Most of Township 7 North, Range 2 West.
South fraction of Township 8 North, Range 2 West.
North fraction of Township 7 North, Range 1 West.
South fraction of Township 8 North, Range 1 West.
All of Township 7 North, Range 1 East.
South part of Township 8 North, Range 1 East.
North-east corner of Township 6 North, Range 1 East
North-west corner of Township 6 North, Range 2 East.
South-west corner of Township 7 North, Range 2 East.
South part of Township 8 North, Range 2 East.
North and East part of Township 7 North, Range 2 East.
North-east fraction of Township 6 North, Range 2 East.
North-east corner of Township 5 North, Range 1 West.
North-west corner of Township 5 North, Range 1 East.
West part of Township 6 North, Range 1 East.
East part of Township 6 North, Range 1 West.
South-west part of Township 6 North, Range 1 East.
South part of Township 6 North, Range 2 East.
Northerly part of Township 5 North, Range 1 East.
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North part of ,. . Township 5 North, Range 2 East.
West part of Township 5 North, Range 3 East.
North-west Township 5 North, Range 3 East.
North part of Township 4 North, Range 1 East.
West tier of Sections in Township 4 North, Range 2 East.
South part of Township 5 North, Range 1 East.
South-west part of Township 5 North, Range 2 East.
South part of Township 5 North, Range 2 East.
East part of Township 5 North, Range 3 East.
THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.
VACAVILLE — continued.
East part of Township 4 North, Range 2 East.
North-west part of Township 4 North, Range 3 East.
North-easterly part of Township 3 North, Range 2 East.
Fractional Township 3 North, Range 1 East.
West tier of Sections in Township 3 North, Range 2 East.
South tier of Sections in Township 4 North, Range 1 East.
And Section No. 31 in Township 4 North, Range 2 East.
A glance at the following table will inform the reader as to the acreage of
these individual townships, while appended thereto are remarks as to the
portions of each which are under water :
TABLE SHOWING THE ACREAGE OF SOLANO COUNTY.
Name of Townships.
32 ; 120
Of which 19,000 acres are water.
Of which 3,000 acres are water.
Of which 10,000 acres are water.
Of which 1,700 acres are water.
Of which 3,000 acres are water.
The total area of the county is therefore five hundred and seventy-six
thousand five hundred and ten acres, including land and water ; of this
amount ninety thousand acres are swamp and overflowed lands ; ten thous-
and acres are mud flats left bare at low tide, leaving in the vicinity of four
hundred and fifty thousand acres as land fitted for agricultural and pastoral
TOPOGRAPHY OF SOLANO COUNTY.
Ten thousand acres of the county are swamp and overflowed land and
mud flats bare at low tide. These lands border the Sacramento river in the
south-easterly part of the county, and Suisun bay on the south boundary,
with San Pablo bay on the south-west, and are ovei flowed a few inches in
depth at ordinary high tides.
THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 21
The Montezuma hills occupy the south-eastern portion of the upland of
the county, in Townships 3 and 4 N. R. 1 E. and 3 and 4N.R.2 E. These
elevations are from fifty to three hundred feet above tide-water, and inter-
sected by narrow ravines or hollows (so called), the water-shed being gen-
erally in an easterly and southerly direction.
The Townsend Hills, in the south-west part of Township 4 N. R. 1 E.
occupy three or four sections, and are of a similar character.
The Potrero Hills, in the northern part of Township 4 N. R. 1 W.
occupy about eleven or twelve sections of land, and are surrounded by
swamp and overflowed lands, except a narrow neck of low valley on the
north side. The higher ridges are two hundred feet above tide-water, re-
ceding in elevation as they approach the border of level land adjoining the
Robinson's island is upland, rising out of the tides, on Section 13, in
Suisun township, and contains one hundred and sixty acres of land. There
are other small islands of upland rising from the swamp-land, in different
localities, Suisun City, at the head of Suisun Slough, on Section 3G, Town-
ship 5 N. R. 2 W. being located on hard land of this nature.
