Marysville Appeal - Sun 9/5/1920, p3 - Wheatland Items - Wheatland, Sept. 3 - Mrs. C. A. Riechers and daughter have returned from Magalia where they enjoyed a vacation with Ed Allen and family of Live Oak. - Marc Gerard was a passenger from San Francisco Thursday on business. - Mrs. Marc Gerard is visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Muck, in Wheatland. - J. A. Muck was a business visitor at the county seat Thursday. - Mrs. A. L. Phillips returned on Sunday from Cisco. - A. A. Hubner, E. E. Roddan, H. W. Luckensmeyer and C. R. Beilby are picking their Phillips peaches this week and are shipping them by truck to the Yuba City cannery. - Thos. Nightingale has taken possession of the grocery business recently purchased from B. F. Sowell. - B. F. Sowell and wife will leave shortly for Pacific Grove where they will reside. - Frank Stineman and wife have moved from Wheatland to their ranch near town. - Mrs. E. A. Steinman [sic] has purchased the G. E. Beilby property on Fourth street where she will reside. - Mrs. Asa Armstead and daughter, June, returned Thursday from Sacramento where she visited relatives. - Mrs. Ike Mayfield of Sutter county has been visiting in Wheatland at the home of Mrs. M. Latta. - Mrs. M. Latta expects to leave in a few weeks for San Jose where she will make her home. - Mrs. M. Best visited at the home of Mrs. Geo. Hollingshead in Wheatland Thursday. - A. C. Stagner and wife returned from a week end visit with DrD. [sic] C. E. Stagner and Mrs. Stagner at Gustine on Tuesday. - E. L. Edwards and family motored to their new home at Yreka Monday. - Mrs. A. L. Anderson and children of Wheatland are visiting at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. T. Peckham, near Smartville. - Mrs. Carleton Anderson and children have returned to Roseville after visiting several weeks in Wheatland. - Ed Lewis and Attorney W. P. Rich were in Wheatland Monday on business. - A. J. Olsen has withdrawn his resignation as manager of the Wheatland Rochdale store and will remain with the management. - The directors of the Wheatland Rochdale Store held a business meeting Saturday afternoon. - Ray Beilby and wife have returned from Shasta Retreat and are visiting at the Oakley ranch near Wheatland. - Mrs. Idellia Lyle came up from Vallejo Monday to spend a month with her mother, Mrs. A. G. Oakley, near Wheatland. - E. E. Roddan and wife have returned from San Francisco.  Their daughter, Miss Una Roddan, who accompanied them to the city remained and has entered the University. - Miss Ethel Boswell returned to San Francisco Monday morning. - xx Bonslett and wife visited in Wheatland from Gridley Thursday morning. - Mrs. L. Enochs has sold her home and contents to W. R. Enochs.  Mrs. Enochs expects to depart on next Monday for Kansas where she will make her home with her sister, Mrs. Harriet Poole. - Mrs. Jeanette M. Brock and son, I. N. Brock, Jr., motored to Sacramento Friday.


Appeal Democrat - 1/23/1960

Wheatland Area Developed Early

In the part of Sacramento Valley destined to come within Yuba County, one of the earliest settlements was near Wheatland. - Although that town was not laid out until 1866, Johnson Rancho, located three miles to the east on the Bear River, dates back to 1844. - In that year Gov. Manuel Micheltorena of California granted to Pablo Gutierrez, an employe of Sutter at New Helvetia (Sacramento) five square leagues of land on the north side of the Bear.  He took possession about Christmas-time, built an adobe house and prepared to settle down as a ranchero.  But in January, 1845, while Gutierrez was carrying a message for the governor, he was waylaid and murdered.

Sailor Settles - About that time arrived in the area William Johnson, a Yankee seafarer who had been shipping back and forth between the coast and the "Sandwich Isles."  On April 28, 1845, Sutter as "magistrate" of New Helvetia auctioned Gutierrez's possessions.  The purchaser was Johnson, who had left his ship in San Francisco.  Sebastian Kyser, another newcomer, came into half ownership.  On Aug. 3, 1857 a United States patent to the grant was issued to Johnson, thus confirming the title which now is basic to all land titles in the area including the city of Wheatland. - In the year 1846 the rancho was visited by various immigrants.  Among them was Claude Chana, a Frenchman born in 1811 who had emigrated to the United States and reached New Orleans as a trader in 1838.  He went on to St. Joseph, Mo., one of the main crossroads for overland travel, and learning of Sutter's successful venture in California set out with a westbound party.  Charles Covillaud was one of the group, and they reached Johnson's place about the middle of October in 1846. - Chana worked for a while as a cooper for Sutter near Sacramento and then, learning of gold discoveries in 1848, on May 15 located some of the mineral in the Auburn ravine of Placer county.  He turned miner and acquired funds sufficient to buy from another pioneer, Theodore Sicard, a grant on Bear river.

