California, Modoc War

The Modoc War – The Only Indian War Which Resulted In The Death Of A U.S. Brigadier General

Kintpuash, Modoc for “Strikes the water brashly” was the leader of the Modocs who decided to disobey their chief and to leave the reservation in Oregon.

Modoc Indians, whom had a chief who agreed to relocate their tribe from the Tule Lake area in Northeastern California to a reservation in southern Oregon, were resentful of their ill treatment over the course of six years. Many young warriors, left the reservation, and theatended to fight settlers and the U.S. Military for their right to return to the land that they left. The Modoc War began when peace commissioners rejected a request to have the reservation moved back to Tule Lake, California. This rejection of peace terms promoted Kintpuash and other Modocs to kill Bridager General Edward Canby, and to kill and wound two other peace commissioners at the site of Canby Cross.

California, Theodore Jesse Hoover

President Herbert Hoover’s Older Brother Theodore Jesse Hoover Once Lived At Rancho del Oso

Theodore Jesse Hoover, the older brother of former President Herbert Hoover, once owned the land that comprised of the former Rancho Del Oso.

The Portola Expedition had camped for three days by the land that comprised of the former ranch.

In 1901, Theodore Hoover graduated from Stanford University with a degree with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Mining and Geology.

Presently, the lands encompassing Rancho del Olso is part of the Big Basin State Park and the Hoover Preserve.

California, Californios, Osip Volkov

The Bolcoff Adobe – Home Of Osip Volkov The First Non-Native Of Scott’s Valley

Osip Volkov was born to a Russian father and Kamchadal mother in Petropavlosk, Kamchatka around 1798. Nothing is known of his early life, but it appears he became an employee of the Russian America Company as a young man. In 1815, he was either captured by the Spanish or jumped ship near Point Conception, California. Although the Russian American Company tried to get Osip back, Osipn evaded working for the company again by becoming an interpretive for Spanish governor Pablo Vicente de Solá. Osip aquired the Spanish name of José Antonio Bolcoff, as an alias during his work for the Spanish government. Bolcoff married Mariá Candida Castro and was later sent to Mexico on official government business. Governor de Sola later granted Osip Volkov a land grant in present day Santa Cruz County. Historians think that he constructed a house in what is now Scotts Valley, near the site of the Scotts Valley mall. During this period, Osip Volkov was named Alcalde (Spanish for mayor) of Santa Cruz. Osip Volkov is more commonly known in historical sources as Jose Bolcoff, a Hispanicized version of his Russian name. Later in life, after he sold his lands, the records indicate that Jose Bolcoff worked as a shoemaker. Osip Volkov died in 1866, marking the end of a remarkable life.

California, The Los Olpinos Grant

Joseph Bruning And His Wife Gertrude Bruning – Pioneers Of Rio Vista, California

Photograph of downtown Rio Vita, California taken January 4, 2020 (Hamilton Photo).

The town of Rio Vista, California, within Solano County, was founded in 1858 by Joseph Bruning and his wife Gertrude Bruning after a doctor recommended that they leave the city of San Francisco due to their poor health. Joseph Bruning bought the Los Olpinos Grant, which extended west of the Sacramento River.

Photographs of the Rio Vista Pioneers outside of the Rio Vista Musuem. Taken January 4, 2020. (Hamilton Photo).

The Tuolumne County Museum And History Center

The Tuolumne County Museum and History Center is located within the former Tuolumne County Jail in the town of Sonora, California.

The museum has exit ties exhibits on the towns history with the Gold Rush, in addition to the history of the jail.

The Tuolumne County Museum and History Center has former jail cells with exhibits in each one. One of those exhibits shows the movies that had been filmed in the county such as “Wells Fargo”.


The Salton Sea – A Manmade Formation

The Salton Sea, also known as Salton Riviera, was a water formation created by a dam overflow, from the Colorado River, between 1905 to 1907.

In the 1860s, miners harvested salt from the area where the Salton Sea sits. When the overflowing water from the dams entered the former mines, the newly formed Salton Sea became the saltiest body of water in the United States.

Presently, the Salton Sea is a California State Park.

