by Thompson & West, 1879, with illustrations

Chapter XXVI - East and West Bear River Townships

At the first division of the county into townships by the Court of Sessions, August 24, 1850, the county embraced Sierra and Nevada counties.  There were fifteen townships created, and the Bear river territory was called Town number twelve, no name being given it.  The boundaries were very nearly the same as the present ones of these two townships.  The next division was made August 7, 1851, after Nevada county had been taken away, eleven townships being formed and this territory being included in Eliza number two, and Parks Bar number three.  These two embraced all the territory between Yuba and Bear rivers, and from Feather river to the Nevada county line. It was divided by a line running south from the junction of Dry creek, and the Yuba river, to Bear river.  The west division was called Eliza, and the east, Parks Bar.  October 7, 1852, after Sierra county was taken away, the court again divided the county into  ten townships.  Eliza and Parks Bar were left the same as before, with the exception that the name Eliza was changed to Linda, and Parks Bar to Rose Bar.  The Board of Supervisors made the next change, October 10, 1856, and formed ten townships.  Bear River No. 3 was the same as the present, except that a portion of the northwest corner of West Bear River was in Linda No. 2, and a strip of what forms the south end of Rose Bar was in Bear River.  September 17, 1861, the last division was made by the Board of Supervisors, and the Bear River township was divided into two, and given the present boundaries which are: - -

West Bear River: - Commencing at the northeast corner of township 14 N., range 4 E.; thence south on the Government township line to Bear river; thence down the middle of Bear river to its junction with Feather river; thence up the middle of Feather river to the southwest corner of Linda township; thence east on the south line of Linda township to the place of beginning.

East Bear River: - Commencing at the northwest corner of township 14 N., range 5 E; thence running east on the Government line to the southwest corner of section 35, township 15 N.,  range 5 E.; thence north to the northwest corner of said section; thence east on section lines to the line between Yuba and Nevada counties; thence south on the county line to Bear river; thence down the middle of Bear river to the east line of township 13 N., range 4 E.; thence north on said line to the place of beginning.

Although this region had not the honor of receiving the first settlement in the county, still it was the first to be agriculturally developed. The rich land along the rivers and creeks were eagerly seized by the first settlers who saw in them easy cultivation and great fertility.  The higher land farther back from the river bottom, and what is known as red land, was not so soon occupied, for the reason that it was not thought to be so fertile, or of so much value.  Passing over the early settlement of Bear river, which is given at length in the general history, we come to the condition of the county in 1851.  At the beginning of that year we find a few settlers along Bear river and Dry creek.  Commencing at the river, near the Nevada county line, we find John H. McCourtney; below him, where the wire bridge now stands, was a saw-mill owned by Alexander Van Court.  Further down was the U.S. Military post, Camp Far West. From this point to the Nevada county line, were a number of miners working the small bars on Bear river.  Between the Camp and Johnson's Crossing was Joseph Vero, and at the crossing itself, Charles Hoyt who was in charge of the property of Robinson and Gillespie.  With him was James Anthony, who afterwards started the Sacramento Union.  On the opposite side of the river was Claude Chana, who place was rented to J.L. Burtis.  Burtis was in partnership with a man named Foster, and both were engaged in the live stock trade.  Foster spent his time chiefly in the southern part of the State purchasing cattle.  The animals were brought to Johnson's Crossing, to be grazed on the plains and driven to market in the mines and at Marysville.  On the south side of the river, opposite the site of Wheatland, was Harvey Dyer.  Still farther down, at what is now called Kempton's Crossing, was a man named Law.  This place was then called Robinson's Crossing, from a man by that name who settled there in 1849, and had moved away.  One mile from the mouth of Bear river, at Barham's Crossing, was John Barham.  On the north side of the river, at that point, was a hotel kept by Hiram Hackney and Dr. McCullough.  Two miles above Barham's was Trimble's Crossing.  Allen Trimble settled there in 1850.  With him was James McMahon.  Between Barham and Trimble was a man named Wilson.  The settlers on Dry creek were R. Baxter and Wiliam J. States, about one mile from Kempton's Crossing.  They had a store at Rose Bar in 1850, and came to this place the same year.  Further up the creek was J.B. Watson, on the ranch now owned by W.A. Creps.  Below him was the ranch of Col. William Finley, and his partner Pratt.  Just below them was James Finley.  On Reed's Dry creek, where Reed's station now stands, was Henry Reed, who had settled there in 1850.  At the Plumas Landing, on Feather river, south of the mouth of Reed's Dry creek, was Jesse Robinson, a young man whose father settled at Robinson's or Kempton's Crossing in 1849.  These were all the settlements in the Bear river country, January 1, 1851.

The occupations of the settlers were various.  McCourtney kept a trading post, and Van Court had a saw-mill; Burtis and Foster were in the cattle trade; Hackney and McCullough kept hotel; John Barham kept hotel and had a race track; Allen Trimble kept a hotel.  The other settlers were either cutting hay or raising cattle.  No grain was raised in 1850, except a little barley on Claude Chana's place by J.L. Burtis.  A number of new settlers came in 1851, some occupying new lands and others buying the places already improved.  Edwin and Danforth Prescott and G.W. Toby bought the Wilson place near Barham's Crossing.  Later in the year Danforth Prescott and G.W. Toby sold their interests to John Seaward, who now lives in Marysville.  Dr. E.D. Smith settled on Dry Creek, about a mile from its mouth.  A man named Vestel settled on a portion of the Johnson grant near Wheatland.  The ranch now owned by F.R. Lofton, on Dry creek, was settled this year by a man named Head.  In the fall of 1851, a man named Baker settled at Round Tent.  In 1850, the stages from Sacramento to Nevada crossed Bear river at Johnson's and went up by the way of Watson's and the Empire Ranch near Smartsville, but in 1851, the route was changed to go over the hills and past Round Tent.

