History of Sacramento County, California

What is termed "history" is made up of several factors, which sometimes move concurrently and sometimes are divergent. There are many matters of record, which of course are not disputable, but in the recital of which the narrative is tinctured by the opinions or prejudices of the narrator or the historian or of the source of his information. Tradition and personal recollection play another large part in history, and things that are accepted for decades and even for centuries as facts become in the course of time a matter of dispute and even of rejection. The path of the historian therefore is not one of roses. If he be wise he will as far as possible submit each statement to the test of scrutiny and comparison and hold fast to that which he considers as proven, or if he does not reject it, state that the matter is not fully authenticated.

Had the writer been far-seeing, when he came to California in 1874, he would have jotted down the personal recollections and experience's of a large number of the pioneers with whom he became acquainted and who were then in the prime of a vigorous life and with a vivid recollection of what they had passed through and of the conditions they found prevailing here when they arrived. Some of these men came as early as 1846 before the discovery of gold, and he has listened for hours to their tales of adventure and experience, but did not at that time realize that the lips that recited them would one day be stilled in death and many important matters connected with the early history of the state would be buried in oblivion. A book embodying these recollections would have been a most fascinating work, for a glamour always hangs over the history of the days of the Argonauts that seems to grow in interest as time progresses. Many of these reminiscences were probably tinged with romance, but that hardly lessened their interest.

In the compilation of this volume the writer has endeavored to present facts collated by him, without bias or prejudice, and as nearly authenticated as possible. Perhaps some statements may provoke criticism from those who hold a different point of view, or who have received information conflicting with them; and it would be too much to expect that the book would be entirely free from faults or defects, but he can truly say that he has done his best with the resources at his command and sifted the evidence to the best of his ability, and can only ask the indulgence of the public with regard to his shortcomings.

In the compilation of this work, the author has consulted a number of authorities, and had the valuable assistance of a number of persons in collecting data. The works of Dr. Morse, Thompson and West, and Winfield J. Davis have been drawn upon freely, as have those of other authorities. To Hon. W.A. Anderson he is indebted for the valuable chapter on "The Bench and Bar," and other reminiscences, and to E.B. Willis, N.E. White, J.A. Woodson and others for suggestions and information. In a work of this kind it is impossible to incorporate all incidents, however interesting to the parties concerned, and where it has not been practicable to secure accurate data, some things have been omitted, rather than run the risk of incorrect statement. He therefore trusts that the public will accept the work in the spirit in which it was written.

 

Table of Contents

Introductory 5

CHAPTER I
Sacramento County 10

CHAPTER II
Mining 16

CHAPTER III
Climate 17

CHAPTER IV
Gen. John A. Sutter 30

CHAPTER V
The Fort Restored 34

CHAPTER VI
The Discovery of Gold 37

CHAPTER VII
City and County Elections 41

CHAPTER VIII
The Squatter Riot 49

CHAPTER IX
First Things 55

CHAPTER X
The Revolution 61

CHAPTER XI
In the Beginning 65

CHAPTER XII
Political 81

CHAPTER XIII
County Government 87

CHAPTER XIV
City Officers 97

CHAPTER XV
Floods 105

CHAPTER XVI
Sacramento County Senators 117

CHAPTER XVII
Sacramento County Assemblymen 122

CHAPTER XVIII
California State Library 132

CHAPTER XIX
City Free Library 133

CHAPTER XX
Government Offices 135

CHAPTER XXI
Charitable Institutions 137

CHAPTER XXII
The Press 147

CHAPTER XXIII
Educational Matters 165

CHAPTER XXIV
Railroads 182

CHAPTER XXV
Navigation 201

CHAPTER XXVI
Local Judiciary and Attorneys 211

CHAPTER XXVII
Members of the Bar 219

CHAPTER XXVIII
Fraternal Societies 246

CHAPTER XXIX
Criminal Records 264

CHAPTER XXX
The Great Railroad Strike 279

CHAPTER XXXI
The Churches 291

CHAPTER XXXII
Reminiscences 308

CHAPTER XXXIII
Township History 317

CHAPTER XXXIV
Capital and Capitol 358

CHAPTER XXXV
The Military 364

CHAPTER XXXVI
Fire Department 373

CHAPTER XXXVII
Early Business Enterprises 381

CHAPTER XXXVIII
Banks and Bankers 388

CHAPTER XXXIX
Public Utilities 398

CHAPTER XL
The Crocker Art Gallery 404

CHAPTER XLI
Associations and Clubs 409

 

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It may be safely said of Sacramento county that she has played a more important part in the history of the state than any other county within the borders of California. Embracing in her confines the most precious gifts of the lofty Sierras and the foothills at their base the fertile alluvial soil washed down from their hillsides and canyons to fill up the inland sea of which she was once a part making her a second valley of the Nile, no whit inferior to the original in fertility and productiveness, she is almost without a peer. But the mountains and foothills were not niggardly in their munificent gifts, for in addition to her splendid soil they sprinkled it liberally with golden dust and nuggets that enriched many a one of the Argonauts and of the generation that succeeded them, and is to this day pouring millions into the pockets of the men who are mining the precious metal on the lands adjoining the American river.