Monday, October 01, 2007

Profile: History of Sacramento & Related Links

Sacramento County History
A Memorial and Biographical History of Northern California - Chicago, Lewis Publ. Co., 1891

Sacramento County is named after the river upon which it is situated, and the latter was named by the Spanish Mexicans, Catholics, in honor of a Christian institution. The word differs from its English correspondent only in the addition of one letter. It would have been a graceful compliment to General Sutter if his own name, or the name New Helvetia, which he had bestowed upon this locality, had been given to the city. Helvetia is the classic name of Switzerland, Sutter's native country.

Sacramento City is 38° 35' north latitude and 121° 30' west longitude from Greenwich.

The depot at Sacramento is thirty-one feet above sea level. From the city the most prominent mountains and mountain ranges visible are:

1. The Sierra Nevada, snow-capped during half the year or a little more. The most visible portion of this range, to whose snow-line the distance is about seventy-five miles eastward, is the head of the American River. The most conspicuous peaks there are: Pyramid, 10,052 feet high; Alpine, 10,426; Round Top, 9,624; Tell, 9,042; Ralston, 9,140.; Robb's, 6,746.

2. To the southwest fifty-three miles, rises Mt. Diablo, 3,450 feet high.

3. Toward the west thirty or forty miles arises an eastern spur of the Coast Range, while toward the northwest about ninety miles, in the same ranges, are Mt. John's, 8,000 feet high, Mt. Snow and Sheet Iron Mount, on the western border of Colusa County.

4. The Marysville Buttes, forty to fifty miles north, are about 2,000 feet high and cover an area of fifty-five square miles.

The surface of the Sacramento Valley presents three distinct features. As the mountains descended into the valley, they are fringed by a range of low foothills; which gradually disappear in a broad; level plain, which must have been at some time long past the bottom of a large body of water. Through the center of this plain runs the Sacramento River, fringed by the low bottom lands always found with such geological formations. Thus the foothills, the plain, and the bottoms present three distinct tracts of land, each with peculiarities fitting it for special use. It may be said in a general way, that on the foothills and the plain lands near them are the great fruit-raising districts, while the plain proper is most suitable for grains and grasses, and on the rich alluvial bottom lands any fruit or vegetable suitable for a temperate or semi-tropical climate will grow to full perfection.

At the southern end of Sacramento Valley, in the very richest portion of the State, and very near its geographical center, lies Sacramento County, with an area of 640,000 acres, 200,000 of which are under the highest cultivation, while about 320,000 more are in use for stock-raising, pasturage, etc. It is watered its entire length from north to south by the Sacramento River, and by the American, Cosumnes and Mokelumne from east to west.

The surface of the county is generally level, a section along the eastern side rising into low hills and rolling prairies. Along the east side of the Sacramento River extends a belt of tule land, which toward the southern boundary of the county expands to a width of fifteen miles. Parallel with the Cosumnes is Dry Creek, forming part of the county boundary. Sycamore and cottonwood abound along the water­courses.

Near the center of Sacramento County, and on the east bank of the Sacramento River, at the point of its confluence with the American, is the city of Sacramento, the capital of the State, a thriving, wealthy and beautiful city. Here is the railroad center of the State. To the east, the Central Pacific stretches its iron arm across the continent. To the north, the California and Oregon reaches out to connect with the Northern Pacific, and so furnish another route to Eastern markets; to the west the California Pacific makes possible almost hourly communication with San Francisco and the commerce of the Pacific Ocean, while the Western Pacific connecting at Oakland with the Southern Pacific system opens up another route to seaports east and west. In addition numerous branch roads and feeders make this city the best connecting and distributing point in the State.

The average rain-fall has been 19.4 inches. This, with the moisture incident to the proximity of so many rivers and running streams, and the almost annual overflow of the bottom lands, renders the county so well watered that but little irrigation is necessary. Still there are some small sections lying comparatively high, and away from the streams, where the natural water supply is insufficient. They are, however, small, and in nearly all cases abundant water is obtained by sinking wells and raising the water by windmills or other power. A total failure of crops for want of water has never been known. Still, as an abundant supply of water renders many things possible which are not so without it, a company has been formed to offer an abundant supply of water to all who desire to irrigate any of the plain lands, in raising crops that need more water than the usual rain-fall affords, or where the availability of water may insure against the danger of injury to valuable plants, which might be seriously affected by even an occasional year of unusual drought. An application has been made for 2,000 inches of water from the American River.

All fruits do well without the aid of artificial watering, but in some of the high-lying sections irrigation is said to increase the lusciousness of the fruit. Vegetables require irrigation, especially for the second and third crops.

As stated, the soil of the county offers every variety requisite for a large and varied production. The foothills and their washings form a fringe, from five to eight miles wide, entirely around the Sacramento Valley. The soil here varies from a red, sandy loam to a cool, gravelly soil, all especially adapted to fruits. For many years the foothill lands were regarded as almost valueless, but experience has shown that their soil is perhaps better adapted to a full development of the best qualities of strength and flavor in fruit, especially in grapes, than the lower-lying lands, which are of more clay or alluvial character, and so warmer soils. And it is now claimed that the question of securing fine flavor for California grapes and wines, as well as abundant quantity, will find its best solution among the cool, gravelly soils of the foothills. The soil of the plain lands varies from red loam and a rich clay to a rich alluvium mixed with sand. This varies in localities, but affords such a variety that the productions of this portion of the county covers a range from those of the cereals of the middle temperate climate to the fruits of the semi-tropical. They afford, however, mostly soil for grains and grasses. Wheat, oats, hay, alfalfa, barley, corn, hop, besides grapes and fruits, flourish when planted in suitable locations. But the richest lands are the bottom lands, which fringe the rivers and larger streams for a distance of from one to three miles. These are covered with a deep, rich alluvium, upon which may be raised any kind of vegetables, and temperate and semi-tropical fruits are reaching full perfection in size, quantity and quality. These lands are almost annually overflowed, and the deposit left by the receding waters is said almost to equal guano, in its fertilizing effects. Many of these lands are now protected, so that the rising waters may be controlled and utilized with judgment. Upon such lands, so watered, and in such a climate, almost anything will grow.

Owing to the fact that the country is traversed by so many rivers, it contains an unusual amount of this exceedingly rich land, which is nearly all under the highest cultivation.


The productions of Sacramento County comprise all the grains, vegetables, fruits, trees and flowers grown in the temperate and semi-tropical climates. Everything in the way of grain, bread-stuffs, vegetables, and fruits needed for man's comfort and support may be successfully cultivated here The soil is rich and varied, water is abundant, and the climate is propitious. Here is no winter, in the common acceptation of the word, nor any rainy season as it is understood in the tropics. The winter months are called the "rainy season," not that it then rains incessantly or severely, but because the rainfall comes almost exclusively in those months. In the summer it rarely rains. The grain is seldom housed when harvested, but is left in the fields until ready for the market, the husband­man feeling little fear of trouble from the elements.


Perhaps no feature of California has been more powerful in inducing immigration than its mild and equable climate. The north Atlantic States have their cold, damp east winds, which blow from the ocean at times for days in succession, and whose power of penetration is such that neither woolen underwear nor rubber top­coats seem able to keep them from "searching the marrow of one's bones." The borders of the Great Lakes are visited with winds so cold and so charged with moisture that they clothe all nature in coats of ice, and often jeopardize the lives of the domestic animals. On the northern shores of the lakes, the jingling sleigh-bells for fully five months in the year strive by their merry music to direct attention from the chill of death that lies over the land, and from these section thousands longingly turn their faces from the cold and ice to the sunny land where each may sit in the shade of his own vine and fig tree.

In this regard Sacramento County offers temptations that are not exceeded in attractiveness by those of any portion of the State. The following data, culled from the published reports of the United States Government observers will give a fair idea of the charming climate, which has enabled the city of Sacramento to win for itself the delightfully suggestive sobriquet of the "City of Roses."

During the ten years 1878–'88, the highest temperature recorded is 105°, which was reached once, and the lowest is 21°, also reached but once. A better idea of the range of temperature may be had from the fact that during the, same period the average number of days in each year upon which the thermometer reached 90° was but thirty-six, while the average number upon which it sank below 32° was but eleven. With no severity in winter, the warmth of summer is rendered enjoyable by the winds from the sea, which reach this region of the country modified and tempered, so that with scarcely an exception the warmth of a light blanket is desirable at night. Here the heat has never the oppressive and enervating effect which renders summer so depressing in some sections. The atmosphere is never over-charged with moisture, and never entirely dry; so the open air is always invigorating and the breezes refreshing. The long, mild, summer day renders the cultivation of the lands easy and profitable, while the cool nights so refresh the workman that he is not enervated, but all mental and physical force is strengthened, and life is vigorous and enjoyable. It is usual to compare such climates with that of Italy, so famous as the resort during past centuries for those seeking the relief and pleasure found beneath her skies. So it may not be out of place to simply state a comparison between Rome, the capital and center of Italy, and Sacramento, the capital and center of California. The statistics from official sources on either hand are stated below. Averages for past ten years:

Spring. Sum'r. Autumn. Winter. Year

Sacramento 59.5 71.7 61.5 48.3 59.5

Rome 57.6 72.2 64.0 48.9 60.7

In the face of these facts, the claim must not longer be made for fair Italy alone, that it is a land where "perpetual summer exists, skies are blue, and the sun ever shines."

As to the healthfulness of Sacramento, Judge J. W. Armstrong has ascertained that but one other city in the world shows a cleaner bill of health, and that is the capital of the Basque Province, in the northern part of Spain.


In the early days of mining a great deal of gold dust was taken from the placers in this county—Mormon Island, Michigan Bar and several other localities having afforded good diggings of this kind. In the low hills on the east a considerable extent of shallow placers have also been worked, some of these until quite recently.

The most of the gold now produced in Sacramento is taken out in the vicinity of Folsom, chiefly along Alder Gulch, by the Portuguese and Chinamen. The deep deposits are worked by shafts and drifting, the shallow by hand sluicing in the dry season and ground sluicing in the wet, when there is free water. There are gold-bearing quartz veins in the east-lying hills, but they are mostly small, and have been but little worked. In these hills occurs a belt of serpentine containing chromic iron in small bunches and pockets.

In the neighborhood of Folsom occurs an extensive bed of excellent granite, which for many years has been largely worked.

At the quarry of David Blower, two miles east of Folsom, opened ten years ago, there is exposed a thirty-foot face, twenty feet above and ten below the surface. About fifteen tons of roughly dressed stone are shipped from this quarry weekly, the most of it being used for cemetery work and street curbs. Thirteen men are employed here at wages ranging from $2.50 to $4 per day.

In the quarry on the State Prison grounds at Folsom, a large force of convicts are employed getting out stone for the dam being built by the State on the American River.

Most of the cobblestones used for paving the streets of San Francisco were taken from the banks of the American River, in the vicinity of Folsom.

At Michigan Bar, on the Cosumnes River, occurs an extensive bed of potter's clay. Being a good article, and easily obtained, large quantities of this clay are taken out and shipped to the potteries at Sacramento, San Francisco, and elsewhere in the State. Great quantities of brick are made from the more common clays found abundantly in this county.


within the present limits of Sacramento County were: Cosumnes, 26,605 acres, patented to the heirs of W. E. P. Hartnell in 1869; Omochumnes, 18,662 acres to Catherine Sheldon and others in 1870; Rio de los Americanos, 25,521 acres to J. L. Folsom in 1864; San Juan, 19,983 acres, to Hiram Grimes in 1860. In Sacramento and San Joaquin counties, Jabjon de los Moquelumnes, 35,508 acres, to the heirs of A. Chavolla in 1865.

In February, 1858, Edwin Stanton was sent to San Francisco as special counsel for the Government in pending law cases. Captain Sutter claimed thirty-three leagues of land in the Sacramento Valley, under two grants; one for eleven leagues made by Governor Alvarado in 1841, which was adjudged legitimate; but the other, which he had obtained from Micheltorena, for twenty-two leagues, covering the sites of Sacramento and Marysville, was not allowed, the commissioners deciding that the act was done after Micheltorena had been expelled by a revolution, and not being governor he continued to exercise the powers and functions of that office. This decision also affected the titles of several other grantees in this region. Nye's claim to four leagues on Sacramento was one of these. Great uneasiness prevailed among the settlers regarding the titles until 1865, when Sutter's original grant of eleven leagues was confirmed.


The first permanent settler within the limits of what is now Sacramento County, who is known to history, and who initiated European civilization, was Captain John A. Sutter. The following sketch of his life we condense from a lecture delivered in New York, April 6, 1866, by General Dunbar in Sutter's presence, and published in the Sacramento Union, of May 10 following:

Sutter was born of Swiss parents, in the Grand Duchy of Baden, February 28, 1803. Reared and educated in Baden, young Sutter entered the military service of France as Captain under Charles X., and remained there until he was thirty years of age. At this period, yielding to his pioneer impulses, he embarked for New York, and arrived there in July, 1834. His object in coming to the New World was to select a place and prepare the way for a colony of his countrymen in the West. He first located at St. Charles, Missouri; but the vessel containing his effects was sunk, his property lost, and he abandoned the place of his first choice.

After sojourning in St. Louis for a time, he made a journey of exploration to New Mexico, where he met hunters and trappers, who had traversed Upper California, and they described to him the beautiful sun-lit valleys, the verdure-covered hills and the magnificent mountains of that remarkable land. These accounts resolved him to make California the field of his future operations.

The only way of reaching the Pacific Coast at that time was to accompany trapping expeditions of the English and American fur companies. On the 1st of April, 1836, Sutter joined Captain Tripp of the American Fur Company, and traveled with his party to their rendezvous in the Rocky Mountain region. Thence, with six horsemen, he crossed the mountains and after encountering many dangers, arrived at Fort Vancouver. Not finding it practicable to go south from Vancouver by land, he embarked on a vessel bound for the Sandwich Islands, hoping to find an opportunity of sailing thence to the California coast. He sailed from the Islands in a vessel bound for Sitka, and from there down the coast. The vessel was driven by gales into the Bay of San Francisco on July 2, 1839. (The point at which San Francisco now stands was then called Yerba Buena.) The vessel was boarded by a government officer, with an armed force, who ordered Sutter to leave, saying that Monterey, ninety miles southward, was the port of entry. Permission, however, was obtained to remain forty-eight hours for supplies.