Mostly all of that portion of the county embraced within a line drawn
nearly east, following the border of the swamp-land eight miles to Denver-
ton, and thence north-easterly six miles to Linda Slough, and north-easterly
along the swamp-land, four miles to Maine Prairie village, at the head of
Cache Slough, and thence easterly to the south-east corner of Section 36,
in Township 6 N. R. 2 E. at the corner of Yolo county, and thence north
along the east line of the county, fifteen miles to the old sink, or bed of
Putah creek, and up the centre of the same, and up the centre of Putah
creek westerly eighteen miles to the residence of S. C. Wolfskill, and thence
nearly south, skirting the hills ten miles to the town of Vacaville, and thence
south-westerly nine miles to the county seat at Fairfield, is level, with the
exception of a slight ridge running across Section 3, and south-easterly a few
miles through Township 5 N. R. 1 W. and other unimportant risings in a few
localities. The land thus described embraces an area of about two hundred
thousand acres, which may be properly called plains, having an average
elevation of one hundred feet above tide-water.
A spur of rolling hills extends from Vacaville, nearly north to Putah
creek, which will average three miles in width, the slopes, benches, and
small valleys being celebrated for early fruits and vegetables. West of
these hills and running parallel with them, lies Pleasant Valley, extending
to Putah creek ; this vale is also celebrated for its genial climate, early
fruits and vegetables, it sending the first into market from any part of the
The eastern portion of Sections 24, 25, and 36, in Township 6 N. R.
2 W. and the western portion of Sections 19, 30, and 31, in Township 6
22 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.
N. R. 1 W. are usually called Lagoon valley, where is located the celebrated
cherry orchards of Bassford & Sons.
The north-west corner of Township 6 N. R. 2 W. is a high rocky region
covered with dense chapparal, as is also the western portion of township
7 N. R. 2 W. and the western part of Township 8 N. R. 2 W.
The crest of the Vaca mountains, beginning on the first standard, north
of Mount Diablo, at a point fifteen chains west of the south-east corner of
Section 34, Township 6 N. R. 2 W. and running northerly to the centre
of Putah creek, is the boundary line between Solano and Napa counties,
and rises gradually, proceeding northerly, which, on Section 15, in Township
6 N. R. 2 W. becomes a perpendicular cliff on the west side, the vertical
part varying from fifteen to fifty feet in height. The greatest altitude of
this ridge of the Vaca mountains is that portion lying in Sections 5, 7 and
8, in township 7 N. R. 2 W. called the Blue mountain, and is about three
thousand feet above the ocean. From this position the ridge descends
towards Putah creek, while immediately south of the creek, on the east side
of the ridge, are cliffs, nearly perpendicular, of from three to five hundred
feet high. On Section 20, in Township 8 N. R. 2 W. the Rio de los Putos
breaks through the chain in a rough, rocky chasm, called Devil's Gate.
The lower portions of the sand-rock here change their clayey color, become
blue and hard, and are traversed by divisional planes or joints dividing the
rock into rhomboidal blocks of considerable regularity, a feature which is
common to the great overlying mass of sand-rock in Solano and the ad-
The Suscol Hills, or Sierra de Napa, occupying Townships 3, 4 and 5 N.
R. 3 W. in the south-west part of the county, are a series of rolling
highlands, in some places rising to rocky peaks and precipitous crags.
Among the most prominent of these is the Sulphur Spring mountain,
which attains an elevation of five hundred feet above the bay, and is situated
about five miles east of the city of Vallejo. The Elkhorn, or Ramsay's
Peaks, on Section 33, in Township 5 N. R. 3 W. twelve miles north-
easterly from Vallejo, rises to the height of one thousand feet. The
Sisters Peaks, eight miles north-west of Fairfield, are sixteen hundred feet in
height ; while Millers Peak, fifteen miles north of the county seat, on the
crest of the hills separating Pleasant Valley from the plains, is the sharpest,
most abrupt, and best defined summit in the county ; it is one thousand feet
high. The Suscol range embraces an area of sixty thousand acres, it being
interspersed with beautiful glens skirted with live oak, willow, and Cal-
ifornia laurel ; at their western base lies a border of valley land of an
undulating surface, a few miles wide, and extending from Vallejo north to
Napa county. The crest or divide of these hills forms the western boundary
of the county, from Section 33, in Township 4 N. R. 3 W. north twelve
miles to the first Standard North.
THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 23
GEOLOGY OF SOLANO COUNTY.
The great overlying mass of rock in the hilly portions of the county, is a
massive siliceous sandstone, in many localities changing to arginaceous sand-
rock, with the divisional plains or joints less defined.
