J. P Munro-Fraser.

History of Solano County...and histories of its cities, towns...etc. .. online

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Department to which he is assigned, and is held responsible for the faithful


discharge of his duty to his classes. In order to satisfy himself of the
proper advancement of all Cadets, the Rector frequently examines the
respective classes.

The College Session consists of Two Terms of Twenty Weeks each.

Trinity Term begins on the Thursday after the 28th of July, and closes
on the Thursday next before the 23d of December. After a vacation of
four weeks, the EASTER TERM begins on the second Thursday in January,
and closes on the Thursday next after the first Wednesday in June.

Punctual attendance on the first day of the term is imperative. To insure
high standing, the Cadet must answer at the roll-call at 7 o'clock on the
evening of the opening day. No alcoves are reserved, the first on the
ground has the first choice in the Dormitory to which he may be assigned.

Every Cadet, on his arrival, shall immediately report himself to the
Rector, the Commandant of the Corps, and the First Sergeant.

No furloughs are granted after entrance. Patrons are urged not to ask
permission for Cadets to leave the College for any cause. Under no cir-
cumstances can any Cadet be received for less than a term. He is expected
to remain at least one Session of two terms, during which period his whole
time and energies are required. New Cadets will be admitted at any time ;
and, after the first • month will be charged from date of entrance to the end
of the term.

No visitors are welcome on the Lord's Day.

There are, besides these two Academies, the School under the Catholic
clergy, and the College of St. Mary.

While on the subject of schools, we would here draw attention to what
has been done for the education of the yonng of the county in the past
thirty years.

If there is one man more than another to whom praise is due for the
present educational prosperity of the State, and therefore of Solano county,
in which he was especially interested, that man is the late Hon. Paul K.
Hubbs. From the first arrival of this accomplished statesman in California,
he strove manfully and ardently to systematize its educational interests.
He served for a long time as the head of that especial department in the
State Legislature, and it is worthy of note that during his tenure of that
responsible office, in three years, the number of schools in the State in-
creased from twenty to three hundred and sixteen, while the attendance
rose from three thousand three hundred and fourteen to twenty-six
thousand one hundred and sixty. This was more than twenty years ago;
what are the school statistics of the county at present !

On the 30th of June, 1878, the number of first grade schools in Solano
county were twenty-six ; second grade, thirty-eight ; and third, seventeen.
Of these one school-house is built of brick — -that at Benicia, formerly the




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State Capitol, and fifty-two of wood, while four new school-houses have
been erected in the last year. These schools are taught by eighty-one
teachers, of whom fifty are females and thirty-one males, the former having
an average monthly salary of $63.52, and the latter $91.16 ; eighteen of
these preceptors hold life certificates. In the year ending, as per above
date, two schools were maintained less than six months, twenty-four for
more than six and less than eight, while twenty-one were continued for
eight months and over. Within that period fifteen certificates were
granted to male, and thirteen to female teachers, and twenty applicants
rejected, while there were twenty-three certificates renewed. Five students
from Solano were at that date attending the State Normal School, and in
regard to the county's division there are forty-eight districts, three of
them being fractional, and in one of these the school-house is situated
without the limits of the county. The rate of county school-tax levied
to October, 1877, was 25 per 100. County assessment roll of taxable
property for 1877, $9,022,101 ; amount received from county taxes, $23,-
157 59 ; amount received from poll-tax, $3,771 85 ; cash drawn from un-
apportioned County Fund for Board of Examination, $244 55 ; cash drawn
from unapportioned County Fund for postage, stationery, etc., $25. The
value of the school lots, houses and furniture to that date was $98,600 ;
cash in hand in various districts on June 30, 1878, $16,809 67 ; received
from State Apportionment School Fund, $36,119 89 ; from County Appor-
tionment in total, $28,355 55; from City and District Taxes, $4,212' 47,
and from miscellaneous sources, $945. Teachers' salaries have been paid to
the amount of $49,443 92 ; fuel, rent, etc., $9,151 08; libraries, $1,397 61 ;
apparatus and other necessaries, $138 10, and sites, furniture, etc.,
$9,675 43. Thus it is seen to what vast proportions the educational in-
terests of one county may spring in what is not quite half a life-time.

Secret Societies, Associations, Etc. — All cities, how small they may
be, have each their lodge, brotherhood or guild; as is natural, Benicia is not
without such representation ; indeed she would appear to have been one of
the first to whom was extended the right hand of brotherly love.