On reaching Monterey, Sutter told the Governor, General Alvarado, that he desired to occupy and colonize a section of country in Upper California, on the Sacramento River. The governor warmly approved his plan, as he was desirous that the upper country should be subdued and settled. He informed Sutter that the Indians in that country were hostile, that they would not permit the whites to settle there, and that they had robbed the inhabitants of San Jose and the lower settlements of their cattle, etc; but he readily gave Sutter a passport with authority to explore and occupy any territory which he should consider profitable for his colony, and requested him to return in one year, when he should have his citizenship acknowledged and receive a grant of such lands as he might desire.

Sutter returned to Yerba Buena, then containing scarcely fifty inhabitants, engaged a schooner and several small boats and with a company of ten whites started to ascend the river with no guide, as no one could be found in Yerba Buena, who had ever ascended the Sacramento River. After eight days' search he found the mouth of the Sacramento. Reaching a point about ten miles below the present site of Sacramento City, he encountered a party of 200 Indian warriors, who exhibited every indication of hostility. Fortunately, two or three of the Indians understood Spanish and Sutter soon soothed them by an assurance that there were no Spaniards in his party,—against whom the Indians were particularly hostile,—and explained to them that he came only to be a peaceable citizen.

Guided by two Indians, who could speak Spanish, Sutter made his way up the Sacramento to the Feather River, and ascended the latter stream some distance; but, on account of the alarm of some of his men, returned down the Sacramento River to the mouth of the American, and on August 16, 1839, landed his effects upon the south bank of that stream, a little above the mouth and near where the city of Sacramento is now located. Here he informed the disappointed whites that they might leave him if they wished, but that the Kanakas were willing to remain. Three of the whites left, with the schooner, for Yerba Buena.

Three weeks later Sutter removed to where he built the fort which has since become famous. But little did he think then that he was to be the most important instrumentality in the founding of a magnificent empire. His companions were six wandering whites of various nativities and eight Kanakas, who were ever faithful to him, and who constituted his "colony" and his army. By their aid he was to hold his ground, subdue and colonize a district of country entirely unknown, and inhabited only by wild and roving tribes of hostile Indians. This portion of Upper California, though fair to look upon, was peculiarly solitary and uninviting. It was isolated and remote from civilization. The nearest white settlement was a small one at Martinez. The Indians were of that class known as "Diggers."

Born and reared in the atmosphere of royalty and the refined society of Europe, with a liberal military education, gentle and polished in manners, and of unbounded generosity of heart, we find Sutter successfully planting his little colony in the midst of the wild Digger Indians of the Sacramento country. At length a few pioneers came stealing over the border, then the solid tramp of masses was heard, and then came a human deluge, that overwhelmed our bold Swiss pioneer.

The first tide of immigration was entirely from Oregon. In the fall of 1839 there was an accession of eight white men, and in August, 1840, five of those who had crossed the Rocky Mountains with Sutter, and whom he had left in Oregon, joined him. During the fall of that year the Mokelumme Indians, with other tribes, became so troublesome that open war was made against them; and after a severe but short campaign they were subdued, and an enduring peace established. Other bands of Indians organized secret expeditions to destroy the colony, but by force and strict vigilance their machinations were defeated, and Sutter conquered the entire Sacramento Valley, bringing into willing subjection many of those who had been his fiercest enemies. In time he made them cultivate the soil, build his fort, care for the stock, and make themselves generally useful. In the subsequent military history of California, Sutter and his Indians were a power. Traffic increased apace. He sent hides to San Francisco, furnished the trappers with supplies, and received in exchange or by purchase their furs. The mechanics and laborers who came he employed, or procured them work.

In June, 1841, Sutter visited Monterey, then the capital of the country, was declared a Mexican citizen, and received from Governor Alvarado a grant of the land upon which he had located—eleven " leagues "—under the title of "New Helvetia." The Governor also gave him a commission. Returning to his colony, he was shortly afterward visited by Captain Ringgold, of the United States Exploring Expedition under Commodore Wilkes, with officers and men. About the same time Alexander Kotchkoff, Governor of the Russian Possessions in California, visited Sutter and offered to sell him all the possessions of his government known as Ross and Bodega. Accepting the bargain, Sutter came into possession of a vast extent of real estate, besides 2,000 cattle, 1,000 horses, fifty mules and 2,500 sheep, most of which were transferred to New Helvetia.

In 1844 Sutter's improvements were extensive, and the amount of his stock was large. During that year he petitioned Governor Micheltorena for the grant or purchase of the surplus over the first eleven leagues of land within the bounds of the survey accompanying the Alvarado grant, and this petition was granted February 5, 1845, in consideration of Sutter's valuable services and his expenditure of $8,000 in the suppression of the Castro rebellion.

About 1844 small bodies of emigrants began to find their way to California direct from the States, striking Sutter's Fort, the first settlement after crossing the mountains. Year by year these parties of immigrants increased in size, until after the gold discovery, when they could be counted by thousands and tens of thousands. It was then that the value of Sutter's settlement and the generous qualities of the man became strikingly apparent. No weary, destitute immigrant reached his fort who was not supplied with all that he needed and sent on his way rejoicing. Frequently he even sent supplies in advance to those coming through the Sierras. Year after year he did this, without thinking of any return. On one occasion a solitary immigrant was just able to reach the fort and reported that his companions were at some distance back dying of starvation. Sutter immediately caused seven mules to be packed with supplies, and, attended by two Indian boys, started with the immigrant for the scene of distress. On arriving, everything was seized by the crazed wretches and devoured.

Other starving immigrants arriving, they killed Mr. Sutter's seven mules and ate them.

Then they killed the two Indian boys and ate them! Said Sutter, referring to the circumstance afterward, with much feeling: "They ate my Indian boys all up!"

During the war between the United States and Mexico, Sutter was a Mexican citizen, and the representative of the Mexican government on the frontier; but his sympathies were naturally with the United States. Whenever any party of American citizens, civil or military, visited him, his unbounded hospitalities were uniformly and cordially extended to them. When the country surrendered to the United States forces, with joy he raised the American flag, July 10, 1846, and fired a salute from the guns of his fort. In 1849 he was a member of the Constitutional Convention; at the first State election was a candidate for Governor, and was afterward a Brigadier-General in the State militia.

But the day on which gold was discovered was an evil one for him. His mechanics and laborers deserted him, even the Kanakas and Indians. He could not hire laborers to plant or harvest his crops. Neither could he run his mills. For a time after the immense flood of immigration poured in, his rights were respected; but it was not for long. When men found that money could be made in other ways than by mining, many forcibly entered upon his lands and cut his wood, under the plea that they were vacant and unappropriated lands of the United States. By the 1st of January, 1852, the settlers had occupied his lands capable of settlement or appropriation, and others had stolen all his horses, mules, cattle, sheep and hogs, save a small portion used and sold by himself. One party of five, during the high waters of 1849—'50, when his cattle were partly surrounded by water near the Sacramento River, killed and sold enough to amount to $60,000.

Sutter, broken in purse, disheartened, robbed and powerless to help himself, removed to Sutter County and took up his residence at Hock Farm, then a beautiful piece of property, but now a waste of sand and debris, never having recovered from the devastation of the floods of 1862. For some years he led the quiet life of a farmer there, but afterward was a continual haunter of Congress at Washington, where he sought to obtain redress from the General Government for the barefaced robberies that had been practiced upon him. In 1873 he removed to Litiz, Pennsylvania, and on the 18th day of June, 1880, died at Washington, District of Columbia.

Sutter was a generous man. His manners were polished, and the impression he made on every one was favorable. In figure he was of medium height, rather stout but well made. His head was round, features regular, with smiling and agreeable expression, while his complexion was healthy and roseate. He wore his hair cut close, and his moustache trimmed short a la militaire. He dressed very neatly in frock coat, pantaloons and cape of blue.

Such was the man to whom California owes so much, and upon whom she bestowed so little.

Captain John C. Fremont, the "Pathfinder," arrived in this country in March, 1844, and in his narrative thus describes the situation of Sutter and his fort:

"Captain Sutter immigrated to this country from the western part of Missouri, in 1838–'39, and formed the first settlement in the valley, on a large grant of land which he obtained from the Mexican Government. He had at first some trouble with the Indians; but by the occasional exercise of well-timed authority, he has succeeded in converting them into a peaceful and industrious people. The ditches around his extensive wheat fields; the making of the sun-dried bricks of which his fort is constructed; the plowing, harrowing and other agricultural operations, are entirely the work of these Indians, for which they receive a very moderate compensation—principally in shirts, blankets and other articles of clothing. In the same manner, on application to the chief of the village, he readily obtains as many boys and girls as he has any use for. There were at this time a number of girls at the fort, in training for a future woolen factory; but they were now all busily engaged in constantly watering the gardens. Mr. Sutter was about making arrangements to irrigate his lands by means of the American River. He had this year sown, and altogether by Indian labor, 300 bushels of wheat.

"A few years since, the neighboring Russian establishment of Ross, being about to withdraw from the country, sold to him a large number of stock, with agricultural and other stores, with a number of pieces of artillery and other munitions of war; for these, a regular yearly payment is made in grain.

"The fort is a quadrangular adobe structure, mounting twelve pieces of artillery (two of them brass), and capable of admitting a garrison of 1,000 men; this at present consists of forty Indians, in uniform: one of whom is always found on duty at the gate. As might be expected, the pieces are not in very good order. The whites in the employ of Captain Sutter, American, French and German, number thirty men. The inner wall is formed into buildings comprising the common quarters, with blacksmith and other work-shops, the dwelling-houses with a large distillery house, and other buildings occupying more the center of the area.

"It is built upon a pond-like stream, at times a running creek, communicating with the American River, which enters the Sacramento about two miles below. The latter is here a noble river, about 300 yards broad, deep and tranquil, with several fathoms of water in the channel, and its banks continuously timbered. There were two vessels belonging to Captain Sutter at anchor near the landing—one a large two-masted lighter, and the other a schooner, which was shortly to proceed on a voyage to Fort Vancouver for a cargo of goods."

Nothing now remains of the fort excepting the main two-story building, which is still unprotected against the ravages of the elements and the vandalism of reckless boys. The southern end was many years ago replaced with fire burned brick, and a new roof of shingles has supplanted the primitive Mexican tiling. The property is owned by a gentleman in the East.


Samuel Brannan, Mormon elder and chief of the colony sent from New York on the ship Brooklyn, arrived in California in 1846. He was born in Saco, Maine, in 1819; learned the printers' trade in Ohio from 1833; from 1842 published the New York Messenger and later the Prophet, as organs of the Mormon church; and on coming to California it was evidently his intention to build up his own fortune with those of his church. Being displeased with Brigham Young's change of plans respecting California, his religious fervor gradually cooled down until he became an apostate; meanwhile he published the Star at San Francisco, preached eloquently on Sundays, bought town lots, participated in political controversies, worked zealously for the town's educational and other interests, always aggressive but liberal in his views, showing no signs of sectarianism.

In 1847 he established the firm of C. C. Smith & Co. at Sacramento, later Brannan & Co., in which Mellus & Howard and Wm. Stout were partners. The immense profits of his store after the discovery of gold, in connection with his mining operations at Mormon Island, and the rise of San Francisco real estate, made him a little later the richest man in California. As a capitalist and speculator his operations were very extensive, and he did more for San Francisco than scores of. other capitalists who have lived here. In 1859 he purchased the Calistoga estate, which he vastly improved, establishing thereon also an immense distillery; and here, in 1868, he received eight bullets, and nearly lost his life in a quarrel for the possession of a mill. Meanwhile he had given himself up to strong drink; for twenty years or more he was rarely sober after noon, and he became as well-known for his dissolute habits and drunken freaks as he had been for his wealth and ability. Domestic troubles led to divorce from his wife, whom he had married in 1844. Division of the estate was followed by unlucky speculations, and Brannan's vast wealth gradually melted away. He afterward supported the cause of Mexico against Maximilian, obtained a grant of lands in Sonora, and was at last accounts living at Guaymas in that country.

Samuel J. Hensley, a native of Kentucky, came overland in the Chiles-Walker party in 1843, having been for some years a trapper in New Mexico. The next year he was naturalized and obtained a grant of the Agua de Nieves rancho, and entered Sutter's service as super­cargo of his launch; while there he also signed the order for Weber's arrest, and during the Micheltorena campaign he served as commissary in Sutter's army. Returning to the north, he took charge of Hock farm and attended to Sutter's general business. In 1846 he was prominent in fomenting the Bear revolt; was captain, and later major, of the California Battalion in the south; went East with Stockton in 1847 and testified in the Fremont court-martial; returning to California he mined a short time and then opened a store in Sacramento, in partnership with Reading. From 1850 he engaged in the navigation of the Sacramento River, and a little later was one of the founders of the California Steam Navigation Company, of which he became president. His residence for many years was at San Jose, and he died at Warm Springs, Alameda County, in 1866, at the age of forty-nine years.

Wm. A. Leidesdorff, a native of the Danish West Indies, came to the United States when a boy and to California in 1841; entered business on a large scale in San Francisco, and after naturalization obtained a grant of the American River ranch, in what is now Sacramento County. In 1847 lie launched the first steamer on San Francisco Bay. Also held local political offices in San Francisco. He was an intelligent man of fair education, speaking several languages, enterprising and public-spirited, but quick‑tempered. He died in May, 1848, at the age of thirty-eight years.

William Daylor, an English sailor, is said to have left his vessel in 1835. He entered Sutter's service in 1840–'41, and about 1844 settled on the Cosumnes River with Sheldon, his brother-in-law, in Sacramento County. General Kearny camped upon his rancho in 1847. He died in 1850 of cholera. He had in 1847 married Sarah Rhoads, who after his death married, in 1851, Wm. R. Grimshaw.