The erosion of this rock sends down to the benches and valleys large
quantities of debris, which, mingled with the harder clayey deposits, makes
a light, loose, and warm soil,' particularly healthy, producing the earliest
fruits and vegetables in the State. On the lower slopes in several localities,
are found extensive areas of alluvial sandstone, formed by beds of sand
cemented by iron and carbonate of lime.
Below the massive sandstone first named, beds of clay slate, alternate
with slaty schistose sandstone, as seen in the face of the bluff at South
Vallejo, and in those along the Straits of Carquinez, in the ravines of the
Suscol hills, and on the slopes of the Vaca mountains.
Underlying the above are vast beds of Volcanic Tufa, composed of
cemented, volcanic earth, light and porous, containing a large percentage of
magnesia, giving the rock a light gray color, which hardens by exposure, is
a perfect firestone, and of sufficient durability for building purposes, as has
been proved by the erection of the following structures : the dwelling of
Colonel Charles Ramsay, in Green Valley ; that of Samuel Martin, L. B.
Abernethie, and W. W. Scarlett, in Suisun Valley, which are all constructed
of this material ; as is also the Stone Church at Rockville, and an exten-
sive barn, the property of J. M. Baldwin, near that place. There is a fine
quality of this rock in the hills, on the lands of J. R. Wolfskill, whose
spacious dwelling-house is built of it. It is absolutely fire-proof.
The lowest formation necessary to mention, are alternating strata of sand-
stone, shale, slaty sandstone, and coal. Subjacent to the foregoing is a bed
of hard blue clay.
Black basalt, or dolerite, occurs on some points of the hills and ridges in
the vicinity of Brideport, in the Lomas de Suisun, and on the hills east and
west of Green Valley ; also on the old Dorris Farm, five miles north-east of
Benicia, and on the land of Lewis Pierce, nine miles from there, on the
Bridgeport road. It is extensively quarried and sent to San Francisco for
At the Soda Springs, on Section 2, Township 5 N. R. 2 W. five miles
north of the County seat, there is a quarry of beautiful white Crystal-
line marble, which proves to be a chemical deposit ; the strata is made up of
waived or undulating laminre, showing that the deposition was made upon
an uneven surface. Where the laminae are corrugated and tortuous, it shows
a beautiful finish, similar to bird's-eye maple. On Section 8, in Township
5 N. R. 2 W. four miles north-east of Fairfield, there is a quarry of varie-
gated marble, the coloring matter of which is for the most part oxide of iron.
24 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.
Hydraulic limestone, or cement-rock, is found in abundance in the hills
near Benicia, and at the bluffs on the north side of Carquinez Straits.
Sulphur Spring Mountain is the termination of the Sierra de Napa, and
of the great quicksilver range, and contains large deposits of cinnabar-rock,
the most extensive being at the St. John mine, six miles northeast of Val-
lejo; the John Brownlie mine, six miles east of Vallejo; and various other
localities show outcrops of this rock.
Serpentine, micaceous schistase, sandstone, hornblende, and several others
of the class of rocks, usually accompanying this mineral are found on and
along the slopes of this ridge.
SPRINGS IN SOLANO COUNTY.
The Soda and Sulphur Springs, in the Armijo Kancho, five miles from
Fairfield, and the White Sulphur Springs, hear Vallejo, are beginning to be
appreciated for sanitary purposes.
SOIL OF SOLANO COUNTY.
The soil of the swamp and overflowed lands is composed of decayed
vegetation ; guano, sedimentary deposits from overflow of streams, mixed
with a large percentage of preserved roots, the principal preservative agent
being tannic acid, of which considerable beds occur, resembling peat, and
when cut and dried makes excellent fuel. These lands produce abundantly
when reclaimed, there being about thirty thousand acres leveed in, and
several thousands under cultivation.
The Montezuma hills are not excelled as natural grain land. Some por-
tions of the plains district are alkaline soil, and poor. Other sections are
dead soil, without much organic matter. The rolling hills, to the summit,
are excellent grain or grazing lands. Indeed the greater portion of the un-
dulating lands and the plains may be denominated as one vast grain field.
THE VALLEYS OF SOLANO COUNTY.
Suscol Valley lies west of the Suscol hills, runs from the city of Vallejo
to the northern part of the county, eight miles long and three in breadth,
Napa bay washing its whole length.
Sulphur Spring Valley runs up from Suisun bay, two miles north of
Benicia ; has a width of from one to four hundred yards, and winds through
the Suscol hills for five or six miles.
Green Valley lies to the eastward of the Suscol hills, four miles east of
Suscol valley; is six miles in length, one and a half in width, and derives
its name from their being a large portion of it always green.
Suisun Valley is about six miles square, and lies to the north of Suisun
bay and east of Green Valley. It opens out on the east into the valley of
the Sacramento, and has an exceedingly fertile soil.
THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 25
Vaca Valley, formerly known as the Ulattis valley, lies to the north-
east of Suisun ; it is five miles in length, and one and a half in breadth,
runs between two ranges of hills of considerable altitude, and opens out
into the great Sacramento Valley. It, and its two offshoots, Laguna or
Lagoon Valley and Pleasant Valley, are the admiration of all travelers.
Sacramento Valley extends as far as the eye can reach, and is in' a few
words the farmer's paradise.
THE STREAMS OF SOLANO COUNTY.
Rio de los Putos, or Putah Creek, rises in Lake county, and flows in
an easterly direction, winding through a rich, lovely, fertile plain, for
twenty miles, and loses itself in the extensive tides which lie between the
plains and Sacramento river. It is not navigable, but affords great facilities
for the watering of stock, while in certain parts it is noted for the magnifi-
cence of its scenery.
Sweeny Creek rises in the Vaca hills, six miles north of the town of
Vacaville ; flows in a north-easterly direction for the distance of eight
miles ; thence in a south-easterly course to the vicinity of Maine Prairie,
and empties itself into Cache Slough.
Ulattis Creek rises in the Vaca hills, about five miles west of Vacaville ;
flows through that town in an easterly direction, and empties into the. west
branch of Cache Slough.
Alamo Creek rises about four miles west of Vacaville ; runs in a south-
erly direction, through Elmira, and enters Ulattis creek, near Binghampton.
Pleasant Valley Creek rises »about two miles west of Mr. R. Miller's
property; runs in a north-easterly direction through Pleasant valley, and
empties into Putah creek.
Suisun Creek rises in Napa county, flows in a south-easterly direction,
and empties into the Salt Marsh, about one and a half miles east of Bridge-
Green Valley Creek rises in the south-west corner of Township 5 N.
R. 2 W. and runs in a south-easterly course about eight miles, emptying into
Cordelia slough, at Bridgeport.
Sulphur Springs Valley Creek rises near the centre of Township 5
N. R. 3 W. runs in a south-easterly course through Sulphur Springs valley,
and empties into the salt marsh two miles north of the United States
barracks at Benicia.
Sulphur Springs Creek has its source at the White Sulphur Springs,
three miles north-east from Vallejo ; runs in a north-easterly course, and
empties into Napa bay three miles north of Vallejo.
In addition to these water-courses there are several estuaries, such as
Cache Slough, with its tributaries of Bounds, Linda, Prospect, Miner's, and
Elkhorn sloughs ; Grizzly Slough, Roaring River, in Montezuma township,
with a host of others too insignificant to enumerate.
26 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.
ORIGIN OF THE TOWNSHIP SYSTEM IN THE UNITED STATES — ITS EXTENSION
TO ""CALIFORNIA — ORGANIZATION OF SOLANO COUNTY— TOWNSHIPS — BENICIA
— VALLEJO — SUISUN — VACAVILLE — SILVEYVILLE — TREMONT — MAINE PRAI-
RIE — RIO VISTA — MONTEZUMA — DENVERTON — ELMIRA — BENICIA THE
COUNTY SEAT — REMOVAL TO FAIRFIELD — REMOVAL TO VALLEJO — BACK TO
FAIRFIELD, ETC., ETC.
The first organization of counties in the United States originated in Vir-
ginia, her early settlers becoming proprietors of vast amounts of land, liv-
ing apart in patrician splendor, imperious in demeanor, aristocratic in feeling,
and being in a measure dictators to the laboring portion of the population-
It will thus be remarked that the materials for the creation of towns were
not at hand, voters being but sparsely distributed over a great area. The
county organization was, moreover, in perfect accord with the traditions
and memories of the judicial and social dignities of Great Britain, in
descent from whom they felt so much glory. In 1634, eight counties were
established in Virginia, a lead which was followed by the Southern and
several of the Northern States, save in those of South Carolina and Louis-
iana, where districts were outlined in the former, and parishes, after the
manner of the French, in the latter.
