William Ladd Willis.

History of Sacramento County, California, with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the pres online

. (page 1 of 110)
Online LibraryWilliam Ladd WillisHistory of Sacramento County, California, with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the pres → online text (page 1 of 110)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Gc M. a






3 1833 01067 2639


Sacramento County .



The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified

With Its Growth and Development From the Early

Days to the Present




979. ¥Of
So. t*fi*i







What is termed "history" is made up of several factors, which
sometimes move concurrently and sometimes are divergent. There
are many matters of record, which of course are not disputable, but
in the recital of which the narrative is tinctured by the opinions or
prejudices of the narrator or the historian or of the source of his
information. Tradition and personal recollection play another large
part in history, and things that are accepted for decades and even for
centuries as facts become in the course of time a matter of dispute and
even of rejection. The path of the historian therefore is not one of
roses. If he be wise he will as far as possible submit each statement
to the test of scrutiny and comparison and hold fast to that which he
considers as proven, or if he does not reject it, state that the matter is
not fully authenticated.

Had the writer been far-seeing, when he came to California in
187-1-, he would have jotted down the i:)ersonal recollections and experi-
ences of a large number of the pioneers with whom he became ac-
quainted and who were then in the prime of a vigorous life and with
a vivid recollection of what they had passed through and of the condi-
tions they found prevailing here when they arrived. Some of these
men came as early as 1846 before the discovery of gold, and he has
listened for hours to their tales of adventure and experience, but did
not at that time realize that the lips that recited them would one day
l)e stilled in death and many important matters connected with the
early history of the state would be buried in oblivion. A book em-
bodying these recollections would have been a most fascinating work,
for a glamour always hangs over the history of the days of the Argo-
nauts that seems to grow in interest as time progresses. Many of
these reminiscences were probably tinged with romance, but that
hardly lessened their interest.

In the compilation of this volume the writer has endeavored to
present facts collated by him, without bias or prejudice, and as nearly
authenticated as possible. Perhaps some statements may provoke
criticism from those who hold a different point of view, or who have
received information conflicting with them; and it would be too much
to expect that the book would be entirely free from faults or defects,
but he can truly say that he has done his best with the resources at
his command and sifted the evidence to the best of his ability, and can
only ask the indulgence of the public with regard to his shortcomings.

In the compilatiou of this work, the author has consulted a number
of authorities, and had the valuable assistance of a number of persons
in collecting data. The works of Dr. Morse, Thompson and West, and
Winfield J. Davis have been drawn upon freely, as have those of
other authorities. To Hon. W. A. Anderson he is indebted for the
valuable chapter on "The Bench and Bar," and other reminiscences,
and to E. B. Willis, N. E. White, J. A. Woodson and others for
suggestions and information. In a work of this kind it is impossible
to incorporate all incidents, however interesting to the parties con-
cerned, and where it has not been practicable to secure accurate data,
some things have been omitted, rather than run the risk of incor-
rect statement. He therefore trusts that the public will accept the
work in the spirit in which it was written.

W. L. Willis.


Introditctory 5

Sacramento the Peer of any County in California — Her Part in History of
State Important— A Second Valley of the Nile— Splendid Soil Sprinkled
with Gold Dust — Great Crops Shipped Abroad — Here Began Real History
of California — Hither Came Argonauts of 1S49 — Deer and Antelope Then to
be Seen— Wild Oats Taller Than Man's Head— Sparsely Settled Plains-
Remarkable Transformation Made by Citizens.


Sacramento County 10

Location — Tonnage on River — Fertility of Soil — Growing of Fruit — Soil and
Streams — Necessity of Levees — Water Available for Factories — Raising
of Wheat Superseded by Horticulture — Asparagus and Celery Profitable
on Tule Lands — Old Spanish Grants — Present Property Valuations — The
Capital City a Place of Beauty — Many Attractions for Visitors — Steam and
Electric Railroads Increasing in Number.


