HISTORY OF YUBA COUNTY CALIFORNIA
by Thompson & West, 1879, with illustrations
Chapter XIII - Subsequent History of Marysville Township, And Incidentally of Yuba County
Yuba County had now fairly entered upon its career of advancement. Its agricultural lands were being located on, and began to yield abundant harvests; its mines gave no indication of exhaustion. While most of the history of the period from the year 1850 has been segregated into topics and treated of in other portions of the work, there are scenes and incidents which occurred during this time that cannot properly be classed under any of the headings, and that will naturally fall into this chapter. Yuba county was set off by the first Legislature, February 18, 1850, was described as follows: Beginning at the mouth of Honcut creek, and running up the middle of the same to its source; thence following the dividing ridge between Feather and Yuba rivers to the summit of the Sierra Nevada; thence east to the boundary of the State; thence south following said boundary to the northeast corner of El Dorado county; thence in a westerly direction, following the northern boundary of said County, to the junction of the north and middle forks of the American river; thence in a northwesterly direction, following the boundary of Sutter county to the mouth of Bear creek; thence running up the middle of Feather river to the mouth of Honcut creek, which was the place of beginning. The seat of justice was located at Marysville. August 24, 1850, the first division of the county into townships was made by the Court of Sessions, making fifteen large subdivisions. Marysville Township No. 1, Long Bar No. 2, Rose No. 3, Foster No. 4, and Townships Nos. 11 and 12 were within the present limits of Yuba county; the first four were north of Yuba river, and the last two south of that stream. The winter of 1850-51 was extremely dull; money was scarce and business greatly depressed.
February 5, 1851, the Legislature passed a bill incorporating the "City of Marysville", dividing it into four wards and fixing the first Monday of the following March as the day for the election of the city officers, a Mayor and eight Aldermen. The election resulted in the selection of the following: - Mr. S.M. Miles, Mayor, and Messrs. L.W. Ransom, S.C. Stambaugh, F.Schaeffer, B.Tallman, J.G. Smith, D.W.C. Rice, S.C. Tompkins and Charles Covillaud, Aldermen. On the tenth the Board met and organized. The following officers were elected: - L.W. Ransom, President; R.H. Taylor, Clerk; Lewis Cunningham, Treasurer; R.S. Olds, Assessor; F.J. McCann, City Attorney; Albert Miller, City Marshal. The boundaries of the city of Marysville as laid down in the original chapter were as follows: - Commencing at high water mark on the southern bank of Yuba river, at a point one mile east of the public plaza, and running thence north two miles; thence west to Feather river; thence south following Feather river to high water mark on the southern bank of Yuba river; thence east along the southern bank of Yuba river to the place of beginning. The provision in regard to officers named the following: - Mayor, eight Aldermen, Treasurer, Assessor, Attorney, Clerk, and Marshal. The Common Council were authorized to establish a Recorder's Court, but this power was taken away by the act passed April 10, 1852, when the Recorder's Court was abolished as well as the offices of Recorder, City Attorney and City Assessor. Business again assumed its former proportions, and building was commenced with renewed activity.
The original Yuba county embraced the territory now included in Sierra and Nevada counties, but as the legal and county business increased, it was found that the distances from the county seat were too great to accommodate the inhabitants. April 25, 1851, an act entitled "An Act dividing the State into counties and establishing the seats of Justice therein" was passed, which made the new county of Nevada, taking away a portion of Yuba county. The boundaries of Nevada county were as follows: - Beginning at the point in the middle of Yuba river, opposite the mouth of Deer creek, and running thence up the middle of Yuba river to a point opposite the mouth of the middle branch of Yuba; thence up the middle of said middle branch ten miles from its mouth; thence easterly in a straight line to the boundary of the State; thence south along the boundary line of the State to the northeast corner of Placer county; thence westerly on the northerly line of Placer county to the source of Bear creek; thence down Bear creek to a point due south of the junction of Deer creek and Yuba river; thence north to the place of beginning. The seat of justice was located at Nevada City. The fourth Monday of May was set as the day for the election of officers in the new county. Henry Miller, J.N. Turner, J.R. Crandall, J.S. Allen, and Amos T. Laird were appointed a Board of Commissioners to designate voting precincts, appoint election officers and to supervise the election returns. The joint indebtedness of the counties was thirty-three thousand five hundred dollars, Nevada's share being twelve thousand five hundred and seventy-two dollars. Commissioners were appointed to settle and determine these amounts.