There was no grain raised on Bear river in 1851, but most of the settlers cut the timothy grass and red clover that grew in great abundance all along the rich river-bottom.  They hauled this hay up to the mines in the mountains and brought back lumber, with which they built houses, sheds, fences, etc.  In the winter of 1851, Charles Justis, now living at Wheatland,  came to Johnson's Crossing and interested himself in the cattle business with J.L. Burtis.  In the spring of 1852, Burtis and Justis bought thirteen hundred head of cattle in Los Angeles, which they sold in the markets at Marysville and in the mines.  William Campbell also became interested with them.  H.H. Flagg arrived early in 1852 at Kempton's Crossing and cut hay there.  Nathan Kempton came there in 1852, and kept a hotel.  The name was then changed from Robinson's to Kempton's Crossing.  The same year, B.W. Howser , A.N. Howser, Mr. Sidnor, and Dr. Wyatt settled on "the big field."  John Sharp and William Moulton bought out Hackney and McCullough's place at Barham's Crossing in 1852, and the place has since been known as Sharp's hotel.  Michael Tallent and Patrick O'Brien settled late in 1852 about three miles west of Wheatland.  Dr. Eli A. Harper settled on the Johnson grant in 1852, and cut hay where Wheatland now stands.  That same year two negroes settled on Dry creek at the "Cabbage Patch."  Anson Bartel also settled on the Marysville and Sacramento road, at Reed's Dry creek, then known as Arroyo Moche (Cut off).  In 1855, he moved two miles north and built a hotel called Bartel's hotel.  Mooney and Riley, of Empire Ranch, in Rose Bar township, bought J.B. Watson's ranch and went into the stock business in 1852.  Colonel Lewis also came and cultivated "the big field."

The first grain raised in the two townships after 1848 was harvested in 1852.  J.L. Burtis had a field of barley just below Camp Far West, and another on Chana's place.  The largest crop was that raised by Colonel Lewis on "the big field."  Here he had two hundred or three hundred acres of barley.  The place received its name from the fact that at that time it certainly was a big field.  There were no other grain crops in 1852, most of the ranches being engaged in cutting hay and herding cattle.  In 1853, the crop of barley on "the big field" was six hundred or seven hundred acres.  It was raised by John J. Lynn.  In the spring of 1853, Lynn went to Marysville and bought fifty-three pounds of wheat.  After his little daughter had fed five or six pounds to the chickens, he sowed the remainder in an old cattle corral.  From this he threshed one hundred and eighty bushel of wheat.  This was probably the only wheat raised in 1853, though most of the ranchers had more or less barley. 

Not before 1855 was there much wheat raised.  In 1852, J.L. Burtis planted two thousand five hundred dollars worth of fruit trees on his place just below Johnson's Crossing.  They never amounted to much, however, and are now buried in mining debris.  A.W. Von Schmidt set out a vineyard in 1855, near Wheatland; the place is now owned by Mrs. O'Brien.  The first threshing machine employed on Bear river was a one-horse endless chain machine used on Chana's place in 1852 to thresh Burtis' crop of barley.  It belonged to John Hereford, who lived a few miles below Sheridan.  Eben Noyes had a good machine which he used a distance south of the river in 1852.  In 1853, he brought it to the river and threshed most of the grain along the stream.  This year Jesse Robinson and Dr. Brower, who was then with him at Plumas Landing, also had a machine with which they threshed some grain.  It was a poor concern, however, and was not much used.  In 1854, a number of the ranchers procured reapers or mowers with which to cut their grain or hay, and by 1855, or 1856, they were nearly all supplied.  After 1852, the country along the river and Dry creek began to be rapidly taken up by settlers who were tired of the mines.  The chief crops now are wheat, barley, potatoes and hay.  Potatoes, which have become quite a product, were first raised in any quantity in 1862.  The potatoes shipped  both by wagon and railroad in 1878, were about 16,800 sacks, or 2,184,000 pounds.  These figures were furnished us by S.D. Wood, who is probably the best capable of making such an estimate.  The acreage of wheat, barley and potatoes for 1879, is estimated by the C.P.R.R. Co., to be - wheat, twenty thousand acres; barley, four thousand acres; potatoes, six hundred and thirty-seven acres.  Besides these there was a large quantity of hay cut.  There are also about one hundred and thirty acres of vineyard, containing one hundred and thirty thousand vines.

Bear river, which forms the southern boundary of the townships, has changed its course considerably since it became filled with tailings from the mines, and near Wheatland it now runs about half a mile south of its old channel.  The soil is of three kinds; along the river in the bottom lands is a rich black soil, which is now covered up with the sterile sand sent down from the mines, except where in a small spot near Wheatland it has been partly saved by levees.  Back from the river on higher ground the soil is chiefly red dirt, with here and there a streak or patch of adobe.  In the eastern part of the district, near to and in the foothills, the soil is red dirt and somewhat mixed with gravel.  This land is used for sheep-grazing, and large bands of sheep are kept by the ranchers there.  The eastern portion of the township runs into the foothills, which are covered with fir, pine, oak, and manzanita.  The large trees have long since been cut out for wood and timber.  Along the creeks are a number of thinly scattered white oaks, hardly dense enough to be called timber.  They were, however, more numerous in early days, but have been largely cut away.  Along Bear river and the creeks wherever the water and debris have taken possession, a thick matted growth of willows has sprung up.  Aside from this there is no timber in the townships.  The first school was kept at Kempton's Crossing on the south side of the river in 1852.  It was attended by children  from both sides of the stream.  About 1855, a brick school house was built there large enough to accommodate fifty scholars.  In 1853, a school house was built near Plumas Landing, a small primitive affair; in 1856, a better building was erected.  Later a portion of the old building was moved to the site of the present Plumas school house, and with additions formed that structure.


John Barham settled in 1849, on the south side of Bear river, about one mile from its mouth.  The stages from Sacramento to Marysville, by the way of Nicolaus, used this place as a crossing point.  Barham built a hotel here, and the locality became known as Barham's Crossing.  A temporary bridge was built here in 1850, and in 1853, a better one was constructed.  This bridge was destroyed, and another built a short distance up the stream.  In 1850, Hiram Hackney and Dr. McCullough built a hotel on the north side of the stream.  They sold to John Sharp and William Moulton in 1852.  This house was then called Sharp's hotel.  Sharp was killed a few years later by a wood chopper named Sullivan.  In 1851, Barham constructed a rude race track, which was gradually improved until it was put in good condition. Barham had a running horse called Selim and another man had one named Baldy; these horses ran frequent races in 1851, or 1852, and made a mile in about two minutes.  The distance  usually run was a quarter of a mile.  The most noted race was in 1857, when a horse from Cache creek ran against Selim six hundred yards, for a purse of three hundred dollars.  Selim won this race, but another immediately after for two thousand dollars, was won by the stranger.  Large crowds attended these sports, and as the excitement was great and money plenty, a great deal of betting was indulged in.  General Thomas Green laid out a town one mile square, on the south side of Bear river, in Sutter county, at Barham's Crossing, and called it Oro.  No buildings besides the hotel and a zinc house were erected, and the town never had any actual existence, except on the plat.  The corner stakes of the lots could be seen until they were covered up by the sand.


Allen Trimble settled above Barham's in 1852, and built a hotel.  A bridge was constructed of trees in 1850, on John Seaward's place by Henry Watson.  This was used until 1853, when a better one was built and kept by Trimble as a toll bridge.  This bridge was washed away in 1857.  Another one was constructed one-half mile further up stream.  The bridge was removed about ten years ago, and the site is now covered up with sediment.  In 1853, when the old tree bridge was on Seaward's place, an opposition stage line used it as a crossing.


This place was first called Robinson's Crossing, a man of that name having settled there in 1849.  Robinson left in 1850, and a man named Low took the place.  In 1852, H.H. Flagg and Nathan Kempton settled there.  Kempton kept a hotel, and the name of the place was changed to Kempton's Crossing.  A crude structure to answer the purpose of a bridge, was built in 1850.  A better one was built in 1853.  This was subsequently partially destroyed by the floods, and was repaired.  The place is the crossing point between Wheatland and Nicolaus.  It was here that the first school on Bear river was kept in 1852.


As this point, a few miles above Kempton's, was the first settlement on the river.  Don Pablo Gutteirez came there in 1844, and built a mud house on the north side of the river.  Gutteirez was shot in 1845, and the place sold by General Sutter to William Johnson and Sebastian Kyser.  Johnson built an adobe house, and the place was called Johnson's Crossing.  Theodore Sicard settled on the south side in 1844, and built an adobe house.  Claude Chana bought Sicard's place in 1849, and Henry E. Robinson and Eugene Gillespie purchased Johnson and Kyser's property.  In 1849, Robinson and Gillespie laid out a town here and called it Kearney, in honor of the General of that name.  In the issue of October 27, 1849, of the Placer Times, a newspaper published in Sacramento, we find the following advertisement:   "TOWN OF KEARNEY.  The proprietors of Johnson's rancho, on Bear river, in view of numerous applications, have laid off a small portion of it into lots, which are now offered to the public.  It is situated at the only crossing on Bear river, surrounded by arable and pasture land, and is central and nearer than any other point to the mines, on the north fork of the American river, Yuba and Feather rivers, and Deer creek.  The roads leading to these various mines, as well as the principal emigrant routes across the Plains, intersect at Kearney. Communication may be had with the mines at all seasons of the year.  The officers appointed to select a military post for the erection of fortification have, after a careful survey of the whole country, located at this point.  Two saw-mills are now in progress of erection, which will soon furnish a plentiful supply of the finest lumber.  To those wishing to select a point for business, and who propose making permanent improvements, the most liberal terms will be offered.  Maps of the town may be seen at the houses of Gillespie, Gerald & Co., and H.E. Robinson, Esq., Sacramento, or at the office of the agent at Kearney. 25tf."

One of the saw-mills referred to, was probably the one erected that fall at Wire Bridge.  They also advertised, June 3, 1850, for proposals to remove obstructions to navigation on Bear river as far as Kearney, but nothing seems to have been done further than that.  J.L. Burtis settled here in 1849, and built a hotel.  A blacksmith shop, store, and post-office were also established here.  The town, however, never progressed to any extent beyond the laying out of the lots.  The first bridge at this place was built in 1850, by Claude Chana and others.  The timber was obtained at the saw-mill at Wire Bridge.  This bridge was washed away in 1852, and in 1854, another was built.  This lasted until 1861, when it was carried away by high water.  Another was built the same year by William B. Campbell, which met the same fate in 1862.  The last bridge, built a few years later by Claude Chana, was taken down in 1878.