The white beaches are filled with the fish bones and other animals that died from the highly salty water.

California, Juan Manuel Vaca, The Vacaville Musuem

The Vacaville Musuem

Art Dietz, a Vacaville historian and collector, amassed a collection of various ironing devices. That collection of irons was the beginning of the historical collections that would become part of the history musuem for the town. On May 4, 1984, the Vacaville Musuem was established.

The musuem presently has an exhibit called “Collections” which includes Art Dietz’s ironing device collection.

The musuem hosts a multitude of “Cartes” which display historical information in artistic ways.

At the end of the musuem is the history of Vacaville, including the Pena Adobe where Juan Manuel Vaca, whom Vacaville was named after, and Juan Felipe Pena used to reside in.

California, Juan Manuel Vaca, Mexican-American War

The Founding Of Vacaville

Photograph of Mexican landowner Juan Manuel Vaca.

In 1851, three years after the end of the Mexican-American War, William McDaniel purchased land from Juan Manuel Vaca, north of Fairfield within Solano County, California. William McDaniel agreed that a one square mile area would be used to create a township. On Dec. 13, 1851, a township called “Vacaville” was established. In 1892, Vacaville, California was incorporated as a city.

California, San Jose, California

The Santa Clara Courthouse Was Built To Persuade The State Legislature To Return The State Capital To San Jose, California

The Santa Clara County government proposed establishing a courthouse, which was designed by Levi Goodrich, one of the husbands of the first American Governor of California Peter Hardeman Burnette, as a move to convince the state legislature to move the state capital from Sacramento back to San Jose, California. In 1867, construction of the Santa Clara County Courthouse was completed but new courthouse failed to convince the legislature to move the state capital back to San Jose.

California, California Gold Rush, San Jose, California

The Home Of Samuel Hensley – The Man Who Delivered The Papers Ratifying California As The 31st

In 1850, Samuel J. Hensley delivered the papers ratifying California as a state to the new state capital building in San Jose, California.

Photograph of Samuel J. Hensley.

Samuel J. Hensley has built a home nearby the site of the former California State Capital.

Currently, the Samuel J. Hensley house is part of the Hensley Historical District that was established in the 1990s.

Arizona, Battle of Stanwix Station, California, California Gold Rush, Edward Dickinson Baker

California During The Civil War

California soldiers during the Union counter charge at Cedar Creek.

Before the start of the Civil War, and after North Carolina left the Union, confederate sympathizers sought to have California join the Confederacy. California ended up siding with the Union despite attempts to change the allegiance of the state. Abraham Lincoln’s friend, Oregon Senator Edward Dickerson Baker, trained the California Brigade in Pennslyvania.

Photograph of California secessionist Daniel Showalter.

Daniel Showalter was a California Southern sympathizer who lobbied for funds to invade California and other western states. Daniel eventually left the state of California and joined the Texas Confederate forces. On March 30, 1862, the Battle of Stanwix Station, the westernmost battle of the U.S. Civil War, occurred which led to a confederate eastward retreat to Tuscon, Arizona. Captain Sherod Hunter managed to get rangers to take over the town of Tucson. While Civil War battles did not occur in the state of California, a regiment of California Union soldiers were sent to Tucson, to find out of their western plans, and to prevent Confederates from taking over Arizona and Southern California. On April 15, 1862, the Battles of Picacho Pass and Picacho Peak led to a further Confederate retreat of the western front. The Confederacy would not try to invade California again after Battle of Picacho Peak. However, Confederates planned various schemes to interfere with the Union effort in California. Ashbury Harpending schemed to steal a ship transporting gold from San Francisco to the Panama Canal and in 1865 the English-built confederate cruiser Shenandoah, a sister ship of the Alabama, maintained attacks on various New England whaling vessels. Even when the Civil War ended, the captain of the Shenandoah planned to conduct an attack in San Francisco in August 1865, because he had not gotten word that the war was over. Eventually, when the captain finally received news of Robert Lee’s surrender and the capture of President Jefferson Finis Davis, the San Francisco attack was called off.