In July, 1851, Captain Sutter had two hundred acres under cultivation on Hock Farm. He was pursuing the business of farming systematically and vigorously. In 1865, he left the coast and has since resided in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Monday, August 4, 1851, prospectors began work on the bar of the Yuba river between the upper and lower landings of Marysville; a panful of earth from the surface yielded seventy-five cents. A notice of claim was immediately put up by the following thirteen gentlemen: - J. Low, C. Low, F. Low, S.R. Tribble, M.C. Nelson, J.J. Mechling, W.R. Taylor, J.J. McLeary, L.B. Farish, L.S. Priddy, W. Myers, T. Hispanger, and J.J. Wellington. Thinking that the operations on a mining location so near the city would seriously affect the interests of the citizens, the following order was issued by Major Miles:
MAYOR'S OFFICE, MARYSVILLE, August 11th, 1851
"It having been represented to me that sundry persons have laid out and staked off claims on the bar in front of the landing for mining purposes: Now, therefore, I, S.M. Miles, Mayor of the City of Marysville do hereby caution all persons against trespassing on or injuring the public grounds within the limits of the City of Marysville, in any manner whatever. S.M. Miles, Mayor."
August 9, 1851, the Court of Sessions divided the county into eleven townships, the first six of which were in the present Yuba county, and the remaining five in what is now Sierra county. The following is the list: - 1st, Marysville; 2d, Eliza; 3d, Parks Bar; 4th, Dry Creek; 5th, Foster Bar; 6th, Oak Valley; 7th, Goodyear's Bar; 8th, Downieville; 9th, Deigan's Flats; 10th, Rose Bar; 11th, not named. At the same session, thirty-one election precincts were established, among them one at "Old Hat Hollow". Besides the regular business houses in 1851, a profitable trade was carried on by a large number of out-door coffee stands, located on the sidewalks along First street, from the Plaza to C street, many of the proprietors paying as high as one hundred and fifty dollars rent per month. Another illustration of the high rents paid during that early period is the following: In November, 1851, a gentleman was paying two hundred dollars per month for an office five feet in width and twelve feet in depth, and made money notwithstanding. The importance of Marysville was recognized by the outside world, for in 1851, Dr. J.B. Pigne-Dupuytren was located there, as Vice-Consul of France.
In January, 1852, a movement was inaugurated to repeal the city charter. The petition was drawn up and placed before the citizens for signatures. A remonstrance was also prepared. On Thursday, February 12, Hon. John A. Paxton presented the first petition in the Assembly. The opposing petition was offered by Hon. J.H. Gardner. Great exertions were put forth on each side, but the act was finally passed, April 10. It was entitled "An Act supplementary to an Act incorporating the city of Marysville."
Sunday afternoon, March 21, 1852, Eliza Sutter, the daughter of the Captain, was married to Geo. Engler of Marysville. The ceremony took place at Hock Farm and was performed by Judge Cushing of Marysville. Visitors were present from nearly all parts of the State and enjoyed fully the celebrated hospitalities of Hock Farm.
