Slike strani
[ocr errors]

not last long after the excitement of the election had passed, and its material was absorbed by the Record. Mr. Lincoln secured a position in the San Francisco custom-house, and some time in 1863 or 1864, returned to the east with Trainor W. Park, and became cashier of Park's national bank, at first located in Vermont, but afterwards removed to New York, which position, we believe, he yet fills.

Some time in the summer of 1859, a man named Johnson brought a press and material for a printing-office to Oroville, and announced his intention of publishing a paper. He did not, however, and the material was sold to John Charlton, who started a paper at the present village of Tehama.

In July, 1859, the Butte Democrat made its appearance in Oroville as a weekly, with A. N. Wyman as editor and proprietor, and was continued until sometime in 1860, when the material was purchased by Mr. Wentworth, who published the Oroville Weekly Union until his death, in 1863.

The material was then sold to a Mr. Langmore, who removed it to Susanville, and issued a weekly paper known as the Sage Brush. Mr. Wyman remained in Oroville for some years, being employed in the Record office. He was also employed in the office of the Quincy National (Plumas county) for some time, but finally returned to his friends in Washington, D. C., where he died.

The town of Chico was laid off into streets and blocks in 1862, and in 1863 a Mr. Hatch started a small weekly publication, known as the Chico Index. It had a brief struggle for existence, when the material was removed to San Francisco in payment for its purchase-money. In November, 1864, A. W. Bishop, now of Oakland, began the publication of the Chico Courant. It was continued until 1869. In July, 1867, C. H. Wilson, of Chico, issued the Butte County Press as a weekly. He continued in it but a short time, when the proprietorship was assumed by R. H. O'Ferrall. He was succeeded by L. P. Hall, who sought to give the publication a new lease of life by taking advantage of the growing feeling against Chinese immigration, and christened his paper the California Caucasian. It expired in March, 1869. The material then passed into the hands of W. N. De Haven, who issued the Northern Enterprise, until 1871, when it passed into the hands of Dr. Wm. P. Tilden, who continued its publication for a year. In October, 1871, W. Chalmers issued the Chico Semi-Weekly Review, which had a brief existence until May, 1872, when it was absorbed by the Northern Enterprise, with Ed. Hoole as ostensible proprietor, and W. N. De Haven as editor. Mr. DeHaven continued as editor of the Enterprise until his death, in 1876. Since then its editorial chair has been filled by W. C. Chalmers, E. Haley, W. H. Atwell (“ Bill Dad”), W. Loy, H. K. Goddard, and again Chalmers. It is still in existence, and for something over a year it has been issued as a semi-weekly.

In 1873, L. D. Clark began the publication of the Oroville Mercury, and continued its publication for about one year, when it passed into the hands of De Mott & Gray. Mr. Wm. DeMott soon became sole proprietor, and continued its publication up to the period of his death, in the spring of 1880, since which time it has been continued by Mrs. Wm. De Mott, with Warren Sexton as business manager.

The historian of the press of Butte county might as well lay down his pen at his period. Papers have multiplied within the county during the past four or five years so rapidly that it is almost a hopeless task to mention them. The “ patent outside” and “inside” fiend has been at work, and Biggs and Gridley boast their papers, with Nord, Cana, Dayton, Dogtown, Centerville, Paradise and Helltown to hear from. Some four years ago, William Sharkey began the publication of the Butte County Register at Biggs. After about two years it was removed to Oroville, where its publication has since been continued. Some two years since, C. N. Reed began the publication of the Gridley Herald, at Gridley, and has been reasonably successful, with good prospects of continuing as a local newspaper. On the removal of the Register from Biggs to Oroville, Mr. F. F. Carnduff occupied the place with the Biggs Recorder, which is still in successful operation.

Chico seems to be the center of attraction for ventures in the newspaper line. In 1879, C. L. King issued the Daily Amusement and Advertiser. It continued in existence until after the presidential election of 1880. The following year the Chico Morning Chronicle made its appearance, with Manning & Brown as proprietors, and H. R. Goddard, late of the Enterprise, as editor and carrier. At present there are eight printing-offices and papers in Butte county, viz., the Chico Daily Evening Record, Weekly Butte Record, the Semi-Weekly Enterprise, and the Morning Chronicle, Chico; the Weekly Mercury and Butte County Register, Oroville ; the Biggs Recorder, and the Gridley Herald.



The rehearsal of incidents of pioneer life will never cease as long as the animated actor in those scenes remains among us. A great many of these anecdotes have been related in various portions of the volume, to illustrate topics under consideration. Of the many that have not been used in that way, we present the few following as worthy of preservation :Some good stories are told of Thomas Wright, now dead, who was once a justice of the peace

in Chico township. Squire Wright had some crude notions about the nature of legal adjudication, which once led him into making a rather strange and novel settlement of a case that was brought before him. It occurred in the year 1852. A young man had hired himself to General (then Major) Bidwell. When the time for settlement came there was a misunderstanding, and the young man concluded he could get better satisfaction out of Squire Wright's court than by foregoing the expensive luxury of law. So he entered a suit against Bidwell, employing George Adams Smith, afterwards district judge, as his counsel. Bidwell, on the other hand, engaged the services of C. F. Lott. The plaintiff demanded a jury trial,

. and, after a great deal of trouble, a jury of twelve men was got together, empanelled and sworn, in due form of law. As the case was about to begin, somebody proposed that it should be settled by a horse

The plan was suggested to his honor, who was quickly struck with the great propriety of using horses to settle law-suits, and needed but little argument to be convinced. His ruling on this point was. unique, but to the point : “Gentlemen, the parties propose to settle the case with a hoss-race. I think that is the best way to settle it myself. Therefore, this court will adjern till the hoss-race is over." And the entry in accordance with the above went down on the court journal. George Smith, counsel for the plaintiff, had a fine horse, with the appropriate name of “Rabbit-Catcher," indicative of his speed, which he loaned to his client. Major Bidwell's horse was mounted by Frank Davis, who, by mutual agreement, was to ride for the defendant. George Smith was judge at the starting, and Judge Lott at the outcome. All the preliminaries being completed, the start was made, and both horsemen shot down the road at breakneck speed. For a short distance they went neck and neck, but Bidwell's horse becoming frightened, and not having the dignity and importance of the court before his eyes, made

, a break to one side and dashed into the chaparral, letting the case go by default. So the learned judge entered up a judgment against Major Bidwell for the amount involved. On another occasion, some two years later, a man was brought into Squire Wright's court, charged with grand larceny. The squire had a very exalted notion of the functions pertaining to a justice of the peace, and had the prisoner at the bar been charged with high treason and rebellion against the United States government, his honor would have arraigned him, tried him and sentenced him with as great a sense of the mighty responsibility resting upon him as he did in this case. The prisoner, instead of being examined, and held to await the action of the higher court, had his fate decided by his honor in a most summary manner. The evidence adduced bore hard against him, and the only course open to Judge Wright, as he thought, was to give the prisoner a good long term at San Quentin, that the peace and dignity of the State of California might be preserved; which act of official duty he accordingly performed with extreme circumspection.


His commitment of the prisoner into the hands of Sheriff Dodge was a weighty document, concluding with these words : “Therfor, Mr. Sherif, you will lock him up.” That incumbent of the shrievalty immediately started for the state bastile with his man, but when he had got as far as Hamilton he was stopped by superior authority, and compelled to put the man in the county jail until the court of sessions could attend to his case. In the end they sustained the decision of the lower court, and he was

" locked


A very peculiar bequest was made by Henry Ashley, who died August 11, 1861, near Pence's ranch. Though unable to write his own name, he seems to have had a strong desire to help the cause of common schools in Butte county, at the expense of his young wife. Below is a copy of his last will and testament:

PLEASANT RANCH, August 9, 1861. The undersigned, being of sound mind and desirous of making a proper disposition of his earthly property, hereby makes the following arrangements, besquests, etc., namely:

1st. To my wife, Sarah Jane Ashley, I bequeathe the sum of one hundred dollars ($100). 2d. After


funeral expenses and all other debts and liabilities are paid off, then the balance of any money accruing from the sale of my property, I do hereby bequeathe to Butte county, California, for common-school purposes, under the conditions that the principal so bequeathed shall perpetually remain for the above-stated purpose, and only the interest of the same shall be annually set aside and applied for common-school purposes, the same as other common-school funds are applied.

In witness of the above, my last will and testament, I have hereunto set my hand and seal in presence of these witnesses.



х mark.


Ashley was in comfortable circumstances, as is evidenced by the fact that Seneca Ewer, appointed by the court to invest the deceased's funds, after paying all liabilities, purchased $3,310.50 of county warrants, together with a thousand-dollar railroad bond of the county, making in all $4,310.50. The county has paid interest on this amount from 1862, all of which has been paid into the school fund. The schools have been benefited considerably over eight thousand dollars by Ashley's idiosyncracy.

The manumission of slaves in California was quite common in the early days, and the records of nearly every county testify to the practice. A slave could not be held here when brought for profit or residence, as was decided by our supreme court in the Archie case ; but many slaves, generally from a feeling of attachment to their masters, refused to avail themselves of the opportunity to gain their free dom-some even returning to the East with their masters. The following document is interesting in this connection :

“Sometime in the Spring or sumer of the year A. D. 1851, there came to Ophir, Butte County, California, a man caling himselph Samuls, who said that he had control of a Collered man called Lewis Taylor, and that the said Taylor was to work for the said Samuls, (or some relitive I am not sertain whitch,) for one yeare. But after the said Taylor working about six month he made an agreement with the said Samuls that he should be a free man if the said Taylor would pay unto the said Samuls the sum of five Hundred Dollars. And when caled upon in the spring or sumer of 1851 the undersigned had in his possession belonging to the said Taylor the sum of five Hundred Dollars in good cleen Gold Dust, whitch the said Taylor requested me to pay to the said Samuls, when I advised him not to do so because the said Samuls could not showe any wright to receve it. But the said Taylor insisted that I should

him wich I did.


"Subscribed & sworn to before me at my office at White Rock, this the 19th Day of April, A. D. 1853.

J. R. HOPE, J. P.”

The first document recorded in the records of the county of Butte, is the deed of manumission by Franklin Stewart to the slave Washington, a copy of which we give below. Another instrument of the same nature appears on the records of 1857, in which William Compton sets free his slave Joseph Compton for two years' faithful servitude, a curious feature of this document being the inability of the master to sign his own name, making his mark instead.


STATE OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF BUTTE. Know all men by these presents that I, Franklin Stewart, of the county and state aforesaid, do, for and in consideration of seventeen years' faithful servitude of my slave Washington, rendered by him in the states of Arkansas and Missouri, do hereby set free and emancipate him, the said slave-his age about thirty-four years ; color, slight copper--and fully relinquish all right unto the said slave Washington, which I might be entitled to in law or equity. Given under my hand and seal this 4th day of May, A. D. 1852.


The above document was certified to by the clerk of Yuba county, Charles Lindley, as the instrument executed by Franklin Stewart, “who acknowledged the same to be his own free and voluntary act and deed for the uses and purposes therein expressed.”

At the first election in Butte county in 1850, a full set of officers was chosen, but notwithstanding very liberal salaries were attached to some of the positions, the holding of office was considered rather a disadvantage than otherwise, as everybody was making money and expected to get rich in a few days. Consequently the cares and distractions of public service were only obstacles to a man's prosperity. At that election Moses Bean became the first judge of Butte county, and J. M. Burt the county attorney, whose duty it was to prosecute public offenders in behalf of the people, and to look after their interests in all litigation which concerned them. But Mr. Burt was making money at Long's bar and did not

. think it worth his while to attend to official duties. So, in a short time the judicial fiat went forth from the court of sessions, summoning him to appear before that tribunal on the twenty-third of October, 1850, and show cause for his dereliction of duty. The offender did not appear in court till the twentyfifth, and in the meantime was heavily fined for contempt. Happily Butte county edicts were not like the laws of the Medes and Persians, and the fine was remitted upon his recognizance to furnish the court with drinks. The records of that period only make note of the fact that the costs of suit were adjudged against the county.

