J. P Munro-Fraser.

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

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grain is received in a garner and weighed out in 100-bushel drafts, which
are received in the foot of the distributing elevator and carried thence to
the attic, to be distributed to the respective bins, according to the grade of
the grain. The method is different in receiving grain from the cars, which
are run on tracks into the lower story, opposite the elevators. The grain is
rapidly thrown out by steam shovels into a hopper, or sink, from which it
runs into the elevating buckets, and thence emptied into the scale of hop-
pers for weighing, and then distributed into the proper bins. In discharging


from the bins, the grain is drawn into the foot of the shipping elevators ;
thence carried to the top of the building and weighed in four hopper scales —
one of 500, two of 300, and one of 250 bushels — and afterwards discharged
through spouts into the ship to be loaded. The whole mechanism and
methods of receiving and discharging are very simple and expeditious in
operation. The storage capacity of the building will approximate 350,000
bushels, or 10,000 tons of wheat, inclusive of store room for 250 tons of
sacked grain. The handling capacity is 35,000 bushels per day, though it
can be weighed and run into a ship's hold at a speed of from 8,000 to 1 0,000
bushels ; equal to 250 to 300 tons per hour. The engine and boilers are
located in a separate fire-proof building, 30x35 feet in dimensions, from
which rises a smoke-stack, three feet in diameter, to a height of 118 feet.
The cylinder of the engine is 18 inches bore and 42 inches stroke. The
engine was built at the Union Iron Works, San Francisco. For regulating
the running speed, there is attached to the engine one of Scott & Eckart's
patent adjustable cut-offs and governor. The steam is supplied by two
boilers, 56 inches in diameter and 16 feet in length, containing thirty-five
3-inch tubes each ; also manufactured by Booth & Co., which firm manu-
factured the shafting, pulleys, etc. There are 200 feet of shafting, ranging
from 6 inches down to 1\ inches in diameter. Of belting, there are 3,150
feet. The main driving belt is 226 feet long and 20 inches in width, and
runs from a 6-foot pully on the engine to a 10-foot pully on the main line
of shafting in the top of the building. There are 3,150 feet of belting in
service, viz : 226 feet, five-ply, 20 inches wide ; 1,200 feet, four-ply, 20
inches wide ; 132 feet, four-ply, 18 inches wide ; 127 feet, four-ply, 16
inches wide, and 258 feet, four-ply, 8 inches wide. The aggregate total of
lineal feet of timber and lumber, used and employed in erecting the elevator,
figures up 1,076,000 feet, exclusive of 35,000 lineal feet of piles, used in con-
structing the building. The roof is of tin, put on by W. H. Lamb & Co.,
who also supplied the elevator buckets, hardware, nails, screws, etc. The
outside of the building is covered with smooth iron."

The above technical information has been in the main taken from the
Vallejo directory of 1870, but, as many of the figures therein given were
incorrect, the present ones quoted were supplied by Mr. Luke Alvord, who
was foreman on the building during its erection.

On the afternoon of the 16th of September, 1872, the Vallejo elevator
was no more ; it fell with a terrific crash, carrying with it some 4,000 tons
of wheat which were stored inside, and 1,000 more upon the wharves around
the building, all being the property of I. Friedlander, the Grain King. The
total loss was estimated at $100,000. The cause of collapse is by some
asserted to be on account of defective piling, while others declare that the
catastrophe was the result of the two lower stories not being properly
' braced, i. e. up to a distance of 25 feet from the base of the building. For


several days prior to its collapse, the elevator had evinced decided symptoms
of settling. Doors had become cramped, crackling sounds had been heard
all over the building, but this gave no cause for alarm ; yet down it went
in one confused heap, happily taking with it no human lives.

Carquinez Cemetery. — This beautiful plot of ground, like many others for
a public purpose, was donated to the City of Vallejo by General John B.
Frisbie in 1857, and contains twenty-five acres. It is situated on the sum-
mit of the rising ground, and is on the direct road to Benicia. A road run-
ning through the center divides the grounds equally and is apportioned, the
eastern half to the Catholic and the western half to the Protestant. The
government of the burial-ground is vested in Trustees and a Superintendent.

Militay Organization. — Vallejo boasts one company of Rifles, composed
of a fine body of men who are in every way capable as citizen soldiers. The
time was when there mustered in its ranks many men who had served in
the war of the rebellion. These have in a measure given way to not less
worthy successors, who have brought the standard of their corps to a high
state of perfection. Captain Frank O'Grady may well feel pleasure in his
command, and. California be proud of this portion of her National Guard.

Vallejo Fire Department. — Among the many institutions in the
United States in which her sons may truly feel a just pride, none are more
prominently brought forward than are her fire companies. Every city or
town, however small, boasts of its brigade, who, whether paid or from love,
give their energies at the first stroke of the fire alarm to save life and prop-
erty. The Fire Department in Vallejo was established in the year 1865, the
inaugural election having been held on December 4th of that year. At this
meeting, and for the following years the officers elected were: Chief En-
gineer, William Aspenall ; January 10, 1868, Chief Engineer, Philip Hich-
born ; January 10, 1870, Philip Hichborn was elected Chief Engineer; Jan-
uary 12, 1872, Alexander Hichborn was chosen Chief and John L. King,
First Assistant Engineer; May 4, 1873, Joseph Edgecumbe, Chief, Van B.
Smith, First, and John Welch, Second Assistant Engineers ; May 9, 1874,
O. L. Henderson, Chief, Gilbert Clayton, First, and B. D. Egery, Second As-
sistant Engineers ; May 7, 1875, Van B. Smith, Chief, Thomas McDonald,
First, and George Gorham, Second Assistant Engineers; May 16, 1876,
William McGill, Chief, E. J. Colby, First, and J. F. Nugent, Second Assist-
ant Engineers; May 3, 1877, Van B. Smith, Chief, J. J. Smith, First, and
R. W. Burton, Second Assistant Engineer ; May 20, 1878, William Beards-
ley, Chief, Daniel Skully, First, and Steven Price, Second Assistant En-
gineers ; May 2, 1879, Steven M. Price, Chief, Daniel Skully, First, and Peter
Wright, Second Assistant Engineers.


San Pablo Engine Company, No. 1. — This company was organized on
February 23, 1865, under the following officers, who were elected at the
first meeting, held on the above mentioned date: Foreman, John King;
First Assistant, H. P. Soames ; Second Assistant, Edward Fitzmorris ;
Treasurer, F. S. Carlton ; Secretary, Laurence Ryan ; Financial Secretary,
John Kennedy. The location of the Engine is at the Masonic Hall, on
Virginia street. It is of the fourth class and weighs, exclusive of supplies,
3,700 pounds. The boiler is M. R. Clapp's Circulating Tubular Patent,
made of the best material and of sufficient strength to bear twice the
pressure usually required. Steam can be engendered from cold water in
from four to six minutes from the time of the lighting of the fires. The
boiler is covered with German silver, and banded with the same substance
and Princess metal. The cylinder is fitted to a bed-plate which contains
all the steam passages, thus preventing leaky joints and condensation of
steam. It is fitted with self-adjusting packing, requiring little or no atten-
tion from the Engineer. The steam cylinder, steam chest and bed-plate are
cased in German silver and Princess metal. The main forcing-pump is
double-acting, and made of a composition of copper and tin and highly
polished. It is so constructed that it can be taken apart or put together in
a few miuutes if required ; there is also a circulating valve for the purpose
of feeding the boiler when steam is cut off. The large copper air chamber
is of Princess metal, with a nickel-plated water pressure attached. The
steam cylinder is eight inches m diameter, and eight inches stroke ; the
pump is 4| inches in diameter and 8 inch stroke ; the forward wheels are 4|
and the rear ones 5 feet high. The engine is thoroughly equipped with
tongue rope, hose-brake lamps, headlight and all the paraphernalia for
ordinary use. The hose cart is two-wheeled and carries 500 feet of car-
bolized hose, and is in good condition. The officers of the Company are :
Alexander Hichborn, Foreman ; J. W. Van Meeter, First Assistant ; Alex-
ander Morrison, Second Assistant ; James Topley, Treasurer ; T. S. Gilbert,
Secretary; J. W. Winters, Engineer; Louis Rosine, Stoker. There are
fifty-eight members in good standing. The Engineer, Stoker and Secre-
tary are permanently employed ; these, together with the Foreman, two,
Assistants and fifty-one members constitute the entire Company.