In the latter part of 1851, the matter of another division of the county was broached and resulted in the segregation of Sierra county by act of the Legislature, approved April 16, 1852. The following are the first two sections of the Act alluded to: - "SEC. 1. The following shall constitute the boundaries and seat of justice of Sierra county. SEC. 2. Sierra County: Beginning at a point in the middle of the middle branch of Yuba river, ten miles from its mouth, running thence in a northwesterly direction to a point on the north branch of Yuba river, known as Cut Eye Foster's Bar; thence westerly to a point on the dividing ridge between the waters of Feather and Yuba rivers, known as the Lexington House, leaving said house in Yuba County; thence northerly following out said ridge; thence easterly in a straight line to the boundary line of the State; thence south along said boundary line to a point east of the middle branch of Yuba river, and the northeast corner of Nevada county; thence west following the northerly line of Nevada county, to the place of beginning." The seat of justice was fixed at Downieville. The joint indebtedness of the two counties was thirty-six thousand nine hundred and one dollars, the proportion of Sierra county being nine thousand two hundred and twenty-five dollars. The election of officers for Sierra county was set for Monday, June 14, 1852; John James, Frances Anderson, John Craycroft, C.E. Smith, and T.M. Ramsdell were appointed the Board of Commissioners. The election resulted in the choice of the following officers: County Judge, F.J. MCCANN, Dem., 452 Maj. - District Attorney, THADDEUS PURDY, Dem., 488, Maj. - Sherif, WM. J. FORD, Dem., 555, Maj. - County Clerk, J.W. NICHOLSON, Ind., 84, Maj. - County Treasurer, T.M. RAMSDEILL, Dem., 485, Maj. - Assessor, E. FRAZER, Dem., 567, Maj.- Coroner, CYRUS D. AIKEN, Dem., 15, Maj.- Surveyor, W.G. STILL, Dem., 495, Maj.
Sierra county having been taken away, it became necessary to redivide the county into townships, which was done by the Court of Sessions, October 7, 1852, making ten subdivisions. Marysville No. 1, Long Bar No. 4, Parks Bar No. 5, Dobbins No. 6, Foster Bar No. 7, Slate Range No. 8, Northeast No. 9, and Keystone No. 10, were north of Yuba rive, while Linda No. 2, and Rose Bar No. 3, were south of the stream.
February 3, 1854, an act was passed entitled, "An Act Amendatory to an Act Incorporating the City of Marysville, and Acts Supplementary to said Act." On the thirtieth of March of the same year, an act was passed entitled, "An Act Amendatory to an Act to Incorporate the City of Marysville, and to Acts Supplementary and ammendatory thereto." May 6, 1854, an act was passed entitled, "An Act Supplementary to the Act Incorporating the City of Marysville, and to all Acts Supplementary and Amendatory to the same." Other acts relating to the Incorporation of Marysville and its government, were passed by Legislature, March 5, 1855; March 3, 1857; April 23, 1857; April 18, 1859; March 10, 1860; May 3, 1861; and March 5, 1862.
October 10, 1856, the county was again subdivided into townships by the Board of Supervisors. This time there were ten townships laid out, with names and boundaries nearly the same as at present. Since then but little change has been made except in rectifying the division lines, and the division of Bear River into east and west halves. September 17, 1861, the map made by Nelson Wescoatt, County Surveyor, was declared the official map of the county, and the township boundaries as thereon shown were adopted as correct. By this action there were made eleven townships, of which Marysville No. 1, Long Bar No. 6, Parks Bar No. 7, New York No. 8, Foster Bar No. 9, Northeast No. 10, and Slate Range No. 11, are on the north side of the Yuba; and Linda No. 2, West Bear River No. 3, East Bear River No. 4, and Rose Bar No. 5, are on the south side. The boundaries are defined in the various township histories.
March 7, 1876, an act to reincorporate the city of Marysville was approved. The boundaries as laid down in this charter are as follows: - Commencing at a point on the south bank of Yuba river, opposite D street in said city; thence down the south bank of said river to the center of Feather river; thence up the center of Feather river to a point opposite Sixteenth street in said city; thence easterly along the north line of said Sixteenth street to E street in said city; thence northerly along the west line of E street to the northwest corner of suburban lot 5, range D; thence easterly to the outer side of the levee as now located by said city; thence along the outer side of said levee until it intersects the Brown's Valley road or grade; thence along the extreme southeasterly side of said Brown's Valley road or grade to a point where said Brown's Valley grade or road intersects Swezy street; thence due south to the south bank of Yuba river; thence along the south bank of Yuba river to the place of beginning.
