by Thompson & West, 1879, with illustrations

Chapter XXVII - Rose Bar Township

At the first subdivision of the county into fifteen townships, made by the Court of Sessions, August 24, 1850, the territory now embraced in Rose Bar township, was partly in Town number eleven, and partly in number twelve.  The northern portion was in number eleven, and the southern  in number twelve.  The district at that time known as the town of Rose, was Town number three.  It extended from the south fork to the middle fork of the Yuba river, and north to the present county line.  The next division was made by the Court of Sessions, August 7, 1851, making eleven townships.  Rose Bar was all in Parks Bar township, number three, which extended from the mouth of Dry creek to the mouth of Deer creek, and south to Bear river.  The township, at that time called Rose Bar was number ten, and lay wholly in what is now Sierra county, its eastern boundary being the state line.  After Sierra county had been formed, the Court of Sessions, October 7, 1852, divided the county into ten townships.  Township number three was the same as formed at the former subdivision, but the name was changed from Parks Bar to Rose Bar.  The Board of Supervisors, October 10, 1856, formed ten townships, making Rose Bar number four, with nearly the same territory as at present, except that a strip from the bottom part was put in Bear River number three.  The last partition was made by the Board of Supervisors, September 17, 1861.  By this the boundaries of Rose Bar township were established as follows: - Beginning at the northwest corner of section thirty-five, township fifteen N., range five E.; thence north to the middle of Yuba river; thence up the middle of Yuba river, to the mouth of Deer creek; thence south on the line between Yuba and Nevada counties, to the northeast corner of East Bear River township; thence west on line of said township, to the point of commencement. 

Referring the reader to the general history for events prior to January 1, 1851, we will state the condition of Rose Bar township at that date.  All along the river bank, and back in the ravines, were hundreds of busy miners at work, delving for the golden grains.  Aside from these, there was but little settlement in the township.  We find a Mr. Berry and wife keeping a public place in a little log house, which they built in the winter of 1849, on the present site of the Empire Ranch.  On the old Sacramento road, where John Walsh's toll house now stands, was a man named Trip, who had built a small log house there in the fall of 1850, and kept a public house.  A little north of Trip were two men from Rhode Island, whose names we do not know.  Other than these there were no settlements in Rose Bar township, except in the mines.  The changes and settlements in 1851 were not very numerous.  March 2, 1851, Thomas Mooney and Michael Riley, who had arrived in the State in 1849, came up from Sacramento where they had been keeping a livery stable, bought out Berry and wife, and established the Empire Ranch.  The Berry family returned to Missouri, and soon after they both died.  The same spring the Union Ranch was settled by Craig, Stewart, and O'Brien.  They kept a public house, teamed and butchered.  They only remained there two years.  One of the two Rhode Island emigrants died this year, and was buried near the road.  The present highway from Smartsville to Wheatland runs past his grave.  His partner abandoned the settlement and went away.  Hunt and McKenzie settled on the Sacramento road in the winter of 1851, and kept a public house.  This place has for a long time been known as Vineyard's, William B. Vineyard taking it in 1854.

The most important of the settlements was that at the Empire Ranch.  This was a rallying point for the miners and Indians for miles around.  Mr. Mooney established a trading post there and kept a hotel.  He had two teams running to Sacramento for goods and could not keep himself supplied.  Sunday was a great gala day at the Empire Ranch.  The miners assembled there to pass away the time in sports and convivial pleasures.  When Mooney bought the place he purchased an old hen and rooster that Berry had brought across the plains.  They were what might be called the pioneer chickens of the county, and cost him one hundred dollars.  He also bought two cows and a heifer.  The first brood of chickens, in 1851, contained sixteen little peepers that were worth more than their weight in gold.  He sold four of them, that had the misfortune to be hatched roosters, to the miners for twenty-five dollars a piece.  With these they got up a shooting match using their revolvers.  With the milk he obtained from the two cows he made five pails of milk punch every Sunday.  With the chickens and the punch the miners had a great deal of sport.  Twenty baskets of champagne, one hundred and fifty boxes of claret, and many pails of milk punch were consumed weekly. 

There were a great number of Frenchmen working on the river, and they gathered at the ranch Sundays for a grand festival.  Sometimes as many as fifty to a hundred sat at the tables.  These were made by placing two sixteen-foot boards on claret boxes under the trees.  Great preparations were made for these banquets.  Large quantities of beef were cooked and placed on the tables in milkpans; about ten boxes of claret were set out, and a proportional quantity of other things provided.  Here the Frenchmen would spend the day, having a jovial time, and when night came they settled up to a penny, no record being kept of their account by Mr. Mooney.  Speaking of the profit he made from the old hen and rooster and the two cows, Mr. Mooney says: - "Why, I could no more count up the money those chickens and cows made for me than I could fly.  Taking what I received for the young chickens, the eggs, the barrels of milk punch, and the other goods I sold to those who came to see the shooting for instance, directly and indirectly I made thousands of dollars."

In 1850, and part of 1851, the stages from Sacramento to Nevada City crossed Bear river at Johnson's, and came up by the way of Watson's on Dry creek, Trip's place, and the Empire Ranch.  When the Round Tent was put up in 1851, they changed the route, going from Johnson's over the hills and past that place.  Mooney brought some horses up from Sacramento, and in 1851, with a man named Rubey, started the first stage line from Marysville to Nevada City.  In 1852, there was an Indian trading post established back of the Empire Ranch by Lovell and Norris.  The competition was too strong for them, however, and they did not understand how to manage the Indians, so that after a while they moved away.  Since then the better lands have been gradually taken up by the settlers.

The soil of the township is almost exclusively that which is known as red dirt, although small patches of sand and clay occasionally appear.  This red dirt is plentifully intermixed with gravel and stones, and not well adapted to agriculture, except in the ravines and small valleys that nestle among the hills, and on the lower land on the western edge of the township.  Stock raising is the chief pastoral industry, large bands of sheep grazing on the rolling hills.  Poultry raising is quite an industry among the ranchers.  The surface of the township is very rough.  Commencing with the barren rolling hills, it gradually rises and becomes more broken until at the Nevada county line the hills reach an altitude of about four hundred feet above the sea level, and are quite rugged and covered with timber, of which pine, fir, white oak, and manzanita are the leading varieties.  The larger timber has been cut out, leaving chiefly the smaller growth.  The chief agricultural products are wheat and hay.  Quite a number of vineyards have been planted in the valleys  and on the hill-sides.  The region is essentially a mining one, and on this industry it depends chiefly for its prosperity and the support of its population.  At Smartsville, Timbuctoo, and Sucker Flat are the immense hydraulic mines that have been worked for twenty-four years.  At Timbuctoo have been prospected and located a number of quartz ledges.  Only one of these had any considerable amount of work done upon it.  Further back from the river, a few other quartz leads have been located and are being worked in a small way, especially near the "Lone Tree."  This tree stands all alone on a high hill towards the southern portion of the township, and has given the name to that locality and to the school district in which it is situated.  We give the history of the towns and mining camps in their chronological order.


This camp on Yuba river, just above Timbuctoo ravine and near the old cemetery of 1849, was the place were gold was first found in paying quantities.  Jonas Spect, of Colusa, June 2, 1848, after finding gold in small quantities on Rose Bar, dug at this point in the afternoon, and washed out three pieces of gold, worth seven dollars.  He camped here and commenced work.  The locality was well known in 1848 as Spect's Camp, by all the miners then working on the river.  He had a store in Rose Bar that fall, and abandoned the mines in November, 1848.


This well known bar has the honor of being the first point on Yuba river, where gold was discovered.  Jonas Spect, of Colusa, found gold at this point, June 2, 1848, but not in paying quantities, and went further down the stream.  The next man we hear of at Rose Bar, was a Mr. Inman, later in June; Claude Chana, of Wheatland, came there  a few days after.  He says: - "I met a man named Inman, who came overland with me in 1846, just before I got to the bar.  He said he had been working there a few days, but could only make five dollars per day and so left to find a better place."  Chana, however, went on to the bar and commenced to work, and with five Indians, made one hundred and fifty dollars each the first day, at the same spot Inman had deserted.  They simply dug a little deeper.  This was the first actual working of the bar.  In July, 1848, John Rose came to the bar with about a dozen men, from the American river.  Accompanying the party was John Ray, with is wife and several children.  This was the first family at the bar.