Vallejo Schools — Early Beginnings. — During the summer of 1855, a
Mr. Wilmott, a Methodist minister, solicited subscriptions to raise funds for
the erection of a building to be used jointly as a church and school house.
Admiral Farragut was then in command of the Navy Yard, and Isaiah Hans-
com, Naval Constructor. The paper wss circulated among the men on the
yard and one thousand ($1,000) dollars subscribed ; many of the men giving
a day's pay. General J. B. Frisbie donated two lots on Virginia street,
between Marin and Sonoma. The building was soon erected, most of the


work having been contributed by the different mechanics in town. Miss
Frost, a relative of Mr. Hanscom, opened a school in this building the same
summer, and continued it for several months. The church people desiring
to plaster the room requested the school to vacate, and it was therefore
moved into the old building, now standing on the corner of Maine and
Marin streets, and known as " Smith and King's blacksmith shop." (It is
not known whether this teacher was paid in full by tuition bills, or in part
from public money).

Miss Frost was succeeded in 1856 by Mr. George Rowell, who, afterwards,
in the fall of that year, moved into an old building known as the " Virginia
House," now standing on Sonoma street, near Pennsylvania. In the spring
of 1857 a public meeting was called, to see what action should be taken rela-
tive to building a public school house. Responding to the call the people
assembled at the old State House, then standing near where Eureka Hall is
now located (afterward burned), and General J. F. Houghton was chosen
moderator. At this meeting it was voted to build a house, and money was
raised by subscription to pay for the same. Three lots were donated by
General J. B. Frisbie, on Carolina street, at the corner of Sonoma, James
Newbert being the contractor and builder. The original building was about
forty feet square, with ceiling some fourteen feet high. At about this time
there were several teachers, who succeeded each other at short intervals ; a
Mr. Farmer, Miss Coyle, Miss Casson, Mr. Mason, Mr. N. Smith. Up to this
time, spring of 1858, we have been unable to learn whether the teachers
were paid in part with public money or entirely by tuition bills, but there
is reason to believe some public money was received as early as 1857. Mr.
E. M. Benjamin, now of San Francisco, was one of the trustees, and em-
ployed Mr. Newbert to build the house in 1857.

In the fall of 1859, or spring of 1860, Mr. Fred. Campbell (now Superin-
tendent of Schools, Oakland) took charge of the public school and remained
until the spring of 1861. In June of that year Miss Root, now the wife of
Hon. S. G. Hilborn, taught for one month, when Mr. Isaiah Hurlburt entered
the school as principal, and Miss Root as assistant ; they remained until June,
1862, when they were succeeded by Mr. Atchinson and wife, who remained
about one year. Mr. J. E. Fliggle then took charge of the school, assisted by
Miss Casebolt, who remained until the spring of 1864, when Miss C. resigned,
and Miss Alice Pickle was appointed in her place ; they continued the school
up to September 5, 1864, when Mr. Geo. W. Simonton took charge as princi-
pal and Miss Sophia A. Simonton, now Mrs. Harris, as assistant. Prior to
1864 there had been several boards of trustees. E. M. Benjamin was one of
the first. J. W. Farmer, E. J. Wilson, A. Powell, M. J. Wright, and others,
but there is no data to fix either the date or order. Mr. Wright, however,
was a trustee in 1864.

At the time Mr. Simonton entered the school there were two rooms in the


school building, the one built by Mr. Newbert for the principal, and a small
room some twenty feet square, added subsequently for the assistant. There
were at this time in both rooms about seventy scholars.

The school was ungraded and its entire management left to the principal.
During all these years and up to about 1867 the salary of teachers had been
paid, in part at least, by rate bills, levied pro rata on all the children. From
1864 to about 1871 the increase of children in public schools was very rapid,
and it was with great difficulty the trustees could furnish sitting room for the
children. Taxes were levied on the people and paid cheerfully, to build
school rooms. In 1867 there were five rooms, with as many teachers, packed
w T ith children, each having from seventy to one hundred and twenty, fre-
quently compelled to sit on the stage, on boxes or stools, for whole terms.

Present Results. — No city in the State has shown more interest in the
matter of education than Yallejo. Her people have ever been alive to the
importance of giving the rising generation a liberal education. From 1867
to 1869 the influx of population was so great that the school trustees found
it very difficult, with the limited means and accommodation at their com-
mand, to provide rooms and school furniture for the constantly increasing
pupils. In 1869 the board of trustees, viz.: J. G. Lawton, M. J. Wright and
I. S. Halsey, determined to submit to the people the question of taxing
themselves for the purpose of raising money to build a new school house,
and, to their credit be it recorded, the proposition was carried by a large ma-
jority and the tax was levied. Plans having been advertised for those pre-
sented by Messrs. Hoagland & Newsome, of San Francisco, were approved
and the contract for constructing a large, commodious three-story building
was awarded to J. W. Newbert, a citizen of Vallejo, for the sum of $14,000.