In 1852, a census of the inhabitants in the county showed the population to be twenty-two thousand and five. The eighth United States census in 1860, credits the county with a population of thirteen thousand six hundred and sixty-eight. The ninth census, in 1870, fixes it at ten thousand eight hundred and fifty-one, ranking twelfth in the State, while the estimated population in 1877, was eleven thousand.
The directory for 1853, makes the following classification of business men and firms: - auction and commission merchants, six; attorneys-at-law, sixteen; bankers, five; bakers, four; barbers, eight; proprietors of baths, two; blacksmiths, twenty; books and stationery, three; butchers, eight; proprietors of brick yards, five; carpenters, joiners and builders, seventeen; cabinetmakers, five; clothiers, fifteen; cigar and tobacco dealers, six; crockery and glass, two; coopers, -----; coach, carriage and wagonmakers, six; clerks and book-keepers, sixty-six; dentists, two; dry goods merchants, six; saloon and restaurant-keepers, nineteen; druggists, four; editors and publishers, six; express offices, seven; hay dealers, twelve; hardware dealers, five; hotels, eighteen; stable keepers, ten; lumber dealers, five; merchants, fifty-four; painters, six; physicians, seventeen; steam flouring mills, three; steam saw mills, two; stage proprietors, seven; watchmakers and jewelers, seven; miscellaneous, thirty-five.
The following list will give an idea of the business interests of Marysville at the present time. The data were gathered by a careful examination of the signs and advertisements displayed to the public gaze. The statement for 1853, includes the employers and employes, while that of 1879 embraces only the former, which accounts for the seeming disparity in numbers in some of the trades and professions: wholesale groceries, three; retail groceries, nine; wholesale and retail hardware, five; dry goods, five; boots and shoes, five; clothing and tailors, eleven; confectionery, two; hats and caps, one; fruit, four; stationery and variety, five; cigars and tobacco, five; furniture, two; saloons, thirty-four; livery, thirteen; blacksmiths and wagonmakers, nine; carpenter shops, four; barber shops, eight; paint shops, five; insurance agencies, twelve; surveyors, two; express, one; school houses, two; private school, one; college, one; boarding houses, four; ice house, one; photograph galleries, two; lawyers, eight; physicians, seven; dentists, two; bakeries, two; millinery and dress, five; notaries, public, nine; gunsmiths, three; tinsmith, one; auction house, one; jewelry, five; cabinet shop, one; paint store, one; hides and pelts, one; hotels, four; restaurants, two; drugs, four; telegraph, one; undertaking establishments, two; churches, nine; city hall, one; court house, one; theater, one; meat markets, four; lumber yards, two; Odd Fellows' hall, one; Masonic hall, one; Turner hall, one; banks, three; newspaper, one; post office, one.
The favorite material for the construction of permanent buildings and dwellings was brick, and as early as in 1852 several kilns were in active operation. The following table will show approximately the number and cost of the brick structures erected during the first six years of the existence of the city:
|Year||Number of Buildings||Cost|
The literary and musical talent was shown in contributions to newspapers and periodicals, and the frequent private musical entertainments. In July, 1851, a song, entitled "The Love Knot", composed by Stephen C. Massett, and words by Hon. Mrs. Norton, was published in New York. Mr. Massett, after disposing of his interest in the Herald, and before departing on his Eastern trip, in December, 1851, gave an excellent entertainment, bringing out the local talent in recitation and music, both vocal and instrumental. About the middle of February, 1852, a work was issued upon whose title-page appeared the following: - "Entewa, the Mountain Bird, a Romance founded on fact. By J.R.Poynter, M.D. Marysville, Cal., 1852."This was claimed to be the first California novel. The scene was laid in this State, and opened in the summer of 1849. The newspapers frequently contained able contributions in prose and poetry, from local writers. In August, 1853, C.P. Hale and Fred. Emory published the first Directory of Marysville. The book was printed at the Herald office, and contained one hundred and thirty-three pages.
