Thursday, February 14, 2013


Alhambra Ave = Smith street

Associated Oil Company - Avon

Mountain Copper Company = Mococo= Bull Head's Point

Howard Street = Marina Vista

Hotel Oehm = Hotel Scott = Traveller Hotel = Riverhouse

Royal Theater

State Theater = across from Eric's

Thompson = now Masonic St

Train stop - eckley- John Eckley - Port Costa Book


Burlington Hotel

Juanita Musson - Juanita's Galley

Port Costa - Bull Valley

Pioneer Italian Fisherman 979.463 Collins
Martinez Images of America 979.463 Martinez
Martinez, A Small Town 979.463 Spowart (vault) page 17

Antioch Ledger proposes split of Contra Costa County, where East Contra Costa County will be called Montezuma

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"A Sad Day in Concord History" or "2 Year Old Jenny Wierch Kicked to the Curb


Monday, June 22, 2009

For Lassen - a history of John Marsh

One of the most colorful and enigmatic pioneers of Contra Costa was the man who called himself Doctor John Marsh. He was a moody and tempermental man of many contradictions: he was an introspective scholar who lived a life of exciting action, a friend of the Indians who was uncivil to the Spaniards, and a misanthropic recluse who invited hundreds to come and live in his country. He read and studied for pleasure and yet gold was his God. He represented the intellectual traditions of New England but he could hold his own with any frontiersman in a fight; he spoke several languages including many Indian dialects, but he preferred to be alone and speak to no one. He was all this and more, and like many conformists before and after him, he was disliked and misunderstood by the majority, and loved by a few.

Marsh was born in Danvers, Massachusetts in 1800 (Record give both 1799 and 1800 as his birthdate.). He was brought up in the Calvinist tradition and studied to be a minister. He was a graduate of Phillips Academy and of Harvard, from which he graduated in 1823. In his senior year at Harvard he decided to become a doctor, so he took some courses in anatomy and medicine. Not having money to enroll in medical school, he took a job teaching at Fort Snelling located in the wilds of Minnesota, determined to save all his money and return to medical school. For two years, in addition to teaching, he studied medicine under the tutalage of Doctor Purcell, the post surgeon. However, Doctor Purcell died before Marsh could finish his studies.

Marsh remained on the frontier for nine years until 1832. During this period he had many adventures and occupations. He became an Indian agent, a close friend of the Sioux Indians, and ran a store for a short while before leaving the area. He kept up his scholarly work and wrote a dictionary and grammar of the Sioux language. He helped instigate the Black Hawk war and risked his life many times in conflicts with the Fox and Sauk tribes. He became a close friend of Governor Cass and was appointed Justice of Peace which meant that he was the only judge in the area.

In 1825, at Prarie du Chien, Wisconsin, he fell in love with Marguerite Decouteaux, a pretty French – Indian girl who became his common-law wife. She bore him a son, Charles. In 1832 tragedy entered his life when his wife, again pregnant, died. This tragic event left a strong impression upon his life and character, partly because he felt that if he had been more careful she would have lived. He became a bitter and cynical misanthrope who disregarded the rights of others and demanded the solitude to think and read his beloved books. Partly because of her death, and partly because a warrant was issued for his arrest (he was accused and was guilty of selling guns to the Indians), he decided to leave the area. He left Charles, who was then nine years old, with friends in Illinois, and spent a year trapping in the Rockies.

In 1833 he established himself as a general merchant in Independence, Missouri, but by 1835 he had gone bankrupt. Still apprehensive about the warrant, he decided to go to South America. He joined a caravan down the Santa Fe trail, was captured by a band of Comanche Indians, saved the chief’s life, and became their medicine man. After a few months, he escaped and decided to go to Alta California.

In February 1836, he entered El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora, La Reina de Los Angeles (The Pueblo of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels) which was the capital of California. Marsh presented his Harvard Diploma to the Ayuntamiento who in turn gave him a license to practice medicine. The diploma was written in Latin, and the good governor and other officials, presumably unable to read Latin, accepted Marsh’s word that it was a medical certificate. However, Marsh was a complete hypocrite because he had received some medical training at Harvard and Fort Snelling, and his qualifications were high in a land where meical assistance was practically unknown and unavailable.

He practiced for nearly a year in the Los Angeles area, saved his money and headed north hoping to buy a ranch. This was rather difficult for a non-Californian to do. Before a foreigner could acquire land in California he had to be baptized as a Catholic, but the man who had once studied for the Calvinist pulpit and who had descended from seven generations of New England puritans, did not let this deter him. His religion meant little to him, while wealth meant a great deal. In December 1837, after becoming baptized as a Roman Catholic, he purchased the beautiful Rancho Los Medanos (Meganos) from a Spaniard named Jose Noriega for five hundred dollars.

