that this order be spread upon 
the minutes of said court. 

Witness my hand this thirty-first day of December, 1879. 

WM. A. CHENEY, County Judge. 
Filed December 31, 1879. W. T. Byers, Clerk. 


The first order entered on the probate docket was made by Judge William T. Ward, Novem 
ber 7, 1854, appointing J. C. Lewis administrator of the estate of Patrick Taff. The last was an 
order of Judge Cheney, December 19, 1879, in the matter of the estate of Jobe T. Taylor. 


The court of sessions consisted of the county judge as presiding justice, and two justices of the 
peace as associate justices. The first record of the court is as follows : 


April the 24th, A. D. 1854. 

This day the Judge of Plumas county met for the purpose of organizing the Court of Sessions 
for said county. Present, the Hon. William T. Ward, Judge. In pursuance of law, the justices of 
the peace in corns, in this county was this day convened for the purpose of electing two associate 
justices for the Court of Sessions. 

The justices proceeded to ballot, and Henry M. Gazley and Tos. I). Bonner was declared duly 
elected as associate justices of the Court of Sessions. 

Certificate of election was issued by the judge to H. M. Gazley, associate justice of the Court of 

Certificate of election issued to Tos. D. Bonner, associate justice of the Court of Sessions. 

The court, being now organized, proceeded to the regular business before it. 

Present: Hon. W. T. Ward, presiding. 
H. M. Gazley, 

' ' > Associf 
r> > 

, Associates. 
T. D. Bonner, 

Ordered that the clerk of this coui't procure all the books for the use of the county, including 


Ordered that court adjourn until 9 o'clock to-morro\v. 


Court meets pursuant to adjournment. 

Present: Hon. W. T. Ward, prest. 

Messrs. Gazley and Bonner, associates. 

It appearing, to the satisfaction of the court, that the office of assessor is vacant, it is therefore 
ordered that John R. Buckbee be appointed assessor for this county to fill said vacancy, and that he 
holds his office until the next general election. 

Ordered by the court that, in pursuance of a special act of the senate and assembly of the state 
of California for the organization of the county of Plumas and locating the county seat thereof, it is 
ordered that the county seat of this county be for the present at the house of H. J. Bradley, in the 
American valley, and that the proposals of the proprietors of the American ranch be by the court 
accepted and ordered to be filed in the office of the clerk of this court. 

Ordered that court adjourn till to-morrow at 9 o'clock. 


Court met pursuant to adjournment. 

Present, the Hon. W. T. Ward, president ; H. M. Gazley and T. 1). Bonner, associates. 

Ordered by the court that the sheriff of this county furnish for the use of the county tables, 
desks, benches, candles and sticks, as soon as possible. 

Ordered that the clerk of this county procure for the use of this county 6 copies of the com 
piled laws of this state. 

Ordered that court adjourn until court in course. 


The court at this time was composed of County Judge William T. Ward, a farmer residing in 
Indian valley, Henry M. Gazley. a miner at Smith's bar, and Thomas D. Bonner, a gentleman of 
elegant leisure residing at Onion valley, and referred to elsewhere as the peregrinating justice. 
The first grand jury assembled at this time, and was composed of Asa C. Pierce (foreman), E. Fitch, 
Orrin Eice, A. G. Clark, John W. McCorkle, James W. Kirlin, John K. Lovejoy, Orlando Fuller, 
D. J. Gloyd, E. P. Grubbs, F. B. Whiting, W. Elsworth, W. C. Kingsbury, Samuel A. Knight, John 
L. Davis, John B. Overton, G. W. Robinson, James W. Hayes, Peter Day, H. J. Bradley, Robert 
W. Neil, John S. Thompson, William V. Kingsbury. . Mr. Whiting says he has a vivid recollection 
of being one of said grand jurors, and of the perplexities suffered on that occasion in consequence 
of the inebriated condition of the district attorney, whose counsel was needed so much in the per 
formance of their duties. The jury was cribbed in one of the hotel rooms (Bradley's American 
ranch), closely guarded by the sheriff, and maintained a masterly inactivity for three days, when 
suddenly the district attorney made his appearance in a very mellowed condition, and thus addressed 
the jury: "Hell's bells and turtle shells! Gentlemen of the grand jury, what are you doing all 
this time?" The foreman responded, that, owing to ignorance of the law, they felt unable to pro 
ceed in the line of duty. " Know ye not the law ? " said the district attorney. " Know ye not that 
John Doe and Richard Roe, and a thousand others throughout the broad commonwealth of Plumas, 
are selling groceries et al. without license ? They must all be indicted." The result was, that in 
two hours the jury came into court and presented thirty-four indictments against sundry dealers in 
beef, whisky, etc. The defendants all pleaded not guilty, and their cases were argued and sub 
mitted to the judge, who fined each of the defendants one cent and costs, and adjourned the court. 



1854 William T. Ward. 

1855. William T. Ward. 

1856. William T. Ward. 

1857. William T. Ward. 


"H. M. Gazley, 
Thomas D. Bonner, 
John K. Lovejoy, 

JTames H. MeNabb. 

Barnes H. McNabb, 
Jobe T. Taylor, 
A. D. McDonald, 
H. D. Canfield, 
D. J. Wilmans, 
Lewis Stark, 

D. W. C. Baird. 

I). J. Wilmans, 
Lewis Stark, 

E. P. Grubbs. 
D H. Jones, 
John D. Goodwin, 
W. S. Ingersoll, 

,N. H. Ranny. 


j W. S. Ingersoll, 

1858. Edmund T. Hosjan.- Lewis Stark, 

E P. Grubbs. 
A. E. Wait, 
E. P. Grubbs. 
( W. K. Logan, 
B. Allebauirh. 

1859. Edmund T. Hogan. 
18GO. Edmund T. Hoo-an. 

1861. Edmund T. Hos 

/W. K. Logan, 
| A. P. 

wis Stark, 
L. Peel, 
j W. K. Logan, 
1862. Edmund T. Hogan. J. J. L. Peel, 

A T 
| Lewi 

VJ. J. 

1863. Edmund T. Hogan. 

A. P. Moore. 
A. P. Moore, 
Hamilton Brown, 
George S. Beers. 

The last session was held on the eleventh of November, 1863, the court having been abolished 
by the constitutional amendments of that year. Until the spring of 1855, this court also adminis 
tered the governmental affairs of the county, but was at that time relieved of the duty by the 
creation of a board of supervisors* 


At the election in September, 1879, Hon. G. G. dough was chosen judge of the superior court 
of Plunias county, and opened his court on the fifth of January, 1880, the following being the 
record : 


STATE OF CALIFORNIA, Monday, January 5, 1880, 
The court convened pursuant to law. / 

Present, Hon. G. G. Clough, Superior Judge ; W. T. Byers, Clerk; J. H. Yeates, Sheriff; R. 
H. F. Variel, Dist. Atty. 

It is hereby ordered that the clerk of this court procure a seal therefor, bearing the same 
device shown on the seal of the district court heretofore used in that court, and to have the follow 
ing description surrounding the same : u Superior Court, Plumas County, California." 

It is hereby ordered that the clerk of this court enter all probate matters coming before this 
court in the books provided for the late probate court, and all other matters, whether formerly of 
county or district court jurisdiction, in the records provided for the late district court. 

It is hereby ordered that J. D. Goodwin, E. T. Hogan, and R. H. F. Variel, Esqs., be appointed 
a committee to examine H. P. Wormley, Esq., as to his qualifications to perform the duties of 
official phonographic reporter of this court, and that said committee file their report on or before 
Monday, the 12th inst., at 10 o'clock A. M. of said day. 


It is hereby ordered that until the farther order of this court the hour of meeting for the 
business of each day be fixed at 10 o'clock A. M. 

The court then adjourned for the day. G. G. CLOUGH, Judge. 

On the preceding page of the record appears a copy of the certificate of election of G. G. 
Clough as superior judge of Plunias county, signed by William Irwin, governor, November 1, 1879, 
and attested by Thomas Beck, secretary of state. 

This court, created by the new constitution, combines the duties and powers of the former district, 
probate, and county courts, and is the only court of record in the county. There are twelve judges 
of the superior court in the city and county of San Francisco, two in each of the counties of 
Sacramento, San Joaquin, Los Angeles, Sonoma, Santa Clara, and Alameda, one in the counties 
of Yuba and Sutter combined, and one in each of the other counties of the State. The term of 
office of a judge of the superior court is six years. 


The justices who have filed their official bonds in the county clerk's office, and thus qualified to 
perform their duties and dispense local justice in the various townships of the county, is a long 
one. The first ten were elected and served while this section was a constituate portion of Butte 




Township. Qualified. 

*Samuel Carpenter, Mineral, Oct. 6, 1851. 
*S. S. Horton, Mineral, Oct. 13, 1851. 

*Edwin Fitch, Quartz, Oct. 27, 1851. 

*Johu B. McGee, Quartz, Sept. 6, 1852. 

*Thomas D. Bonner, Quartz, Nov. 22, 1852. 

* William Robertson, Quartz, July 22, 1853. 
*Lewis Stark, Mineral, Aug. 10, 1853. 

*Thomas D. Bonner, Quartz, Oct. 7,1853. 

*D. F. H. Dow, Mineral, Oct. 10, 1853. 
*H. M. Gazley, Mineral, Jan. 7, 1854. 

Samuel H. Bancroft, Quartz, July 6, 1854. 

John B. Gibbons, Washington, Sept. 16, 1854. 
AJartin R. Streeter, Washington, Sept. 16, 1854. 
Jobe T. Taylor, Plumas, Sept. 16 > 1854 - 
James H. McNabb, Washington, Oct. 2,1854. 
James Twing, .Mineral, Oct. 2, 1854. 

John K. Lovejoy, Mineral, Oct. 2, 1854. 

Plumas, Oct.' 2, 1854. 

Washington, Nov. 6, 1854. 

Mineral, May 23, 1855. 

Washington, May 29, 1855. 

Plumas, Nov. 24, 1856. 

Plumas, Nov. 26, 185(3. 

Mineral,' Dec. 1, 1856. 

Lewis Stark, 
H. B. Canfield, 
Morris Smith, 
A. D. McDonald, 
Lewis Stark, 
Charles McCrea, 
John D. Goodwin, 

* Elected for Butte county. 

Dec. 1, 1856. 
Dec. 1, 1856. 
Dec. 1, 1856. 
Plumas, Dec. 1, 185G. 
Washington, Dec. 1, 1856. 
Dec. 2, 1856. 
Feb. 4, 1857. 
Fillmore, Aug. 8, 1857. 
William Dempsey, Rich Bar, Sept. 22, 1857. 
Bradford B. Stevens, Washington, Sept. 22, 1857. 

James Twing, 
D. A. Jones, 

Joseph McDermint, Quartz, 
-I. B. Prible, 
William Edwards, 
J. J. Hicok, 
George H. Dana, 
William D. Fai-ren 

Lewis Stark, Plumas, 
William S. Ingersoll, Mineral, 

William K. Logan, Plumas, 

Robert C. Hayden, Indian, 

James Kitts, Quartz, 

A. H. Rainey, Plumas, 

E. P. Grubbs, Plumas, 

L. J. Wilson, Quartz, 

John D. Goodwin, Mineral, 

William Webb, Rich Bar, 

E. P. Grubbs, Plumas, 

John B. Allebaugh, Mineral, 

Lewis Stark, Plumas, 

Charles E. Smith, Quartz, 


Sept. 22, 1857. 
Sept. 22, 1857. 
Oct. 5, 1857. 

5, 1857. 

5, 1857. 

7, 1857. 

7, 1857. 
Nov. 13, 1857. 
Nov. 13, 1857. 
May 22, 1858. 
Sept, 28, 1858. 
Oct. 4, 1858. 
Oct. 4, 1858. 
Oct. 4, 1858. 

Alexander E. Waits. Washington, Oct. 12, 1858. 


^s ^ 



^ o<^ 


William Webb, 
David Kirkham, 
B. B. Stevens, 
(I. W. Miner, 
Robert C. Hayden, 
William K. Logan, 
William Webb, 
John B. Allebaugh, 
S. R. Gordon, 
Charles E. Alvoid, 
James R. Megfffigle, 
William K. Logan, 
G. W. Miner, 
E. H. Gosnell, 
Lewis Stark, 
William W. Kellogg, 
Amos F. Blood, 
George S. McLcar, 
B. B. Stevens, 
A. P. Moore, 
David Kirkham, 
Jackson Uric, 
George E. Hale, 
Hamp Brown, 
William K. Logan, 
J. J. L. Peel, 

A. P. Moore, 
Lewis Stark, 
Jackson Urie, 
George A. Leopold, 
William H. Miller, 
George E. Hale, 
Cutler Arnold, 

B. F. Sheldon, 
William J. Young, 
A. F. Blood, 

A. P. Moore, 
Marshall Bronson, 
Stephen Goodrich, 
Amos H. Barnes, 
John S. Ward, 

B. B. Stevens, 
M. B. Sturges, 
A. F. Blood, 

Township. Qualified. 

Plumas, Nov. 20, 1858. 
Seneca, June 14, 1859. 

Washington, Sept, 26, 1859. 
Mineral, Sept. 28, 1859. 
Indian, Sept. 30, 1859. 

Plumas, Oct. 3, 1859. 
Plumas, Oct. 3, 1859. 
Mineral, Oct. 3, 1859. 
Quartz, May 28, 1860. 

Plumas, Aug. 21.1860. 
Washington, Oct. 2, 1860. 
Plumas, Nov. 22, 1860. 

Mineral, Nov. 22, 1860. 
Rich Bar, Nov. 22, 1860. 
Plumas, Nov. 26, 1860. 

Rich Bar, Nov. 30, 1860. 
Indian, Nov. 30, 1860. 

Quartz, Nov. 30, 1860. 

Washington, Nov. 30, 1860. 
Plumas, Dec. 1, 1860. 
Seneca, Dec. 10, 1860. 

Washington, Feb. 4, 1861. 
Honey Lake, May 7,1861. 
Mineral, Sept, 23, 1861. 
Plumas, Sept, 24, 1861. 

Indian, Sept, 27, 1861. 

Plumas, Sept, 28, 1861. 
Plumas, Oct. 7, 1861. 
Washington, Oct. 7,1861. 
Rich Bar, Oct. 7, 1861. 
Seneca, Oct. 14, 1861. 

Quartz, Qct. 15, 1861. 

Honey Lake, Nov. 16, 1861. 
Honey Lake, Sept. 17, 1862. 
Honey Lake, Oct. 1,1862. 
Indian, Oct. 4, 1862. 

Plumas, Oct. 6, 1862. 
Quartz, Nov. 9, 1863. 

Rich Bar, Nov. 28, 1863. 
Honey Lake, Dec. 2, 1863. 
Honey Lake, Dec. 2,1863. 
Washington, Dec. 5,1863. 
Washington, Dec. 7, 1863. 
Indian, Jan. 14, 1864. 

Nelson Stewart, 
Norman K. Wright, 
E. H. Metcalf, 

A. J. Gifford, 
Moses Bull, 
M. B. Sturges, 
T. F. Hersey, 

B. B. Stevens, 
H. B. Abbott, 

E. H. Van Decar, 
Raymond Mather, 
R. C. Hayden, 
T. F. Hersey, 
Norman K. Wright, 
E. H. Metcalf. 
Stephen Goodrich, 
H. B. Abbott, 
Edon Cramer, 
Fred Howard, 
M. M. Engle, 
Simeon Wheeler, 

A. F. Blood, 
John P. Lloyd, 
Milton Clover, 

B. B. Stevens, 
W. S. Jackson, 
Henry Washington, 
John P. Lloyd, 

E. H. Metcalf, 
James P. Burge, 
Edon Cramer, 
Henry Washington, 
W. R. Johnson, 
Nelson Stewart, 
William Wagner, 
Seneca Carroll, 
Andrew Jackson, 
John H. Seagraves, 
E. W. Taylor, 
E. W. Judkins, 
T. F. Hersey, 
Hamp Brown, 
W. S. Jackson, 
John Whitcraft, 

Township. Qualified. 

Quartz, Jan. 25, 1864. 

Mineral, Jan. 29, 1864. 

Mineral, Jan. 29, 1864. 

Plumas, Feb. 3, 1864. 

Seneca, May 19, 1865. 
Washington, Nov. 6, 1865. 

Plumas, Nov. 9, 1865. 
Washington, Nov. 23, 1865. 

Indian, Nov. 11, 1865. 

Plumas, Nov. 17, 1865. 

Seneca, Nov. 23, 1865. 

Indian, Nov. 27, 1865. 

Plumas, Nov. 29, 1865. 

Mineral, Nov. 29, 1865. 

Mineral, Nov. 29, 1865. 

Rich Bar, Jan. 2, 1866. 

Indian, Jan. 2, 1866. 

Quartz, Jan. 5, 186(>. 

Goodwin, May 4, 1866. 

Goodwin, May 4, 1866. 

Goodwin, Nov. 22, 1866. 

Indian, Aug. 17, 1867. 

Goodwin, Aug. 17, 1867. 

Indian, Oct. 28, 1867. 
Washington, Dec. 2,1867. 
Washington, Nov. 15, 1867. 

Goodwin, Nov. 25, 1 867. 

Goodwin, Dec. 20, 1867. 

Mineral, Dec. 28, 1867. 

Indian, Dec. 24, 1867. 

Quartz, Dec. 24, 1867. 

Goodwin, Jan. 9, 1868. 

Seneca, Jan. 27, 1868. 

Quartz, Feb. 7, 1868. 

Mineral, Feb 4, 1868. 

Indian, Dec. 8, 1868. 

Quartz, Nov. 13, 1869. 

Seneca, Dec. 16, 1869. 

Indian, Dec. 23, 1869. 

Indian, Dec. 24, 1869. 

Plumas, Dec. 31, 1869. 

Mineral, Jan. 3, 1870. 
Washington, Jan. 4,1870. 

Quartz, May 12, 1870. 


T. F. Emmons, 
Moses Bull, 
J. H. Challen, * 
T. F. He rsey, 
G. W. Hodgkins, 
John White-raft, 
William Wagner, 
Henry Washington. 
James H. Candill, 
H. B. Abbott, 
Hamp Brown, 
A. W. Cook, 
E. M. Prime, 
Lewis Lannes, 
John White-raft, 
Willard Pratt, 
T. F. Hersey, 
Hamp Brown, 
William Wagner, 
J. P. Surge, 
T. F. Hersey, 
J. C. Church, 
William Wagner, 
T. F. Emmons, 
D. W. C. Bairel, 
H. Morrison, 
Henry Washington, 
H. B. Abbott, 
John White-raft, 
Hamp Brown, 
Isaac Newton, 


May 4, 1870. 
Nov. 17,1871. 
Jan. 25, 1872. 
Jan. 2, 1872. 
Feb. 24, 1872. 
Feb. 15, 1872. 
Feb. 5, 1872. 
Mar. 15, 1872. 
Mar. 28, 1872. 
April 9, 1872. 
May 17, 1872. 
Mar. 6, 1873. 
May 21, 1873. 
Dec 20, 1873. 
Dec. 20, 1873. 
Dec. 1, 1873. 
Jan. 15, 1874. 
Feb. 4, 1874. 
Feb. 17, 1874. 
Feb. 20, 1874. 
Nov. 9, 1875. 
Nov. 11, 1875. 
Nov. 19, 1875. 
Nov. 19, 1875. 
Nov. 22', 1875. 
Nov. 29, 1875. 
Nov. 29, 1875. 
Dec. 1, 1875. 
Dec. 2, 1875. 
Dec. 2, 1875. 
Dec. 23, 1875. 

C. A. Pease. 
George Carr, 
Lewis Lannes, 
T. F. Hersey, 
James C. Church, 
John Whitcraft, 
Hamp Brown, 
A. H. Ferguson. 
H. A. Bronson, 
T. F. Emmons, 
Willard Pratt, 
James W. Duesler, 
Henry Washington, 
Lewis Lannes, 
H. B. Abbott. 
H. S. Porter, 
John Whitcraft, 
Lewis Lannes, 
M. W. Copple, 
Willard Pratt, 
N. II. Hapgood, 
Jaine's C. Church, 
H. S. Porter, 
Henry Washington, 
Hamp Brown, 
T. F. Emmons, 
N. H. Hapgood, 
Ham}) Brown, 
Henry Washington, 
John Whitcraft, 
George E. Cook, 

Township. Qualified. 

Quartz, July 20, 1876. 

Mineral, Feb. 24, 1877. 
Quartz, May 14, 1877. 

Plumas, Oct. 31, 7877. 
Inelian, Oct. 31, 1877. 

Beckwourth, Nov. 1, 1877. 
Mineral, Nov. 1, 1877. 
Washington, Nov. 6,1877. 
Beckwourth, Nov. 6,1877. 
Indian, Nov. 6, 1877. 

Seneca, Nov. 6, 1877. 

Plumas, Nov. 6, 1877. 

Goodwin, Nov. 6, 1877. 
Quartz, Dec. 24, 1877. 

Seneca, April 4, 1378. 

Plumas, Oct. 17, 1878. 

Beckwourth, Sept. 25, 1878. 
Quartz, Sept. 27, 1878. 

Seneca, Nov. 8, 1879. 

Seneca.. Nov. 11, 1879. 
Plumas, Nov. 14, 1879. 
Inelian, Nov. 17, 1879. 

Plumas, Jan. 5, 1880. 
Goodwin, Jan. 17, 1880. 
Mineral, Apr. 17, 1880. 
Indian, Dec. 30, 1880. 

Plumas. Dec. 31, 1880. 

Mineral, Jan. 10, 1881. 

Goodwin, Jan. 17, 1881. 
Beckwourth. Jan. 25, 1881. 
Quartz, May 11, 1881. 


Among the judges who have presided in the courts of Plumas county, and the attorneys Avho 
have practiced before them, are many of state and some of national reputation, both as jurists and 
in the field of politics. The following biographies of many of them will be found exceedingly 
interesting, anel reveal to a large extent the political history of the county. 

Joseph W. McCorkle. 
William P. Daingerfield. 
Niles Searles. 
C. E. Williams. 


Warren T. Sexton. 
Peter Van Clief. 
Kobert H. Taylor. 
L. E. Pratt. 

Warren T. Sexton. 
Charles F. Lott. 
John D. Goodwin. 
Greenleaf G. dough. 


William T. Ward. 
Edmund T. Ho<ran. 


Israel Jones. 
A. P. Moore. 

Edmund T. Hogan. 
W. A. Chenev. 


Greenleaf G. dough. 


Those in Roman type were regular practitioners at tliis bar; those in Italics being from other counties and 
admitted here by courtesy. Those marked * are still practicing here. 

Admitted to District Court. 

Joseph E. JV. Leicis June 19, 1854. 

Patrick H. Harris June 19, 1854. 

Robert I. Barnett June 19, 1854. 

Tom Cox June 19, 1854. 

John R. Buckbee June 20, 1854. 

Patrick O. Hundley May 23, 1855. 

*Edmund T. Hogan May 23, 1855. 

Minard H. Farley May 26, 1855. 

Thomas E. Hayden Nov. 7, 1855. 

Woodbury D. Sawyer Nov. 8, 1856. 

Charles Westmoreland Oct. 13, 1857. 

Samuel Rush Oct. 14, 1857. 

George C. Hough April 11, 1859. 

Alex. W. Baldwin July 1 1 , 1859. 

Robert H. Taylor July 11, 1859. 

B. E.S.Ely . .July 23, 1859. 

G. N~ Sweety Oct. 10, 1859. 

Richard Mesick Oct. 10, 1859. 

Moses Kirkpatrick Oct. 10, 1859. 

Edti-ard Pew Oct. 11, 1859. 

Peter Van Clief April 16, 1860. 

Chas. C. Goodwin July 20, 1861. 

Creed Raymond July 14, 1862. 

A. J. Clifford April 15, 1863. 

H. F. Brown April 15, 1863. 

Admitted to District Court. 

*John D. Goodwin April 24, 1863. 

Jesse O. Goodwin. ... Oct. 14, 1863. 

J. May Oct. 26, 1863. 

Ezra H. Van Decar May 11, 1865. 

*David L. Haun May 11, 1865. 

Hiram L. Gear Sept. 25, 1 865. 

A. A. Cooper Sept. 25, 1865. 

George S. Beers May 19, 1866. 

Daniel D. Dodge May 13, 1869. 

*Greenleaf G. Clough May 13, 1869. 

Frank J. Brearty May 27, 1871. 

John C. Hall May 10, 1871. 

O. F. Hakes May 28, 1873. 

*William W. Kellogg June 1, 1874. 

T. P.Ashbrook : June 1, 1874.. 

*Robt. H. F. Variel June 12, 1876. 

J. W. Walker June 19, 1876. 

George E. Houghton Dec. 6, 1876, 

John W. Turner Sept. 2, 1878. 

*Hollen M. Barstow Sept. 2, 1878. 

W. A. Cheney Sept. 3, 1878. 

A. Quackenbush Sept, 3, 1878. 

*D. W. Jenks April 15, 1880. 

* Arthur T. Nation Nov. 1, 1880. 

* William S. Church July 11, 1881. 

JUDGE JOSEPH W. McCoRKLE. This gentleman held the first district court in Plumas county. 
He came to California from Ohio in 1849, and in 1850 was elected the first district attorney for 
Butte and Shasta counties. In 1851 he served in the legislature, and that fall went to Washington 
to represent his district in the lower house of congress. Upon" his return in 1853, the governor 
appointed him judge of the ninth judicial district, to fill the vacancy caused by the decease of 
George Adams Smith. He was occupying this office when Plumas county was created and attached 
to his district. In 1863 Judge McCorkle moved to Virginia City, and in 1868 to San Francisco. 
He is now practicing his profession in Washington, D. C., chiefly engaged in prosecuting claims 
before the Mexican claims commission. 


JUDGE NILES SEAELS was born in Now York in 1825, where he remained as a student until 
1848. He then removed to Missouri, and upon the receipt of the news that gold had been discovered 
in California, came overland to the new El Dorado. In 1850 he settled in Nevada City and engaged 
in the practice of law. He was elected district attorney of Nevada county in 1852, and in 1855 was 
elected judge of the fourteenth judicial district, which office he held until 1862. Plumas county was 
in his district until 1857, and Judge Searls held several terms of court here. In 1877 he was elected 
to the state senate from Nevada county, but only served during one session, his term being shortened 
by the adoption of the new constitution. Judge Searls is still engaged in the practice of law in Nevada 
City, and enjoys the respect and esteem of his fellow-citizens. In 1853 he married Mrs. Mary C. 
Niles. He has two sons, one of whom, Fred Searls, is engaged with his father in his legal practice. 

JUDGE WARREN T. SEXTON. He was born in Warren county, New Jersey, in 1823, and while 
still a young boy his father moved with his family to Michigan, and there engaged in building 
railroads by contract. At an early age he fitted for and entered Ann Arbor College. While there he 
imbibed a strong penchant for the classics, which led him, during his later years, to study the works 
of the ancient authors for his recreation. The failure of his father in business, before he had 
finished his course, compelled him to leave college and engage in the active pursuits of life. In 
1849 he crossed the plains with the Wolverine Eangers, and in October of that year came to Butte 
county. His first and only mining was done at Long's bar. He was elected county clerk in June, 
1850, and held the position until 1853, when he became district attorney, serving as such for two 
years. He resided at the old town of Hamilton during its period of county-seatship ; and when 
Bid well's bar became the favored spot, he followed its fortunes until they waned, and then took up 
his permanent abode in Oroville. The early records of the courts of that county are all in his well- 
known handwriting. Care and neatness pervade all the work of his life. While at BidwelPs bar 
he formed a law-partnership with Judge C. F. Lott, who still survives him. During this partnership 
he rarely appeared in court to argue either questions of law or fact. Being naturally timid and 
diffident, he had no desire to speak in public. He has often remarked that he thought he had left 
the imprint of his fingers on the table in the old court-room at Bidwell, as he nervously grasped it 
when addressing court or jury. While Judge Lott did the talking, Judge Sexton gave his attention 
to the preparation of the case, and it was prepared with the skill of a master hand. In 1857 he 
was elected district judge, beating Judge Lewis by a large vote. He Avas re-elected in 1868, and 
again in 1875. In 1869 he was defeated for the same position by Judge Lott. It will be seen that 
he has held the position of district judge for fourteen years and three months. The last time he 
appeared in court he was hardly able to walk up the stairs leading to the court-room ; but when on 
the bench, he sat as erect as ever, listening to the argument of counsel. On the eleventh of April, 
1878, he died at his residence in Oroville. Judge Sexton was married at Rough and Ready, in this 
state, November 14, 1855, to Miss Z. Stevens, who still survives -him. There were born to them 
two children, Warren Sexton, Jr., and a daughter, both of whom are at present residing in Oroville. 
In Plumas county, as in every other part of the district, Judge Sexton was generally admired and 
loved. His charge to the jury in the celebrated Francis murder case elicited the highest eulogiums 
from the bench and bar of the state. 

The memory of the eminent virtues and abilities possessed by Judge Sexton will be kept 
alive in the minds of the people, and it will be long ere another can rise to usurp the place he holds 
in their hearts. 

JUDGE CHARLES FAYETTE LOTT was born July 1, 1824, at the village of Pemberton, Burling 
ton county, New Jersey. His father was Dr. Charles Francis Lott, medical director and assistant 



adjutant-general in the war of 1812. When a very small boy he went with his parents to Trenton, 
and in 1 836 accompanied them to Quincy, Illinois, from where they emigrated to St. Louis in a 
short time, and Charles went to school to Elihu H. Shepherd, the great educator of boys in that 
city. In the course of time he and his brother attended St. Charles college; and in 1840 Charles 
entered the St. Louis university, from which he graduated in December, 1845. He studied law 
with Judge Archibald Williams at Quincy, and was admitted to practice in the supreme court of 
Illinois, June 5, 1848. After practicing law a year, Mr. Lott came overland and reached California 
in September, 1849. He settled at Long's bar, in Butte county, engaging actively in mining. He 
assisted in the organization of the coimty, and has been prominently concerned in the legal pro 
ceedings before the courts, without intermission, to the present time. In 1851 he was elected 
senator from Butte county, serving in the third and fourth sessions of the legislature. In 1869 
Mr. Lott was nominated by the democrats of the second judicial district for judge, and was elected 
over Judge Sexton, serving one term. Since that time he has been an active practitioner of law, 
and is also extensively engaged in mining in Plumas county. He is a man of high culture and 
broad intellectuality, being widely known and respected. He was married in May, 1856, to Miss 
Susan F. Hyer, by whom he has had three children, two of whom are living with him at Oroville. 

JUDGE JOHN DANIEL GOODWIN was born in Camden, South Carolina, November 6, 1829. His 
father, John Goodwin, was born in same district in 1800, and his grandfather, Daniel Goodwin, was 
born in same state in 1770. His mother was also a native of same district, born in 1802, daughter 
of Captain William Nettles, also a native of South Carolina, born in 1738, who served in the conti 
nental army in that state through the Revolutionary War, with some local distinction. The father 
of the subject of our sketch married Miss Nettles in 1823, and to them were born four sons, William 
N., Benjamin T., John D., and Samuel McL. He died November 12, 1833, leaving the widow and 
three sons, William, John, and Samuel, with little or no means for support. His father, being a 
farmer in good circumstances in Alabama, removed the widow and children to his home in Pickens 
county, and provided for their wants. The widow married in 1837, and the boys were left in the 
care of their grandfather. They were made to work on the plantation, getting such schooling as the 
country school would afford during the time their labor could be spared from the farm. John D. 
early exhibiting a taste for books, he was indulged in a little extra time at school, and for which 
indulgence he has ever been grateful. John, at the age of fourteen, became his own man. He 
clerked in a dry-goods store the first year, and made sufficient money to support himself at school a 
year. From then he alternated between teaching a small school and being taught at one, until he 
was prepared to enter the state university in January, 1850. Not having the means to support him 
through the university course, he left for California, with the expectation of making a fortune in 
the mines, and in a short time return and complete his education. He went by way of the Isthmus 
of Panama, and reached San Francisco June 6, 1850. He went direct to the mines on the American 
river. He had been prompted to turn Californianward by the fact that his elder brother William 
had left Alabama for this state in the spring of 1849. No tidings of him had been received after 
leaving St. Louis to cross the plains, but it was supposed he would be found in the mines. After 
searching for some time, he found that William died with the cholera on the Platte the summer 
before. He remained near Auburn for a year, and by dint of hard work and rough fare managed 
to make a living. In 1851 he went to Nevada county, and engaged in ditching and mining for 
another year, with the same success. In 1852 he removed to Brown's valley, Yuba county, and 
engaged in quartz-mining, with like results. In 1853 he acquired an interest in a water ditch from 
Dry creek to the banks of main Yuba river, and supplied water to miners. He also engaged in 


merchandising at same place, and there remained until July, 1855. His hopes of a university edu 
cation had then been abandoned. The cherished associations of his boyhood home had all, except 
one, faded into a pleasant dream ; that one was the girl whom he had left behind. Miss Martha 
J. Cravens, the daughter of Dr. J. P. Cravens, was born in Moringo county, Alabama, November 
30, 1831. Her family removed to Pickens county, in 1847, where these young people first 
met. When he left for California Miss Cravens was still a school-girl. She graduated with 
honors in a seminary at Aberdeen, Mississippi, in 1852, and returned to Alabama. They had 
kept up a correspondence with each other, which, in 1854, resulted in their engagement to marry. 
On the first of July, 1855, the subject of our sketch left for Alabama. He reached home on the 
first day of August. They were married on the twenty-second of that month ; and on the four 
teenth of November following, bade a final adieu to their old, and started for their new, home. 
They reached Brown's valley in December, and lived there until the following summer. On the 
first of August, 1856, they removed to Plumas county, and settled at Spanish Eanch. He then 
became a member of the firm of Harvey, Story, & Co., in the merchantile business. That fall he was 
elected justice of the peace for Mineral township, and served as associate justice of the court of ses 
sions until the first of January, 1858. The business in which he was engaged made a bad failure in 
fall of 1857. In 1858 he became a candidate for county clerk on the democratic ticket, and was 
beaten in the election by John Harbison. He was again a candidate in 1859, and was then elected 
over Harbison. He moved to Quincy in September, and took charge of the office on the first 
Monday of October following. He had before this given some study to the law, and now turned his 
attention to the subject in earnest. He was a candidate for re-election, but was beaten by Captain 
W. N. De Haven, who appointed Mr. Goodwin his deputy, and he was thus enabled to pursue the 
study of the law uninterruptedly for another two years. He was admitted to practice in the dis 
trict court April 24, 1863, and that fall he entered upon the practice of his profession in partnership 
with Hon. Creed Haymond. In 1865 the democratic party nominated him for the assembly from 
the counties of Plumas and Lassen. The two counties were largely republican, and the pronounced 
secession views of Judge Goodwin seemed to render his election hopeless. He was, however, 
elected, and served in the legislature 1865-66. He was defeated for the same position in 1867. 
From that time until June, 1876, he was engaged in the practice of his profession at Quincy. The 
legislature of 1875-76, having organized the 21st judicial district out of the counties of Plumas, 
Lassen, and Modoc, Governor Irwin appointed Judge Goodwin to the bench in such district. He 
was defeated for the position at the election in the fall of 1877 by Judge Clough, and after the expi 
ration of his term, January 1, 1878, returned to the practice, and has since devoted himself to his 
profession. To Judge and Mrs. Goodwin have been born six children, five daughters and one son ; 
Mattie L., Ella, Cora, William Nettles, Kittie, and Grace, all in Plumas county. Ella died at the 
age of nine months, and Cora at the age of nineteen years, three months, and five days. Few men 
in Plumas county enjoy as full a measure of the confidence and esteem of her citizens as does Mr. 

JUDGE WILLIAM T. WARD, the first county judge of Plumas county, was born in Cummington, 
Massachusetts, February 28, 1802. He was raised on a farm until about eighteen years of age, 
when he quit farm life, moved to Vergennes, Vermont, and embarked in the mercantile biisiness. 
Here, at the age of 23 years, he married Miss Harriet Sherill, and all of their children, except the 
youngest, were born to them at this place. In 1836, in obedience to New England adventure and 
enterprise, he moved west, and settled in Cleveland, Ohio. Here he invested all his means in an 
iron foundery, and in commerce upon the lakes in connection therewith, and did* a large business 


until 1846, when he lost most all of his property by fire. He then moved to Wisconsin, and 
engaged in the business of milling and merchandising until the winter of 1852-53, when high 
floods destroyed his mill property. He then turned his face toward the Pacific, crossing the plains 
in the summer of 1853, and reached Plumas county late in the fall of that year. He settled with 
his family in Indian valley, upon what was then known as the Isadore, now called the Hickerson 
ranch. At the organization of Plumas county he was called by the people from his farm life to the 
position of county judge. This necessitated his removal to Quincy, the county seat, where he 
resided until the close of his official term, in December, 1857, discharging his judicial functions to 
the entire satisfaction of the public and with honor to himself. He then returned to his home in 
Indian valley, and enjoyed the quiet independence of farm life until the mining excitement of 1861, 
when, he purchased the Genesee mine near Genesee valley, in this county, and with his family 
moved there, and continued to prosecute his mining operations until the death of his wife in 
Angus', 1865. Shortly after, he went to Susanville to live with his son John, remaining until 1875. 
While there he held for a number of years the position of postmaster. He then removed to 
Quincy, where he resided till his death, which occurred April 21, 1878. Judge Ward was a 
splendid type of that New England manhood and persistent effort that indomitable will and 
pluck which has caused the stock of his native section to dominate so largely the institutions 
of our country. 

JUDGE EDMUND THOMAS HOGAN. This gentleman, for many years county judge of Plumas 
county, was born in the state of New York, while his parents, who were residents of the state of 
Virginia, were temporarily residing there. He was educated for the bar at Mansfield, Ohio, 
where he read law with some of the best legal talent of the state. He came to California in 1852, 
and to Plumas county in 1854, settling at Elizabethtown, where he hung out his lawyer's shingle. 
He often refers good-naturedly to the first employment he received in Plumas county, which was to 
drive a band of hogs for John W. Thompson. He ran for district attorney in 1856, and was beaten 
by the know-nothing nominee, Robert I. Barnett, by only three majority. He was elected county 
judge in 1857 on the democratic ticket, over P. O. Hundley and L. G. Traugh. In 1861 he was 
re-elected, defeating A. F. Blood, the republican nominee. Again he was elected in 1865, over 
L. C. Charles; but in 1869 he failed to get the nomination. He was again successful at the election 
of 1873, defeating Thomas F. Hersey for the judgeship. Judge Hogan was defeated by G. G. 
Clough for superior judge in 1879. He still resides in Quincy. Judge Hogan is a great story-teller, 
and has a wonderful memory, being able to recite the political history of the country from Alpha 
to Omega, without fear of contradiction. He is a very strong partisan ; and his political affiliations 
with the democratic party are inseparable. 

JUDGE ISRAEL JONES. He came from the state of New York in 1862, a young man, and 
settled in Susanville, then in Plumas county. He represented himself to be a member of the bar, 
and practiced only in a few cases before the justice courts of that town. In 1863 he was nominated 
by the union party for the office of county judge, and was elected. He visited Quincy for the 
first time on the fourth of July, 1863, being the orator of the day at the celebration. The second 
visit he made was in the last days of December, 1863, having come to qualify for the office to 
which lie had been elected. While there he was taken suddenly ill, and died three days after, upon 
the morning he was to take his position, January 1, 1864. His body was removed to Susanville for 

HON. A. P. MOORE is a native of Ohio. He came to Plumas county from Marysville prior to 
1858, ami engaged as clerk and book-keeper for Jerry Ford, a Quincy merchant. He was married 


December 27, 1858, by Eev. P. Grove, to Miss Anna E. Martin, daughter of Reuben T. and Letitia 
M. Martin of Mississippi. He then opened a mercantile establishment with Harlow Pierson, but 
the firm failed in business. He subsequently made a mercantile venture in Quincy on his own 
account, and was reasonably successful. In January, 1864, he was appointed by Governor Low to 
fill the position of county judge left vacant by the sudden death of Israel Jones, and held the 
office till January, 1866, when he was succeeded by E. T. Hogan. Judge Moore was the democrat it- 
candidate for county judge in the fall of 1869, and was elected by thirty majority over G. C. 
Charles, the republican candidate. He presided over the sessions of the court till 1874, when E. T. 
Hogan became his successor a second time. Judge Moore was an old-line whig, and upon the 
breaking out of the war, espoused the cause of the Union. He was a republican until President 
Johnson's administration, when he went over to the democracy. His record as county judge was 
very fair, and for one not bred a lawyer, acquitted himself creditably. He always took an active 
part in politics. In 1872 he sold out his Quincy business, and upon his retirement from office, 
opened a store at Oakland. He is now merchandising at Geyserville, Sonoma county. 

WILLIAM A. CHENEY. This gentleman is a native of Boston, Massachusetts, and settled in 
La Porte in the fall of 1876, as a minister of the gospel. He remained there during the winter, and 
came to Quincy to attend the republican convention of 1877, entering the lists as a candidate for 
the county judgeship. He received the nomination over T. F. Emmons of Greenville and J. W. 
Walker of Taylorville. The delegation from La Porte demanded the nomination of Cheney, and 
the leaders of the party, remembering how, on a former occasion in 1869, a bolt had occurred under 
similar circumstances, whereby Pappy 13. W. Barnes had been defeated by G. C. Charles, conceded 
the point, and put the La Porte man on the ticket. Walker, an intelligent young Louisiana man, 
and Emmons, a pioneer of the party in Plumas, felt greatly aggrieved, and left the convention in 
disgust. Jackson Urie was the democratic nominee, and though a pioneer, familiarly known, was 
defeated by Cheney at the election by a small majority. Judge Cheney, though not a law student, 
had the advantage of being a man of education. After his election, Judge Cheney moved to 
Quincy, abandoned the pulpit, and turned his attention to the law. In 1879 Judge Cheney ran for 
joint senator from Butte and Plumas counties, having opposed to him George H. Cresset te, demo 
cratic, of Chico, and John C. Gray, new constitution, of Oroville. Both of these he defeated by a 
large plurality. In December, 1879, he was admitted to practice in the supreme court, lie now 
resides in Sacramento. His overweening self-esteem and confidence in his own superiority have 
not endeared him to the people of Plumas county. 

THOMAS Cox, the first district attorney of Plumas county, failed to secure the nomination for 
a second term because of his extremely intemperate habits. A reminiscence of him is given in the 
history of the court of sessions. He was born in North Carolina, and at an early age removed to 
Nashville, Tennessee, where he married a most estimable lady, by whom he had at least one child, 
a son. Some reckless act committed in or near Nashville induced him to remove to California. 
He was nominated for congress in 1860, but was withdrawn from the ticket by the central com 
mittee before the election. One night in 1862 he was on a big drunk in Quincy, and walked into 
William Schlatter's beer-saloon, where he deliberately fired his pistol at the proprietor, who was 
standing quietly behind the bar and had in no way offended. The ball struck the intended victim 
in the forehead, and he fell to the floor appai-ently dead. He was picked up, when it was found 
that the bullet had not penetrated the skull, but was lodged in the bone. It was extracted, and 
the man recovered in a short time. Cox was indicted, obtained a change of venue to Butte county, 
and there the indictment was dismissed. Cox afterwards removed to Nevada, and is now prac- 



tlcing law in Virginia City. He left Plumas, regretted by none, and seemed to have few friends 
even among his political associates. 