Notwithstanding all the dangers and privations incident to the life of a miner, there were comparatively few deaths in the city in early times. The mortality report for the year 1852 mentions the following causes: - Intemperance, fourteen; dysentery, forty; congestive chills, six; drowned, seven; fevers, twenty-five; consumption, one; cholera, fifteen; cholera morbus, four; suicides, three; killed by a horse, one; murdered, two; croup, one; measles, one; pleurisy, one; inflammation of the lungs, four; sunstroke, two; Panama fever, ten; unknown causes, twenty-six; total, one hundred and sixty-three. Of these were Mexicans, thirty-nine; French, sixteen; Chinese, four; German, one; Cherokee Indian, one; unknown nativity, ten; Americans, ninety-two.
The bank failures in San Francisco, in 1855, affected business in Marysville quite seriously, but it quickly recovered. In November, 1852, the County Surveyor, D.B. Scott, in his report to the State Surveyor General, stated that the total yield of gold in this county, during the preceding year, was sixteen million dollars. The total amount of gold shipped to San Francisco in 1857, by Low, Brothers & Company, Reynolds Brothers, and Mark Brumagin & Co., was ten million one hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars, from January 1, to June 30, 1858, four million, three hundred and fifty thousand dollars, making total shipment in a year and a half, fourteen million five hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. It was proposed in the Council, in January, 1854, to change the name of the city to "Yuba"; but the citizens objected and the matter was dropped. At an election May 12, 1855, the Council was authorized to borrow one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, by a vote of one hundred and ten to ten.
The State Fair was held for five days in Marysville, commencing August 23, 1858.
In November, 1853, Wm. H. Lent, now a noted capitalist in San Francisco, was apointed the first captain of police by the council.
In 1854, the police force was one Marshal, one captain, and eight policemen. Now it is comprised of one Marshal and four policemen, and such other police as the Mayor shall see fit to appoint when necessary.
The wonderful prosperity lasted until 1858, when the Fraser river excitement occurred and took out abut twenty thousand people from the State. In 1860 and 1861, about the same number crossed the Sierras to the Washoe diggings. These excitements tended to depopulate the county and retard its progress. Buildings which before were renting for six hundred dollars would not sell for that amount after the exodus, but soon matters became more tranquil and equalized, the county began to grow again and is now on the ascension.
The first division of the county was into fifteen townships, by the Court of Sessions, August 24, 1850. Marysville Township was then made to include also about one half of Long Bar, extending twelve miles east from Feather river. The next division, made August 7, 1851, cut off a little from the eastern end, making the mouth of Dry creek the limit. The division made October 7, 1852, left Marysville Township without any change until October 10, 1856, when the Board of Supervisors gave it the present boundaries. Commencing at the junction of Yuba and Feather rivers, thence up the middle of Yuba river to its intersection with the east line of Township No. 16, N.R. 4 E.; thence north on said line nine miles and fifteen chains to Honcut creek; thence down the middle of said creek to the Feather river; thence down the middle of Feather river to the place of beginning. The early settlements by Cordua and Rouelle have been given at length in the previous chapters of this work, and in fact the whole history of Marysville, which is practically the history of this township, is given elsewhere, leaving but little else to be said. John Morriet bought from the grant owners, in 1849, two miles of land on the river, and engaged in raising cattle, using the Indians as assistants. In 1850, he raised a crop of corn. That fall he sold to M.C. Nye and removed from the county. Nye settled on the place, and soon after sold to Charles Covillaud and J.G. Cornell. The place is known as the Morriet tract, and has been occupied by Mr. Cornell since 1851. In 1852, Messrs. Nye and Cornell raised a crop of barley. They purchased seed in San Francisco for seven cents per pound, and paid one hundred dollars for a plow. They paid La Malfa, of Marysville, twelve and one-half cents per bushel for threshing it with a small machine that he owned, and also paid seven and one-half cents for cleaning. The grain sold for from four to five cents per pound. Hay cutting along the river was a great industry at that time, many parties engaging in it who made no permanent settlement.