With a desire to extend the efficiency of the school department, J. G,
Lawton, acting under instruction of the trustees, prepared a special school
law for the city of Vallejo, providing (among other things) for a Board of
Education, to consist of a superintendent and four school directors, naming
the following gentlemen, who should serve until the next charter election^
viz.: J. G. Lawton, Superintendent and ex-officio President of the Board;
M. J. Wright, Secretary; E. M. Benjamin, B. T. Osborn and I. S. Halsey,
Directors. The law was passed by the legislature; and signed by the gov-
ernor March 25, 1870. The gentlemen above named having been clothed
with the proper authority, entered at once into the work assigned them, and
labored assiduously for the promotion of the educational interests of the
city. On the 6 th of July, 1870, the new school-house was turned over to,
and accepted by the Board; and although the third story remained un-
finished, still the accomodation afforded greatly relieved the pressing de-
mands upon the department. The following description will convey a very
correct idea of this beautiful structure: The building is forty-eight feet


front, by sixty-eight feet deep. Ells eight feet wide. Single story, rear
wing, 14x30 \ feet. It is three stories high, with Mansard roof, all inclosed
in rustic style. Two wings, each eight feet wide, set out at each end of the
building, furnishing broad entrances and stairways; these wings are sur-
mounted with observatories. The centre of the building rises to a higher
elevation, and upon its crown rests a turret, which serves both as a ventil-
ator and belfry. The class-rooms are lighted from the front by four double,
oval-topped windows, and the side elevations are equally well provided with
large windows. The first floor is four feet from the ground, and the first
and second stories fourteen feet six inches high, and the third fourteen feet.
On the first floor, three large school-rooms are arranged for, each having
entrance from the wings. Iron columns support the upper floors, and plat-
forms for teachers occupy convenient positions. In the rear are two private
rooms for teachers; halls wash-rooms and wardrobes. The second story is
also conveniently partitioned off", affording four good-sized class-rooms. The
general style of building is neat, with no excess of ornamentation. Prior
to the building of this house, the trustees were compelled to hire rooms in
various and unsuitable parts of the city, paying therefor heavy rents; the
colored school being in one of the rooms of the United States Hotel. On
July 9th, 1870, the Board adopted the classification and course of study in
use in the public schools of Providence, R. I., with such modifications as
were deemed proper by the Board. The following corps of teachers was
employed to teach under the new and improved system: G. W. Simonton,
principal of the High-school, W. F. Roe, and Isabella Murphy, assistants ;
A. W. Dozier, principal of the Grammar department, with William Crow-
hurst, Miss Lawrence, and J. McFadden, as assistants; Miss Sophia
Simonton, Miss Mary Turtelott, Miss Foye, Miss Delia Sweatland, Mary G.
Hall and Miss Rutherford, teachers of the Primary department, and Miss
Wundenburg, teacher of the Colored school; W. M. Cole, Janitor.

The salaries paid at this time were from $50 to SI 50 per month, aggre-
gating, including Superintendent, Secretary and Janitor, $1,151 per month.
The regulations adopted by the Board provide for a ten-months' school,
divided into two terms of five months each, with a mid-term vacation of
one week. The school-money received from the state and county was
found inadequate, and to make up the deficiency, the following schedule of
rate-bills was adopted, payable monthly: "High-school department, each
pupil, $2 50; first and second grade, Grammer, $2 00; third grade, Gram-
mar, $1 75; fourth grade, Grammer, $1 50; Primary department, $1 00.
At the end of the first month after the adoption of this order, viz.: from
Jan. 4, to Feb. 15, 1871, the teachers reported to the Board, collections
amounting to $543 70. At the end of May, 1871, the following teachers
were elected for the next term: G. W. Simonton, W. F. Roe, and Miss Julia
Benjamin, for High-school; A. W. Dozier, Misses Sweatland, Tourtelott,


Benjamin, Murphy, and Mrs. C. A. Kidder (nee Simonton) Misses Kate Hall,
Anderson, Rutherford, Foye, and Wm. Crowhurst, principal of the South
Vallejo school; and Miss Mary Tobin, Etta Thompson, and Miss Watson,
teacher of the colored school.