JUDGE JOSEPH E. N. LEWIS. Judge Lewis was born in Jefferson county, Virginia, in 1826, 
and received his education at William and Mary's College. He studied law with B. F. Washington, 
afterwards of the San Francisco Examiner, and was admitted to the bar of Virginia, but did not 
practice in that state. He came to California in 1849, in company with Mr. Washington, and 
settled in Butte county, where he continued to reside until his death. He was present and took 
part in the organization of Butte county. In 1851 Mr. Lewis was dected to fill the unexpired 
term of Adams as state senator for Butte and Shasta counties. In 1853 he was elected county 
judge of Butte, serving with great credit to himself and his party the democratic. On the 
twenty-fourth of June, 1869, he was nominated by the democrats of the secoi.d district, which 
included Tehama, Butte, Plumas, and Lassen counties, for district judge, and that same evening 
died of heart disease. He was sitting on the front porch of Peter Freer's residence at Oroville, 
talking with Mrs. Freer, when she, noticing that he was silent for a few moments, touched him and 
found that he was dead. Judge Sexton, in his article on the "Past nnd Present of Butte County," 
speaks of him as follows: " Mr. Lewis was a large man, mentally and physically, and of high intel 
lectual culture, of strong, positive powers of mind. He did not love study for its own sake ; but 
when it was necessary to take hold of any question, and especially in his profession, he did not and 
would not give it up, though it required weeks and months of hard work, until he felt he had 
mastered it. He was a slow thinker, but a logical and correct one. At his death, he was justly 
considered one of the ablest jurists in the northern part of the state." He was frequently called 
to the bar of Plumas county on important cases, and was unsurpassed as an examiner in the court 
room. He was leading counsel in the celebrated case of Plumas county versus R. C. Chambers 
et al., or the Oroville & Virginia railroad company. 9 

PATRICK OGLESBY HUNDLEY is a native of Amelia county, East Virginia, where he was born 
April 13, 1822. In the fall of 1838 he went to Greensburg, Kentucky, and in 1846 was admitted 
to practice at law. He engaged in the practice of his profession, and in the fall of 1847 matricu 
lated at the university of Louisville, from which he graduated in March, 1849, receiving tlie 
degree of B. L. In April, 1849, he left Green county, Kentucky, for California, arriving at Sacra 
mento October 10, 1849. In November he went to the mines in Amador county, and remained at 
Drytown till June, 1850, when he removed to Deer creek, Nevada county. In the fall of 1851 he 
purchased an interest in the Rough and Ready quartz-mine, on Jamison creek, then in Butte 
county. He sunk all his means in this mine, nnd left the mountains in 1852. In 1853 he com 
menced the practice of law at Gibsonville, and in 1854 removed to Quincy. He was admitted to 
the bar of Plumas in May, 1855. In the fall of that year, September 2, he was married to Cath 
erine T. Russell, daughter of Henry P. Russell, in American valley. Mr. Hundley served one term 
as supervisor from district No. 2, resigning in March, 1856. He then associated himself in the 
practice of law at Quincy with Thomas E. Hayden. He was the whig nominee for county judge 
in 1857, but was defeated at the election. In 1859 he was elected to the assembly on the Brecken- 
ridge democratic ticket, and in 1861 was elected by the democrats to the office. of district 
attorney. In November, 1863, he resigned this office and went to Virginia City, Nevada, where he 
opened a law office. In 1869 he went to Oroville, and in 1875 was the democratic nominee for 
district judge, but was defeated by Judge Sexton. Upon the death of the latter in April, 1878, he 
was appointed to fill the vacancy, and in 1879 was elected superior judge of Butte county, a 
position he now holds. 


JOHN T R. BUOKBEE. Mr. Buckbee's first labors in Plumas county were at mining at Smith's 
bar on the east branch of ti.e north fork of Feather river. On the fourth of July, 1852, John 
delivered the oration at the celebration. He was a man o'f considerable native talent, with a fair 
education. He came from New York, where he had studied medicine, but never practiced in 
California, being engaged in mining. His legal attainments were first made known to the public 
some time in July, 1852, when he prosecuted the man Joshua for the murder of Bacon, before a 
miner's court. In the spring of 1854 he took up his residence at Quincy, and turned h's attention 
to the law, and was admitted to pract'ce at the first session of the district court held in Plumas 
county in July, 18-H. In the fall of that year he was elected district attorney, and held it till the 
spring of 1857,. when he returned to New York, married, and emigrated to Wisconsin. In 1860 he 
came back to Quinc.y and resumed the practice of law. He also associated himself with Matt 
Lynch in the Plumas Standard, \\ democratic sheet. He was a strong advocate of the right of 
states to secede, until the war broke ou', when he became a Douglas unionist. He ran for district 
attorney in the fall of 1861, and was defeated by P. O. Hundley. He was elected to the office in 
1863 by a fusion of the Douglas democrats and the republicans, and was re-elected in 1865. 
Buckbee was retained by James H. Yeates in the lawsuit about the shrievalty which occurred at 
this time. S. J. Clark was the republican contestant for sheriff, and Buckbee's advocacy of Yeates 
got him out of favor with the old-line republicans. The county court decided in Yeates's favi r, 
which decision the supreme court first sustained and then reversed. Mr. Buckbee gave his whole 
time to politics. He took an active part in the senatorial fight between his relative, Cole, ai.d 
Sargent, in which the latter was defeated. Buckbee was elected to the assembly in 1867, defeating 
John D. Goodwin, the democratic candidate. The Virginia and Oroville railroad act. in which 
Buckbee was concerned, proved the death-blow to his political existence in Plumas. He returned 
to his constituents to find the people fearfully indignant, and it was apprehended by some that he 
would be mobbed. It was some time before the public became sufficiently tranquil to listen to 
Buckbee in vindicating his course. In a short time he went to San Franc sco and obtained a 
situation in the mint. A softening of the brain finally resulted in insanity, and he was taken to the 
asylum in February, 1873, where he died June 29, 1873. 

ROBERT I. BARNETT. Mr. Barnett was a native of Richmond, Kentucky, but at an early age 
removed to Missouri. He served in the Mexican war under Colonel Doniphan of Missouri. In 1841) 
he emigrated to California, and came to the Plumas part of Butte before its organization into a 
county. Immediately after the organization he settled in Quincy, and assisted County Clerk 
Harbison in his office during the summer of 1854. He had been a Imitted to the bar in Missouri, 
and on the nineteenth .f June, 1854, was admitted by Judge Joseph W. McCorkle to practice in 
the court of this district. He was elected district attorney in the fall of 1856, and served two 
years. He was married at Spanish Ranch, October 26, 1857, to Miss Caroline F. Doggctt, by whom 
he had four children. Mr. Barnett resided in Quincy until 1860, when he went to San Jose, where, 
on the eighth of January, 1880, he committed suicide. 

HIKAM L. GEAR is a native of Ohio, where he commenced life as a printer boy. He taught 
school for a while, after which he studied law and was admitted to practice in the state courts of 
Ohio. Mr. Gear came to this state in 1863, and settled in Downieville, where he married the 
daughter of Judge Peter Van Clief. In the fall of 1865 he came to Plumas county. Two years 
after, he was elected district attorney, and served one term. He left the county in the spring of 
1870, and returned to Ohio, where he abandoned the practice of law ; and being of an ecclesiastical 
turn, was assigned a pulpit in the Baptist church, and still remains in the ministry. 


R. H. F. VAKIEL of Quincy was born Xovember 22, 1849, at Xew Harmony, Posey county, 
Indiana. His father, J. H. Variel, was a native of East Minor, then Cumberland county, Maine, 
and was born August 7, 1816; married Miss Mary A. Casey of Indiana in 1847; and in 1852 
crossed the plains with his family, and settled at Camptonville, Yuba county, in 1853, and is now 
living in Quincy, in this county. After acquiring a common-school education at the mining town 
in which he was reared, R. II. F. Variel began to teach school in September, 1868, which he fol 
lowed in Yuba and Plumas counties until 1873, when he was elected district attorney in the latter 
county; to which position he has been three times re-elected, and is now serving his fourth term. 
Since 1873 his undivided attention has been given to the study of the law. In June, 1876, he was 
admitted to practice in the district court, and in May, 1879, to the supreme court. He was married 
in 1876 to Miss Carrie L. Vogel of Transit, Erie county, New York, by whom he has had one 

HON. WILLIAM W. KELLOGG. The subject of this sketch was born in 1838, in Berkshire 
county, Massachusetts. Twenty years thereafter he came to California, settling in Plumas county 
in the fall of 1858, locating at Rich Bar. He engaged in mining for a few years, and became very 
popular. Was elected constable, and then justice of the peace, of Rich Bar township. In 1861 he 
was elected county assessor, and in 1863 county clerk. Was editor and publisher of the Quincy 
Union about eight years. In 1873 he was admitted to practice law, and is successful as a practi 
tioner. In 1880 the suffrages of the people made him representative to the State legislature. This 
democratic assemblyman, although a resident of a pronounced republican district, was elected by a 
Inruv majority. The home popularity of Assemblyman Kellogg was fully maintained at Sacra 
mento, where he was an influential member, and a faithful worker in the interest of his constituents 
and the people. Mr. Kellogg is pre-eminently a self-made man, of that distinctive type peculiar to 
the Sierra; and those who know him best esteem him most. A portrait of Mr. Kellogg appears on 
another page. 

WILLIAM S. CHURCH. He was the eldest son of James C. Church, who settled in American 
valley before the organization of Plumas county. William S. was born in Kentucky. In 1873 he 
was elected county superintendent of schools on the democratic ticket, and was re-elected in 1875. 
He taught school in various districts of Plumas county until 1880, when he prepared himself for the 
law, and was admitted to practice in the supreme court in the winter of that year, when he opened 
a law office at La Porte, where he now resides. 


The political struggles and their result form an interesting theme upon which the old residents 
love to dwell, as they gather round the burning logs during the long winter evenings, and "fight 
their battles o'er again." The gentlemen who have served the county in an official capacity pre 
sent, in their biographies, a complete political history of the times in which they acted. The 
judges of the courts, the district attorney?, and lawyers have all been spoken of in the article on 
The Bench and Bar. The others will be presented in the order in which they appear in the table 
to be given at the end of this chapter. 

JOHN HARIUSON is a native of Missouri, emigrated to this state in 1849, and settled on the 
east branch at Smith's bar in the year 1850. For six months he kept books for the first merchants 
on the bar, and then engaged in mining. When the first convention was held after the organiza- 


tion of the county in 1854, having been a county clerk in Missouri, his friends on the river, ignoring 
politics, instructed their delegates for him, and he secured the nomination for that office. He had 
no opponent in the election, and immediately removed to the American valley to assume the duties 
of his office, embracing those of clerk, recorder, and auditor. His office was temporarily estab 
lished in the old court-room built by H. J. Bradley, but was subsequently removed to the upper 
story of the Bullard building, corner of Harbison avenue and Main street. During his term he 
made periodical visits to his old camp on the east branch to take the declarations of would-be 
citizens, receiving as his fee an ounce of gold-dust for each candidate. In the fall of 1854 he was 
re-elected over James Lewis of Nelson creek. His first deputy was R. I. Barnett, and his second, 
George E. Bricket, a very accomplished officer. Harbison held the office until March, 1860, when 
he turned it over to his successor, J. D. Goodwin, who beat him at the election in 1859. Harbison 
served as deputy in this office under W. X. De Haven, and returned to Missouri in 1863, where he 
now resides. 

JOHN D. GOODWIN. See The Bench and Bar. 

W. N". DE HAVEN, a Pennsylvanian by birth, upon his arrival in Plumas county, engaged at 
hotel-keeping at Onion valley. From there he went to Spanish Eanch, in the service of Isaac J. 
Harvey, having charge of the caravansary at that place. He was the unconditional-union candidate 
in 1861 for county clerk, against L. G. Traugh, republican, and John D. Goodwin, democratic, 
over both of whom he was victorious. He served until the spring of 1864, when he was succeeded 
by W. W. Kellogg. Captain De Haven was a warm personal friend of both the old clerks, Harbi 
son and Goodwin, and made them his deputies, the latter appointment b^ing distasteful to his 
radical supporters. After the close of his term, he clerked for Hosselkus & Harvey at Taylorville. 
He finally went to Chico, and became one of the proprietors of the Chico Enterprise. He served 
a term in the legislature from Butte county, and died a few years since at his home in Chico. 

WILLIAM W. KELLOGG. See The Bench and Bar. 

FENTON BERKLEY WHITING is a native of Virginia, and was born at Mountain View, Fau- 
quier county, October 1, 1827. He is the fifth and only surviving son of George Braxton and 
Frances Harrison Whiting. In 1831 his father removed to Fredericksburg, Virginia, resided in 
Alexandria in 1832, and went to Washington in 1834, where he received an appointment in the 
pension office, under President Jackson. He died in Washington in May, 1835. Fenton was 
taken to Clark county, Virginia, in 1837, by an elder brother, Francis H. Whiting, a bachelor 
farmer, and with him he lived until he had reached the age of sixteen, when he was apprenticed to 
a cabinet-maker, William Deahl, of Berryville, Virginia. Having served out his time, he emigrated 
to St. Louis, Missouri, in February, 1848, and worked two years as clerk in a wholesale furniture 
establishment. In April, 1850, he started overland for California, with the Patterson rangers of St. 
Louis, arriving at Sacramento July 12, 1850. Mr. Whiting resided in that city until December, 
being employed two months, and woi'king at his trade three months, and then left for the mines on 
the north fork of Fea-ther river, with an old school-mate, locating at Smith's bar, the traveled route 
then being by Onion valley. He reached that point late in February, 1851, and found many people 
there, caught in a heavy snow-storm. Being without funds, he engaged as clerk in a hotel kept by 
McElvaney, Thomas, & Co., called the Miner's Retreat. When the storms subsided in April he 
was intrusted with a stock of goods to start a trading-post where now stands the town of Gibson- 
ville, Sierra county. Exciting reports of rich gold discoveries reaching that camp, he resigned his 
clerkship, and packing his mule, started with several friends for the head- waters of the middle fork 
of Feather river, and from there found his way over into Genesee valley, where, on the fourth of 



July, 1851, he began sinking prospect holes at Grizzly creek. Not meeting with any success, he went 
to a new camp called Kush creek, and from there to Soda bar on the east branch. There he found 
a solitary negro miner at work. He kept him company a few days, and returned to Onion valley by 
following the dividing ridge lying between Indian and American valleys, and discovered the body 
of water now known as Crystal lake. He mined on the middle fork below Eich bar the remainder 
of the season, was elected district recorder for mining claims, built a cabin, and spent the winter 
there. Early in the spring of 1852 he removed to the east branch, and engaged in river mining as 
a member of the Virginia company, meeting with indifferent success. He continued in that locality 
until the winter of 1855-56, when he was employed by Singer & Mon-ow, expressmen, as a mes 
senger from Junction, Smith, and Rich bars to Bidwell's bar. He became one of the proprietors of 
the business in the fall of 1857, with H. C. Everts, continuing at this occupation for several years. 
During this time, with G. "W. Morley and E. E. Meek, he formed Whiting & Co.'s " Feather River 
Express." In 1860 Mr. Whiting took the first census of Plumas county. He spent a few months 
in the Atlantic states in 1861, and after his return took up his residence at Quincy in 1862. In 
March, 1866, he received from James H. Yeates the appointment of under-sheriff, holding the place 
until December, when Mr. Yeates surrended his office of sheriff to the successful contestant, S. J. 
Clark. In the fall of 1867 Mr. Whiting was the democratic candidate for county clerk, but was 
defeated at the election by John B. Overton, the republican nominee. In January, 1868, he with 
drew from the express business, and was succeeded by Wells, Fargo, & Co. In April, 1868, he was 
again appointed under-sheriff by Sheriff Yeates, and held the office until March, 1870, when, having 
been elected county clerk the preceding fall, he resigned one office for the other. Mr. Whiting 
was re-elected in 1871, in 1873, and in 1875. In 1877 he was successfully opposed by William T. 
Byers, who, in March, 1878, appointed Whiting his deputy. In the fall of 1879 Mr. Whiting was 
again elected county clerk, and is the present incumbent. He was married June 23, 1863, to 
Martha Jane Whiting, who was born in Aberdeen, Mississippi, July 17, 1843. Their union has 
been blessed with six children: Richard Henry, born May 11, 1864; Fenton Blakemore, May 7, 
1866; Eugene C., March 26, 1868; Randolph V., November 30, 1870; Frank Moore, July 6, 1875 ; 
and Pearle, December 7, 1877, all of whom are living. Mr. Whiting is a prominent member of the 
Odd Fellows, Masons, and other fraternal societies of Plumas county. 

WILLIAM T. BYERS was born in Columbia, Boone county, Missouri, July 6, 1 831, crossed the 
plains in 1850, and arrived at Ringgold, El Dorado county, August 9 of that year. Here he engaged 
in mining. He came to Plumas county June 10, 1863, and kept hotel for many years. He was 
elected county clerk in the fall of 1877, retiring from public life in March, 1880. Mr. Byers is one 
of the most public-spirited men in the county, and the people are indebted to him, not only fo.r an 
efficient administration of county affairs during his term of office, but for many improvements 
made in and around the court-house. Mr. Byers now superintends the Plumas House in Quincy. 
Since living in California he has made three trips back to Missouri, the last one in 1877. 

GEORGE W. SHARPE, a Missourian by birth, was engaged in the saloon business at Rich bar, 
cast branch, in 1852. He left the river in the fall, and came to American valfey, where he resided 
when the first election occurred in April, 1854. Sharpe was the successful candidate for sheriff. 
He was re-elected in the fall of 1854, for a full term. In common with many others, Sharpe was 
addicted to gambling, and early in the spring of 1855 it became rumored that he was not paying 
into the treasury the revenue he collected from foreign miners' licenses. An investigation being 
ordered, he absconded early in July. Though it was afterwards learned that he had made a 
clandestine visit to his family in May, 1856, his whereabouts was never ascertained. In 1859 his 


wife applied for a divorce from him, on the ground of desertion, which was granted, and she after 
wards married Elisha H. Pierce. [For further particulars, see article on Finances.] 

H. P. RUSSELL. The defalcating and absconding of George Sharpe, first sheriff of Plumas 
county, resulted in the succession to the office of General H. P. Russell, who was coroner, and by 
virtue of the law became sheriff upon a vacancy occurring in that place. The general was hardly 
qualified for the responsibilities of that position, and in the discharge of his official duties was 
much ridiculed and criticised. He was formerly a New Yorker, but at the time was a farmer in 
American valley. He assumed the shrievalty of Plumas county on the first day of August, 1855. 
His term of office was exceedingly short, lasting only until the winter, when his successor elect was 
qualified, he not being favored with a re-election. He then retired to his farm, called the Uncle 
Sam ranch, where he devoted himself to agriculture until the year 1861, when he took the Washoe 
fever and removed to Carson City, Nevada. Shortly after, he received the appointment of 
adjutant-general of the territory, and several years subsequently died in Sacramento, having failed 
to accumulate wealth, but being held in kindly remembrance by hundreds of friends. 

JAMES D. BYERS was the second sheriff of Plumas county. He came from the state of Ohio, 
and early engaged in quartz-mining at Jamison creek, being one of the company known as the 
Washington or Seventy-six. He was elected, in the fall of 1855, to fill the vacancy caused by the 
absconding of Sheriff Sharpe, and in 1856 he was again a candidate for the office, and defeated 
E. C. Chambers, running on the know-nothing ticket. Byers served until the fall of 1858, when he 
was succeeded by R. C. Chambers, the democratic candidate. Mr. Byers made a very active and 
efficient officer. He has always been a dealer in cattle, and has become quite wealthy in the 
business. Most of the property he had acquired during his sojourn at Quincy was destroyed in 
the fire of 1861. He has resided in Lassen county many years, and is a rich old bachelor. 

ROBERT CRAIG CHAMBERS, the third sheriff of Plumas county, is a native of Ohio, and came 
to California in the year 1850. His first mining in Plumas was on the east branch at Rich bar. 
He then tried ranching in American valley, and was afterwards in the service of Clark, Shannon, 
& Co., at Meadow valley. Mr. Chambers was the democratic candidate in the fall of 1856 for 
sheriff against J. D. Byers, the know-nothing candidate, and S. J. Clark, the first republican 
candidate in Plumas. Chambers ani Clark were both defeated. Our subject again appeared in 
the field in 1858, and obtained the shrievalty over his opponent, L. C. Charles. He was re-elected 
in 1859, but was succeeded in 1861 by Elisha H. Pierce. He then resided in Meadow valley, being 
the assignee of the bankrupt firm of Clark, Shannon, & Co., and afterwards superintended the 
Plumas or Whitney quartz-mine until it proved a failure. He subsequently became identified with 
the Oroville and Virginia City Railroad Company, and remained in the state until it collapsed, and 
then went to Utah, where he now resides. 

ELISHA H. PIERCB. Pierce is a native of New York. In the summer of 1852 he kept a liquor 
stand on Rich bar, but in the fall left the river and went to the American valley. He served as 
deputy sheriff under George W. Sharpe, and when James D. Byers was elected sheriff held the 
same position under him. Having served out the term, he, with J. H. Houck, opened a saloon in 
Quincy, which had a very large custom. In 1861 Pierce was elected sheriff, defeating John W. 
Me Williams. In 1865 he again appeared before the republican convention, but failed to get the 
nomination, S. J. Clark being selected as the nominee. During the campaign he worked in the 
interest of Yeates, and in 1867, when Clark was again pitted against Yeates, Pierce took an active 
part in securing his defeat. He then left the county, removing to Santa Barbara. Pierce had 
golden opportunities during his shrievalty for making a fortune. His percentage alone for collect- 


ing the foreign miners' tax was $18,814, after paying all the expenses of collection. On one 
occasion he visited Sierra valley, to serve tax summons, and his fees amounted to $1,400. He 
did not make many friends while in office. His conduct at the time Ross and Williams were taken 
by a mob and hung has received severe censure, because of his alleged negligence to offer protection 
to the unfortunate men. He was accused of aiding and abetting the outrage; though further than 
an apparent fear of interfering with the infuriated mob, there can probably be no definite charge 
laid at his door. 

JAMES HUGHES YEATES was born in Washington county, Virginia, December 15, 1815. His 
parents were John and Hannah (Hughes) Yeates, both natives of Virginia. When quite young, 
James emigrated to Kentucky, where he learned the trade of stone-cutting. Here he remained for 
three years, and then removed to Iowa, where he still followed this profession until 1850, when he 
crossed the plains to California. In February, 1851, he came to Plumas county, and settled on the 
farm he now owns, in November, 1862. In 1865 he became candidate for sheriff against S. J. Clark, 
and had a contest for the office, which was decided in favor of Mr. Clark. [See paragraph below.] 
In 1867 he defeated Mr. Clark for the same office, and was twice re-elected, giving way in 1874 to 

I. C. Boring. He was again elected in 1877 for one term. He now resides on his farm in the 
American valley, and enjoys the confidence and respect of his fellow-citizens. Mr. Yeates was 
married in Indiana, January 17, 1843, to Miss Nancy T. Reed, daughter of Hon. John Reed of that 
state. He has reared a family of eight children. 

YEATES-CLARK CO.VTEST. At the election in September, 1865, Stephen J. Clark and James 

II. Yeates ran for the office of sheriff. When the votes were canvassed, the supervisors declared 
Yeates elected by a majority of five. He qualified, and entered upon the discharge of the duties 
of the office. The majority was so small that William H. Knowles, a warm personal friend of 
Clark, commenced action for the office in the county court before Judge A. P. Moore. Peter Van 
Clief and H. L. Gear represented Clark, while John R. Buckbee and John D. Goodwin conducted 
the case for the defendant. The decision was in favor of Yeates, and Knowles appealed to the 
supreme court. Creed Haymond represented Yeates in the higher court, and secured a decision 
sustaining the decree of Judge Moore. This was not the end. A petition for rehearing was 
granted, and in October, 1866, the supreme court reversed its former judgment, and declared Clark 
the rightful possessor of the office upon a majority over Yeates of two votes. Yeates lost $1,500 
in fees that the supervisors gave to Clark, on the ground that Yeates had not been in lawful posses 
sion of the office. The case created intense excitement in the county, and party feeling ran high ; 
ami in the following year, when Clark and Yeates were again pitted against each other for the 
same office, Clark was defeated, and Yeates held the office for several successive terms. 

STEPHEN J. CLARK came from New York, and settled at Elizabethtown, where he engaged in 
mining. He was not successful, however, and turning his attention to politics, he sought and 
obtained the republican nomination for county treasurer in 1861, and was elected over C. T. Kaul- 
back and W. S. Ingersoll : the former unconditional union, and the latter democratic. Clark was 
perhaps the best political organizer the county ever had, and no politician ever had more devoted 
friends or more inveterate enemies. The fusion between the two wings of the union party was 
ruptured at the union convention in Quincy in the summer of 1865, when Clark became the 
nominee for sheriff, defeating Elisha H. Pierce, who led the other wing. The result was a bolt, 
with another ticket, on which L. F. Gate's name appeared for sheriff. Clark was defeated by 
Yeates, the democratic nominee, through a sell-out by others on the ticket. [See the paragraph 
preceding this.] Clark was again pitted against Yeates in the fall of 1867, and was defeated 


through the action of Overton, candidate for county clerk, who traded him off a second time. 
Soon after his retirement from office, (Hark went to San Francisco, but returned in the campaign of 
1869 to defeat Overton's deputy, who was running for clerk, which he accomplished by hard work. 
He then went back to San Francisco, and obtained a position in the custom-house, where he 
remained several years. He is still residing in the city. Clark was as true to his friend-! as the 
needle to the pole, and the fidelity of his friends to him has never been excelled in the history of 

ISAAC C. BORING was a native of Albany, Kentucky. He came to California and settled in 
Camptonville, Yuba county, and from there went to La Porte, where he engaged in mining. In 
March, 1870, he was appointed under-sheriff by Sheriff Yeates, and served in that capacity until 
March, 1874, when, having been elected sheriff, he assumed the duties of that office. He was 
re-elected in the fall of 1875, and served a second term. In 1878 he retired from public life, and 
on the twenty-third of November of that year died at Quincy, at the age of 46 years, leaving a 
wife and two children. 

PETER LANE HALLSTED was born at Fayetteville, Brown county, Ohio, April 27, 1834. He 
was the s >n of A. A. and Jane B. Hallsted. He came to California, via Nicaragua, in 1854, and 
first engaged in mining at Stringtown in Butte county. In March, 1855, he came to Plumas county, 
and mined at 12-mile bar. He followed mining for a number of years. In 1864 he was employed 
by T. C. Kaulback as clerk and book-keeper. In 1874 he was elected county assessor, and served 
four years. In the fall of 1879 he was elected to the office of sheriff of Plumas county, which 
position he now holds. He was married in November, 1865, to Elizabeth Bishop of Cincinnati. 
Mr. Hallsted is. a member of Plumas Lodge No. 88, I. O. O. F., and of the Quincy Lodge No. 129, 
A. O. U. W. 

DANIEL ROGERS GATE, the first treasurer of Plumas county, was born at Northfield, Merrimack 
county, New Hampshire, November 24, 1832, and is the son of Simon and Lydia (Durgin) Gate, 
both natives of New Hampshire. When fifteen years old his father died, and Daniel went to work 
the following year in a country store. At nineteen he went to Boston and clerked most of the 
time until October, 1849, when he came, via Panama, to California, arriving at the port of San 
Francisco on the first of December. In a few days he went to Stockton, and had the misfortune to 
lose by fire everything he possessed except the clothes he wore. He accepted the first job that 
offered, boating goods from Stockton to the French camp, receiving an ounce a day for his services. 
The winter of 1850-51 he spent in Central America, and upon his return in the spring he went to 
Downieville. Here he engaged in all kinds of mining, from fluming the Yuba to working a drift- 
claim on Durgan flat for one year; and then, with his partners, E. W. Judkins and Joseph S. Boyn- 
ton, came to his present home in American valley. Soon after settlement, he with others built a 
saw-mill on Mill creek. Mr. Boynton retiring, Mr. Judkins and Mr. Gate afterwards built the 
Plumas flour and saw mills. The first store and blacksmith-shop in American valley were kept at 
their ranch in the fall of 1852, by Judkins & Gate. In the spring of 1853 Mr. Gate began 
packing merchandise from Marysville to the store in American valley, and continued it until 1856, 
since which time he has devoted most of his attention to his farm. While engaged in packing, he 
once became snow-blind, from which his eyes never fully recovered. Mr. Gate was elected county 
treasurer of Plumas county in April, 1854, being the first to hold that positioiu He was married 
November 5, 1863, to Miss Hannah A. Loring, daughter of John H. and Ann B. (Trafter) Loring, 
a native of Somerset county, Maine, where she was born January 18, 1844. They have had five 
children, as follows: Alice Lydia, born November 26, 1864; Mary Louise, October 9, 1869 ; Henry 
Loring, May 21, 1871 ; Lafayette, June 29, 1875; Daniel Rogers, November 17, 1880. 

WILSON SEAMAN DEAN, the second county treasurer of Plumas county, was elected in the 
fall of 1854. He was one of the early emigrants, and settled in Plumas, then a part of Butte 
county, in May, 1851. He bought what now constitutes the Meadow Valley ranch, and opened a 
store at that place. In the fall of 1852 he encountered a rival in the firm of Clark, Wagner, & Co., 
who opened a store near by him. The trade was thus divided ; and in the fall of 1854 Mr. Dean 
moved to Quincy, where he has since lived. In the fall of 1855 he visited his home in Illinois, 
leaving the treasury affairs in the hands of his deputy,. Arron Bradbury. Bradbury at that time 
was surrounded by vicious associates, who led him into " ways that were dark," the result being 
that when Dean returned he found a considerable shortage waiting him, which taxed him sorely 
to make good. However, he left a square record as treasurer. Mr. Dean was deputy sheriff under 
I. C. Boring until 1880. He was one of the three commissioners to organize the county in 1854. 

T. J. MINER. See article on Finances. 

WILLIAM S. INGERSOLL. "Old man Ingersoll" came from the state of Ohio, and his advent 
into Plumas occurred somewhere about 1858 He was mining in Eagle gulch in 1859, when the 
democracy presented him to the people as a proper man to take care of the county's cash. He was 
successful at the election. Ingersoll was an ignorant man ; and but for the presence and ability of 
John G. Corey, he would have been sadly at sea. He did not attempt to keep accounts with the 
various funds in the treasury, but had separate purses ; and when inquiry was made of him as to 
the condition of a certain fund, he would count out the money in its purse, and report accordingly. 
The firm of Clark, Shannon, & Co., at Meadow valley, induced Ingersoll to deposit the county funds 
with them for safe keeping; and when they failed, in the fall of 1861, it was found that the public 
moneys had failed also. The shortage was made good, however. Ingersoll was defeated in the 
fall of 1861 by S. J. Clark. No stain of dishonesty attaches to his character. Upon his defeat he 
moved to Butte county, and from there to Ohio. 

S. J. CLARK. See a few paragraphs above. 

WILLIAM S. PRICE. Mr. Price is a native of Maryland, and a wagon-maker by trade. His 
political record dates from the year 1865, when at the union convention he received the nomi 
nation for county treasurer. His political opponents were R. S. Flournoy, a democrat, and Oscar 
D. Peck, a union bolter, both of whom he defeated. He served only one term two years and was 
succeeded by James C. Gentry. He belongs to that class of southern men who were known as 
union men. He depended largely upon his assistants to do his figuring and balancing up; but his 
integrity was never questioned, and he left a good record as an honest and faithful official. Price 
is now 68 years old, and is engaged in business in Taylorville. 

J. C. GENTRY, son of Rodes and Allie (Moore) Gentry, was born May 23, 1829, in Madison 
county, Kentucky. His parents removed to Missouri when he was three years of age. Both his 
parents died before he had reached the age of fourteen, but he remained there until eighteen, and 
then went to the mining regions of Wisconsin. In March, 1850, he came overland to California, 
arriving at Coloma, July 18, 1850, where he mined six months. He afterwards spent several 
months in Calaveras and Butte counties, and in 1851 was engaged in butchering at Natchez, in the 
latter county. In six months he sold out and mined for some time. Then he went into the stock 
business, and alternated between mining and stock-raising for two years or more. In March, 1854, 
Mr. Gentry came to Plumas county and opened a meat market on Hopkins creek. Shortly after, 
with a Mr. Blanks, he started a hotel, which they ran for three years, and then Gentry bought out 
his partner, and continued alone one year. In 1858 he mined between Hopkins and Poorman's 
creeks. On the sixteenth of February a snow-slide carried the log cabin, occupied by himself and 


family and three men, half a mile down the cafion, crushing and instantly killing William Gentry, 
his infant son, and injuring one of his partners, John Wilson, so badly that he died. All of them 
were more or loss hurt, and were nearly suffocated before they could extricate themselves. It was 
a night of horror, and Mr. Gentry's trip to Hopkins for aid in his night-clothes makes a thrilling 
narrative of suffering. In 1858 he went into the dairy business, and a year after began farming, 
which he followed three years, and then sold out and mined for five years. In 1867 he was elected 
county treasurer on the republican ticket, and after his retirement from office bought a ranch in 
American valley, on which he lived six years, and then bought part of the Jobe Taylor ranch, near 
Taylorville, where he now resides. He was married July 4, 1854, to Miss S. Turner, by whom he 
has had six children, four of whom are living. 

JOHN C. CHAPMAN is a native of Ohio. He learned the trade of smelting, and was engaged in 
smelting copper near Iron Mountain, Missouri, in 1852, when he started overland to California. 
On their arrival he and his brothers settled on a ranch in American valley, but John did not suc 
ceed, and moved to Indian valley. Here he tried farming, but though a very industrious and tem 
perate man, he failed to make his husbandry pay. He then built a furnace for the smelting and 
manufacture of copper, in Genesee valley, and this enterprise failed for the want of ore. In 1869 
he was put in nomination by the democratic convention for county treasurer, and defeati d James 
C. Gentry by a large majority. He was re-elected in 1871, again in 1873, also in 1875, and was 
put in for a fifth term in 1877. Late in the year 1878 he resigned the office because of a defi 
ciency in his accounts [see article on Finances], and retired to private life. His successor was 
Dr. L. F. Gate, who was appointed in January, 1879, t > fill the unexpired terra. 

THOMAS L. HAGGARD is a native of Roane county, Tennessee. He was born September 30, 
1831, and came to California in 1852, at the age of twenty-one, crossing the plains. Mr. Haggard 
settled in the Plumas portion of Butte county, and engaged in mining on Spanish creek, above 
Spanish Ranch. The winter of 1852-53 was spent at Bidwell's bar, which was then the most 
important place in Butte county. In the spring of 1853 he returned to the Plumas portion, and 
settled at Rich bar, where he mined for many years, and lived until the summer of 1871. He 
then settled at Spanish Ranch, and reiuained until the summer of 1876. He kept the Buckeye 
House from that time till 1879, when he sold out and removed to Quincy, having been elected 
county treasurer. Mr. Haggard makes an efficient county officer, and is esteemed by a large circle 
of friends. 

JOHN R. BUCKBEE, first county assessor. See Bench and Bar. 

JOHN J. L. PEEL, a Tennesseean by birth, emigrated to California in 1850, and settled at 
Nevada City, where he was occupied in mining. In January, 1851, he arrived at Nelson Point, 
and until 1856 followed mining there on Poorman's creek and Hopkins, when he was elected 
county assessor, serving one term. He was elected justice of the peace of Indian township in 1861, 
and three years later he was appointed county surveyor. His principal avocation during the 
latter portion of his residence in the county was keeping books for persons engaged in mining and 
other kinds of business. He removed to Truckee, California, in September, 1868, where he was 
agent for Wells, Fargo, & Co., until June 1, 1881. He is now superintendent of a mercantile and 
wood contracting firm at Truckee. 

CHARLES W. HENDEL was born in Saxony, July 21, 1831. He was educated at Dresden, and 
graduated from the Zchocko Technie Institute in 1850. Two years later he came to the United 
States, living in New Jersey and Connecticut until the spring of 1853, when he came to California. 
After mining for a time on the American river, he went to St. Louis, Sierra county, and engaged 


in raining till 1860, when he was elected county surveyor of Sierra county, which office he held two 
terras. Since that time he has been engaged in his profession as a surveyor, though largely inter 
ested in a number of mining enterprises. In 1871 he was appointed deputy TJ. S. surveyor, a 
position he still retains. He moved to La Porte, Plumas county, the same year, and in 1879 was 
elected county surveyor of that county, which office he now holds, residing in La Porte. Among 
other mining ventures, he was interested with two others in the Sears Ravine flume, which cost 
them over $80,000, and from which they realized nothing, though it has since proved to be good 
property. He now owns a three-fourths interest in the Alturas tailing mine on Slate creek, five 
miles long; also seven-eighths of the claims on Port Wine ridge, known as the Lucky Hill Consol 
idated Drift Mine, containing 800 acres, in which a 2,000-foot tunnel is being run to tap the 
channel. He has done much to advance the mining interests of both Plumas and Sierra counties. 
One evening in 1856, just after the fire in St. Louis, he had a miraculous escape from death at the 
bottom of a shaft fifty-four feet deep, down, which he plunged headlong. His injuries confined 
him to his bed but two weeks. 




1854. William T. Ward Thomas Cox John Harbison George W. Sharpe. 

1855. William T. Ward . . .John E. Buckbee. . . .John Harbison 5 George W. Sharpe. 

1856. William T. Ward . . . . 8 John E. Buckbee. . . .John Harbison .... .James D. Byers. 

1857. William T. Ward . . . R. I. Barnett John Harbison ....... James D. Byers. 

1858. E. T. Hogan R. I. Barnett John Harbison James D. Byers. 

1859. E. T. Hogan W. D. Sawyer John Harbison R. C. Chambers. 

1860. E. T. Hogan W. D. Sawyer John D. Goodwin . . . . R. C. Chambers. 

1861. E. T. Hogan . , W. D. Sawyer John D. Goodwin . R. C. Chambers. 

1862. E. T. Hogan . . . ." P. O. Hundley W. M. DeHaven E. H. Pierce. 

1863. !A. P. Moore 4 P. O. Hundley W. M. DeHaven E. H. Pierce. 

1864. A. P. Moore John E. Buckbee W. W. Kellogg E. H. Pierce. 

1865. A. P. Moore John R. Buckbee W. W. Kellogg E. H. Pierce. 

1866. E. T. Hogan John R. Buckbee. . . .John B. Overton ... .James H. Yeates. 

1867. E. T. Hogan John R. Buckbee John B. Overton 6 S. J. Clark. 

1868. E. T. Hogan H. L. Gear John B. Overton James H. Yeates. 

1869. E. T. Hogan H. L. Gear John B. Overton . . . James H. Yeates. 

1870. A. P. Moore D. L. Haun F. B. Whiting James H. Yeates. 

1871. A.P.Moore D. L. Haun F. B. Whiting James H. Yeates. 

1872. A. P. Moore D. L. Haun F. B. Whiting James H. Yeates. 

1873. A. P. Moore D. L. Haun F. B. Whiting James H. Yeates. 

1874. E. T. Hogan R. H. F. Variel F. B. Whiting I. C. Boring. 

1875. E. T. Hogan E. H. F. Variel . . . F. B. Whiting I. C. Boring. 

1876. E. T. Hogan R. H. F. Variel F. B. Whiting I. C. Boring. 

1877. E. T. Hogan E. H. F. Variel F. B. Whiting I. C. Boring. 

1878. W. A. Cheney R. H. F. Variel William T. Byers. . . .James H. Yeates. 

1879. W. A. Cheney R. H. F. Variel William T. Byers . . .James H. Yeates. 

1880. 2 G. G. Clough R. H. F. Variel 7F. B. Whiting P. L. Hallsted. 

1881. G. G. Clough R. H. F. Variel F. B. Whiting P. L. Hallsted. 

1 Israel Jones was elected in 1862, and died before, his term commenced. Judge Moore was appointed by 
Governor Low. 

2 Judge of the superior court under the new constitution. 

3 Office declared vacant August 25, 1856, and R. I. Barnett appointed. 

4 Resigned in November, 1863, and A. J. Howe appointed. 

5 Defaulted and absconded. The coroner, H. P. Russell, assumed the office July 30, 1855. 
c Contested election decided in favor of Clark in November, 1866. 

7 Office divided by Act March 26, 1878, and J. A. Ketchum elected recorder in September, 1879. 




1 854. Daniel E. Cate John R. Buckbce. 

1855. Wilson S. Dean Christopher Porter H.P.Russell. 

1856. Wilson S. Dean E. C. Sterling J. S. Vaughan Joseph Boyington. 

1857. T. J. Miner J. J. L. Peel L. F. Cate J. L. C. Sherwin. 

1858. T. J. Miner John G. Corey L. F. Cate J. L. C. Sherwin. 

1859. W. S. Ingersoll John G. Corey L. F. Cate J. L. C. Sherwin. 

1860. W. S. Ingersoll John W. Me Williams . L. F. Cate William Sherwin. 

1861. W. S. Ingersoll John W. McWilliams. J. M. Woodward 8 George Martin. 

1862. S. J. Clark W. W. Kellogg J. M. Woodward William H. Kohn. 

1 863. S. J. Clark W. W. Kellogg J. M. Woodward 8 George Martin. 

1864. S. J. Clark A. D. Halsted 8 J. S. Eoot W. S. Price. 

1865. S. J. Clark A. D. Halsted J. S. Root 8 R. C. Hayden. 

1 866. W. S. Price . A. D. Halsted L. C. Carr Benjamin Coburn. 

1867. W. S. Price A. D. Halsted L. C. Carr Benjamin Coburn. 

1 868. J. C. Gentry William E. Wilson . . . E. W. Taylor Edwin Bates. 

1869. J. C. Gentry William R. Wilson . . . E. W. Taylor Edwin Bates. 

1870. J. C. Chapman S. B. Hinds William T. Byers Harvey Turner. 

1871. J. C. Chapman S. B. Hinds William T. Byers Harvey Turner. 

1872. J. C. Chapman J. Stiner L. F. Cate Benjamin Coburn. 

1873. J. C. Chapman J. Stiner L. F. Cate Benjamin Coburn. 

1874. J. C. Chapman E. D. Smyth James H. Yeates 9 

1875. J. C. Chapman R. D. Smyth .James H. Yeates. 

1876. J. C. Chapman P. L. Hallsted J. J. Sawyer. 

1877. J. C. Chapman P. L. Hallsted J. J. Sawyer. 

1878. J. C. Chapman P. L. Hallsted William G. Young. 

1879. *L. F. Cate P. L. Hallsted William G. Young. 

1 880. T. L. Haggard Thomas Black H. W. Fiske. 

1881. T. L. Haggard Thomas Black H. W. Fiske. 

8 Appointed to fill vacancy. 

6 Office combined by the code with that of coroner. 






Jobe T. Taylor. 
James C. Church . J. N. Hartzell . . . . 
10 J. H. Whitlock 



John C. Lewis 
John L. Davis... . 
C. E. Smith . 

'ROM 1854 1 


13 T. B. Shannon. 
^ Jobe T. Taylor. 
,Jobe T. Taylor.. 
W. W. Hudson.. 
F. B Clark 

'O 1881. 


.Joseph Winston. 
. I. J. Harvey. 
.C. Crowley. 
.D. A. Jones. 
S. S. Stinson. 
.John McBeth. 
.N. K. Wright. 
. Andrew Miller. 
.Andrew Miller. 
.Andrew Miller. 

J. H. Whitlock . . 

J. H. Whitlock.. 

J. H. Whitlock.. 
J. H. Whitlock... 
J. H. Whitlock... 
11 James C. Church. 
E. E. Nichols .... 
12 J. J. L. Peel .... 
J. T. Taylor.. 

James C. Church. 

James C. Church. 
James C. Church. 
James C. Church. 
A. S. Titus 

L. E. Miner -1 

John B. Overtoil. 
John B. Overton. 
John B. Overton. 
John B. Overton. 
15 Jackson Urie . . . 
Jackson Urie. . . 
Jackson Urie 

.JobeT. Taylor. . 
.Jobe T. Taylor. 
.James H. Yeates 
.James H. Yeates 
.James. H. Yeates 
. James Ford . . 

A. S. Titus 

A. S. Titus 

G. W. Meylert. .. 
G. W. Meylert. .. 
G. W. Meylert... 
G. W. Meylert. . . 
G. W. Meylert... 
S. S. Boynton 
S. S. Boynton 
J. A. Edman. . . . 
J. A. Edman 

James Ford .... 

. Andrew Miller. 
.Andrew Miller. 


