J. P Munro-Fraser.

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

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a few persons living in and around old Silveyville desiring to worship God
according to Methodistic belief and forms, organized themselves under the
direction of Rev. J. W. Leach into a methodist class, which numbered
twelve persons, viz.: J. W. Leach, preacher in charge; John A. Leach, Marian
Leach, Ellen Proxil, Emily West, Charles West, Charles K. Seeley, Solena
Seeley, John J. Reed, Joseph Reed, E. B. Reed and Wm. Reed. At the close
of the year, these twelve had increased to upwards of thirty souls. They
held their meetings in a school house about one mile and a quarter north of
Silveyville. This was the rise of methodism in this place and its increase



THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 285

for the first year. From 1859 to 1863, the society was without any regu-
larly appointed minister, and it was with difficulty it maintained its exist-
ence ; only two persons, namely, Charles and Emily West are left from the
original twelve ; during this period of struggling without a pastor. They
worshipped in a hall over a saloon in Silveyville and were strengthened from
time to time by the labors of Rev. Father White and Rev. Henry Howlit.
In 1863, J. W. Murphy was appointed to the work. He found the small
band badly scattered, but, by indifatigable effort, made quite an increase in
the society. He was a man of robust constitution, fiery disposition, radical
in views, plain spoken — a man for the times. He was succeeded in 1865 by
Rev. A. P. Hendon, who was regularly appointed to the work.
A. P. Hendon reorganized, gathered in others of like faith and entered
upon the field with renewed vigor. The result was success ; methodism
became a settled fact in this place during his pastorate. In 1866, under his
management, a fine church edifice was erected in Silveyville, at a cost of four
thousand three hundred dollars. A. P. Hendon was a young man of rare
qualities, tall, slim and gaunt, rather eccentric, positive and thoroughly de-
voted to his work. He was followed by Dr. Morrow, who, by his personal
character and pastoral qualifications, endeared himself to the hearts of all.
The work under him , flourished and, at the close of his two years' labor,
there were ninety-eight persons connected with the church. The' following-
year the circuit was divided, W. S. Corwin was stationed at Silveyville and
S. L. Hamilton appointed to Binghamton ; little is known of the growth or
struggles of the society this year, save that there was some increase in the
work. Geo. Larkin succeeded W. S. Corwin in 1869. Bro. Larkin, owing
to difficulties that arose in the church, did not finish the year. S. L. Ham-
ilton, of Binghamton, filled the pulpit of Silveyville the last part of the year.
In 1870, Bro. G. R. Belknap was appointed to Silveyville and I. B. Fish to
Binghamton. The M. E. Church was moved by Bro. Belknap from Silvey-
ville to Dixon, a flourishing town on the Central Pacific Railroad, three
miles southeast of Silveyville, where it now stands. In 1871, the two parts
of the work that had been divided were again united, and J. M. Hinmin
was appointed to take charge. He labored for one year and left only forty-
six on the entire work in full fellowship. He was succeeded by J. H.
Peters in 1872. There was an increase during this year of twenty-nine. J.
H. Peters remained on the work for three years, doing faithful service and
building up the society in all its departments, at the close of his pastorate
he reports seventy-seven members in full connection. Arnold was appointed
his successor in September, 1875. Bro. Arnold, on account of ill health,
retired before the close of the year and S. Snidery sent to complete the
year. W. T. Mayne was placed over the circuit in 1876, and built an addi-
tion to the parsonage with $1,000. The work proving too hard for him, at
the close of the year the circuit was again divided and T. H. Woodward



286 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.

was appointed to Binghamton in connection with Rio Vista ; during this
year the M. E. Church South was organized out of the M. E. Church,
Dixon, which drew heavily upon the original society. The following year
the two fractions of the work were again united and T. H. Woodward was
appointed to take charge of the entire held. The work looked discourag-
ing, but a sweeping revival broke out during this year, Rev. J. W. Ross was
present holding meetings day and night for three weeks ; again the society
sprang to its feet and persons were added daily to the church. The society
at the present numbers about 100, and owns about seven thousand dollars
worth of property in Dixon. Sabbath school was organized in 1863 and
now numbers about seventy. Alex. McPherson is the present Superintend-
ent ; Trustees : Judge Merryfield, J. M. Dudley, N. Earns, E. L. Mann, J. M.
Bell, D. S. Stuart and W. R. Ferguerson.