On the 15th of September the following gentlemen, having been elected
by the people as provided in the new City School law, were duly qualified,
and took their seats as the second Board of Education of Vallejo: Rev. N.
B. Klink, Superintendent; I. S. Halsey, Secretary; Luke Doe, J. H. Green
and E. H. M. Baily, Directors. The newly-elected members entered at
once into the good work begun by the previous Board, and the Vallejo
schools soon became famous throughout the adjacent counties, many pupils
being sent here for instruction, and large numbers of most excellent teach-
ers making application for positions as instructors.

The first question of importance presented to this Boai'd for its considera-
tion related to the finances of the department. The school-money received
from the state and county was only sufficient to maintain the schools for
eight months. A special tax of thirty-five cents on each $100 valuation on
the assessment-roll was therefore provided for in the special law before-
mentioned, to make up the deficiency. This tax was assessed and collected
by the county officials, in the same manner and at the same time of assess-
ing and collecting the state and county taxes, and without cost to the school-
fund. This arrangement worked well, and gave great satisfaction to the
public; but, unfortunately, the State Board of Equalization the next year
decided that all such laws throughout the state were unconstitutional, and
issued an order restraining County Assessors and Collectors from assessing
or collecting township and district taxes. They further promulgated this
principle in the matter of taxation, viz.: "That all taxes levied and col-
lected for township and district purposes must be assessed and collected
by officers elected by the people to be taxed." This rendered a revision
of the Vallejo School Law necessary. The matter was referred to the
Secretary of the Board with instructions to procure legal assistance and
so revise the Special School Law as to secure the assessing and collecting
of the usual special tax. On the 5th of January, 1874, J. G. Lawton, Esq.,
presented the revised law to the Board, which, after some modifications, was
approved, and the Secretary instructed to forward it to the Hon. J. L.
Heald, member of assembly, by whom it was introduced for legislative
action; on the 25th day of February following it was signed by the Gover-
nor, and has ever since been the school law of Vallejo township. The
changes made related more especially to the matter of including the entire
township of Vallejo in the school district, and making provision for the
election of a township Assessor and Collector as required by the order be-
fore-mentioned, emanating from the State Board of Equalization.

At the close of the school year ending December, 1871, Messrs. Gregory,




/ York



Hilborn, Lawton, Ashbrook, Dr. L. C. Frisbie, and Rev. C. E. Rich, assisted
the Superintendent, Mr. Klink, in making the usual term-examination,
and the report made by these gentlemen was highly creditable to teachers
and pupils, and quite satisfactory to the Board. On January 2, 1872, the
Board adopted a course of study, rules and regulations, and had the same
printed in pamphlet form for gratuitous distribution among the people.
During this year, Mr. Simonton, the principal, obtained permission of the
Board to give a number of public school entertainments, for the purpose of
raising money to purchase a suitable bell for house No. 1. His efforts were
successful beyond expectation, and the fine bell thus secured to the school
department has ever since been ringing out notes of praise to all who par-
ticipated in this worthy object. The cost of the bell was $325.

The teachers elected for the term beginning January, 1872, were the same
as last term, with the exception that Mrs. Kidder resigned and J. McFadden
was elected and assigned to the South Vallejo school.

On the 23d day of April, 1872, Mr. Simonton, after so many years of
faithful service in the cause of education, was compelled to hand in his
resignation on account of failing health. After several ineffectual attempts
on the part of the Board to induce him to continue, his resignation was
finally accepted on the 7th of May, 1872. After accepting the resignation
of Prof. Simonton, the following resolutions were unanimously passed by
the Board:

"Resolved, That it is with unfeigned regret we are called upon to part
with our late Principal, O. W. Simonton, he having filled that position for
years with honor to himself, profit to the children of Vallejo, and the per-
fect satisfaction of the Board.

Resolved, That the thanks of this Board are due, and are hereby tendered
to him for many valuable suggestions, and his unremitting efforts in assist-
ing us to arrange and perfect our present school system.

Resolved, That we cordially recommend him to all interested in educa-
cational matters as a gentleman in every way competent, and worthy of
their entire confidence and esteem."

On June 11, 1872, the following teachers were elected for the term com-

Online LibraryJ. P Munro-FraserHistory of Solano County...and histories of its cities, towns...etc. .. → online text (page 27 of 57)