12 J. D. Compton . . 
J. D. Compton. . 
David Taylor .... 
2 *David Taylor... 
A. W.Keddie.... 
A. W. Keddie .... 
T. F. Emmons . . . 
T. F. Emmons.... 
A. W. Keddie .... 
A. W.Keddie.... 
A. W. Keddie.... 
A. W. Keddie .... 
D. W. Jenks 

16 William Gilbert 
William Gilbert. 
18 C. E. Smith. . . 
C. E. Smith 

James Ford .... 

."Thomas J. True 
, 19 Thomas J. True 
, Thomas J. True . 
J S. Carter 

.Andrew Miller. 
.M. D. Smith. 
.M. D. Smith. 
. M. D. Smith. 

C. E. Smith 

C. E. Smith 

. J. S. Carter . . . . 

. Wm. H. Miller. 

John M. Hinds. . 
John M. Hinds. . , 
21 H. Washington. 
22S.B. Hinds 
F. J. Winchel . . . 
F. J. Winchel . . 
23Geo. S. McLear 
Geo. S. McLear. . , 
Geo. S. McLear. . 
Geo. S. McLear. . 

.20J. S. Carter 

Wm. H. Miller. 
Wm. H. Miller. 
. Wm. H. Miller. 
Wm. H. Miller. 
. Wm. H. Miller. 
. Wm. Wagner. 
.Wm. Wagner. 
. Wm. Wagner. 
. Wm. Wagner. 
. Wm. Wagner. 

J. S. Carter 

W. S. Church 
W. S. Church 
W. S. Church . . . 
W. S. Church . . , 
F. G. Hail 

. J. S. Carter 
J S Carter . . 

.E. D. Hosselkus. 
.E. D. Hosselkus. 
.E. D. Hosselkus. 
E. D. Hosselkus 
.E. D. Hosselkus. 
. E. D. Hosselkus. 

D. W. Jenks 

F. G. Hail 

C. W. Hendel . . . 
C. W. Hendel . . . 

F. G. Hail 

F. G. Hail 

10 Church resigned and Whitlock appointed January 7, 1856. 

11 Major Whitlock enlisted, and Church was appointed to the vacancy May 7, 1862. 

12 Appointed to fill vacancy, 

is Kesigned Oct. 2, 1855. P. O. Hundley elected Oct. 15. 

14 Elected March 17, 1856, P. O. Hundley having resigned. 

16 E. A. "White elected and resigned. Urie elected Jan. 28, 1863. 

16 John Geiger elected and failed to qualify. Gilbert elected Nov. 29, 1865. 

" Failed to hold election in 1866. Special election April 9, 1867. 

18 Chosen in place of Gilbert who resigned August 31, 1867. 

19 Whole board resigned June 11, and were all re-elected August 25, 1868. 

20 Tie on 169 votes with E. D. Hosselkus. Special election Nov. 30, 1872. 

21 Appointed by county judge, Dec. 20, 1873. 

22 Resigned, and F. J. Wiuchel appointed by county judge, July 8, 1875. 

23 Appointed by county judge in May, 1878. 

24 Resigned, and A. W. Keddie appointed September 6, 1869. 




When Plumns county was cut off from Butte it still formed, with the mother county, the 
fourteenth district, of which Elisha T. Peck was the senator, holding over till 1855, and John B. 
McGee, Seneca Ewer, and Eichard Irwin, were the assemblymen, whose terms were just expiring. 
These gentlemen all resided in Plunias county, save Seneca Ewer, and were instrumental in passing 
the bill organizing this county. The Act of April 6, 1857, gave the fourteenth district two senators 
and three assemblymen. A senator was elected from Butte and Plumas on alternate years each, 
and the two counties alternated in electing two assemblymen, the other chosing but one for the 
same session. By the Act of March 16, 1874, Butte, Plumas, and Lassen were combined in the 
twenty-sixth senatorial district, with one senator and two assemblymen, Butte to elect one of the 
latter, and Plumas and Lassen the other. 

The senators who have represented the Plumas section of the district have been as follows : 
Elisha T. Peck, 1853-4; John B. McGee, 1855-6; John Coulter, 1857; S. A. Ballou, 1858-9; 
Richard Irwin, 1860-1; Thomas B. Shannon, 1862; F. M. Smith, 1863-6; John Conly, 1867-70; 
David Boucher, 1871-3; George C. Perkins, 1873-6; William H. Crane, 1877-9; William A. 
Cheney, 1879-82. 

During the same time Plumas has been represented in the assembly by the following gentlemen : 
1854, Asa Kinney; 1855, Ripley C. Kelley and Joseph Winston; 1856, Richard Irwin; 1857, S. A. 
Ballou and J. L. C. Sherwin; 1858, Thomas B. Shannon; 1859, Thomas B. Shannon and P. O. 
Hundley; 1860, Allen Wood; 1861, Thomas B. Shannon; 1862, M. D. Howell; 1863, Robert A. 
Clark; 1865, John D. Goodwin; 1867, John R. Buckbee; 1869, John Lambert; 1871, B. W. 
Barnes; 1873, James D. Byers; 1875, John S. Chapman; 1877, James H. Whitlock; 1879, Charles 
Mulholland ; 1880, William W. Kellogg. 

ELISHA T. PECK, a native of New York, was the first senator that the territory of Plumas 
sent to the legislature. At the time of his election, in the fall of 1853, he was a clerk in the store of 
Davis & Brother, at Onion valley. The democrats nominated him, and he was easily elected by the 
party in Butte county. Peck soon became famous for having been approached with a bribe in 
legislative halls, and much feeling was engendered both for and against him in the affair. He 
afterwards settled in San Francisco, and took a position in the custom-house as drayage contractor. 
He now resides in that city. 

JOHN B. Me GEE. He was born in North Carolina, emigrated to Missouri, and from there 
came to California. He was engaged early in 1855 in operating the Mammoth quartz-mine on 
Jamison creek, and labored with the mine for a number of years, finally abandoning it when heavily 
embarrassed. In 1855 he became the know-nothing candidate for joint senator from Butte and 
Plumas counties, running against John Bidwell, whom he defeated. Mr. McGee served two years 
in the seriate. He was a live member, and a man of considerable ability. Among his closest friends 
he numbered David C. Broderick. Some years afterward he went to Nevada, and was successful 
at mining. He now resides at San Francisco. 

RICHARD IRWIN was born at TJniontown, Pennsylvania. At the age of seventeen he entered 
the Mexican war, and served with distinction through the campaigns on Aztec soil. In 1849 he 
emigrated to California, and engaged in mining at Rich bar on the east branch of Feather river in 
1851. He frequently practiced before the miners' courts as an attorney. In 1852 he was elected 
to the state assembly from Butte county, with Charles C. Thomas, and was re-elected in 1853. In 
the spring of 1855, with Robert M. Blakemore, he purchased the business of Clark, Wagner, & Co., 


merchants at Eich bar taking charge of a pack-train, while his partner ran the store. In 1856 
Plumas county sent him to the assembly, and in 1860 he was elected joint-senator from Butte and 
Plumas counties. Two years after, he was defeated for the safhe position by Thomas B. Shannon. 
In 1861 he was the democratic candidate for lieutenant-governor, with John Conness at the head 
of the ticket, which was defeated. Mr. Irwin was a warm personal friend and siipporter of David 
C. Broderick. In the spring of 1865 the firm of Irwin & Blakemore dissolved partnership, and the 
former continued the business at Rich bar until his death, which occurred February 15, 1869. He 
died at the age of forty-one, leaving a widow without children, and is buried at the Rich bar 
cemetery. A fine inclosure and marble .slabs mark his resting-place. His widow survived him till 
1871, when she died in Quincy, and is buried by his side. 

THOMAS B. SHANNON is a native of Pennsylvania. In early life he emigrated to Illinois, 
where he worked at the tinsmithing trade. In 1849 he came to California, and worked at his trade 
for E. C. Ross in Marysville. From there he removed to the upper Sacramento region, and 
engaged in gaming and sporting. In 1854 Shannon came into Plumas county, and with James A. 
Blood started a store at Elizabethtown. Under the law creating the boards of supervisors, Shannon 
was elected a member of the Plumas board April 9, 1855, from district No. 2. He was re-elected 
that fall, but resigned in October ; and at the same time sold his business at Elizabethtown, and 
purchased a one-third interest in the firm of Clark, Wagner, & Co., at Meadow valley Shannon 
assuming control of the business. Injudicious speculation caused the firm to collapse in 1861, with 
liabilities amounting to $50,000. Shannon was elected to the assembly in 1858 over Dr. Walker, 
and re-elected in 1859 as a Douglas democrat, over Parsons, the Breckenridge candidate. He was 
again run for the assembly in 1861, appearing on the political turf as the unconditional-union can 
didate, and was elected, defeating William Wagner and William Jacks. Shannon became an 
intense war man from this period, and declared in favor of the emancipation as the best means to 
preserve the union. In 1862 Shannon was pitted against Richard Irwin for the state senate, and 
beat him by 261 votes. He now gave up his residence in Plumas, and in the canvass of 1863 was 
elected to congress from the third district. He has since served as surveyor of the port of San 
Francisco, a member of the assembly from that city, speaker of the assembly, and collector of the 
port of San Francisco. He was married in August, 1856, to Miss Avis Folger, at Meadow valley. 

WILLIAM H. CRANE, a native of the state of New York, came to California from Michigan in 
1858. He is an old resident of Lassen county, where he held the office of county treasurer for six 
years. In 1877 he was elected by the republicans to represent Butte, Plumas, and Lassen counties 
in the senate. He resides at Susanville. 

WILLIAM A. CHENEY. See Bench and Bar. 

ASA KINNEY. The first man who had the honor of representing Plumas county in the 
assembly, after her organization, was Asa Kinney. He came over the plains in the summer of 
1853 from the state of Wisconsin, leaving his property there much involved. He settled in Plumas, 
and followed mining on Poorman's creek, from which locality he emerged and appeared in the 
democratic convention of 1854, receiving the nomination for assemblyman. He was elected, and 
went to the state capital in the fall of 1854. He was a candidate for speaker of the assembly, and 
came within two votes of getting it. He was a live representative and an able man. He left the 
assembly and went directly to Wisconsin, without returning to Plumas, and still resides in the 
Badger state. 

RIPLEY . C. KELLEY was the discoverer of the diggings on Willow bar, below Junction bar, on 
the north fork of Feather river. He went on the bar in August, 1850, to prospect, and found gold 


in abundance. In one day he panned out twenty-two ounces. One day in September, being out 
of provisions, Joe Barnett, a stranger, came along, and Kelley left his claim in charge of him while 
he went to his friends on Nelson creek for supplies. He found them, the Wisconsin company, 
taking out such good pay-dirt that they induced him to remain with them. Other parties soon 
settled on his claim at Willow bar, and made fortunes in a few weeks. However, he made a good 
sum on Nelson creek, and went back to Wisconsin in the winter. He afterwards returned to 
Plumas, and was elected assemblyman in 1855, with Joseph Winston. Since his brief official 
career, he has been continuously interested in mining pursuits, and is now mining on Pool-man's, 

JOSEPH WINSTON. Joe Winston was residing at Meadow valley in the spring of 1855, when 
he became the candidate for supervisor, and was elected in the third district. He served until the 
fall of that year, when he resigned, and was succeeded by I. J. Harvey of Spanish Ranch. He and 
Ripley C. Kelley were the successful candidates for the assembly in the fall of 1855, against Daniel 
R. Gate and T. F. Emmons. 

JAMES L. C. SHERWIN. This gentleman was the democratic candidate for the assembly in the 
campaign of 1857. He defeated Sylvester A. Ballou. John K. Lovejoy, and Samuel Black. Mr. 
Sherwin was from Nelson creek, where he had followed mercantile pursuits, and also engaged 
in mining. Jim got enough of legislative life, and did not want more of it. When he bade adieu 
to the assembly hall, he publicly offered to wager a thousand dollars that he could beat any man 

living, on foot, to " Nelson P'int." A brother law-maker inquired : " Where in the d 1 is Nelson 

P'int?" At which Jim expressed his supreme disgust at the man's lamentable ignorance. A few 
years after he left the county, and never returned, but is still living in one of the southern mining 

P. O. HUNDLEY. See Bench and Bar. 

GENERAL ALLEN WOOD was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the year 1812. He was 
raised in Connecticut, and in early life moved to Indiana, where he married a lady who still lives, 
hale and hearty. In 1839 he moved to Arkansas and settled, and was twice elected to the legisla 
ture of that state. In the first call for troops for Mexico he raised a company; but living quite a 
distance from Little Kock, he was just an hour too late in reporting, and his company was rejected, 
under the ten-regiment bill. However, he received a captain's commission from President Polk, 
and again raised an Arkansas company, and joined General Scott at Pueblo. His command 
belonged to the twelfth infantry, under Colonel Bonham, and fought in the battles of Contreras and 
Cherubusco, August 19 and 20, 1847. On the latter day he took command of the regiment, Colonel 
Bonham having been wounded the night before ; and on that day they finished the battle of Con 
treras, and fought Cherubusco. For his gallant conduct in these engagements, he was made a 
brevet major. In the fall of 1856 he came to California, and settled in Butte county. In 1858 he 
moved to Humbug valley, Plumas county, now Longville. He built a fine, large hotel there, which 
was subsequently burned, almost bankrupting the proprietor. In 1860 he was elected on the 
Douglas ticket to the assembly. During his legislative term General Wood was instrumental in hav 
ing established several postal routes through Plumas county. He was the first to take steps for the 
organization of a commandery of Knights Templar at Susanville, where he now resides. 


JAMES D. BYERS. See County Officers. 

MAJOR JAMES H. WHITLOCK was born May 15, 1829, in Union county, Illinois. Early in 1850 
he started on the long journey across the plains to California. He left his home on the second of 


April, went to St. Louis, and paid in advance for a passage on a wagon train. Going to Fort 
Leavenworth by steamer, they started overland on the fourth of May. They met with many 
reverses on the journey, and when they reached Salt Lake City most of the horses were dead, and 
the proprietor of the train was a bankrupt individual. Mr. Whitlock and two others accepted one 
horse as their share, and started on foot to complete the journey, accompanied by one hundred 
emigrants, most of whom were in the same predicament. They hired a Mormon to pilot them into 
California ; but after getting them across the desert, during the passage of which some of the emi 
grants died, he suddenly disappeared. On the twentieth day from Salt Lake City they finally dis 
covered the emigrant trail, and after many hardships and privations, arrived at Hangtown (Plac- 
erville) on the twenty-fourth of August, Mr. Whitlock having lost sixty pounds of flesh on the trip. 
He engaged in mining during the fall and winter on Weaver creek, and make about $2,000. In 
March, 1851, he came to Nelson creek, now in Plumas county, where he sunk all his money in a 
river claim in six weeks. Then he mined six miles farther up, with better success. He and his 
two comrades took a contract to furnish lumber for a flume, and made considerable at it by Christ 
mas. In the spring they all engaged in fluming, and came out dead-broke in the fall, with 
numerous debts to pay. They then mined at Fiddler's flat and Henpeck flat, on Nelson creek. In 
January, 1853, their camp being without the means of subsistence, they left one man to take care 
of the claims, and the rest, twelve in number, went below for food. They experienced terrible 
hardships in breaking a trail through the snow, and finally the party got divided, Mr. Whitlock's 
party reaching a house on the third day. The others were not so fortunate. When they were 
rescued Walter Goodspeed was dead ; H. Brown lived about two weeks, and William Phillips died 
six months afterward from the effects of the trip. At the fall election in November, 1854, Mr. 
Whitlock was elected county surveyor on the whig ticket, and was re-elected four successive subse 
quent times. Though elected in the fall of 1861 he did not qualify. He then raised a company of 
sixty-six men, was elected captain, and they were mustered in as company F-, fifth infantry, Cali 
fornia volunteers. Mr. Whitlock's commission dated from October 2, 1861. The company left 
Sacram nto, February 2, 1862, established Camp Drum in Los Angeles county, now Wilmington, 
and from there went into Arizona. Whitlock was commanding offiuer at Tucson until April, 1863, 
when lie was or.lered to New Mexico, and did active service against the Indians. For gallant con 
duct in a battle with the Apaches in March, 1864, when a government train was recaptured from 
them, Mr. Whitlock was brevetted major. In October his company was mustered out, and he took 
a position in another regiment; he had charge of Fort Seldon, most of which he built, and after 
wards was at Fort Garland, in Colorado, with the command of General Kit Cars jn, where he served 
the balance of his time until discharged at Santa Fe, December 5, 1866. He returned to Plumas 
county in April, 1867, having been absent five years and a half. In the fall he was engaged in 
merchandising at Taylorville, but sold in 1868, and in 1870 embarked in the same business at 
Greenville, which he followed until 1876, when he sold again, went to the centennial, and was mar 
ried in March, 1877, at Warren, Illinois, to Miss M. H. Baldwin, by whom he has had one son, 
Robert Greenleaf, now three years old. lie returned to Plumas in April, 1877, and was elected .to 
the legislature by the republicans, with a very large majority. In the fall of 1878 he commenced 
business at Quincy, and was appointed postmaster October 28, 1878. 



Year. Election. Candidate. Party. Vote. Total. 

1855. Gubernatorial J. Neely Johnson Know-Nothing 1,111 

John Bigler Democrat 736 1,847 

1856. Presidential James Buchanan Democrat 1,124 

John C. Fremont Republican 217 

Millard Fillmore American 865 2,206 

1857. Gubernatorial John B. Weller Democrat 1,460 

Edward Stanly Republican 199 

George W. Bowie American 236 1,895 

1859. Gubernatorial Milton S. Latham Democrat ... 882 

John Currey A. L. Democrat 649 

Leland Stanford Republican 1931,724 

1860. Presidential Abraham Lincoln Republican 458 

Stephen A.Douglas Independent Democrat 503 

John C. Breckenridge Democrat 453 

John Bell Con. Union 2111,625 

1861 . Gubernatorial Leland Stanford Republican 659 

John R. McConnell Democrat 517 

John Conness Union Democrat ...... 602 1,778 

1863. Gubernatorial Frederick F. Low Union 1,288 

John G. Downey Democrat 766 2,054 

1864. Presidential Abraham Lincoln Republican 828 

George B. McClellan Democrat 669 1,497 

1867. Gubernatorial Henry H. Haight Democrat 708 

George C. Gorli am Republican 781 

Caleb T. Fay Independent Repub 24 1,513 

1868. Presidential Ulysses S. Grant Republican 711 

Horatio Seymour Democrat 554 1,265 

1 871. Gubernatorial Newton Booth Republican 645 

Henry H. Haight Democrat 6011,246 

1872. Presidential Ulysses S. Grant Republican 512 

Horace Greeley Liberal and Democrat.. 280 

Charles O'Conor Democrat 792 

1875. Gubernatorial William Irwin Democrat 550 

T. G. Phelps Republican 230 

John Bid well Independent 4251,205 

1876. Presidential Rutherford B. Hayes Republican 584 

Samuel J. Tilden Democrat 5021,086 

1879. Adoption of New Const. ..Yes 532 

No 358 890 

1879. Gubernatorial George C. Perkins Republican 702 

Hugh J. Glenn New Const, and Dem.. . 500 

William F. White Workingmen 1001,302 


Year. Election. Candidate. Party. Vote. Total. 

1880. Presidential James A. Garfield Republican 645 

Winfield S. Hancock Democrat 698 

James B. Weaver National Greenback.... 1 1,344 


Despite the fact that the county treasury has been several times invaded by embarrassed officials 
to bolster up their waning finances or improve their pecuniary condition, the financial condition 
has never been bad, and now its credit is so firmly established that six per cent, bonds bring a 
premium in the market. 

The organic act of the county having provided that a proper proportion of the Butte county 
debt should be paid by Plumas, a statement of the financial condition was submitted on the twenty- 
first of September, 1854, by French Paige, auditor of Butte county, showing the financial condition 
of that county on the first of April of that year. The total debt of Butte county was $38,748.84; 
property assessed in Butte in 1853, $2,024,142.75; in that portion set off to Plumas, 1294,200; 
proportion of the debt to be paid by Plumas, $5,632. This amount was paid within the next 
three years by the creation of a special fund for that purpose. 

Not having been formed until the creation of property to form a basis for taxation had 
advanced to a considerable extent, and the expensive habits that had so involved the counties in 
debt during the first four years of the state's existence having been to a large degree overcome, 
Plumas was prepared from the start to be self-sustaining in its county government. A very im 
portant source of revenue for a number of years was the tax on foreign miners. By the Act of 
March 30, 1853, the legislature provided that any one not a citizen of or born within the United 
States, who desired to extract gold from the earth, must first procure a license for that purpose. 
This legislation was especially directed at the Chinese, and after the first few years was seldom 
enforced against any other class of foreign-born miners. The Chinese are a class of people that 
own but little valuable property in this country, and in consequence pay but little to the support 
of the government. They live in little shanties, tents, and patched-up cabins, own but little prop 
erty besides mining claims, and consequently occupy a small place on the tax list. To derive a 
proper share of revenue from this class was the reason for the statute requiring them to procure a 
license to engage in mining. The price was fixed at four dollars per month. The sheriff was made 
collector of the license, for which he received twenty per cent., the remainder being divided equally 
between the state and county. The revenue derived from this source by Plumas county was as 
follows: 1854, $9,180; 1855, $12,824; 1856, $11,498; 1857, $4,852; 1858, $3,572; 1859, $4,728; 
1860, $3,036; 1861, $4,032; 1862, $12,936; 1863, $27,460; 1864, $28,283; 1865, $19,460; 1866, 
$15,660 ; 1867, $12,328 ; 1868, $10,224 ; 1869, $6,932; making a total of $187,010, of which the col 
lector received $37,402, the state and county $149,608. The collection of the license ceased in 1870, 
by operation of the civil-rights bill passed by congress that year. The amount of revenue received 
from this source was largely in excess of the amount paid by the county for salary of county 
officers during the same period. Since the abolition of the tax but little revenue has been realized 
from the Chinese. The census of 1870 reported 911 Chinese adults in Plumas county, and of this 
number but twenty-four appeared on the assessment list, and paid taxes to the amount of $221.08 
only an average of but 24 cents each. The same census showed a white population of 3,571, 



who paid taxes to the amount of $27,963.20 ; or an average of 132.14 per capita. The few tax 
payers among the Chinese are the merchants and traders, one of whom is to be found in every 
min'ng camp or settlement where happen to congregate twenty Chinamen. They subsist chiefly 
upon products which are imported from China ; wear clothing imported ready made from their 
native land, or manufactured here by their countrymen out of material brought from home, to 
procure which the gold dug from our hills and streams is shipped to China. It is true that on 
certain feast-days they adorn their tables with American chicken?, some of which they purchase 
from the farmers, and the others they procure by magic or raise themselves. There are numbers of 
them engaged as cooks and servants in hotels and private families, at prices ranging from four to 
six dollars per week ; but it is the general conviction that they steal more than their wages come 
to. They have the well-deserved reputation of being the most expert petty thieves in the world. 
The county has expended a great deal of money in prosecuting Chinese for burglary and other 
crimes, each one of them costing the county more than one thousand dollars. They are a very 
undesirable class of people, and the citizens of California feel that if they must be inflicted 
with the scourge, they should be compelled in some manner to bear their proportion of the burden 
of sustaining the government that protects them. 

A small storm ruffled the surface of the financial sea but a year after the county was organized, 
but it wrecked nothing save the reputation of the first sheriff, George "W. Sharpe. The board of 
supervisors had been organized but two months when they were called upon to face the first 
financial calamity. 

On the eleventh of July, 1855, Isaac Jennings made application to be released from the official 
bond of Sheriff Sharpe, and the coroner was directed by the board to serve a copy of said applica 
tion upon the sheriff. At the same time an order was entered directing the delinquent sheriff to 
make an exhibit of the state of his accounts to the board at their next meeting. This does not 
seem to have been of particular interest to the recreant officer, for he departed suddenly the night 
before, without having the courtesy to bid his anxious bondsmen a tearful adieu. He went quietly 
and mysteriously, and when the board met on the twenty-first, no sheriff was there to give them a 
cheerful greeting and present a long bill for fees, as had been his wont of yore. The afflicted board 
dried their eyes long enough to enter the following order: "Ordered, that the clerk engage three 
suitable persons to go in search of G. W. Sharpe, sheriff of this county, owing to the. unaccountable 
absence of said sheriff from the county seat ; and that the persons so engaged be allowed reasonable 
compensation for their services and expenses." On the thirtieth the office was declared vacant, 
and the coroner, H. P. Russell, was directed to assume the duties of the office, in accordance with 
the statute " in such cases made and provided," for our wise legislators seem to have foreseen that 
so long as sheriffs were intrusted with the collection of county revenue there might occasionally be 
an " unaccountable absence " that would create a sudden vacancy in that office. The general qua! 
ified accordingly, and once more Plumas had a sheriff. Search for the absconding officer was 
unavailing, as was also search for assets among his effects to make good the deficiency. The search 
for the amount of the defalcation was more successful, and revealed the fact that the pockets of 
foreign miners were lined with receipts, while the pockets of the fleeing sheriff were also lined with 
the cash they represented. A considerable amount of receipts for property taxes were also gath 
ered in by his successor, and in this way it was ascertained that Sharpe was debtor to the county to 
a considerable amount. It was only two months before that the board had appropriated $100 to 
defray his expenses to Sacramento to procure these foreign miners' licenses, and after such a 
courtesy on the part of the board it was especially ungrateful for him to abscond with the proceeds 


of those licenses the more so when the law allowed him twenty per cent, for twisting the China 
men's pigtails long enough to collect it. Suit was directed to be brought against his bondsmen for 
the amount, but the bond was discovered to be defective, and nothing was done in consequence. 
Mr. Sharpe also received consideration at the hands of the grand jury, who proceeded to indict 
him for embezzlement; but even this kind attention failed to win the fugitive back to his first love. 
The case remained on the docket of the court of. sessions several terms, awaiting Mr. Sharpe's 
appearance, but he apparently took no interest in judicial proceedings of that nature, and the 
indictment was finally dismissed. Besides the sorrowing tax-payers, the fugitive sheriff left behind 
him a wife and three children, whom he failed thereafter to support as becomes a good husband 
and father. On the thirteenth of July, 1859, four years and three days after Sharpe's " unaccount 
able absence" commenced, his wife, Elizabeth A. Sharpe, was granted a divorce on the plea of 
desertion, the evidence taken in the case revealing the fact that the flitting sheriff had paid a clan 
destine visit to his family the year following his disappearance. Three days after the decree a vin- 
culo was given, she married E. H. Pierce, afterwards sheriff of this county. 

This small storm was succeeded by another in 1859. At that time the purse-strings of the 
county were held by T. J. Miner, who intrusted the management of his office chiefly to his deputy, 
J. C. Lewis. At the end of the term it was discovered that there existed a deficiency in the 
accounts to the amount of $2,274.15. Investigation disclosed the fact that the discrepancy was 
caused by the peculations of the deputy. To rectify matters, Mr. Lewis gave his note to the 
county, indorsed by T. B. Shannon and Richard Irwin. Suit was brought on the note the next 
year, John E. Buckbee being employed to assist the district attorney, W. D. Sawyer, in prosecuting 
the claim. The county was nonsuited, and realized nothing. The state authorities brought suit 
against T. J. Miner and his bondsmen, J. C. Church and D. R. Gate, for the amount of deficiency 
in his account with the state treasurer. At the October term, 1860, judgment was rendered in 
favor of the state for $2,670.18, and costs to the amount of $209.90. Nothing was paid, however, 
for General Allen Wood introduced a bill into the legislature, which became a law May 18, 1861, 
releasing the defendants from all liability on the judgment. 

The next ripple on the financial sea was caused by the failure of Clark, Shannon, & Co., in 
1861, in whose hands W. S. Ingersoll, the treasurer, had deposited funds of the county for safe 
keeping. [See biography of Mr. Ingersoll.] The treasurer made good the loss, and no blame was 
attached to him whatever. 

The last financial trouble occurred in 1878, when the office of county treasurer was held by J. 
C. Chapman, who was enjoying his fifth term, and in whom the people placed so much confidence 
that it had been five times a futile effort to contest the office against "honest old John Chapman." 
Late in the fall of 1878 it was discovered that the treasurer's safe did not contain as much cash as 
the auditor's books called for, and an investigation was instituted. Mr. Chapman resigned, and 
L. F. Gate was appointed to administer the affairs of the office until the next election. An expert 
was employed, and a thorough examination of the books and vouchers revealed the fact that a 
deficit of nearly eight thousand dollars existed. Suit was brought by the county for $3,274.38, 
which was compromised for $2,455.77. The state also instituted proceedings to recover the sum 
of $4,565.09, the amount claimed to be due the state treasury, which action is still pending. This 
affair was a severe blow to Mr. Chapman and his friends, and is claimed by him to have had its 
origin in his willingness to accommodate the sheriff, I. C. Boring, by crediting him witli amounts 
collected on taxes, in order to make the sheriff's account appear good, which sums had not been 
paid by the sheriff. Allowing this to have been the origin of the difficulty, it is certain that it had 
proceeded fnr beyond that stage when discovered. 


The del)t of Plunias county is directly chargeable to the excellent roads that are to be found 
running through it in all directions. To build these avenues of travel and commerce, the county 
has spent vast sums of money, and issued bonds to a large amount. The debt amounted in 1875 
to 197,411.98, but has since been reduced to $69,098.58. No inconsiderable item has been the- 
amount expended for bridges across the streams that intersect the routes of travel. For this pur 
pose $21,661 have been expended in the last two years for the Taylorville, Shoo Fly, Nelson Point, 
and Mohawk Valley bridges. The bonds that have from time to time been placed upon the market 
wrre issued by authority of the legislature for the following purposes: Under Act of March 31, 
1866, for the Quincy and La Porte road, $20,000, fifteen years at 10 per cent,; under the Act of 
March 9, 1870, for 'roads from Quincy to Indian valley, Quincy to Beckwourth valley, and Indian 
valley to Beckwourth, through Red Clover valley, $27,000, ten years at 7 per cent.; under Act of 
January 21, 1876, to fund road warrants, $24,850, ten years at 7 per cent.; by the Quincy school 
district, for building school-house, under the Act of April 3, 1876, $4,000, ten years ; under the Act 
of February 1, 1878, for redemption of La Porte and Quincy road bonds, $10,000, twenty years at 
8 per cent. ; under the Act of March 3, 1881, to redeem bonds, $30,000, twenty years at 6 per cent. 
Of these bonds there are outstanding $53,000. 

The auditor's report shows the financial condition of the county to be as follows, October 31, 

Bonds outstanding, Act of January 21, 1876 $23,850 00 

Bonds outstanding, Act of March 3, 1881 30,000 00 

Floating debt 14,991 00 

Floating debt interest - .... 257 58 

Total debt outstanding $69,098 58 

Cash in funded debt fund $4,308 46 

Cash in road fund 58 29 

Cash in building fund 30 34 

Cash in hospital fund 197 13 

Value of court-house 10,000 00 

Value of jail 5,000 00 

Value of court-house lot 3,500 00 

Value of hospital 1,000 00 

Value of hospital lot 500 00 

$24,594 22 

Excess of liabilities $44,504 36 

One of the means devised for procuring revenue in the infancy of the state was the requiring 
of licenses for transacting nearly every kind of business. From this source alone Plumas county 
collected the sum of $2,510 during the eight months of its existence in 1854. As a matter of 
interest, we give the names, residences, and occupations of the business men who procured licenses 
in 1854: 

H. J. Bradley & Co Quincy Tavern. 

John Cornelison Elizabethtown Tavern. 

John Mulrony Soda Bar Dram-shop. 


S. Aldridge & Co Nelson creek Merchandise, dram-shop. 

George W. Robison Elizabethtown Bowling-alley. 

James F. Ray & Co. Elizabethtown Grocery. 

Kingsland & Co Marion Flat Grocery, merchandise. 

Albert Fitts Fitts' hotel Tavern. 

John Dickson & Co Blackhawk Grocery. 

E. Perry Blackhawk Grocery. 

Mather & Co * Elizabethtown Grocery, merchandise. 

Joseph G. Cremonia Indian Bar Grocery. 

Love & Every Junction Bar Grocery. 

O'Ferrall & Winzel Indian Bar Merchandise. 

Jones & Co , . . . . Rich Bar Merchandise, grocery. 

Nicholas Mathis . . Rich Bar Grocery. 

John F. O'Neill O'Neill ranch Merchandise. 

Troughton & Sprigg Rush creek Merchandise, grocery. 

Long, Haffley, & Co Rush creek Merchandise, liquor. 

M. M. Brown , Merchandise, dram-shop. 

H. J. Mears Peddler. 

Licensis & Ellis Merchandise, grocery. 

R. H. Fairchild & Co Buck's Ranch Merchandise, grocery. 

McGee & Waite Onion valley Merchandise. 

Friend & Co Jamison Merchandise. 

Christopher Porter Rich Bar Butcher. 

John S. Root & Co Nelson creek Merchandise, grocery. 

John W. Thompson & Co Nelson Point Merchandise, tavern. 

James C. Sherwin Nelson Point Merchandise, grocery. 

S. Harper Merchandise, grocery. 

Clark, Wagner, & Co Eagle Ranch and Rich Bar Merchandise, grocery. 

James L. McGinness. Twelve-mile Bar Merchandise. 

'Seth Bardell Twelve-mile Bar . Merchandise, grocery. 

Jobe T. Taylor Indian valley Tavern, merchandise. 

Meyerwitz & Ward Indian valley Tavern. 

E. W. Judkins & Co American valley Tavern, merchandise. 

Wallech, Cole, & Co. . . . North fork Merchandise. 

Orlando Fuller Spanish Ranch . Tavern, merchandise. 

W. S. Dean Meadow Valley Ranch Tavern, butcher, merchandise. 

John S. Ross Elizabethtown Butcher. 

Elliott & Co Kingsbury ferry Grocery. 

John H. Bradley & Co Mountain House Grocery. 

Pierson, Overton, & Co Middle fork Grocery. 

Charles Davis Indian Bar Tavern. 

F. B. Smith Hopkins creek Merchandise, liquor. 

J. W. Hard wick Eagle gulch Liquor. 

Holliday & Co Rich gulch Merchandise. 

D. O. Balcom Merchandise, liquor. 


D. W. Hambly Nelson creek Liquor. 

Main, McDonald, & Co Independence Bar Merchandise, liquor. 

Myers & Co Independence Bar Liquor. 

Maughan & Co Hopkins creek Merchandise, liquor. 

John McBeth Meeker's Flat Merchandise, liquor. 

Charles Chapelain Smith Bar Merchandise, liquor. 

Amasa Hoy t Merchandise, liquor. 

Margaret Hanson Liquor. 

A. J. Welden Richmond Hill Merchandise, liquor. 

H. M. Tully Merchandise, liquor. 

John Fielding Smith Bar Merchandise, liquor. 

George Davis Onion valley Merchandise, liquor. 

A. Burnet Onion valley Merchandise, liquor. 

Gentry & Banks Poorman's creek Liquor. 

Turner & Kelley Hopkins creek . Merchandise. 

George Martin Martin's Ranch Liquor. 

William Zimberman Nelson Point Liquor, merchandise. 

Asa Kinney Hopkins creek Liquor. 

Beckwourth & Co. Beckwourth Ranch Liquor. 

Blood & Shannon Elizabeth town Merchandise. 

Tipton & Lloyd Elizabethtown Merchandise. 

R. S. Flournoy, & Co Elizabethtown Grocery. 

J. H. Houck & Co . . Quincy Grocery. 

Bath, Powers, & Co. Nelson Point Bowling-alley. 

J. P. Bulware Onion valley Merchandise, liquor. 

John Compton Rich Bar Liquor, merchandise. 

John Coburn Elizabethtown Liquor. 

D. J. Gloyd & Co. Elizabethtown Merchandise. 

McManus & Co Elizabethtown Liquor. 

Smith & Parsons Hopkins creek Merchandise. 

W. W. Parker ..." ... Nelson Point Merchandise, liquor. 

E. Whiting American House Liquor. 

Samuel A. Russell Quincy .... Livery. 

R. E. Garland Quincy Livei-y. 

Lewis & Ellis Independence Bar Liquors. 

0. Madden & Co Half-way House Liquor, merchandise. 

Richard Thompson Spanish Ranch Merchandise. 

Levy McCoy Meadow valley Liquor. 

Frank Everts & Co Nelson Point Bank. 

Thomas Massey Butterfly Ranch Liquor. 

W. D. Hudson Elizabethtown Liquor. 

Caleb Holliday Rich gulch Merchandise. 

1. E. Scott ..... Indian valley Liquor. 

F. D. Robinson Elizabethtown Liquor. 


The following table shows the assessed valuation of property in the county for each year since 
the organization of the county, and the amount of taxes levied : 

Assessed Valuation. Taxes Levied. 

1854 $311,003 00 

1855 $6,162 00 

1856 9,381 00 

1857 1,333,608 00 20,004 00 

1858 1,072,926 00 18,672 00 

1859 783,487 00 14,102 00 

1860 906,418 00 16,315 00 

1861 723,036 00 13,014 00 

1862 1,054,059 00 20,764 00 

1863 1,202,487 00 28,860 00 

1864 943,812 00 24,916 00 

1865 1,085,934 00 27,691 00 

1866 1,183,612 00 26,394 00 

1867 . . 1,267,885 00 27,893 00 

Assessed Valuation. Taxes Levied. 

1868 $1,485,520 00 $35,694 00 

1869 1,197,77500 27,81500 

1870 1,209,600 00 28,184 00 

1871 1,515,66300 47,20500 

1872 1,989,44000 49,73700 

1873 1,799,11200 53,97300 

1874... 1,421,906 00 42,636 00 

1875 1,735,981 00 48,607 00 

1876 1,980,877 00 50,512 36 

1877 2,040,96600 51,03426 

1878 .2,115,267 00 50,766 41 

1879 1,920,249 00 46,881 33 

1880 2,099,275 00 59,204 75 

1881 2,205,549 00 56,905 09 


From the many anecdotes that are related, and historical incidents that have occurred in the 
county, we have arranged the most important in the following pages, in the order of their antiquity. 
These stories show the real life of the people, and vacillate from grave to gay, from cumedy to 
tragedy. They embrace the criminal annals, the legal and illegal punishments, as well as those 
other incidents that serve to make up a county's history. To many this will be the most interesting 
portion of the volume. 


On another page will be found a copy of an old oil painting now in the possession of Mr. 
Whiting. It represents Rich bar, on the middle fork of Feather river, in the summer of 1851. The 
painting was made by Thomas C. Moore, of Harper's Ferry, Virginia, a pioneer of 1849. At the 
time it was executed the artist was" mining on the river near by, in company with Mr. Whiting and 
others. As shown by the picture, a flume is constructed, carrying all the water of the stream, the 
river bed being drained in this manner to be worked by the miners with the occasional use of a 
rude hand pump. Near the lower end of the flume is seen a building, used as a trading-post. The 
other buildings are the camping places of the miners. Claims were forty feet square on the bar, 
and the river bed and bar were both exceedingly rich. 


During the four years that Plumas was attached to Butte county, there was no court of justice 
in this section, except the migratory court of Squire Bonner, an individual whose peculiarities will 
be related a few paragraphs below. For ordinary cases of disagreement, the miners had a rapid 
and satisfactory way of adjusting affairs, that admitted of no appeal, and was concurred in by all. 


The miners' court was an institution much venerated and respected by the law-abiding gold- 
seekers, and as deeply feared by the wrong-doer. Occasionally mistakes were made in the sum 
mary manner with which they dealt out justice to offenders, and it frequently nay, generally 
happened that the punishment inflicted bore but faint resemblance to the penalties borne upon the 
statute book. Law, as administered in court=, was but little regarded ; but to do even and exact 
justice was the aim and generally the result of the proceedings in a miners' court. When any dis 
pute occurred between rival claimants to a piece of ground, when any one complained of a wrong 
of any kind done him, when robbery had been committed or a murder perpetrated, the people were 
called upon to assemble. They generally met on Sunday, in and aroun-i some trader's cabin, or 
the most commodious saloon in the camp; and began proceedings by the election of a chairman, or 
judge, whichever was required by the nature of the business in hand, and a clerk. If it was a crim 
inal case, a sheriff, jury, and two attorneys, one to prosecute and one to defend, were also selected. 
Witnesses were sworn and interrogated, the jury deliberated and decided, the judge directed the 
sheriff to execute the verdict, and that official did it to the very letter and spirit. If the business 
to be attended to was simply the adjustment of disputed claims, the matter was treated coolly and 
dispassionately, and from the decision of the meeting there was no appeal. In nearly every min 
ing camp such assemblages as these occurred, and it is the boast of the participants that justice was 
more certain and expeditious under that system than it has been since it began traveling in the 
regular avenues of the law. A few instances will serve to illustrate the method of pioneer courts. 

In the spring of 1851 Mr. F. B. Whiting was elected mining recorder by the miners on Rich 
bar, middle fork, and was allowed by the laws of the district the sum of one dollar for each claim he 
recorded. The question soon arose whether he was to be allowed one dollar for each claim of 200 
feet allowed by the laws, or only that sum for the notice of a dozen men associating together as a 
company, and recording a dozen claims at once. A miners' meeting was called to pass upon the 
point. Mr. Whiting presented his argument, and a plea in favor of uniting claims in one notice was 
made by a lawyer named Polk. The matter was then submitted to a vote by the whole meeting, 
and was decided in favor of paying one dollar for the claim of each individual. Mr. Whiting 
enjoyed his triiimph, and says that the perquisites of the office only supplied him with enough 
money to set the ten-pins rolling occasionally, and to treat his friends. 

At Rocky bar, in 1852, one Gran i son McCubban kept a boarding-house for the entertainment 
of miners working on the bar. Aiding him in ministering to the wants of his numerous patrons 
were a man and wife, who one day called for a cash settlement from their employer, and were 
refused. They immediately made complaint, and a meeting was called to investigate the affair. 
A complete court was organized, including a sheriff, and the case was presented to the jury by the 
defrauded couple. Now the sheriff was a zealous officer, and was not content with simply serving 
the process of the court, and waiting to enforce judgment. He kept his official eye well o| en, and 
espied the defendant suspiciously engaged among the brush on the side of the mountain. He kept 
his counsel, and abided the result of the trial. A verdict of seventy-five dollars was soon rendered 
in favor of the plaintiffs, but the defendant asserted that he had no money. Now was the time 
for the vigibmt sheriff to prove himself equal to the emergency. He stalked up the hill, examined 
the place where he had previously observed the defendant, and found a quantity of dust. From 
this the damages were paid the plaintiffs, as well as ten dollars to the sheriff for his services, and 
all were happy, save the defeated and discomfited McCubbnn. 