In 1913, the reunion of veterans of the California Regiment at the site of Pickett’s Charge.

Many of the fifteen thousand California Union volunteers devoted time to reunions after the end of the war. Most notably, fifty years after the Battle at Pickett’s Charge, California Union veterans returned to the site of the battle for a reunion.


The Former State Capitals Of California

The capital building in Monterey, California.

Monterey was the first capital of California from 1774 to October 13, 1849. Monterey was the capital from the era of Spanish rule, the brief period of Mexican rule after the Mexicans gained independence, up to the the period right before statehood. The California State constitution was drafted in Monterey and later accepted by the U.S. Congress. The state capital was in Pueblo de San Jose from December 15, 1849 to May 1, 1851.

Historical marker indicating the site of the former state capital in Pueblo de San Jose.

Then the capital moved to Vallejo from January 5, 1852 to January 12 1852. After that, the Capital was at Sacramento from January 16, 1852 to November 2, 1853. Vallejo was the capital a second time from January 3rd 1853 to February 4, 1853. Benicia served as the capital from February 11th 1853 to February 24th 1854. Sacramento was the final capital location from February 28, 1854 to present, for part of that time Benicia, San Francisco and Vallejo were the capitals at the same time.The legislature, during the gold rush was indecisive on where the capital should be, thus creating a period of movement between the 1850s and the 1860s.

Sketch of the state capital in Sacramento.

Author’s Note:

The California State Library has a list of the former state capitals of California. The capital building moved five times within the 31st state of the United States.

Andrés Pico, California, Californios, The Pico Act

The Pico Act – A Former Plan To Split Southern California Into A Separate Pro-Slavery State

Photograph Andrés Pico in the 1860s.

In 1859 Andrés Pico, a veteran of the Mexican-American War whom faught in the Battle of San Pascual, worked with an alliance of Mexican Californios and proslavery southerners to formulate “The Pico Act”. Many Californios were concerned that their tax dollars were going to mining efforts in Northern California, and they wanted a separate state that would focus on more agricultural interests.

A meeting of the California State Legislature, in Sacramento, passed “The Pico Act”. However, Southern and Northern Congressman and senators disagreed on whether to expand slavery to the pacific coast, since Northern politicians did not believe the Missouri Compromise should expand to the westernmost part of he United States. Southern politicians wanted to have a pro-slavery State in the south so that they would have a stronger representation in the Senate. The approval of “The Pico Act” was stalled due to stark political disagreements between members of the United States federal legislature and members of the Republican Party, Northern Democrats, Southern Democrats and the Union Party members during the Presidential Election of 1860. Hence, after the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, and the secession of southern states, “The Pico Act” became a moot issue in the U.S. Congress.

California, Indian Law of 1850

California’s Indian Law Of 1850 – Created Legal Servitude In A “Free State”

On April 22, 1850, two years after a large piece of gold was discovered within Sutter’s Mill and the same year California was admitted as a State by Congress, the first session of the California State Legislature passed the Indian Law of 1850.

Painting of Sutter’s Mill in California.

The act allowed the indentured servitude of any Native American who was found off of a reservation and seemed as a vagrant. Indian girls could be kept as servants until the age of 25, Indian boys could be kept as servants until the age of 30 and Indian adults could be forced to work for 10 years. This system of servitude, which was similar to how Indians were treated under Mexican rule, continued until the end of the U.S. Civil War.

Author’s Note:

Not only were Native Americans forced into indentured servitude after the passage of the India Law of 1850, but about 16,000 Native Americans were killed in the years after statehood. In fact, in 1851, the first American California Governor, Peter Hardeman stated that he supported genocide of Native Americans by writing:

“That a war of extermination will continue to be waged between the races, until the Indian race becomes extinct, must be expected”.

Author’s Note:

Richard Hurley’s book, “California and the Civil War” goes more in depth in regards to the white supremacists that supported the servitude and genocide of Native Americans in the 1800s.