That fall John Rose and his partner, William J. Reynolds, started a store at the bar.  Rose did the buying at Sacramento, and in that way the locality became known as Rose Bar.  Jonas Spect had a store here, kept by Mr. McIlvain.  Most of the company abandoned the place that fall, but others arriving, increased the number to twenty-five by the first of January, 1849. There had been heretofore room enough, and to spare.  The miners were not confined to any particular location, but worked at any point that suited their fancy.  When the miners began to arrive from the East, it became a little crowded, and in the spring of 1849 a meeting was held, at which it was decided that a claim should be one hundred feet square, and that the miner should be confined to his claim.  Rose, Reynolds and Kinloch, a young man they had taken into partnership, furnished beef from their ranch in Linda township.

In September, 1849, a company of fifty men, among whom was William H. Parks, commenced to dam the river, so as to mine the bed.  They completed the dam, and commenced work early in October.  The rain set in on the eighth, and in two days the water overflowed the dam and washed it away.  In the few days' work they had taken out one thousand dollars each.  A few days before the destruction of the dam, Mr. Parks sold out, and with an experienced baker started a store, bakery, and boarding house.  During the year the bar became very populous, and in 1850, there were two thousand men working here.  At that time there were three stores, one of which was kept by Baker & States, three boarding houses, two saloons, bakeries, blacksmith shops, etc.  The course of the river was turned seven consecutive years, the last time in 1857.  But little work was done here after that, and now the bar is covered by tailings from the mines, many feet in depth.  When the high water came during the winter of 1849, the miners moved back into the ravines, where they found very rich surface diggings.  Squaw creek was a very rich locality.  One of these ravines was worked by a man named Gates, and a town collecting there in 1850, it was called


The latter name was given it because Gates was a native of Illinois.  A store was started here that winter by a man named McCall.  Rose Bar was on the river and Sucker Flat just back of it, the two places being practically one.  In 1851, the joint population was three hundred men and five women.  The nearest post-office was at Parks Bar, a few miles below and on the opposite side of the Yuba river.  Rose & Reynolds closed out their business in 1850.  L.B. Clark had a store at Rose Bar also.  When the bar began to be worked out and the hydraulic mines were developed, Sucker Flat became quite a  town, and Rose Bar was abandoned.  Daniel Donohue purchased McCall's old store in 1853, and a few other stores were started.  In 1858, a fire destroyed Donohue's store, several other small stores, and a great many dwellings.  Rose Bar is now covered up with tailings from the mines, and Sucker Flat is simply a place of residence for the men who work in the hydraulic mines.    There are now three small saloons, two boarding houses, and from fifty to sixty miners' cottages.  The population is about three hundred.  Smartsville is now the base of supplies for the people of Sucker Flat.


Just above Cordua Bar, the river makes a sweep around the base of a high hill.  This point was worked in the summer of 1849, by a Connecticut company that had come around the Horn, and they christened it Cape Horn.  This company was sadly afflicted with the scurvy, and in August and September, all but a few died.  The survivors tenderly buried their dead comrades on the side of the hill just back of the camp, and erected to their memory wooden tomb-stones, with inscriptions on each giving the name and residence of the departed one.  The bones of many of these unfortunate men, for they were all young, have been removed in later years by relatives, and carried to their former homes in Connecticut to be interred in the family burial grounds.  Some of these graves and old head-boards can yet be seen, and the spot is known as the "Cemetery of 1849."


This was a small bar near the Timbuctoo ravine, and just below Spect's Camp.  Work was commenced  here early in 1849.  Theodore Cordua opened a store from which fact the bar derived its name.  The place was small and soon worked out.  It is now covered about sixty feet deep with tailings from the Smartsville and Timbuctoo hydraulic mines.


Opposite Parks Bar, miners commenced work in the summer of 1849.  A store was kept here by Taylor, Smith & Talcott.  These gentlemen built a saw-mill in November, 1849.  From this mill the bar derived its name.  The mill was in operation that winter, and was abandoned in 1850.  The first mining organization formed here was the Canal Mining Company, in May, 1850.  There were thirty-one men in the company, which was formed for the purpose of draining the river.  From the tenth to the fifteenth of September, this company took out fifteen thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight dollars.  John V. Berry was a member of this company, and Mrs. Berry was the first lady at the bar.  She is now teaching school at Smartsville.  William Torrence and wife, John Ginn, and Hugh McKennon kept a boarding house and store in 1849.  Mrs. Torrence made pies which sold for fifty cents a quarter.  This bar has met the same fate as the others, and is now deep under mining debris.


This bar was situated just where the county line meets the mouth of Deer creek.  The first mining was done here in 1850.  The bar, though small, was quite rich and formed the last of a continuous chain of bars extending from Deer creek to Long Bar.


In October, 1849, the Kennebec company, from Maine, located just opposite the lower end of Long Bar, and called the place Kennebec Bar.  They built a large log house capable of accommodating a dozen men, and put a stone fire-place in it.  They also built a saw-mill which was operated that winter.  Several others came the same winter, and three more cabins were built.  The bar was yielding only eleven dollars per day, and in March the company abandoned it and went to Downieville.  The bar never amounted to much, and was not very rich.


When the miners began to work back from the bars on the river in 1850, they found in ravines very rich surface digging.  A number of miners' huts were located back of Cordua Bar, on a hill just north of Timbuctoo, and in 1852, a man named Jim Crow put up a large round tent, in which he kept a saloon.  A hotel was built a little later, and the place became known as Sand Hill.  A store was kept by a man named William Gregory.  When hydraulic mining was commenced, it was discovered that the location of Sand Hill was a very rich mining ground, and the people began moving across the ravine to Timbuctoo.  By 1856, they had all but left  the old locality.  The ground belongs to the Excelsior Company, and has been all worked out.  The old site of the town has been washed away to a depth of about two hundred feet.  A few kilns of brick were made here, but the material was not good and it was abandoned.


The first mining was done in the ravines about Timbuctoo in 1850; William Monigan, who had a store at Rose Bar in 1850, was one of the first to work here.  A negro was working in one of the ravines, and from this fact the ravine near town was christened Timbuctoo by William Monigan and L.B. Clark.  A number of cabins were early built in the vicinity, but the first house was erected by William Gregory, early in 1855.  It still stands just east of the post-office.  A hotel was built in February, 1855, by Jacob Dufford.  It stood across the road from the post-office, and was burned in the fire of June, 1878.  Timbuctoo was the largest and most thriving locality in the township in 1859.  At that time there were two hotels, six boarding houses, eight saloons in addition to the bars in the hotels and boarding houses, one bank, one drug store, two general stores, three clothing and dry good stores, three shoe shops, one blacksmith shop, two carpenter shops, one lumber yard, one livery stable, one barber shop, three bakeries, two tobacco and cigar stores, one church, and one theater.  Another hotel was built in 1861, and a school house in 1862.  The vote of this precinct was at its highest about eight hundred, and the total population about twelve hundred.  In 1859, a union church was built by subscriptions of the citizens and a saloon was remodeled for this purpose. The Methodist Episcopal denomination was the only one that had a regular organization.  In 1878, the church was sold, torn down, and the materials used in the construction of a barn.  In 1859, a fine wooden theater with a brick basement was erected.  It had a seating capacity of eight hundred, and was frequently occupied by traveling companies.  The old ruin still stands on the north side of the road, and is now occupied by Chinamen.  The first school at Timbuctoo was kept by a Mr. Potter in 1856.  The public school house was built in 1862.  In 1873, it was moved to Smartsville, and joined to the one at that place.  The cemetery, lying just west of the place, was started in 1855.  The first burial was that of the three men shot by Jim Webster in 1855.  It was fenced in two years later.  In Jun 1878, a fire destroyed the post office, a meat market, saloon, the first hotel, and several dwellings.  The population is at present about two hundred whites and one hundred and fifty Chinese.  A.W. Thorp is post-master, and keeps a saloon and small stock of varieties.  Besides this, there are one small general store, four Chinese stores, one Chinese wash house, and about thirty dwelling houses.


James Smart built a hotel at this place in the spring of 1856.  This was the first building except a few cabins, here and there, occupied by the miners.  The only large settlements at that time were Timbuctoo and Sucker Flat.  L.B. Clark bought the place in 1857, and kept a store.  The hotel is now owned by B. Smith.  A saloon was started in 1856, also a small store was kept by a Mr. Shearer.  As the mines began to develop the place gradually to settle up, until at present, it is a thriving mining town.  The old cemetery on the hill, near the Empire Ranch, was first used in 1852, for the burial of a man from Oregon.  This was followed by the entombing of several men who died with cholera.  About three years ago a mine caved in at Sucker Flat, killing seven men, who were all buried in one day.  A little further up the road is the Fraternal Cemetery, laid out by the Masons, Odd Fellows, and Good Templars, in 1875.  Until a few years ago the remains of Catholics were taken to Marysville to be interred in the Catholic cemetery there; but a fine burial ground has since been laid out, just across the ravine and south of the town. 

Smartsville now contains two churches, one school house, one Masonic hall, one post-office, one Wells, Fargo & Co.'s express office, one Western Union telegraph office, two hotels, two livery stables, four saloons, two general stores, two drug stores, one lumber yard, one meat market, one barber shop, two shoemaker shops, one tin shop, one blacksmith shop, one private school, three physicians, one notary public and insurance agent, four carpenters, and about sixty dwelling houses.  The population at present is about four hundred.  The first public school was built across the road from the present one in 1856, and was taught by a Mr. Savage.  A private school was taught by Miss Slayter and Miss Stevens.  The site of their school has been mined away, and the building has been moved to its present locality, and is now used as a private school-room by Mrs. J.V. Berry.  Mrs. Berry taught the public school from 1857 to 1872, and since then has taught private school.  She has had seventy-two scholars at one time in the latter.  In 1873, the school building was removed from Timbuctoo, and joined to the one at this place.  The Rose Bar school district now embraces Smartsville, Timbuctoo, and Sucker Flat.

There was a brick kiln here in 1857, or 1858, near the school house, where a few bricks were made of sediment.  The material did not make a good quality brick, and the business was given up.


This lodge was first organized under a dispensation from the Grand Lodge, in 1855.  The lodge was located at Rose Bar, where a small hall was erected.  The charter was granted May 8, 1856, to the following gentlemen: - William L. Pearl, Benjamin M. Sawin, Henry B. Kellogg, L.B. Clark, Samuel G. Boyce, John Henry, Jonas G. Potter, Charles Linlott, and Francis Greenwald.  L.B. Clark is the only one holding membership at present.  The first officers were: - B.M. Sawin, W.M.; A.L. Morrison, S.W.; S.G. Boyce, J.W.; J.G. Potter, Treasurer; L.B. Clark, Secretary; R. Dillon, S.D.; F. Greenwald, J.D.; F.A. Meyor, Tyler.  In 1858, the lodge purchased the hall of the Sons of Temperance at Smartsville, and moved to that place.  The old hall at Rose Bar was moved up, and combined with the hall purchased.  Since that time the hall has been much improved, and now is a two-story fram building, 20x40 feet in size.  The hall is in the upper story, and is very neatly and tastily furnished.  The lower floor is rented to the Excelsior Company for a store-room.  The largest membership the lodge ever had was thirty-five.  At present it has thirty-three.  The financial condition is good, and it owns property to the value of twelve hundred dollars.  Eight thousand and fifty dollars have been dispersed in benefits and charity.  The present officers are: - Joseph A. Flint, W.M.; Peter Fitzpatrick, S.W.; A.P. Brown, J.W.; R.W. Tiff, Treasurer; J.T. McConnel, Secretary; James Monk, S.D.; Thomas Odger, J.D.; J.F. McNutt, and C.C. Duhain, Stewards; Richard Beatty, Tyler.  Regular meetings  are held on the Saturday evening on or before the full moon.