In New England, towns were formed before counties, while counties were
organized before States. Originally, the towns or townships exercised all
the powers of government swayed by a State. The powers afterward as-
sumed by the State governments were from surrender or delegation on the
part of towns. Counties were created to define the jurisdiction of Courts
of Justice. The formation of States was by a union of towns, wherein
arose the representative system ; each town being represented in the State
Legislature, or General Court, by delegates chosen by the freemen of the
town at their stated town meetings. The first town meeting of which we
can find any direct evidence, was held by the congregation of the Plymouth
colony, on March 23, 1621, for the purpose of perfecting military arrange-
ments. At that meeting a Governor was elected for the ensuing year ; and
it is noticed as a coincident, whether from that source or otherwise, that the
annual town meetings in New England, and nearly all the other States,
have ever since been held in the spring of the year. It was not, however,
until 1635, that the township system was adopted as a quasi corporation
The first legal enactment concerning this system provided that whereas :
" Particular towns have many things which concern only themselves, and
THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 27
the ordering of their own affairs, and disposing of business in their own
towns ; therefore, the freemen of every town, or the major part of them,
shall only have power to dispose of their own lands and woods, with all the
appurtenances of said towns ; to grant lots, and to make such orders as may
concern the well ordering of their own towns, not repugnant to the laws
and orders established by the General Court. They might also impose fines
of not more than twenty shillings, and choose their own particular officers,
as constables, surveyors for the highways, and the like." Evidently this
enactment relieved the General Court of a mass of municipal details, with-
out any danger to the powers of that body in controlling general measures
of. public policy. Probably, also, a demand from the freemen of the towns
was felt, for the control of their own home concerns.
The New England colonies were first governed by a " general court," or
legislature, composed of a Governor and Small Council, which court con-
sisted of the most influential inhabitants, and possessed and exercised both
legislative and judicial powers, which were limited only by the wisdom of
the holders. They made laws, ordered their execution, elected their own
officers, tried and decided civil and criminal causes, enacted all manner of
municipal regulations ; and, in fact, transacted all the business of the
This system, which was found to be eminently successful, became general,
as territory was added to the Republic and States formed. Lesser divisions
were in turn inaugurated and placed under the jurisdiction of special
officers, whose numbers were increased as time developed a demand, until
the system of township organization in the United States to-day is a matter
of just pride to her people.
We will now consider this topic in regard to our special subject.
On the acquisition of California by the Government of the United States,
under a treaty of peace, friendship, limits and settlement with the Mexican
Republic, dated Guadalupe Hidalgo, February 2, 1848, the boundaries of
the State were defined. This treaty was ratified by the President of the
United States, on March 16, 1848; exchanged at Queretaro, May 30, and
finally promulgated July 4th, of the same year, by President Polk, and
attested by Secretary of State. James Buchanan. In 1849, a Constitutional
Convention was assembled in Monterey, and at the close of the session on
October 12th, a proclamation, calling upon the people to form a government,
was issued " to designate such officers as they desire to make and execute
the laws ; that their choice may be wisely made, and that the Government
so organized may secure the permanent welfare and happiness of the people
of the new State, is the sincere and earnest wish of the present executive,
who if the Constitution be ratified, will, with pleasure, surrender his powers
to whomsoever the people may designate as his successor." This historic
document bore the signatures of " B. Riley, Bvt. Brig. Genl. U. S. A., and
28 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.
Governor of California," and " Official — H. W. Halleck, Bvt., Capt. and
Secretary of State."
In accordance with Section Fourteen of Article Twelve of the Constitu-
tion, it was provided that the State be divided into counties, and Senatorial
and Assembly Districts, while the First Session of the Legislature, which
began at San Jose on December 15, 1849, passed on February 18, 1850, "An
Act subdividing the State into counties and establishing seats of justice
therein." The boundaries of Solano county being as follows :
" Beginning at the mouth of Napa creek and running up the middle of
its channel to the mouth of the Suscol creek ; thence following up said
creek to the eastern boundary line of Napa county ; thence along said
boundary line to the northeast corner of Napa county ; thence in a direct
line to the nearest point of Putah creek ; thence down the middle of said
creek to its termination in the Tule marsh ; thence in a direct line to the
head of Merritt's slough ; thence down the middle of said slough to its
mouth ; thence down the middle of Sacramento river to its mouth ; thence