The U.S. Government established a military post a mile above the town of Kearney in September, 1849.  Log houses were erected for soldiers’ barracks and officers’ quarters, as was also a log fort.  It was first occupied by a detachment of the Second U.S. Infantry, under the command of Captain Day.  Usually but one company was stationed here, though sometimes there were three or four.  Major McKinstry, and Captain, afterwards General, Lyon, who was killed at the battle of Wilson Creek, Mo., in 1861, were occasionally there.  The camp was abandoned in May, 1852, and an auction sale was held of the property, May 1.  At that time the post was occupied by Company E, First Infantry, under the command of Lieutenant Davis.  Supplies for the Fort were unloaded at Nicolaus, and carted to the camp.


This point, formerly known as McDonald’s Mills, is five miles above Kearney.  Here, in November, 1849, John S. Moore built a saw-mill, which was then known as Moore’s Mill.  Alexander Van Court bought the mill, in 1850.  In 1854, J.L. McDonald bought the place and converted the saw-mill into a grist-mill. He became involved in litigation with the miners who diverted the water for mining purposes.  This was very expensive, and ruined his business.  He paid Bryan and Filkins of Marysville $13,500 attorney fees.  In 1862, he sold the mill to Graham & Stoddard who ran it until 1875, when it was given over to their assignees, and has not been much operated since.  In the spring of 1879, the machinery was removed to Sacramento.  The mill when started had two run of stone, and two more were added in 1859.  The first bridge was constructed in 1855, by J.L. McDonald, just above his mill.  The north end of this bridge fell into the water carrying with it a man, an ox-team, a load of lumber and a lot of cattle; all were rescued safely.  The remainder of the bridge was washed away.  In 1862, J.R. Rush of Grass Valley built the present bridge, which is supported on wire cables and is hence known as Wire Bridge.


A little distance above the Wire Bridge, John H. McCourtney settled in 1850, and established a trading post.  He built a bridge across the river in 1850, and opened a new route from Sacramento to Nevada City, by his place.  This bridge was washed away by the flood, and never rebuilt.


This place was a few miles back of Wire Bridge, on the stage route from Sacramento to Nevada City by the way of Johnson’s Crossing and the Round Tent.  A man named Graham built a hotel here, in 1853, and a store was built soon after.  The old deserted hotel can still be seen here.


This was built a few years later than Graham’s, and was not in very good odor among the settlers.  It was considered to be the rendezvous of the bad characters that infested the neighborhood.  There is nothing left of the old place now, except the ruins of two old wells, which stand by the side of the road from Wheatland to Smartsville, where it leaves the Johnson’s grant.


Two negroes settled in 1852 on Dry creek where the Spenceville and Smartsville roads separate, and raised a field of cabbages.  The teamsters who passed the place called it the Cabbage Patch, which appellation still clings to the locality.  A man from Arkansas named Hambleton built a hotel and blacksmith shop in 1854.  The place is now owned by W.T. Foster.


A little further up the Spenceville road a large round tent was put up in 1851 by a man named Baker.  This was used as a public house, and the stages from Sacramento to Nevada City changed their route, which had formerly been by the Empire Ranch, and passed by this place.  Considerable surface mining was done here, and the place was called Round Tent.


A man named Robinson settled on Feather river just below the mouth of Reed’s creek in 1850.  He died that year but his son, Jesse Robinson, remained at the landing.  This point was made a steamboat landing, considerable goods for the settlers being unloaded here.  On account of deep water and high bank this was a favorite landing place.  In the spring of 1850, a town was laid out here by Capt. Sutter and George H. Beach.  The town was called Plumas, but never amounted to anything, the only building being Robinson’s Hotel.  The Robinson family consisted of one son and seven daughters, who were objects of interest for miles around.  We find the following glowing exposition of the advantages of Plumas City in an advertisement in the Placer Times, of Sacramento, in it’s issue of March 30, 1850: -  "PLUMAS CITY, The Paradise of  California, and will be the Emporium of trade on Feather river, is beautifully situated on the east bank of the river, about 10 miles above Nicolaus, and 5 below Elizaville, on high land and can be approached by vessels drawing from 8 to 10 feet of water, as proved by the schooners Eclipse and Alfred within a few days, and will be accessible by steamers the season through.  Its locality to the mines insures a vast amount of trade, being nearer to the Bear river, Rough and Ready, Deer Creek, and Dry Creek mines than any other township, and will command a portion of the North Fork and Yuba mines trade the year through, and in summer, probably, a large share.  The city is laid out jointly by John A. Sutter, Esq., and G.H. Beach, in shares of $1,000 each, payable half down, the balance in 90 days - about 36 to 38 lots to the share.  Three-fourths of the shares are positively sold, and the lots will be drawn for at Plumas City, about the 2d to 4th day of April, at which time a Hotel will be completed." 

"For shares apply to G.T. Weaver, agent of the steamers Lawrence and Phoenix, at the barge Wm. Ivy, or to G.H. Beach, Sacramento street, San Francisco.  San Francisco, March 22, 1850.  46tf"

A correspondent to the same paper under date of April 24, 1850, in giving an account of a trip up Feather river on the Governor Dana, says: - "Passing by Plumas, where now reside in rustic retirement our fair friends, the Misses Robinson."