A charter was granted for this lodge, April 21, 1871, to the following members: - O.C. Hyatt, James Monk, Mark Roberts, Joseph Doubt, and William H. Bone.  These gentlemen are yet active members, with the exception of O.C. Hyatt.  The first officers were: - O.C. Hyatt, N.G.; Joseph Doubt, V.G.; James Monk, Secretary; Mark Roberts, Treasurer. The membership is fifty, the highest at any time.  The lodge owns property to the value of twelve hundred dollars, and has dispersed six thousand dollars in charitable objects and benefits.  Regular meetings are held at Masonic Hall,  Smartsville, every Wednesday evening.  The present officers are: - Mark Roberts, N.G.; Thomas Tretheway, V.G.; J.T. McConnell, Secretary; John Peardon, Treasurer.


This society was organized in 1854, and in 1855 built a hall on ground that has since been mined away.  The hall was moved to its present site.  The society died out in 1858, and the hall was sold to Rose Bar Lodge, No. 89, F. and A.M.  O.F. Redfield, now living at Smartsville, was a prominent member of this society.


This lodge was organized August 19, 1866, with the following charter members: - Franklin Holliday, Augustus C. Abrams, Joseph A. Flint, Henry Gratiot, Wm. Carpenter, Benj. Glidden, M.H. Jackson, James Woods, Edward Green, S.M. Curtis, S.A. Taylor, Mary A. Hines, O.F. Redfield, Benjamin Sanford, James L. Woods, F.M. Montague, Joseph N. Taylor, L.Veeder, Thomas Bridge, J.E. McDowell, J.M. Allenwood, Nancy Allenwood, Amos Middleton, Andrew Crowell, L.M. Carpenter, and H.D. Farley.  The first officers were: - J.N. Taylor, J.A. Flint, F.M. Montague, James Woods, O.F. Redfield, S.M. Curtis, S.A. Taylor, Amos Middleton, L.M. Carpenter, Mary A. Hines, Edward Green, and William Carpenter.  The lodge surrendered its charter November 22, 1878, having been in existence over twelve years.  During that time it had initiated over three hundred persons, and expended about one thousand  dollars in benevolent objects.  The money on hand at the close of the lodge, six hundred dollars, was donated to the Good Templar's Home for Orphans.  At that time the membership was twenty-one, though it had been as high as one hundred.  The lodge met every Friday evening at Masonic Hall, Smartsville.


The society was organized March 16, 1871, with the following charter members: - M. O'Mera, President; D.McDonald, Vice-President; C. Slattery, Financial Secretary; N.J. Pettit, Recording Secretary; P. Daily, Treasurer; John McQuaid, J. Duffey, and T. Condy.  The society has a membership of eighty, at one time eighty-five.  It is in good financial condition and owns property to the value of six hundred dollars.  In the mutual benefits and sick allowances incident to the objects of the society, seven thousand dollars have been expended since the organization.  The present officers are: - John McQuaide, President; P. Butler, Vice President; John Smith, Recording Secretary; John Heavy, Financial Secretary; Thomas Murray, Treasurer.  The regular meeting is held the first Tuesday of each month at Sucker Flat.


In 1863, this church was built by subscription among the citizens of the town, costing about fifteen hundred dollars.  It has been used as a union church, and the different denominations have held services there ever since.  The Presbyterian, Methodist, and Episcopal denominations are represented here, though none of them are strong enough to support a regular pastor.  The Presbyterians had a resident pastor two or three years, Rev. James Woods.  The Methodists are supplied by the circuit ministers.  Episcopal clergymen occasionally come from  Marysville and elsewhere and hold services.  A union Sunday School, with sixty scholars and a library of three hundred volumes, is maintained.  John T. Vineyard is the Superintendent.


The first services of the Catholic denomination in this vicinity were held by Rev. Father Peter, at Rose Bar in 1852, at which time the church was organized.  The first church edifice was erected in 1861, and was called St. Rose's Church.  It was burned in 1870, and the present one was erected the following year.  At this time the name was changed to the Church of the Immaculate Conception.  The successive fathers in charge of the church were Rev. Maurice Hickey, Rev. Daniel O'Sullivan, and Rev. Matthew Coleman.  The membership of the church is about eight hundred, and includes people of Sucker Flat and Timbuctoo.  The Sunday School has about one hundred scholars, and is presided over by T.H. Carr.  A large majority of the residents of this vicinity are of Irish nativity, and the Catholic religion is the predominent one.


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