Benicia Lodge No. 5, F. and A. M. — Has a history of rare mark. On
June 5, 1849, certain Master Masons received from the Grand Lodge of
Louisiana, permission to congregate into a Traveling Lodge, to be held in
California. A Lodge, und.er this Dispensation, was opened by L. A. Besan-
con, one of the original number, who appointed D. B. Hyam, W. M.; James
H. Saunders, S. W.; and L. B. Mizner, J. W., the officers in the original Dis-
pensation of that rank, being permanently absent. The first meeting of the
Lodge was held and officers appointed, on March 6th, 1850. On application,
a Charter was granted by the Grand Lodge of California ; on the 26th of


November, of the same year, the first officers appointed, being D. B. Hyam,
W. M.; L. B. Mizner, S. W.; and Alexander Rid dell, J. W. The number of
members on the roll are now about forty -five ; while the officers for the
current year are : W. M., George Poor ; S. W., Murdoch McArthur ; J. W.,
Louis Weinmann ; Treasurer, John Reuger ; Secretary, Charles Spalding ;
S. D., William R. Carnpbell ; J. D., John Mounce ; Marshall, F. P. Wein-
mann ; Stewards, F. D. Blake, and Edwin Esty ; and Tyler, T. Sage. The
Trustees are : R. Westerby, T. McKay, and V: Newmark. It meets on the
Wednesday of, or preceding, the full moon ; and we are happy to say that
this old institution flourishes, it having a cash-balance on hand, as well as
owning the hall wherein the craft meet, and the lot on which it has been

Benicia Chapter No. 7, R. A. M. — This Chapter received its Charter
on May 1, 1855 ; the members applying, and whose names appear on the
parchment, being Charles French, John L. Sanborn, Thomas Farmer, Wil-
liam McGufnck, Thomas Brownlee, Henry Hook, B. Robinson, J. C. Stone,
R. N. Woode, H. Wheeler, John Tucker, and Sydney Maupin. The first
officers who served after the institution of the Chapter, were : John L.
Sanborn, High Priest ; Charles French, King ; and Thomas Farmer, Scribe.
The present office-holders are : High Priest, Timothy Sage ; King, Thomas
McKay ; Scribe, Murdoch McArthur ; Treasurer, John Reuger ; Secretary,
Charles Spalding; Captain of Host, George Poor ; Prin. Sojourner, Wm.
R. Campbell ; Roy. Arch. Captain, L. B. Mizner ; Master, 3rd. Vail, E.
H. Von Pfister ; Master of 2nd Vail, Joseph Green Johnson ; Master of 1st
Vail, Archibald McDonald; Guard, Robert Steuart. Past High Priest,
Timothy Sage. The members on the roll at present are twenty-three in
number ; while they meet on the Tuesday of, or preceding, the full moon.

Solano Lodge, No. 22, I. 0. 0. F. — This, another of California's first
organized Lodges, was instituted by Right Worshipful Grand Master, S. H.
Parker, on April 8, 1854, having, for its Charter members, George H. Rid-
dell, Paul Shirley, Charles W. Hayden, George Leviston, and John S. Brown.
The first officers who served, were : George Leviston, N. G.; Paul Shirley,
V. G.; C. W. Hayden, Secy.; and T. B. Storer, Treas., who, on being installed,
at once held a meeting, and conferred degrees upon several applicants. The
number on the muster-roll of the Lodge now, is sixty-two ; while the officers
jn the different chairs, are; N. G., Dr. V. Newmark; V. G., (vacant) ; Sec-
retary, Charles Spalding ; Treasurer, S. J. Filer ; W. Warden, Willaim
Fox ; Conductor, H. A. Booth ; O. G., William Kuhland ; I. G., A. P. Whit-
man ; R. S. to N. G., D. E. Roberts ; L. S. to N. G., John Binnington ; R. S-
to V. G., Daniel Cameron ; L. S. to V. G., Joseph Roskilly ; R. S. S., Fred.
Fried ; L. S. S., George Roskilly. Trustees, J. R. Brown, A. P. Whitman,


William Kuhland. This Lodge owns its hall wherein the brethren meet ;
and we are happy to announce that it was never in so properous a condit-
ion as it is to-day. Meetings every Monday evening.