Among the early institutions of the county was the migratory court of his honor Squire Bon- 
ner. In the su-nmer of 1852 Thomas D. Bonner was elected justice of the peace in Quartz town 
ship. He was not the only justice in the Plumas section of Butte county, as is generally supposed 
and frequently asserted, for the records of Butte county show that Edwin Fitch in 1851, J. B. 
McGee in 1852, and William Robertson in 1853, qualified as justices of Quartz township, and S. S. 
Horton, Samuel Carpenter, D. F. H. Dow, Lewis Stark, and H. M. Gazley for Mineral township 
during the same period. Nevertheless, Mr. Bonner seems to have been the only one who made 
any effort of consequence to discharge the duties of his office. Justice, in his hands, was not 
merely a blind goddess, with balances and sword, standing by her altar, ready to hear the plaints of 
the afflicted. Far from it. She was rather a lynx-eyed detective ; or, more properly, a knight- 
errant, going from place to place seeking for an opportunity to apply the balances and use the 
sword. Realizing that but little business would come to him at Holmes's Hole, on Rush creek, 
where he resided, Squire Bonner put his "justice shop" on wheels, metaphorically speaking, and 
traveled from camp to camp in search of controversies upon which to adjudicate and collect the 
necessary fees. Upon all such journeys he was accompanied and fortified by a book, commonly 
supposed to be a law book of some kind, which served not only as a badge of authority, but a book 
of reference and a convenient substitute for the holy scriptures upon which to swear witnesses. 
Thus equipped, he made his appearance one day at Nelson Point, and announced himself as pre 
pared to deal out justice with a liberal hand to all who felt called upon to indulge . in the 
commodity. There appeared before his honor one Ransmire, who sued for a writ of restitution 
and $500 damages against a certain party who held adverse possession of a mining claim to which 
he felt himself entitled. The ^uit was commenced, and created much dissatisfaction among the 
miners, who had been accustomed to adjust all difficulties, and looked upon the invasion of a 
migratory justice with an unfriendly eye. Let it be remarked that it was one of the inflexible 
rules of Bonner's court that the fees must be paid. That was what he held court for, he said, and 
unless the costs of court were promptly liquidated, there was no joy in life for the worthy justice. 
It was customary for him to decide against the party whom he thought was the best able to pay 
the costs. Good business principles would not permit him to do otherwise. Another rule of his 
court was to allow no witness to testify until he had exhibited his poll-tax receipt ; and at one time, 
on Rich bar, middle fork, he made Aaron Winters and several others weigh out three dollars, in 
dust, and pay it to him for their poll tax, before he wouM permit them to go upon the stand to give 
testimony. But to return to the case in hand. As the trial progressed, his honor began to feel 
uneasy about the costs. The plaintiff had nothing, and so the acute justice had already determined 
to decide in his favor, and thus throw the costs upon the defendant, but he feared he would be 
unable to collect them. He therefore made an order that the defendant be required to give bonds 
for costs of suit, and five hundred dollars damages, so that a decision in favor of the plaintiff would be 
sure to gain this modern Soloiiion his coveted fees. The defendant was not overanxious to have the 
trial proceed, and refused to give the required sureties. Quite an indignant crowd had assembled 
to witness the contest, and when the mandate for bonds was issued they became doubly indignant. 
A meeting was at once called, and a committee appointed to wait upon the dignified justice, and 
request him to adjourn his court sine die. The members of the committee, J. H. Whitlock, Dr. 
Vaughan, J. Bass, Dr. Lewis, and Mr. Walker, walked into the court-room, and the spokesman thus 
addressed the court : 


" May it please your honor, I have been instructed by the people of the state to say to you 
that we can find no precedent in law where the defendant in a civil suit can be compelled to give 
security either for costs or damages in advance of judgment." 

" Whom do you represent in this case, sir?" 

" I represent the people." 

" The people have nothing to do with this case. My ruling must be complied with, or the 
parties will be bound over in contempt of this court." . 

" If this court chooses to place itself in contempt of the people," answered the spokesman, " it 
must take the consequences. In the name of the people, I now command you to adjourn this court, 
and not convene it again." 

It was now supper-time, anil the worthy justice adjourned court till ten o'clock the next morn 
ing; but before the hour arrived he was seen ascending the mountain, his legs dangling on either 
side of a patient pack-mule. He had a seat of jnstice-in Onion valley, many feet higher in the air 
than the river, which he called his higher court, where he sat to hear appeals from his decisions in 
his lower courts. Here he continued the case without the presence of the defendant, and gave 
judgment, being unable to either enforce the judgment or collect the desired costs. At another 
time, he undertook to hold court at Rocky bar, but was compelled to hastily adjourn proceedings 
to his higher court in Onion valley. 

He sent his constable, Tom Schooley, to Rich bar in 1852, to serve a summons and attachment 
on a certain miner. When Schooley found the defendant in the suit, he made known his business 
and read his papers. The defendant was surrounded by a number of fellow-miners, who one and 
all laid down their implements, and listened to the reading. When this was done, they told the 
constable, in the expressive language of the miners, to " git," to climb the hill without delay. 
After some hesitation he accepted the advice, but happening to drop some offensive remark, the 
sovereigns started after him with sticks and stones, and it is asserted that the best time ever made up 
Rich bar hill was made by Tom Schooley that day. This valiant constable was afterwards hanged 
at Victoria for murder. Squire Bonner's official career was brought to an end upon the organiza 
tion of Plum as county. He wrote a history of the life of James Beckwourth (spoken of in the 
history of Sierra valley), and soon after left for more congenial scenes. 


In the early spring of 1852 there stood near the head of Slate creek, just south of the line 
dividing Plumas and Sierra counties, a public house, kept by a Mr. Dunba^r. There the weary 
traveler could find a night's lodging, something to eat, and a drink of the ardent. Transient 
sojourners were the only class accommodated at the place. Within a few miles were the mining 
camps of C handlerville, Port Wine, Canyon creek, Hopkins' creek, Sears' diggings, Onion valley, 
and several others. Dunbar had no family, the only attache of the premises besides himself being 
his cook, Fillmore. One day when Dunbar was absent, inquiry was made of his whereabouts, and 
Fillmore replied that he had gone below to buy goods. Several weeks elapsed, but Dunbar did 
not return. In the mean time the cook carried on the business, and finally closed the house and 
went to San Francisco. The suspicions of the community as to the probable fate of Dunbar were 
aroused, and steps were taken to have Fillmore arrested and brought back. Upon his arrival he 
was examined before a justice at Gibsonville ; but no criminating evidence being adduced, he was 
discharged. He then took up his residence at Dunbar's house. The snow at this time, the first of 


May, was still quite deep. A guest at the house one day took his gun to shoot some wolves, and 
started across the corral after them. In passing through the snow, he stepped upon some bare 
ground, which gave way beneath him. An examination of the spot revealed the dead body of a 
man wrapped in a tent-sheet. He immediately made known his discovery, and the body was 
identified as that of the missing Dunbar. The news spread rapidly, and an intense excitement 
prevailed. Several hundred miners gathered at Dunbar's, a miners' meeting was organized, a 
judge elected, clerk appointed, and twelve jurors chosen for the trial of Fillmore. Among the 
many points of evidence brought out against the cook was the testimony given by a young man, 
who stated that he asked for work of Fillmore, and was told that he could cut down a tree that 
stood near the house, providing he could fall it in a certain direction, pointing to the spot where 
Dunbar was buried. The immense branches of the tree would have covered the grave; but the 
young man declined to do the work, as he was no axman. Fillmore was found guilty of murder, 
and sentenced to be hung. The frightened man volunteered a confession, in which he accused 
Harry Miller and Tom Parks of being the real murderers, and that the act was committed in his 
presence, he having had no hand in the affair, other than in the secretion of the body. Miller and 
Parks were summoned, and tried before the court. Miller was an intelligent, fluent man, and made 
an eloquent appeal in his own behalf. But the chain of circumstance was found complete, and the 
jury, after fifteen minutes' deliberation, found a verdict of murder in the first degree. A general 
vote was taken on the nature of the punishment to be administered, and the decision was unani 
mous in favor of hanging. The judge then pronounced the sentence, and with the customary 
promptness of such tribunals, it was immediately executed. Th,e doomed men were marched up the 
hill ; and on reaching the first tree suitable for a gallows, Fillmore was strung up by the neck. 
Proceeding farther, another tree was reached, and there Parks was hung. The last prisoner, 
Miller, was halted beneath another tree, and there, as before, an opportunity was afforded the 
criminal to reveal his crime. He made a last eloquent appeal to be spared, but was quickly raised 
from the earth, as the others bad been. Some one called out: "Let him down; he may confess." 
Instantly twenty pistols were drawn by the miners ; and with terrible earnestness the avenging 

spirits shouted : " Let him hang, d n him ; let him hang like a dog. The man who lowers 

Miller dies with him." Nobody cared to do^it. The bodies remained hanging until the next 
morning, when a committee returned and interred them near the places where they had atoned for 
their crimes. The subsequent developments never tended in the slightest degree to vindicate the 
characters of the victims. 


Sometime in the fall of 1853, a man named Gilson was keeping a boarding-house on Nelson 
creek, at a point called Henpeck flat, in which occupation he was ably seconded by the exertions of 
his wife. Women were a rara avis in the mountain mining camps at that time, and were the 
object of a great deal of attention and admiration from the crowds of the sterner sex who had so 
long been deprived of the pleasure of their society. Henpeck flat was no exception to this rule ; 
but be it remarked, that the utmost respect and propriety pervaded the feelings and actions of the 
boarders who sat about Mrs. Gilson's bountiful table towards the lady who placed the products of 
her culinary skill before them. There was one black sheep in the flock, a man by the name of 
Wilson, whose wiles and blandishments so worked upon the feelings of the lady that she left the 
house and committed herself to the care of the faithless boarder, and lodged no more under her 
husband's roof. This proceeding was not calculated to inspire peaceable feelings in the breast of 


the wronged husband"; and a few days later his wrath was excited to fever heat by seeing through 
the window of a neighbor's house the faithless wife and her seducer sitting together on a sofa. 
Taking his pistol, the outraged husband walked up to the window and fired from the outside, 
inflicting a wound upon the man within, which was supposed to be mortal, but from which the 
man finally recovered. A dozen of Mr. Gilson's boarders were witnesses of the act, but made no 
effort to prevent it. A tremendous excitement soon spread up and down the creek, and a miners' 
meeting was called, attended by nearly a thousand men, Gilson being held in custody. It was 
decided to try the prisoner ; and a jury of twelve men was selected, a man named Clownie 
appoint! d judge, and Charles Whitlock, clerk. The prosecution was conducted by William White, 
and the defense by Major James H. Whitlock, now postmaster at Quiucy. The trial continued for 
three days ; and at its conclusion Gilson was acquitted, on the ground that he had but given Wilson 
his just deserts. The verdict failed to inspire Wilson with confidence in his future security, and 
as soon as he recovered from his wound he made a hasty departure for a more salubrious clime. 
Mrs. Gilson was from Michigan ; and friends of the family induced her to return home, her husband 
furnishing the requisite means. They were afterwards reconciled, and are now living together in 
conjugal felicity. 


The mode of vindicating wounded honor by a formal combat with deadly weapons has happily 
gone out of fashion ; and the challenger, instead of exciting admiration among his sex for his 
bravery and high spirit, must endure jeers .and ridicule, and is looked upon as a crank or a fool. 
Dueling is a relic of chivalry, and was formerly resorted to upon the slightest provocation from 
one gentleman to another, encounters happening between parties who had not the least enmity for 
each other. Though the practice had generally grown obsolete throughout civilized countries at 
the time California was settled up, yet it obtained considerably in this part of the country because 
of the heterogeneousness of the characters that made the population of the coast. In many cases 
the result was a harmless meeting of the combatants, an exchange of shots from bulletless pistols 
carefully prepared against accidents by prudent seconds, and an amicable settlement of difficulties 
by handshaking -after the bloodless affray. But all the duels fought in California were not so 
pleasant and peaceable, the unfortunate affairs of Gilbert and Senator Broderick being notable 
exceptions to the rule. Plumas county can also number one encounter of the kind that was not 
unattended with bloodshed and death. It occurred in the month of August, 1852. Some difficulty 
between William Leggett and John Morrison, both Englishmen, resulted in a challenge being sent 
by the former, which was accepted. The seconds were Horace Buckland and Washington Justice. 
The scene of the combat was at the head of Missouri bar, on the east branch of Feather river, and 
the weapons selected were Colts' revolvers. The duel was fought in the presence of several 
hundred spectators. Three shots were exchanged. At the last, Leggett fell, mortally wounded, 
and soon expired. His body was buried on the spot where it fell. 


A negro by the name of Joshua suffered the extreme penalty of Judge Lynch's court, on Rich 
bar, in July, 1852. The circumstances that led to the infliction of capital punishment are related 
as follows : On the trail leading from Buck's ranch to Smith bar, and other points on the river, 
was a public house owned and kept by a Mr. Bacon. He employed the negro Joshua to attend to 


the culinary matters of the house. Bacon had formerly mined on the east branch, and had accum 
ulated quite a number of valuable specimens of gold. He made no secret of the fact, having shown 
the articles to different persons, the knowledge of his possession being held also by his cook, as was 
shown by subseqiient events. One morning in July a stranger made his appearance on the river, 
coming by the trail from Buck's ranch, and brought intelligence that was startling indeed to the 
miners there. He stated that on his way thither he had stopped at Bacon's ranch to rest and 
refresh himself. He had found no one in the house ; the table was prepared as though for break 
fast, but the viands were untouched. Upon examining the premises he found in the bushes near 
by the body of a dead man, his description answering for that of Bacon. The stranger, being 
further questioned, said that he had met, below Buck's ranch, a negro man going down the road. 
Suspicion at once fastened upon Joshua, the cook, as the guilty party, and the camp was immedi 
ately in a furore of excitement. At a miners' meeting, R. E. Garland, Johnson Ford, and Frank 
Walker were selected as a committee to go in pursuit of the murderer. This same committee also 
had another job on its hands. The day before, a Mexican named Domingo had fatally stabbed a 
miner, Tom Summers, at Indian bar, and fled. In those days collisions between Americans and 
Mexicans were of frequent occurrence, every Saturday night that camp being the scene of more or 
less shooting and stabbing. This committee was in pursuit of Domingo, and, invested with its 
double mission, journeyed to the south. Joshua was closely pursued, and finally overtaken at Sac 
ramento. The last bell of the San Francisco boat was ringing, and it was about leaving, when the 
committee stepped aboard. A hasty search resulted in the discovery of Joshua in the cook's room, 
exhibiting to the functionary of that department some very fine gold specimens. He was hurriedly 
taken from the vessel, placed in a carriage, brought to Marysville, and from there conveyed up the 
river to Rich bar. An immense assembly of miners had congregated, and a more excited crowd 
could hardly be imagined than that to which the fate of Joshua was about to be intrusted. During 
his trip from Sacramento he had maintained a dogged silence, without evincing the least fear or 
trepidation, and his courage did not desert him now as the end of his career was fast approaching. 
The crowd proceeded to organize a miners' court. Old Captain Kilcannon was selected for judge, 
and Rat Smith was appointed to the temporary office of the shrievalty, and instructed to summon 
a jury of twelve men, good and true. John R. Buckbee became the prosecuting attorney, and a 
very talented young man, Mat Powell (a brother of the celebrated artist), undertook the cause of 
the prisoner. The court was convened in a large saloon, called the El Dorado, and the proceedings 
were conducted in a very orderly manner. The jury being empanneled in due form, the counsel 
for the people presented his case in a very clear and dispassionate manner, after which the counsel 
for the prisoner arose and stated his inability to offer any defense, and admitting that the evidence, 
though circumstantial, was so conclusive that he felt compelled to retire from the case. The jury 
then retired, deliberated a very short time, and brought in a unanimous verdict of guilty. The 
judge then pronounced sentence of death by hanging upon the prisoner, to be carried out in a few 
hours. Every effort on the part of the prisoner's counsel to elicit from him a confession proved 
unavailing. During the trial he had shown a stoical indifference to what was happening around 
him. In the afternoon he was taken to the hill in the rear of the town, and hung to the limb of a 
tree. While the rope was being adjusted around his neck, he very coolly took from his pocket a 
plug of tobacco, placed a quid in his mouth, and was chewing it as he swung off. He was allowed 
to hang until the next morning. During the night a new pair of boots that were on the defunct 
Joshua's feet was stolen by some high-toned thief. The next day the body was turned over to the 
tender mercies of Drs. Cronin and Day, the former of whom cut off the top of the skull, cleaned 
it, and a few days later invited Mr. Whiting to eat strawberries therefrom. He declined. 



An instance of pioneer probating, in which the Argonauts took a short cut in settling up the 
affairs of a deceased comrade, happened in Plumas county in 1853. Daniel Price, a miner work 
ing on Eagle gulch, had accumulated about ninety-nine ounces of gold-dust in working his claim, 
which was then considered worked out. Price expressed a desire to his neighbors to get from his 
claim one more ounce before abandoning it, and accordingly one day resumed his labor where he 
had left off some days previous. While engaged in excavating in the bank it gave way, almost 
instantly crushing him to death. The miners gave him a decent burial, and took charge of his 
effects. They held a meeting, at which, after an interchange of views, a committee of three respon 
sible citizens was appointed to wind up the affairs of the deceased. They were F. B. Clark, Wilson 
S. Dean, merchants, and one Johnson, a fellow-miner. Notice was given the public by posting 
written notices, requesting all persons having claims against the deceased to come forward on a cer 
tain day and present them. Such was done promptly. The accounts were properly investigated 
by the committee, and allowed or rejected as they saw fit. From the gold-dust held in trust by 
them sufficient was appropriated to liquidate the claims, and the balance was converted into gold 
coin, with which a bill of exchange was procured, and sent to the widow of the deceased in the 
east, the entire amount remitted being $1,800. Entire satisfaction was expressed by all parties con 
cerned, with this prompt and efficient method of probating property, whereby the expense and 
delay common to law courts was avoided. 


In the fall of 1853 considerable trouble was had between some of the whites and red men, in 
the north arm of Indian valley, though no general outbreak occurred. In October of that year a 
horse belonging to A. C. Light was stolen by a couple of Indians, from his ranch in the north arm. 
The thieves were captured and taken to the ranch of Jobe T. Taylor, to be tried next day by the 
settlers. Both had their arms tied, and' were guarded in Taylor's bar-room by Light. Late in the 
night Mr. Light went out for wood to replenish the fire, when his prisoners took advantage of his 
absence, untied each other with their teeth, threw off their blankets, and ran. The alarm was given, 
and Light pursued one, while Jobe Taylor and A. J. Ford followed the other.- Light emptied his 
revolver at the fugitive, but with no effect, and his man got away. The other one was overtaken, 
and, showing fight, was shot dead by Taylor. The Indian was buried by the settlers. Several "big 
talks " were had by his people about taking the body up, and burning it, according to their customs; 
but not long after, they adopted the civilized plan of burying the dead. 

The old pioneer farmer, Jobe T. Taylor, early realized the importance of cultivating the good 
will and securing the confidence of the natives in and around Indian valley. Accordingly, upon 
the first favorable opportunity ttyit presented itself, he convened at Taylor's ranch (now Taylors- 
ville) representatives of the whites and Indians, to agree upon some amicable plan of adjusting 
difficulties. The settlers were represented by J. T. Taylor, R. D. Smith, W. T. Ward, A. J. Ford, 
and others. Among the Indians were Cheebeelicum, their chief (called by the whites Civilicum), 
and a large number of their principal braves. The meeting was held in November, 1853. An 
Indian boy, Jack, acted as interpreter. The boy had been to the Atlantic states with a man who 
lived in Little Grass valley. The result of the powwow was satisfactory to all parties concerned. 
The Indians of Indian and American valleys, according to their own statements, had long been 


subject to periodical incursions from neighboring tribes the Pit River, Mill Creek, Hat Creek, and 
others all of whom were denominated as " Picas," or enemies. There and then a pledge was made, 
that the rights and wrongs of each class should be considered in common, and that equal justice 
should be meted out to white man and to Indian when any wrong had been done. But a short 
time elapsed before the good faith manifested in the treaty-making was put to the test by both 
races in two different occurrences. 

On the eighteenth of December, 1853, George Rose, a blacksmith, entered Taylor's house and 
called for a drink. Jobe Taylor was behind the bar, and near the stove was seated an old Indian. 

Perceiving him, Rose asked, " What business has that d d Indian in this house ? " Taylor 

replied that he was a good Indian, and only wanted to get warm. Rose walked up to the poor 
native, pulled his revolver, and shot him dead. The brutal murderer then mounted his horse and 
rode away. The next day a posse of settlers went to arrest Rose, and found him barricaded in his 
shop, three miles below Taylor's. When the crowd was within fifty yards of the place, Rose ordered 
them to stop. After parleying some time, Rose agreed to let Fayette Gibson advance alone and 
enter his cabin. In a few moments Gibson managed to get the drop on him, and made him throw 
up his hands. He was then disarmed and taken to Taylor's ranch, where preparations were made 
to try him. W. T. Ward acted as judge, and the following persons as jurymen : J. B. Pribble, 
Thomas Watson, M. Hussey, Fayette Gibson, Jackson Brown, M. A. Dunlap, R. Hough, S. P. 
Davis, S. H. Opdyke, J. McKinney, Henry Ellis. The guardsmen of Rose were William Logan, 
Jobe T. Taylor, John Decker, Jackson Ford, and six others, who were instructed to see that the 
prisoner did not escape, and that the sentence be carried into execution. Following is the verdict : 

INDIAN VALLEY, Dec. 19, 1853. 

We, of the jury in the case of George Rose for shooting an Indian on the 18th hist., find the 
prisoner guilty of murder in the first degree. 

[SIGNED.] J. B. PRIBBLE, Foreman. 

Then followed the names of the jury. The order of the court, set down in writing, read as 
follows : 

We, the undersigned, appoint the 20th inst., before 2 o'clock p. M., for the execution of the 
above-named prisoner. W. T. WARD, President. 

GEO. E. R. ST. FELIX, Secy. 

The sentence of the court was fully carried out at the appointed time. The other case referred 
to occurred about the middle of January, 1854. An Indian, son of the North Arm chief, Rattle 
snake, stole all the eatables and blankets from the cabin of Isaac Hall and Howard Vandcgriff, at 
the Hall ranch. He was pursued, captured, and taken to the house of W. T. Ward, where he was 
tried by a jury of six men, of whom J. B. Pribble Avas foreman. He was sentenced to be hung, and 
the execution was held between the ranches of Ward and Hall, on the north side of the valley. A 
number of Indians were present, who perfectly acquiesced in the proceedings. 


Regularly organized vigilance committees were not so numerous in Plumas as in some of her 
sister counties in the early times. Miners' law was administered everywhere, but by special 
courts organized for the occasion, and not by an association of vigilantes, as was often the case in 
other places. One such organization as this existed on Nelson creek in 1853-54, for the purpose 


of protection against the rough characters that flooded the mines. In 1853 they gave notices to 
leave to a great many of these undesirable citizens ; but as the warnings were considered salutary, 
and were quickly acted upon, no occasion arose for the display of violence. At one time, in 1854, a 
man named Peter Taffe was stabbed to death by John Baxter, under such circumstances that the 
vigilance committee, after due trial of the case, acquitted the defendant. They went a step farther 
than this, and aided the man who had but just been their prisoner to elude the proper officers of 
the law and make good his escape. This latter act failed to please the officials, who sought a 
means of punishing them. The committee took occasion the following winter to clear their com 
munity of a few objectionable characters, and in the course of their proceedings committed some 
act that laid them open to a charge of robbery by J. J. Fegan, one of the men on their black-list. 
This was the opportunity the officials desired. Indictments for robbery were found in February, 
1855, against James Sherwin, A. Hargrave, Jonathan Meeker, Captain Hardy, James Woden, J. S. 
Eoot, L. Cross, Ed. Sterling, M. H. Farley, M. Parker, Fred McDonald, and Sylas Aldrich, and the 
defendants were arrested and incarcerated in the Quincy jail. They were all quickly bailed out 
but Sherwin, who refused to give bonds. He lay in jail until April, when a nolle prosequi was 
entered, and all were discharged from custody. At the same time A. L. Page was also discharged, 
having been in "durance vile" on a charge of obstructing the officers when serving tho warrants of 
arrest upon the vigilantes. 


On the morning of November 1, 1854, four Chinamen, on their way from Elizabethtown to Marys- 
ville, were attacked by two mounted Mexicans near the head of Walker's plains, and three of the 
inoffensive foreigners brutally murdered. The fourth one, severely wounded, succeeded in crawling 
into the bushes. A short time after, Peter O'Ferrall and Louis Wagner, packers, discovered the dead 
Chinamen lying in the road, and as soon as possible notified Sheriff Sharpe of the murder. About 
dusk of the same day the Mexicans rode into Quincy, and as suspicion had already fastened upon 
them, the sheriff and his deputies were on the lookout. Perceiving their danger, they put spurs to 
their horses and rode away, closely pursued by the sheriff's posse. When a half-mile from town, 
the sheriff had almost reached one of them, when the desperado turned in his saddle, leveled his pistol 
at Sharpe, and fired. He missed his aim, but shot the sheriffs horse in the neck. Immediately after, 
the man was captured, but the other dismounted, and made good his escape in the bushes. In Feb. 
ruary, 1855, a grand jury was convened, and the first indictment for murder appearing on the 
records was found against Jacinto Arro, the Mexican. Bills were also found against him for highway 
robbery, and for assault with intent to kill. The case came on for trial in the February term of the 
district court before Judge Daingerfield. John R. Buckbee was prosecuting attorney, while P. O. 
Hundley was assigned as counsel for the prisoner. He was assisted by M. H. Farley and Tom Cox. 
The jury returned a verdict of guilty. An appeal was taken to the supreme court, and on the 
hearing before that body, a new trial was granted the prisoner. The case came up again, and a 
change of venue was granted to Yuba county, where the indictment was dismissed for informality, 
and the prisoner given his freedom. 



Early in the spring of 1856 Bill McCartney and Jim Grace concluded to embark in the express 
business, running between Gibsonville and Nelson Point. They held a powwow over the scheme 
one morning at Onion valley, a stranger named Lyons being present. While they were consulting 
about the enterprise, old Simeon Fowler of Nelson Point walked in, and stated that he had just 
found the dead body of a Chinaman lying on the trail on Washington hill. McCartney proposed 
that they resolve themselves into a coroner's jury at once, and hold an inquest over the remains. 
This was agreed to, and McCartney, Grace, and Lyons repaired to the spot, made an examination, 
and arrived at the unanimous decision that Mr. Chinaman had met his death through exhaustion 


and exposure in the snow. On the person of the deceased were found three dollars and seventy- 
five cents, together with a fine revolver. The question of disposing of the body was easily solved, 
but the disposition of the effects found thereon was a subtle problem about which it was difficult to 
reach a conclusion. Finally McCartney struck upon a brilliant idea, and said : " Well, Mr. Lyons, 
you take the cash. Mr. Grace and me are about going into the express business, and we shall need 
that revolver." The stranger was surprised and disgusted, and walked away, remarking: "Not any 
for me, gentlemen. Take it all yourselves. We don't rob the dead where I was raised." 


On the eighteenth of October, 1857, in Indian valley, Caleb Holliday was shot and killed by 
Stephen D. Shore, with a Colt's revolver. Shore immediately fled, and returned overland to 
Missouri, escaping those who were in pursuit of him. The grand jury indicted him May 7, 1858, 
for murder, but he never returned to answer the charge ; and, so far as is known, has not since 
visited the state, the climate probably being too sultry for him. Jacob Dertsh was shot dead 
November 18, 1856, in Indian valley, near the Deutsche or Dutchman's ranch, now known as the 
Matt Knoll ranch, by Henry Van Orman, with a shot-gun. Van Orman was indicted for murder 
April 10, 1857, but had fled the country, and never returned. Another homicide occurred at 
Smith bar on the east branch of Feather river, September 2, 1 857, in which George Jaque drew a 
revolver and shot John McKinzie, killing him instantly. Jaque immi diately emigrated to Fraser 
river to avoid punishment for his crime, and was never captured. He was indicted for murder 
October 15, 1857. % 


On Jamison creek, in 1858, Tim O'Brien was employed in a mining claim belonging to Nelson 
Stewart, William Ford, and Simon Cenlin. One day he left suddenly and very mysteriously, noti 
fying no one of his intended departure. One circumstance that made his absence look queer was 
that the company owed him for two weeks' work, and it generally is a pretty strong incentive that 
can draw a man from wages due him. Pap Stewart was both alarmed and suspicious, and started 
in pursuit of Tim. The fugitive had stayed all night at Gibsonville, and left early the next morn 
ing in a heavy snow-storm, hiring a man to go with him to Rabbit creek, to whom he had liberally 
paid twenty-five dollars for such service. From there he took the stage to Marysville. When 
Stewart arrived there, O'Brien had just left on the stage for Sacramento. Accompanied by an 
officer, the pursuit was continued and the stage finally overtaken, upon which the driver was 
ordered to halt. At the sight of Stewart the Irishman wilted, and cried out, " I have it ; here it 


is." At the same time handing over a chunk of pure gold weighing eighty-one ounces. The officer 
took the gold, and they went hack to Marysville, where he managed the business so well that the 
owners never got a cent of it. 


The first legal executions in Plumas county were those of John Jenkins and Thomas Elder, both 
of whom were hanged on the same day. John Jenkins was indicted by the grand jury June 21, 1859, 
for the murder of Sterling McCarthy on Light's ranch, Indian valley, May 25, 1859. On the fifteenth 
of July he was brought to trial before Judge Peter Van Clief, then sitting on the district bench. 
W. D. Sawyer, district attorney, appeared for the people, while Tom Cox and Alexander Baldwin 
defended the prisoner. On the second day of trial the jury rendered a verdict of guilty of murder 
in the first degree. The sentence of death was pronounced July 23, and the day of execution fixed 
for September 16. The case was appealed to the supreme court, and the judgment confirmed. 
Jenkins was again sentenced at the October term, and on the twenty-eighth of October, 1859, 
suffered the extreme penalty of the law. Thomas Elder Avas indicted July 8, 1859, for the murder 
of Michael Myers, on Eich gulch, June 24, 1859. The homicide was the result of a dispute about a 
mining claim on Rich gulch. Elder secreted himself behind a log, and upon the appearance of 
Myers discharged the contents of his shot-gun into his body. Quite a number of miners were at 
that time working on Rich gulch and Rush creek, but many of them were attending a dance down 
at Rich bar. Those remaining on the gulch, when informed of the killing, assembled together, and 
the proposition made to lynch him was voted upon. By a majority of one, it was decided to surrender 
Elder to the authorities at Quincy. Elder, after killing Myers, endeavored to escape, but the miners 
gave vigorous pursuit, and, aided by the sagacity of an Indian, they tracked and overtook him. On 
his way to Quincy, Elder directed the attention of the miners who were escorting him to the limb of 
a tree that would make a convenient gallows, and suggested that they hang him then and there. 
But they proceeded onward and delivered him into the hands of the sheriff. His case came to trial, 
and he was convicted on the nineteenth of July, 1859 ; sentence of death was pronounced upon him 
by Judge Van Clief, July 22. His attorney, Thomas Cox, appealed the case to the supreme court, 
but the verdict was confirmed, and the day of execution was fixed for October 28, the same as that 
of Jenkins. The double hanging took place in Hangman's ravine, near Quincy, in the pi-esence of a 
large crowd, Sheriff E. C. Chambers being master of ceremonies. 


A derm an resident of Nelson Point, Adolph Rhinsmeyer by name, desiring to be clothed with 
citizenship and enjoy the privilege of wielding the potent weapon of freemen, the ballot, appeared 
before the district court in October, 1859, for that purpose, accompanied by his attorney, P. O. 
Hundley. Doctor Vaughan, also of Nelson Point, and entertaining the same political views as the 
applicant, was requested by Mr. Hundley to take the stand and testify to the good moral character 
of the embryo voter. Without saying a word, the doctor marched up to the stand and was sworn. 

"Doctor Vaughan, do you know the applicant, Mr. Rhinsmeyer?" asked the attorney. 

"Yes, sir." 

" What is his reputation in the community in which he lives?" 

" A damned scoundrel, sir." 


" Ve ish got de wrong vitness," whispered the anxious applicant in his attorney's ear. 

Doctor Vaughan was permitted to retire rather hastily, and another witness was procured who 
was not so well acquainted with the man's character, and he was finally admitted to the circle of 
American citizenship. 


A curious and somewhat amusing incident occurred at Quincy, in 1860. In September of that 
year, a man named Jim Barton was held in custody for burglariously opening a safe at Jamison 
City, and getting caught afterwards. Bail was granted him ; but being friendless as well as 
dishonest, he could not procure bondsmen who would be responsible for his reappearance in court. 
To obtain his temporary freedom, he was compelled to deposit one thousand dollars in gold coin in 
the hands of John D. Goodwin, the county clerk. Goodwin had a vault or safe in his office; but 
being afraid to trust its impregnancy, deposited the bag of gold in his office stove for safe keeping. 
The same day a fire was built in the stove by Goodwin, who had forgotten about the treasure it 
contained, and the bag was destroyed. On the same night an attempt was made to rob the 
clerk's safe, supposed to have been done by Barton to recover his property. The folloAving 
morning, upon learning of the attempted burglary, Goodwin remembered the disposition he had 
made of the funds, anxiously rushed to the stove and raked over the ashes, finding the ducats all 
safe and sound. Barton never appeared in court, and the bail money was forfeited. 


In the fall of 1860 a rather depraved character, who went by the title of Ransom Griswold, 
came to Honey Lake valley with two ten-gallon kegs of whisky strapped on his mule, his purpose 
being to trade the liquid commodity to the immigrants who came into the valley. He was from 
Long valley, and was ready for any kind of a barter ; so, as a purely business venture, he succeeded 
in exchanging his stock of whisky for an immigrant's daughter, the other party to the transaction 
being the girl's father. Griswold, with his newly acquired property, returned to Long valley, and 
leased her to some stock men as a cook. At that time she was fourteen years of age; but six or 
eight months later he married her, and in the spring of 1861 moved on the Humbug ranch on the 
middle fork. Here his wife was again engaged in cooking for stock men, and one of them, Jim 
Bradley, becoming enamored of her, negotiated with Griswold for her sale to him. The purchase 
was soon concluded ; and the trio packed their effects on horses and started for Quincy to get the 
marriage contract canceled, that there might be no future trouble about the title-deed to the girl. 
On their way thither they stopped at Mr. Trimble's place, where the girl wished to remain until 
her possessors returned ; but Mr. Trimble would not hear to it, and made them go away, advising 
them to go home and behave themselves. In a short time Griswold disappeared suddenly, and did 
not return until the next March, the neighbors supposing him to be dead. During his absence 
Mrs. Griswold consoled herself for his loss by becoming the temporary property of Bradley, and 
living with him in Long valley. Finally the lost husband returned and took possession of his house 
and ranch again. He lived quietly alone at his place for some time. On the eighteenth of June, 
1863, James Byers came along with a small band of cattle, and after conversing a few moments 
with Griswold, continued on the road towards Beckwourth. He was accompanied a short distance 
by Griswold, who carried an oil can, and a keg with a bail to it, to get some water from a spring. 
Having filled them with water, Griswold went back, and Byers continued on his way. He had not 


gone far before he heard the report of a gun, and looking back before leaving the valley, saw 
Griswold's house in flames. On account of his cattle lie was not able to return at. once. An 
examination of the ruins, however, revealed the remains of Griswold lying in their midst, with the 
can on one side of him and the iron hoops of the keg on the other. The manner of his death has 
always remained a mystery; but from the position of the water vessels it was supposed that he was 
shot while entering his cabin, and that the murderer had set fire to the house to destroy the 
evidence of the crime. After the death of Griswold, Bradley married the woman, and is still living 
with her, in easy circumstances. 


In the fall of 1860 E. H. Bush, a resident of Indian valley, started on a trip to Virginia City, 
Nevada. He was accompanied as far as Taylorville by a young man named Jones, at which place 
they each purchased a pair of boots of Hosselkus, from the same case. This little circumstance fur 
nished the key afterwards to some important testimony. Mr. Bush made his trip to Virginia City, 
and returned by way of Mohawk valley, stopping at J. P. Hill's for the night. Shortly after his 
arrival two Mexicans rode up, took supper, and went on in the direction of Jamison City, where 
there was a large settlement of Spaniards at the time. In the morning Mr. Bush departed for 
Quincy, eight miles below. Eight or ten days afterward Abel Jackson was passing along the road 
near Jackson's ranch, when his dog discovered the body of Bush hidden a short distance to one side. 
He had been shot twice, and one of the balls had entered his forehead. His feet were bare, and lying 
beside him was a pair of old boots, entirely too small for him. Horses' tracks were found leading 
towards Grizzly valley, and a pursuit was made. At Eed Bluff, in Tehama county, Bush's horse was 
found, where it had been traded off by two Mexicans, and one of the men himself was soon caught 
.in a gambling-house and brought back to Quincy. The boots he wore were- identified by the young 
man Jones, alluded to above, as having belonged to Bush, and a mineral specimen of his from the 
Comstock lode was also discovered on the prisoner's person. On the twenty-eighth of March, 1861, 
Amada Cardinez was indicted by the grand jury. His trial was begun on the twelfth of July, before 
Judge Robert H. Taylor, and he was convicted on the following day. The day of his execution was 
fixed for August 30, 1861. Cardinez was a Mexican of the lowest and most brutal order. While 
he was incarcerated in the county jail, in the charge of Sheriff R. C. Chambers and his deputy, 
Billy Webb, Cardinez made an attempt, or was about to make one, upon the life of Webb, but was 
foiled by the sheriff's dog. For a day or two before his execution he was attended by a Mexican 
priest from Marysville, who remained with him to the last moment. The execution was performed 
in Hangman's ravine, by Sheriff R. C. Chambers, in the presence of a large assemblage. The old 
priest spoke to the felon in Spanish, with much animation and fervor, while on the scaffold. At the 
first drop the rope broke, and Cardinez cried out pitifully, " Boys, don't hang me any more," as 
they were adjusting the rope for another trial. After supper the priest repaired to Coburn's saloon, 
and bucked at a monte game all night. 


Atlas Fredonyer was indicted May 7, 1862, for an incestuous and criminal assault upon the 
person of his own daughter. His case came to trial May 12, before the court of sessions, Judge E. 
T. Hogan presiding. Patrick O. Hundley, being then district attorney, prosecuted the case ; while 
the prisoner volunteered to conduct his own defense. The evidence was conclusive and damning. 


Mr. Hundley made a strong argument, which carried conviction to the mind of every juror. Fre- 
donyer then opened his case, and by subterfuge and windy argument, endeavored to prolong the 
trial and gain time. All this while a young man from Honey Lake valley, Avho was confined in Fre- 
donyer's cell for horse-stealing, was making a laborious effort for liberty. Fredonyer held the court 
for four days, while the young man sank a shaft and tunnel under the floor of the jail. Just as lie 
got the avenue of escape completed, and while Fredonyer was still talking against time in the court 
room, three other prisoners, confined in different cells, told the sheriff that a fresh, earthy smell came 
from Fredonyer's apartment. An examination proved the correctness of their impressions, and the 
plot was frustrated just in the nick of time, for the birds would have flown that night. When the 
matter was related in the court-room Fredonyer closed his argument very suddenly, and for his 
pains received a sentence of six years in the state prison. Subsequently, James Duesler, always 
interceding for the good, bad, or indifferent, started a petition, and had Fredonyer pardoned ; but 
he never returned to Plumas county. The jail used at the time of the trial was the old log house 
standing at the head of Bradley street in Quincy, which was built in 1855. 


The lynching of John Ross and Eobert Williams, occurring as it did in the year 1864, when 
the law's inefficiency could afford no extenuation for the people's offense, and when the extent of 
the victims' crime was wholly inadequate to the punishment inflicted, was truly a lamentable affair, 
and one well calculated to inspire a horror of mob justice. In the early part of July Ross and 
Williams had been arrested, taken before E. H. Metcalf. justice of the peace at Spanish Ranch, and 
examined on a charge of sluice-robbing on Silver creek. For want of evidence sufficient to implicate 
them, the accused men were discharged. Sundry miners, not satisfied with this result, took them in 
charge, marched them up to Silver creek, and extorted confessions from them by threats of hanging. 
Men then came to Quincy and lodged a complaint witli the district attorney, and on the twelfth of 
July, 1864, an indictment was found against John Ross and Robert Williams for " willfully and 
maliciously entering a dwelling-house with intent to steal." The case came to trial on the 
eighteenth, in the county court, Judge A. P. Moore presiding. They were defended by J. D. 
Goodwin, Esq., who succeeded in getting them cleared. The prisoners were in charge of Sheriff E. 
H. Pierce, and when their freedom was secured they were warned by their counsel not to take 
leave of the town during the day-time, as the feeling against them was very strong in the breasts of 
the miners, and they would endanger their lives by venturing forth. But this sound advice was 
unheeded ; they left the jail, where they would have been safe, and boldly walked into the street. 
Immediately they were surrounded by a howling mob, blind to reason, who hustled them out of 
town, proceeding several miles, when they hung the unfortunate men to a tree. When the last 
sparks of life were extinguished, the bodies were taken down and buried on what is known as the 
Island, near Spanish Ranch. During all this time neither the sheriff nor any of his deputies was to 
be found, they having prudently discovered pressing business elsewhere, to avoid the necessity of 
interfering with a mob which they well knew would accomplish what it undertook. 


Perhaps the most vigorously contested trial ever held in the courts of Plumas county was that 
of the People versus Robert Francis, in May, 1869. The circumstances that led to the trial are 
briefly related as follows: Francis, a Canadian, though of Irish nativity, was a miner on Sawpit 

9&.te&) &&&3^~ 


flat. On one occasion, in the latter part of the summer of 1868, ho had had a disagreement with 
one Robert Oliver, an Englishman, resulting in a pugilistic encounter, in which Francis got badly 
worsted. Much bad blood was engendered between them, and it needed but a favorable oppor 
tunity to produce, a more serious rupture. It was not long before such an opportunity occurred. 
On the night of the twenty-sixth of September a party was given by William Metcalf, the proprietor 
of the hotel. Oliver was in the dancing-hall when Francis arrived, and the hitter's friends advised 
him not to go in; but he did. While the dance was going on, Oliver collided with Francis, and a 
few sharp words passed between them. Francis then left the house for his cabin, some distance- 
away, and soon returned with his revolver. As he entered the room Oliver was boasting that he 
could whip him, at the same time using an epithet especially provoking to a Californian. Fired by 
these words, and at the affront which had been given him, Francis raised his weapon and shot his 
opponent dead. He was brought to trial on the thirty-first of May, 1869. H. L. Gear, district 
attorney, assisted by Judge Peter Van Clief, appeared for the prosecution ; and Creed Raymond, 
John R. Buckbee, G. G. Clough, and J. D. Goodwin, in behalf of the prisoner. Never had a more 
intense interest been manifested in a criminal trial in Plumas county. The case of the people was 
strongly and eloquently presented by Judge Yan Clief, and the other side was equally well 
supported by the opposing counsel, Buckbee's plea eliciting the highest admiration of the bench, 
bar, and auditors. The main defense was insanity. The jury, after a retirement of many hours, 
brought in a verdict of murder in the second degree, and Francis was sentenced to fifteen years in 
the penitentiary. An appeal was taken to the supreme court, but the judgment of the lower court 
was sustained. Strong efforts were made to secure his pardon from Governor Haight, but without 
success. After a lapse of three years, Francis was pardoned by Governor Booth, left the state, and 
now resides in Dakota!) . 


An unfortunate mistake that was attended with fatal results happened near La Porte on the 
seventeenth of September, 1871. Walter Harkness and Asa S. Harvill started out bee-hunting, 
and in the search for honey soon became separated in the woods. Harvill, noticing indications of 
the honey-makers in a tree, climbed it for examination, and while perched high up in the branches, 
Harkness, his partner, quietly approached. Noticing something stirring the limbs, he concluded it 
was a cub bear, the dense foliage preventing a clear view. Under this impression, he leveled his 
gun and fired. Immediately Harvill's hat fell to the ground, and the horrified man discovered his 
mistake upon reaching the tree. The poor man was dead. An inquest was held the same day, and 
the coroner's jury declared that " Harvill came to his death by the accidental shot of Walter 


Tuesday, the fourth of July, 1876, the one-hundredth anniversary of the nation's birth, was a 
great day in Quincy. The following account of the celebration is condensed from the columns of the 
Plumas National: Great preparations had been under way for several weeks, and as the day drew 
near, the excitement among all classes became too intense to be restrained. On Sunday and Monday 
large delegations from almost every part of the county commenced pouring into town, and it 
seemed for a while that the accommodations prepared would be entirely inadequate to the necessi 
ties of the occasion. Indian valley was well represented ; the North Fork region came to the front 
in large numbers ; the Spanish Ranch, Meadow Valley, and East Branch people were almost all on 


hand ; and Nelson, Sawpit, and La Porte were out in force. Many of our Sierra county neighbors 
also came over to celebrate with us. The Gibsonville band, with our old townsman Mr. D. C. 
Hall as leader, arrived on Monday evening, and as they drove into Main street their splendid 
music thrilled every heart with the feeling that the great day had come. The band boys were 
greeted with a salute from the cannon. The town was gayly decorated with flags and streamers, 
and a fine, shady arbor had been erected in front of the court-house. The committees had been 
busy, and everything was in readiness for the exercises on the morrow. 