Dixson Baptist Church. — This church was organized at Pleasant Retreat
school house, Vaca Valley, Solano county, October 19, 1856. Its constituent
members were : Rev. Daniel King, Rev. Joseph Roberts, William G. Fore,
Thomas C. Maupin, H. E. McCune, Lewis Huchinson, Sidney C. Walker,
Mrs. E. Roberts, Mrs. Susan King, Mrs. H. M. Fore, Mrs. A. R. Maupin, Mrs.
M. J. Walker, Mrs. Sarah J. Williams, Mrs. Barbara B. McCune. Rev. J.
Roberts preached a sermon from I Peter, 2, 4, 5. "To ivhom coming, as
unto a living stone, disallotved indeed of men, but chosen of God and prec-
ious. Ye also as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priest-
hood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
The text seemed a truly prophetic one, and, together with the earnest ser-
mon, was attended by the Divine blessing to the little band of humble be-
lievers, which, like a river of life, clear as crystal, has never ceased to flow,
The church had the ministerial labors of Revs. Roberts and King, until June.
1857, when the latter was chosen pastor, in which relation he was held with
much love and esteem until the time of his death, which occurred at Dixon,
October 3, 1877. This venerable servant of God was thus the leader of this
church for more than twenty years, and was an example to them in faith,
in perseverence, in well-doing, in sacrificing for Christ and his cause. In
the organization Lewis Huchinson was chosen Secretary and Sidney Walker
Deacon.

The school house was used as a meeting house until January, 1860, when
the Hall of the Academy in Vacaville, the property of Rev. Mr. Anderson,
was obtained as a meeting place for one Saturday and Sunday in each month,
for the sum of fifty dollars per year. The church held its meetings there
until March 1861, then moved to the Dry Slough school house, which then
stood near the present Batavia. In this place, regular monthly meetings were
held. At the meeting of the church, held April, 1861, a report of a com-
mittee, consisting of H. E. McCune and T. S. Bayley, of the Baptist Church
and Rev. Mr. Fairbairn and Mr. G. B. Stevenson, Esq., of the Presbyterian



THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 287

Church, 0. S., together with one outside party, whose name we do not find,
submitted a report, consisting of a written agreement to build a meeting
house at Silveyville, to be owned and used jointly by the two denominations.
This report was adopted by both churches, and work of building went on.
This house was dedicated on the third Sunday in November, 1861, Rev. Dr.
Peck, of the Presbyterian Church, and Rev. D. King, of the Baptist Church
officiating. These denominations held this property in partnership, with
great harmony, until May, 1868, when the Baptists bought the half interest
of the Presbyterians, and became sole proprietors of the property. This was
the home of the Baptist Church, where their labors were greatly blessed,
until October, 1876, when the church dedicated its brick building at the
town of Dixon, where it still holds its meetings.

The Rev. Daniel King, being much of the time of his long pastorate of
this church enfeebled by sickness, and more latterly by age, the church, by
his request, employed the following ministers as assistants to the pastor: In
January, 1860, Rev. Orin Critenden was employed, who served with great
zeal and efficiency until April, 1863. Then the Rev. J. E. Barnes was em-
ployed for one-half of his time, until May, 1868, and then they employed
all his time, until January 8th, 1871. From then until June 1st, 1872, Rev.
D. King labored alone as pulpit supply, and then Rev. John T. Prior, of
Georgia, was called as an assistant to the pastor, and continued for one year.
In November, 1872, Rev. J. L. Blitch began to preach to the church as an
assistant to the pastor, and continued as such until the death of Rev. D.
King, which, as above stated, was October 3d, 1877. Then he was chosen
pastor of the church, and continued to serve as such until July, 1878. The
church then, through their committee on pulpit supply, engaged the services
of Rev. 0. C. Wheeler, Rev. C. A. Bateman, Rev. C. C. Bateman, Rev. C. A.
Buck bee, Rev. John Frances, Rev. C. W. Hughes and Rev. James E. Barnes.
The last named began to supply the pulpit on September 7th, 1878, and lias
continued to do so, and is still doing so at the present writing.

Including the constituent members, this church has had connected with
it 249 members, and now has a membership of 106. They have a church
property worth about $12,000.

Newspapers — Dixon Tribune: — The "Tribune" made its appearance at
Dixon on the 14th day of November, 1874. R. D. Hopkins editor, and R.
D. Hopkins & Co. publishers. About one year after it was started Hopkins
became sole proprietor, and continued its publication until April 1, 1877,
when it went under the present management of Alfred B. Nye. The
"Tribune" was started as a neutral paper in politics. In 1875 it was Demo-
cratic. Under the management of Mr. Nye the paper is independent and
non-partisan. Size, 24x36 inches. It is a weekly, and has a circulation of
about 600 copies.



288 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.



SUISUN.



Suisun Township is bounded on the north by those of Elmira, Vacaville
and Napa county ; on the west by the townships of Green Valley and
Benicia ; on the south by Suisun bay, and on the east by Montezuma, Den-
verton, and Maine Prairie townships. It is the largest in the county, and
was originally one of the two first divisions into which Solano was parti-
tioned. Included in it are the following islands, which form a portion of
the delta of the Sacramento river, which debouches into the bay above
named : Joice, Grisley, Hammond, Wheeler, Gray. Rich, Long Point, Rowe,
Chips, and two smaller ones not named. The present limits of the town-
ship were settled on June 27, 1866, and took its name from the Suisun
Indians, who were the lords of the soil when the settlement of the district
was commenced. Suisun has an area of 110,000 acres, 10,000 of which are
water, its general characteristics being a large level plain of some six miles
square in extent, which opens out on the east into the vast valley of the
Sacramento. The Potrero hills occupy about twelve sections of this ex-
panse, and are surrounded on either side by swamp and overflowed lands,
except a narrow neck of low valley on the north side. The higher ridges
are two hundred feet in height, and recede in elevation as they approach the
border of level land adjoining the tule swamps. It is also well watered,
the principal stream within its limits being the Suisun creek, which has its
rise in the adjoining county of Napa, thence flowing in a south-easterly
direction, empties into the Salt marsh, nearly a mile and a half east of
Bridgeport. Its springs, marble and other quarries are also famous ; it
will, however, be unnecessary here to dwell upon them, as an exhaustive
description thereof will be found on page 91 and the following, of this
work.

Early Settlemerd. — As has been previously remarked, the Suisun Indians
were the original occupiers of this fertile domain, while Rockville, a small
town at the foot of the valley would appear to have been their head-
quarters ; at any ra u e, in 1850, they moved their lares et penates from there
to Napa county. It has been shown in our chapter on Mexican grants that
in January, 1837, Francisco Solano, the chief of this tribe, applied for a
grant of the land which he claimed belonged to him by right of primo-
geniture, which was finally made to him in January, 1842. The applica-
tion of Solano was, in 1839, followed by one from Jose Francisco Armijo, a
Mexican by birth, requesting that the lands known as Tolenas should be



\






THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 289

ceded to him, which was done in March, 1840. It was subsequently decreed
by the Supreme Court of California that owing to the non-approval of the
Departmental Assembly of the cessions, the grants were informal: there-
fore, in 1849, the title to the land held by Solano was acquired by General
Vallejo by purchase, while that of Armijo, upon the death of the elder, by
his son Antonio, in the same manner. In 1846, we hear of one Jesus
Molino, an Indian, having certain ground under cultivation at or near
Rockville, while in the spring of 1847 Daniel M. Berry with his family
settled in the valley and pitched his tent on land now farmed by Joseph
Blake. He was in the spring of 1849 followed by Landy Alford, who located
on the site of the farm of Lewis Pierce, and Nathan Barbour, who had crossed
the plains with him, but had gone to Sonoma and thence to Benicia, but so
few were the people that in 1847, when Captain Von Pfister made his jour-
ney to Sacramento, then Sutter's Fort, there were only three houses within
what was then Suisun township, namely, the adobes of Molino at Rockville,
Berry's residence and the Armijo rancho. In December, 1850, there also came
to the valley J. H. Bauman, a German, who. camped on arrival at or near the
farm now owned by Mr. Bucher, afterwards moving to various places as a
sheep herder until 1853, when he settled in the Montezuma hills. He is now a
resident of this valley. In this year Robert Waterman, an old sea-captain,
of thirty years' standing, also arrived from New York City. He now oc-
cupies a beautiful farm a few miles to the northwest of Fairfield. In 1851,
E. F. Gillespie (deceased), a native of Watertown, N. Y., came to the upper
end of the valley. There also permanently located in this year on what was
called the Island, now the site of Suisun City, Captain Josiah Wing, who
had during the previous summer commenced running boats up the creek to
the embarcadero. In October, 1851. there also arrived James G. Edwards
who settled on the farm of John McMullen. Colonel D. D. Reeves came to
the township on November 14, 1852, and built a blacksmith shop on the
farm occupied by Mr. Ledgewood, where he worked at his trade until 1857,
when he moved into Suisun city, and in conjunction with his brother Co
P. Reeves, erected some of the largest and most substantial brick buildings
in the town. In this year there arrived also J. B. Lemon, the present
County Treasurer, and Allen C. Miller, and last, though by no means least
among the early settlers who had helped to subdue this valley to fertile
grain fields, establish manufactories and well conducted business enterprises,
are the names of John M. Jones, Under Sheriff, who settled in 1853, Asa
Crocker, in 1854, John W. Pearce, in 1856, D. E. and D. M. Stockman, the
former in 1856 and the latter arriving in 1858, when there also located
J. Frank and Moses Dinkelspiel. In 1857 there came William J. Costigan.
In 1860 R. D. Robbins arrived; P. J. Christler in 1862, while among the
first settlers were J. B. Hoyt and E. P. Hilborn ; we have been, however,
unable to glean the precise date of their arrival. -
19