Industries. — Without doubt the industries of Benicia are centred in its
tanneries, of which there are three of extensive proportions in operation,
giving employment to nearly three hundred men. The day has gone, when
in the workshops of this, then thought to be the rising city of the Pacific
coast, the noise and bustle of manufacture was heard. The works of the
Mail Company, which used to pay out as much as $60,000 per month in
wages alone, have long ago been abandoned ; and Mr. Westerby, the present
proprietor, who has lately acquired the property, is now hunting the tule
for old chains, for many years hid by mud and rushes. Ditches have ceased
to be dug, or streets to be graded ; and but for its tanneries, this fair city,
which once had such fair prospects, would be a city of the dead indeed.

The Pioneer Tannery. — This establishment, as its name signifies, was
the first tannerry started in Benicia. About eleven years ago, J. R. Brown
and Thomas McKay decided to try the experiment of running a tannery
at this place. They started in with four tan vats, and only a few hundred
dollars in money, but with a whole fortune of pluck. By hard work,
superior skill, and close attention to business, they made the enterprise
a success from the start, when failure was prophesied from all quarters ;
and now the Pioneer tannery is one of the most important in the State.
It has a reputation that extends to Boston. The buildings and yards
occupy between four and five acres of ground. They have two currying
shops that are 35x45 feet in size ; a beam house that is 75 feet long
by forty wide ; a splendid wharf, with a building on it, 75 feet long
and two stories high, that is used as a warehouse, drying-room, and
bark-shed. They "have other buildings, consisting of numerous bark-
sheds, bark-mill, engine house, boarding house, etc. The machinery of the
establishment is run by a 15 -horse power engine. They have here all the
latest improved machinery, consisting of a glassing jack, roller, slicking-off
machine, etc. Some idea of the amount of capital required to run this
place may be formed from the fact that they have on hand between eight
and ten thousand dollars' worth of tan bark alone. Some thirty men find
steady employment here. The tannery is producing now six hundred sides
per week. The manufactures of this establishment consists principally of
sole, harness, buff, shoe and polish leather. Mr. Alexander Chisholm, shortly
after the tannery was started, was taken in as a partner, and in July last,
he and Mr. McKay bought out Mr. Brown's interest, and the tannery is now
owned and run by McKay & Chisholm, who were both almost raised tan-
ners. They give their personal supervision to the mechanical department,
which may in part account for the success of the institution.


The Benicia Tannery. — Some five years after the starting of the
Pioneer, Mr. Robert Stewart started a tannery near it. After a year
or two's proprietorship, he was succeeded by Messrs. Moore & Cummings.
The new firm had hardly got in good working order, when the whole
establishment, in a few short hours, was destroyed by fire. This was a
severe blow to the young men composing the firm ; but Mr. E. Dan-
forth, an old resident of Benicia, having confidence in their business
qualifications, skill and enterprise, furnished them means to build and
conduct the tannery now owned and run by them at the foot of First
street. The establishment occupies two acres of land for its buildings,
yards and sheds. The currying shop is 40x60 feet, and three stories
high, connected with which are drying-rooms, bark-mill, beam-house, etc.,
nearly 200 feet in length. Near this building is an immense bark shed,
which holds between five and six hundred cords of bark — worth $10,000 —
which is laid in every fall to carry over to the next season. They have also
warehouse room for storing leather and material used in the manufacturing.
They make eighteen different kinds of leather here. They have between
thirty and forty hands, and have between fifteen and twenty thousand dol-
lars invested in stock all the time. Their monthly pay-roll for wages
amounts to about $2,000. They manufacture about 3,000 sides per month.
Mr. Chas. Moore attends to the business department, and Mr. Frank Cum-
mings to the mechanical department. The latter gentleman is a manufact-
urer of some twenty years' experience in the Eastern States, where he
acquired a thorough and practical knowledge of making all the finer grades
of leather ; such as glove kid, Russia, pebble goat, shoe, buff and leather for
hand satchels or bags. To him for the skill, and to Messrs. Brown &
McKay for the enterprise, is the State indebted for adding these to the
wealth of California manufactures. The manufacture of the hand-bag
leather has led to the establishment of a manufactory of those articles in
San Francisco, and Messrs. Moore & Cummings have the orders for the
leather. Mr. Cummings, when he arrived in California, went to nearly
every tannery and sought to introduce the manufacture of these fancy
leathers, and especially buff leather, which was at that time extensively
shipped to this State. His efforts were fruitless until he met with Messrs.
Brown & McKay, who were clear-headed enough to see the advantage and
profit of making that leather in California, and had the pluck to run the
risk of the experiment. The result was all that Cummings claimed, and all
Brown & McKay expected. It soon gave to Benicia the reputation of being
the hub of the tannery interest of the State. The Benicia tannery has a
large amount of its leather made up into boots and shoes in San Francisco,
and they intend that as soon as it can be accomplished, to have that manu-
facturing done in Benicia. The different varieties of leather manufactured
at this tannery were displayed at the Mechanic's Fair in a very attractive