Joseph Libbey Folsom, a native of New Hampshire, graduated at West Point in 1840, and later was instructor in that institution; came to California as captain in the United States army, and assistant quartermaster in the New York Volunteer Regiment, and was chief of the quartermaster department station at San Francisco, being also collector of the port 1847­'49. He invested all the money he could raise in town lots, which in a few years made him a rich man. During a trip to the East in 1849 he was smart and lucky enough to find the heirs of Wm. A. Leidesdorff, and buy of them for a trifle their immense Leidesdorff estate in San Francisco. He thus became one of the wealthiest men in California. Among his possessions was the American River rancho, on which the town of Folsom now stands; and there is also a street in San Francisco named after him. His reputation is that of a most enterprising man of business, an honorable gentleman of superior education and refinement, but somewhat haughty and formal in manner. He died at Mission San Jose, in 1855, at the age of only thirty-eight years.

Louis Keseburg, who was forced to subsist upon human flesh longer than any other member of the Donner party, was supercargo for Sutter in 1847 and later for Vallejo at Sonoma; was in the mines in 1848–'49, kept boarding house and hotel at Sacramento, and was later a brewer at Calistoga and Sacramento. He made and lost several fortunes, the losses. being mostly by fire and flood. He was an intelligent man, able in business, and in 1880 was living at Brighton, aged sixty-six, in extreme poverty.

Sebastian Keyser, a native of the Austrian Tyrol; was a trapper who came overland with Sutter to Oregon in 1838, and afterward joined him at New Helvetia. He was naturalized in 1844 and obtained a grant of the Llano Seco rancho. Married Elizabeth Rhoads, who soon left him, but afterward returned to him. In 1849 he sold his interest in the rancho, and subsequently resided on the Daylor place, running a ferry across the Cosumnes for Daylor & Grimshaw, by the sinking of which craft he was drowned in 1850.

James King 'of William' assumed the affix "of William" at the age of sixteen, from his father's given name, to distinguish him from others named James King. He was a native of Georgetown, District of Columbia, and came to California in 1848, made some money in the mines, clerked for Reading & Co. at Sacramento, and in 1849 opened a bank in San Francisco; 1854–'55 he was employed by Adams & Co.; in October, 1855; he founded the San Francisco Bulletin, through which he attacked local corruption in violent terms, but was apparently honest in his sentiments. He was shot in May, 1856, by James P. Casey, and his murder led to the organization of the famous Vigilance Commitee. He left a widow and six children.


The city of Sacramento is located on the east bank of the Sacramento River, immediately below the mouth of the American River. The first settlement was made by John A. Sutter; in 1839, and long before there was any thought of establishing a city. The news of the gold discovery attracted to Sutter's Fort a large immigration from all portions of the civilized world, and this point, being practically the head of inland navigation, became the first nucleus of a settlement. At first a town of canvas tents was established, and afterward the city was regularly laid out, the survey being made in December, 1848, by Captain William H. Warner, of the United States army, assisted by W. T. Sherman, now General.

In 1844, however, an effort was made, under the patronage of Sutter and others, to lay out and build a town at a point three miles below the site of Sacramento City. A survey was made and a village commenced. The first house was erected by Sutter, the second by one Hadel, and the third by George Zins. The last mentioned was a brick building, and the first of the kind erected in California. Zins afterward manufactured the bricks, in Sacramento, which were used in the first brick buildings erected in this city. He stamped each brick with his initials, and one of them is now preserved in the Crocker Art Gallery Museum of the city, and one in the Museum of the Pioneer Association. For a time, "Sutterville," as it was called, in honor of its projector, flourished; but after the gold discovery the population centered at Sacramento, or the "Embarcadero," the Spanish name.

At the time of, or shortly after, the discovery of gold, quite a number of stores were established at the fort; and indeed that was the practical business center in this portion of the territory. The first store, an adobe building, was that of C. C. Smith & Co., Samuel Brannan being the "Co." This was started two months prior to the opening of the mines, and across its counters were made the first exchanges of American goods for California gold. Brannan subsequently became the sole proprietor. Hensley & Reading had a store afterward in the fort, and one of the clerks was James King of William, just mentioned.

When the city of Sacramento was established Sutter owned its site. After the discovery of gold and the laying out of the city, Sutter conveyed his entire interest in the plat to his son; and on December 30, 1849, Sutter, Jr., employed Peter H. Burnett—afterward governor—as his lawyer to manage his newly acquired interests. Conveyances were made by Sutter and his son, which resulted in a confusion of titles that were not adjusted until after many years of litigation.

After the establishment of Sacramento there was a steady improvement of the town. From a village of canvas tents it grew to be one of wood and brick structures, and the town of Sutterville soon had an existence only on paper. After the flood of 1861—'62, an effort was made to revive the town of Sutterville, but it again failed.

During the time that Sacramento was flooded, in January, 1853, all communication with the mining counties was cut off, and some of the enterprising merchants sought higher ground for the city site, where freight could be landed from vessels without danger from floods. The site they selected was on the south bank of the American River, nearly due north from the point now called Brighton, and they named the new town "Hoboken." At that day the American River was navigable to that point. A large town was laid out there, with wide streets and a steamboat landing. Within ten days a place sprang up which promised to be a rival to Sacramento. Three steamers made daily trips between the two places. An express office was established at Hoboken, besides many other facilities for commercial business. Trade there flourished. Many of the business firms of Sacramento removed to the new town, and the newspapers of the city devoted a page to the interests of Hoboken. But Hoboken declined as rapidly as it had sprung up, and to-day its site constitutes a portion of a farm.

The city of "Boston" was laid out at the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers, north of Sacramento. It, however, never "materialized," and existed only on maps.

The population of Sacramento, prior to January, 1848, was comparatively insignificant; but with the influx which followed the discovery of gold its augmentation had been perhaps unprecedented in the history of the world. The first census taken in the State—in 1851—during the administration of President Fillmore, was under the superintendency of J. Neely Johnson, as census agent of this district. He was afterward Governor of the State. In that enumeration Sacramento was credited with 11,000 inhabitants. The population of the State as then returned was about 120,000. The Federal census of 1860 credits the city with 12,800; of 1870 with 16,283; of 1880, 21,420, and the present year, 1889, it has probably between 30,000 and 40,000.

George McDougal, brother of "I John," the second Governor, was a prominent character in the founding of Sacramento City. He came here from Indiana in 1848, joined Fremont's battalion, and was with it in the memorable campaign in Southern California. Returning to San Francisco, he became distinguished there; and when the mines were discovered joined the gold-seekers and had some exciting experiences in the mines. Shortly after the survey of Sacramento City was made, he procured a lease of a ferry privilege from Captain Sutter at a point below the entrance of Sutter Lake, and opened the first store in the place, bringing up a store ship and locating it near the foot of I street. His partner was Judge Blackburn, of Santa Cruz. The arrival of the son of Captain Sutter effected an important change in the destiny of the new city. He received the interest of his father in the city, and immediately a question arose between him and McDougal in respect to the prerogatives of his lease. The question being decided in favor of Sutter, McDougal became so disaffected with the place that he determined to "extinguish the prospects" of the new city, and move to Sutterville. Transporting all his goods to that point, and leaving his brother John in charge of them, he went East. John then issued immense placards, declaring that the firm over, which he presided had determined to take the lead in competition, and accordingly would sell goods at "cost and freight," with a verbal assurance that if they could not obtain patronage at that rate they would sell at the primary cost of their merchandise. But the merchants at the fort combined and McDougal & Co. soon had to break up.

George wandered into Utah, New Mexico, and adjacent Territories, and meanwhile reports of his death were received on the coast. An Eastern brother administered on his estate. Trace of him was lost for years. Finally Captain Brown, of the ram Stonewall, was going to Japan through the Straits of Magellan, when some Patagonian chiefs came aboard, among whom was a "hirsute, squalid, weather-tanned and very tattooed man," none other than "Colonel George McDougal! " He had journeyed through Central America and various South American countries, and was then prospecting at Sandy Point, a savage and solitary station in the straits. He was the chief of an Indian tribe! He was a giant in size, and so princely and handsome that he had been called "Lord George McDougal." Captain Brown says that after he had had him shaved, cleaned up and dressed in good clothes, he was the handsomest and most distinguished looking man he had ever seen. McDougal sobbed and cried when told of his family; but all entreaty to keep him on board and get him back home was unavailing, as he had a valuable mine which he was developing by aid of these Indians. However, he promised that as soon as possible he would proceed farther north and then make for home. Some time afterward Brown chanced to meet McDougal in. Valparaiso, and succeeded in sending him home.

The schooner John Dunlap, owned jointly by Simmons, Hutchins & Co. and E. S. Marsh, left San Francisco on her first trip to Sacramento, May 18, 1849. The first mail was brought on her second trip, when she sailed June 25 and arrived here in forty-eight hours.

The first directory of the city of Sacramento was published in 1851, by J. Horace Culver, and was printed by the Transcript press, then on K street, between Second and Third. It has ninety-six pages, with a vast amount of interesting information, the names of the citizens occupying not quite half the space. A copy of it is preserved in the State Library.


The first election for councilmen was held in the latter part of July, 1849, resulting in the choice of John P. Rogers, H. E. Robinson, P. B. Cornwall, Wm. Stout, E. F. Gillespie, Thomas F. Chapman, M. T. McClelland, A. M. Winn and B. M. Jennings. Stout was elected the first president, but soon afterward Winn was substituted. The first charter submitted to a popular vote was defeated.

The council then appealed to the people by proclamation, asking what they should do,—go ahead under Mexican laws, or draft a new charter. This appeal stirred up the people, who held a mass meeting and appointed a committee to draw up amendments. The charter thus amended was substantially adopted by the succeeding Legislature, February 27, 1850.

Following is a list of the officers of the city of Sacramento, from 1849 to 1851, inclusive:

1849.—A. M. Winn, Mayor; the Alcalde, Recorder; N. C. Cunningham, Marshal; William Glaskin, City Clerk and Auditor; J. A. Tutt, Assessor; S. C. Hastings, Treasurer; B. Brown, Collector; Murray Morrison, City Attorney; R. J. Watson, Harbormaster.

1850. — Hardin Bigelow, Mayor; Horace Smith, Mayor; B. F. Washington, Recorder; N. C. Cunningham, Marshal; J. B. Mitchell, City Clerk and Auditor; J. W. Woodland, Assessor; Barton Lee, Treasurer; E. B. Pratt, Collector; J. Neely Johnson, City Attorney; George W. Hammersley, Harbormaster.

1851.—James R. Hardenbergh, Mayor; W. H. McGrew, Recorder; W. S. White, Marshal; L. Curtis, Clerk and Auditor; Samuel McKee, Assessor; W. R. McCracken, Treasurer; W. S. White, Collector; J. Neely Johnson, City Attorney; John Requa, Harbormaster.


The first ship ever used in the State of California as a "prison brig" was the bark Strafford, which was moored in the Sacramento River opposite the foot of I street. It was brought here from New York in 1849. While lying at the foot of O street it was sold at auction by J. B. Starr, and, though it had cost $50,000, it was knocked down to C. C. Hayden for $3,750! Immediately the latter sold three‑quarters of his interest to Charles Morrill, Captain Isaac Derby and Mr. Whiting. In March, 1850, they rented the vessel to the county for a "prison brig." May 25, 1850, the others sold out their interests to Charles Morrill, who intended the bark for a trader between San Francisco and Panama. It was loaded at the levee, but in so poor a manner that she nearly capsized on reaching the Bay of San Francisco. It was readjusted and taken on to the sea, but was never brought back.

The county soon afterward purchased the La Grange, which had arrived in California from Salem, Massachusetts. It was moored about opposite H street. When the first freshet of the high water of 1861–'62 came on, the vessel pulled heavily at its moorings, and the water came in through the open seams so rapidly that it was only by great exertions the prisoners were safely removed to the city jail. The bark filled and sunk right there at the anchors. Sand and sediment filled the hold and cabin and collected in great quantities all about it. Being sold at auction, it was purchased by T. Talbert, who, at considerable profit, disposed of it to a company of Chinese. The Celestials went actively to work pegging away at the carcass of the old bark, which had so many times braved storm and tempest; and if any of its remains were not carried off by them, they are in the deep bosom of the sand-bank buried.

Since then the Sacramento County jail has never been afloat.


The cholera made its first appearance in Sacramento on the 20th of October, 1850, when an immigrant by sea was found on the levee, in the collapsing stage of the disease. The infection was brought to San Francisco on the same steamer which conveyed the intelligence of California's admission to the Union, and reached Sacramento before the city had recovered from the demoralizing effects of the Squatter Riots. As usual in such cases, the local papers endeavored to conceal the extent of mortality, and their files of that date give no adequate idea of the fearful scourge. On the 21st of October the city physician reported seven cases of cholera to the council, five of which were fatal. Some of the doctors attempted to quiet public apprehension by the opinion that the malady was only a violent form of the cholera morbus, and the Times "felt confident that there was very little danger, and had not heard of a single case where the patient had not been previously reduced by diarrhoea." On the 27th six cases were reported, and the Times "hoped that some precautionary measures would be taken," etc. On the 29th twelve cases appeared; on the 30th, nineteen, and it was no longer possible to conceal the presence of the ghastly destroyer. A Sacramento correspondent of the Alta, November 4, says: " This city presents an aspect truly terrible. Three of the large gambling resorts have been closed. The streets are deserted, and frequented only by the hearse. Nearly all business is at a stand-still. There seems to be a deep sense of expectancy, mingled with fear, pervading all classes. There is an expression of anxiety in every eye, and all sense of pecuniary loss is merged in a greater apprehension of personal danger. The daily mortality is about sixty. Many deaths are concealed, and many others are not reported. Deaths during the past week, so far as known, 188."

On the 14th of November the daily mortality had decreased to twelve, and on the 17th the plague was reported as having entirely disappeared.


During the early gold-mining period, 1848­'49, unprincipled immigrants stole great quantities of property from Captain Sutter. In the latter year others, more honorable in their intentions, questioned Sutter's title to certain tracts, including the site of the city of Sacramento. Their settling upon lands claimed by Sutter soon led to litigation, and ultimately to riot and bloodshed. May 5, this year, Sutter published a notice warning persons not to settle upon these tracts without his permission. December 2, following, H. A. Schoolcraft petitioned the city council of Sacramento to remove a house built by Charles Robinson upon property which he represented, and the petition was granted. Next day a suit was entered against the city for replevin, and this was denied. Then the party lines were closely drawn between those who had recognized Sutter's title and purchased lots of him, and those who denied his title and claimed that said lands were public and subject to pre-emption. The latter were eventually strengthened by the fresh arrivals of poor and worn-out immigrants who were willing to listen to the story that such good land was public and open to their settlement.