California, California Gold Rush

The Discovery Of Gold Expedites California’s Admission As The 31st State

The discovery of gold in Los Angelos and soon a larger discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill, near Sacramento, led to an expedited call to admit California as a state. Slave supporters tried to add southern California as a slave state, while having northern California as a serrated free state, and to extend the Missouri Compromise to the Pacific Coast. However, with the pro slavery southern states threading to secede in 1850, the northern states did not want California added as a slave state and succeeded.

On September 9th, 1850, San Jose native Samuel Hensley delivered the papers admitting California as the 31st State of the United States.


The History Of California – From The Native American Period Until Statehood

The history of California can be divided into: the Native American period; European exploration period from 1542 to 1769; the Spanish colonial period, 1769 to 1821; the Mexican period, 1821 to 1848; and United States statehood, from September 9, 1850 (in Compromise of 1850) to present day.

Native Americans are known to have lived in California for over ten thousand years, in all parts of the current state. California and Alta-California was first established by Californios a country that was colonized by Spain for over 300 years, from Spanish ruled Mexico, during the missionary era. Mexico briefly owned California, after the Mexican War of Independence. After the brief Mexican period, California became a state soon after the first discovery of gold near Los Angelos and the larger discovery of gold by Sutter’s Fort.


Statue Marking The Site That President William McKinley Gave A Speech In 1901

In 1901, months before President William McKinley was assassinated, McKinley visited the city of San José, California to give a speech in front of the former San José City Hall building, in an area now known as the Saint James Park. During this trip President McKinley became the first United States President to visit the state of California after the acquisition of that land through the Mexican-American War.

In 1902, a year after President William McKinley’s speech, a statue of the former President was erected by the residents of Santa Clara, within the Saint James Park. The foundation, beneath the statue, states the following:

“The Constitution is a sacred instrument and a sacred trust is given to us to see to it that it’s preservation in all its virtue and its vigor is passed on to the generations yet to come”.

Author’s Note:

In 1960, a few days before Election Day, former President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, visited the Saint James Park during his trip to California.

California, Frederick Low

President Abraham Lincoln’s Order to Take Over The Quicksilver Mine Almost Led To The Secession Of The State Of California And The Territory of Nevada

When recounting the history of the “War Between the States” within the western states, it’s fascinating to think that the state California and the Territory of Nevada almost seceded from the Union after President Abraham Lincoln ordered the U.S. Army, through a writ based on a law established in 1807, to seize the privately operated New Almaden Quicksilver Mine in San Jose, California. Lincoln had established the order because the Quicksilver Mine was a private entity operating on public land. The mine operators had a standoff with the U.S. Army soliders, once they arrived on the grounds of the mine, by stating that there were several sharpshooters around ready to take out the oncoming troops.

Had California and Nevada followed through with secession legislation, they would have been the only state and the only territory to secede from the United States Government, between 1860 and 1865, over a states rights issue not related to slavery.

Thousands of Americans from the eastern and mid-western states, with oxen pulling their wagons with all of their possessions, embarked on the Oregon Trail and the California Trail facing severe thirst within the forty mile desert of Nevada even when they only traveled by night, the death of oxen and people who drank sulfuric water from springs in Northern Nevada, starvation during the winter season such as what the Donner Party experienced, attacks from hostile native Americans, and the agony of losing loved loved ones to disease in unsanitary traveling conditions. Memories of men and women, who lost so much trying to strike it rich at the mines in the western states were still fresh to those who moved during the Gold Rush, as the U.S. Civil War raged on. Those individuals adamantly declared that they would not lose their jobs without a fight.

Photograph of former Port Collector of San Francisco and California Governor Frederick Ferdinand Low.

Therefore, I believe that the difficulties tens of thousands of Americans faced to travel to the western states during the Gold Rush, compelled those individuals to call for succession from the union when a mine that they sacrificed so much to work in was threatened to be taken over by the federal government, even though the private company was operating on government owned land. Other miners, also working on public lands, who heard of the federal troops at Quicksilver mine had similar sentiments. This set of events ultimately compelled Frederick Ferdinand Low, the Port Collector of San Francisco and future Governor of California, to convince Abraham Lincoln to call off the federal takeover of the New Almaden Quicksilver Mine.

August 16th, 1863 New York Times Article: