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The returns, as promulgated by the board in pursuance of the above resolutions, were as follows:
. 259 Stout..
50 C. C. Catlett
* COUNTY-SEAT. Bidwell's Bar..
. 386 Hamilton.
..196 Ophir City.
161 The canvass-sheet compiled does not show the number of votes cast at each precinct, nor the number and names of precincts, but from the original returns we have obtained the number of votes cast at each precinct. This may not contain all the precincts, for the total vote thus shown was 1234, while the vote for sheriff, in the above table, was 1312. The vote cast was : Stringtown, 132 ; Long's Point, 146 ; Ophir City, 62 ; Veazie City, 38; Brown's Bar, 55; American Bar, 46; Adams, 58; Stony Point, 58; Middle Fork, 35 ; Bartee's Ranch, 72 ; Hamilton, 83 ; High Rock, 30; Pleasant Valley, 74; St. Louis, 34; Bidwell's Bar, 311. Total, 1234.
* See article elsewhere on the county-seat question.
The action of the board called forth a written protest from a minority of the members, couched in the following language :
BUTTE COUNTY, CHIco, June 18, 1850. To the Hon. Julge Haun, of Yuba County : -
We the undersigned, a minority of the board of inspectors, do solemnly protest against the proceedings of said board.
First—To Hamilton, because the number of votes cast exceeded the number of citizens or inhabitants of said town, which we can substantiate, and no poll-books or list of names returned.
Second—To Bidwell's Bar, because the officers were not sworn, as the law required.
Fourth—To the American Bar. The polls were held contrary to law. There was but one inspector and no judges; the inspector being a candidate for the office of county clerk, and openly declared himself as such.
Fifth—To Bartee's Rancho, there being but the one inspector, and his returns not signed or delivered by himself, but by his clerk, who was a foreigner.
Respectfully we sign our names,
B. F. BURCHE, Long's Point.
Thos. H. Paris, Veazie City. The protest seems to have had no effect whatever, for the records disclose no action of Judge Haun in the matter; and the officers first declared elected proceeded to qualify and enter upon the discharge of their duties.
Reference is made to the articles on the courts and the county-seat question for the incidents connected with the complete organization of the county government, while the financial article will disclose the struggles made to maintain the government and provide the revenue for its support.
The duties now discharged by the board of supervisors then appertained to the court of sessions, composed of the county judge and two associates. [See article on the courts.] No steps were taken by the court to subdivide the county into judicial townships until August 6, 1851, though election precincts were designated in the fall of 1850 for the election that then occurred. The order of August 6, 1851, created six townships with the following boundaries :
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, bounded as follows, to wit: Commencing on Feather river at the mouth of Honcut creek, running thence along the southern boundary of Butte county to the Sacramento river ; thence
up said river, following the western line of said county to the northern line of said county; thence along said line to the base of the Sierra Nevada buttes or table lands; thence south along said table lands to Feather river; thence down said river to the place of beginning.
“2d. Oregon Township, bounded as follows, to wit: Commencing at a point on Feather river, at which the eastern boundary of Hamilton strikes said river, running thence up said river to the mouth
of the North Fork; thence up the North Fork to its source; thence along the northern boundary of the county west to the base of the Sierra Nevada ; thence south along said base to the place of beginning.
“ 3d. Ophir Township, bounded as follows, to wit: Commencing on Feather river at the mouth of Honcut creek, running thence up Feather river to the mouth of the north fork of Feather river; thence in a direct line to the Kentucky ranch, excluding the same; thence up the ridge that divides the waters of the Honcut creek from those of the South Fork, to the source of the Honcut; thence down said creek to the place of beginning.
" 4th. Oro Township, bounded as follows, to wit: Commencing at the mouth of the north fork of Feather river; thence up the said fork to the mouth of the east branch of said north fork; thence in a line running southeasterly, passing the Pleasant Valley ranch, leaving said ranch north of said line; thence on to the middle fork of Feather river, crossing it three miles below Onion creek ; thence to the Missouri ranch, including the same, it being on the east line of said county; thence along the east line of said county to the source of Honcut creek; thence following the northern boundary of Ophir township to the place of beginning.”
Quartz and MINERAL townships were created and defined at that time, but as they were cut off from Butte county in 1854 and formed part of Plumas, their description would be superfluous in this work.
Election precincts were established at the same time in HAMILTON township at Hamilton, Chico, Lassen's, and Dorsay's store ; in Oregon township at Adamstown, Miller's store, and Mendenhall's store; in Ophir township at Veazie City, Ophir, Natchez, Wyandotte City, Long's Bar, and Morris' store ; in Oro township at Bidwell's Bar, Stringtown, Forbes' store, Missouri ranch, and Evans' Bar.
It was soon discovered that this division was far from satisfactory, as the townships were far too large, and the shifting of the population soon required the formation of new townships. On the second of December, 1851, the township of Hamilton was divided, the separating line being Mud creek, four miles above Chico creek, the northern part receiving the name of BENTON.
Again, on the nineteenth of June, 1852, the township of BIDWELL was created from a portion of Oro, with the following boundaries: "Beginning at the junction of the north and middle forks of Feather river ; thence up the north fork to the mouth of the east branch of said north fork; thence in a line running south-easterly, passing the Pleasant Valley ranch, leaving said ranch north of said line; thence on to the middle fork of Feather river, crossing it three miles below Onion creek; thence to the Missouri ranch, excluding the same, it being on the south-east line of said county; thence in a direct line to the junction of the middle fork with the south branch; thence in a direct line to the Kentucky ranch ; thence in a direct line to the place of beginning.”
The statutes of 1852, page 53, define the boundaries of the county substantially the same as before, but with an important difference which the language of the description taken alone fails to suggest. This difference is in the line between Butte and Sutter counties, The line, as then defined, was from the mouth of Honcut creek, “ westerly, along the northern boundary of Sutter county, to the Sacramento river.” Apparently this is the same line as before, but actually a far different one, as a reference to the description of the “northern boundary of Sutter county” will clearly indicate. On page 237 of the same statutes, that line is declared to run from a point in the Sacramento river “due west of the north point of the three buttes; thence, in a southeasterly direction, to a point at the base of the buttes, due west of the south point of the same; thence, in a northeasterly direction, to the middle of Feather river, opposite the mouth of Honcut creek.” It will thus be seen that this, for the first time, placed the Butte mountains within the limits of Butte county, where they were originally supposed to be situated. For two years they remained a portion of Butte county, and then, by the Act of March 31, 1854, were reunited to the county of Sutter, and still form a portion thereof.
We now come to an important event in the history of Butte county, being no less than the loss of fully two-thirds of her territory by the formation of Plumas county. At the time this vast section was assigned to Butte county, the mountains were an unknown wilderness. The population was confined to the mines along Feather river, west of the high ridge now forming the eastern boundary of the county, and all beyond that, to the east, was uninhabitated and unknown. This state of affairs, however, was of but brief duration.' The Gold Lake excitement in the spring of 1850, and the general tendency of the miners to push deeper into the mountains, soon led to the discovery of many rich deposits of gold high up on the forks of Feather river and their tributaries, followed by a great influx of miners into the hitherto unknown region. Mines of great richness and lovely valleys with soil of great fertility soon led to the building of permanent homes and the formation of happy and prosperous communities. These communities and mines were separated from the balance of Butte county and the seat of justice by miles of rugged mountains, over which communication was maintained by means of pack-mules in summer, and in the winter was not maintained at all.
An embargo of snow was placed upon travel for months at a time. The dispensing of justice by the legally-constituted authorities was almost impossible, and a demand was made by those isolated people for a county government of their own. This resulted in the Act of March 18, 1854, creating the county of Plumas out of that vast territory in Butte county lying to the east of the barrier of snow. The line of division was defined as follows: “ Commencing at the Buckeye House, on the line between Yuba and Butte, and running in a right line, crossing the southern portion of Walker's plains and Feather river, to the summit of the dividing ridge dividing the waters of the west branch and the main Feather river; thence following the said divide to the summit of the main divide separating the waters of the Sacramento and the main north Feather; thence following said divide to the line of Shasta county, dividing Shasta and Butte." It is generally supposed that the territory thus cut off embraced Plumas and Lassen counties and a portion of Modoc, but this is an error. It included only the southern portion of Lassen, while the northern portion and all of Modoc, as well as the county of Siskiyou, were originally a portion of Shasta county, and never belonged to Butte.
A few days later, by the Act of March 31, 1854, the Butte mountains were also taken away and given to Sutter county for a permanent possession, and thus adding to that county several thousand of the most fertile acres within her limits. This Act defined the boundary line between Sutter and Butte as starting from " a point in the Sacramento river due west of the north point of the three Buttes ; thence due east to the said north point of the three Buttes ; thence, in a straight line, to a point in the middle of Feather river, opposite the mouth of Huncut creek.”
The loss of so much territory on the east and south necessitated an entire re-division of the county into townships, and the court of sessions accordingly made an order, on the seventh of August, 1854, forming nine townships, as follows:
“And now it is ordered by the court, that all orders heretofore made by this court and entered of record herein pertaining to the division of Butte county into townships, be and they are hereby annulled and stricken from the record ; and it is further ordered by the court that the county of Butte be, and the same is hereby divided into townships, as follows, to wit :
“ BIDWELL TOWNSHIP.—Beginning at a point on the main Feather river one-fourth nıile below the High Rock claim; thence up the main channel of Feather river and the north fork of Feather river to the boundary line between Butte and Plumas counties ; thence along said line to the place where it crosses the middle fork of Feather river; thence down the channel of said stream to the junction of said river with the south fork of Feather river ; thence in a direct line to and including what is known as Woodman's ranch or cabin ; thence in a direct line to and including what is known as Kirby's or the Missouri ranch ; thence in a direct line to the place of beginning.