A "squatters' association" was organized, arguments and lawsuits commenced, and feeling grew more and more intense. Immigrants meanwhile continued to squat upon the contested lands with increasing boldness. On the 10th of May, 1850, the particular suit was commenced which resulted in the famous riots of August following. John P. Rodgers and De Witt J. Burnett commenced action against John F. Madden, in the recorder's court, B. F. Washington presiding, under the statutes concerning "unlawful entry and detainer." The case was sustained by E. J. C. Kewen and R. F. Morrison for the plaintiffs, and F. W. Thayer for the defendant. The latter set forth the plea of no jurisdiction, and the plea was overruled. He then instituted the plea that the property was public land, the freehold of the Government, and therefore subject to a title by settlement and improvement. A demurrer was interposed by plaintiffs upon the ground that the plea set forth by the defendant was insufficient in law; and this was overruled. The defendant then made affidavit, asking a change of venue on the ground that the recorder was biased and that he could not have a fair trial in this city, the citizens also being prejudiced against him. This application was also refused, and the case went to trial. After argument, the recorder returned a judgment against defendant, fining him $300 and costs, and ordered the issuance of a writ of restitution.

The defendant appealed from this decision to the county court, and August 8 the case came up for a rehearing, before Judge E. J. Willis. At this trial the defendant was assisted by Judge McKune, C. A. Tweed and Lewis Aldrich. After argument the decision of the lower court was affirmed. The defendant then asked to appeal to the Supreme Court of the State, but there being no law to provide for such an appeal, the motion was overruled.

During this trial both parties became excited to the utmost degree, and the squatters as a body declared against the restoration of the property. Squatters and anti-squatters held meetings almost every night. Almost immediately after the decision of Judge Willis was pronounced the squatters issued a poster setting forth their arguments and their history of the case, concluding with the resolution to "appeal to arms, if necessary, to protect their sacred rights with their lives."

This was regarded as a declaration of civil war, and bloodshed was then sure to come in a short time. On the evening of the 11th the squatters held a meeting, where much wit and sarcasm was indulged in, and a resolution adopted to resist the execution of the court's decree. Speakers from both sides were invited to take the stand, but those from the Sutter side were drowned out by yells from the crowd. They indeed became so excited with their own noise that they sometimes voted viva-voceiferously against themselves!

Madden, whose house became a sort of garrison for the squatters, refused to evacuate for several days. He was then forced out, but on the 14th succeeded in forcing himself back again, with the aid of his fellows. At two o'clock on the afternoon of this day the crisis arrived. The two parties came into actual and bloody contact. The mayor, Hardin Biglow, was called into service, to quell the riot. The squatters formed themselves in martial order on J street, and fired several shots at the mayor, four of which took effect, but not causing instant death. J. W. Woodland, who stood unarmed by his side, was accidentally killed by one of these shots. Several others were killed, on both sides.

Actual hostilities then informally ceased, but both parties, in the most feverish excitement, held meetings deliberating what to do. Brigadier-General A. M. Winn, of the milita, declared the city under martial law, and ordered all law-abiding citizens to form themselves into volunteer companies and report their organization at his headquarters as soon as possible. At evening quiet was fully restored throughout the city.

Recorder B. F. Washington was appointed marshal by the council, and State troops were ordered from Benicia. They arrived, and quiet was maintained, but in a day or two afterward the young sheriff, Joseph McKinney, was shot and killed while he was bravely doing his duty in endeavoring to capture one of the rioters out in the country, where there was a sort of rendezvous of the more violent squatters.

Thus ended the riot, but not the excitement; for it was feared that some of the vanquished squatters would incite a party of miners in the foothills and another attempt would he made to do violence in the city; but at length these fears were allayed, and excitement began gradually to cool down. The Sutter party were eventually victorious.


In the fall of 1848 an election was held at the fort (Sutter's) for first and second alcaldes, and resulted in the election of Frank Bates and John S. Fowler. Fowler resigned in the spring following, and H. A. Schoolcraft was elected to fill the vacancy. In the spring of 1849, Brannan, Snyder, Slater, Hensley, King, Cheever, McCarver, McDougal, Barton Lee, Dr. Carpenter, Southard and Fowler were elected a Board of Commissioners to frame a code of laws for the district. Pursuant to the wish of this legislating committee, the people convened together under a broad-spreading oak at the foot of I street. The report, which was then officially submitted and which was duly accepted by the sovereigns assembled, provided the following officers of a jurisdiction extending from the Coast Range to the Sierra Nevada, and throughout the length of the Sacramento Valley, to-wit: One alcalde and a sheriff. H. A. Schoolcraft was then elected alcalde and A. M. Turner, sheriff. This constituted the judiciary of Northern California up to the time that those changes took place in very rapid succession after the immigration of 1849 began to concentrate at Sacramento.

The first attempt to establish a civil government under American ideas of government was made on April 30, 1849, when a mass meeting of the then residents of Sacramento City and other portions of Sacramento District was held at the Embarcadero to devise means for the government of the city and district. At this meeting Henry A. Schoolcraft presided, Peter Slater was vice-president and James King of William and E. J. Brooke, secretaries. Samuel Brannan explained the object of the meeting, and it was resolved that a Legislature of eleven members should be elected, "with full powers to enact laws for the government of the city and district." It was also determined to hold the election forthwith, and Henry Bates, M. D., M. T. McClellan, Mark Stewart, Ed. H. Von Pfister and Eugene F. Gillespie were appointed judges. The vote resulted in the election of John McDougal, Peter Slater, Barton Lee, John S. Fowler, J. S. Robb, Wm. Pettit, Wm. M. Carpenter, M. D., Chas. G. Southard, M. M. McCarver, James King of William and Samuel Brannan, but upon the announcement of the result Robb declined to accept, and Henry Cheever was chosen to fill the vacancy. [Whether the list given by Morse or this one is correct we cannot decide.] The eleven were immediately sworn in, and some time afterward adopted a code that no laws were wanted and that all the officers necessary for the District of Sacramento, bounded on the north and west by the Sacramento River, on the east by the Sierra Nevadas, and on the south by the Cosumnes River, were one alcalde and one sheriff." They then submitted the code to the people for adoption or rejection, and asked them at the same time to vote for officers. The code was adopted.

Nothing further toward forming a local government was attempted until after the proclamation of General Riley (the military Governor) was issued at Monterey on June 3. In fact nothing seemed necessary, if theft was, by common consent, punished, as the Times says, "by giving the offender thirty or forty rawhide lashes, and then ordering him off, not to return under penalty of death."

General B. Riley, the military Governor of California, issued a proclamation for an election to be held August 1, 1849, to elect delegates to a general convention and for filling several necessary offices. On July 5, a meeting was held and a committee was appointed to organize the district into precincts, apportion the representation, and nominate the candidates to be voted for. The committee consisted of P. B. Cornwall, C. E. Pickett, William M. Carpenter, Samuel Brannan, John McDougal, W. Blackburn, J. S. Robb, Samuel J. Hensley, Mark Stewart, M. M. McCarver, John S. Fowler and A. M.. Winn. On the 14th the committee reported, recommending the places for polls, etc. The delegates elected to the Constitutional Convention were: Jacob R. Snyder, John A. Sutter, John Bidwell, W. E. Shannon, L. W. Hastings, W. S. Sherwood, M. M. McCarver, John S. Fowler, John McDougal, Charles E. Pickett, W. Blackburn, E. O. Crosby, R. M. Jones, W. Lacey, James Queen. For local offices—William Stout, Henry E. Robinson, P. B. Cornwall, Eugene F. Gillespie, T. L. Chapman, Berryman Jennings, John P. Rodgers, A. M. Winn and M. T. McClellan were elected a City Council without opposition, and by an average vote of 424. James S. Thomas was elected First Magistrate by 393 votes, against twenty-two for S. S. White, and five for J. S. Fowler. J. C. Zabriskie was elected Second Magistrate; H. A. Schoolcraft, Recorder; and D. B. Harmer, Sheriff.

Under the call for the Constitutional Convention, the district was entitled to but four delegates, and J. R. Snyder, W. E. Shannon, W. S. Sherwood and J. A. Sutter were the representatives, but afterward the representation was increased to fifteen, and in addition to the original four the following were appointed: L. W. Hastings, John Bidwell, John S. Fowler, M. M. McCarver, John McDougal, E. O. Crosby, W. Blackburn, James Queen, R. M. Jones, W. Lacey and C. E. Pickett.

In October the convention adjourned, and an election was called for Tuesday, November 13, 1849, to vote on the constitution, for State officers, and for representatives in the Legislature. At that election the vote of Sacramento District stood as follows: For the Constitution, 4,317: against it, 643. For Governor---P.H. Burnett, 2,409; J. A. Sutter, 856; Thomas McDowell, 87; W. S. Sherwood, 1,929; William M. Stewart, 448. For State Senators—John Bidwell, 3,474; Thomas J. Green, 2,516; Elisha O. Crosby, 2,610; Henry E. Robinson, 2,328; Murray Morrison, 2,171; Hardin Biglow, 1,407; Gilbert A. Grant, 1,687; Charles E. Pickett, 905. The first four were elected.

The county was formally organized when the Legislature passed "an act subdividing the State into counties and establishing the seats of justice therein," February 18, 1850, and section 17 of it defined the boundaries of Sacramento County as follows: "Beginning at a point ten miles due north of the mouth of the American River, and running thence in an easterly direction to the junction of the north and south forks of said river; thence up the middle of the principal channel of the south fork to a point one mile above the head of Mormon Island, so as to include said island in Sacramento County; thence in a southerly direction to a point on the Cosumnes River eight miles above the house of William Daylor; thence due south to Dry Creek; thence down the middle of said creek to its entrance into the Moquelumne River, or into a large slough in the tale marsh; thence down the middle of said slough to its junction with the San Joaquin River; thence down the middle of said river to the mouth of the Sacramento River, at the head of Suisun Bay; thence up the middle of the Sacramento to the month of Merritt's Slough; thence up the middle of said slough to its head; thence up the middle of the Sacramento River to a point due west of the place of beginning, and thence east to the place of beginning. The seat of justice shall be at Sacramento City."

The first election law appointed the first Monday in October the day for holding the election for State officers, and denominated that the general election. The first Monday in April was designated as the day for the election of county officers and was called the county election. The Legislature of 1851 repealed the clause relating to the county election and provided that it should be held the same time with the State election, and the time for holding the general election was changed from the first Monday in October to the first Wednesday in September, and it has since remained that way. The terms of the county officers commenced originally on the first Monday in May, 1850, but the Legislature of 1851 changed it so that the term commenced on the first Monday in October following the election. In 1863 the Legislature changed the law again so that the official terms commenced on the first Monday in March following the election, and it remains so now.

These were the first county officers, and they were elected April 1, 1850, to serve from April, 1850, to April, 1852; County Judge, E. J. Willis; Sheriff, Joseph McKinney; Clerk, Presley Dunlap; Recorder, L. A. Birdsall; District Attorney, William C. Wallace; County Attorney, John H. McKune; Treasurer, Wm. Glaskin ; Assessor, David W. Thorpe; Surveyor, J. G. Cleal; Coroner, P. F. Ewer. J. S. Thomas was elected District Judge by the Legislature of 1849–'50, and he resigned January 1, 1851. Tod Robinson, lately deceased, was appointed January 2, 1851, and served till the first part of August, when Ferris Foreman, who was Secretary of State during the administration of John B. Weller, succeeded him on the 14th of August, 1851, and presided one month. On the 15th of September, 1851, Lewis Aldrich became District Judge. The sheriff, Joseph McKinney, was killed near Brighton on the evening of August 15, 1850, the day after the squatter riot, and at a special election held the first Monday in September, Ben McCullough was elected to fill the vacancy. The Legislature of 1851 abolished the office of county attorney, and assigned the duties of the office to the district attorney. In the meantime Wallace resigned, and Milton S. Latham, afterward Governor, succeeded to the office of district attorney, October 18, 1850. Wm. Glaskin resigned the office of treasurer August 22, 1850, and John W. Peyton was appointed to fill the vacancy. Peyton resigned November 29, 1850, and Charles H. Swift was appointed treasurer and collector by the Court of Sessions, of which he was a member, to fill the vacancy.


The first court-house that was erected at Seventh and I streets in Sacramento City, and in which the sessions of 1852 and 1854 were held, was commenced in June, 1850, and completed on December 24, 1851. It was destroyed in the great fire of July 13, 1854, which consumed a large portion of the business part of the city.

Immediately after the fire a contract was entered into between Joseph Nougus and the county officers for the erection of the present court-house. As originally arranged the building answered the following description: Extreme height, sixty-one feet; dimensions, 80 x 120 feet; with a portico supported by ten pillars, three feet six inches in diameter by thirty-one feet six inches in height. The ground floor was devoted to a county prison. On the same floor were two separate offices containing fire-proof vaults and occupied by the State Controller and State Treasurer. The second floor was devoted to a Senate chamber, 37 x 30 feet, and an Assembly room, 72x41 feet, together with nine rooms for clerks and officers of the Legislature. The style of architecture is Ionic. The original contract price was $100,600, and the subsequent contracts made the total cost of the building to the county $240,000. The corner-stone was laid September 27, 1854, with Masonic honors, and the brick work was completed November 9, following. The entire building was finished January 1, 1855. It was rented to the State for Capitol purposes at an annual rent of $12,000, and was used for that purpose from 1855 until the completion of the present Capitol. In April, 1870, the building was raised to the high grade. The original corner-stone was opened on the 22d and its contents transferred by the Board of Supervisors into a new box. On that day the stone was relaid without public ceremony.


The first State Constitutional Convention met at Monterey, September 1, 1849, and during the session fixed the seat of the State Government at San José. December 15 following the first Legislature accordingly met at that place, but, finding the accommodations too limited, resolved to accept a proposition from General M. G. Vallejo, removing the capital to his place. Meeting there January 5, 1852, they fared even worse than they had at San José as the General had undertaken to do more than he could, and was far behind with his contract. The Sacramentans then stirred themselves, and endorsed the Court of Sessions in offering the use of the new court house to the Legislature, which body accepted the offer January 12, 1852, and the very next day arrived here, on the steamer Empire. The citizens welcomed the members by a grand ball, tickets to which were sold at $20. During this session the contest between the rival points contending for the location of the capital naturally grew hotter, and all sorts of legal technicalities were brought to bear in favor and against the competing places. During all this time the State records were at San José, and doubts were entertained as to the legality of removing them to Vallejo, where there was no safe place for keeping them, or to Sacramento, which was not yet made the seat of government.

April 30, 1852, the Legislature passed a bill declaring Vallejo to be the seat of government, and ordering the Governor to remove the State records to that place. Next, General Vallejo procured a cancellation of his contract; then the following Legislature, meeting in January, 1853, in Vallejo, soon adjourned to meet at Benicia, declaring it to be the capital. January 2, 1854, the Legislature again met there. Governor Bigler submitted to them a communication from the mayor and council of Sacramento tendering the free use of the court-house, with safes, vaults, etc., to the State, together with a deed to the block of land between I and J and Ninth and Tenth streets. On the 9th of February, A. P. Catlin, now of Sacramento, introduced a bill in the Senate, fixing the permanent seat of government at Sacramento and accepting the block of land. The Legislature then adjourned to this city. The members and State officers were received with a great demonstration.

March 1, 1854, the Legislature met in the new court-house. On the 24th of this month they passed a law compelling the Supreme Court to hold its sessions here; but that body announced their opinion that San José was the constitutional and legal capital. Subsequently, however, by a change of judges of the Supreme Court, Sacramento was decided to be the legal capital. Accordingly, with the exception of the flood year, 1862, all sessions of the Legislature since 1854 have been held in Sacramento.

April 18, 1856, the Legislature provided for the issue of bonds to the amount of $300,000 for the erection of a State House where is now the beautiful Plaza. The board of commissioners, appointed to superintend the building, approved the plans of Reuben Clark for the structure, let the contract to Joseph Nougues, for $200,000, and broke ground for building December 4. But on the 15th of that month the commissioners refused to issue the bonds, because the Supreme Court had decided that the State had no authority to contract a debt so large. The contractor brought suit to compel the issuance of the bonds, but was beaten, and work was stopped and never resumed on that building. The land was deeded back to the city and has been made a beautiful park.

The building of a Capitol did not again receive much attention until 1860, when the supervisors deeded to the State the tract of land bounded by L and N and Tenth and Twelfth streets, and the Legislature appropriated $500,000 for the building. The plans of M. F. Butler were adopted, and Michael Fennell, of San Francisco, obtained the contract for furnishing the material and building the basement for $80,000. The corner-stone was laid May 15, 1861. Fennell, however, had dropped the contract April 1, and it was afterward let to G. W. Blake and P. E. Connor, who in turn dropped the task, having suffered severe losses in the great flood. The work was then placed in the hands of the commissioners, who had to "plod their weary way" along for several years, while the various Legislatures could not agree upon the amount of appropriations to be made. Indeed, the question of the location of the Capitol was mooted until 1867, when it was decided to discontinue the use of granite and hurry the building on to completion with brick. Thus the basement story only is built of granite. The brick, however, is of good quality, and the Capitol building, which is modeled somewhat after the pattern of the National Capitol at Washington, is substantially constructed, and is modestly beautiful in its exterior. Cost, about $1,447,000; with grounds (ten blocks), $2,590,460.19. Height, from first floor to the lantern, 240 feet. From this point can be seen a magnificent city and rural landscape, bounded by mountains fifty to one hundred miles distant. See topographical chapter for a description of the objects visible. At the center of the first floor is a large piece of statuary, cut from Italian marble by Larkin G. Meade, and representing Columbus before Isabella. It was purchased by D. O. Mills, at an expense of $30,000, and by him presented to the State.

The completion of the Capitol in the fall of 1869 was celebrated by a grand ball given by the citizens of Sacramento, and the rooms, as they were finished, were occupied during the months of November and December. The present constitution provides that the seat of the State Government shall not be removed without a popular vote.


Amos Adams, 1861, 1863; Alexander Badlam, Jr., 1863–'64; John E. Baker, 1881; J. N. Barton, 1873–'74; W. H. Barton, 1862–'63; John E. Benton, 1862; Marion Biggs, 1867­'68; Marion Biggs, Jr., 1875–'76; John Bigler, 1849–'51: J. G. Brewton, 1855; Elwood Bruner, 1880; W. E. Bryan, 1873–'74; H. C. Cardwell, 1849–'50; Seymour Carr, 1880, 1887; H. W. Carroll, 1887; George H. Carter, 1856; A. P. Catlin, 1857; Robert C. Clark, 1857; Thomas J. Clunie, 1875–'76; Paschal Coggins, 1867–'68, 1873–'74; Gilbert W. Colby, 1852; A. Comte, Jr , 1867–'68; George Cone, 1856; P. B. Cornwall, 1849–'50; Charles Crocker, 1861; N. Greene Curtis, 1861; T. R. Davidson, 1854; Winfield J. Davis, 1885; W. Grove Deal, 1849–'50; W. B. Dickenson, 1849–'50; Gillis Doty, 1883; James A. Duffy, 1869–'70; Charles Duncombe, 1859, 1863; P. L. Edwards, 1855; R. B. Ellis, 1859–'60; M. M. Estee, 1863; J. H. Estep, 1853; R. D. Ferguson, 1858, 1862; L. W. Ferris, 1857; I. F. Free man, 1869–'70; C. G. W. French, 1871–'72; L. C. Goodman, 1860; Thomas Hansbrow, 1865–'66; J. W. Harrison, 1853; Obed Harvey, 1871–'72; Thomas J. Henley, 1849–'50; Dwight Hollister, 1865–'66, 1885; Peter J. Hopper, 1865–'66, 1871–'72; M. S. Horan, 1869–'70; Charles S. Howell, 1858; William B. Hunt, 1863–'66; A. R. Jackson, 1859; Grove L. Johnson, 1877–'78; J. Neely Johnson,1853; William Johnston,1871–'72; Charles T. Jones, 1885; Reuben Kercheval, 1873–'74, 1877–'78; Alpheus Kip, 1852; Hugh M. La Rue, 1883; Bruce B. Lee, 1867–'68; George W. Leihy, 1856; D. J. Lisle, 1851; J. B. Maholmb, 1865–'66; J. M. McBrayer, 1854; G. N. McConaha, 1852; E. W. McKinstry, 1849­'50; John H. McKune, 1857; H. B. Meredith, 1855; E. B. Mott, Jr., 1871–'72; John A. Odell, 1869–'70; F. A. and J. W. Park, 1854; A. D. Patterson, 1875–'76; Joseph Powell, 1861; J. W. Pugh, 1856; John P. Rhoads, 1863–'64; Charles Robinson, 1851; Robert Robinson, 1853; Joseph Routier, 18'77–'78; P. H. Russell, 1873–'74; Frank D. Ryan, 1883; James B. Saul, 1862; James E. Sheridan, 1858–'59; Henry Starr, 1860; R. D. Stephens, 1869–'70; Moses Stout, 1858; L. S. Taylor, 1887; George B. Tingley, 1849–'50; Joseph C. Tucker, 1852; Francis Tukey, 1863– '64; W. C. Van Fleet, 1881; J. R. Vineyard, 1855; Madison Walthall, 1849–'50; J. H. Warwick, 1862–'63; J. R. Watson, 1863–'64; Daniel W. Welty, 1860; Thomas J. White, 1849­'50; John F. Williams, 1849–'50; Charles Wolleb, 1867–'68; John N. Young, 1880–'81.


In 1854, during the rapid decay of the old Whig party and the uprising of the anti-slavery party into prominence, and when the struggles in "bleeding Kansas" constituted the most exciting topics of political discussion, a Democratic convention was held at the Fourth Street Baptist Church in Sacramento, at 3 o'clock P. M., Tuesday, July 18. Some time before the hour for the meeting, the doors of the church were surrounded by a large assemblage of persons, many of whom were not delegates; and as soon as the doors were opened, the church, which was estimated to afford accommodation for about 400 persons, was filled to its utmost capacity.

D. C. Broderick, the chairman of the State Committee, ascended the platform, and was received with loud and continued cheering. On his calling the convention to order, several delegates instantly sprang to the floor for the purpose of nominating candidates for temporary chairman. Broderick recognized T. L. Vermeule as having the floor; but before the announcement was made, John O'Meara proposed ex-Governor John McDougal for chairman pro tem. Vermeule nominated Edward McGowan for the position. Broderick stated that he could not recognize O'Meara's motion, and put the question on McGowan's election, and declared that it had carried. McGowan instantly mounted the stand, closely followed by McDougal, whose friends insisted that he had been selected although his name had not been submitted to the convention in regular form. The two chairmen took seats side by side, and a scene of indescribable confusion and tumult ensued. When something like order was restored, McDougal read the names of Major G. W. Hook and John Bidwell as vice-presidents; and McGowan announced J. T. Hall and A. T. Laird as his appointees for those offices. Again a scene of extreme confusion occurred; but the gentlemen named seated themselves with their respective leaders. Two sets of secretaries and committees were then appointed, and reports were made to each side recommending that the temporary officers be declared permanently elected. Motions were made to adopt the reports, and amid the greatest excitement they were declared carried.

This double-headed convention sat until about 9 o'clock in the night. No further business was transacted, but each side tried to "sit" the other out. Two sickly candles, one in front of each president, lighted up the scene. The trustees of the church finally relieved both sides by stating that they could not tolerate the riotous crowd longer in the building, and the delegates left without a formal adjournment.

The session throughout was like pandemonium let loose. Soon after the organization, a rush was made by the crowd to the stage. One of the officers was seized, and at that instant a pistol exploded in the densely crowded room. A mad rush was made for the doors, and a portion of the delegates made a precipitate retreat through the windows to the ground, a distance of some fifteen feet. Toward night Governor Bigler was called to the stand and he made a conciliatory speech, but without effect.

On the 19th, the wing presided over by McDougal, and which represented the "chivalry," or Southern element of the party, met at Musical Hall; and the McGowan or Tammany branch, representing the Northern element, met in Carpenter's building. The officers of the chivalry wing resigned, and Major Hook was elected president, and H. P. Barber, William A. Mannerly, A. W. Taliaferro and J. G. Downey, vice-presidents. A communication was received from the other convention asking that a committee of conference be appointed, with a view of settling the disagreement; but the language of the communication was regarded as offensive, and it was withdrawn for the purpose of changing the phraseology. Afterward a second note, almost similar to the first, was sent in; but it was flatly rejected.

After nominating candidates for Congress and for Clerk of the Supreme Court, and passing resolutions favoring the construction of the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad under the auspices of Congress, and endorsing the Nebraska bill, etc., they levied an assessment of $5 per delegate to repair the damages to the church building. The convention also appointed a State Central Committee.

The McGowan wing met at 9:30 A. M. on the 19th, that gentleman continuing to act as the presiding officer. A committee of seven was appointed to invite the McDougal convention to attend, and the committee were empowered to arrange the difficulties. A recess was taken until 1 o'clock, to give the committee time to act. On the reassembling of the convention the committee reported that they had sent the following communication to the McDougal convention, and that the proposition therein contained had been rejected:

"JOHN MCDOUGAL, ESQ., Chairman of Democratic Delegates convened at Musical Hall; Sir—The undersigned have been this morning constituted a committee, with full powers, by and on behalf of the Democratic State Convention at Carpenter's Hall, for a conference with our fellow Democrats at Musical Hall, for the purpose of harmonizing and uniting the Democracy of California. You will be pleased to announce this to your body; and any communication may be addressed to the chairman of this committee, at Jones' Hotel."

The committee was discharged, and the convention proceeded to nominate a ticket, different throughout from the one nominated by the other convention. They also adopted a series of resolutions alluding to the heterogeneous character of the Democratic party in this State and the subsequent differences of the convention in this city, and urged the people to adopt their ticket as the one most conciliatory. They also appointed a State Central Committee. A collection of $400 was taken up to repair the damages that had been done to the Baptist church on the previous day, a committee having reported that the building had been injured to that extent.

Directly after the adjournment of the conventions, several of the nominees withdrew from the ticket, and after the election the Tammany party ascribed their defeat to the withdrawal of Milton S. Latham from the Congressional race.

The first mass meeting of Republicans "in California was held in Sacramento, April 19, 1856. E. B. Crocker was the leader of the new party in this county, and opened the meeting with a speech which was listened to attentively. George C. Bates was then introduced, but the general disturbance raised by the Americans" and Democrats present prevented his voice from being heard. Henry S. Foote, previously Governor of Mississippi, then took the stand and begged the disturbers to desist and allow the meeting to proceed; but he was not heeded. The Republican speakers again attempted to talk, when suddenly a rush was made for the stand by the crowd, and it was overturned and the meeting broken up.

On the 30th of that month the first State convention of the Republicans met in the Congregational church in Sacramento. E. B. Crocker was temporary chairman. Only thirteen counties were represented, and of the 125 delegates present sixty-six were from San Francisco and Sacramento. Resolutions were adopted opposing the further extension of slave territory and of slave power, welcoming honest and industrious immigrants, deprecating all attempts to prejudice immigrants against our free institutions, favoring the speedy construction of a trans-continental railroad by aid from Congress, favoring the speedy settlement of land titles in this State and the election only of bona-fide permanent settlers to office.

Early in May that year a public discussion was announced to take place at Sacramento between George C. Bates, Republican, and J. C. Zabriskie, Democrat; but when the appointed time arrived no location could be procured on account of the anticipated disturbance, and the meeting was postponed until the evening of the 10th of that month. When the time arrived the discussion was commenced. Rotten eggs were thrown and fire-crackers burned to create a disturbance, but the police made several arrests and order was restored. After the meeting closed, outsiders took possession of the stand, and a resolution was adopted declaring

"that the people of this city have been outraged by the discussion of treasonable doctrines by a public felon; and that we will not submit to such an outrage in the future."

A few days later the Sacramento Tribune (American), referring to the meeting, said: "The fact that a public discussion was permitted to take place in a public street in the heart of our city, in the presence of a large concourse of citizens, almost all of whom disapprove the doctrine advocated by the speakers, and this too when it is the firm conviction of a large majority of the persons assembled that the agitation of the slavery question as the basis of

political party organization is against the true interest of the State and the Nation, speaks volumes in favor of the public morals of Sacramento."