Between the towns of Plumas and Eliza, and opposite Hock Farm, a town was laid out in the spring of 1850.  It is now known as the Mesick Ranch.  In reference to this place the Placer Times, of Sacramento, has the following advertisement in its issue of May 1, 1850: -  "EL DORADO CITY.  The shareholders in El Dorado City are requested to be present on the ground the 10th of May, at 12 o'clock, TO DRAW FOR SHARES.  Those wishing to purchase can do so by applying to either of the proprietors immediately. P.S. - 60,000 feet of lumber will be shipped for El Dorado this week. 53.5t"

Lots were sold at auction in Sacramento, but beyond this the town never had any existence.


Where the railroad crosses Reed’s Dry creek, a settlement was made in 1850 by Henry Reed, after whom the creek and station are named.  After the railroad was constructed a depot was built here to accommodate the shippers from this region.  Quite a large shipment of grain is made from here yearly.  The station consists simply of a depot and two dwelling houses.


On Rock Creek about one mile back from Wire Bridge, J.L. McDonald built a distillery in 1861.  The capacity was one hundred gallons per day, and steam power was used.  Large quantities of wheat and barley were consumed.  The distillery was run for two years when it was finally abandoned, it being impossible to work it successfully on account of the high price of grain and the large revenue tariff imposed by the Government on account of the war.


Just south of Wheatland, a steam grist mill was built by A.W. Von Schmidt, in 1860.  This was before the railroad was built, or there was any thought of a town like Wheatland.  Some of the timbers in the mill were those that had been in the bridge at Johnson’s crossing, which the floods had washed away.  The mill was completely fitted up and ready to be started, but the wheels never turned.  The machinery was removed, and the mill abandoned.  The old frame yet stands, and is quite an object of curiosity.


This flourishing town is situated in East Bear River township, on the southeast quarter of section twelve of the Johnson grant.  The chain of title to the town lots, may be briefly stated, as follows: - In 1844, Don Pablo Guteirrez received a grant of five Spanish leagues of land on the north bank of Bear river.  He was killed in 1845, and the grant was sold at auction by John A. Sutter, as magistrate, to William Johnson, April 28, 1845.  Sebastian Kyser owned one-half interest in Johnson's purchase.  November 10, 1849, Kyser sold to Eugene Gillespie and Henry E. Robinson.  March 24, 1849, Johnson sold to James Kyle, Jonathan B. Truesdale, James Emory, and William Cleveland.  Truesdale deeded his interest to Cleveland, Kyle, and James Imbrie.  August 13, 1849, Cleveland, Kyle, and Imbrie deeded to Gillespie and Robinson, thus giving the title to the whole grant to these gentlemen.  September 28, 1854, Robinson deeded a one-half interest to Elihu Woodruff.  By a partition deed, March 28, 1856, John W. Bray was deeded, among other tracts, the east half of section twelve of Johnson's ranch.  November 14, 1857, Bray sold the southeast quarter of section twelve to Eli A. Harper.  August 3, 1857, the United States confirmed the Mexican grant in the name of William Johnson, thus perfecting the title.  November 20, 1863, Harper deeded the tract to E.W. Holloman and C. Cauthron.  October 26, 1865, Holloman and Cauthron conveyed it to George S. Wright.  In 1866, it was laid out in lots  by C.I. Wilson.  March 13, 1871, Wright conveyed to C.L. Wilson, all except the lots previously sold.  February 29, 1872, Wilson conveyed the unsold lots to C. Holland and C. Bellknap.  In 1866, the town was surveyed and laid out by George Holland, under the management of C.L. Wilson.  The Oregon division of the C.P.R.R. was completed to this point in the same year, and a post-office established.  The first building in the town was a saloon, which was built in 1866, before the town was surveyed.  It stood where Chinatown now is, but when the town was laid out it was moved to Main street, opposite the depot, where it still stands.  The next building was Ziegenbien & Co.'s store, a wooden structure on the corner of Main and Front streets.  The first residence was built the same year by C. Holland, corner of Main and D streets.  E.W. Sheets built a blacksmith's shop corner of Main and C streets, and Asa Raymond built a hotel on Main street, near the east end of the town.  These were all the buildings erected during the first year of the town's existence.  It grew very slowly until about 1871-2, when the sales of lots were quite numerous.  On account of the inability of the town to protect itself against fire, and to provide sanitary regulations, etc., the citizens decided to have the town incorporated, which was accordingly done by act of the Legislature, March 13, 1874.  The charter provides for a Board of Trustees of five members, to be elected on the first Monday in April of each year.  The salary is fixed at one dollar per annum, and the board is given power to fill vacancies.  The other officers are Treasurer, Assessor, and Marshal, to be elected at the same time as the Trustees.  The Marshal is ex-officio Tax Collector.  The charter requires the new board to assemble within ten days after their election, and choose a President and Clerk form among their number.  The board passed an ordinance September 2, 1878, creating a Police Judge, to be appointed by the Trustees.  The officers of the town of Wheatland since its incorporation, are as follows: -

        1874. - Trustees:  D.P. Durst, President; H.C. Niemeyer, Clerk; H. Lohse, C. Holland, and S. Wolf; Treasurer, David Irwin; Assessor, Cyrus Stoddard; Marshal, Joseph Trimmer; City Justices of the Peace, A.M. Bragg and W.L. Campbell.

        1875. - Trustees:  H.C. Niemeyer, President; A. Bowne, Clerk; C. Holland, D.P. Durst, and John Landis; Treasurer, David Irwin; Assessor, J.E. Moody; Marshal, J. Trimmer, who resigned January 12, 1876, and G.W. Ashford was appointed; City Justice of the Peace, Charles Justis.