Farm Destroyed - He improved several hundred acres with vineyards, orchards and gardens around a "beautiful home."  But the place was in the path of a smothering flood of debris from hydraulic mining that later filled the Bear riverbed and overflowed to ruin nearby ranches.  Chana put up the earliest grist mill in Yuba County, using the river for water-power.  Chana lived in the district until his death, May 24, 1882 at Wheatland.  In a ceremony at the old town cemetery, May 7, 1947, Wheatland parlor of Native Daughters of the Golden West marked the Chana grave with a tablet.

Johnson was involved in the worst tragedy ever to befall wagon-train travelers bound from the States, when late in January 1847, two men and five women of the "Forlorn Hope" rescue group from the Donner Party staggered into his ranch. - They had made a tortuous 32-day trip through snow-drifts from Donner Lake, where an unseasonable storm on Oct. 28, 1846 and following days had trapped 80 immigrants without food.  The seven who reached Johnson's were the remnant of 15 who had left the beleaguered camp to get aid; the others had died along the way. - Provisions were hastily obtained from Sutter's Fort, then the only settled place in the entire valley, and sent to Donner Lake - - but it took until Feb. 19, for the rescuers to break through snows over 20 feet deep to the camp.  Later other relief parties made their way into that ghastly encampment - - where starving persons were forced to exist on the flesh of those who had died.  Of the entire party in the camp, now marked by a state monument, 48 survived and were brought to the valley while 42 succumbed. - Among the rescued was 16-year-old Mary Murphy. At Johnson's Rancho she met the proprietor and after she had gone on to Marysville with relatives, he followed her and the couple married in June 1847.  This proved another tragedy in the girl's life, for she divorced Johnson later that year.  Afterwards, Mary Murphy became the wife of Charles Covillaud and her name was given to the new town he laid out in 1849-50. - Johnson left the area for the Islands not too long after his marriage ended and in 1849 both he and Kyser disposed of their ranchlands.  Johnson sold to James Kyle, Jonathan B. Truesdale, James Emory and William Cleveland and Kyser to Eugene Gillespie and Henry E. Robinson.  Truesdale deeded his interest to the other three men who sold to Gillespie and Robinson, so that this pair held title to the entire Johnson's Rancho grant.  In 1849 they laid out the town of Kearney.  Subsequent ownership changes brought in Elihu Woodruff, John W. Bray, Eli A. Harper, A. W. Holloman and C. Cauthron, between 1854 and 1863.  On Oct. 26, 1865, the two latter men conveyed the property to George S. Wright. - Word of the ordeal of the Donner Party reached the east and in 1849 triggered the establishment of a military outpost, Camp Far West, about four miles west of the present City of Wheatland.  Set up to aid and protect settlers, by 1852 it was discontinued as no longer needed.

Soldiers Mine - There were two companies of soldiers in the camp under command of Capt. (later Major) H. S. Day.  The men, when off duty, were allowed to prospect for gold along nearby rivers. - In 1850 there was a criminal court in Marysville called the "Court of First Instance."  Such crimes as cattle theft often were tried, but it was difficult to convict the defendants for they usually stole only unbranded "wild" cattle and slaughtered them for food.  The commandant at Camp Far West was called upon for aid by the prosecution.

It was in 1866 that Wheatland was laid out in town lots by George Holland, under the management of C. L. Wilson.  In 1866, also, the first post office was established there, and the California & Oregon Rrd. (later Southern Pacific) was built through the town. - The town often was referred to as the "Four Corners."  This was because it was close to the junction of Yuba, Sutter and Placer counties and not very far from a corner of Nevada County. - The name Wheatland was an obvious choice, for as early as 1860 there were in that vicinity 20,000 acres of wheat where only eight years before had been only vast untilled tracts of wild oats and grasses. - It was in somewhat later years that Wheatland ranchers turned much acreage over to hop production, making the town at one time the largest and best hop-growing center in the world.  The hops were greatly sought by foreign traders.  On march 8, 1906, a special freight train of 34 carloads of hops sold to a London firm left the Durst Ranch at Wheatland. - That ranch, while operated by Durst Bros., sons of the founder, was scene of the notorious hop riots Aug. 4, 1913.  They brought death to Yuba County Dist. Atty. E. T. Manwell, who had been a Wheatland resident for many years, Deputy Sheriff Eugene Reardon and two unidentified hop pickers.  Of the rioters Richard (Blackie) Ford, a former IWW, and Herman Suhr were convicted in 1914 of slaying the officer. - Manwell was the father of Atty. Ray Manwell of Marysville, who at one time was Yuba County district attorney, and grandfather of Marysville District Judge E. T. Manwell. - The riots, it was stated some years afterwards, resulted when conditions among the many hundreds of pickers became "intolerable" (due to a poor crop, oversupply of labor on the ranch and unsanitary living facilities.) - The mob through Ford presented to the Dursts what were termed "Ten Commandments" seeking relief. When their demands were rejected the shooting began. - By 1925 Wheatland, with a population of about 450, was listed as the second largest hop producer, employing 4,000 during harvest seasons.

Buildings Rise - Wheatland had but few buildings in the first year of its existence, but a store for Ziegebein & Co. at Main and Front Sts. was one of  the first to rise.  A residence for C. Holland at Main and D Sts., a blacksmith shop for E. W. Sheets at Main and C and a hotel for Asa Raymond on Main St. near the east end of town, were erected.  But sale of lots did not get brisk until 1871-72.  By 1878 there were 400 residents. - As the town grew, need for fire protection brought about its incorporation, authorized by act of the legislature, March 13, 1874.  The town was hit by bad fires in 1880, 1898, and again in 1903, when a Fourth of July fire occurred.  In that blaze the depot, hotel, bank, lumber yard and Odd Fellow hall were destroyed. - The Wheatland Flour Mill, organized in 1872, was bought by the Sperry Flour Co. in 1892 from local interests.  C. K. Dam was manager for the mill until it shut down in 1896.  He reopened it but it was burned in the 1898 fire. - The town was provided with a bit of excitement Nov. 13, 1907, when a keg of powder being used as a "prop" in a play ready for showing, blew up on the stage of the theater.  This was on Railroad Ave. between Fifth and Sixth Sts.

By 1900 the population of Wheatland had reached 1000, according to information on an old map in the office of the city clerk.  There were milling and grain warehouses, livery and feed stables, "downtown" stores and SP depot along Front St. between Fourth and Fifth (now Main) Sts., bank, newspaper, churches, schools, hotels and a theater.  Most of the dwellings were of wood but a few of the better ones were brick.  "Across the tracks" was China Town, with its multiple dwellings, laundry and gambling hall.  Fire-fighting equipment included a hose-cart (with 600 feet of rubber hose) and a hook and ladder truck both hand-drawn.  The fire bell was on the town house. - With the incorporation of Wheatland, Dr. D. P. Durst, prominent hop grower, was president of the original city council.  The city clerk was H. C. Niemeyer, and other councilmen were H. Lohse, C. Cleveland and S. Wolf.  The city treasurer was David Irwin; assessor, Cyrus Stoddard; marshal, Joseph Trimmer and justices of the peace, A. M. Bragg and W. L. Campbell. - The present city officials include Mayor Robert Coe, Councilmen Chester Metcalf, Charles Bertolini Jr., Russell W. Neyens, Robert H. Blackford Jr.; City Clerk Thelma Beach, Chief of Police Charles H. Myers and Fire Chief Thomas McDevitt. - In 1901 E. D. N. Lehe got the right to provide electricity for the city, which later the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. supplied. - On June 2, 1914, the city council passed an ordinance limiting the speed of motor vehicles on city streets to 15 miles per hour. - In 1905 new boundaries for the city were adopted and on Feb. 18, 1913 the town voted annexation of lands to the north, east and west.  On the north were the C. K. and C. H. Dam properties, belonging to pioneer families; on the east those of Tom Aikens and R. L. Egbert, and on the west, of J. P. Stone and L. W. McCurry.