At four o'clock on Tuesday the cannon's loud thunder awoke the sleepers, and proclaimed 
the centennial. At eight o'clock the assembly for parade commenced, and by nine the pro 
cession had been formed and was ready to move. Major Whitlock, of Greenville, acted as 
marshal of the day, and was ably seconded by Hon. B. W. Barnes, of La Porte, and Mr. A. J. 
Gould, of this place. The procession was formed as follows : 

1st. Gibsonville band. Next to the band came a pony-car carrying Master Clarence Kellogg 
and Miss Gracie Goodwin, the representatives of George and Martha Washington. They were 
handsomely attired in the style of '76, and supported their assumed characters with a gravity of 
deportment and demeanor highly interesting and amusing. Following this was a large car-wagon, 
neatly decorated, containing fourteen young ladies representing Columbia and the thirteen original 
states. They were beautifully dressed in white, and crowned with the name of the state which each 
had been chosen to represent. The car was drawn by four large horses, and made a fine appear 
ance. Next was a very large six-horse car, decorated with evergreens and flags, and containing 
twenty-four little girls dressed to represent the states admitted since the adoption of the consti 
tution. The children were beautifully attired in red, white, and blue, and the car formed one of 
the most interesting features of the procession. Next came a large number of boys, bearing flags, 
representing the different towns in the county. Following them were the Odd Fellows in full 
regalia, and behind them the carriage containing the president of the day, orator, reader of the 
declaration, and reader of the poems. After them came the people generally, marching two and 
two. The procession was quite a long one, and probably would have contained many more but for the 
extreme heat of the day. The procession moved around the town in the order previously arranged 
by the committee, and entered the court-house grounds by the gate on Jackson street. The repre 
sentatives of state were greeted on their arrival at the platform by " Hail Columbia," finely rendered 
by the Quincy choir. The spacious arbor was by this time completely filled, some seven or eight 
hundred persons having gathered to listen to the exercises. President G. W. Meylert opened the 
exercises by a very appropriate and patriotic introductory speech of five minutes' duration, closing by 
introducing the reader of the declaration, Mr. D. L. Haun. Mr. Haun rendered the grand old note of 
defiance in a forcible and effective manner. He was followed by the National air, "Star Spangled 
Banner," by representatives of states. Miss Jennie Wheeler, who had been appointed to read the 
poem written for the occasion by Hon. C. C.Goodwin of Virginia City, Nevada, was next introduced. 
The poem is certainly a splendid effort, highly spoken of by every one who was fortunate enough 
to listen to it. Miss Wheeler's reading was praiseworthy in the extreme. She seemed to have the 
"Spirit of '76" in full measure, and we are safe in hazarding the assertion that in no place in the 
state was the poem of the day rendered in better style. The poem was unusually interesting from 
the fact that the talented author was long a resident of Plumas county; and hosts of his old-time 
friends recalled pleasant memories as they listened to the beautiful and patriotic measures. At the 
conclusion another stirring piece of music by the band, and Miss Wheeler again took her place to 
read a beautiful little poem, contributed to the celebration by a miner poet in one of our neigh- 


boring towns. It is a splendid production, well worthy a place in the centennial collection of 
poems. More music by the band ; and then the president introduced the orator of the day, Hon. 
Charles A. Sumner of San Francisco. The general verdict was that it was a grand effort, and in 
every way worthy of the day. Some of his pictures of the old continental times were beautiful in 
the extreme; and towards the close, the excitement and enthusiasm aroused in the minds of his 
audience were intense. He closed Avith a beautiful poem. Following the oration was the song 
" America," and after more music by the band, the assemblage dispersed. After noon a pleasant 
musical entertainment was given at the town hall, under the direction of the ladies, and passed off 
agreeably. The celebration was concluded by a pyrotechnical display in the evening, and a dance 
at the Plumas House that continued until the next morning. The closing stanza of Mr. Goodwin's 
poem, which Avas a scholarly and elaborate production, Avill give a good idea of the Avhole : 

" So from these hills, these altars grand, we may prefer this prayer ; 
(rod of our fathers ! keep this land forever in thy care ; 
Keep over it our holy flag, with stars increasing bright, 
The Nation's radiant guide by day, its lamp of light by night ; 
Keep pure and leal our maids and wives, our men keep brave and true ; 
Keep thou our sages strong and wise, and as the years renew 
The generations on our shores, may they increase in might 
Until immovable in power, invincible for right, 
. When next there solemn rings the peals to mark a century fled, 
Standing before the living and above the mighty dead ; 
The men of that day shall behold a nation of such grace 
As ne'er before in splendor woke a smile of earth's sad face ; 
A nation held by justice up, whose soil by peace is trod ; 
Where Freedom's temples shed their rays sweet as the smile of God." 

The other poem referred to as the work of a miner poet is dated at Franklin Hill, June, 1876, 
and entitled, "Our Country July 4, 1876." Though not showing the literary culture and scholarly 
grace of the other, it breathes fourth a more fervid and patriotic feeling, and is full of rhythm and 
music. It contains seven stanzas, the first two of which are given : 

"Minstrels! awaken the harp from its slumber! 

Strike for our birthright so glorious and free ! 
O, listen and hear ye the jubilant thunder 
Echoing afar o'er the land and the sea. 
With holy emotion, 
With fervid devotion, 

Our hearts loudly beat for the land of our birth ; 
Respond, O ye shores, to the song of the ocean, 
And chant out our glory and pride to the earth. 

'' While our eyes fondly rest on thy banner of glory, 
The bold stars and stripes unfurled to the breeze, 
Proudly we point to the page of thy story, 

When God from on high sent the angel of peace. 
While gratefully bending, 
Our 1 hanks are ascending, 

For the great boon of freedom our heroes have won, 
And with our thanks a deep prayer is blending, 
For the people and land of great Washington." 



Some time in the fall of 1877 a horrible tragedy was enacted near Rocklin, Placer county, in 
which a man named Oder, his wife, and another man named Sargent, lost their lives. A Chinaman 
known as Ah Sam, working on the place, murdered the three in order to secure money he knew his 
employer to be possessed of. The perpetrator of the deed fled, while the people rose and drove 
every Celestial from that section of the county. Ah Sam took refuge in Plurnas county, and 
engaged himself as cook on Wolf creek. Early in the following February an officer from Placer 
county, who had received word of the whereabouts of the fugitive, came up with a warrant for 
his arrest. Imprudently making known the nature of his business, the Chinese of Quincy heard of 
it, and hastily dispatched a messenger to warn the unsuspecting cook ; so that when the officer 
arrived at Wolf creek he found only the tracks of Ah Sam's snow-shoes leading up into the deep 
snow of the mountains. Word was sent in all directions to be on the watch for the fugitive, who 
had been tracked as far as 12-mile bar, and there lost. On Thursday morning, the fourteenth of 
February, 1878, a miner named Ira Wentworth, living a mile and a half above Rich bar, while 
going to his claim near the mouth of Mill creek, came upon a Chinaman lying by a camp-fire, who 
stated that he had started from 12-mile bar to go to Silver creek, and had lost his way. He was in 
a bad condition, his feet being frozen, and his boots almost falling from them. Wentworth had 
heard nothing of the murderer or his escape, and believing his story, gave him the lunch he was 
taking to the claim for dinner, directed him to go down to Rich bar, where he would find China 
men who would take care of him. Wentworth went to work, but in the evening when he returned 
he found the Chinaman still at the camp. He followed Wentworth home, got his supper and some 
bread, inquired particularly the route to Silver creek, and left. In the morning Wentworth found 
that he had gone back to his camp of the night before, and had evidently stopped there during the 
night, and started out in the morning, the trail leading up the mountain towards the Mountain 
House. During the day he went to Rich bar, and related the incident. It was at once supposed 
that this was the fugitive murderer, and Alexander Buvinghausen and Thomas Stentz started out 
in pursuit. They followed his trail up the mountain for two miles, and finally overtook him at a 
point where there were two cliffs of barren rocks, separated by a little ravine full of -snow-covered 
brush, over which it was impossible to pass at a rapid rate. The Celestial was armed with a Colt's 
revolver, and intrenching himself behind the rocks on one side of the ravine, opened fire upon his 
pursuers, who were compelled to get behind the rocks on the opposite side for protection. In this 
position the battle was maintained for some time, the heavy storm that prevailed preventing 
accurate shooting. It being impossible to rush upon him across the treacherous snow, it was 
decided that Buvinghausen should return to Rich bar for reinforcements, in order to surround the 
stronghold, while Stentz remained to guard the prize. Before help arrived, the Chinaman resorted 
to several strategems to overcome the single adversary who remained. He tried the old game of 
putting his hat on a stick and holding it above the rocks to draw fire; but that being unsuccessful, 
he resorted to another expedient. Hailing Stentz, he stated that he was going to shoot himself, 
and immediately the discharge of a pistol was heard, following which came groans as of a man in 
his last death struggles. Stentz failed to bite at this bait, also, and soon the rascal was up and on 
the watch again. Soon Richard Livingstone and Peter McDougall arrived, followed a little later 
by Buvinghausen and a number of others. It was supposed that he would now surrender, but he 
had evidently made up his mind not to be taken alive, and treated their proposals for him to hold 
up his hands with derision and contempt. When they found he would not come out, an attempt 


was made to surround him, and on seeing this, he called out that he would kill himself. Standing 
out in full view, he placed the pistol against his abdomen and fired, falling on his face. When his 
captors reached him, they found that the ball had entered about an inch from the navel, passing 
through and lodging against the skin on his side. He was taken down to Eich bar, and everything 
possible done for him, but he died on Monday morning at six o'clock. He was out eleven days, 
most of the time in a heavy storm, and must have been possessed of a wonderful amount of 
fortitude, or he would have succumbed to the difficulties of the situation. Starved and frozen, he 
fought it out to the last, and " died game." The body was tied upon a hand-sled, and drawn 
twelve miles through the deep snow to Spanish Ranch, the journey occupying from daylight till 
nine o'clock at night. It was then brought to Quincy, and taken on the stage to Reno, and by rail 
to Rocklin, where it was fully identified. The reward of $800 which had been offered was claimed, 
but only $450 were received by the captors, the Placer county officials claiming the remainder. 


On the seventh of July, 1878, A. Z. Page was killed at La Porte by Roscoe G. Shaw, who is 
now serving out a life sentence for his crime. Page was a rather weak-minded man, about fifty 
years of age, and Shaw had been making him the object of his ridicule during the day and evening, 
following him from place to place, and annoying him continually, despite the remonstrances of the 
persecuted man, until at last Page procured a stone to use as a weapon for his protection. He 
went into Goailhard's saloon and sat down, holding the stone in his lap. Shaw soon after entered 
the saloon, and made an offensive remark to Page, who jumped up, raised the stone, and said, "Go 
away from me or I will put a hole through you ! " Shaw immediately left and went to Buckley's 
saloon, where his brother, Charles H. Shaw, was playing billiards. The two brothers held a brief 
conference, and when the game was concluded they proceeded together to Goailhard's saloon, where 
Page was still sitting in a chair. They sat down a few feet from Page, who soon observed them, 
and warned Ross to go away or he would put a hole through him. At these words Ross seized an 
iron poker from the stove, in both hands, and struck Page a blow across the top of the head. The 
blow so disabled the victim that his head fell back against the wall, and he was unable to rise from 
his chair. "While in this position, Ross rained half a dozen blows upon his upturned face and fore 
head, in the most brutal manner, while his brother Charley stood guard with along knife, to prevent 
any interference. One who undertook to remonstrate with Ross was struck twice, and chased out 
.of the saloon by Charley, who flourished his knife, and took the occasion to remark that no one could 
" get away with the Shaw family." Page died in a few minutes, his skull literally smashed by the 
blows given him while hitting helpless in his chair. The two brothers were indicted for murder, 
and were given separate trials the following October. Ross G. Shaw was convicted of murder in 
the second degree, and was sentenced by Judge Clough to imprisonment for life, the extreme 
penalty allowed by the statute. On the trial of Charles H. Shaw, the jury remained out all night 
and the next day, when they sent word to the judge that they could not agree. They were not 
discharged, and about ten o'clock that night they came in with a verdict of " not guilty." Both 
of these cases were prosecuted by R. H. F. Variel, the district attorney, and defended by John D. 
Goodwin and William W. Kellogg. 



A young Englishman named John Phillips invited a party of his friends to help him celebrate 
his birthday at Johnsville, October 6, 1878. While he was entertaining them in a saloon, one of 

them, named Thomas Kelley, under the influence of too much indulgence in the beverage that 

annually fills our poor-houses and prisons with an army of victims, excited by a dispute, shot his 

entertainer with a revolver. Young Phillips lingered several days, and then died. Both of the 
men stood high in the estimation of their employers. Kelley was brought to trial April 1, 1879, 
before Judge Clough, R. H. F. Variel prosecuting, and John D. Goodwin and W. W. Kellogg 
defending. He was convicted, and sentenced to pass the remainder of his days in the state prison. 


Between John A. Crawford, a native of Canada, and Ephraim C. Ross, a native of Maine, 
existed a feud for years, that resulted in the death of Ross at the hands of his enemy, September 
28, 1879. On the day in question, while engaged in a game of cards in a saloon at 20-Mile House, 
a quarrel arose between the two men. Crawford left the room, went to his cabin for a revolver, 
returned to the saloon, and shot Ross down, without any warning to his victim whatever. He was 
tried before Judge Clough on the ninth of the following December, R. H. F. Variel prosecuting, 
and W. W. Kellogg defending. The jury found him guilty of murder in the first degree, and 
fixed his punishment at imprisonment for life. 


On the twenty-sixth of June, 1878, one of the most brutal murders known to the annals of 
crime was perpetrated at Meadow valley by Samuel Cook. Some trouble existed between the two 
men in regard to Cook's wife, and the testimony on the trial revealed the evident intention on 
Cook's part to get McVay drunk, and then execute his revenge upon him. Following out this pro 
gramme, the two men were in the bar-room of the Meadow Valley hotel, McVay almost helplessly 
drunk, when a cause of difference arose between the two men McVay drew his pistol, which was 
immediately seized by Cook with one hand, while with the other he beat McVay severely about the 
face, finally throwing him down, wrenching the pistol from his feeble grasp, and using it to prevent 
others from interfering while he continued to beat his helpless victim. In this manner he rained 
blows upon the prostrate man till he was nearly insensible, then dragged him out upon the stoop, 
seized him by the feet, and plunged his head and shoulders several times into a barrel of water. He 
then threw him down upon the stoop, and began again to beat him in the face. A number of men 
witnessed the affair, but beyond remonstrating with the murderer, did nothing to rescue McVay 
from the hands of his beastly assailant, seemingly afraid or unwilling to interfere. Cook threw 
McVay into the garden, but after that, remarking that it was too good a place for him, dragged him 
into a mud-puddle in the road. While lying in the pool, unable to move, McVay was again 
approached by the cowardly brute, who several times thrust the stock of the pistol into the helpless 
man's mouth. It was then suggested that the body be removed, and Cook volunteered to assist car 
rying the head by seizing hold of McVay's bloody hair and beard. McVay, who was not yet dead, 
was carried to a shed back of the house, where the men endeavored to wash the blood from his per 
son, and give what aid they could to the mangled man. During this time Cook made frequent 
visits to the shed to watch the operation, and give vent to his anger, finally winding up by thrust 
ing the pistol into his victim's face, and firing a shot that extinguished the faint spark of life still 


remaining. All this was done without any effort on the part of the do/eu men who witnessed the 
affair to prevent it, even up to the culminating act. Cook was indicted for murder, tried the fol 
lowing September, found guilty of murder in the second degree, and sentenced for life in the peni 
tentiary by Judge Clough. R. H. F. Yariel, the district attorney, and John T. Htrrington 
conducted the prosecution, while John D. Goodwin and W. W. Kellogg managed the defense in 
such a way as to draw from the judge, while delivering the sentence, the following eulogium : " And, 
considering the airy and insecure foundation on which your counsel stood to make your defense, I 
feel, in justice to them, constrained to say that their arguments to the jury were the most able, 
ingenious, and subtle that I ever heard in this court-room." 

o * 


One of the most horrible calamities which ever happened in the county occurred at the Green- 
Mountain mine, above Crescent Mills, on Sunday morning, October 6, 1878. About nine o'clock it 
was discovered that the timbers in the mine were on fire, and the most active operations were 
at once commenced to notify the men at work ; but the smoke and gas were driven rapidly through 
the mine, and in less than ten minutes it was filled completely. The fire caught from the smoke 
pipe which led from the engine. The engine was situated a thousand fee*t under ground, and some 
nine hundred feet from the surface. The smoke and steam escaped through a pipe 10-inch stove 
pipe about 600 feet in length, and then through wooden boxes to the surface. The fire probably 
originated from the soot accumulating and taking fire, probably some forty feet above the engine. 
Several men were at work in such places as to make their escape easy, but four were in a stope, 
from which it was impossible for them to leave after the fire started. The names of these were 
James Cashman, George Beeson, Richard Cornelius, and Michael Cullen. Frank Rodgers, the 
foreman, made almost superhuman efforts to save the men, and carried one man some sixty feet 
down the ladders to a place of safety. The man was insensible, but recovered as soon as he was 
brought to fresh air. It seemed as though the mine was filled with the poisonous gas and smoke 
almost immediately after the fire was discovered; and as the candles would not burn in it, of 
course the men were in total darkness, and had to grope their way through the tunnels. To get to 
the place where the doomed men were at work, it was necessary to go in about 1,000 feet, then 
raise up 175 feet, then back and down about fifty feet, and then on a level probably thirty feet 
more. Of course, the fire being below them, every chance of escape was shut off before they were 
apprised of the danger. When it was found to be impossible to save them, and every chance for 
them to l>e alive was exhausted, the mine was closed up to smother out the fire. On Wednesday it 
was opened, and the men who went in found the body of Beeson, part way out, lying on his face, 
close to the car-track. He had evidently come as far as he could, and when overpowered had put 
his mouth to the ground to keep the smoke from entering his lungs. The smoke was still too thick 
to go farther; and nothing more could be done until Thursday morning, when the other three 
bodies were recovered. Cullen was a very strong man, and had evidently made a desperate 
struggle. He had managed to get up the raise some fifty feet from his comrades, there was over 
come, and fell. Cashman and Cornelius had not left the " breast " where they were at work. 
Cashman was found sitting or squatting on his heels, with his hands over his face. Cornelius was 
lying a few feet from him. Beeson and Cornelius were taken to Greenville for burial on Thursday, 
and the bodies of Cashman and Cullen were brought to Quincy and buried in the graveyard about 
ten o'clock Thursday night, the rapid decomposition of the bodies making it necessary to bury 
them as soon as possible. 



As an instance of unusual integrity and honor, and as a tribute to a pioneer who has left an 
unimpeachable record behind him, we mention the following: In the year 1853 Charles A. 
Anderson of Mohawk valley made a present of a ranch in Mohawk valley to Thomas Wash, an old 
friend of his who hailed from his native county in Virginia. For many years Mr. Wash lived in 
possession of the property, and in 1879 died without a family. He left a will at his demise, 
naming Charles Anderson as his executor, but leaving the property to other parties. Anderson 
faithfully settled up the affairs of the state, using the utmost economy and the most scrupulous 
honesty in the transaction of the business. On the eleventh of November, 1881, he remitted to the 
heirs of Wash the sum of thirteen hundred dollars, having received himself from the estate the 
paltry compensation of one hundred and fifty dollars for his services. Mr. Anderson left Plumas 
county November 12, 1881, with only twenty dollars and fifty cents in his pocket; but he has left 
behind him a record that but few men, placed in similar circumstances, can boast of the record of 
an honest man, "the noblest work of God." 


Crime. Convicted. 

William S. Harper . . Murder Oct. 1 9, 1857. . . 

Fred Ashton Rape Sept. 9, 1858. . . , 

William Dixon Rape Sept. 17, 1858 . . . 

John Jenkins Murder July 16, 1859 

Thomas Elder Murder July 19, 1859 . . . 

John Morrow Larceny ..." . . May 27, 1861 

Clark Rugg Larceny May 81, 1861 . . . 

Amada CardincB.. . .Murder July 13. 1861 . . 

Atlas Fredonyer Assault to rape May 16, 1862 . . , 

John Ketchersy the . . Larceny ... May 9, 1 862 

David Hughes Larceny Sept. 10, 1862 . . . 

Hugh Fat Manslaughter Oct. 18, 1862 . . , 

Vincent Olivia . ... Assault to murder .... Sept. 28, 1868 . . , 

China Hong Assault to murder. . . .April 8, 1869. . . . 

Robert Francis Murder June 2, 1869 . . . 

Thomas M. Long. Burglary Nov. 29, 1871 .. 

John Ryan Larceny Nov. 9, 1 874 . . . 

Z, T. Brown ... Larceny Nov. 9, 1874. . . 

Henry Thomas Larceny Nov. 9, 1874 . . . 

John Sansome Burglary Oct. 2, 1 875 . . . 

Frank Barker Burglary Oct. 2, 1875 .... 

George Anderson . . . Forgery April 9, 1878. . . 

Frank Larish Assault to murder .... Oct. 25, 1 878 . . 

Roscoe G. Shaw Murder Oct. 5, 1878 .... 

Samuel Cook Murder Sept, 28, 1878 . . 

Thomas Kelley Murder April 4, 1879.. . 

John A. Crawford . .Murder Dec. 10, 1879 . . 

B. F. Clark Larceny Nov. 1, 1880 . . . 

.10 years.. 
. 3 years. . . 
. 2 years. . . 
. Death . . . 
. Death . . . 
. 4 years. . . 
. 5 years. . . 
. Death . . . 
. 6 years. . . 
. 1 year . . . 
.5 years . . 
6 years . . 
. 1 year. . . 
. 5 years'. . . 
. 1 5 years . 
. 1 year . . . 
. 2 years. . . 
. 2 years. . . 
. 2 years. . . 
. 1 5 years . . 
. 5 years. . . 
. 1 year . . . 
. 14 years 
. For life . . 
. For life . . 
.For life. 
. For life . 
. 1 year . . . 


..Pardoned Aug. 28, 1866. 
. .Escaped June 25, 1859. 
..Escaped Sept. 19, 1859. 
..Hanged Oct. 28, 1859. 
..Hanged Oct. 28, 1859. 
..Escaped July 22, 1862. 
..Discharged Jan. 12, 1862. 
..Hanged Aug. 30, 1861. 
..Pardoned Nov. 26, 1863. 
. .Escaped March 3, 1863. 
. .Discharged Feb. 27, 1867. 
..Discharged Jan. 30, 1868. 
..Discharged Aug. 5, 1869. 
. .Discharged July 26, 1873. 
. .Pardoned April 12, 1872. 
. Discharged Oct 17, 1872. 
..Discharged Aug. 3, 1876. 
..Discharged Aug. 3, 1876. 
..Discharged Aug. 3, 1876. 
. .Still in prison. 
..Discharged Jan. 3, 1879. 
. .Discharged Feb. 13, 1879. 
. . Still in prison. 
. . Still in prison. 
. . Still in prison. 
..Died May 4, 1880. 
..Still in prison. 
..Discharged Sept. 5, 1881. 


Name. ^Admitted. Discharged. Remarks. 

Asa Day Aug. 15, 1854. .Date not stated. 

Jacob J. Spurr . Oct. 4, 1855 . . . .Date not stated. 

Michael Mimick June 11, 1857 . . April 4, 1860. 

Henry Scholl Aug. 1, 1857 . . .Sept. 25, 1857. 

Henry L. Tuckey May 19, 1858 Died, Dec. 9, 1858. 

John Robinson . - March 26, 1859 Died June 28, 1862. 

John S. West, (Scofield) Feb. 12, 1860 Died May 24, 1881. 

Leonard Vogle April 22, 1860 . Jan. 19, 1861. 

C. Demerrit Aug. 15, 1860 . . Sept. 29, 1860. 

Henry Brown May 14, 1863 . .June 10, 1863. 

John Brown Nov. 9, 1863 Died April 6, 1865. 

Philip Theo. Sagenbach June 7, 1866 Died June 9, 1866. 

Wm. H. Jacobs June 30, 1866 Died Nov. 26, 1868. 

Geo. F. Davis July 31, 1866. .July 12, 1867. 

John McQuinn Aug. 2, 1866 Died May 8, 1867. 

Francis M. Goodwin Nov. 22, 1866. .May 28, 1867. 

Thomas Fitzgerald Dec. 1, 1866 .. .April 4, 1867. 

John Peterson March 12, 1867.March 28, 1869.Ret'd voluntarily, d. Mar. 13, 1872. 

Ramon Navarro June 24, 1869 . . Feb. 28, 1870. 

Lewis Jabier .June 6, 1870. . .May 11, 1871. 

James Cannovan June 2, 1871 Still in asylum. 

Ann Crocket Jan. 23, 1873 Died Jan. 27, 1874. 

Henry Marks March 26, 1873 Still in asylum. 

Frank M. Goodwin, 2nd time. .Oct. 29, 1873. ..June 29, 1874. 

Charles Wilson June 3, 1874 Still in asylum. 

Geo. H. Engelbeck Oct. 2, 1874 Died Nov. 22, 1876. 

Patrick Brannon Oct. 9, 1874. ...Feb. 4, 1875. 

Andrew Powers Oct. 18, 1874 Eloped Jan. 22, 1875. 

John A. Ryan Oct. 23, 1874 . . .Nov. 20, 1874. 

Harriet F. Winchell Nov. 4, 1874. . .Dec. 15, 1874. 

Stephen Manuel Dec. 16, 1874 Died July 22, 1876. 

Chas. A. Johnston April 28, 1875 . .June 23, 1875. 

Frank Davidson Oct. 2, 1875 .... Nov. 5, 1875. 

Susan B. Hathaway Oct. 22, 1875. ..May 26, 1876. 

John R. Gallagher Nov. 5, 1875 . . .Dec. 15, 1875. 

W. S. Day Oct. 4, 1876 Died May 16, 1877. 

Daniel Mitchell Oct. 14, 1877. ..April 22, 1878. 

^Stephen F. Kinsey July 3, 1878. . .Sept. 10, 1878. 

*Frank Goodwin July 28, 1879. .Dec. 31, 1879. 

*Evoir Guilliomar July 23, ISSO ... Died Aug. 23, 1880. 

*Eli/a Schneider Aug. 24, 1880 Still in asylum. 

*Mary F. Bell March 22, 1881 Removed by friends July 25, 1881. 

* Inmates of the ISTapa asylum. 



Of the gallant men who fought and won the bloody battles df the Mexican war, many came to 
California. Their love of adventure, engendered by the excitements of their long campaign, led 
them to seek this coast as soon as the news of the great discovery at Coloma was heralded in the 
East. A few are still living in every county in the state, honored and respected citizens. Among 
those who were pioneers of this county are remembered the following gentlemen : 

Thomas L. Haggard From Tennessee Living in Quincy. 

Albert Keep From Massachusetts Living at Smith bar. 

Alexander Kirby From Missouri Living in Sierra valley. 

Samuel Galbreath ... From Virginia Living in Quincy. 

Thomas Lane From Tennessee Living at Sawpit. 

Thomas Taylor From Wisconsin Living in Quincy. 

John H. Hudson From Indiana Died Feb. 18, 1882, in Quincy. 

Abram Bolyer From Ohio Living at Spanish Ranch. 

James H. Thompson From Kentucky. 

Charles Gale ' ... In the Navy. 

Major John S. Love From Ohio Resides McConnelsville, Ohio. 

Allen Trimble From Missouri Living in Sierra valley. 

John R. Drury From Indiana Living in Greenville. 

Benjamin F. Hunsinger From Illinois Living in Indian valley. 

Joseph F. Lowry From Ohio Living in Greenville. 

General Allen Wood From Arkansas Resides at Susanville. 

Other Mexican veterans living in Lassen county are : J. Baxter, H. K. Cornell, H. C. Stockton, 
J. P. McKissick, S. N. Arnold, Samuel Ziegler, I. S. Wright, C. Gaddy, R. I). Bass, and A. Eaves. 


The demand for routes of travel, caused by the sudden opening and rapid development of the 
mines in what were then considered remote mountain wilds, was imperative. Supplies had to be 
brought to the thousands who flocked into this unexplored region. Those who came in 1850. 
knowing they were about to plunge into the wilderness, generally came supplied with sufficient pro 
visions to last until winter, and as the storms began to set in, with but few exceptions they turned 
their faces to the west, and found their way out of the mountains. Coming back again the next 
spring, accompanied by hundreds more, they again came well supplied with provisions. Those 
were brought on the backs of mules and horses, which were with great difficulty, and not without 
frequent disastrous accidents, conducted into the deepest recesses of the mountains. A few specu 
lative individuals engaged in the business of packing goods to the mines, which they sold at trading 
posts owned by themselves, or disposed of to other merchants who had opened trade emporiums in 
shake shanties, brush houses, or canvas tents in nearly every infant mining camp that had sprung 
up. This was for several years the only means for transporting heavy articles into the county. 

There were two routes of travel into this section: one from Marysville, through Strawberry val 
ley to Onion valley, and the middle fork of Feather river, and thence on to American valley ; and 


one from Bidwell's bar to Buck's Ranch, Spanish .Ranch. American and Indian valleys, and the 
mines on the north fork and east branch. The former was the first one opened, but the latter has 
been the most important. Pack-trains varied in size from two or three mules to half a hundred, a 
few even greater. Three hundred pounds were considered a good load for a mule ; but occasionally 
such articles as safes, printing-presses, pianos, etc., weighing several hundred more, were brought 
on the back of a lusty mule. The constant passage of these trains over the mountains made a trail 
that was soon after, by a little work, made passable for wagons and stages, especially on the lower 
route as far as Onion valley. It was not, however, until toll roads were built by private enterprise, 
and the county had spent considerable money on public highways, that the freight wagon and stage 
succeeded the old pack-mule and mounted express. 


The express lines were quite an institution in the pioneer days. It was several years before 
any post-offices were established in the county or any mail service inaugurated, and the people had 
to depend upon the express for all postal accommodation. Those who came here in 1850 left all 
thought of receiving any letters behind them, and when they were occasionally brought from below 
by friends who came later, or an occasional pack-train, they were agreeably surprised. Early in the 
spring of 1851, Frank Everts started Everts, Snell, & Co.'s express from Marysville to Onion valley 
and Nelson Point. Later that year he became agent for Adams & Co., as bankers, at Nelson 
Point. Everts, Snell, & Co. were succeeded by E. Wilson & Co. In 1854 Wilson's express ran 
only to Gibsonville, and from that point Morley & Caulkins ran to American valley and Elizabeth- 
town, a route previously opened by Wilson. These expresses ran in connection with the great 
express of Adams & Co., who also did a large business in banking and buying gold-dust. The 
failure of that firm in 1855 caused a financial panic in California, and ruined hundreds. Before 
they closed their doors they instructed Mr. Everts, their agent in this section, to forward all money 
and dust to the central office. Foreseeing that it would all be absorbed, Mr. Everts notified all his 
customers of the condition of affairs, and permitted them to withdraw their deposits. He gained 
no favor from the failing firm by this act, but saved scores of hard-working miners from losing the 
result of their toil, and his memory still remains green in the hearts of the pioneers of Plumas 
county. Frank Everts and his brother, H. C. Everts, then established a headquarters for express 
and the purchase of gold-dust at La Porte. Morley & Caulkins still ran the express on that route 
till 1857, when Morley and E. E. Meek took the route and consolidated the same year with Whiting 
& Co., who were running on the route from Oroville to Rich bar. The first man to bring letters to 
Rich bar was Herman Camp, in the fall of 1850. He came up from Marysville on a mule. That 
winter he was succeeded by John R. Buckbee. Two trips were made per month, bearing letters 
and papers, for which they charged the modest price of two dollars and a half for letters, and a 
dollar less for papers a price that was soon modified materially. He soon sold to Captain William 
E. Singer and Annan Fargo, who ran under the name of Singer & Fargo until 1852, when they 
took in W. S. Dean, and were known as Singer, Dean, & Co. The firm collapsed in 1855, and 
Singer & Morrow (Thomas H.) continued the business. Morrow had started a mule-train for 
passengers, in 1854, connecting at Bidwell's bar with the stage for Marysville. Dean now ran the 
passenger business while Singer & Morrow operated the express. They ran to American and Indian 
valleys, Rich bar, Rush creek, 12-mile bar, north fork of Feather and Humbug valley, until 1857, 
when a loss of confidence caused them to sell out. In August of that year Morrow was taking 


$8,000 on horseback from Bidwell to Marysville. He reached the latter place about daylight, on 
foot, with the story that his horse had ,fallen with him at the Honcut, and then run away with the 
money. The story was generally discredited ; and the firm sold to Henry C. Everts aii'l Fenton B. 
Whiting, who combined with George W. Morley and Emerson E. Meek, proprietors of the line on 
the other route, and formed the well-known firm of Whiting & Co. Meek sold out in 1858, Morley 
in 1859, and Everts and Whiting continued the business till succeeded by Wells, Fargo, & Co., in 
1868. Mr. Whiting is now, and has been for more than a decade, county clerk of Plumas county. 
Frank Everts resides in Indianapolis, Ind. His brother Henry met his death at the hands of the 
Apaches in Arizona a few years ago. Mr. Meek resides in Marysville, where he has held the posi 
tion of clerk of Yuba county several terms, in which ofiice he is now the deputy. Morley is a resi 
dent of East Saginaw, Michigan. 

The method of carrying express in the early days was by mounted messengers. At first they 
traveled somewhat leisurely, making but two trips per month ; but as competition sprang up be 
tween the great rival companies with which these mountain expressmen connected, speed became a 
great consideration, and the messengers made every exertion to accomplish their journey as quickly 
as possible. Letters, newspapers, small parcels, and gold-dust were the articles carried by the 
expressmen, the postal business being the most important and the most remunerative. Letters for 
this region were sent to the Marysville post-office as a general thing, and the messenger, armed 
with a long list of patrons, was permitted to go into the post-office there and overhaul the mail. 
For this privilege he paid the postmaster twenty-five cents for every letter he found belonging to 
his patrons in the mountains. These he carried home on his return journey, and charged the re 
cipient one dollar for each letter delivered. Newspapers were taken up for fifty cents. Letters 
were taken down to be mailed for half-price. One instance is related where a messenger delivered 
thirteen letters to a man and collected thirteen dollars. They were all delayed letters from the 
man's wife, and the last one was, of course, the only one of much interest. 

During the winter of 1852-53, the expressmen had a hard time of it on the route from Bid well, 
being compelled to leave their mules at Peavine, and fight their way on foot through the snow. 
At that time snow-shoes were unknown here, and the luckless messenger had to plunge and flounder 
through the deep snow as best he could. The Indian or Canadian snow-shoe was soon after 
introduced, and with these on his feet, and his bundle of letters on his back, the expressman made 
good time over the snow when it was too deep for animals. This was too slow, and accomplished 
too little to satisfy the enterprising and energetic character of Mr. Whiting. Like all American 
boys of good education and thoughtful habits, he had read the interesting stories of explorers of 
the arctic seas, and treasured them in his mind. It now occurred to him that the sledge and team 

' O 

of dogs used by the natives of the polar zone could be adopted in the express business with profit. 
During the year 1858 he procured three large, strong, intelligent dogs of the Newfoundland and 
St. Bernard breeds, and broke them in to work in harness that he had made especially for the 
purpose. When winter came, with its mass of snow, he harnessed them to a sled which had been 
constructed at a cost of seventy-five dollars, and made a trial trip. It was a magnificent success. 
On the sled was a small chest in which were carried the U. S. mail (a post-office having been estab 
lished two years before at Quincy), letters, and express packages. This, with himself and an 
occasional passenger, sometimes made a load of 600 pounds, with which the dogs would race across 
the frozen crust of the snow at the top of their speed, apparently enjoying the sport as much as 
the human freight they drew. Mr. Whiting drove and managed the dog-express in person, the 
route being from Buckeye to Meadow valley, a distance of twenty-two miles. Snow-shoes were 




used by the driver in going up steep grades, or through the deep snow, to lighten the load far the 
patient animals. The dogs were driven tandem, sometimes four being used in a team. Stages had 
been put on the route in 1858, and express and mail were carried in them as long as the roads 
remained open, but as soon as the blockade of snow was laid, the dog-express was brought into 
requisition ; and for weeks the only connecting link between Plumas and the outside world was 
Mr. Whiting and his gallant canine friends. Mail and express were brought over from La Porte 
to Quincy by a messenger on snow-shoes, the Norwegian shoe having finally been introduced ; and 
this method is still in use on that route when the road is blocked with snow. The dog-team was 
dispensed with in 1865, when the horse snow-shoe was introduced, enabling the stage to pass over 
the snow. Whiting & Co. soon after abandoned the business to Wells, Fargo, & Co., who now 
continue it on the regular stage line. 


The first staging dates back to 1851, when a joint-stock company was organized in Onion 
valley, by McElhany, Thomas, & Co., to run a stage from that point to Marysville twice a week. 
There was a great deal of travel on this route at that time, and the enterprise was a remunerative 
one until winter set in. The line was then discontinued, and in the spring was not resumed. The 
next passenger enterprise was inaugurated in 1854, by Thomas H. Morrow, who ran a saddle train 
of mules for the transportation of passengers between Bid well and American valley. The next 
year he was succeeded by W. S. Dean, who ran the mules for a year, and then put on stages He 
continued the line till the summer of 1858, when he sold out to the celebrated California Stage Co., 
which conducted the business two years, making tri-weekly trips from Oroville to Quincy, going 
through in a day, but connecting with the dog-express in winter. In 1860 Dr. S. T. Brewster, who 
had been running a saddle-train, bought the line, and operated it until 1866. He was succeeded 
by William Smith, then Richard Garland who is now driving the Quincy and Greenville stage. 
Charles Sherman then took the route for a while. The present proprietor, E. A. Halstead, has been 
running it a few seasons. Three trips are made each week in summer, going through in one day ; 
and in winter, two days. In 1871 a stage from Quincy to Indian valley was put on, in connection 
with the Oroville line, and about the same time a line from Indian valley to Reno and from 
Quincy to Reno was commenced. A line from Oroville, by the way of Dogtown, to Prattville, 
Greenville, Taylorville, and Susanville, is also run in connection with the stage from Chico to 

There is one feature of staging in the Sierra that calls for special mention, and that is the use 
of snow-shoes by horses. The writer has often been met with an incredulous smile when he has 
alluded to the fact that horses can and do use snow-shoes, and he feels compelled to treat the 
doubters graciously, remembering the fact that he, too, coaxed up a complaisant, you-can't-fool-me 
smile when the story was first told to him. It is, however, an undeniable fact, that any one can 
verify by ocular evidence who will take the trouble to ride from Oroville to Quincy, or from 
Marysville to Downieville, during any of the months of January, February, or March. These 
snow-shoes were introduced in 1865, and by their aid the stage was enabled to make through trips 
all the winter. It was then that the dog-express passed out of existence. At first square wooden 
plates were used, but as the damp snow clung to the wood so as to make them of but little use, iron 
was substituted. Thinner plates of steel are now used, with rubber lining on the bottom, for 
which the snow has no affinity whatever. These plates are nine inches square, and are fitted to the 
horses' hoofs by setting the corks of the shoe through holes in the plate, and fastening them firmly 


with screws and straps. The shoes have to be fitted to each horse, as their feet vary in size, and 
it takes a man about two hours to put the shoes on a four-horse team. When first put on, some 
horses cut themselves abotit the feet with the plates, but soon learn to spread their feet so as not to 
interfere. A few become good snow-horses at once, while others seem incapable of learning to use 
the shoes. Horses which have become used to the snow seem to use as much intelligence and 
judgment in battling with this fleecy drapery of the mountains as a man would be expected to have. 
The many instances related by the drivers, of the sufferings and hardships endured by them and 
their faithful animals, impress one fully of the danger of traveling in the Sierra during the severe 
winter storms. 


The era of the substitution of roads for pack-trails, and stages for saddle-trains, began in 1855. 
On the twenty-third of July certain citizens met in Quincy for the purpose of forming a company 
to construct a road from that place to Spanish Ranch. The company was organized with I. J. 
Harvey, president, H. J. Bradley, vice president, and P. O. Hundley, secretary. J. C. Church and 
I. J. Harvey were appointed commissioners to locate the route, and filed their report on the 
fifteenth of August, estimating the cost at $6,000. The road was constructed immediately, and on 
the fifth of November the supervisors established rates of toll thereon. Subsequently the road 
passed into the hands of I. J. Harvey, then William N. DeHaven, then Mrs. Jacks, and finally Mrs. 
Buckston. Several attempts were made to sell the road to the county, and finally, having become 
much out of repair, it was abandoned as a toll road. In 1874-75 the county thoroughly repaired 
the road, at an expense of some 110,000, and it is now a public thoroughfare. 


This road, running from Meadow valley to Buckeye, was commenced in the fall of 1856, and 
finished the following year, by a company composed of Noah Greenwood, Edwin Rice, W. S. Dean, 
Richard Jacks, J. K. Lovejoy, J. D. Meeker, John Harbison, William Buckholder, I. J. Harvey, 
and others. The first stage was driven over the road in the fall of 1857, by W. S. Dean. The same 
fall the firm of Whiting & Co. caused sign-boards to be placed on the trees to direct their express 
men and travelers on the road during the winter snow-storms. Many of these relics are still to be 
seen, weather-beaten and ancient, nailed to the trees twenty feet from the ground. In 1861 the 
road fell into the hands of Andrew Robinson, the present owner, at a mortgage sale, and is still 
used as a toll road. 


This company was formed March 28, 1860, for the purpose of constructing a road from the 
Plumas mills to Indian Valley. The projectors were A. C. Light, W. H. Hartwell, John R. Brett, 
Thomas E. Hayden, John Harbison, C. Miller, R. I. Barnett, J. H. Whitlock, E. H. Pierce, and 
John M. Bass. The road was surveyed by Mr. Whitlock, completed, and used as a toll road until 
1870, when the new road by way of Spanish creek was built. Since then it has been but little used, 
save by horsemen and footmen. 



By the Act of April 14, 1863, the legislature granted a franchise to John Bidwell, J. C. Man- 
deville, R. M. Cochran, E. B. Pond, and John Guill to construct a toll road from Chico to Honey 
lake, on the eastern boundary of the state. They incorporated the following year, with the above 
title, and completed the road, which- was designed as a route to Idaho and the Humboldt mines. 
It is still used as the stage road from Chico to Susanville. 


The certificate of incorporation of this company was filed June 18, 1866. The declaration of 
intention states that the object of the organization was the construction of a wagon road from the 
town of Oroville, by the way of the north or the middle fork of Feather river to Beckwourth pass. 
The subscribers to the articles of incorporation were N. C. Cunningham, E. C. Chambers, Richard 
Irwin, Samuel Goodwin, James H. Houck, R. E. Garland, J. E. Edwards, David Every, John 
Hardgrave, and Jobe T. Taylor. The project failed, no work having even been commenced. 


By the Act of March 31, 18G6, a special election was called on the question of voting $10,000 
in aid of the construction of the road from Quincy to Indian valley, by the way of Spanish creek. 
The company was organized with W. A. Bolinger, president, A. F. Blood, secretary, and S. J. 
Clark, treasurer. Work was commenced under the management of William H. Blood ; but as the 
county failed to vote a subsidy, and Mr. Blood died after .a few miles had been constructed, the 
project was abandoned. In March, 1870, the legislature authorized the county to issue bonds to 
the amount of 620,000 for the completion of this road. A. W. Keddie, county surveyor, was 
directed to make a survey of the route, and then the contract for construction was let to John D. 
Goodwin, who represented the interests of William G. Young and M. B. Bran sford, for the $20,000 
bonds. The terms were that they were to build the road from Dixie canon to the crossing of 
Little Black Hawk, and to have the tolls of the road for ten years ; $1,500 more were paid to complete 
the road to Quincy. The road was constructed at an expense that left but little if any margin to 
the contractors, and is one of the most important of the arteries of communication in the county. 


Phimas has never enjoyed an undue share of special legislation. Among the few such Acts 
passed in her behalf, none has ever redounded more to the credit of her representatives in the 
legislative halls, nor resulted in greater benefits to her citizens, than the one of March 31, 1866, 
authorizing certain parties to construct a wagon road, above named, and the one of the same date 
ordering the special election to be held throughout the county on the first day of May of said year, 
for the purpose of submitting to the electors of the county the proposition to issue bonds of said 
county in the sum of 120,000 to aid the construction of said road. The people of Goodwin and 
Plumas townships, more particularly, were deeply interested in the success of this measure. On 
the one hand, the farmers of American valley and its vicinity sorely felt the need of a market in 
which to find a certain demand for their hay, grain, butter, etc. Their condition at this time was 
t any thing but a prosperous one. The home or local demand was trifling, compared with the supply 


of such products ; but on the other side of the ridge, the residents of Sawpit, Gibsonville, La 
Porte, and other mining towns were annually consuming large amounts of farm and dairy products, 
and depending for their supply upon the farmers of the lower valleys or foot-hills. Realizing the 
mutual benefits to be derived from the construction of the road, both by the farmers of American 
valley and the miners and merchants of the localities named, they readily and heartily indorsed 
the proposition. Yet strange to say, strong opposition sprang up in many localities even in 
American valley. The board of supervisors, pursuant to law, ordered a special election to be held 
May 1, 1866, at which the proposition contained in the statute should be submitted. At said 
election there was returned a total vote of 1,529. Of these, there were b'44 votes against 
the proposition, leaving a handsome majority in favor of it. Immediately thereafter an oi-ganiza- 
tion was formed for the purpose of constructing the road. Capital stock, $10,000. Ten per cent, 
was paid in, and the work, under the superintendence of E. H. Pierce, commenced. Upon the dis 
bursement of a considerable sura, the county became discouraged ; when Gorily & Co., bankers of 
La Porte, came forward, assumed the undertaking, and in the summer of 1867 completed the road, 
at a cost of some $30,000 or $10,000 more than they received from the county. The bonds, 
drawing 10 per cent, per annum, were duly issued to that firm. A celebration was had at La Poi'te 
shortly after the completion of the road, which was largely attended by residents from different 
sections of the county, particularly American valley. The opposition to the road manifested at the 
election alluded to, which to many persons appeared factious and foolish, had by this time been 
forgotten ; and a drive over what is considered one of the finest mountain roads in the state attests 
the wisdom of the measure and the action of the people. The speculation proved an unprofitable 
one for Conly & Co. In February, 1877, they surrendered the road to the county, since which 
time it has been managed by the county as a county toll road. During the present season, a fine 
arch-truss bridge has been erected on the line of this road, across the middle fork of Feather river, 
under contract by the San Francisco Bridge Company, at a cost of $5,787. Since the spring of 
1877 the care and keeping in repair and collection of the tolls on this road has been annually 
awarded to the lowest bidder. The road is 34J miles long. 

As was remarked above, the building of this road was a pet measure of the people of La Porte, 
who had just succeeded in freeing themselves from Sierra county, and becoming attached to 
Plumas, and now desired this road to make themselves in fact what they were in name a part of 
Plumas county. The vote cast at that place was, to say the least, a lusty one. While Quincy cast 
but 116 votes, thirty-two of them against the road, La Porte came forward with a solid vote of 467 
in favor of the proposition. When Dr. Brewster came to Quincy with the La Porte returns, the 
astonishment at the magnitude of the ballot was unbounded. To all inquiries, however, the mes 
senger simply replied that there were a good many miners there that year. One of the officers of 
election, who said he could no longer see any reason for maintaining silence on the subject, gave 
the writer full particulars of the affair, which, being summed up, and omitting names of the par 
ticipants, show that those highly virtuous officers started business briskly on the morning of the 
election by putting 250 ballots in the box and 250 names on the poll-book. As the majority for the 
measure in the county was but 241, it can be readily seen that the election was won before a legal 
ballot had been cast. The vote of La Porte was 467, while at the next election but 175 were cast 
at that precinct, raising the presumption that the " good many miners " had gone in search of other 


THE $10,000 FOLLY. 

Under the same law that authorized the county to construct the road from Quincy to Indian 
valley, the county was permitted to issue $7,000 in bonds to repair the road from Quincy to Beck- 
wourth valley. Ned Smith, then a member of the board of supervisors, was appointed to receive 
the bonds and carry out the provisions of the statute. In addition to the bonds, an appropriation 
of $3,000 was made to complete the work. Mr. Smith received $929, at ten dollars per day, for 
his services in overseeing the contractors, which was thought by many to be a charge for over 
seeing himself. 


On the nineteenth of May, 1870, the certificate of incorporation of the Clover Valley Turnpike 
Co. was filed in the clerk's office at Quincy. The object of the organization was the construction of 
a road from a point near Coppertown, in Genesee valley, to the state line at the Summit, for the 
purpose of getting a route to Reno. The chief projector was Thomas E. Hayden. A proposition 
to give a subsidy to the road was defeated at the general election in 1872, by a vote of 379 to 118. 
Hayden raised a subscription in Indian valley, but failed to complete the road, and transferred it to 
John Hardgrave. This gentleman gave it to the county, and it was then completed at considerable 
expense. It is now kept by the county as a toll road, and is the route taken by the stage from 
Greenville, via Taylorville and Beckwourth pass, to Reno. 


April 28, 1857, the legislature passed an Act " To provide for the construction of a wagon road 
from Oroville, Butte county, to and intersecting at the most practicable point the line of the 
proposed National Wagon Road that has its terminus at or near Honey" lake, Plumas county." 
William L. Upton, of Butte, and William Buckholder and R. C. Chambers, of Plumas, were named 
as commissioners to construct the road. The Act also provided for the issuing of $20,000 bonds 
each by the two counties, provided such measure received the indorsement of the people at the 
fall election. The underlying object was to secure the passage through this county of the overland 
railroad, which every one felt certain would be constructed before many years. The United States 
military road which had been surveyed to Noble's pass, and the exploration of a route for a rail 
road by Lieutenant Beckwith on the same line, led many to think that this would be the route 
chosen for any transcontinental railroad as it was for a certain distance. It. was thought that a 
good road from Oroville to Honey lake would be the means of deflecting any railroad from Beck- 
with's route to Ft. Heading, thus securing a shorter line to San Francisco. This opinion is still 
held by many, who assert that if this road had been built as projected the Central Pacific would 
now be running through Noble's pass and through Plumas county. However, it was impossible to 
convince the voters of Butte and Plumas of the fact, and the measure was defeated in both 
counties, and the project abandoned. 


The articles of incorporation of the above company were filed in the office of the secretary of 

state, at Sacramento, April 2, 1867. The object stated was to construct a railroad from Oroville 

, up the north fork of Feather river to Junction bar ; thence up the east branch to the mouth of 


Spanish creek; thence up that stream and through American valley; thence across the ridge by 
Spring Garden ranch, to the middle fork of Feather; thence up that stream and through Beck- 
wourth pass to the state line. A. W. Keddie was employed to make a survey, and after doing so 
prepared a fine map of the route. This is the route that the people of this section had in vain 
sought to induce the managers of the Central Pacific road to adopt for their line. It is the general 
opinion in Plumas county that this route is the least troubled with snow, the easiest grade, and in 
all ways the most desirable; and that the heavy expense of maintaining the Truckee line in 
working condition will yet compel the Central Pacific to change to the Beckwourth pass and 
Feather river route. As to the above project, however, there was but little discussion among the 
citizens generally, it being considered a speculative scheme, which it proved to be, affecting but 
little the interests of the county, which latter proved decidedly not to be the case. 

On the eighteenth of March. 1868, twelve days before the session of the legislature terminated, 
John E. Buckbee, member of the assembly representing Plumas and Lassen counties, introduced a 
bill entitled, " An Act Authorizing the Board of Supervisors of Pluraas County to Take and 
Subscribe to the Capital Stock of the Orovillc and Virginia City Railroad Company, and to 
Provide for the Payment Thereof." The bill was "railroaded" through in the following manner: 
On the eighteenth it was read the first and second times, and placed on the file; on the twenty- 
third it was taken up, engrossed, read a third time, and passed under a suspension of the rules; on 
the twenty-seventh it was read the first and second times in the senate, and referred to the Plumas 
delegation ; the same day John Conly, senator from Plumas, reported back the bill, moved and 
obtained a suspension of the rules, when the bill was again read and passed. The governor signed 
it on the thirtieth. The people of Plumas county now discovered that this railroad scheme began 
to affect their interests materially. The full text of the bill can be found in the statutes of 1867-68, 
page 630. The substance was that the supervisors of Plumas county should meet in special session, 
and issue bonds to the amount of $230,000, for which they were to receive in return the same 
amount of stock of the company. County officers refusing to carry out the provisions of the Act 
were subjected to a fine of $f>00, removal from office, and liability for all damages. No measures 
had been taken by the legislature to ascertain the will of the people on the question; no opportunity 
was given them to express their desires at the polls or in any way whatever; but arbitrarily, and 
without equity or show of right, this debt was to be fastened upon the county, from which there 
was no appeal, and apparently no escape. 

As soon as the fact became known that such a law had been passed, indignation unbounded 
took possession of the breasts of the people. Petitions were circulated throughout the county, and 
universally signed, protesting strongly against the legislative outrage. These were presented to the 
board of supervisors at their first meeting. The text of the protest was as follows: "We, the 
undersigned, residents and tax payers of Plumas county, do hereby express our disapprobation and 
indignation at the terms and provisions of the Act of the legislature, approved March 30, 1868, by 
which it is attempted to force upon the people of this county, without submission to their voice, an 
overwhelming burden of taxation for the purpose of issuing, without a shadow of guaranty or 
security, to the Oroville and Virginia City Railroad Company, bonds in the sum of two hundred 
and thirty thousand dollars, and which, when paid, will amount, for principal and interest, to the 
enormous sum of six hundred and ninety thousand dollars ; and we do emphatically protest against 
the same, and denounce it as the most outrageous and barefaced swindle ever attempted to be 
forced upon a free people ; and believing that the provisions of said bill are not only wholly 
impolitic but grossly inequitable and unjust, we do earnestly petition the honorable board of 


supervisors of said county, as our representatives, and the guardians of our interests, either to 
resign, or to adopt some other adequate means by which to prevent the issuance of said bonds." 

The board did not meet in special session, as provided in the statute, but crime together at their 
regular May term. The board at that time was composed of T. J. True, chaii-man, Charles E. 
Smith, and M. D. Smith. On the fifth of May they entered the following on their record : "Ordered, 
that the district attorney be instructed on behalf of the board to investigate the books and records 
of the Oroville and Virginia City Railroad Company, and report to this board as soon as possible 
as to whether said company are entitled to demand, and what persons if any, as officers of said 
company, are entitled to receive, the subscription of stock authorized to be made to said company 
by this board. Ordered, that the petitions of the citizens of Plumas county, requesting this board 
to endeavor to avoid issuing the bonds to the Oroville and Virginia City Railroad Company, be 
received and placed on file. Ordered, that the agreement of the tax payers of Plumas county to 
indemnify this board for any damage they may sustain by refusal to issue the bonds of this county 
to the Oroville and Virginia City Railroad Company, be received and placed on file." The next 
day H. L. Gear, district attorney, reported upon the question, advising the board to have quo 
warranto proceedings commenced by the attorney-general of the state. The report was adopted, 
and the district attorney was given full power to represent the board and employ associate counsel, 
the latter part of which he attended to by engaging his father-in-law, Hon. Peter Van Clief, the bill 
of the two attorneys amounting to only $6,344. On the seventh the board adjourned till the 

In order to avoid issuing the bonds on the twenty-second, the three members of the board re 
signed, thus leaving the county without any representatives empowered to issue the bonds as provided 
by the statute. Thus the danger was averted for a time. A board of supervisors, however, is an 
indispensable portion of the county government, and consequently John B. Overtoil, county clerk, 
issued a proclamation July 11, 1868, calling a special election for supervisors to be held August 25, 
1868, as he was by law empowered to do. This election resulted in the choice of the members of 
the old board by large majorities. 

In the mean time, on the twentieth of June, Van Clief and Gear had commenced proceedings 
against the company in the district court, before Judge Warren T. Sexton, the company being 
represented by Creed Haymond and Joseph E. N. Lewis. Judgment was rendered for the 
defendant October 31, 1868, and the case was appealed by the county to the supreme court. On 
the twenty-first of the following December the company applied to the supreme court for a writ of 
mandamus, directing the board to make the subscription and issue the bonds. The effort was 
unsuccessful. Subsequently the supreme court decided the case, that had been taken up on appeal, 
in favor of the county. This was followed at the next session of the legislature by the Act of Feb 
ruary 26, 1870, repealing the obnoxious statute; and thus, after a hard and expensive contest, this 
incubus of fraud was shaken off, and the county relieved from an overwhelming load of debt, for 
which they would have received no benefit whatever, as it was well understood that the railroad 
was but a speculative venture a two-edged sword to force money from the county on the one hand 
and the opposing railroad interests on the other. The leading items of expense to the county in 
the contest were: Fees of county officers, $486.50; legal expenses, $6,544; commissioners to Sacra 
mento, $750. The total expense was $8,621.50. 



By the Act of March 11, 1874, the Sierra Iron Co., proprietors of the valuable iron mines in 
Gold valley, Sierra county, were granted the right of eminent domain to construct a wooden rail 
road from their mines, by the way of Mohawk and Sierra valleys -and Beckwouvth pass, to the 
Nevada line. They never utilized the privilege granted to them, but on the seventeenth of Sep 
tember, 1881, organized the Sierra Iron and Quincy R. R. Co., under the general laws of the state. 
The directors named in the articles of incorporation are Philip N. Lillienthal, Charles Kohler, F. 
A. Benjamin, Frederick Weisenborn, and Caleb T. Fay; and the capital stock is placed at $3,200,000. 
Their object is to construct a three-foot gauge railroad upon the route mentioned, and a line from 
Quincy to Mohawk valley to connect with the other. This is designed to make a through route 
from Quincy to Reno by connecting near Beckwourth pass with the Nevada and Oregan road now 
Jbeing constructed from Reno to Oregon. Mr. A. T. Nation, attorney for the company at Quincy, 
assures us that the road will be constructed as far as Mohawk valley this year, and will be at once 
extended to Quincy; also that in case the N. & O. company fail to build their road to connect 
with them, they will carry their line clear to Reno. They need and must have an outlet from their 
extensive iron mines, and expect to be their own best customer in the freight business. The advan 
tage of this road to Plumas county is incalculable, especially as it may in the future lead to the pas 
sage of a trunk line by this route to the valley and San Francisco. 


In the summer of 1874 an agent of the Western Union Telegraph Company visited Plumas 
with a view of ascertaining what the people would do towards constructing a telegraph line from 
Sierra City, via Jamison City and Quincy, to Taylorville and Greenville. A subscription paper was 
started for the purpose of raising money to aid in the work, each subscriber having the amount con 
tributed placed to his credit, and he was permitted the free use of the line to the extent of his 
subscription. The subscribers in the American valley and vicinity who paid and used their credits 
were: G. W. Meylert, $200; J. D. Goodwin, $150; W. E. Ward, $75 ; William Schlatter, $25; A 
Cohn&Bro., $50; A. Hall, 650; Thompson & Kellogg, $100; Thomas Hughes, $50 ; Richard Jacks, 
$25; John VY. Thompson, $50; A. W. Keddie, $25; J. H. Haun, $20; D. M. Bull, $20; J. E. Edwards, 
$100; J. R. Wyatt, $100; F. B. Whiting, $100; I. C. Boring, $75; J. C. Chapman, $25; E. T. 
Hogan, $50; N. K. Wright, 50; T. L. Haggard, $25; Plumas Water Co., $100; Sam Lee, $25; C. 
Lee, $50; E. A. Heath, $50; J. F. Hartwell, $25; making, with a number of small amounts, $1,800. 
In Taylorville: W. G. Young, $100; John Hardgrave, $100; Rosenberg Bro. & Co., $50; Brans- 
ford & Smith, $100; total, $350. In Greenville: J. H. Whitlock, $250; C. H. Lawrence, $250; J. 
S. Hall, $100; J. H. Maxwell, $100; W. B. Lathrop, $50; A. D. Mclntyre, $25; Oliver Drake, $50; 
Portable Saw Mill Co., $20; G. H. McPherson, $33.33; N. B. Forgay,$25; H. C. Bidwell, $150; J. 
A. Hickerson, $2.50; total, $1,055.83. Mr. Lamb, the superintendent of construction, at once com 
menced the work of putting up the line. It was completed to Quincy, November 16, 1874, and to 
Greenville the fourth of the following month. The line has been a great benefit to the business 
men and community generally, and has paid fairly to the company as a business venture. Some 
inconvenience sometimes arises in winter from the difficulty experienced in keeping the line up and 
in working order through the mountains. At Sierra City the line connects with the general sys 
tem of the company. 




In the spring of 1877, J. H. Maxwell of Susanville, W. G. Young of Taylorville, and F. B. 
Whiting of Quincy, inaugurated a movement to connect Susanville with this line by constructing 
;iu independent line from that place to Taylorville, a distance of thirty-three miles. A subscription 
paper was started, and in a short time enough money was secured to build the line, which cost 
about $2,100. The first message was sent on the twenty-fourth of June, 1877. 

During the winter of 1877-78, the telephone fever prostrated the embryo scientists of Quincy. 
Led by Judge Cheney, they began and completed the work of constructing a line, consisting of a 
tow string, from the court-house to Clough & Kellogg's office. Messages were bawled over this 
string with an energy that bid fair to put an end to all lung troubles in the county; and after 
mixing people all up, and convincing the man at either end of the string that some confirmed idiot 
or Choctaw Indian must be at the other end, the line was abandoned. After that, when any one 
had anything to say, he walked over and said it, and was sure he was understood. 

The managers of the Monte Christo mine ai*e talking of running a telephone line from Quincy 
to their office at Spanish peak. 


This is one of the two original townships into which the Pluinas section of Butte county was 
divided in 1851, but at that time embraced territory largely in excess of its present dimensions. 
[See the official history on a previous page.] The name was derived from the remarkable quartz 
discoveries made that summer on Gold mountain, now known as the Plumas Eureka mine. On the 
twenty-third of May, 1851, a party of nine prospectors camped near Gold mountain, or Eureka 
peak. Two members of the party, named Merethew and Peck, having gone to the top of the peak 
to take observations of the surrounding country, came upon the bold croppings of a ledge that 
showed rich quartz to be plentiful. The " original nine," as they called themselves, or the " nine 
originals," as they were called by others, gathered in friends to the number of thirty-six in all, and 
on the fifth of June, 1851, organized a company. Satisfied that they had indeed "found it," they 
named their ledge and company Eureka. The news soon spread, and miners began to pour in 
from the Middle Feather, and from Nelson creek and vicinity. The Eureka company claimed thirty 
feet square for each of its members; but the new-comers being in a majority, a meeting was called, 
which cut the size of the claims down to twenty feet. The Eureka company then staked off their 
ground, took possession of the lake near by for a water supply, erected some arrastras, and began 
to work in a modest way. The outsiders then organized a company, and because of the fact that 
they numbered just seventy-six souls, they bestowed the name of Washington upon their location. 
They were not content with the slow work of arrastras, but wanted a mill at once. They went 
down to the flat on Jamison creek, located a mill-site, and laid out a town, which was called the 
City of 76. A mill with sixteen stamps was erected, and ran but a short time, when the company 
made a complete failure, having spent about $100,000. Another company with forty members 
located some croppings on the south-east side of the mountain, calling themselves the Rough and 
Ready company. Still another company of about eighty men made the Mammoth location, north 
east of the Eureka claim. They were satisfied with what could be done by arrastras till the 
spring of 1856, when they were enabled to erect a twelve-stamp mill. The Rough and Ready 
company erected a mill with twelve stamps at once, and so crippled themselves that work had to be 
suspended in 1854. It was resumed in 1857 for a time, and again suspended. The Eureka com 
pany worked with arrastras for a while, then used Chili wheels. In 1855 they put up a twelve- 



stamp mill, followed a few years later by one with sixteen stamps, to which eight more were added 
in 1870. In 1867 an injunction was secured by John Parrott of San Francisco to restrain Nane, 
Elwell, & Co., who had been working the Washington ledge with arrastras for several years. In 
1870 Parrott secured title to both the Washington and Rough and Ready locations, having pre 
viously become possessed of the Eureka claim. The following year he disposed of the whole 
property to the Sierra Buttes Company, of London, England, the present owners. The new 
company erected a large mill the next year, and have since been working the claims on a magnifi 
cent scale. They also purchased the old Mammoth location, thus acquiring complete possession of 
the quartz locations on the mountain. Plumas Eureka Mine is the name given to the telegraph 
office, and Eureka Mills the designation of the post-office. They are both located at the little set 
tlement on the mountain-side, where the first mill was built, and where the office of the company now 
is. There are also a store and a hotel kept on the hill. Four companies of Italians pay the com 
pany a monthly rental for the privilege of working tailings from the mill, in doing which they are 
running about forty arrastras very profitably. 

JAMISON. This is a small village on the creek of the same name, each named after a pioneer of 
this section. In an early day it was a prosperous mining camp, and a store was established as 
early as 1853. The first physician was Dr. Geiger, who built the celebrated Geiger grade from 
Washoe to the Comstock. J. Kitts kept a hotel in the early times, the same one managed later by 
George S. McLear. The town has lived along as an adjunct to the mines ever since its foundation. 
November 19, 1880, the entire place was consumed by fire. There are now a hotel, post-office, 
store, express office, and saloon. 

JOHNSVILLE This town is a growth of the extensive operations of the Sierra Buttes Com 
pany, and was started in 1876. It is located on Jamison creek, on a level tract of land near the 
base of Plumas Eureka mountain. In that year John Banks located twenty acres, and erected a 
hotel building, now owned and kept by Willoughby Brothers. The name was given it in honor of 
William Johns, the popular superintendent of the mines. The first store in the new town was 
opened by Martinetti & Co., in the building now occupied by Willoughby Brothers. The second 
building in the village was erected by August Crazer, in 1876, and used as a brewery. It was 
afterwards destroyed by a land-slide, and rebuilt. The first school was taught in a private dwelling 
by Miss Adelia Cain. The town is a thriving one commercially, having three merchandising 
establishments, kept by Willoughby Brothers, O. B. Dolly, and J. F. Bacher & Co. There are two 
hotels, the Mountain House by Willoughby Brothers, and the Johnsville. Besides these, there 
are two meat markets, and the usual complement of saloons. 

Mohawk Lodge No. 292, I. O. O. F., was instituted at this place by J. M. Chapman, D. D., 
September 8, 1880. The charter members were John Neville, M. Willoughby, R. C. Bryant, John 
Daly, and F. Rodoni. The hall is over F. Rodoni's saloon, and is well furnished. The lodge had a 
membership of 25 on the first of January, 1882, with the following officers : John Neville, N. G. ; 
R. C. Bryant, V. G. ; C. Stinson, R. S. N. G. ; Thomas Delbridge, L. S. N. G. ; R. Tramaloni, R. S. 
V. G.; C. Rosetti, L. S. V. G.; M. Willoughby, Sec'y; F. Rodoni, Treas. ; W. M. Pratt, I. G. ; 
John Daly, W. ; Dr. Chas. M. Hill, Con.; J. C. Knickrem, R. S. S. ; F. Meffley, L. S. S. 

MOHAWK VALLEY. This is a narrow strip of land lying on either side of a stream of the 
same name, and well adapted to dairying purposes, to which use it is largely put. As you enter 
the valley in going from Quincy to Reno or Truckee, you first come upon the quiet roadside home 
of Uncle Billy Parker, an old pioneer, well and favorably known throughout the whole section. 
He also keeps a store for the accommodation of the sparsely settled neighborhood. Next is the 


20-Mile House, kept by the Cromberg brothers, at which is a post-office called Cromberg. Next is 
Sutton's, where is Mohawk post-office, William Knott, postmaster. It was established in 1869, 
with the same gentleman in office, and was recently removed to its present location. Here Mr. 
Sutton keeps a hotel for the entertainment of travelers, and a store and saw-mill make quite a 
village. Next is the fine Howe truss bridge, erected in 1881, at an expense of 13,877. Some 
distance beyond the bridge is Wash post-office, established in 1875, and named in honor of an old 
and respected citi/en, Mr. Wash, recently deceased. Located near Sutton's, on a beautiful knoll 
sloping to the east, is the quiet Mohawk burying-ground. The site was chosen by a Mr. Trimble, 
who became the first to be interred there. 

At the head of the valley, close up to the encircling mountains, is Sulphur Springs ranch and 
hotel, property of George S. McLear, member of the board of supervisors for this district. This 
is one of the most beautiful and attractive of the mountain resorts of Plumas. It lies on the 
sunny side of the valley, 5,000 feet above the sea, overlooking fine meadows, beyond which rise the 
lofty, snow-capped peaks of the Sierra summits. The water of this spring is warm, and known as 
white sulphur. It has never been analyzed, but is believed to closely resemble the famous springs 
of Virginia. The hotel building contains three stories, is finely furnished, and pleasingly managed 
by Mrs. McLear and her estimable daughter Frankie. It is located on the stage road from Quincy 
and Plumas Eureka to Truckee, and the Sierra Iron and Quincy R. R. Co. will soon have a narrow- 
gauge track connecting the valley with Reno. 

Prominent among the residents of the valley is Mr. G. W. Meylert, extensively engaged in 
dairying and raising vegetables. He supplied the Plumas Eureka Company the past year with 
120,000 Ibs. of potatoes, 30,000 Ibs. of cabbage, 20,000 Ibs. of turnips, 7,000 Ibs. of beets, 7,000 Ibs. 
of carrots, and 26,000 Ibs. of onions. 

There are some gravel mines in the valley, a quartz ledge owned by Hapgood & Co., which 
prospects well; also some rich iron ore yet undeveloped, but which gives promise of great value. 
The valley and adjacent mountains are covered with a heavy growth of excellent timber, and the 
coming of the railroad promises to work wonders'in the development of the latent resources of this 

The first settlement in the valley was made in the early part of June, 1851, by Asa Gould and 
a few others on the Mohawk ranch, now the property of Mrs. King. The same party, with a few 
others, among whom were Jamison, whose name was given to the town of Jamison, and a Mr. 
Friend, located the Sulphur Springs place, now the property of Mr. McLear, early in the following 
July. The name Mohawk was given to the valley by these first settlers, in honor of the valley by 
the same name in the Allegheneys, from which some of them came. 

GEORGE SPEAR McLEAR. This gentleman was "born in the town of Mount Jory, Lancaster 
county, Pennsylvania, January 28, 1828. He was the third child and second son of Arthur and 
Isabel (Spear) McLear, who were both natives of the same county. When he was seventeen years 
of age his father died, and he went into a furniture manufactory, where he learned the cabinet 
trade. After completing his education in this branch, he removed to Dayton, Montgomery county, 
Ohio, where he followed the same business. In February, 1855, he went to New York and sailed 
for San Francisco, where he arrived on the sixth of March. From there he went to Georgetown, 
El Dorado county, and followed mining and carpentering for a short time. His next move was to 
Weaverville and Yreka, in northern California, on a prospecting trip. Soon he returned to 
Thompson's flat, near Oroville, where he worked at carpentering until the spring of 1856, when he 
removed to Jamison creek, and spent three years mining; after which he purchased the hotel kept 


by Friend & Byers. It was destroyed by fire some time after, and be engaged in merchandising 
for five years. He disposed of his store in 1887, and purchased the Sulphur Springs ranch and 
hotel. On the seventeenth of October, 1867, he married Mrs. Mary J. Purdom, and by this union 
there are four children, George, Isabel, Maud, and Edith. Mrs. McLear's maiden name was 
Holmes. She was a daughter of William and Margaret Holmes, of the north of Ireland, where she 
was born on the second day of February, 1843. When about twelve years of age she came to the 
United States, in company with a brother and sister, and settled in Galena, Illinois. She came to 
California in 1861, and stopped in Honey Lake valley, where, on September 16 of the same year, she 
was married to T. C. Purdom, who died in 1864. They had one daughter, Frankie, who was born 
June 14, 1862. Mr. McLear is a republican in politics; in 1879 he Avas appointed to fill a vacancy 
in the board of supervisors, and in 1880 was elected to the same office for three years. An 
engraving of the Sulphur Springs hotel, of which he is proprietor, can be seen on another page of 
this volume. 

GURDON W. MEYLERT. Secku and Abigail (Nichols) Meylert, the former a native of 
Germany and the latter of Connecticut, reared a family of nine children, the youngest of whom, 
the subject of our sketch, was born at Montrose, Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, May 19, 1837. 
He was educated at Lewisburgh, Pennsylvania, and at the Eensselaer Polytechnic Institute, at 
Troy, New York. At the age of seventeen he made a trip to China, and thence to California in 
1855. He resided for a time in San Francisco, and then went into business in Sacramento, where 
he was at the time of the flood of 1861-62. From thence he came to Plumas county, where lie lias 
resided and engaged in active business pursuits ever since. For the past eight years he has been 
a contractor at the Plumas Eureka mine. He has always taken an interest in public affairs; was 
superintendent of the county schools for several years; was one of the projectors of the Sierra Iron 
and Quincy R. E. Co., in which he is a large stockholder. He is a member of Plumas Lodge No. 
88, I. O. O. F., and Plumas Lodge* No. 60, F. & A. M. Mr. Meylert is extensively engaged in 
dairying, for which purpose he keeps about 120 cows on his ranch in Mohawk valley. He has 
1,200 acres of fine land for pasture and meadow, from which he cuts 250 tons of hay. He also 
raises great quantities of vegetables. February 27, 1864, he married Miss H. E. Madden, daughter 
of G. W. Madden of Taylorville, in this county. Mr. Meylert has recently been appointed by the 
president to take charge of the United States land office at Susanville. 

MRS. R. KING. This lady is a resident of Mohawk valley, and was born in Syke, near 
Bremen, Germany, September 12, 1825. She was married in Germany to a Mr. Dieterick. In 
1855 they came to California directly from Germany, and settled at Gibsonville. Here her first, 
son, Henry Dieterick, was born; and here also Mr. Dieterick died. In 1857 she removed to 
Mohawk valley ; and in the same year was married to Fred King, Avho lived on the Sulphur 
Springs ranch, where three of their family were born : Fred M. (who was the second boy born in 
the valley), Nellie C., and Ida E. Charles D. was born in Marysville ; Nellie died January 7, 1878, 
after a brief illness of four days. Mrs. King now lives on the Mohawk ranch, and is the post 
mistress of Wash post-office. 

JOHN W. HILL. He was born in Monroe county, Missouri, January 24, 1834, and is a son of 
Wesley and Eli/abeth Hill, who were natives of Bourbon, Kentucky. He crossed the plains with 
his father in 1849, remained in the mines until October, 1851, when he returned to the states, and 
came to California again in 1852. His father died en route across the plains. He settled in Napa 
county, and followed farming and stock-growing until 1857. Then he removed to Arixona, and 
raised stock until 1800, when the Indian troubles drove him out. His next move was to Texas. 

Here he joined the command of General Sibley, and served in the Confederate army until parolled 
in 1864. He then went to Montana, and engaged in mining until the fall of 1867, when he returned 
to California, and has since, in company with William Elwell, operated the Squirrel Creek mine. 
He was married December 25, 1877, to Miss Emma F. O'Neil. There is one child, Emma F., born 
September 27, 1878. 

WILLIAM ELWELL. This gentleman is a son of Joseph M. and Susan Elwell, and was born in 
the city of Philadelphia January 28, 1821. When about 22 years of age he removed to Louisiana, 
and in May, 1850, to California; and has been engaged in mining ever since. For a number of 
years he was superintendent of the 76 mine, now the Plumas. He, in company with J. W. Hill, 
owns the Squirrel creek gravel-mines. He is one of about sixteen veterans of the Mexican war now 
residing in Plumas county. Mr. Elwell is a member of Hope Masonic Lodge No. 294, at Beckwourth ; 
also a Eoyal Arch Mason, and a life member of the council at Marysville. 

WILLOUGHBY BROTHERS. Matthew, Henry, and John Willoughby are all natives of Cornwall, 
England. Matthew came to the United States in the spring of 1869. In a short time he sent for 
his brother Henry, who arrived in 1870 on American soil. He in turn sent for their younger 
brother John, who arrived in the United States in 1872; By industry and business tact they have 
built themselves np, and we find them at Johnsville, proprietors of a good merchandising 
establishment, of the Mountain Home, and of a butcher shop, in each of which they are doing a good 
business. Henry is the manager in charge of the hotel, John of the store, and Matthew of the meat 
market. The hotel is one of the best in the county, being neat and comfortably furnished. In 
connection with the business in Johnsville they own a ranch in Mohawk valley. 

HENRY GRAZER. He is a native of Germany, and emigrated to the United States in 1852. 
He settled at Cincinnati, Ohio, and removed from there to the Pacific coast in 1870, locating on 
Crystal creek, then in the state of Nevada. In September, 1876, he removed to Johnsville, and in 
company with his brother, A. Grazer, engaged in the brewing business. The latter disposed of his 
interest, and the firm is now Grazer and Lavano. 

JOHN A. PHIPPS. Mr. Phipps is a son of Joseph and Margaret Phipps, natives of the north of 
Ireland. John was born in the town of Mercer, Mercer county, Pennsylvania, on the twenty-seventh 
day of December^ 1841. When about seventeen years of age he learned blacksmithing from his 
father, who now resides in Oakland, California. He followed this work in Sharon, Pennsylvania, 
for a while ; and in February, 1864, sailed from New York for San Francisco. After his arrival he 
went at once to Amador City, and for eleven years was connected with the quartz-mines there. In 
1875 he removed to Plumas Eureka, and took charge of the mills of that company. He was mar 
ried September 10, 1866, to Miss Isabel Creighton, daughter of Joseph Creighton of Indian Run, 
Pennsylvania. There are three children living: James Farley, born September 27, 1873; Eliza J., 
born June 6, 1876; and John A., born February 4, 1879. Mr. Phipps is a member of the Masonic 
lodge at Sierra City. 

CHARLES M. HILL, M. D. The doctor is a son of Hon. E. Y. Hill of Georgia, and was born 
at La Grange, in that state, on the first day of November, 1847. He received his literary education 
at Washington College, Lexington, Virginia; and his medical education in Louisville, Kentucky, and 
at Atlanta, Georgia. He removed to California in February, 1877, and located, in April of that 
year, at Etna Mills, Siskiyou county. After a short time spent there, he was called east on business, 
and sold his practice. On his return to California, he located at Plumas Eureka mines, as physician 
and surgeon to the same. He was married on the fifth of February, 1876, to Miss M. J. Hill, 
daughter of Dr. John S. Hill, who was a brother of Senator Benjamin H. Hill of Georgia. 


F. RODONI. He is a native of Switzerland, and emigrated to the United States in 1877, and 
resided for a short time in St. Louis, Missouri. He removed to Plunias county, California, in 1878, 
and began business at Johnsville, as F. Rodoni & Co., in 1880. Mr. Rodoni is a member of 
Mohawk Lodge No. 292, I. O. O. F. 

W. M. PRATT. He was born in Wayne county, New York, and removed to Plumas county, 
California, in 1875. For some years he has been in the employ of the Plumas Eureka mine, work 
ing in the Mohawk mill. Mr. Pratt is a member of Mohawk Lodge No. 292, I. O. O. F. 

JOHN NEVILL. Mr. Nevill was born in Wisconsin in 1841. He emigrated to California in 
1860, and stopped for a time at Humboldt bay. He removed to Plumas Eureka in 1872, and has 
since been connected with the mines as contractor for furnishing wood and lumber. He is a mem 
ber of Mohawk Lodge No. 292, 1. O. O. F. Mr. Nevill was married in 1880 to Mrs. J. V. McNichol 
of Plumas county. 

GEORGE WOODWARD. This gentleman was born in Wilmington, Delaware, July 14, 1821, and 
was the son of Alice and George Woodward. He removed with his father's family to Chester 
county, Pennsylvania, and when twelve years of age went to Champaign county, Ohio, where his 
parents died. The family consisted of eleven children, ten of whom grew to be men and women. 
Mr. Woodward, who is a carpenter by trade, served his apprenticeship in Columbus, Ohio. From 
there he emigrated to California in 1849, and worked at his trade in Sacramento until the flood of 
1850, when he went to mining in the fall of 1850 in Plumas county. Since 1851 he has resided 
permanently in Plumas. He was married October 25, 1857, to Martha Portman, a native of Eng 
land. Seven children have been born to them: Florence E., Alice I., George F., Fannie, John J., 
Edgar W., and Arthur. Mr. Woodward was one of the locators of the Mammoth mine. 


This with Quartz comprised the two townships into which this section of Butte county was 
divided in 1851. It embraced the whole north fork, east branch, American, Indian, and Meadow 
valleys, as well as the whole north-eastern portion of the county. [See Official History.'] Mineral 
township now embraces the country lying south of the north fork and east branch, west of 
American valley, and north of the middle fork. The census of 1880 gives this section a population 
of 729, of which 240 are Chinese and 47 Indians. For the most part the people are engaged in 
mining at various points, the Chinese nearly all following that pursuit. In Meadow valley and 
Buck's valley agriculture and dairying are engaged in to some extent. 

In the past the most important place in the township, and for a few years even in the county, 
was Rich bar, on the east branch of the north fork. It was the chief mining center, and flourished 
a number of years as a prosperous mining camp, and then went the way of all others of its class. 
A few are working there now, and at other points along the river ; but the days when the stream 
was lined with industrious miners, and the busy hum of life filled the air, have gone never to 
return. Junction bar, 12-mile bar, Soda bar, and the dozens of others have been practically 
deserted, and no one but the few surviving pioneers will ever be able to realize what once was here, 
and how great has been the change. Every bar, bend, hill, flat, and ravine is replete with stirring 
scenes and interesting events to the pioneer of thirty years who again revisits the scene of his early 
adventures; while to the man of to-day they present but the ordinary features of nature. 

Rich bar was one of the foremost discoveries in the county, following quickly upon the heels of 


Nelson creek and the middle fork, where the disappointed crowd of Gold lake proclivities had 
concentrated, and where there were not claims enough by several hundred to give them all a 
chance to work. In such a case extensive prospecting was done, and about the first of July, 1850, 
these celebrated diggings were discovered. Who composed the party that made the discovery is a 
matter of uncertainty. It is variously stated by different gentlemen, none of whom claim any 
positive knowledge on the subject. However, the date is agreed upon as the last week in June or 
the first in July. The news soon reached the crowd of disappointed and impatient men on the 
middle fork, Nelson, Hopkins, and Poorman's creeks, and a rush was made for the new diggings. 
It is stated that a man named Greenwood, from two pans of dirt, realized 82,900 ; and that was the 
reason for calling the place Rich bar. The same authority gives Greenwood as the original 
discoverer of the bar. The crowd that came pouring in spread all along the stream, making new 
discoveries and opening up new places every day. Indian, Missouri, French, Smith, Brown, and 
Junction bars were quickly found and covered with claims, till the whole river from the mouth of 
the east branch to Rich bar was lined with busy miners. 

Claims were forty feet square, and the amount of gold said to have been taken from several 
of them is almost fabulous. Pans of dirt frequently yielded from $100 to $1,000. One company of 
four men took out $50,000 in a very brief period. Enoch Judson, now one of the wealthy men of 
San Francisco, had a claim on Smith hill in the fall, from which he carried the dirt in a flour-sack 
to the river, sometimes getting as much as $750 from one sack of dirt. Provisions were brought in 
by packers, and sold for one dollar per pound, except flour, which was fifty per cent, higher. One 
man was accommodated by a packer who was disposing of the last of his stock, by securing a sack 
of flour for $95, a pair of brogans for $8.50, and a bottle of Avhisky for $7. Beef was brought to 
camp on mules by some Mexicans who had some cattle herded where Spanish Ranch now stands. 
The price was one dollar per pound. Soon after this old Joe Haywood opened a butcher shop on 
the bar, and sold meat for seventy-five cents and one dollar per pound. No regular traders estab 
lished themselves at Rich bar that year; but goods were brought in by packers, who quickly 
disposed of their loads and returned for more. At Smith's bar, Moulton tfc Day, and Thomas J. 
Taylor & Co., had rival mercantile establishments in the fall of 1850. 

About the middle of September, 1850, the rain commenced, and continued falling for three 
days. As the miners had no houses, and but few rejoiced in the luxury of tents, the wet weather 
was disagreeable in the extreme. As a rule, pine brush laid upon poles formed the only protection 
from the elements these people had taken time to provide themselves with. The river raised 
considerably, and washed out the only wing-dam that had been constructed, which was at the head 
of Rich bar. Thinking the rainy season had commenced, and fearing that the supply of provisions 
would be cut off, and that the rigors of a mountain winter could not be endured with safety, the 
greater portion abandoned their claims and made their way out of the mountains. The few 
remaining ones built log cabins, and prepared to spend the winter there. The first cabin built was 
by Doctor Goodall, Harry Chappel, and Mr. Pool, on the flat where the town was afterwards 
constructed. On Smith hill the first cabin was built by the Phillips brothers. These few who 
remained were enabled to do considerable work during the winter, owing to the unexpected 
mildness of the season. 

Early in the spring came a vast throng of miners upon the east branch, and towns sprang up 
with magical rapidity on all the bars of importance. At Rich bar, Kingsbury, Hall, & Co. opened 
a store in February, the only one on the bar at that time. In the spring and early summer quite a 
number of trading houses were established, the more prominent ones being Hunt & Lindley, C. A. 


Bancroft, and Clark & Wagner. Considerable prospecting had been done the year before on 
Indian bar, but nothing of importance had been developed. Along in the winter months a party 
of Missourians sank a shaft near the head and back part of the bar, and obtained very rich pros 
pects. They sold out to Frank Ward, H. W. Kellogg, M. H. Presby, W. V. Kingsbury, and H. A. 
Chase, the ground proving very rich. In the summer of 1851 quite a town sprang up, and Indian 
bar became for a time the liveliest camp on the east branch. Among the stores opened there were 
Bartlett, Brown, & Co., Kingsbury, Hall, & Co., and Mayer & Helbing. It was not long before 
Rich bar surpassed all the others, and became the general headquarters for the whole river, which 
then swarmed with miners. The first express by Herman Camp and John R. Buckbee, spoken of 
elsewhere, ran to Rich bar, as did their successors for years afterwards. 

The river, at the head of Rich bar, having prospected so richly in the summer of 1850, another 
wing-dam was constructed in the summer of 1851, and paid immensely. From this point for miles 
down the stream the river was taken up that season, and wing-dams put in. The first below the 
old dam was an Illinois company, composed of Major John S. Love, Peter Bailey, Richard Thomp 
son, Richard Irwin, and others to the number of eighteen. Next to them was the Virginia 
company, composed of Clem. Davis, Nat. Cruzen, Paul Jones, Joseph Kent, Thomas Moore, Doctor 
Cronan, and F. B. Whiting. This claim was worked five weeks, and paid $1,500 to the share. 
The next season it failed to pay more than one-third that amount. The remaining river claims 
paid little or nothing, with but a few exceptions. The bars and benches all paid richly for work 
ing, but as a rule the river claims were barren of golden fruit, and many a min-r left the east 
branch in the fall of 1852 bankrupt. 

Among the pioneers who were at work along the east branch in 1850, besides those who have 
been mentioned, are remembered the names of Dr. J. W. Bidwell, James and William Phillips, 

Thomas Orton, Colonel James Fair, Townsend, Jack Harrington, Richard Orarland, Samuel and 

Bradford Colley, Hiram Hill, Hubbard Moore, Stephen Moore, Dr. Smith, Thomas Beatty, Peter 
Bailey (who died in the Stockton asylum in 1873), Ripley C. Kelly, Andrew Kelly, and Robert A. 
Clark. Mr. Orton is still mining on the north fork, at Cariboo. 

Mr. Ripley C. Kelly relates the following account of the way in which the first discovery on 
Eich bar was made, which, he says, is a big story, but every word of it true : In the fore part of 
July, 1850, three Germans, one of whom was named Spreckles, came down to the river and camped 
at the head of the bar, or at the mouth of French ravine. In going to the river for water to use 
in cooking, they passed over the high, barren bed-rock at the head of the bar, when one of them 
descried a piece of gold which weighed two ounces. They very soon set to work, staked out three 
claims of forty feet each, and during the ensuing four days took out 136,000. Mr. Kelly and his 
brother Andrew were the first to work on Willow bar. He took out seventeen ounces the first 
day, and in a short time made a "small pile." He was one of the first assemblymen from this 
county, and is still mining in the county. 

A gentleman who is still living on Rich bar, honored and respected at the ripe old age of seventy- 
six years, is Joshua Brown McShane, affectionately called Pap by his early associates. He is a native 
of Pennsylvania, worked in the lead mines of Wisconsin, and came to this state in 1851. It was on 
a hot spring day of that year that Pap first descended Rich bar hill, crowned with a silk hat, and 
holding aloft an umbrella to pretect himself from the warm rays of the sun. The unusual spectacle 
filled the miners with astonishment. Down dropped their tools, and a crowd soon gathered about 
the curiosity to take a look at it. Pap was eminently sound on the social question, and invited the 
boys in to take a " smile." They went, and the smiling was several times repeated, finally winding 


up by Pap's hat being made a target for a shower of potatoes, while the boys decorated the head 
of its owner with a fine chapeau of the regulation style. Pap made an honorable record as a miner 
and butcher on the bar for many years. He is the oldest living Odd Fellow in the state, having 
been initiated into the order in Wisconsin, in 1838, by Thomas Wilder, the father of Odd Fellow 
ship in America. 

The first white lady on the east branch, and probably the first to reside in the county, was the 
wife of Mr. Charles A. Bancroft. Early in the spring of 1851 Mr. Bancroft settled as a merchant 
at Rich bar. The appearance of a lady descending the trail to the river created a sensation among 
the miners on the bar. Down dropped pick and shovel from the hands of miners, who had not seen 
the face nor heard the soft voice of a lady for many weary months, and her progress along the 
trail was watched with eager eyes for several miles. Ladies were treated with the utmost respect 
and courtesy by those early miners, who saw in them the mother, sister, and wife waiting for them 
in their far-off homes. Mrs. Bancroft's first child was born on Rich bar August 28,. 1851, the first 
white child born in the county. His name is Charles E. Bancroft, and he is at present residing in 
New York, the eastern agent of the publishing house of A. L. Bancroft & Co. of San Francisco. 
Several other ladies came to the river in the spring of 1852, among whom were the wives of DeWitt 
Kellogg, Milton Presby, and Peter Bailey. Langdon Kellogg, now living in San Francisco, was 
born on Indian Hill early in 1853. 

GEORGE B. McCuLLouGH came to Rich bar, east branch, in the summer of 1852. He was a 
fine specimen of manhood, aged about fifty years, and hailed from Cecil county, Maryland, where 
he had been a heavy contractor on public works, and had held many positions of trust. He had 
heard of river fluniing, and came to this state with a view of securing contracts for the construction 
of flumes. On his arrival he found that the mining companies did all such work themselves, and 
was therefore disappointed. Being a proud man, he felt unwilling to return to his home without 
making an effort in some direction, and so engaged in mining on Rich bar, but was not successful. 
He was beloved by all whose acquaintance he made, and was known and recognized as "Old Man 
McCullough." Not a miner there but would have shared his last dollar or his last loaf with him. 
McCullough, living in a cabin alone, became despondent, and gradually resorted to the intoxicating 
cup for consolation. He labored faithfully all the time, but realized little more than a bare 
subsistence. Many fruitless efforts were made by his friends to induce him to return to his devoted 
wife at home, and she in frequent letters earnestly besought him to do so, but in vain. A strong 
intimacy existed between him and Mr. F. B. Whiting, who tells the following: 

"He often alluded to his wife, and also to his brother, a prominent lawyer in Maryland. The 
old man was fast going down to a drunkard's grave, when in the fall of 1854 I determined to make 
a last effort to save him. I sat down in my cabin and wrote a letter to his brother in Cecil county, 
Maryland, frankly stating the condition of his brother, and urging him to come out himself. 

" As I was sitting in the store one winter evening the door opened, and a stranger, clad in 
unusual apparel, entered. He was dressed in the richest broadcloth, and wore a fine silk hat, which 
peculiarities of costume caused me much surprise. He approached and inquired for me, presenting 
a letter of introduction from a brother of mine then living in Washington, which invoked my 
kindly assistance for the stranger. This old gentleman had come all the way from Maryland to 
rescue from destruction his brother-in-law, George B. McCullough. For three days we used all the 
moral suasion we were capable of on McCullough, to induce him to go home, and finally succeeded. 
The boys all bade him a tearful adieu, and many a blessing from the kind-hearted miners followed 
him on his homeward journey. He reached his old home in safety, where his faithful wife awaited 


him; lie was reinstated in the responsible trust he had left, and from that time became a reformed 
man. He lived twenty-five years after this occurrence, dying some two years since. To the day of 
his death it is believed he was never apprised of the first steps taken to save him." 

ROBERT M. BLAKEMORE. Among the thousands whom the golden magnet drew to this coast, 
none had more true nobility of character than Blakemore. He was a Virginian by birth, received 
a fair English education in his native state, and in company with B. F. Washington and J. E. N. 
Lewis, came to this state in 1849. He was unsuccessful in mining, and began packing goods to the 
northern mines. In 1855 he formed a partnership with Richard Irwin, and purchased the mercan 
tile establishment of Clark, Wagner, & Co., on Rich bar, east branch of Feather. While in 
business here, one of his former schoolmates came from Nevada, took sick, and died. Blakemore 
was very much attached to his friend, and after the burial, took a mule and went eight miles up 
the river, where he quarried out several slabs of slate. These he packed back, and with chisels 
made by the village blacksmith of the period, he worked out a tombstone to mark the last resting- 
place of the deceased. Three weeks were consumed in this part of the work. The slabs were 
carefully bolted together with iron bolts, and on the face was inscribed, " Edward Davis, of Jeffer 
son Co., Va." Around the grave Blakemore constructed a stone wall and wooden palings, before 
the last offices prompted by friendship were complete. Some years later a stone-cutter came along 
that way, and remarked to his friends, " Boys, the man is a master of his art." Blakemore went 
back to Virginia in 1865. Upon his departure, he gave all his business interests to his partner, 
instead of selling out. In 1866 he was in New Orleans in business, when he took the yellow fever 
and died. 


Taking rank as one of the oldest and most important settlements in Plumas county, we 
find on the stage road from Oroville to Quincy the place known as Spanish Ranch. In July, 
1850, the first camp was established in this part of Meadow valley by two Mexicans. Here 
they turned out to graze the horses and mules belonging to those miners who had packed their 
blankets, cooking utensils, and provisions on to the east branch ; and having no further use 
for the animals at the time, the miners had intrusted them to the keeping of these Mexicans. 
The herders were also engaged in butchering cattle at the place, packing the meat to the 
miners on the river, who bought this necessity from them at the somewhat fabulous price of a 
dollar a pound. From its Spanish inhabitants the place derived the title of Spanish Ranch, thq 
same element appearing in the name of the neighboring peak and creek also. 

In the spring of 1851 the first cabin, of logs, was built for the purpose of storing goods, the 
convenience of the location making it a trading point of considerable importance. In the early 
spring of 1852 D. J. Gloyd and one Snodgrass erected a house upon the present site of the Spanish 
Ranch hotel, and kept an establishment for the entertaining of man and beast. They were also 
engaged in ranching stock. But little security could be obtained in those days for loose animals 
turned out on these mountain ranches, and many a miner who in the spring had left a fine mule 
upon the ranch would return in the fall to find it missing. The country was overrun with Mexi 
cans, many of whom would frequently engage in their favorite occupation of stealing stock, driving 
the plunder to the stock market of Marysville or of Sacramento, where it was sold. Spanish Ranch 
soon became a distributing point for surrounding camps, and at one time could boast of three 
hotels, and an equal number of saloons. Later in the year 1852 the business dwindled to one hotel 
and a store, owned by Raney, Gloyd, & Snodgrass. Raney, who had been here since the curly 


part of 1851, sold out to Mr. Wells in the winter of 1852, who, with his wife, kept the hotel. In 
the spring of 1853 I. J. Harvey purchased the entire place, and made additions and improvements 
to the property. In the spring of 1854 he sold to O. Fuller of Marysville, but repurchased the 
ranch in the fall. In 1855 W. W. Storey became a half-owner with Harvey, and a year after the 
latter disposed of his interest to Judge Goodwin, and then began a banking business on his own 
account. In 1857 G. W. Miner of Boston bought the store, and kept it about a year, when the 
entire business reverted back to Harvey & Son, who, after their failure in business, were succeeded 
by Richard Thompson and Henry W. Kellogg, the present popular and enterprising proprietors 
of Spanish Ranch. 

A post-office was established here in the year 1858, with I. J. Harvey as postmaster. He was 
succeeded in 1862 by R. Thompson. In 1868 Wells, Fargo, & Co. made Spanish Ranch an express 
office, with Thompson & Kellogg as agents. Large business transactions have been carried on by 
this office since its establishment. The shipments of coin and bullion for the year 1881 amounted 
to 114,076.65. The first school was taught at the toll-gate by A. Robinson, who built the house 
and kept a private school. Miss Slaven was the first teacher of the public school in the Spanish 
Peak school district. Here were the office and headquarters of the Plumas and Spanish Ranch 
Ditch Company, composed of Joseph Winston, Dick Jacks, William Jacks, Morris Smith, and 
several others. Thompson & Kellogg do an individual business running from $65,000 to $100,000 
per annum, all under the supervision of their head clerk and accountant, Norman K. Wright. 

Two miles across the valley from Spanish Ranch is the Meadow. Valley hotel, kept by Thomas 
Hughes, who is also postmaster and keeps a store. There are also a blacksmith shop, shoe-maker's 
shop, saw-mill, and a number of residences, forming quite a village. This has been fur years one of 
the regular stopping-places for the stage and express lines, and a rival to Spanish Ranch. This 
was the property of Clark, Shannon, & Co. when they failed, in 1861. 

RICHARD THOMPSON. This gentleman is a son of Isaac and Catherine (Sephtuii) Thompson, 
who were of English birth, and emigrated to Canada, where they were married in the city of 
Quebec. Here the subject of our sketch, Richard, was born on the twenty-seventh of November, 
1824. He was the oldest of a family of five brothers and two sisters, all of whom were born in 
Canada. When a boy, Richard learned the blacksmithing trade, and for a short time followed it. 
The next venture for self-support was as a clerk in a grocery store in Quebec. There he remained 
until news of the great gold field of California reached Quebec. He then started, via Cape Horn, to 
San Francisco, where he arrived in September, 1850. He worked at his trade until February, 1851, 
when he started to Rich bar, and mined until the fall of 1852, when he came to Spanish Ranch and 
opened a shop, which he carried on till 1856. Then Mr. Kellogg joined him, and they opened a 
hardware store, continuing the business till 1861, when they purchased the Spanish Ranch, and 
opened a general merchandise store; and in 1882 we find them sole proprietors of Spanish Ranch, 
doing a farming, mining, mercantile, and banking business, together with blacksmithing and hotel- 
keeping. Mr. Thompson was married January 20, I860, to Miss Sarah J. Russell, by whom he has 
had two sons : Charles Russell, born at Spanish Ranch August 23, 1863 ; and William Hundley, born 
December 27, 1865. Mrs. Thompson died November 19, 1872, and is interred in the Meadow 
valley burying-ground. Mr. Thompson was married again to Miss Alicia S. Keough of Meganti 
county, Canada, on the twenty fourth of August, 1874. He joined the order of Odd Fellows in 
Canada, and at present is a member of the Quincy lodge. 

HEXRY WATERS KELLOGG. The subject of this sketch is now one of the enterprising firm of 
Thompson & Kellogg, at Spanish Ranch. He is the second son of si family of -seven children of 


Otis and Mary Kellogg of Colchester, New London county, Connecticut. The names of the family 

in the order they were born arc Abner, Henry W., Lydia, Caroline, John, Mary, and Charles. The 
last was killed in the first battle of Bull Run. Henry W. was horn December 5, 1822, in 
Colchester, Connecticut. His boyhood days were spent on his father's farm. When sixteen years 
old he went to Cazenova, New York, and learned the blacksmithing trade, and later that of a 
molder. It was in this work that he was accidentally burned with molten metal. He sailed from 
New York for San Francisco in 1849, and arrived on the sixteenth of January, 1850. He was in 
Sacramento during the great flood, and repaired at once to Bidwell's bar, where he remained until 
February 1, 1851, when, in company with Millard H. Presby and George W. Chase, he went to Rich 
bar. This was the starvation winter in California, and Mr. Kellogg says he paid three dollars ] id- 
pound for flour, and carried it on his back from Spanish Ranch. In 1852 he went to Santa Clara 
valley, and opened a blacksmith shop near Redwood city. In 1 854 he returned to the mines at 
Fales' hill, where he Avorked with John Percy. In 1856 he removed to Spanish Ranch, and went 
into business with Richard Thompson, his present partner. May 16, 1864, Mr. Kellogg was united 
in marriage to Mary E. Carlisle, on Silver creek. By this union there were four children, two of 
whom are living, and attending school in the east. He was married a second time to Eleanor E. 
Keough, on the sixth of September, 1881. Mr. Kellogg is a member of the Odd Fellows lodge at 

NORMAN K. WRIGHT. The only son of Sylvester and Cynthia B. (King) Wright was 
Norman K., and he was born in the county of Leeds, Canada, August 21, 1828. In 1843 he 
removed to Monroe county, New York, where he grew to manhood. His father died when he was 
three years old. After about six years of widowhood, his mother was again married to David N. 
Glazier. Most of young Norman's boyhood days were spent in clerking for his step-father. On 
the twentieth of March, 1852, he embarked on a vessel from New York for San Francisco, via 
Panama, where he was delayed seriously, awaiting the coming of the Monumental City, on which 
he completed his journey to San Francisco, arriving June 17 of same year. The time until 
October was spent at Sacramento in sickness ; but later in the fall he went to Auburn and engaged 
in mining and hotel-keeping. In April, 1853, he went to the north fork of Feather river. Here he 
remained until the spring of 1855, when he settled at Eagle gulch. After a short time spent iu 
mining and sawing lumber, he, in company with Andrew Robinson, on the seventeenth of June, 
opened the second store kept in the place, the first one having been opened by J. W. Hardwirk. 
They continued in business until 1861, when the camp, failing to be a profitable place, was 
abandoned. On the twenty-first of September, 1863, he came at the request of Mr. Thompson, of 
the firm of Thompson & Kellogg, to take charge of their business for a few days, during their 
absence buying goods ; and so efficient has he been in the discharge of duty that we find him there 
yet, in 1882. He was married, January 14, 1874, to Mrs. Carrie De Nayer, a native of Alsace, 

THOMAS HUGHES. Mr. Hughes is the son of Richard and Mary (Jones) Hughes, and was 
born in Wales, May 13, 1830. In his boyhood he followed gardening, and at the age of seven 
teen emigrated to the United States and settled at East Dennis, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. 
There he lived until 1854, when he came to San Francisco, and engaged in gardening in what is 
now the heart of the city. In 1855 he was mining on Rush creek. In 1857 he mined at Soda bar, 
on the east branch, and also opened a store and public house, which he kept until 1868. In the 
autumn of 1869 he purchased from M. D. Smith the Meadow valley hotel and ranch of 320 acres, 
on which he now resides. Mr. Hughes is now in the dairying business, has thirty cows, and makes 


3,000 pounds of butter annually. He is the postmaster at Meadow valley. Mr. Hughes was 
married April 24, 1854, to Elizabeth Pary, by whom he had two children; viz., Brainard B., born 
November, 18, 1857; Mary L., born August 18, 1859, at Soda bar, now the wife of E. E. Fliilps of 
Meadow valley, and the mother of one child, Verbenia, born March 6, 1881. Mr. Hughes is a 
member of Quincy Lodge No. 88, I. O. O. F. He comes of a long-lived family, and will doubtless 
live to a good old age. 

ALANSON A. HALLSTED. Son of Joseph and Betsy Hallsted. This gentleman was born in Ohio, 
Mareh 8, 1836. In 1855 he journeyed to California, via the Isthmus. He mined at 12-mile bar, 
Rich gulch, and Kingsbury's ferry until the spring of 1875, when he moved to Meadow valley and 
erected the residence and saloon he now owns. He was married February 14, 1865, to Miss Mary 
Damm, by whom he has had five children: Henry E., born January 14, 1866; Fannie, August 7, 
1869 ; May Elizabeth, November 9, 1872; Louisa J., May 3, 1874; Asa D., March 13, 1877. He is 
a member of the United Workmen lodge at Quincy. 

RICHARD JACKS. In Howard county, Missouri, September 22, 1830, the subject of this sketch 
was born. In April, 1850, he started with a company for California, and having lost their cattle in 
the Missouri river, they hired a man to haul their provisions, and footed it across the continent, 
arriving at Placerville September 5. After mining a few months in various localities, he came to 
Poorman's creek, in this county, in April, 1851, mined there a short time, and spent the summer on 
Canyon creek. For three years he mined in different places, and in July, 1854, settled at Quincy. 
During the same year he erected a saw-mill in Meadow valley. In 1863 he prospected on Reese 
river, but was glad to return ; and in 1864 bought the property he has resided on since. In 1869 he 
went to Kansas to settle his father's estate, and while there was married to Florence Freemont 
Bell, January 11, 1871, by whom he has had four sons and two daughters, as follows: Doniphan 
R., Mary E., Solon J., Elias T., Florence J., and Andrew K. Mr. Jacks is a member of Plumas 
Lodge No. 60, F. & A. M., and of Quincy Lodge No. 88, I. O. O. F. 


Eight miles from Meadow valley, on the road to Oroville, lies the well-known landmark, Buck's 
Ranch. It is owned by William Wagner, one of the county supervisors, and Mrs. Julia Haley, and 
consists of a hotel and store in which is a post-office, large barns and farm buildings, and 1,200 acres 
of fine meadow, hay, and grain land. In the autumn of 1850 Horace Bucklin and Francis Walker, 
both from New York, located the valley. The honor of naming the place was accorded to Horace 
Bucklin, and as he was usually spoken of as Buck, he called it Buck's Ranch. In March, 1851, 
Colonel Healy became interested in the ranch, and the same year bought the whole property. In the 
fall of 1852 he disposed of a half -interest to Captain R. H. Fairchilds, and together they began the 
erection of a house. Then a man by the name of Philpot purchased Colonel Healy's interest, and 
the house was completed as it now stands, except a small addition made at a later date. In 1854 
Captain Fairchilds became sole proprietor, and managed the place until 1859, when he sold it to 
Clark, Shannon, & Co. William Wagfier came to the ranch June 18, 1860, as a hired man, and 
worked, in company with Mrs. Julia Haley, until 1863, when they purchased the place from the cred 
itors of Clark, Shannon, & Co., and have since so managed and made improvements that it has be 
come an exceedingly valuable property. The post-office was established in 1861, and Mr. Wagner 
has been the postmaster from the beginning. Buck's Ranch has always been an important station 
on the stage and express route since its first establishment, and is the general supply point for 


miners for a number of miles around. A large stock of goods is kept, and a market supplies fresh 
meat to all who desire it. Many a man has been storm-staid here for days, and the old expressmen 
and more recent stage-drivers can tell how often they had just endurance enough to reach its hos 
pitable doors before falling exhausted with their efforts to battle with the fierce storms of winter, and 
lie down in the snow to die. On the casing of a window is inscribed the following: "I have been 
here six days; raining for the last 72 hours; the whole valley submerged. Buck Whiting, Jan. 11, 
'62. Attest, L. G. Dawson, Mch. 5, 72." 

Mrs. Julia Haley filed a declaration of intention to become a citi/en of the United States Feb 
ruary 18, 1876, doing so for the purpose of placing herself in a position to acquire title to govern 
ment land, such a step being necessary to all persons of foreign birth. Of course no further steps 
wero taken in the way of naturalization. She is a most excellent and kind-hearted old lady, and 
scores can testify to her many acts of charity and general kindness towards the weary travelers on 
the road, coming in, as they often do, blinded and with weary and frozen limbs from their strug 
gles in the snow. She presides over the household affairs, and the celebrity of her table for good 
things to eat has gone far and wide. Another familiar face is that of Thomas, the Indian, who has 
been with them since 1857. 

WILLIAM WAGNER. The owner of Buck's ranch was born in Fredericktown, Knox county, 
Ohio, on the twenty-sixth of April, 1828, and was the eighth son of George and Mary Wagner, who 
reared a family of twelve children. His father served with Napoleon Bonaparte in 1808, and emi 
grated to America in 1810. To secure his passage expenses on the ship, he sold his time to a Penn 
sylvania Quaker, and worked on Connestoga creek until 1821, when he removed to Ohio. In 
February, 1852, William left home for California, and in the fall of the same year was at Rich bar, 
in Plumas county, where he mined a short time, and then was engaged as clerk by Messrs. Clark, 
Wagner, & Stickney. Shortly after, he went to Devil's Elbow, near Spanish Kanch. This place 
derived its name from a remark made by Wagner, in which he referred to it as "a devil of an 
elbow." His associates that winter were James and A. J. Ford, S. M. Folger, J. M. Robinson, E. 
O. Parker, Lewis Keeler, and a Mr. Fales. In 1860 Mr. "Wagner removed to Buck's Ranch, and 
has since been engaged in merchandising, stock-raising, and mining. He was the first justice of 
the peace at Buck's Ranch, and served for eight years. He has been a supervisor of the county for 
six years, and has been chairman of the republican central committee, and of the county conven 
tions, for many years. In addition to the Plumas property, they own the Miner's ranch in Butte 
county, and Mr. Wagner has two valuable properties in Ohio, including the homestead on which he 
was born. He is a member of Elicott Lodge No. 267, I. O. O. F., at Fredericktown, Ohio, and of 
Kokosing Encampment at Mt. Vernon, Ohio. He is also connected with Plumas Lodge No. 60, 
F. & A. M., at Quincy. 

J. A, EDMAN. Among the pioneers of Plumas county, and one of its most persistent and 
enterprising miners, we may also mention J. A. Edman of Mumford's hill, now the principal owner 
of the Diadem quartz-mine and placer mines adjoining. Mr. Edman is a native of Sweden, and 
came to California at an early day, arriving in San Francisco in March, 1851. After some years 
spent in mining on the lower Yuba and in Tuolumne county, he went northward, in company with 
his friend and present partner, A. E. Malmlund, and at first settled at Rush creek during 1853, 
where he mined for one year. Attracted by the fame of Eagle gulch, he went there during the 
summer of 1854, and for some time mined near Taylor's gulch. We next find him at work on 
Spanish creek, where he was quite successful. In October, 1856, Mr. Edman started on a visit to 
Sweden, where he remained for nearly a year, studying chemistry, metallurgy, and mining, and 


visiting the principal mines of Sweden and Norway. The next year he made a voyage of explora 
tion to Honduras, where he examined several of the gold and silver mines on the eastern slope of 
the mountains. Compelled by ill health and the unsettled state of political affairs to abandon his 
project of engaging in mining in Honduras, he returned to California, arriving here in April, 1858. 
The first ripple of the Fraser river excitement was then perceptible; and investing his last dollar 
in an outfit, Mr. Edman left on the first steamer for the promised land, with as rough a crowd as 
ever went out of San Francisco. For one year he tried his fortune on the lower Fraser, with 
moderate success; but preferring the climate of California, he returned again in 1859 to his former 
haunts, and for some years found profitable employment mining in Cornelison's gulch. In 1864 he 
purchased the Mumford's hill placer claims, and since then has resided at Mumford's hill, chiefly 
engaged in the exploration and developments of the Diadem ledge, discovered by himself and Mr. 
Malmlund in February, 1865. With firm faith in his own judgment, with but little outside aid, 
and against the unfavorable opinions and comments of other miners, Mr. Edman has steadily, if 
slowly, developed his mine, until he now finds himself rewarded for his toil by the possession of 
one of the most valuable mining properties of the state. Since his return to California in 1859, Mr. 
Edman has been a close observer and student of geology and connected sciences, and has embodied 
some of his observations in an article for Raymond's " Mineral Resources," giving the geology of the 
south-western part of Plumas county, while he also has contributed some papers to the Geological 
Survey of California. From the data in his possession, Mr. Edman intends to publish a more 
extensive work on the practical geology of the county. Feeling a deep interest in the advancement 
of popular education, Mr. Edman has served one term as superintendent of schools, and at present 
is a member of the board of education of his county. 


Towering above Meadow valley and Buck's valley, and nearly midway between them, stands 
the bold, rocky mountain known as Spanish peak, of special interest now as being the location of 
the Monte Christ-o gravel mine, of which so much is expected in the coming few years. The peak 
is the abrupt and rocky termination of a high ridge of mountains lying to the west and south of 
Meadow valley, and derives its name from the same source as Spanish Ranch and Spanish creek. 
The altitude of the peak is 6,920 feet, and the mouth of the tunnel into the Monte Christo claim 
6,288 feet, as given by Mr. Mills. 

Running through the mountain is one of those ancient river channels that formed the drainage of 
this region long before the convulsions of nature changed the face of the hills and the streams that 
form our present water-courses began to wear through the mountains those deep channels in which 
we see them running to-day. For ages the channel of gravel, rich with its deposits of gold, has been 
hidden away in the earth, waiting for the hand of the prospector to uncover it. The mine was 
first located sixteen years ago, and a tunnel was run into the hill a distance of 600 feet, when the 
claim was abandoned. In the spring of 1879 the ground was again located by Dr. "W. Allstrom, 
C. Atwood, who died in August, 1880, and A. L. Patterson, of Chicago, and the Monte Christo Gold 
Mining Company organized. The location consists of four claims the Spanish Peak, Tip Top, 
Hard Pan, and Wide Awake each of which is a mile long. A United States patent has been 
secured for the first two, embracing 2,500 acres of ground. The company has a tunnel into the 
Monte Christo a distance of 2,540 feet, and cross-cuts every few feet from rim to rim of the chan 
nel, which varies from f>0) to 800 feet in width. In the Tip Top claim a prospecting shaft, is being 


sunk. No gravel is being taken out, except that loosened in running the tunnel and drifts, and this 
is being piled up to be washed the coming summer. It is the policy of the manager to run the 
tunnel and drifts as far as it is intended to extend them, and then to commence breasting out the 
gravel from the extreme end. In this way, there will be less danger of loss of life and damage and 
expensive delays occasioned by any caving in of the mine. It is expected that the work will have 
so far progressed by the coming June that the breasting out of the gravel will be commenced. A 
ditch two miles long on the west side and one mile on the east side, fed by permanent springs 
on the mountain, furnishes abundant water for washing the gravel, and facilities have been pre 
pared for washing I,0ft0 cars of gravel per day. The mine is so high up that water cannot be 
brought to it with fall enough to use the method of mining with hydraulic machines, but all the 
gravel has to be drifted out and conveyed in cars to the mouth of the tunnel. 

The company has a very able representative of its interests here in the person of Captain O. B. 
Smith, manager and general financial agent of the mine. He sailed on the great chain of inland 
lakes for twenty-one years, and still owns shipping interests there of a large amount. He is an 
excellent specimen of the hearty, genial, generous lake captain ; and his great executive ability and 
sterling integrity of character, coupled with what is commonly denominated " good horse-sense," 
render his services invaluable to the company in the situation in which he is placed. The captain 
assumed the management upon the death of Mr. Atwood in the fall of 1880. Assisting him, and 
having chai'ge of .all the engineering, is Mr. E. I. Parsons, a young gentleman of liberal ideas and 
fine social qualities. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and held for a number of 
years the position of superintendent of schools in Huron, Ohio. He came to the mine in Decem 
ber, 1880, previous to which he had spent some time as a civil engineer in the mines of Colorado. 
For the past year the superintendent of the mine has been Mr. D. J. Mahoney, for thirteen years a 
foreman in Virginia City, and for four years in the gravel mines of Sierra county. 


Lying partly in Plumas and partly in Sierra county is the largest valley to be found in the 
whole Sierra chain. With an altitude of 5,000 feet above the level of the sea, its atmosphere is 
cool, clear, and healthful. Since 1853 it has been settled by an agricultural population, and is now 
one of the most prosperous sections of the state, containing six villages, Beckwourth, Summit, 
Sierraville, Loyalton, Randolph, and Craycroft, the last four being in Sierra county, in which the 
larger portion of the valley lies. 

The valley is entered at its north-eastern end through Beckwourth pass, discovered by James 
P. Beckwourth, whose name was also applied in former years to the valley. Beckwourth was an 
old "mountain man," or trapper, a story of whose life, dictated by himself and written by Thomas 
D. Bonner, was published in 1856 by Harper & Brothers of New York. The narrative abounds 
with the exaggeration usual to the mountaineers in relating their adventures to auditors who have 
no means of disproving them an art in which Beckwourth excelled his companions because of his 
long residence with the boastful savages. In fact, it contains hundreds of what a miner charac 
terized as " some of Jim Beckwourth's lies." The book reveals the fact that the hero was born in 
Fredericksburg, Virginia, February 26, 1798, from whence the family moved to Missouri a few 
years later. When quite a young man he began his life on the plains and in the mountains, accom 
panying General Ashley in his trapping expeditions. For years he lived among the (Vow Indians, 



of which tribe he claims to have been for a time the head chief and ruler. He came to California 
in 1844, and remained until the war with Mexico. His part in the struggle in this state consisted 
of stealing a large band of horses (1,800 he says), and getting out of the country as rapidly as 
possible with five valiant companions, leaving others to fight the battles. In. 1849 he again came 
back to California. We give the particulars of the discovery of the pass and settlement in the 
valley as they appear in the book. By following the chronology of the volume, the discovery is 
placed in the year 1850; but it will appear, as the narrative progresses, that it must have been in 
1851. After speaking of a prospecting trip to Pit river, he says : 

"While on this excursion I discovered what is now known as Bcckwourth's pass in the Sierra 
Nevada. From some of the elevations over which we passed I remarked a place far away to the 
southward that seemed lower than any other. I made no mention of it to my companion, but 
thought that at some future time I would examine into it further. I continued on to Shasta with 
my fellow-traveler, and returned after a fruitless journey of eighteen days. After a short stay in 
the American valley, I again started with a prospecting party of twelve men. We killed a bullock 
before starting [there were no bullocks in American valley in April, 1850], and dried the meat, in 
order to have provisions to last us during the trip. We proceeded in an easterly direction, and all 
busied themselves in searching for gold ; but my errand was of a different character. I had come 
to discover what I suspected to be a pass. 

" It was the latter end of April [it was impossible for him to have traveled through this region 
as early as March, 1850, as he must have done to have gone up to Pit river, then to Shasta, then 
made a stop in American valley, and finally reach Sierra valley in the last of April, a month before 
the Gold-lakers started; in the spring of 1851 it could have been done, and he could also then get 
ji" bullock" in American valley of the Turner brothers] when we entered upon an extensive 
valley at the north-west extremity of the Sierra range. The valley was already robed in freshest 
verdure, contrasting most delightfully with the huge snow-clad masses of rock we had just left. 
Flowers of every variety and hue spread their variegated charms before us; magpies were chat 
tering, and gorgeously-plumaged birds were carroling their delights of unmolested solitude. 
Swarms of wild geese and ducks were swimming on the surface of the cool, crystal stream, which 
was the central fork of the Bio de las Plumas, or sailed the air in clouds over our heads. Deer 
and antelope filled the plains, and their boldness was conclusive that the hunter's rifle was to them 
unknown. Nowhere visible were any traces of the white man's approach, and it is probable that 
our steps were the first that marked the spot. [Some of the searchers for Gold lake had seen the 
valley from the mountains, in June, 1850.] We struck across this beautiful valley to the waters of 
the Yuba, from thence to the waters of the Truchy (Truckee), which latter flowed in an easterly 
direction, telling us we were on the eastern slope of the mountain. range. This I at once saw 
would afford the best wagon road into the American valley, approaching from the eastward ; and I 
imparted my views to three of my companions in whose judgment I placed the most confidence. 
They thought highly of the discovery, and even proposed to associate with me in opening the road. 
We also found gold, but not in sufficient quantity to warrant our working it ; and furthermore, the 
ground was too Avet to admit of our prospecting to any advantage. 

" On my retui'4 to the American valley, I made known my discovery to Mr. Turner, proprietor 
of the American ranch [Turner brothers did not settle there until late in the summer of 1850], who 
entered enthusiastically into my views ; it was a thing, he said, he had never dreamed of before. 
If I could but carry out my plan, and divert travel into that road, he thought I should be a made 
man for life. Thereupon he drew up a subscription list, setting forth the merits of the project, and 


showing how the road could be made practicable to Bidwell's bar, and thence to Marysville, which 
latter place would derive peculiar advantages from the discovery. He headed the subscription 
with two hundred dollars. When I reached Bidwell's bar and unfolded my project, the town was 
seized with a perfect mania for the opening of the route. The subscriptions toward the fund 
required for its accomplishment amounted to five hundred dollars. I then proceeded to Marysville, 
a place which would unquestionably derive greater benefit from the newly discovered route than 
any other place on the way, since this must be the entrepot or principal starting-place for emigrants. 
I communicated with several of the most influential residents on the subject in hand. They also 
spoke very encouragingly of my undertaking, and referred me, before all oth'-rs, to the mayor of 
the city. Accordingly I waited upon that gentleman (a Mr. Miles), and brought the matter under 
his notice, representing it as being a legitimate matter for his interference, and offering substantial 
advantages to the commercial prosperity of the city. [Here the facts show beyond dispute, that 
this all occurred in 1851 instead of 1850. The city of Marysville was incorporated by Act of 
February 5, 1851, and S. M. Miles was elected mayor in March the first mayor the city eVer had.] 
The mayor entered warmly into my views, and pronounced it as his opinion that the profits 
resulting from the speculation could not be less than from six to ten thousand dollars ; and. as the 
benefits accruing to the city would be incalculable, he would insui'e my .expenses while engaged 
upon it. I mentioned that I should prefer some guaranty before entering upon my labors, to 
secure me against loss of what money I might lay out. 'Leave that to me,' said the mayor; 'I will 
attend to the whole affair. I feel confident that a subject of so great importance to our interests 
will engage the earliest attention.' 

" I thereupon left the whole proceeding in his hands, and immediately setting men to work 
upon the road, went out to the Truchy (Truckee) to turn emigration into my newly discovered 
route. While thus busily engaged I was seized with erysipelas, and abandoned all hopes of recov 
ery ; I was over one hundred miles away from medical assistance, and my only shelter Avas a brush 
tent. I made my will, and resigned myself to death. Life still lingered in me, however, and a 
train of wagons came up and encamped near to where I lay. I Avas reduced to a very low condi 
tion, but I saw the drivers, and acquainted them with the object which had brought me out there-. 
They offered to attempt the new road if I thought myself sufficiently strong to guide them through 
it. The women, God bless them! came to my assistance, and through their kind attentions and 
excellent nursing I rapidly recovered from my lingering sickness, until I was soon able to mount 
my horse and lead the first train, consisting of seventeen^ wagons, through Beckwourth's pass. 
We reached the American valley without the least accident, and the emigrants expressed entire 
satisfaction with the route. I returned with the train through to Marysville, and upon the intelli 
gence being communicated of the practicability of my road, there was quite a public rejoicing. A 
northern route had been discovered, and the city had received an impetus that would advance her 
beyond all her sisters on the Pacific shore. [Rather an exaggerated idea of the importance of the 
road.] I felt proud of my achievement and was foolish enough to promise myself a substantial 
recognition of my labors. 

" I was destined to disappointment, for that same night Marysville was laid in ashes. [The 
first fire of consequence in Marysville occurred on the night of August 31, 1851. This fact also 
fixes the year of the discovery of the pass.] The mayor of the ruined town congratulated me upon 
bringing a train through. He expressed great delight at my good fortune, but regretted that their 
recent calamity had placed it entirely beyond his power to obtain for me any substantial reward. 
With the exception of some two hundred dollars subscribed by some liberal-minded citizens of 


Marysvillo, I have received no indemnification for the money and labor I have expended upon my 
discovery. The city had been greatly benefited by it, as all must acknowledge, for the emigrants 
that now flock to Marysville would otherwise have gone to Sacramento 

"In the spring of 1852 I established myself in Beckwoui'th valley, and finally found myself 
transformed into a hotel-keeper and chief of a trading post. My house is considered the emi 
grant's landing-place, as it is the first ranch he arrives at in the golden state, and is the only house 
between this point and Salt lake. Here is a valley two hundred and forty miles in circumference, 
containing some of the choicest land in the world. Its yield of hay is incalculable; the red and 
white clovers spring up spontaneously, and the grass that covers its smooth surface is of the most 
nutritious nature. When the weary, toil-worn emigrant reaches this valley, he feels himself secure ; 
lie can lay himself down and taste refreshing repose, undisturbed by the fear of Indians. His 
cattle can graze around him in pasture up to their eyes, without running any danger of being 
driven off by the Arabs of the forest; and springs flow before them, as pure as any that refresh 
this verdant earth." 

That Beckwourth discovered this pass in the spring of 1851, led a train of emigrants through 
it that summer, and in the spring of 1852 established himself in the valley on the route from the 
pass, took up a land claim, built a hotel, and began trading with the emigrants, are facts beyond 
dispute, and to him should be given all the credit due. His complaint about losing his time and 
money HI opening the road was not well founded ; for at his ranch he reaped his proper and ample 
reward in the profitable trade he carried on with the emigrants who came over the new route. The 
supposition that this pass and route may have been named after Lieutenant E. (I. Beckwith is an 
erroneous one, for that gentleman did not come through this pass; in 1854 he surveyed a railroad 
route through Noble's pass from Honey lake to Ft. Reading [see history of Lassen county], two 
years after Beckwourth settled in the valley. 

There were other eyes that gazed upon the valley before those of James P. Beckwourth. In 
the month of June, 1850, the party in search of Gold lake reached the head-waters of the middle 
. fork of Feather river. Three of them, A. P. Chapman, George F. Kent, and William E. Jones, 
went hunting one day, and from the top of what was called Saddleback peak espied the valley lying 
to the eastward. They went away with the others, but in October, 1851, Chapman returned in 
company with Joseph Kirby, John Gardner, and I. K. McClannin. They stopped first in Mohawk 
valley, but finding the land there all claimed, they went on to the great valley they had seen the 
year before. They camped for the first night amid a clump of pines on Chapman's present ranch, 
the trees being deemed by one of their number as a safe retreat in the event of an attack by a 
grizzly. In the morning there was a clear sky, and the valley looked so enchanting that they 
immediately posted up notices claiming a strip straight across for four ranches. They then returned 
to Downieville and reported what they had found, when a party went out and located, but soon 
left. Later that fall Chapman again came to the valley, and located claims for William C. and B. 
F. Lemmon. He went back again to Downieville, but soon returned with Gardner, Kirby, and one 
other, and be^an cutting timber for a house, but went back to Downieville when the storms set 

7 O O * 

in. Chapman went cast that winter, and returned to California in the spring. On the seventh of 
July, 1852, he again came to the valley with McClannin, and erected a cabin of the timber that had 
been cut the fall before. It was on the same ground now covered by Mr. Chapman's residence. 
That spring James P. Beckwourth had located his trading post at the north end of the valley. The 
same year W. C. and B. F. Lemmon and Ezra Culver built a house where Randolph now stands. 
During 1852 and 1853 many other locations were made, and during the few succeeding years 


the settlers began to cultivate the ground to a considerable extent. Year by year the ranches have 
been improved, until now Sierra valley ranks among the finest agricultural regions of the state. 
The railroad connection soon to be had with Reno will be of vast advantage to the residents of the 

The first lady in the valley was Mrs. T. Maddux, who came in the fall of 1852, and still resides 
here. Her oldest daughter, Laura, was the first white child born in the valley, her birth occurring 
in the winter of 1853. The second lady was Mrs. Ordelle C. Howk, who came with her husband, 
Corel Howk, in the spring of 1853. They still reside at Loyalton. 

BECKWOURTH. The first house in Beckwourth valley was built by James P. Beckwourth in 
the spring of 1852. It stood on the side of a hill, in the village of Beckwourth, west of Alexander 
Kirby's residence. The second one was in the yard, and with the other was burned by Indians. 
The third is still standing, and is used as an ice-house by Mr. Kirby. This little place is now 
called the village of Beckwourth, and has a post-office of that name, which was established some 
distance away in 1866, but was moved here in 1869. Until 1869 the place was called Jones 
Station, John Jones and Peter Parish being sole owners. Alexander Kirby is now the proprietor 
of the old Beckwourth .ranch. There is a graveyard one hundred yards north of his house, in which 
a number of unfortunate emigrants are buried. 

SUMMIT. Near the highest point in the pass, on the road from the valley to Reno, lies the 
little town of Summit. In 1859 C. T. Adams erected a hotel here, which was destroyed by fire in 
1866. A small store was opened in 1862 by a man named Wilkinson. He was also the first post 
master. The present incumbent of that office is Richard Martin, who does a general merchandising 
business, and deals extensively in butter, handling 3,000 Ibs. per week. William E. Jones, 
commonly called Paul Jones, keeps an excellent hotel, the Summit House. A blacksmith shop and 
shoe-maker's shop are also among the adjuncts of the town. A lodge of I. O. O. F., recently 
removed from Loyalton, is located here. There is also a cemetery, neatly fenced and kept in good 

LOYALTON. That . portion of Sierra valley in which the town of Loyalton now stands was 
originally known as Smith's neck. It derived its appellation from a party of miners who were 
associated together under the name of the Smith Mining Company, and were engaged in fluming 
and mining on the north fork of the Yuba river, above Downieville. In the spring of 1854, having 
more money than was needed in carrying on their mining operations, they sent two of their number 
east to purchase a large band of cattle, while others came into this valley to take up a large section 
of land for grazing and agricultural purposes. These latter gentlemen went to about the center of 
the east side, and laid claim to five sections of land lying on either side of a fine stream, carrying 
about 500 inches of water, which empties into the middle fork of Feather river, and which they 
called Smith creek. They built a house and corrals, and improved about five acres of land, sowing- 
it with wheat that fall. This was the first attempt to raise this cereal in the valley. The men who 
had been sent east for cattle failed to return, causing great disappointment to their associates. 
Those in the valley had two yoke of cattle until about the first of November, when the Washoe 
Indians killed one of the oxen. Fearing a general raid by the savage*, the men hastened to the 
nearest white settlement, fourteen miles away, about where the town of Randolph now stands. 
That winter the Smith company failed, the Indians burned the improvements on the ranch, and the 
men abandoned their location. Before leaving they presented Mr. T. S. Battelle with their cr,.p of 
wheat, and the next July, being a settler in the valley himself, he harvested the grain. 

From the time it was abandoned by this company until the summer of 1857, Smith's neck 




remained unoccupied. At that time Redmond & Rolands relocated the claim, but did nothing to 
improve it, simply remaining on the property. In the spring of 1858 Eedmond went below for 
teams, seed, and supplies, and has never been seen in this vicinity since. That terminated the set 
tlement. In the spring of 1859 Peter Duncan located a quarter section of the Smith's neck land, 
MS did also John Schroeder and Andrew Bodnoch. Of these Schroeder is the only one still residing 
on his location. Bodnoch died at his ranch in 1872, and his place is now known as the Pool ranch. 
Peter Duncan sold his place in 1860 to Rev. Adam GJ-. Doom, who built and opened a hotel the fol 
lowing year. In 1863 he was appointed postmaster of a new office established at his place, and 
which, with the general consent of his neighbors, he called Loyal ton. Through his efforts a school- 
house was built in 1865, and also a Baptist church was erected here in 1870, in the upper story of 
which was a hall. In 1871 a M. E. church was erected by members of that denomination. 

August 21. 1879, saw one of those fatal calamities visit Loyalton that have been so destructive 
to the towns of California. By a fire which the people were powerless to subdue, the whole town 
was laid in ashes, with the exception only of Keyes' hotel and the M. E. church. The buildings 
were rapidly restored, except the Baptist church, and a new school-house was erected. The town 
has now a population of about 100, and contains two stores, one hotel, one church, one school-house, 
one saloon, one blacksmith shop, one market, one livery stable, and one town hall. The town is 
very prosperous, and is surrounded by a thriving agricultural and dairy region that assures it a per 
manent and substantial trade. 

Craycroft is a little settlement in Craycroft neck, in the vicinity of Loyalton, principally owned 
by Jacob Kmithsen and William Gibson. It was first settled in 1852 by Finneman, William 
Hedges, Henry Davidson, and John Craycroft, of Downieville. 

About five miles southwest of Loyalton is the Antelope mining district, discovered in 1863 by 
Judge Davis, Joseph Dodge, Crum Brothers, Mark Hammond, Abernethy, and others. There is a 
well-defined ledge, carrying gold, silver, and copper. The locators did some work, but soon aban 
doned it. It has since been worked a little by various parties. The present owners are J. A. Glee- 
son, W. J. Patterson, J. L. Gwin, and B. F. Lemmon. 

SIERRAVILLE. At the head of the valley lies the little town of Sierraville, one mile from Ran 
dolph, and in a rich agricultural section. The first house was built by John Lipscomb and John 
Mullen, in 1855, who had located a ranch the year before. It was for a dwelling, and stood near 
the site of S. T. Burton's store. They sold their property in 1857 to William Arms, who built a 
store near the dwelling. This building bore the legend over its entrance, "Pioneer Store," being 
the first one opened, with the exception of Beckwourth's trading post at the other end of the valley. 
A post-office was established in 1858, with the name of Sierraville, and Mr. Arms was appointed 
postmaster. Midway between Sierraville and Randolph stand a M. E. church and public school- 
house, erected by the citi/ens of both places for their joint occupation. 

On the thirty-first of August, 1881, the whole business portion of the town, except Darling's 
livery stable, was laid in ashes, including two hotels, two stores, an I. O. O. F. hall, and several 
other buildings. The loss was $46,500; insurance 18,000. Rebuilding is rapidly going on, and the 
business of Sierraville will soon recover from the shock. There is a population of about 150. Four 
lines of stages center her*; one to Truckee, one to Sierra City, one to Junction and Eureka Mills, 
and one to Loyalton and Summit. 

RANDOLPH. At the upper end of the valley, and but one mile from Sierraville, lies the little vil 
lage of Randolph, containing about 100 people. The first house built in the head of the valley was 
constructed of logs, in 1853, by W. C. si ml B. P. Lemmon and Ezra Culver, and still stands in the 


town of Randolph, which has grown up around it. In the spring of 1853, five acres, the first ground 
broken in the valley, were planted to buckwheat by the Lemmons. A severe frost late in August 
killed the buckwheat, as well as some of the vegetables, of which .quite a variety had been planfed. 
This had a tendency to discourage grain culture for several years. Silas Gates built a house in Ran 
dolph soon after, near where Mr. Rowdon's planing mill now stands. Later he built the south por 
tion of the present Randolph Hotel, and opened it to the public. The large building was afterwards 
added, and the present sign put up. It is now the property of G. Q. Buxton, who also owes a livery 
stable, and runs a stage line through Sierraville to Jamison and Plumas Eureka. Randolph contains 
one store, one hotel and stable, one planing mill, one shingle mill, two saloons, one blacksmith shop, 
one shoe-shop, one grist mill, and a number of pleasant residences. A M. E. church and public 
school-house is situated half-way between this place and Sierraville, built by the citizens of both 

ALEXANDER KIRBY. He is a veteran of the Mexican war; was born near Bowling Green, 
Warren county, Kentucky, on the thirteenth of March, 1821. His parents were Samuel and Mary 
Kirby, who emigrated to Missouri in 1830. On the fourth of June, 1846, Alexander volunteered 
for the Mexican Avar at Fort Leavenworth, and while in the service passed through the engage 
ments of Brasceto, Saltello, Buena Vista, and was with General Wool at Monterey. On the second 
of May, 1849, he started from Independence, Missouri, across the plains, and landed at Hangtown 
(Placerville) September 13. He was married January 24, 1860, to Miss Harriett J. Honn, a native 
of Muskingum county, Ohio. By this union there have been eleven children : Mary, Susan (de 
ceased), Louisa, Cora, Henry H., George M., Kate, Laura, Eva, Annette, and Frances. . Both Mr. 
and Mrs. Kirby belong to long-lived and large families. In his family were ten children, and 
in hers twelve. His grandfather lived to the age of 102, his grandmother to 97, having lived to 
gether for eighty years. Mr. Kirby owns the old Beckwourth ranch in Sierra valley. 

MARION C. BRINGHAM. He was born in Nebraska City, Nebraska, October 22, 1857. His 
father came to Plumas county when he was two years old, and settled at Eureka North as a mill 
wright. In 1861 his father, with Benjamin Bobo, located 320 acres of land ten miles east of Beck 
wourth, where lie remained with his family until 1865, when he sold out his interest, removed to 
Beckwourth, and built the Bringham hotel, which he owned and managed until 1881. Since that 
time Marion has been a partner in and manager of the business. He owns a quarter section of land 
adjoining the town of Beckwourth, while his father owns the farm of 320 acres on which the hotel 
property stands. July 4, 1877, he was married to Miss Hattie E. Trimble, qf Sierra valley, by 
whom he has had one child, Mabel Jeannctte, born October 12, 1879. 

RICHARD MARTIN. This gentleman was born November 29, 1835, in St. Lawrence county, 
New York. He was the third child of Richard Martin, and had an elder brother who also went 
by the favorite sobriquet of Richard. His father was a Cornish miner. After the death of his 
wife, which occurred in 1847, he removed to the lead mines in Grant county, Wisconsin. The 
boys were then obliged to look out for themselves, and the younger Richard made his first venture 
on a farm. In 1852 he crossed the plains to California, and after a short time spent in travel, 
located at Forest City, Sierra county, where he mined until 1856. In 1857 he went to Truckee 
Meadows, now in Nevada, and engaged in dairying. Two years after, he raised hay and vegetables 
for the Virginia City market, and says that he was one of the first white men to spend a winter on 
the Meadows. In 1861 he lived in Virginia City, and in 1862 settled in Sierra valley. He began 
merchandising at the Summit in 1880, in which occupation he has been very successful. He was 
married March 5, 1881, to Martha Austin. Mr. Martin is a member of Loyalton Lodge No. 187. 
I. O. O. F., and of Hope Lodge No. 234, F. & A. M. 


WILLIAM E. JONES. This is one of the early settlers of Plumas county. He is the oldest of 
a family of three children of Dr. Hiram and Harriett Jones, of Acomac county. Virginia, where 
he was born February 15, 1830. When a lad of fourteen he went to Philadelphia, and learned 
the plastering trade, which he followed till January, 1849, when he started for California, going by 
way of New Orleans to Galveston, and thence across Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona; his party 
being the first to go the southern route. They arrived at Mariposa mines September 15, 1849. 
Some time after, he leased a ranch near Sacramento, but was driven away by the floods, and then 
went to Slitter's fort. He mined at Hangtown and at Gold Run in Nevada county. From there, 
in company with seventy-five persons, headed by Stoddard, he started in search of Gold lake. 
The company disbanded in Sierra valley, many going to Downieville. Mr. Jones went on into 
Plumas county. He was in Honey Lake valley when there was not a house, and in Indian valley 
when Peter Lassen was hauling timber for his cabin. When he, with his friends, got to American 
valley, where Quincy now stands, they found a Spaniard there with a number of horses. Mr. Tate 
also had a cabin at the spot. From here he went to Eich bar in June, 1851, and mined until 1856. 
On the second of September, 1855, he was married to Nancy A. Said, from Iowa, This was the 
first Avedding on the river, and a royal good time was had. His associates each carried in some 
useful present. F. B. Whiting contributed a wash-tub, a wash-board, and a bar of soap. In 1862 
Mr. Jones removed to Long valley, and engaged in farming. In 1867 he bought the Junction 
House, which he kept until removing to the Summit. By his first marriage six children were born : 
Charles E., Clara E., Laura F., Robert Fenton, William L., and Zella. Mr. Jones was married 
again September 19, 1881, to Miss Lizzie Sharkey of Sierra City. Mr. Jones is familiarly known 
among his associates as Paul Jones. 

ALEXANDER BEATON. He is a native of Cumberland county, Nova Scotia. His parents were 
Francis and Janet Beaton, of Scotch nativity. Alexander worked on a- farm until twenty-six years 
of age, and then lived for a time in Boston, New York, and other places. In 1866 he came to 
California, via Panama, and settled in Tuolumne county, where he was engaged in teaming. In 
1870 he bought his present home in Sierra valley, which consists of 160 acres of grazing land. Mr. 
Beaton was married December 11, 1870, to Mrs. Elvira M. Colby, widow of Hiram T. Colby, and 
a native of Vermont, whore she was first married. Her children by the first marriage are Elvie A., 
born September 20, 1857, and Leland A., born October 11, 1866. Mr. Beaton's children are Arial 
F., born December 12, 1871, and Hattie L., born June 19, 1874. Mr. Beaton is a member of the 
Odd Fellows lodge at Sierra ville. 

JARED STRANG. The subject of this sketch is a son of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Strang, and 
was born on Prince Edward's Island, March 12, 1837. His ancestors were early settlers of New 
York, and his grandfather on his mother's side was a participant in the Revolutionary war. Jared's 
boyhood days were spent on his father's farm. When ten years old, his father removed to West 
Duxbury, Massachusetts. In the spring of 1858 Jared came to California, via the Isthmus, and 
soon settled in Sierra valley, joining his father, who had come in 1856, his mother having died 
when he was a small boy. They went into the cattle business, which they continued until 1867, 
when Jared purchased his father's interest. He located a quarter-section of land, to which he has 
since added 260 acres, making 420 acres in all. Mr. Strang is a member of two firms, the heaviest 

o *~ J 

cattle dealers in Sierra valley, handling from five to ten thousand head annually. The firms are 
Rowland, Flint, Hainten, & Strong, and Htrang & Humphrey, and they have been associated 
together for nine years. Mr. Strang mines to some extent, and is the sole owner of the Blue 
Gravel mine. He was married in November, 1865, to Eleanor Mickey of Illinois, by whom he had 


four children ; viz., Ada, born October 6, 1866, died in 1870; Steven L., born October 20, 1867; 
Jared W., born October 1, 1871 ; Ida, born June 20, 1875. He was again married August 1, 1880, 
to Mrs. Lula Carrier Robbins, daughter of Isaac C. and Elizabeth Currier of Androscoggin, Maine. 
By this union there has been one son, Earle L., born April 30, 1881. By her first husband, Mrs. 
Strung had one son, Herbert S. Bobbins, born November 3, 1877. A view of their residence and 
surroundings can be seen on another page. Mr. Strang is a member of the Sierra Valley Lodge 
No. 184, F. & A. M. 

FRANCIS M. ROWLAND. He is the son of Clark and Agnes Rowland, and was born at Inde 
pendence, Missouri, April 23, 1834. Francis and his older brother, John R. (now in Oregon), 
learned the blacksmithing trade, their father being a cabinet-maker, wag<jn-maker, and a farmer. 
In May, 1852, Francis left his native home, and arrived at San Jose, October 6, where he was 
engaged in teaming for two years. He then went to Downieville, and for seven years followed the 
packing business. In 1862 he purchased the claim of John Reeves to one thousand acres of laud 
in Sierra valley, where he still resides. He was united in marriage May 18, 1862, to Miss Mary 
Church, daughter of Ezra and Harriett Church of Ferrisburg, Vermont, where she was born July 
5, 1843. Her parents are now living in Sierra valley. Mr. and Mrs. Rowland have had six chil 
dren, born as follows: Hattie, May 15, 1864; Agnes, July 9, 1867 ; Edgar, December 9, 1870; Iva, 
February 17, 1872; Clark, June 3, 1875; Frances, June 9, 1880. Mr. Rowland is one of the 
heaviest cattle dealers in the valley. On his home ranch he feeds from 100 to 150 head every winter ; 
and in company with Jared Strang, handles from ten to twelve hundred on their Nevada range. 
The Feather river runs through his farm, which, with many never-failing springs, supplies water for 
stock and the meadows. The fire of 1881, which destroyed the business portion of Sierraville, 
consumed his fine, "brick store-building and ttock of goods. Mr. Rowland is one of the company 
that projected and built the telegraph line from Truckee to the valley. lie is a member of the 
Sierraville Lodge No. 184, F. & A. M. 

WALTER EDE. This gentleman is one of the leading farmers and stock growers of Sierra 
valley. He was born in Sussex county, England, on the twenty-ninth day of July, 1835. He came 
to the United States in 1843, with his parents, and settled in Waukeshaw county, Wisconsin. On 
the third day of March, 1857, he embarked, via the Isthmus, for California. When he first landed 
in California he engaged in raining, and pursued this industry in different localities with more than 
average success; but he was not satisfied with the life of a miner, and in 1863 bought the ranch lie 
now owns, and engaged in stock growing and dairying. Mr. Ede deals extensively in cattle. He 
has 1,300 acres of land, well watered by the stream known as Adams creek, which waters a consid 
erable portion of Sierra valley. Mr. Ede was married December 31, 1870, to Miss Caroline A. 
Dean, daughter of Moses and Sarah Dean, who was born in Picaway county, Ohio, October 26, 
1854. They have now four children: Cora May, born May 8, 1874; Leonard Greely, December 
13, 1875; Charles Walter, January 17, 1878; and Irene, January 23, 1880. When Mr. Ede arrived 
in California he was penniless, and with a limited education, obtained in the common schools of 
Wisconsin; but he has been successful in business, and by tact and industry has surrounded himself 
with a good property and comfortable home. He handles about three hundred head of cattle 
annually, and the amount of business done is above $10,000 per annum. 

CLAUDE FRANCOIS SELTIER. He is the son of Antoine and Jeannie (Hegu) Seltier ; was born 
January 20, 1818, in St. Gaud, Canton de Fresne, rue Mames, department de la Haute, Saone, 
France. His father was a farmer; and young Claude spent his time at work on the farm until 
thirty-three years of age, excepting five years' service in the army. In the autumn of 1851 he left 


" T l 






h- < 

O. a 









his homo, and after a short time spent in traveling in his native land, embarked for the United 
States, sailing from Havre. A thirty-eight days' trip brought him to New York. From there he 
journeyed to Meadville, Pennsylvania, and to Clearfield county, where he engaged in lumbering. 
He next went south to Vicksburg, and from there to St. Croix Falls, Minnesota. In the fall of 
1855 he journeyed, via Panama, to California, to join his brother who had come the year previous. 
In 1858, in company with his brother John F., and James Calvin and Abel Adams, he came to 
Sierra valley and located in what is known as Adam's Neck. At that time there were but two 
settlers on that side of the valley. Mr. Seltier is now the only one of the original settlers who 
remains in the " Neck." The first cabin erected in the vicinity was by himself and brother, a half- 
mile from our subject's present home. In 1856 he opened a store at Harrison's diggings, which lie 
kept for about eighteen months, when the camp disappeared, and there was no longer need of his 
merchandise. Mr. Seltier is a member of the Masonic lodge at Beckwourth, of Lassen Chapter No. 
47, and of Lassen Commandery No. 13, at Susauville. A view of his residence may be seen on 
another page. He is now the possessor of 320 acres of land, and is regarded one of the substantial 
men of Beckwourth valley. 

W. A. SPERRY. Mr. Sperry was born September 9, 1837, in New York. While a young man, 
his parents removed to Wisconsin, settling in Dodge county, where our subject livetl until he had 
attained the age of twenty-five; when, in 1863, he came to California, via Panama, and mined at 
Rowland flat, Sierra county, for seven years. In 1870 he located 320 acres of land six miles south 
east of Beckwourth, where he has since lived. He was married July 16, 1869, to Miss Annie 
McFadan, of Lower Canada, then a resident of Howland flat. Their children are Nettie M., born 
May 3, 1871 ; Nellie M., July 7, 1872 ; Lilly B., August 2, 1874. 

THOMAS BLACK. He was born in Derry county, Ireland, in the year 1833. He came to the 
United States when sixteen years of age, landed at New Orleans, and proceeded direct to Cincin 
nati, where he lived until the fall of 1852, when he came to California, via Panama. He arrived 
at San Francisco December 22, and began mining on the North Yuba. . He followed this occupa 
tion until 1870, when he came to Sierra valley, and with his brother James, bought the Burney 
ranch, which now covers 480 acres. The land is well improved, and is situated four miles south of 
Bcckwourth. Mr. Black was married in August, 1876, to Miss Kate Sharkey, Avho died in May, 
1877. He was again united in marriage September 26, 1880, to Miss Ellen A. Fitzpatrick of 
Honey Lake valley, who has borne him one son, John William, born September 3, 1881. 

ALBERT PICKETT CHAPMAN. The subject of this sketch is the son of Horace Chapman, and 
was born November 9, 1816. He is a lineal descendant of Robert Chapman, one of the first settlers 
of Saybrook, Connecticut, who came from Hull, England, to Boston in the year 1635. His an 
cestors were sea-going people. When a lad of thirteen he learned the tailor's trade, which he 
followed nearly twenty years, and for five years carried on a business in Boston under the firm 
name of Haskell & Chapman. He started for California February 8, 1849, sailing around the Horn 
on the ship Rodolph, and was two hundred and nineteen days on the voyage. Early in June, 1850, 
with George F. Kent, William E. Jones, or Paul Jones, he discovered Sierra valley, and located 
his present ranch the next year. In December of 1851, Mr. Chapman returned east, but came back 
the following year, via Panama. Prior to this time he had been extensively engaged in mining, 
and was president of the Buttes Quart/ Company. Upon his return he went to Sierra valley, in 
July, and put up a cabin on the ground now covered by his residence. During the year 1852 Mr. 
Chapman opened a livery stable at Downieville, where the Armory stable now stands. This he 
sold in 1862, and removed with his family to his valley home, where he has since resided. He was 


married October 1, 1843, to Mis* Caroline S. Chapman, daughter of George Chapman. His wife 
belongs to the ninth generation of Chap-mans in this country, and he to the tenth generation of an 
other branch of descent. They have had two sons, Albert Franklin, born July 13, 1844, and 
Charles, born March 28, 1848. Albert F. \vas married April 5, 1868, to Theresa M. Secritan, and 
their children are Martha Washington, Albert Julius, Carrie Aime (deceased), and Clarence Poy- 
singian. Our subject is a member of Susanville Lodge No. 140, I. O. O. F., and of Blue 
Range Encampment at Dovvnieville. He was first initiated into the order in Boston in 1846. A 
view of Mr. Chapman's residence may be seen on another page of this work. 

GEORGE WILSON HUMPHREY. He is the son of John and Elizabeth (Lufkin) Humphrey ; was 
born in Cumberland county, Maine, June 8, 1834. He left the school of his native town in 1852, 
and came to California. The first two years he spent in the Sacramento valley, clerking a portion 
of the time. Early in the spring of 1854 he went to the mountains, and drove cattle for two years, 
living at Forest City. He then clerked for a time at Smith's flat, near what is now Alleghany. 
In the spring of 1855 he had been employed on Langton's pioneer express as a rider, and after a 
time established a saddle-train business on his own account, carrying the mail and express until 
1859, when he moved his headquarters to Sierra valley, and ran a stage line to Virginia City, 
connecting with his saddle-train to Downieville. These he conducted until the completion of the 
Central Pacific railroad over the mountains. In 1864 he purchased and began to reside on the 
ranch he now owns. It consists of 1,500 acres of land, and he handles from one to two thousand 
head of cattle annually. Mr. Humphrey was married October 27/1862, to Edith A. Lockhart, 
daughter of William and Mary A. Lockhart of Crawford county, Pennsylvania, where she was 
born September 18, 1844. Their children are Henrietta Elizabeth, bora October 10, 1864; John 
E., September 17,1866; Frank E., July 9, 1868; May Josephine, July 28, 1870 ; Herbert, Janu 
ary 3, 1872; James L., January 16, 1874; Jacob Butler, April 22, 1876; Susan Winnefred, March 
22, 1878; infant daughter, July 7, 1881. Mr. Humphrey's present residence and buildings were 
erected in 1879, a view of which may be seen elsewhere. 

DAVID B. KEYES. He was born at Barry, Vermont, April 19, 1829. He started out in life for 
himself when fourteen years of age, going first to New York, and then to Lowell, Massachusetts, 
where he worked in the Tremont cotton manufactory for four years. From there he proceeded to 
Boston, and in 185V purchased a farm at Belrica, which he worked until the spring of 1855. when 
he came to California, via Panama. From San Francisco he went to Downieville, and engaged in 
packing until the fall of 1856, when he bought an interest with his brother John in a milk business at 
Nevada City, which occupation he followed for a number of years. In the fall of 1864 he came into 
Sierra valley, Sierra county, and rented a dairy ranch for four years, when he located what is now 
the G. W. Keyes ranch, and carried on dairying there for three years more. In 1874 he sold the 
ranch and bought the Doom hotel in Loyalton, which he ran for two years, leased it for the same 
length of time, and then traded it for the Antelope Neck ranch, which he still owns. In 1881 he 
bought the Dodge hotel in Loyalton, of which he is at present manager and proprietor. Mr. Keyes 
was married January 13, 1851, to Eliza Gardner of Winthrop, Maine, by whom he has had eight 
children: Harry G. (deceased), Katie G. (now Mrs. Dory), Annie W., Eddie (deceased), Edwin 
B., Zenas W., May S., and Harry. He is a member of Sierra Valley Lodge No. 184, F. & A. M. 

COREL HOWK. Mr. Howk was the first of five children, three sons and two daughters, of 
Alanson Howk, and was born at Wellington, Lorain county, Ohio, April 6, 1829. Alanson Howk was 
of Holland descent, and was born September 15, 1800, in New York. He was one of a party of five- 
men the first to settle in Lorain county, Ohio, being then nineteen years of age. In 1828 he was 

married to Theodocia Clifford of Rhode Island. Alanson Howk died April 6, 1851, and his Avife 
March 31, 1880. Corel Howk worked on the farm until March, 1852, when he came overland to 
California. He conducted the Iowa hotel at Plaeerville until June, 1853, when he sold out and 
came with his family to Sierra valley, Sierra county, and located on the Beatty & Stewart ranch. 
Shortly after he sold this and located the Siiphur springs in" Sierra valley. Here he built a house 
mid lived until 1861, when he sold out and went into stock-raising, changing his residence to Beck- 
woiirlh. In 1864 he went east, intending to remain, but came back the following year. Upon his 
return he bought a ranch from Dr. Webber, and raised stock until 1872, when he again sold out, 
and has since been dealing in horses. In 1876 he purchased a comfortable home in Loyalton, where 
the family has since resided. He was married January 1, 1848, to Miss Ordelle Caroline Freeman, 
who was born in Cayuga county, New York, April 13, 1831, and was the daughter of Simeon and 
Olive (Jackson) Freeman. They have two children, Electa Jeannette, born November 29, 1864, 
and Simeon Jonathan, born February 1, 1868. Mrs. Howk is a woman of high literary tastes, and 
years ago contributed many valuable articles and sketches for the newspapers and periodicals of the 
coast. Some of her best efforts were published in Hutching's California Magazine, and the Golden 
Era. Her various nom de plumes were Alice, Dolly Dodson, and Chatterbox, under which she is 
quite widely known. Their accomplished daughter possesses rare musical talent, and is also a fre 
quent contributor to various publications. 

DAVID GOULD WEBBER. This gentleman is the son of William and Susanna Webber, and was 
bom in Livingston county, New York, September 12, 1809. When sixteen years old he began 
working on a canal in summer, attending school in winter, and followed this for two years, when 
he engaged as a drug clerk and student with Dr. Wood worth of Springfield, Pennsylvania. Three 
years after, young Webber bought him out, and continued in business f.-r twelve years. In 1843 he 
closed out his business there, and dealt in stock for two years. He went to Chicago in 1845, and 
bought a half-interest in a steam flouring mill, and was also a contractor on the Illinois canal for 
about four years. He started for California in December, 1849, via Panama, and upon his arrival 
in April, 1850, went to Downieville, and mined during the summer of 1850. In 1851 he located 
the Oak ranch near Monte Christo, but sold out the next year and bought a saw-mill in Downieville, 
going also into stock-raising in Scott valley. During the fuur years following, Dr. Webber superin 
tended the building of the first wagon road to Downieville, the first bridge across Yuba river, and 
the court-house, jail, and jailer's house. He was school superintendent of Sierra county two years. 
During this time, in 1852, he located all the land around what was then called Little Truckee lake 
(now known as Webber lake), for a stock range, and in 1854 stocked the lake with trout, there 
having been previously n<> fish in it, because of the falls a mile below. In 1860 he built the Webber 
Lake hotel there, and opened it to the public that year. The ranch he now lives on, four miles 
north of Loyalton, was located by him in 1859, where he spent the winters, and ran the hotel at 
the lake during the remainder of the year, until 1877. The doctor has practiced medicine in Loyal- 
ton for three years. The lake property is still owned by him. In 1833 he was married to Miss 
Margaret Bradish of Cranerville, Pennsylvania, by whom he had one child, James W., who was born 
in 1835, and died in Sacramento in 1856. Mrs. Webber died in 1842. The doctor has raised and 
educated nine orphan children, two of whom are practicing medicine, another is a merchant, 
another a lawyer, and another a book-keeper. One of his pupils in medicine he sent to Europe for 
two years. He is a member of the Summit lodge of Odd Fellows. 

WAI/FEU M. BANET. He was born at Hudson ville, Mississippi, June 26, 1855. At the age of 
nine he, with his parents, removed to Covington, Tennessee. Here he was reared and educated, 


and when eighteen years of age commenced the study of medicine at the Missouri medical college, 
from which he graduated with credit to himself, after finishing two courses. He then commenced 
the practice of medicine in Covington, Tennessee, and became county physician, which place he 
filled two years. In April, 1881, he came to Nevada, and served until October as surgeon in the 
United States Indian service at Wads Worth. He then removed to Loyalton, Sierra valley, and has 
already acquired a very large and lucrative practice in Sierra, Clover, and Mohawk valleys. 

DAVID DERB NEWMAN. This gentleman was born at Philadelphia May 29, 1833. His father 
was engaged in the stage business. David attended school in his native city .until seventeen years 
of age, when he became a salesman in a wholesale and retail store at Norristown, and was after 
wards in a dry-goods house. In the spring of 1853 he started for California, via Panama, arriving 
in San Francisco June 19, 1853. He mined first at Downieville, and until the winter of 1856 when 
he ran a dairy and meat market at Forest City for two years. In 1858 he sold out and moved to 
Sierra valley, settling on the ranch he now owns. It consists of 400 acres. Mr. Newman has been 
more or less interested in mining since ho first came to the state. He was married June 27, 1857, 
to Miss Roxy Ann Lockart of Meadville, Pennsylvania, who was born February 15, 1842. Their 
children are : Mary Emma, Albion K., William D., Charles F., Ferdinand, and Bradford U. Mary 
was married in September, 1877, to Allan Nicholson of Sierra valley. 

ISAAC WESTON. He was born at Foxcroft, Maine, May 9, 1837. His education was receive* 1 
in the common schools; and in 1857 he came to California, via the Isthmus. He mined two years 
at Timbuctoo, Yuba county, after which he located what is now the Flint ranch, in Sierra valley, 
where he stayed for three years. He then sold out, and in company with W. Spencer bought the 
Robbins ranch. This was sold three years after, and he went to Yuba county, where he remained 
two years, when he returned to the valley and bought his present ranch of 320 acres, a half-mile 
north-west of Loyalton. Since then he has sold it, but bought it back again. He was married 
April 12, 1865, to Miss Jennie Badenoch of Lower Canada. Clara Bell, a daughter of Mrs. Weston's 
sister, has been adopted by them. 

DAVID B. PATTERSON. He was born in St. Lawrence county, New York, March 2G, 1829. 
He crossed the plains to California in 1852, stopping in Sierra county, on the North Yuba, where he 
mined for a while, and then was interested for some years in a saw-mill. In 1858 he sold out and 
went east, but was back in less than a year; and in partnership with L. T. Fox kept stock on the 
ranch now owned by Mr. Patterson, and ran the butchering business in Downieville, Goodyear's 
bar, Monte Christo, Eureka North, Poker Flat, and St. Louis. In 1862 he sold out of the meat 
business, and bought Mr. Fox's interest in the stock-ranch, which he still operates. December 25, 
1860, he was married to Jane Newell of Goodyear's bar, who died August 6, 1864. He was a 
second time married to Annie Parker of Canton, New York, December 25, 180.1, by whom he had 
three children: Jane, born September 27, 1866; Cora V., February 14, 1869, and Mary, July -jo. 
1877. He is a member of Sierra Valley Lodge No. 184, F. & A. M. 

J. C. BROWN. Mr. Brown was born in Hardin county, Kentucky, June 11, 1855. His parents 
came across the plains in 1861, settling at Virginia City, Nevada, where they remained a year and 
a half, when they removed to Sonoma county, California, and lived on a farm until 1874. M that 
time they sold out and came to Sierra county, purchasing the Lee ranch of 160 acres, two miles west 
of Loyalton. Our subject's father, J. B. Brown, died November 17, 1876; his mother, now sixty- 
one years old, lives on the farm with her son, J. C. Brown, and her daughters Maud and llosa. 
Her son Alexander is married and lives in Los Angeles ; while Marcus D. is a resident of Washington 
Territory. Her daughter Emily was married to William Hand, in 1865, and now lives in Chin>. 
J. C. Brown lias managed the farm since his father's death. In politics he is democratic.. 


J. D. FAGG. He was born in 1826, in England, and when three years of age his parents emi 
grated to this country, settling at Mount Vernon, Ohio, where they both died within six weeks 
after their arrival. For the next four years, our subject was taken care of, as it suited them, by 
half a dozen different families, and then he became permanently connected with a family named 
Kinnev. who raised him, and gave him a good common-school education. In 1852 he was married 
to Miss Eli/a Grant of Franklin county, Ohio. While in Ohio, Mr. Fagg conducted a saw-milling 
business until 1859, when he came to California, via the Isthmus, and for the next six years was 
connected with a saw-mill near Forest City, Sierra county. He then returned to Ohio with his 
wife, and farmed near Columbus until 1869, when he came back to Sierra valley and engaged in 
merchandising for two years at Loyalton. Then he sold out, and traveled some time for his wife's 
health. October 24, 1877, she died at Reno, Nevada. Since selling his store, his principal occupa 
tion has been money-loaning and brokerage, though he has done some mining. 

PATRICK CONNOLLY. He was born in county Kildare, Ireland, in 1839; came to the United 
States in 1856, and lived a year and a half in Orange county, New York. He then migrated to 
Kane county, Illinois, and spent eighteen months in that locality. In 1859 he came overland to 
California, stopping at Marysville. where he worked for the California Stage Company six months ; 
and from that time until coming to Sierra valley was engaged along the Dutch Flat and Henness 
Pass road, working for the same company. Mr. Connolly removed to Sierra valley in 1869, and 
bought a ranch of 480 acres two and one-half miles north-west of Loyalton, on which he has since 

T. F. WEST. Mr. West was born in Rensselaer county, New York, January 20, 1820. 
When he was fourteen years of age his parents moved to Verona, Oneida county. Our subject 
worked on his father's farm until twenty-two. In September. 1844, he went to Dane county, Wis 
consin, and farmed for seven years, after which he engaged in mercantile pursuits for five years. 
In. 1864 he went to Whitewater, Wai worth county, where he ran a foundry and implement and 
wagon manufactory for six years. He came to California in April, 1871, by rail, and settled in 
Sierra valley, Plumas county, where he purchased a quarter-section of land, and lived on it ten 
years. He now resides on another farm of his own, two miles north-east of Loyalton, in Sierra 
county. Mr. West is a member of the Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges at Whitewater, Wisconsin. 
He was married September 15, 1841, to Miss Abbie S. Kcnyon of Rome, New York, who was born 
April 23, 1819. 

W. SMITH RAINS. Mr. Rains was born in Hardin county, Kentucky, December 16, 1833. 
At the age of sixteen he left his native state, and wont to Missouri, where he remained for twelve 
years. April 29, 1861, he started overland for California, arriving in Sierra valley in September. 
He soon located on the ranch of 360 acres, on which he has since lived. It is situated two and one- 
half miles from Loyalton. He was the first to improve a farm in that part of the valley, fencing 
160 acres of land that year. He was married December 23, 1856, to Miss Mary J. Stephenson, who 
was born in Boom- county, Kentucky. Their children are Robert Lee, born August 13, 1863; 
Carlotta, October 20, 1865; Ordelle, October 16, 1870; Azalia, June 20, 1874; a son not named, 
Au-ust 28, 1878; Olivette, January 28, 1881. 

HIRAM LEWIS. This gentleman was born in Franklin county, Missouri, December 5, 1820. 
lie ivmained in his native state engaged in farming until 1854, when he came overland to this state 
with his family. He fanned one year in Santa Clara county, six years in Sonoma county, and two 
years in Solano county. In the spring of 1863 he removed to Sierra valley, where he purchased a 
farm of a Mr. Jenney, which now consists of 360 acres. He was married in Cass county, Missouri, 


January 18, 1844, to Miss Sat ah Farmer, who was born in Meggs county, Tennessee, May 16, 1829. 
Their children are Mary A., born November 21, 1844; Melinda R., December 4, 1852; Nannie S., 
February 10, 1856; William S., February 17, 1858; Horace E.. October 2, 1861; R. H., March 5, 
1870. Their daughters are all married. 

T. S. BATTELLE. This is one of the early settlers in the valley. He was born in Washington 
county, Ohio, August 20, 1812. His father, Ebenezer Battelle, was one of the earliest settlers of 
that state, and died in his ninety-eighth year. When twenty-two years of age, our subject went to 
Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and dealt in merchandise for three years. Then he spent another three 
years in the same business at Clarksburg, Virginia, and several years at Muscatinc, boating on the 
Mississippi In 1852 he came overland to California, and farmed two years near Marysville. In 
1854 he came to the Sierra valley, and located a ranch of 480 acres close to Sierraville, where he 
has since lived. He was married August 29, 1833, to Grace A. Fleming of Uniontown, Pennsyl 
vania, and she died June 19, 1849. By her he had eight children, three of whom are living. On 
the first of March, 1850, he was again married, to Louisa Anderson of Pennsylvania, who died 
October 26, 1870. Mr. Battelle was married a third time, April 25, 1872, to Mrs. S. L. West of 
Waseca, Minnesota. 

M. HARDIN. He is a native of Bergen, New Jersey, where he was born in August, 1819. In 
the following year his parents removed to Guernsey county, Ohio, where he remained until 1851, 
when he came to California, via the Isthmus, arriving in San Francisco in November. He mined 
at Auburn, Placer county, until the spring of 1852, and then spent a year searching for auriferous 
deposits on the Feather river. He then began mining around Iowa hill, and continued there four 
yearsj when he went on the Yuba, and mined for one year. In 1857 he came to Sierra valley, and 
has since lived on his ranch of 240 acres, a mile and a half north of Sierraville. 

AARON DAVIS. This gentleman was born at Newark, New Jersey, May 24, 1813. When six 
years of nge he accompanied his parents to Mount Vernon, Ohio, which he made his home for 
sixteen years. He then went to Cincinnati, and was engaged for three years in mercantile pursuits, 
being also one of the contractors of the Illinois and Michigan canal, commenced in 1836. In 1840 
he went to Grant county, Wisconsin, and was occupied in merchandising and smelting lead, serving 
as deputy sheriff for two years. In 1849 he came overland to California, via the Lassen trail, 
arriving in Marysville September 21, 1849. He spent four years in mining, and then settled in 
Nevada county, where he engaged in merchandising, milling, and mining. In 1867 he removed to 
Sierra valley, and bought a ranch of 320 acres one mile west of Sierraville, on which he has since 
lived. Mr. Davis was a delegate to the state republican convention in 1872, and was elected a 
supervisor from the third district, in 1879. He was married December 25, 1838, at Ottawa, Illinois, 
to Miss Emma O'Hara, daughter of Captain William O'Hara of the British army. Their children 
arc Morris W., born May 10, 1843; Wood B., May 21, 1847; Thornton E., July 18, 1855; George 
G., January 21, 1858; Emma M., December 3, 1859; Aaron Davis, Jr., June 2, 1862. Morris 
married Grace Cullen in 1864, and is living in San Francisco; Emma was wedded to H. O. Nichols 
of Sierraville, in June, 1880. 

JAMES NICHOLSON. He was born in Nova Scotia January 1, 1848. When fifteen years of 
age he came to California, via the Horn, and arrived at the Golden Gate in July, 1863. He at once 
started for the mining regions, and in the course of his peregrinations traversed nearly every part 
of the state where mining was carried on, and mined himself wherever he stopped. In 1869 he 
came to Sierra valley, and bought the Wood ranch, four miles east of Sierraville. Here he re 
mained until 1876, when he sold out and traveled- through California and Nevada for two vears. 


In 1878 he went east on a visit, and while there was married to Miss Mary Tate of Halifax, Nova 
Scotia. The same year he returned with his wife to Sierra county, and lias since lived on the Olby 
ranch, which he bought in 1880. It is situated between Randolph and Sierraville, and consists of 
300 acres. One child has been born, William, the date of whose birth is October 2, 1881. 

J. C. ADAMS. This gentleman was born in Trumbull county, Ohio, July 8, 1835. In 1837 his 
parents removed to Illinois, where our subject lived until 1862, when he came to California over 
land. He arrived in Virginia City, Nevada, in September, where he remained a short time. In 
August, 1863, he came to Sierra valley, where he located a ranch of 160 acres, to which he has 
since added 120 acres September 16, 1856, he was married to Miss Mary E. Miller, who was 
born in Will county, Illinois, September 4, 1840. Their children were born as follows: Angeline, 
June 30, 1857, died July 1, 1857; Almeda, May 14, 1858, died January 2, 1869; 15. Franklin, Sep 
tember 13, 1860, died January 8, 1861; Charles C., October 29, 1861, died December 18,1869; 
Lydia J., January 5, 1864; Alva, June 26, 1866, died January 7, 1869; Loren W., July 1, 1868, 
died May 21, 1869; Edgar, October 27, 1871, died December 1, 1872; Horace G., April 24, 1873; 
William A., August 2, 1875. 

JAMES MILLER. He is the son of John and Elizabeth (Cowan) Miller, and was born near 
Montreal, Canada, August 19, 1835. His father was one of the leading and influential farmers of 
that section. James worked on the farm at home until he was seventeen years old. In 1852 the 
gold excitement caused him to emigrate to Australia. He landed at Melbourne, and started at 
once for the mines, seventy-five miles inland, with his entire outfit on his back. He worked about 
eighteen months with fair success, and then went to Van Dieman's Land in Tasmania, and engaged 
in lumbering for a year. Through the failure of others with whom he was connected, he lost his 
all, after which he went to Sidney, and followed the lumbering business fifteen year-. In the 
summer of 1868 he came to California, arriving in September, and went direct to Sierra valley, 
where he bought the Keyes ranch of 600 acres, three miles west of Sierraville, on which he built a 
fine house and extensive outbuildings, a view of which may be seen on another page. He was 
married September 25, 1854, to Agnes Harvey, born in London, July 26, 1837, then of Australia. 
By her he has had ten children, as follows: Elizabeth C., born August 28, 1855; Agnes, August 
24, 1857; Jeannettc, November 9, 1859; Nellie, September 10, 1861; Maggie C., September 5, 
1864; James John, May 8, 1866; David, September 26, 1868 ; Eva M., August 21, 1870; Amy L., 
November 4, 1872 ; Henry Harvey, May 4, 1875. Elizabeth was married to James Wiggins of 
Downieville in August, 1875 ; Agnes was weddel to S. M. York, in October, 1876; and Jeannette 
was united in marriage to Fred Olsen, in July, 1880. 

G. P. HAINES. Mr. Haines was born in Kennebec county, Maine, January 16, 1835. His father 
was engaged in farming and lumbering, and young Haines lived with him until 1855, when he 
came to California, via the Isthmus, arriving at the Golden Gate March 4. In the fall he began 
mining on the Yuba river, and continued at this occupation for three years. In 1858 he began 
farming and stock-raising in Sutter county, which he followed until 1864, when he came to Sierra 
valley, and made it his home until 1869. He then returned to his home in Maine, and stayed there 
three years, but came back to Sierra valley, and in 1873 purchased of Woodin & Brown their farm 
of 320 acres, on which he has since lived. He was married December 5, 1869, to Sabrina Williams 
of Benton, Maine. Mr. Haines is a member of Sierra Valley Lodge No. 184, F. & A. M. 

JOEL E. FBEEMAX. This gentleman is a native of Jefferson county, Tennessee, where he was 
born January 9, 1836. In 1855 he went to Iowa, and engaged in farming until the spring of 1859, 
then starting overland to California, arriving in the fall, and settling in Sierra valley in the spring 


of 1860 on a farm of 640 acres, eight miles north of Sierraville. May 1, 1859. lie was married to 
Miss Virginia Cooksey of Franklin county, Indiana, l>y whom he lias had six children, as follows: 
Willis, born January 22, 1860; William, July 19, 1862; John, October 13, 1863; Sarah, March 17, 
1865; Thomas E., January 21, 1870; Charles H., July 23, 1877. The eldest son, Willis, was 
married November 29, 1881, to Miss Mary McElvoy of Sierra valley. 

MARSHALL HUGHES. He was born November 22, 1858, in Whitley county. Indiana. In 1874 
he left home and traveled for two years through the western states, and then came to California, 
settling in Sierra valley 1 , where he bought a half-interest in the Carroll farm of 480 acres, twelve 
miles north of Sierraville, on which he has since resided. He was married February 22, 1880, to 
Miss Mary A. Carroll of Sierra valley, who was born at Forest City, California, September 29, 1862. 
Their son, Marshall, Jr., was born December 5, 1881. 

JACOB KNUTHSEN. He is a native of Holstein, Germany, where he was born September 9, 
1827. At the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to a dyer, and worked at the trade until he was 
twenty-three, when he went into the German army, and was present at the battle of Idstedt, in 
which the Germans were defeated. He got his discharge in two years, and in 1850 came to 
America, landing at New York. Here he embarked in the grocery business, which he followed 
until 1859, when he came to California, via Panama, arriving in San Francisco June 6. He went at 
once to Downieville, and was engaged in hydraulic mining for thirteen years. In 1872 he removed 
to Sierra valley and bought the Peter Schutte ranch of 860 acres, twelve miles north-west of 
Sierraville, which has since been his home. He was married January 20, 1855, to Miss Retina 
Meyer of New York City, a native of Bavaria, born December 25, 1832. The children born to 
them are John Henry, March 17, 1856; Margaret Regina, September 11, 1857 (now Mrs. A. M. 
Haselton) ; George W., April 5, 1860; Henrietta, December 9, 1870 all of whom are living. 

THEOPHILUS MADDUX was born in Woodford county, Kentucky, December 5, 1815. In 1838 
he left home and settled at Indianapolis, where he engaged in the confectionery business with a 
partner. In the spring of 1852 he started overland to California, arriving in Sierra valley in 
September. He settled on the ranch now owned by James Miller, and lived there two years, when 
he abandoned the claim without proving upon it. He remained in this section until 1874, engaged 
in various pursuits, when he bought the Wood ranch of 160 acres. His wife was the first white 
women in the head of the valley, and his daughter, Laura O., was the tirst white child born in this 
section. Her birth occurred in February, 1853, in a log house which stood near the present resi 
dence of James Miller. 

WILLIAM C. LEMMOX. Judge Lernmon was born in Seneca county, New York, March 3, 1822. 
When William was eight years old his father removed to Washtenaw county, Michigan, and 
settled on a farm which he had located for his son in 1825, the patent for the land being signed by 
John Quincy Adams, and still in the possession of our subject. Six years after, his father died, 
and the management of the farm, together with the support of the family, devolved upon William, 
which duties he discharged until the other children were grown up. He attended school at Albion, 
Michigan, and from there went to Ann Arbor, where he read law with Wilson & Hubbard, and was 
admitted to the supreme court of the state in December, 1849. In the spring of 1850 he came to 
Calif* rnia, via Panama, arriving in June and going direct to Nevada City. He soon began mining 
on the islands below Goodyear's bar, and in the fall settled at Downieville, engaging in general 
merchandising. In 1851 he was elected the second justice of the peace of Downieville, and served 
two years. F