        1876. - Trustees: C. Holland, President; J.F. Baun, Clerk; John Landis, Thomas Shields, and C. Bellknap; Treasurer, M.A. Scott; Assessor, P.S. Larrabee; Marshal, John Davis.  The Marshal did not qualify, and G.W. Ashford was appointed.  December 14, 1876, J.W. Bedford was appointed Marshal, vice G.W. Ashford, who had defaulted to the amount of $192.37, as ascertained by a committee of the board.  The bondsmen settled with the board for $100.

        1877. - Trustees:  P.S. Larrabee, President; J.F. Baun, Clerk; H.C. Niemeyer, John Steineman, and John Landis; Treasurer, W.W. Holland; Assessor, Frank Dalby; Marshal, T.E. Bevan.

        1878. - Trustees:  Thomas Shields, President; George M. Vance, Clerk; Thomas Judy, Edward Bevan, and Frank Dalby; Treasurer, Albert T. Lipp; Assessor, Byron Lanyon; Marshal, Charles D. Waddell; Police Judge, P.M. Bray.

        1879. - Trustees:  P.S. Larrabee, President; J.F. Baun, Clerk; W.W. Holland, W.O. Armstead, and Edward Bevan; Treasurer, L.M. Justis; Assessor, M.A. Scott; Marshal, Charles D. Waddell;  Police Judge, P.M. Bray.

Wheatland at the present time has a railroad depot, freight warehouse and water house, four warehouses, one flour mill, one winery, one lumber yard, four saloons, two dry goods and grocery stores, one grocery store, one furniture store, one hardware store, one drug store, one variety store, one millinery, one dressmaking establishment, one meat market, two harness shops, three blacksmith and wagon shops, three carpenter shops, one paint shop, one shoemaker shop, one barber shop, three hotels, one livery stable, one bank, one newspaper, three physicians, one lawyer, a postoffice, one Wells, Fargo & Co.'s express office.  The buildings may be classified as four brick buildings, thirty-seven other business buildings, one city hall, one Odd Fellows' hall, three churches, one school house, and about eighty dwelling houses.   The population is six hundred whites and two hundred Chinese.  The railroad accommodations are four trains daily, a passenger and freight each way.  The town is twelve miles from Marysville, and as a shipping point has become quite important.  The amount of freight shipped by rail during the year 1878, was 11,984,690 pounds.  The amount received was 6,295,590 pounds.  The amount shipped was only a little less than half that from Marysville.  In addition to the railroad shipments, about one thousand tons of grain were sent to the mountains in wagons by Landis & Goodkind, and two thousand tons of flour, etc., by the Wheatland Mill Co., making 6,000,000 pounds, or a total of 17,984,690 pounds of home produce.  Besides this, large quantities of hay, potatoes, etc., were shipped by wagons, the figures for which it is impossible to obtain. 

Landis & Goodkind's warehouse, with a capacity of eight hundred tons inside and two hundred tons outside, had in store at various times, in 1878, one thousand five hundred tons of grain.  The Spenceville copper mines in Nevada county, are chiefly supplied from Wheatland, and ship their product, copper cement, from the same point.  The post-office statistics will help give an idea of the business done in one year.  They are kindly furnished by John Landis, Postmaster.  For the year ending December 31, 1878: - Weight of mails sent, nine hundred and sixty pounds; number of registered letters sent, one hundred and twenty-eight; number of registered letters received, one hundred and sixty-six; number of boxes rented, lock boxes, forty-one, glass boxes, one hundred and thirty-seven.  July 1, 1874, this was made a money order post office, and since then it has issued one thousand three hundred and ninety-six orders, in the total amount of $19,013.65, and paid one hundred and ninety-three orders, amounting to $6,104.25.  In 1871, the Bear river school house was moved into the town.  The present school house was built that year, at an expense of $3,000. The school term is ten months, with a vacation during the Christmas holidays.  Two teachers are employed with a combined salary of $175 per month.

The financial exhibit of the town is as follows: -

Years Receipts Expenditures
1874-75 $2,396.16 $2,364.57
1875-76 2,014.96 2,038.06
1876-77 954.80 919.30
1877-78 1,172.89 1,100.70
1878-79 1,252.25 1,087.87

 The rate of taxes and the amount collected are as follows: -

Year Rate per $100 Amount collected
1874 $1.00 $1,517.60
1875 0.75 1,347.31
1876 0.50 647.50
1877 0.50 551.05
1878 0.50 642.51

The assessment rolls show the following valuations: -

Year Real Estate Improvements Personal Property Total
1874 $35,900 $60,905 $48,970 $145,475
1875 42,200 64,040 75,255 181,495
1876 33,760 60,700 47,370 141,830
1877 23,890 56,060 44,715 124,665
1878 24,295 60,120 52,905 137,320


This bank was incorporated, October 22, 1874, with a capital stock of $125,000, divided into one thousand two hundred and fifty shares of $100 each.  The officers of the bank at that time were: - Crawford Holland, President; A.W. Oakley, Secretary; W.W. Holland, Cashier.  March 16, 1875, the capital stock was increased to $250,000, and two thousand five hundred shares.  The present officers of the bank are: - T.S. Ewing, President; A.W. Oakley, Secretary; W.W. Holland, Cashier.


