J. P Munro-Fraser.

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

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down the middle of Suisun bay to the Straits of Carquinez ; and thence
through the middle of said straits to the place of beginning." It was
ordered that Benicia should be the seat of justice.

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

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

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



THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 29

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

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



30 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.

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

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

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

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

MONTEZUMA TOWNSHIP.

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



THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 31

SUISUN TOWNSHIP.

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

GREEN VALLEY TOWNSHIP.

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

VACAVILLE TOWNSHIP.

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



32 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.

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

BENICIA TOWNSHIP.

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

VALLEJO TOWNSHIP.

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

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



THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 33

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

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

3



34 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.

TREMONT TOWNSHIP,

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

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

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

COUNTY SEAT CONVENTION.

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

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

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

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

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



THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 35

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

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

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

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

" Upon motion, report received and committee discharged.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



36 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.

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

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

"Upon motion, the convention adjourned sine die.

H. G. Davidson, President.

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

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

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

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

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

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



THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 37

when the following locations for the county seat were put forth for candi-