290 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.

Suisun City. — This city stands on an island in the midst of the tule lands
which form a marshy desert lying between the Potrero hills and Benicia.
As far back as the year 1850, Curtis Wilson and Dr. John Baker sailed up
the Suisun creek in an open boat, and landed on the present site of the
city. To them is due the honor of its discovery. They did not, however,
remain long enough to give them the rights of residents of the place, but it
is supposed left in search of places bearing a more captivating impress.
Mention has been made of Captain Josiah Wing having been engaged in
the running of schooners, or other craft, to this island in the summer of
1850 and of his settlement on it in 1851. In this year he built the first
building erected on the present site of the city, it being a warehouse, on the
place now occupied by the livery-stables of George W. Hall, on the east
side of the Plaza, situated opposite the Post-office. In the summer of this
year the first store was opened by John W. Owens and A. W. Hall, while
in the following years others came and commenced building up the city of
Suisun. In the year 1868 a petition signed by the residents of the now
flourishing country town was handed to the Board of Supervisors of the
county, requesting that steps might be taken whereby Suisun should re-
ceive the rights and privileges of a city, which prayer was granted on
October 9th of that year, when she developed into an incorporated city.

Suisun, as it is to-day, is a flourishing little town of about 1,800 inhab-
itants. Its streets are, as a rule, well filled with people, while its stores
of which there are some very handsome ones, appear to have a fair share of
business. It is connected with Fairfield, the county seat, by a plank walk
of nearly a mile in length, there being situated half way between the rival
towns the California Pacific Railroad depot, under the charge of J. C.
Maxwell.

Fairfield. — This little town is the county seat of Solano, it having at-
tained to that proud distinction by a vote of the people canvassed on Septem-
ber 2, 1858, when it was declared to be the choice of the voters by a major-
ity of 404 over Benicia. This selection of Fairfield was made, in the first
place, on account of its central position, and secondly on account of the gift
to the county by Captain R. H. Waterman of certain lands, should the
county seat be legally located there. The town site was surveyed by Capt.
Waterman and A. E. Ritchie, and the plat filed for record on May 16, 1859,
and the new County Capital named in honor of the birthplace of the
Captain in Connecticut. The first residence erected on it was that of J. B.
Lemon, the premises being those now occupied by him. Fairfield is a pretty
little town of considerable promise, and possessing, as it does, the county
buildings, there is considerable bustle to be observed during the sessions
of the different Courts. Its houses, for the most part, are enclosed by neat
fences and well kept gardens, vineyards and orchards, while the streets are
wide, though not much worn by traffic.



THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 291

Court House and Jail. — On September 13, 1858, the Board of Supervisors
met and canvassed the votes of the general election for that year, and,
among other things, it was declared that Fairfield had been selected as
the county seat, and also a new Board of Supervisors were elected, viz : J.
G. Gardner, D. B. Holman, and E. F. Gillespie. The new Board met and
organized on the 2nd day of November following.