In 1865 a dissension occurred in the Union party. On the 25th of July that year it culminated at a county convention held at Sacramento. The Low and the anti-Low delegates were about equally divided in numbers. Governor Frederick F. Low was a candidate for the United States Senate, and was supported by one wing of the party. There was, however, a strong opposition to him. The convention met in the Assembly chamber in the then State capitol, now the court-house. The desks which had ordinarily occupied the floor had been removed, and a sufficient number of chairs had been placed in their stead to accommodate the 106 delegates who were expected to participate in the proceedings. As the room filled it was a noticeable fact that almost without exception the Low, or short-hair, delegates occupied the seats on the right of the speaker's chair, and the anti-Low, or long-hairs, those on the left. Immediately after the convention was called to order, two persons were placed in nomination for temporary secretary, and voted for. The chairman of the county committee announced W. H. Barton, the long-hair candidate, elected to the position by a viva voce vote. The convention was at once thrown into confusion, and the Low delegates insisted on a count of the votes. Barton advanced from the left toward the secretary's table, when the delegates from the right made a general rush to the left side of the house.

Then ensued an indescribable and a terrible scene, such as was never before witnessed in Sacramento at any political convention. Barton was intercepted before reaching the secretary's table, and told that he should not take his seat. The delegates on the left crowded up for the purpose of supporting him, as those from the right formed a solid phalanx on the front to prevent him from advancing. In a moment the two parties were engaged in a hand-to-hand fight. Solid hickory canes, which appeared to be abundant on both sides, were plied with vigor. Spittoons flew from side to side like bomb-shells on a battlefield. Ink-stands took the place of solid shot. Pistols were drawn and used as substitutes for clubs. The principal weapons, however, which were used by both sides, were the cane-bottomed arm-chairs, which were of course within the reach of every one. These implements, though not very well adapted to purposes of warfare, were swung in the air by the dozen and broken over the heads of the contending parties. In some instances chairs were broken up for the purpose of procuring the legs to use as clubs. No fire-arms were discharged and no knives were used. The fight lasted probably five minutes. At the close the anti-Low men, or long-hairs, who had rallied to the support of Barton, were driven from the field. Several jumped out through the windows; others who were badly hurt were assisted out of the building, while the greater portion passed into the ante-room and the main hall to find neutral ground.

After the fight the long-hairs retired in a body and organized in another hall, while the short-hairs proceeded with business in the capitol. Each convention nominated a full local ticket, and elected a set of delegates to the State Convention. Newton Booth was nominated for State Senator by the long-hairs, and E. H. Heacock by the shorts. The shorts attributed the trouble to an alleged partial ruling by the chairman of the committee in favor of Barton, and to the determination on the part of the longs to run the convention without regard to the rights or wishes of the opposition. The short-hair convention instructed its nominees for the Legislature to vote for Low for United States Senator, but he afterward declined. His withdrawal, however, did not heal the breach in the Union party. The division continued until some time in August, when the short-hairs generally transferred their support to John B. Felton for United States Senator.

The result of the election was that Cornelius Cole was elected to the United States Senate, December 16 following, as the agreed candidate of both parties.

Ex-Governor H. S. Foote, referred to in this chapter, was born in Virginia in 1800; graduated at Washington College in 1819; commenced the practice of law in 1822; edited a Democratic paper in Alabama in 1824–'32, and then resided many years in Mississippi, by which State he was elected United States Senator. In 1852 he was elected Governor of that State, having resigned his Senatorship. He came to California in 1854, joined the Native American party, and was their candidate for United States Senator in 1856, being defeated by David C. Broderick. In 1858 he returned to Mississippi and took an active part in politics; represented Tennessee in the Confederate Congress. One of his daughters became the wife of William M. Stewart, United States Senator; the other two daughters married and reside in this State, and two of the sons are practicing lawyers on the Pacific Coast. During his life Foote became engaged in three duels, in two of which he was wounded.

He possessed considerable literary ability. In 1866 he published "The War of the Rebellion" and "Scylla and Carybdis," and in 1871 a volume of reminiscences. He was also the author of "Texas and the Texans," published in 1847.

He died near Nashville, Tennessee, at his residence, May 20, 1880.


On the 28th of April, 1849, at Sutter's Fort, the first Sacramento newspaper, the Placer Times, was started by E. C. Kemble & Co., as an off-shoot of the Alta California, of San Francisco. The merchants in the vicinity rallied about the pioneer publisher and subscribed liberally to secure him from loss. A lot of old type was picked up out of the Alta office, an old Ramage press was repaired, a lot of Spanish foolscap secured in San Francisco, and the whole shipped to Sacramento on a vessel known as the Dice me Nana (says my mamma), the first craft to carry type and press to the interior of California, which trip she made in eight days. An office was built for the paper about 600 feet from the northeast corner of the bastion and near what is now the corner of Twenty-eighth and K streets. It was a strange mixture of adobe, wood and cotton cloth, but answered the purpose. The paper was 13 x 18 inches in size, with a title cut from wood with a pocket knife. All sorts of expedients were resorted to in cutting off and piecing out letters to make up a complement of "sorts" in the cases. The press had a wooden platen, which needed constant planing off to keep it level, and the rollers were anything but successes.

The Times appeared on Saturdays until June, when chills and fever drove Mr. Kemble to "The Bay," and T. P. Per Lee & Co. took charge. Per Lee ran the paper two weeks, but being a tyro in the business gave it up, and J. H. Giles took charge as agent for E. Gilbert & Co., owners of the Alta. In July the Times removed to Front street, where it flourished well for a time. The subscription was $10 per annum. In November, 1849, after a brief period of reduction in size, it resumed its old shape and was removed to Second street, between K and L. April 22, 1850, it began to appear as a tri-weekly, and J. E. Lawrence made his editorial bow. June 5 following, it appeared as a daily, and thus won the distinction of being the first daily paper of Sacramento. In July it was enlarged one-third. October 8, same year, it was purchased by Loring Pickering, J. E. Lawrence and L. Aldrich, the price paid being $16,000, which included the cost of the building and two lots. Aldrich soon sold out to the others. The paper had been neutral, but in 1850 inclined toward Democracy. When the Squatter Riot excitement came on, it had been valiant in defense of the real-estate owners, but under its new management was less partisan. Its last issue was dated June 15, 1851, during which month it was consolidated with its rival, the Sacramento Transcript.

The latter had been started April 1, 1850, as a tri-weekly, and the size of the Times. It was the first paper printed in interior California to be issued oftener than once a week. The proprietors were G. K. Fitch, S. C. Upham, J. M. Julian, H. S. Warner, Theodore Russell and F. C. Ewer. Mr. Ewer had been a prominent minister of the Congregational Church elsewhere. After he left here he went to New York, where he again maintained his pre-eminence as a minister.

The Transcript was a good paper and aimed at literary excellence. Fifth interests in the paper sold during the first summer as high as $5,000. G. C. Weld bought the interest of Upham for $10,000 very shortly after the paper started. In July, that season, the paper was enlarged, and the rivalry between it and the Times became very warm. The Transcript was started as an independent sheet, but in December, 1850, came out for the Democratic party and was thus the first interior Democratic paper.

As before stated, the Times and Transcript were united June 16, 1851, and thus was the first double-headed paper printed in California. It was enlarged to a size slightly greater than the present Record-Union single sheet. G. K. Fitch had become State printer, and L. Pickering had the city printing. These formed the basis of the fusion, Fitch retaining a half interest in the printing, and Pickering & Lawrence holding the other half. The editors were Pickering, Fitch and Lawrence. The new paper found a rival in the State Journal, and in June, 1852, the Times and Transcript left the field and went to San Francisco, where it was published by the old firm, and subsequently by George Kerr & Co., composed of George Kerr, B. F. Washington, J. E. Lawrence and J. C. Haswell. It passed from them to Edwin Bell, and next to Vincent E. Geiger & Co. Pickering, Fitch & Co. meanwhile had acquired the Alta California, and December 17, 1854, they bought back their old Times and Transcript, and the Alta at once absorbed it.

October 30, 1850, the Squatter Association started an organ, styling it the Settlers' and_Miners' Tribune. Dr. Charles Robinson, the editor, was noted for the active part he took in the Squatter Riots. He subsequently became the Free State Governor of Kansas; James McClatchy and L. M. Booth were associate editors. Sirus Rowe brought the type from Maine. The paper was daily, except Sundays, for a month, when it declined to a weekly, and after another month quietly gave up the ghost and was laid to rest in the journalistic boneyard.

December 23, 1850, the first weekly paper, the Sacramento Index, was started by Lynch, Davidson & Rolfe, practical "typos," with J. W. Winans, since a prominent lawyer of San Francisco, as editor. H. B. Livingstone was associate. It was nearly the size of the Record-Union, typographically neat, and was issued from the Times office, and was the first evening paper in Sacramento. Taking ground against the act of a vigilance committee in hanging a gambler, it lost ground, and died March 17, 1851, after a life of three months. It was a paper of rare literary ability.

The competition between the Times and the Transcript before their union became so warm that prices of advertising declined until they fell below the cost of composition. The printers in both offices rebelled, and the greater number quit. They held a meeting in a building next to the Transcript office, which thereby acquired the name of "Sedition Hall." They resolved to start a new paper and secured Dr. J. F. Morse as editor. They bought stock in San Francisco, and March 19, 1851, launched the Sacramento Daily Union, at 21 J street, in rented rooms in Langley's brick building. The proprietors were Alexander Clark, who subsequently went to the Society Islands and has never been heard of since; W. J. Keating, who died a few years afterward in the insane asylum; Alexander C. Cook; Joe Court, who was burned to death at the Western Hotel fire in this city, in the fall of 1874; E. G. Jeffries, Charles L. Hansicker, F. H. Harmon, W. A. Davison and Samuel H. Dosh. The last named subsequently was editor of the Shasta Courier, and is now dead.

Nearly a year elapsed, however, before type could be had. A lot had been ordered, but failed to arrive; and J. W. Simonton, having made an appearance with a full printing office, intending to start a Whig paper, his stock was purchased by the Union men. Dr. John F. Morse, the editor, was later known throughout California as one of the chief leaders in Odd-fellowship; and his death in 1874, in San Francisco, was the occasion of profound testimonials of esteem being made at many places throughout the State.

The size of the Union was 23 x 34 inches, with twenty-four columns, thirteen of which were filled with advertisements. The daily edition started with 500 copies, and rapidly increased. The paper was independent, outspoken and ably edited. The issue for March 29, 1851, was entitled the Steamer Union, and was designed for reading in the Eastern States. April 29, 1851, the Union hoisted the Whig flag, but declined to be ranked as a subservient partisan. S. H. Dosh sold out at this time for $600, and in June Harmon sold for a like sum. April 23 the paper was enlarged about to the size it has since averaged, and appeared with the new type at first ordered. January, 1852, H. B. Livingstone became associate editor, and Hansicker sold out for $2,000, the firm now being E. G. Jeffries & Co. They next sold out to W. W. Kurtz for $2,100. January 10, 1852, the first Weekly Union was issued. February 13 Cook sold out to H. W. Larkin, and April 3 Davidson to Paul Morrill. In May Dr. Morse retired as editor, being succeeded by A. C. Russell, who remained until August, when Lauren Upson became editor, retiring for a time in 1853; then John A. Collins filled the place.

November 2, 1852, the Union was burned out in the great fire. A small press and a little type were saved, and the paper came out the second morning after the fire, foolscap size, and soon resumed its former dimensions. A brick building was erected for it on J street near Second, the same now occupied by W. M. Lyon
& Co.


As the railroads here described were the first in the State and still the most important, we feel justified in giving an account of them at length. The following account, with some corrections, is mostly taken from Thompson & West's History of Sacramento County, of 1880.

The project of building a railroad across the plains and mountains was agitated by Asa Whitney, in 1846, in Congress and out of it, till 1850, and he was supported in his movement by such men as Senator Breese, of Illinois, and Benton, of Missouri, the latter of whom introduced a bill into the Senate of the United States, for a Pacific Railroad, February 7, 1849. This bill was really the first tangible effort made in this direction. The first effort made in California toward the building of an overland road was the formation of a company by citizens of Nevada, Placer and Sacramento counties. There were filed in the office of the Secretary of State, August 17, 1852, articles of incorporation of the Sacramento, Auburn & Nevada Railroad Company, containing the names of twenty-six subscribers of twenty-eight shares each, at a value of $100 per share, and the names of the following directors: S. W. Lovell, Placer County; T. O. Dunn, John R. Coryell, Charles Marsh, Isaac Williamson and William H. Lyons, of Nevada County; John A. Read, J. B. Haggin and Lloyd Tevis, of Sacramento County. A line was surveyed from Sacramento City, through Folsom, Auburn and Grass Valley, to Nevada City. The line was sixty-eight miles long, and the estimated cost of construction was $2,000,000. From Nevada City the survey was continued through the Henness Pass. The enterprise was too gigantic for the means at the command of the incorporators, and they were compelled to abandon the project.

During the month of March, 1853, Congress passed an act providing for a survey, by the topographical engineers of the army, of three routes for a transcontinental railway, the northern, southern and middle routes. These surveys were made, and reports submitted to Congress, and published, with elaborate engravings of the scenery along the routes, topographical maps, representations of the animals and plants discovered. These reports were, no doubt, immensely valuable, but they did not show that a route for a railway was practicable over the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevadas. The demonstration of the fact that such a route did exist was left to be made by Theodore D. Judah, the chief engineer of the first railroad ever built in California--the Sacramento Valley Railroad. It was while engaged in building this road, from 1854 to 1856, that Mr. Judah became convinced of the practicability of a railroad over the Sierra Nevadas, which was the only mountain range that had before been deemed impracticable. He made trial surveys, or, more properly, reconnoissances over several of the supposed passes over the Sierras, at his own expense. These were simply barometrical surveys, but were sufficiently accurate to convince Mr. Judah that a railroad could be built, and, armed with the data thus obtained, he lost no opportunity in presenting his views and aims whenever and wherever it seemed to him that it would advance the project of a Pacific railroad. He succeeded, through a concurrent resolution of the California Legislature of 1858, in having a railroad convention called, to meet in San Francisco, September 20, 1859. This convention was composed of many of the prominent men of California at that time; among them we note Hon. J. A. McDougall, Hon. J. B. Crockett, Major John Bidwell, Hon. S. B. Axtell, Hon. James T. Farley, Sherman Day and others, of California, together with delegates from Oregon and adjoining Territories.