Away back in the year 1851, as the anniversary day of our national independence drew nigh, the sparks of patriotism that had flickered faintly before, began to glow with fervent heat in the breast of every native-born American who trod the soil of Butte county. Men began to button-hole their neighbors and inquire what was to be done on the coming fourth of July. By common consent it was decided that not another independence day should pass without commemorating in a proper way the birth of the glorious republic. Great preparations were accordingly made for a grand celebration at Ophir city, on the present site of Oroville. The stalled ox was slain to adorn a barbecue ; Judge C. F. Lott, being then a promising young attorney, was selected as a fit person to deliver the oration, and James S. Law, to assist the eagle's screams, was to read the declaration of independence, the Bible of the American citizen. The day dawned beautifully, being ushered in with the customary noisy salutes, and ere long


the miners from the neighboring camps began to assemble. As the day advanced thousands had gathered at the city of gold. The only ladies present were Mrs. John Tatham and a young lady of Thompson's flat. Miss Brown being unmarried, was the belle of the day. The numerous attentions paid her by eager swains were no doubt prompted by a sincere devotion to the sex --a devotion all the more earnest because of the dearth of feminine society, felt in every part of the country. At the appointed time Mr. Law arose and read amidst the close attention of his hearers, those inspiring words of patriotism so familiar to us all. To one of his hearers the language seemed fresh and original. The gentleman was of Celtic origin, with a rich Hibernian brogue that stamped him at once an Irishman of the old school. Jumping to his feet at the conclusion of the recital, he shouted : “ Ladies and gintlemin : I I move thray cheers for Misther Law's spach.” It is needless to say that Mr. Law's speech met with a most vociferous appreciation. Judge Lott then delivered the first oration of the kind ever heard in Butte, and the crowd adjourned to the barbecue. In the course of the afternoon a slight skirmish occurred between the sons of Columbia and a crowd of “Sidney ducks." The latter persisted in cheering Queen Victoria, while the star-spangled banier was equally applauded by the former. Some sneering allusions about President Fillmore ignited the spark of resentment, and those Sydney ducks, after a hard fought battle, were forced to recognize the supremacy of the American eagle. The glorious day ended with a glorious drunk, participated in generally by the public. The fourth of July, 1851, was for many years remembered as the largest and most enthusiastic celebration held in the county.

The first marriage recorded in the archives of Butte county, was that of Ebenezer M. Sparks, of Oroville, who, on the twenty-fourth of February, 1851, was united in the holy bonds of wedlock to Miss Mary L. Edmonds, the ceremony being performed by J. T. Elliott, justice of the peace of Ophir township. As there was a law in force the year before requiring all marriages to be recorded, we have good grounds for believing this to be the first marriage in Butte county. No license was required at that time.

In 1862, an Act was passed by the legislature, requiring those who wished to assume the yoke of matrimony to procure a license from the county clerk where the marriage is to be performed. The first to avail himself of a marriage license in Butte county was a Chinaman, Quin Choo, who, on the ninth day of July, 1862, took to his manly bosom a fair oriental maiden, by name Lun Hee.


One of the leading agents in the development of the valley portion of Butte county has been the steamboats that ply up and down the Sacramento river. By their opposition to the railroad they not only operate to keep the freight tariff at a reasonable figure, but they also furnish the assurance that the enormous crops of the valley shall not be blockaded in the country and kept out of the market, for want of facilities for transportation. A few years ago, a gentleman familiar with the subject published the following reminiscences of the river navigation :--

Some time in the spring of 1850, a small steamer, called the Jack Hayes, went up the river above Colusa, to what exact point we do not know. The Washington, a little flat-bottomed steamer, went as high as Deer creek, also, in the spring of that year. M. Littleton, a Mississippi river steamboat man, and afterwards captain of several other boats on the river, was pilot on the Washington.

On the first of July, 1850, the Colusa, built at Benicia by Dr. R. Semple, started from the latter place under command of Capt. Brennan. On this boat came the writer of this sketch. We spent the Fourth at Sacramento, and on the fifth started out for the Upper Sacramento. There had been no boats up in low water. Brennan was a ship captain, and knew nothing about steamboating, but we got along

« PrejšnjaNaprej »