Mining 1(5

Discovery of Gold — Early Process of Mining with Shovel and Pick — Latest
Methods of Dredging — ^Shall Dredger Mining be Regulated by State —
Hydraulic Process Opposed by Orchardists — Finally Prohibited by Legis-


Climate ]7

Snow Never Seen Except upon Distant Sierras — Temperature Compared with
Southern Italy and Los Angeles — Cherries Usually Blossom in February
and Ripen in April — Average Rainfall — Sunstroke Unknown — Summer
Evenings Delightful — Oranges Shipped Earlier than in Southern California-
Sacramento Rainfall Monthly, Seasonal and Annual from 1S49 to 1912 —
Sacramento Temperature Average Since 1S7S — Relative Humidity — Per-
centage of Sunstroke — Extreme Temperatures — Extremes of Wind.


Gen. John A. Sutter 30

Early Life — Travels in West — Agreement with Governor Alvarado — Settle-
ment on the American River in 1839 — Proximity to Digger Indians — Declared
a Mexican Citizen in 1841 — Given a Grant to New Helvetia — American Flag
Hoisted in 1846 — ^Kindness to the Immigrants — Heavy Losses by Desertion
of Laborers and by Thefts — Tardy Recognition of His Services by State.


The Fort Restored _ 34

First Effort at Restoration — Public-Spirited Work of General Martlne — Enter-
prise Promoted by Native Sons — Pioneers Also Active in Work — Present
Condition of Fort.


The Discovery of Gold _ 37

Early Explorers Referred to Presence of Gold — Cause of Immigration of
Mormons to West — Settlement on Mormon Island — Gold Mined There —
Other Reports from Explorers — Marshall's Discovery Accidental — His Later
Life — The Results of the Discovery — First White Child Born in California.


City and County Elections , -11

First Election — Officers Chosen — Hardin Biglow the First Mayor — First
Meeting of Council — Success of Biglow in Preventing Disastrous Flood in
1850 — Growth of Business — Report of Assessor — Decline of Valuations —
Sacramento Incorporated February 27, 18S0 — Boundaries Defined— New


Charter Granted 1851 — Date of Elections — Amount of Salaries — Tax for
Support of Free Schools — Consolidation of City and County Government —
Repeal of First Act — Adoption of New Charter — Horace Smith Second Mayor
— Later Elections.


The Squatter Eiot 49

Cause of the Trouble — History of the Affair — Leading Participants in the


First Things 55

First Mail Received in Sacramento — First Directory — First Prison Brig —
First Store at Sutter's Fort — First Census — First Paper — First Banquet —
First Ball— First Railroad — First Agricultural Association — First Frame and
First Brick Houses in Sacramento — First Fire Department — First Street
Cars — First Court House — First Criminal Trial.


The Revolution 61

Conditions Culminating in the Revolution — The Bear Flag Party — Ide's
Proclamation — Making of the First Bear Flag — American Flag Hoisted at

Ix THE Beginning 65

Founding of Suttervllle — Eclipsed by Sacramento — Description of City by

Bayard Taylor — Freighting to the Mines — High Cost of Living — Commis-
sioners Elected — Gaming Prevalent — Influence of Clergymen Beneficial —
Organization of City Government — Burdens of Early Councils — Sufferings of
Penniless Newcomers — Odd Fellows and Masons Prompt to Relieve Desti-
tution — January Flood of 18.50 — Admission of California to the Union — Epi-
demic of Cholera — Disasters Overcome by People.


Political 81

Democratic Convention of 1854 — Dissention and Dispute — Mass Meeting
of Republicans — State Convention of New Party — The Spittoon Convention —
Governor Foote of Mississippi Prominent in Public Life.


County Government — : 87

Organization of County in 1850 — Its Boundaries — Elections — Officers.


City Officers - 97

List of City Officials from 1849 — Mayor Wounded in Squatter Riot — City and
County Consolidated from 1858 to 1862 — City Governed by Board of Trus-
tees (3) from 1863 to 1894 — New Charter Adopted in 1894 — Trustees In-
creased to Nine.


Floods 105

Reclamation of River Lands Costly — Efforts of Aborigines to Provide Safety
from Floods — Overflow of 1850 — Levee Hurriedly Built by Biglow — Flood
of 1852— Optimism of People — Flood of 1853 Less Destructive — Heavy Mis-
fortunes Attending Flood of 1861 — Another Flood Early in 1862 — J and K
Streets Raised for Protection Against Floods — Last Flood of Any Conse-
quence in 1904.


Sacramento County Senators - - - 117

Changes in Districts — John Bidwell Elected Senator in 1849— Republican
Nominee for Governor in 187.5 — Prohibition Nominee for Governor in 1890
and for President in 1892 — Elisha O. Crosby a Senator in 1849 — Henry E.
Robinson a Prominent Pioneer Legislator — Bequeathed Large Sum to the
Poor of San Francisco — Ferguson Senator in 1856-58 — Other Pioneer Legis-


lators — Curtis Senator Three Terms and Assemblyman One Term — Creed
Haymond Senator 18T5-7S— Pioneer Orchardist, Joseph Routier, a Senator in
1883-85— The Popular Judge, Elijah C. Hart, Elected Senator in 1893— Gillis
Doty Elected in 1897— The Pioneer Physician, J. C. McKee, Elected in 1905—
Charles B. Bills Chosen in 1909.


Sacramento County Assemblymen _ 122

Cornwall Elected to Assembly in 1849 — A Pioneer of 1848 in Sacramento-
Assemblyman Henley a Pioneer Banker — McKinstry Later Justice of the
Supreme Court — Assemblyman Bigler Later Elected Governor of California —
Charles Robinson Later Governor of Kansas — Assemblyman J. Neely
Johnson Governor of California in 1855 — Other Influential Men in Assem-
bly — Contested Election of Charles Buncombe — Charles Crocker an Assem-
blyman in 1861 — Stephens a Member in 1869 — Clunie, Member in 1875, After-
ward Congressman — Judge Anderson Assemblyman in 1893 — Recent Repre-
sentation in Assembly.

California State Library

First Steps Toward Library — Gradual Development — Seven Departments — •
Books for the Sightless Sent Throughout the State — County Libraries of
Great Helpfulness.


City Free Library 133

Association Organized in 1857 — Building Erected in 1872— Turned Over to
City — Leading Papers on Pile — Books Increasing in Number — Library Sup-
ported by Public Tax — Residents of Entire County Given Library Privileges —
Librarian Has Management of Institution.


Government Offices 135

Sacramento Postoffice — Facilities Always Less Than Needs — City Deliv-
ery Service — Rural Service — United States Land Otflce — Internal Revenue
Office— United States Weather Bureau Station.


Charitable Institutions 137

Need of Relief for Early Emigrants — First Organized Relief Instituted by
Odd Fellows — Hospital Built in 1850 by Masons and Odd Fellows— Other
Pioneer Hospitals — First Public Hospital — County Physicians — Southern Pa-
cific Hospital — Protestant Orphan Asylum — The Marguerite Home — Other
Hospitals — Mater Misericordiae Hospital — Wentworth-Igo Hospital — White
Hospital — Home of the Merciful Saviour — Howard Benevolent Association —
Catholic Ladles' Relief Society No. 1 — The Young Men's Christian Associa-
tion — Cemeteries.