They sent Mr. Judah to Washington, District of Columbia, to endeavor to procure legislation on the subject of the railroad. He proceeded thither in time to be at the opening of the Thirty-sixth Congress. Arrived at Washington, he lost no time in visiting the different departments, and collecting from each all the information they had that could in any way aid him in presenting plainly to Congress the importance and practicability of the enterprise. Unfortunately, this Congress was so entirely occupied with political matters that little could be done in the way of procuring legislation, but great good was effected by the personal interviews that Mr. Judah had with the different members and other prominent men. His knowledge of the subject was so thorough that he rarely failed to convince any one with whom he talked of the entire feasibility of the project. A bill was drawn up by himself and Hon. John C. Burch, then a member of Congress from California. It contained nearly all the provisions of the bill as finally passed in 1862. It was printed at private expense, and a copy sent to each Senator and member of Congress.

Mr. Judah returned to California in 1860, and set about making a more thorough survey of the Sierras for a pass and approach thereto. He was accompanied on this survey by Dr. D. W. Strong, of Dutch Flat, who contributed largely from his private means to pay the expenses of the trip, in addition to assisting very materially the progress of the work by his intimate knowledge of the mountains. Dr. Strong was one of the first directors of the Central Pacific Railroad Company when formed.

After completing these surveys, which were made with a barometer, Mr. Judah went to San Francisco to lay his plan before the capitalists of that place, and induce them, if possible, to form a company to take hold of the work and push it forward. His ideas were received very coldly, and he failed to get any financial support in San Francisco. Returning to his hotel one evening, convinced of the futility of any further trials in San Francisco, Mr. Judah remarked: "The capitalists of San Francisco have refused this night to make an investment, for which, in less than three years, they shall have ample cause to blame their want of foresight. I shall return to Sacramento to-morrow, to interest merchants and others of that place in this great work, and this shall be my only other effort on this side of the continent."

Previously Mr. Judah had placed his plans and estimates before a friend, James Bailey, of Sacramento, who, struck by the force of these calculations, introduced Mr. Judah to Governor Stanford, Mark Hopkins and E. B. and Charles Crocker; C. P. Huntington he knew before.

A meeting of the business men of Sacramento was called, and the preliminary steps were taken to organize a company. This organization was perfected and articles of incorporation filed with the Secretary of State, June 28, 1861. The company was named the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California, and the following officers were elected: Leland Stanford, President; C. P. Huntington, Vice-President; Mark Hopkins, Treasurer; Theodore D. Judah, Chief Engineer; Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, James Bailey, Theodore D. Judah, L. A. Booth, C. P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins, D. W. Strong, of Dutch Flat, and Charles Marsh, of Nevada, Directors.

All but the two last named were residents of Sacramento, showing conclusively that to Sacramento and her citizens belongs the honor of inaugurating and carrying to a successful completion the Pacific railroads; for had not Judah spent his time and talents in proving that such an undertaking were possible, it is an open question if to-day the Pacific railroads would be in existence. His coadjutors, named in the foregoing list of officers, and some of whom are still the owners and officers of the road, deserve full credit for their faith in the enterprise and the masterly manner in which they managed the financial difficulties encountered in the years that elapsed between the organization of the company and the completion of the road; but we cannot forget that for three or four years previous to the organization of the company Mr. Judah had spent all his time, money and energy in collecting data, without which no prudent man would be inclined to invest a dollar in the project which was so generally believed to be chimerical. After the organization of the company, Mr. Judah was instructed to make a thorough instrumental survey of the route across the Sierras, which he did.

The previous surveys or reconnoissances had included three routes, one through El Dorado County, via Georgetown, another via Illinoistown and Dutch Flat, and the third via Nevada and Henness Pass. The observations had proved the existence of a route across the Sierras by which the summit could be reached with maximum grades of 105 feet per mile. The instrumental survey developed a line with lighter grades, less distance and fewer obstacles than the previous observations had shown. The first report of the chief engineer to the officers of the company gave the following as the topographical features of the Sierra Nevadas, which rendered them so formidable for railroad operations:

1. "The great elevation to he overcome in crossing its summit, and the want of uniformity in its western slope." The average length of the western slope of the Sierras is about seventy miles, and in this distance the altitude increases 7,000 feet, making it necessary to maintain an even grade on the ascent to avoid creating some sections with excessive grades.

2. "From the impracticability of the river crossings." These rivers run through gorges in many places over 1,000 feet deep, with the banks of varying slopes from perpendicular to 45°. A. railroad line, therefore, must avoid crossing these cañons. The line, as established by the surveys of 1861, pursued its course along an unbroken ridge from the base to the summit of the Sierras, the only river crossing in the mountains being that of Little Bear River, about three miles above Dutch Flat. Another prominent feature of the location is the fact that it entirely avoids the second summit of the Sierras. The estimated cost of the road from Sacramento to the State Line was $88,000 per mile.

October 9, 1861, the Board of Directors of the Central Pacific Railroad Company passed a resolution directing Mr. Judah, the chief engineer of the company, to immediately proceed to Washington on a steamer as their accredited agent, for the purpose of procuring appropriations of land and United States bonds from the Government, to aid in the construction of the road. Mr. Judah went East and this time accomplished his purpose, as was evidenced by the bill which passed Congress in July, 1862. This bill granted to the roads a free right-of-way of 400 feet wide over all Government lands on their route. The Government also agreed to extinguish the Indian titles to all the lands donated to the company, either for right-of-way or to the granted lands. The lands on either side of the route were to be withdrawn from settlement, by pre-emption or otherwise, for a distance of fifteen miles, until the final location of the road should be made and the United States surveys had determined the location of the section lines. This map of the route was made by Mr. Judah, filed in the office of the Secretary of the Interior, and the lands withdrawn in accordance with the terms of the bill.

This bill also provided for the issue to the company of United States thirty-year six per cent bonds, to be issued to the company as each forty-mile section of the road was completed, at the rate of $16,000 per mile for the line west of the western base of the Sierra Nevadas, and at the rate of $18,000 per mile from the western base east to the eastern base of the Sierras, the latter subsidy to be paid on the completion of each twenty-mile section. To secure the Government from loss, and insure the repayment of these bonds, they were made a first lien on the road. This was subsequently modified, by an act passed July, 1864, allowing the company to issue first-mortgage bonds, the United States assuming the position of second mortgagee. The land grant in the first bill was every alternate section for ten miles, each side of the track. This allowance was subsequently doubled, making twenty sections per mile. The State of California also donated $10,000 per mile to the road, by an act approved April 25, 1863.

The engineering difficulties were great, and had been considered insurmountable, but the financial difficulties were also great, and undoubtedly required more labor and thought than the engineering, though of a different kind. That these difficulties were surmounted, and the originators of the effort still retain the ownership and control of the road, and, in addition to the original line, have built thousands of miles of road in California and Arizona, proves the ability of the leaders in this movement. These men were merchants in what cannot be classed among the large cities, and consequently not largely known to the financial world; they had never been engaged in the railroad business, and were supposedly ignorant of the immense undertaking in which they had embarked. Aside from the natural difficulty of the situation, they encountered opposition from the moneyed men of San Francisco and other places, who gave their enterprise the not very pleasant name of the "Dutch Flat Swindle."

Mr. Huntington, Vice-President of the company, was sent East, with full power of attorney to do any acts he might think best for the interest of the company. One of the main objects of this visit was to see that the bill which was then before Congress should not oblige the company to pay interest on the bonds received of the Government for ten years, at least, from the date of their issue. After the passage of the bill, the books were opened for stock subscriptions, to the amount of $8,500,000, and for a long time the stock was disposed of very slowly. Huntington, on endeavoring to dispose of the bonds of the company in New York, was informed that they had no marketable value until some part of the road was built. Before he could dispose of them, he was obliged to give the personal guarantees of himself and four partners, Hopkins, Stanford, and the Crockers, for the money, until such time as they could be exchanged for United States bonds. The bonds so obtained, $1,500,000, built thirty-one miles of the road.

In 1862 the company was granted the right of way into the city of Sacramento, and also granted the Slough, or Sutter Lake. The first shovelful of dirt thrown in the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad was in Sacramento, January 8, 1863, by Governor Stanford, at the foot of K street; on the levee.

The contract for building the road from this point to Grider's, on the California Central Railroad, was let to C. Crocker & Co., December 22, 1862. C. Crocker & Co. sublet the contract to different parties. Twenty miles of road each year were completed in 1863, 1864 and 1865, thirty miles in 1866, forty-six miles in 1867, 364 miles in 1868, 190½ miles in 1869; making 690½ miles from Sacramento to Promontory, where the roads met, May 10, 1869.

All of the materials, except the cross-ties, for constructing this road, including a large portion of the men employed, had to be brought from the East, via Cape Horn. Toward the latter end of the work several thousand Chinamen were employed. In addition to this, it was war times, and marine insurance was very high; iron and railroad materials of all kinds were held at enormous figures, and the price of the subsidy bonds was very low. All of these facts tended to make the cost of the road large.

The State of California agreed to pay the interest on $1,500,000 of bonds for twenty years, in exchange for which the railroad company gave a valuable stone quarry. Several of the counties along the line of the road granted bonds of the county in exchange for stock. Sacramento County gave her bonds to the amount of $300,000. These bonds were exchanged for money, and the work pushed forward. There was delay in obtaining the Government subsidy; and the money ran short. When Mr. Huntington returned from New York he found the treasury almost depleted of coin, and the necessity of raising more means or stopping the work was evident. Huntington and Hopkins can, out of their own means, pay 500 men during a year; how much can each of you keep on the line ?" was the characteristic way in which this man met the emergency. Before the meeting adjourned these five men had resolved that they would maintain 800 men on the road during the year out of their own private fortunes. About this time (1863) Mr. Judah had sold out his interest in the company and gone East. On the way he was stricken with the Panama fever, of which he died shortly after his arrival in New York, in 1863; at the age of only thirty-seven years. Dr. Strong, of Dutch Flat, though a sincere believer in the enterprise, was unable to furnish what was considered his share of the expenses necessary to be advanced, and retired from the Board of Directors. Bailey, Mr. Marsh and Mr. Booth we hear nothing of after the enterprise was fairly under way, though we know they were all three earnest workers at the commencement

S. S. Montague succeeded Mr. Judah as chief engineer of the road, which position he still holds. The location surveys were made under Mr. Montague's suggestions. The road from Sacramento to Colfax, or Lower Illinoistown Gap, was located on the line run by Mr. Judah in 1861; from Colfax to Long Ravine the line was changed materially; from Long Ravine to Alta the line ran on Judah's survey, and from Alta to the Summit on an entirely new line, located by Mr. L. M. Clement, engineer, in charge of second division from Colfax to the Summit. This final location gave a better grade line, and one more free from snow in the winter, two very desirable objects. The value of these changes is plainly shown by the report of George E. Gray, formerly chief engineer of the New York Central Railroad. Mr. Gray was requested by Leland Stanford, in a letter dated July 10, 1865, to inspect the line of road and surveys then made, and report to the Board of Directors of the company his opinion as to the quality of the work, and the economical location of that portion not then built: Mr. Gray's report gave as his opinion that the road already constructed would compare favorably with any road in the United States. Of that portion not constructed he reported that Mr. Judah's line had been materially altered, causing a saving in distance of nearly 5,000 feet, and also reducing the aggregate length of the tunnels about 5,000 feet, a saving in cost of construction of over $400,000 at least. The road progressed, as we have stated above, slowly at first, but more rapidly toward the close, until, on the 10th day of May, 1869, the last spike was driven which completed the railroad connection between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. A large party were gathered on Promontory Point to see this ceremony. Telegraph wires had been connected with the different large cities of the Union, so that the exact moment of driving the last spike could be known in all at the same time. The hour designated having arrived, Leland Stanford, President of the Central Pacific, and other officers of the company; came forward. T. C. Durant, Vice-President of the Union Pacific, accompanied by General Dodge and others of the same company, met them at the end of the rail, where they paused, while Rev. Dr. Todd, of Massachusetts, gave a short prayer. The last tie, made of California laurel, with silver plates bearing suitable inscriptions, was put in place, and the last connecting rails were laid by parties from each company. The last spikes were made, one of gold from California, one of silver from Nevada, and one, of gold and silver from Arizona. President Stanford then took the hammer of solid silver, to the handle of which were attached the telegraph wires, by which, at the first tap on the head of the gold spike, at 12 the news of the event was flashed over the American continent.

A locomotive of the Central Pacific Railroad Company and another of the Union Pacific Railroad Company approached from each way, and rubbed their pilots together, while bottles of champagne were passed from one to the other.

During the building of this road the track-laying force of the Central Pacific laid ten miles and 200 feet of track in one day. This herculean feat was performed on the 20th of April, 1869, when only fourteen miles of track remained to be laid to connect with the Union. Pacific Railroad, and was entirely finished by 7 P. M.

By mutual agreement between the two roads Ogden was made the terminus of each. By this arrangement the Union Pacific sold fifty-three miles of road to the Central, making the length of road owned by the Central Pacific proper 743½ miles, from Sacramento to Ogden.

August 20, 1870, the Western Pacific, San Joaquin Valley, California & Oregon, and San Francisco, Oakland & Alameda railroads were all consolidated under the name of the Central Pacific Railroad.

The "Western Pacific Railroad Company" was incorporated December 13, 1862, for the purpose of constructing a railway from San Jose, through the counties of Alameda and San Joaquin, to the city of Sacramento. Its capital stock was $5,400,000. The road was 137½ miles in length, and made the whole length of the Central Pacific 881 miles. This road was not completed until 1870. The franchise had, we believe, passed into the hands of the Central Pacific Railroad Company a year before the above date of consolidation. The San Joaquin Valley Railroad is now the property of the Southern Pacific. The California & Oregon Railroad leaves the Central Pacific at Roseville, and runs from thence to Redding, California.

The "California Pacific Railroad Company" was for some time an active competitor for the carrying trade of the State, and at one time it was thought that the intention of its owners was to construct a line of railroad to connect with the Union Pacific. This company bought the boats and franchises of the California Steam Navigation Company, and for some time really controlled the rates of freight between Sacramento and San Francisco.

It was incorporated January 10, 1865, with a capital stock of $3,500,000. Work was begun in Vallejo in 1867, and the road was finished to Washington, Yolo County, November 11, 1868, and to Marysville in November, 1869. In June, 1869, this company purchased the Napa Valley Railroad; the two railroads were consolidated in December, 1869, with a capital of $12,000,000.

In 1869 and 1870 the Central Pacific and California Pacific railroads were at war with each other. The track of the Central Pacific being laid on the levee, it was impossible for the California Pacific road to cross the river, and secure depot and switch accommodations, without crossing this track. Various attempts were made to lay the track and form the crossing of the two tracks, but these attempts were resisted; and at one time it appeared as if bloodshed would result. The crossing, however; was made, and passengers landed by the California Pacific in Sacramento, January 29, 1870. The train was received with a regular ovation; guns were fired, the fire department turned out, and intense enthusiasm was manifested on all sides. The war continued until August, 1871, during which time the rates of freight and travel were very low, and neither road could have made much profit.

Since March, 1885, the Central Pacific lines have been controlled by the great Southern Pacific Company.

The California Pacific gave the " Vallejo route" to San Francisco. The trip was made to Vallejo by rail, and from thence to San Francisco by boat. This was a very popular route, and monopolized the majority of the travel between Sacramento and San Francisco. December 28, 1879, the new road via Benicia was opened, and the trains have since been run through to Oakland, and the Vallejo route as a line of travel to San Francisco was abandoned. The large ferry at Benicia will be superseded by a bridge in a few years.

The "Sacramento Valley Railroad" was the first constructed in California. The company was organized August 4, 1852, when ten per cent of the stock subscribed was paid in, amounting to $5,000. The company reorganized November 9, 1854, and made immediate preparations for building the road. The first shovelful of dirt was thrown in February, 1855, the first tie came in May, and the first vessel load of material and rolling stock arrived from Boston in June. The first work done on a railroad car in California was on this road, July 4, 1855. The first rail was laid August 9, 1855, and the first train was placed on the track August 14. The road had some little trouble with its finances, but was not impeded materially in its progress.

November 13, 1855, an excursion train was run to Patterson's, ten miles from Sacramento, the round trip costing $1.00. By January 1, 1856, the road was completed to Alder Creek, and on February 22 was finished to Folsom. The length of the road was twenty-two and one-half miles, and cost $1,568,000. The capital stock was $800,000—$792,000 of which were issued. The road was a very profitable one from the date of its completion. Its effect was to move the terminus of the stage and freight lines running to the northern mines to Folsom, building up quite a town at that point. At one time twenty-one different stage lines were centered at Folsom, all leaving shortly after the arrival of the trains from Sacramento.

In August, 1865, the Central Pacific Company purchased the Sacramento Valley road. The purchase was made by George F. Bragg, on behalf of himself and others, of the entire stock held by L. L. Robinson and Pioche and Bayerque. The price paid for this stock was $800,000. Bragg, soon after coming into possession, transferred the stock to the owners of the Central Pacific. The latter company was forced to do this in order to secure the whole of the Washoe trade, which at this time was immense, amounting to several million dollars per annum. The short line of the Sacramento Valley road alone declared an annual profit of nearly half a million dollars the year previous to its purchase, most of which came from the freights going to the Washoe and other mining districts.

California Central Railroad.—In the spring of 1857 a company was formed in Marysville, to build a railroad from that city to the terminus of the Sacramento Valley Railroad, at Folsom. This company was entirely independent of the Sacramento Valley Company. Colonel C. L. Wilson, who was one of the contractors on the Sacramento Valley road, was sent East to procure funds for building the road. This object he effected, and the construction commenced forthwith. The road, however, never was finished to Marysville by the original company. By 1861 the track was laid to Lincoln. The name was subsequently changed to the California & Oregon Railroad, and is now known as the Oregon Division of the Central Pacific Railroad. Shortly after the completion of the Central Pacific Railroad to Roseville, the company purchased the California Central Railroad; that portion of the road between Roseville and Folsom was abandoned; the bridge over the American River was condemned and sold in 1868.

The railroad shops at Sacramento comprise about twenty large buildings and scores of small ones, covering about fifteen acres of ground, and an average of 2,600 hands are employed.


The first agricultural society in the State met in Sacramento, October 8, 1852, in the American Theater. C. I. Hutchinson was president, and Dr. J. F. Morse delivered the address. A fair was held a week or two on that occasion, under the supervision of Warren & Co. The "State Agricultural Society" was organized early in 1854, and on May 13, that year, was incorporated by a special act of the Legislature. The first officers were named in the charter and were as follows: F. W. Macondray, of San Francisco, President; Vice Presidents, E. L. Beard of Alameda, J. K. Rose of San Francisco, D. W. C. Thompson of Sonoma, H. C. Malone of Santa Clara, W. H. Thompson of San Francisco, and C. I. Hutchinson of Sacramento; Corresponding Secretary, J. L. L. Warren, of San Francisco; Recording Secretary, C. V. Gillespie; of San Francisco; Treasurer, David Chambers, of San Francisco. The same act appropriated $5,000 per annum for the first four years for premiums.

Under the new charter, the first fair was held in San Francisco, in October following; the second in Sacramento, September, 1855, when the general exhibition was held in the State House and the cattle show at the Louisiana race-track; the third in San José, in October, 1856; the fourth in Stockton, in 1857; the fifth in Marysville, in 1858, since which time all the fairs have been held at Sacramento. When the society, in 1860, voted to hold the next fair at Sacramento,—being the third time in succession at the same place,—it angered the competing points in the State, opposition agricultural societies were formed, and the receipts fell from $28,639 in 1860, to $18,584 in 1861.

In 1863 the Legislature provided for the election of a "Board of Agriculture," to be entrusted with the affairs of the State Agricultural Society. Under this arrangement the fairs were held until the State Constitution of 1879 was adopted, which cut off all State assistance unless the board of directors were appointed by State authority. The subsequent Legislature empowered the Governor to appoint the members of this board, and also divided the State into "agricultural districts" of several counties each, placing in the Third District the counties of Sacramento, Sutter, Yuba, Butte, Colusa, Tehama and Yolo; but at present, probably on account of the direct presence of the State institution, Sacramento is not taking an active part in the district organization.

In 1884 the present magnificent pavilion, east of the Capitol, was erected. It is, in general, about 400 feet square, and cost, with furnishings, in the neighborhood of $115,000. It is the largest public building in the State.

For some years the fairs have occupied about two weeks' time. At the exhibition of September 3 to 15, 1888, over $20,000 was awarded in premiums.


In the year 1884 A. A. Krull, about two and a half miles northeast of Florin, executed a novel but brilliantly successful experiment in horticulture. Having several acres of "hard-pan" upon his place, he devised the plan of breaking it up with blasts of powder. Employing an expert, he bored holes in the ground, one for each tree, put down in each a pound of Huckley's No. 2 giant powder, and exploded it, with the result of giving to each tree a mass of rich, loose, moist earth, not needing irrigation. It is now as good as the best land for raising fruit. The cost was $27 per 100 charges. Occasionally a spot required a second charge. Other horticulturists are taking lessons. It seems that in time all the hard-pan in the country, now considered nearly worthless, may be made the best of land.


In April, 1850, the Freemasons and Odd Fellows together established a hospital, the Board of Trustees being elected by both orders. A series of concerts was given for the benefit of the hospital, which were liberally patronized. The managers of the Tehama Theatre and Rowe's Olympic Circus also gave benefits for the same object.

Dr. Dow had a "Thompsonian Hospital and Botanic Medicine Store" on K street, between Second and Third. The price of admission per day, $5 to $25, "according to trouble' and expense."

Drs. T. J. White and C. D. Cleveland had an extensive hospital that would accommodate 100 patients, on the corner of Ninth and L streets.

Drs. James S. Martin and B. R. Carman conducted the "Sutter's Fort Hospital," inside the fort. Drs. Morse and Stillman also had a hospital at the corner of Third and K streets.


Several physicians, first at Sutter's Fort and afterward in the city, received boarding patients; but very few of the sick had the means to pay the prices asked. Very early, therefore, were the people led to establish a public hospital. The first was established about 1851-'52, in the business part of the city, and among the early physicians to the institution were Drs. J. F. Montgomery, Johnson Price,----- Procter and George W. ,Williams. In the City Directory of 1853 is the following entry: "Drs. Johnson, Price and George W. Williams, Physicians to the County Hospital, corner of I and Seventh streets." About the same time or shortly afterward, Price & Procter established a hospital on Second street, between I and J, with seventy-five or eighty beds. They entered into contract with the county for keeping the poor, of whom they had about fifty, charging very high fees. Within three or four years the county endeavored to break the contract, in the meantime establishing a hospital on the corner of Tenth and L streets. Price & Procter sued the county and obtained judgment. This county building was on the northwest corner of the present Capitol Park, and was torn down and removed soon after it was vacated, some time after the war.

In 1857 Dr. Montgomery was again the county physician; 1858–'59, Dr. G. L. Simmons; 1859–'60, Dr. Montgomery; 1861, from November, Dr. J. G. Phelan; 1869, from September, Dr. Montgomery; 1870, Dr. A. C. Donaldson, with Dr. G. A. White as assistant.

About this time the county purchased from James Lansing sixty acres of land on the upper Stockton road, about three miles southeast of the business center of the city, at a cost of about $11,000, and erected upon it a very fine building, and moved into it the seventy-five patients that were in the old building. October 5, 1878, this new building was accidentally burned, and the patients were temporarily cared for in the "old Pavilion," at the corner of Sixth and M streets, until the present structures were completed, in the summer of 1879. These buildings, erected according to designs drawn up by N. D. Goodell, of Sacramento, cost between $60,000 and $65,000, and are modern in all respects. There is now an average of 150 to 160 inmates, each costing the county about $11.50 a month.

The Central Pacific Railroad Hospital was built by the company at Sacramento in 1869, at a cost of $64,000. It consists of a main building 60 x 35 feet, four stories and basement, with a wide verandah at each story, two wings 35 x 52 feet, and a kitchen twenty-four feet square, removed a few feet from the main building. The hospital has six wards, besides eight private rooms for patients, a library of some 1,500 volumes, well appointed executive and medical rooms, and will accommodate 125 patients.


An association for the care of orphans was organized as early as 1858, but it proved short-lived. In 1867 Mrs. Elvira Baldwin interested a number of citizens, including the Governor, in the care of a family of seven children left orphans by the death of their mother, a poor woman; and this movement directly resulted in the organization of a society for the care of orphans and destitute children throughout the county, and even the State. Mrs. I. E. Dwinell was the first president. The society immediately rented and furnished a building on the corner of Seventh and D streets, where they placed fourteen or fifteen children in the care of Mrs. Cole, the first matron. The next year the association erected a building on the site of the present establishment on K street, between Eighteenth and Nineteenth streets. It was considerably damaged by fire December 7, 1878; but it was soon repaired, and another and a superior building added. Also, 1877, a neat school-house was built on the premises, where the school is made one of the "public schools" of the city, in the care of the City Board of Education. No child, however, but the proper inmates of the asylum, is admitted into this school. .

The "Marguerite Home" in Sacramento is a fine institution for the care of aged dependent women, where from twelve to fifteen are now well cared for. The property is the munificent gift of. Mrs. E. B. Crocker.

The "water-cure" of Dr. Clayton, in this city, is an old institution.


One of the two best art galleries in the United States is located in Sacramento. This also is a gift to the public by the celebrated Mrs. E. B. Crocker, and a magnificent one it is, as its value is estimated at about $400,000. It is open to the public free on certain days of the week. It is controlled by the California Museum Association, who have had it in charge since the gift was made, in 1885. In returning thanks to the benefactress a magnificent flower festival was held at the great agricultural pavilion,—probably the greatest demonstration of the kind ever made in this country.

In the art gallery building are also the State mineral cabinet (in the basement) and the school of design (on the main floor),--a flourishing institution.

Besides the magnificent State library, the citizens of Sacramento are also blest with one of the best city libraries in the State, and an Odd Fellows' library, a large one for the kind.

The principal church building in Sacramento is the stately new cathedral of the Catholic Church, costing about $250,000, and built under the supervision of Bishop Patrick Manogue.

Transcribed by Kathy Sedler.

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About the City of Sacramento

The City of Sacramento, Sacramento County, California, was founded in 1849, and is the oldest incorporated city in California. In 1920, Sacramento City voters adopted a
City Charter (municipal constitution) and a City Council-City Manager form of government, which are still used today.
The City Council consists of a Mayor elected by all City voters, and Councilmembers elected to represent the eight separate Council districts in the City. Each district is a separate geographical area with a population of about 51,000 residents. Each Councilmember must be a registered voter and live in the district they represent. Elected members serve 4 year terms and elections are staggered every two years in even numbered years. (Council District Information, including summary report of population and racial statistics).
The Council establishes City policies, ordinances, and land uses; approves the City's annual budget, contracts, and agreements; hears appeals of decisions made by City staff or citizen advisory groups; and appoints four Charter Officers, a City Manager, City Attorney, City Treasurer, and City Clerk. Councilmembers serve on several working committees, such as Law and Legislation, and Personnel and Public Employees. In 2002, City voters amended the City Charter and established a Compensation Commission to set the compensation for the Mayor, Council members and public members of City boards and commissions. This Charter Amendment also established the Mayor's position as a full-time job.
The City Council holds public meetings most Tuesday afternoons and evenings (at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively) in the City Council Chamber on the second floor of City Hall, 915 I Street in downtown Sacramento. The Council also holds special meetings and committee meetings which are open to the public. Agendas for City Council and Council committee meetings are available online and in the City Clerk's Office, Room 211 of City Hall.
The City also has a Legislative Affairs Unit; its primary purpose is to advocate, coordinate and advance the City's legislative agenda to enhance the City's ability to govern and provide essential municipal and community services.

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