R.F. Piatt, H.F. Sadorus ad George Matsler settled on the South Honcut in 1850, on Section 24, Township 17, N. Range 4 E., and engaged in stock raising. Mr. Piatt built a house in that year. Mr. James Bryden soon afterward settled in this locality. Early in 1850, Mr. Bryden and R.F. Piatt sowed about ten acres of land in barley. A fine crop was the result, but most of it was seized by the Indians. In 1851, Richard Pegrim and Dr. Wilkins settled on the river. Dr. Wilkins had a fine library, which was scattered all over the surrounding country by the flood of 1851; a sort of "circulating library", the first in the county. Dr. Wilkins is now superintendent of the Napa Insane Asylum. Richard Pegrim had a narrow escape during the flood of that winter. He was carried down the stream while on horseback, but succeeded in clinging to the branches of a tree as he passed. He remained in the tree several hours until assistance came. In 1852, a man named Seymour came here and farmed with Cornell seven years, when he died. After 1852, the township was settled up rapidly, and became well developed agriculturally. The first school-house was built on the Nelson place, near the Honcut. The school was attended by all the children in this part of the township. The first bridge across the Honcut was built in 1855, by Jesse Mayhew. The Honcut hotel was built near this end of the bridge. The Eight Mile House, Prairie House, and a few other places were opened for teh accommodation of travelers.
In the month of April, 1850, the proprietors of Marysville yielded to the popular passion for city making, and laid out the town of Featherton, at the mouth of the Honcut. The following advertisement in the issue of May 3, 1850, of the Sacramento Placer Times, explains their intentions:
"NOTICE. FEATHERTON CITY. The undersigned, Proprietors of Marysville, would inform the public that they have located and laid out a city, to be called Featherton, at the foot of the Willow Rapids, and the head of low water navigation on Feather River, and being at the junction of the Honcut with Feather River, and between 15 and 20 miles above Marysville, the shares of which they now offer for sale. From the advantageous situation of said city; its elevation above high-water mark; located in a dense and lovely grove of evergreen oak; the head of navigation on Feather River, except in times of unusual freshets; lying along the great trail to the Feather River and upper Trinity mines, and within ten miles of the newly discovered mines on the Honcut, the undersigned feel free to recommend the new city for beauty of scenery and location; business advantages and permanent security of capital invested, equal to any up-river city in California.
Any persons desirous of procuring shares in said city, can do so by applying to E. Gillespie, Sacramento city, in Brick Building, corner of 2d and J sts.; to Barton Lee, of same place, 3d door on 2d street from J street; or to the proprietors, at their old office in Marysville, where the terms and conditions can be known.
It is the desire of the undersigned that all who feel inclined to become interested in said city would go upon the ground and see the same for themselves, and the undersigned would gladly offer any aid to persons wishing to visit Featherton, if they will call at their Ranch building in Marysville.
The drawing will take place on the 15th day of May next, at Featherton, when the unsold shares may be purchased.
A steamer will leave Marysville on the morning of the said 15th of May, for Featherton, Passage, &c., free.
The map of said city, and one of the proprietors, may be seen on Thursday and Friday, the 2d and 4d of May next, at said Gillespie's office, or at the Sutter House.
C. COVILLAUD & CO., Marysville, April 29, 1850. 54 5t"
The new town, however, met with such faint encouragement that the project was abandoned.
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