The county records having been moved from Benicia, and a temporary
Court House built and certain buildings rented from Waterman and Wil-
liamson, for the temporary use of the county officers, on November 18,
1858, the following order was entered in the minutes of the Board : " Or-
dered by the Board of Supervisors that specifications of a plan for the
Court House and jail, for Solano county, be advertised for in the Solano
County Herald for the term of two weeks, and that the amount of fifty
dollars be allowed to the architect whose plans shall be received and
approved by the Board. Said specifications to be handed in on or before
the 5th day of December, A. D. 1858. Said jail to be 35 feet square ; the
Court House to be 40x50 feet, to contain rooms for the county officers and
jury rooms."

On January 21, 1859, the Board of Supervisors passed an order requesting
" our Senator and Assemblyman " to pass an act authorizing the Board of
Supervisors to levy a special tax, for the term of two years, of fifty cents
upon each one hundred dollars, upon the assessed value of property of said
county, for county purposes ; for the purpose of building Court House and
jail for said county. On the following day the plans and specifications,
submitted by James H. White for a Court House and jail for Solano county,
were accepted and approved.

On February 9, 1859, the vote adopting the plans and specifications
submitted by James H. White was reconsidered, and the plans and specifi-
cations submitted by George Bordwell were accepted and adopted February
10, 1859. Ordered that sealed proposals be received for building the Court
House and jail, according to the plans and specifications of George Bordwell,
adopted by the Board, up to the 14th day of March, 1859, and that the
same be advertised by the Clerk in the Solano Coibnty Herald for thirty
days ; and it is further ordered that George Bordwell be appointed architect
to superintend the erection of said buildings. March 14, 1859, they met to
open the proposals received, and award the contract for building the pro-
posed Court House and jail. Bids were received as follows : From William
B. Carr, $28,400; A. Barrows, $38,500 ; George W. Cord, $28,200; E. M.
Benjamin and N. Smith, $27,200 ; C. Murphy, T. Collins, and J. J. Doyle,
$31,200 ; Samuel T. Carlisle, $37,745; J. J. Denny, $31,000 ; John B. Sanford,
$27,350 ; William McCarty, $29,500 ; Charles B. Tool, $34,300 ; Larkin
Richardson, $24,440. The bid of Larkin Richardson being the lowest, the
contract was duly awarded to him, upon his filing a bond in the sum of



292 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.

$48,880, being twice the amount of his bid, the conditions being that the
buildings were to be completed according to the plans and specifications —
the jail by September 1, 1859, and the Court House by September 1, 1860.
Subsequently an order was made that the Court House should be built on
Union Square so as to front on Union street, and to run 40 feet back to the
centre of the square east and west, and that the jail be located on a line
with the Court House, eastward, half way of the block ; and it was further
ordered that the County Surveyor run the necessary lines.

And it was also ordered that the architect superintending should be
allowed seven per cent upon the contract price ($24,440) for his services.
The percentage was afterwads changed to eight per cent.

It appears that an Act was passed by the Legislature in accordance with
the request of the Board of Supervisors, for on April 11, 1859, the Board
ordered that a tax of fifty cents, upon each hundred dollars of the taxable
property of the county, be levied and assessed for the building of the Court
House and jail, in pursuance of the provisions of an Act of the Legislature.

On September 1, 1859, the following appears on the minutes of the Board:
" Whereas, the contract for building a county jail and Court House was
awarded to Larkin Richardson, and the time for the delivery of the same,
completed, has arrived ; be it, therefore, resolved, that the said Richardson
be and he is hereby required to deliver to the county the said jail, finished
according to his contract, and upon his failing to do so, to be held respon-
sible for all damages ; and that he be furnished with a copy of this
resolution."

November 10, 1859, the following order is entered upon the minutes :
" Ordered that the public building known as the jail in Fairfield be now
received from the contractor, Larkin Richardson ; the Board reserving the
right to claim damages, and Richardson reserving the right to subsequently
present his bill for extra work."

And it was, thereupon, ordered that the prisoners (which had heretofore
been confined in the jail of Contra Costa county) be removed to the Fair-
field jail.

On March 12, I860, the contract was let to A. P. Jackson to fit up the
court room and offices in the new Court House for the sum of $1,994.
Jackson's contract was subsequently cancelled, and on April 21, 1860, a new
contract, for fitting up the rooms, was entered into with J. W. Batcheller,
at the sum of $1,963.

On April 21, 1860, the following order was entered : " Ordered by the
Board of Supervisors of Solano county, that the public buildings of said
county, known as the Court House and jail, in Fairfield, be and the same