manner, and was examined by a large number of experts who pronounced
the display in the highest degree creditable to the exhibitors. The manag-
ers of the institution awarded them the Grand Medal for the finest display
in their line of goods. On the 1st of January next there will be a change
in the firm's name, the new firm will be composed of Mr. C. J. Moore, F.
Cummings, and Mr. E. P. Danforth, who will own equal interests. Success
to them.

Brown's Tannery. — Mr. J. R. Brown some months previous to selling out
his interest in the Pioneer Tannery had started a small tannery near the old
establishment on his own responsibibity and after settling up with his old
partners immediately went to work to put his small establishment on an equal
footing with his neighbors in facility and capacity. He erected new buildings,
put in a steam engine, bought more land, and soon had an establishment that
was creditable to Mr. Brown's enterprise and a substantial addition to the
manufacturing interests of Benicia. The main building is 100x30 feet in
size with three floors. A short distance from it is the bark mill, also a beam
house. Mr. Brown gives employment to some twenty hands, and is now
manufacturing from 75 to 100 sides per day. Dan. Chisholm, a practical
tanner of great experience, is the foreman. The production of this tannery
is principally sole, harness and light leather. The machinery of the estab-
lishment is run by a fifteen horse-power engine and the steam is furnished
by a thirty horse-power boiler. Both were built by J. L. Heald, of Vallejo.
The engine is a beautiful piece of mechanism. About one-half of the pro-
duction of the tannery is bought from the city tanneries partly tanned and
is finished here. Since the 1st inst. he has increased the size of his beam
house, and has a force of carpenters at work increasing the number of his
vats. Mr. Brown is not only an enterprising and successful tanner, but is a
most valuable citizen. He is at present one of the City Trustees, and ever
on hand to give his personal aid and time to assist any project of public
character or enterprise of benefit to Benica.

Pacific Cement Company — P. Martin, proprietor and manager, was estab-
lished in 1864 and is situated on blocks 35 and 36 in the city of Benicia.
The establishment is comprised in seven buildings, viz.: Kiln-house, mill-
house and warehouses, with cooper's shops, etc. The machinery used is
worked by a steam engine of twenty horse-power, with a capacity of turn-
ing out 140 barrels of cement a day. The material used is obtained from
within a circuit of six miles ; it is easily procured and of the first order,
the quality of the cement, when mixed, being asserted to be equal to that
of the best Rosendale. There is a capacity for the employment of fifty
men on the works, while every facility for shipment, in regard to wharves
and warehouses, are to be found on the premises. The company owns a
schooner of its own which plies between the works and San Francisco.


Benicia Brewery. — The Benicia Brewery stands on lot sixteen, block
twenty, and is the adobe building erected by Major Stephen Cooper in 1847,
and used first by him and after by Von Pfister as the California Hotel. In
the month of August, 1855, the structure was purchased by John Reuger
who started a brewery, a portion of the materials and machinery being
brought by him from Marysville where he had previously engaged in the
business. The structure has, since its abobe days, been considerably im-
proved by brick and wooden additions, making now a main building 62x46
feet of two and one-half stories, with necessary cellars. The front portion
of the first floor consists of six rooms, used as a saloon and for dwelling
purposes, the second floor has five sleeping rooms, and the third is the air
drying-room for malt. Besides these there are in other buildings, the malt
house, the granary, brewing room and beer cellars. On the floor above the
brewing room is a beer kettle of fifteen barrels capacity, a crushing mill
for malt, and the beer cooler. Mr. Reuger's establishment is one well
worthy a visit, while his business, we are informed, considering the times
is fairly prosperous.