This mill was built in 1872 by Jonathan Clark, Olie Torson, and H. Lohse.  In 1876, it went into the hands of assignees and in 1877, was purchased by the Wheatland Mill Co.  The Directors of the company are: - M.V. Sparks, President; F.R. Lofton, Superintendent; C.K. Dam, J.M.C. Jasper, and Perkins Hutchinson.  The mill has five run of stone and is operated by steam power.   It manufactures white and graham flour, corn meal, etc.  It is now doing the new process milling.  Eight men are employed.  The manufacture in 1878 was four thousand tons, valued at $200,000.  A barley mill was built by Joel Stoddard in 1871 on Fourth street, near the railroad.  It had one run of stone and was steam power.  It was not operated much after 1876, and in 1878 the machinery was taken out and carried to Sacramento.


The date of the inaugural issue of the first newspaper here could not be obtained but it was called the Wheatland Enterprise.  A.C. Pratt was the editor and proprietor.  The paper was eighteen by twenty-four, issued weekly, and had a brief existence of but a few months.  April 27, 1874, W.L. Campbell and F.M. Walsh purchased the paper and it was issued as the Wheatland Free Press.  September 12, 1874, Mr. Campbell became sole proprietor.  November 28, 1874, Mr. Walsh was again associated with Mr. Campbell, and the firm remained Campbell & Walsh until January 10, 1875, when the paper fell into the hands of Walsh & Larrabee, P.S. Larrabee being the editor.  January 1, 1876, the name was changed to The Free Press.  April 1, 1876, W.L. Campbell again took the paper.  April 21, 1877, W.C. Calhoun became the editor and conducted it until it suspended, July 14, 1877.  December 21, 1877, Frank F. Carnduff purchased the material and with the aid of new material commenced the issue of the Wheatland Recorder.  The paper is twenty-four by thirty-six, four pages, and is issued on Friday.  It is strictly independent in politics.


This lodge was organized May 13, 1858, in the town of Nicolaus, Sutter county, with the following charter members: -  E. Crain, C.W.A. Arens, Timothy Wharton, M. Gray, J. Hart, R.D. Carlos, W.H. Beatty, and S.M. Clay.  Mr. Beatty is the only one who is still an active member.  A dispensation was granted by the Grand Master of the lodge to be removed to Wheatland, and the first meeting of the lodge was held in this place, April 27, 1871.  At that time there were but ten members in good standing.  The membership at present is forty-eight, and has been as high as fifty-one.  Since January 1, 1872, the lodge has disbursed $640 dollars in charitable objects, and now owns property valued at $2,100.  The regular lodge meeting is held on Friday evening on or before the full moon.  The present officers are: - J.E. Hollingshead, W.M.; W.C. Wilson, S.W.; Daniel Click, J.W.; J.H. Keyes, Treasurer; J.F. Baun, Secretary; S.Woof, S.D.; V. Williamson, J.D.; J.M.C. Jaspar and F.F. Carnduff, Stewards; F. Kirshner, Tyler.


This lodge was organized November 1, 1860, at Nicolaus, Sutter county, but was removed to Wheatland, April 2, 1868.  This was done because the majority of its members had moved to this place.  The charter members were: - D. Ray, N.G.; P. McMahon, V.G.; James T. Lee, Secretary; Francis McMahon, Treasurer; Francis Heyland, Eli W. Sheets, and John McNamara.  The number of members is seventy-nine; the highest number at any one time was eighty-three.  The value of the lodge property is $3,500.  Regular meetings are held every Saturday night at their hall in Wheatland.  The present officers are: - Charles Schlosser, N.G.; H.C. Niemeyer, Secretary.


This association was formed February 20, 1877, for the purpose of controlling the hall and cemetery.  It is composed of the members of Sutter Lodge, No. 100, I.O.O.F.  The hall, which is a two-story frame building, twenty-six by fifty feet, was erected in 1867, and dedicated Aril 3, 1868.  It cost $3,000.  The hall-room is used by the various societies of Wheatland, and the lower floor for mercantile purposes.  The association also owns a beautiful cemetery of ninety-six lots, tastefully  ornamented with walks, trees, and shrubbery.  The Directors are: - W.W. Holland, J.F. Baun, and Daniel Frazer.  The annual meeting of the association is held February 20.


This lodge was organized September 24, 1878, by the following charter members: - Frank F. Carnduff, P.M.W.; George W. Manwell, M.W.; Matt. A. Scott, G.F.; H. Cornforth, O.; T.E. Bevan, Recorder; A.J. Swift, Receiver; John Stewart, F.; B. Lanyon, G.; Charles Francee, I.W.; J.H. Findley, O.W.; the following Trustees, - James Cass, 1st; H. Cornforth, 2d; M.A. Scott, 3d; H.C. Babcock, Edward H. Coffery, and Walter Neustadt.  The above gentlemen are still active members, except Messrs. Lanyon and Findley.  The lodge membership has been thirty-six, though at present it is thirty-four.  It is in good financial condition, and owns property to the value of $100.  Since its organization it has disbursed $300 in benefits.  F.F. Carnduff at this lodge is Grand Lecturer of the Order in California.  The present officers are: - H. Cornforth, P.M.W.; H.C. Niemeyer, M.W.; J. Stewart, G.F.; A.J. Swift, O.; M. Neustadt, G.; M.A. Scott, Recorder; John Landis, Financier; Jacob Levy, Receiver; Ogden Mallory, I.W.; C.W. Manuel, O.W.  The lodge meets every Thursday at Odd Fellows' Hall, Wheatland.