In 1914 the city tax rate was set at $2.25, including 65 cents for a "highway fund."  W. P. Rich, later state senator and widely-known Marysville lawyer, who was Wheatland City attorney at the time, showed the board that the special street rate was illegal and it was eliminated. - Rich grew up in Wheatland and vicinity, and not only was an attorney but in 1903 was principal of the elementary schools.  He also served the community as justice of peace and police judge. - First white child born in Wheatland was Alma Sheets (Murphy) a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Sheets, in 1868. - About 1857 the Wheatland area was divided into east and west Bear River Townships.  In 1864 Bear River school district was formed, and in 1871 this was divided into Virginia and Wheatland school districts.  At present, the elementary school district again includes all of the original areas, plus Beale Air Force Base. - A modern problem is the prospective heavy enrollment of both elementary and high school pupils from Beale, Lone Tree elementary school at the Beale village where families of air force personnel will be housed, is under Wheatland jurisdiction. - The first public school in Wheatland opened in 1856 when a man named Holloman taught in a private home.  The school soon thereafter was built near the cemetery north of town with Holloman continuing in charge.  Another school was built across from the Muck Ranch near Camp Far West, but removal of families from the district soon closed this. - In 1915 a two-story structure - - the top floor housing the high school students - - was put up on Main St.  The present elementary school was a WPA project, built in 1935 while Elmer Cunningham was principal (1918-1940). - In 1907 there was a district high school in Wheatland, with three teachers.  By 1922 the high school was unionized with five elementary districts, including Plumas elementary district.  The present building was put up in 1924-25 when there were four teachers on the staff.  At present the school has an attendance of 150, with 11 teachers.

The community from about 1870 supported a weekly paper, the last one in 1935. - The Farmers Bank of Wheatland was incorporated Oct. 22, 1874, capitalized at $125,000 and had Crawford Holland as president; A. W. Oakley, secretary and W. W. Holland, cashier.  By the next year the capital stock had been doubled.  In later years the bank was taken over by the Bank of America, which now operates it.  Nov. 9, 1938 was a memorable one for the quiet community - - for the bank was robbed just about closing time at 3 p.m.  The criminal escaped. - The Odd Fellows lodge early owned its own hall in Wheatland and since 1871 a Masonic lodge has been in the community.  This was Nicolaus lodge No. 129, F&AM, organized May 13, 1858.  It was removed to Wheatland and by 1958 celebrated its 100th anniversary.  On Oct. 18, 1881 the Wheatland Chapter No. 48, Order of Eastern Star, was chartered, with 26 members. - As the first Odd Fellows lodge hall had been burned, Aug. 30, 1880, the groups then met in Pacific Hall.  The replaced IOOF hall also was burned, Aug. 12, 1898, when all the records of the orders were lost.  The next Odd Fellows hall was bought by the Masons in 1948. - At present there is a small social club called the Wednesday Club, which grew out of the Stoddard Club organized Oct. 21, 1911.

The Native Daughters formed a parlor in Wheatland in 1921.  Mrs. Ethel Brock Glidden has been secretary for the past 37 years.  On April 25, 1948 the parlor rededicated a marker at Camp Far West cemetery.  Originally this had been placed in 1911 by the Native Sons (no longer active in Wheatland) but had been looted by vandals.  Funds also were provided by the E. C. Horst Ranch to construct a high rock wall around the cemetery. - The ND, with about 50 members, plans to erect an historical marker at the old Lofton Cemetery, several miles east of Wheatland.  Through the courtesy of Mrs. Chester Creps a suitable granite boulder will be provided for this.

In early days churches were started by Methodists, Episcopalians, Christians and Baptists.  Currently the churches include Grace Episcopal, St. Daniel's Catholic, First Christian, and Assembly of God.  An earlier Baptist church dwindled until the membership was but five.  Then the building was sold to the Civic Improvement Club for $1.  This club was active until 1921.  In March, 1946, the building was turned over to the Episcopal Women's Guild, and remodeled as "Pioneer Hall." - There are three voting precincts in Wheatland - - Wheatland, Far West and Virginia - - with a 1959 total registration of 581.


Copyright ©  Kathy Sedler   ALL RIGHTS RESERVED