Hotels. — The old original hotels mentioned in these pages have long
since made way for others, but with no marked success, it is to be presumed
in regard to the number of guests or the returns to their tills; mayhap the
railroad may do some good ; if it should, time will tell. To-day the hotel
proprietors would not seem to be reaping a golden harvest ; in olden days
affairs were different in the matter of houses of entertainment. In 1849,
when Capt. Yon Pfister was proprietor of the California House, he paid his
cook $150 a month, two stewards $125 each, a dishwasher $65, a house-
keeper and bar-tender $100 each, while with a rental of $500 per mensem,
he cleared, for eleven months, a free sum of $1,000 for each month. In
1852, Tom Maguire, the present lessee and manager of Baldwin's Theatre
in San Francisco, arrived in Benicia and built a gorgeous " gin mill " near
where the Solano Hotel now stands, indeed the place is now the barber's
shop. This saloon was at the time the finest in the State ; two large bars
were kept constantly at work, while the attractiveness of the establishment
was materially enhanced by the presence of a noble band of music — these
were the days of reckless squanderings and riotous living.

Solano Hotel — Is the principal hostelry in the city where the traveler
will receive every attention to his wants, and be courteously treated by the
host, F. P. Weinmann. The building was owned and carried on as a hotel
by his father before him, and to-day the establishment receives most of the
patronage which comes to Benicia.

It is now in contemplation to change the present route of the overland
train, bringing it from Sacramento by way of Suisun and Benicia, thence


crossing the straits of Carquinez to the line now running to Martinez and
Oakland. Large ferry slips are being built Tor this purpose, but it will be
some months ere the works are completed.

In conclusion we will draw attention to Benicia as a place for manufactures.

We have before this alluded in general terms to the advantages which
Benicia possesses, and pointed out several classes of such enterprises to which
it presents exceptional facilities. The list of these can be easily extended.

We do not know of a town in the State which offers a better location for
a box manufactory than Benicia. Boxes can, in the first place, be made
cheaper here than in San Francisco, the present great center of the business.
The lumber can be brought here directly from the Coast mills and as
cheaply as to San Francisco, and the ground for the establishment can be
bought or leased a great deal cheaper. This later is no small item. Box
manufactories require a great deal of extra ground to hold their stock of N
lumber and furnish a place for seasoning it. There is one box manufactory
in San Francisco the value of grounds alone is worth, if our memory serves
rightly, over a hundred thousand dollars. This represents an extra amount
of capital which its business requires, and in reality increases the expenses
of the building by about one thousand dollars a month or whatever the
interest on the valuation may be.

Now as to the market. Benicia is right at the door of as good a local
market, at least for some classes of boxes, as there is in the State. For
fruit boxes the demand in this section is immense. There are the orchards
and vineyards of Napa county, of Green Valley, Pleasant Valley, and in
fact of the whole of Solano county — an area embracing one of the most
abundant fruit producing sections of the State. All this section could be
supplied to advantage from a Benicia factory. Last and by no means least
are the immense and prolific orchards of the Sacramento river, but a step as
it were from our city. Here is a supply of fruit requiring three or four fruit
steamers to carry it to market ; and the product rapidly increasing. This
section promises to be one vast orchard before many years, as to supply
almost the State with some kinds of fruit. A Benicia manufactory ought
to be able from its position to meet at least a large share of the box con-
sumption required in this immense business.

A sketch of the newspapers that have been published in Benicia has been
given elsewhere. At the present time there exists The New Era — which
was first printed on December 22, 1877, edited and published by F. A.
Leach, manager of the Vallejo Chronicle Publishing Co. On January 12,
1878, Mr. E. A. McDonell was admitted a partner in the concern, and on
May 22, 1879, owing to ill-health Mr. Leach withdrew from the firm dis-
posing of his interest to Mr. McDonell, his partner. The Era has a circula-
tion of about seven hundred, while most of the " old timers " who now reside
in other parts of the United States are on the subscription list. We wish,
prosperity to the pleasant sheet and its pleasant and kind editor and proprietor



To General Mariana Guadalupe Vallejo belongs the honor of selecting the
spot on which the city which bears his name now stands. The Suscol
ranch had been granted to him by the Mexican Government, and in it was
comprised what is now Vallejo city. As far back as 1837, then what may

Online LibraryJ. P Munro-FraserHistory of Solano County...and histories of its cities, towns...etc. .. → online text (page 20 of 57)