This lodge was formed May 25, 1869, with twenty-six charter members, and the following officers: - E.W. Sheets, W.C.; Mrs. P.H. Gaines, F.S.; S.D. Jasper, W.S.; Rachel Dalley, W.V.T.; I.L. Thompson, W.T.  The lodge at one time had a membership of eighty-five, and owned property to the value of $100.  Interest in the lodge gradually waned, and after an existence of ten years the charter was surrendered, January 22, 1879, and the lodge disbanded.  The meetings were held Wednesday evenings at Odd Fellows' Hall, Wheatland.


This lodge was organized, August 6, 1875, with the following charter members: - J.H. Keyes, W.M.; M.V. Sparks, O.; B.F. Dam, L.; D.A. Ostrom, S.; J.M.C. Jasper, A.S.; S.D. Wood, C.; Thomas Brewer, T.; C.K. Dam, Secretary; E.B. Langdon, G.K.; Mrs. L.G. Jasper, Ceres; Mrs. E.E. Oakley, Pomona; Miss S.E. Mansfield, Flora; Mrs. K.A. Wood, L.A.S.; Frank Kirshner, John H. Strong, T.S. Ewing, Daniel Fraser, Benj. Crabtree, James W. Sowell, Enos Mansfield, Henry Findley, Samuel Kuster, Daniel Blanchard, P.L. Hutchingson, Mrs. Maria Kirshner, Mrs. L. Keyes, Mrs. S.J. Sparks, Mrs. A. Langdon, Mrs. P. Ostrom, Mrs. M.E. Strong, Mrs. E.F. Seward, Mrs. E.J. Crabtree, Mrs. James W. Sowell, Mrs. C.A. Mansfield, Mrs. A. Dam, Mrs. F.L. Dam, Mrs. A. Blanchard, Mrs. S. Hutchingson, Miss S.V. Whiting, and Miss O.B. Harding.  The above are members at the present time, except Messrs. Langdon, Strong, Ewing, and Crabtree, and Mrs. Langdon, Mrs. Strong, Mrs. Crabtree, and Miss Harding.  the grange has a membership of fifty-eight, and has had as high as sixty-five.  It owns property to the value of $150, and has disbursed $100 in benefits.  The present officers are: - C.K. Dam, W.M.; J.M.C. Jasper, O.; D.A. Ostrom, L.; Frank Kirshner, S.; S.D. Wood, A.S.; Mrs. J.H. Keyes, C.; P.L. Hutchingson, T.; I.W. Huffaker, Secretary, J.H. Keyes, G.K.; Mrs. J.M.C. Jasper, Ceres, Mrs. A.W. Oakley, Pomona; Mrs. D.A. Ostrom, Flora; Mrs. Charles Schlosser, L.A.S.  The regular meetings are held on the first and third Saturdays of each month, at Odd Fellows' Hall, Wheatland.


In Jun, 1874, but a short time after the town was incorporated, a volunteer hook and ladder company was formed for the purpose of protecting the town against fire.  The first officers were: - W.W. Holland, Foreman; E. Bevan, First Assistant; F. Walsh, Second Assistant; J.E. Moody, Secretary; J.F. Baun, Treasurer; John Steineman, Steward.  The council purchased two ladders, fifty buckets, two axes, two hundred feet of rope, one thousand feet of hose, a hook and ladder truck, a hose cart, and a steel triangle, the last being for an alarm.  The company disbanded in 1877, and the ladders, hose, etc., lie in the lower part of the town hall.  The hose was used  by attaching it to the pumps the town had erected in various places.  There was another organization in 1874, called the


This company purchased uniforms and petitioned the council for the hose, but that body decided to leave all the apparatus in the hands of the hook and ladder company, so the hose company soon after disbanded.  In July, 1877, there was an unsuccessful attempt made to organize another company, to be called the


Since that time nothing has been done, and they seem to be waiting for some fire to kindle their enthusiasm.


The first services of this denomination in Wheatland were held by Rev. H.H. Parks, several years ago.  The church society was formed, October 3, 1876, with the following officers: - W.J. McFee and S.L. Walker, Deacons; M.A. Scott, Clerk.  These gentlemen are also the present officers: - Mrs. M.A. Scott was the delegate to the Association.  The church has a membership of seventeen, and does not sustain a Sunday School.  The society has no church edifice, and only occasional services are held.  Rev. G.J. Burnett was the first pastor, and since his departure there had been no regular one.


This church society was organized in February, 1878, and has a membership of nineteen.  For some time previous to the formation of the society, Elder Pendergast, of Woodland, Rev. G.R. Hand of Sacramento, and Elder Thomas held occasional services here.  Rev. R.H. Boyles was pastor of the church until March, 1879, since which time there has been no regular minister.  The society has no church edifice, and holds its services in the Methodist church.  No Sunday School is maintained by this denomination.


The first Episcopal service in Wheatland was held in 1871, by Rev. Wm. H. Hill, in Odd Fellows' Hall.  Later, Geo. R. Davis preached in the South Methodist church.  The mission was formed, August 16, 1874, and has at present eighteen communicants.  The church edifice was erected in 1875 at a cost $1,200.  The first officers of the mission were: - N.H. Shepherd, Warden; C. Stoddard, Treasurer; H. Cornforth, Clerk.   The present ones are: - N.H. Shepherd, Warden; Charles Justis, Treasurer; C. Stoddard, Clerk.  The first pastor was Rev. John Cornell.  After his departure there was no pastor for two years.  Rev. Thomas Smith took charge of the mission in August, 1878.  No Sunday School is maintained at present.


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