The Press 147

Monterey Californian First Newspaper of California — California Star Second
Newspaper — Two Papers United in 1848 — Pacific News the Third Newspaper
— Alta California Started in 1849 — Sacramento Transcript Started in 1850 —
First Daily Outside of San Francisco — Consolidated with Placer Times —
Removed to San Francisco — Absorbed into the Alta California — Settlers and
Miners Tribune — Sacramento Index — Sacramento Daily Union — Launched in
1851 — Weekly Started in 1852 — Consolidation of Union and Record — Sunday
Edition Added — Many Expensive Improvements in Union Plant — Democratic
State Journal — Brief Life of a Baptist Paper — California Statesman — Other
Early Sheets — State Tribune Appeared in 1855-56 — Daily Morning Bee Born
February 3, 1857 — Wide Influence of Paper — Many Sheets of Brief Life— Sun-
day Leader First Appeared in 1875 — Occidental Medical Times Started as
Sacramento Medical Times in 1887 — Nord California Herold (German) an
Influential Paper in its Field— Folsom Telegraph an Old and Prominent
Journal — Gait Gazette in Southern End of County — The Sunday News Begun
in 1893 — Now Widely Read and Influential — Tlae Sacramento Star of Modern
Inception and Growing Prosperity.


Educational Matters lfc>5

Schools Have Shown Steady Growth — School in Sacramento in Summer
of 1849— C. T. H. Palmer Taught In August — Rev. J. A. Benton His Suc-
cessor in October — First Public School Opened February 20, 1854 — Attend-
ance Increased Rapidlj — City Schools First Controlled by Assessor —
Accommodations Insufflcient — Colored Schools Apportioned F'unds in 1856 —
Enrollment of One Thousand in All Schools in 18611 — Twelve Hundred Pupils
in 1864 — Fourteen Schools and Fifteen Hundred Pupils in 1866 — School Li-
brary Started in 1867 — Twenty-two Hundred Pupils and Seventeen Schools
by End of 1869— Thirty-four Hundred Pupils Enrolled in 1880- Later
Boards — The High School — The Colored Pupils — Other Items — Sacramento
Business College.


Railroads 182

First Railroad in State — Previous Attempts — Judah the First to Demon-
strate Feasibility of Sierra Nevada Route — Convention Held in 1859 — Judah
Sent to Washington to Promote Railroad Enterprise — More Thorough Sur-
veys with Barometer — Judah Discouraged by San Francisco Capitalists —
Stock Largely Subscribed by Sacramento Citizens — Topographical Features
of the Sierras — Government Assistance to Railroad — Donation by California
— Ability of Originators of Movement — First Train Schedule — Celebration at
Shoveling of First Dirt — Equipment for Road — Difficulties Many — Courage
of Promoters Undaunted — Last Spike Driven — Western Pacific Railroad Com-
pany — Other Important Roads — Enthusiasm on Entrance of California Pacific
in Sacramento — The Sacramento Valley Railroad — Various Railroad Enter-
prises—Southern Pacific Shops— First Shop Erected in 1863— Magnitude of
Present Plant — Electric Roads.


Navigation 201

Sacramento River First Medium of Transportation — Immense Amount of
Traffic on the River — Red Bluff the Head of Navigation — Russians the First
to Navigate the River — Crowning Success with Sailing Vessels in Trip of
the Whiton — Little Sitka the First Steamboat on the River — Voyage of the
Steamer New World — Twenty-eight Steamers on River in 1850 — California
Steam Navigation Company Organized in 1854 — Bought in 1869 by Central
Pacific — Sacramento Wood Company — Sacramento Transportation Com-
pany — California Transportation Company — Farmers Transportation Com-
pany — Explosions Frequent in Early Days — ^Yolo Bridges.


Local Judiclvry and Attorneys _, _ 211

Common Law Established in Sacramento — Alcaldes and Justices of the Peace
— Superior Tribunal and Courts of First Instance — Court of Sessions Created
in 1850 — Early Courts Superseded by Superior Court — Jurists Identified
with County — Deceased Attorneys of County — Attorneys Now Practicing
in Sacramento.


Members of the Har 219

Early Lawyers Eminent in Public Affairs — B. B. Crocker Supreme Court
Justice and Pounder of Crocker Art Gallery — Governor Johnson — Chief Jus-
tice W. H. Beatty — United States Senator Cornelius Cole — Col. E. D. Baker
Killed in Civil War— H. W. Halleck Commander-in-Chief of Union Army-
Col. E. J. C. Kewen Financial Agent for the Noted William Walker — J. C.
Zabriskie the First City Attorney — Frank D. Ryan, A Native Son, One of
Sacramento's Finest Lawyers — The Name of George Cadwalader Prominent
in Supreme Court Reports— Successful Career of A. C. Freeman — Peter H.
Burnett the First Governor of California — The Genius of Albert M. John-
son — Judge Catlin Influential in Securing State Capitol for Sacramento —
Henry Edgerton, Orator, Statesman, Lawyer — Remembered Now by Pew —
Never Attained the Goal of His Ambition — A Pioneer of 1853 — Prosecuting
Attorney of Napa County — Orator at Reception of General Grant — Presi-
dential Elector — State Senator — N. Greene Curtis a Pioneer of 1850 from
Tennessee — True to Union in Civil War, Senator Several Terms — Counsel
in Many Important Cases — James W. Coffroth, Senator from Old Tuolumne —


Fond of Humor— Helpful to Young Lawyers— John H. McKune a Factor in
Constructing Law and Ethics of California — A Pioneer of Sacramento —
Land Commissioner, State Assemblyman, District Judge and Code Commis-
sioner — Newton Booth, Governor of State — Entertained Many Famous
Guests — William A. Anderson — Success Reached by Sterling Qualities of
Mind and Heart — Resident of Sacramento from 1S49 — City Attorney, As-
semblyman and Police Judge.


Fraternal Societies 246

Masons Among Early Trappers in West — Peter Lassen the First Masonic
Missionary — Connecticut No. T.") the First Lodge in Sacramento — Grand Lodge
of California Organized in 1S50 — Present Lodges of City — Chapter, Council,
Commandery and Scottish Rite — Eastern Star — Colored Lodges — Lodges of
Odd Fellows — Encampment, Grand Canton and Sovereign Grand Lodge —
Rebekahs— Knights of Pythias— I. O. R. M.— A. O. U. W.— U. A. O. D.— N. S.
G. W. — K. of H. — 'Y. M. I. — Hebrew Benevolent Association — Sons of Veter-
ans — Other Organizations.


Criminal Records 264

The Fate of Roe — First Lynching In Sacramento — Robbery and Grand Lar-
ceny Punishable with Death in Early Days— Chinaman Hanged for Murder
of His Wife — Other Executions — Unknown Fate of William Wells — Quick
Justice for Murder of Sailor — Killing of OfBcer Scott — Mysterious Murder
of a Rancher on Grand Island — Grocer and Wife Murdered — Escape of
Convicts — A Later Attempt Foiled — A Sicilian Murder.


The Great Railroad Strike, - 279

Disastrous Results of Strike of 1894 — Begun in Pullman Near Chicago-
Extended to Coast — Baggage and Freight and Mail Delayed — Troops Ordered
Out — Incidents of the 4th of July — Troops Camped in Capitol Park on .5th
of July — More Soldiers on the 11th — Train Wrecked and Several Killed —
Revulsion of Feeling — Trial of Wreckers.


The Churches -. - - 291

Grace Episcopal the First Church in Sacramento — Organization and His-
tory — Foreclosure of Mortgage in 1877 — Organization of St. Paul's— Present
Stone Edifice — Other Episcopal Churches — Roman Catholic Organizations —
Majestic Cathedral the Most Spacious Church in California — First Congre-
gational Church — Presbyterian Churches— Methodist Episcopal Activities
Started by "Father" Owen — German Evangelical Lutheran Organized in 1867
—Handsome Edifice of Scientists— Other Denominations and Their Useful
Services to the Community.


Reminiscences - 308

Railroad Building in Early Days — Experiences of James G. Patterson —
Experiences of McConnell as Storekeeper — The Great Ball of 1849 — Refresh-
ments Unique — Interesting Incidents at the Ball.


Township History 317

Township Alabama — American— Brighton — Center — Cosumnes — Dry Creek
— Franklin — Georgiana — Lee — Mississippi — Natoma — San Joaquin — Sutter —
Riverside — Granite — Origin of Local Names — Levees — Funded Debt.


Capital and Capitol..-. 358

Constitutional Convention of 1849 — Election of Senators, Assemblymen and
Two Congressmen in 1849 — First Legislature at San Jose — Gwln and Fremont
First United States Senators — Proclamation of General Riley — Seat of State
Government at San Jose and Then at Vallejo — Removed to Sacramento Jan-
uary 12, 18.52 — Legal Technicalities Involved in Removal of Capital — All Ses-
sions in Sacramento Since 1854 Excepting That of 1862— Later Attempts to


Remove Capital — Building of Capitol — Total of Ten Blocks in Capitol Park —
Most Attractive Grounds of Any Capitol Park — Group of Statuary — Trees and
Shrubbery of Every Kind — Grand Army Plat with Trees from Battlefields of
Civil War — Sacramento's Contribution to the List of Governors.


The Military 364

State Militia Organized in 1850 — Four Divisions and Eight Brigades —
Changed in 1852 to Seven Districts — Six Divisions and Twelve Brigades
Created in 1855 — One Division and Six Brigades in 1862 — Successive Briga-
dier-Generals — Fourth Regiment — Sutter Rifle Corps — Sacramento Guards —
Young Men's Pioneer Guard — Sacramento Cadets — Independent City Guard —
Sacramento Hussars — Otner Companies — Grand Army of the Republic — Span-
ish War Veterans.


Fire Department 373

Organized in 1850— Fires of That Year— Great Fire of 1853-— Catastrophe of
1854 — Loss of Western Hotel in 1875 — Other Fires — First Fire Company in
State — Mutual Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 — Other Volunteer Organiza-
tions — Paid Fire Department — Established 1872 — Three Companies — Chief
Engineers — Services of Guthrie — Stations 4 and 5 — Most Modern Equip-
ment — Exempt Firemen.

Early Business Enterprises. ..._

Business and Professional Men — Every Line of Industry Represented
— Groceries and Provisions — Breweries — Beet Sugar Factory — Broom Fac-
tories — Wagon and Carriage Shops — Foundries — Flouring Mills — Wheat No
Longer the Principal Crop — Land Now Too Valuable for Grain — Export Flour
Trade an Industry of the Past.


Banks and Bankers 38S

Banks of Sacramento Second to None in Stability — National Bank of D. O.
Mills & Co.— Early History of the Bank— Capital Savings Bank— Odd Fellows
Savings Bank — California National Bank — People's Savings Bank — Farmers
and Mechanics Savings Bank — Sacramento Savings Bank One of Oldest in
City — Capital Banking and Trust Co. — Sacramento Valley Bank and Trust
Co. — Fort Sutter National Bank — Banks and Bankers 1851-1871 — Sacra-
mento Clearing House.


Public Utilities 398

First Franchise for Gas Works — City First Lighted With Gas December 17,
1855 — Various Changes in Companies — Advance in Methods of Manufactur-
ing Gas — The Telephone — First Appearance of Sunset Telephone Company —
First Express System of Telephone — Early Rate $6 per Month — Capital Tele-
phone and Telegraph Company — Water Works — First Bonds Issued in 1853 —
Original Plant Soon Too Small for Needs of City — New Works Started in
1872 and Completed in 1873.


The Crocker Art Gallery .- 404

Gathered in Europe at Great Expense — Deeded to City in 1885 — Building
Adequate to House Magnificent Collection — California Artists Represented —
Portraits of Prominent Californians — California Museum Association — First
Exhibition a Social and Financial Success — Appreciation of Mrs. Crocker's

Online LibraryWilliam Ladd WillisHistory of Sacramento County, California, with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the pres → online text (page 1 of 110)