There were two ranches called Los Medanos (the Sand Banks). Medanos is sometimes spelled Meganos, which also means sand banks. Later writers usually refer to the ranch purchased by Marsh as Los Meganos to distinguish it from the other Los Medanos.

This romantic and remote rancho extended from the shadow of Mount Diablo to the San Joaquin River, nine miles away, and consisted of 17,000 acres. Thus, Marsh became the first American to live in the Contra Costa area, and was the only American living in this region for nearly ten years.

Continuing his medical practice, Marsh built up a substantial practice and stocked his ranch with his earnings. His system of charging fees was very simple and quite unique: he charged one cow for every mile he had to travel to care for the sick. At this time cow hides were selling for $2.00 each. Despite his exorbitant fees, his services were increasingly in demand, partly because he was quite successful as a doctor, and partly because he was the only in the San Joaquin area.

He was uncivil and discourteous to the Spanish, and heartily, with one or two exceptions, disliked by them, but he was kind and helpful to the Indians, as he had been to the Indians of the Middle West. He even called his estate the Farm of Pulpones (evidently a corruption of Bolbones or Bolgones) after the Indian tribe which lived near Mount Diablo. He taught the Indians simple crafts and gave them medical care without charge.

In return for his kindness the natives built Marsh an adobe house on the banks of Marsh Creek opposite their village. With their help he planted a vineyard and an orchard, and sowed a field of wheat. For some time he lived with one of the Indian women, which brought down more censure upon his head. The Indians remained loyal until his death when they mourned the passing of a true friend.

The adobe home was a crude affair with four rooms, one which contained a fireplace and a wall of books. Night after night, sometimes until daylight, this man who had rejected the civilized amenities, read everything he could find. He voraciously studied books on a multitude of subjects, read old newspapers and magazines, and re-read his cherished Latin and Greek books.

In 1844 he became a naturalized Mexican citizen, but was dissatisfied with Mexican rule. Desirous of seeing California become part of the United States, he began writing letters to friends in the Middle West asking them to come to California. These letters were highly instrumental in starting a flood tide of wagon trains to California. One of the first wagon trains, led by Bidwell and Bartleson, arrived at Los Meganos in 1841. Marsh gave them a big welcome and a sumptious feed, and told them they could kill some of the steers for meat. The next morning, his ire was aroused when he found that they had killed, perhaps inadvertently, some of his valuable oxen. He immediately became uncivil, especially towards Bidwell whom he thought was responsible for the misdeed, and asked him to leave the premises. He also charged them for the food and services they had received.

Even though Marsh wanted the solitude to read and supervise his ranch, his life was far from uneventful. When he was not practicing medicine (and he often rode ninety miles to treat a patient), he and his vaqueros were fighting robbers and thieves, or feuding with the Spanish neighbors.

He sent for his son, but word came back that Charles was dead.

When gold was discovered he went to the Sierras, and dug up $40,000 worth of gold in a short while. However, he wanted more money than this, so he returned to his ranch, built a wharf and began to ship meat to the miners. He sold cattle for thirty to forty dollars per head, chickens for three and four dollars each, eggs for four dollars per dozen, and grapes at eighty-seven cents per pound. In a short while he had extended his ranch to 50,000 acres which was valued at one half million dollars, and owned about 6,000 cattle. He also had about 500 hogs, droves of fine horses and sheep and hundreds of chickens.

In 1851 he met an attractive, intelligent and well educated girl, Abigail Smith Tuck, who was a teacher – principal of a select school for young ladies at Santa Clara. They were perfectly mated, and their marriage, as had his prior one, started a new and happy life for him. Their only bone of contention was a religious one: she was a devout Baptist and she worried about his lack of interest in religion. They continued to live in the adobe, but he began to plan to plan a new home for his bride; this home was to be the show place of California and was to be built of the finest stone – not adobe. While this house was under construction, a daughter , Alice, was born. Some time after this wife sickened and died without seeing her new home. As when his first wife died, the doctor’s misfortunes began to increase; he had more trouble with thieves, squatters, and feuding, but there was one bright spot on this period of life. His son, Charles, whom he had thought was dead, turned up at Los Meganos. This event, a story in itself, reads like a fairy tale. This reunion did much to revive his spirits.

In 1856 the news tone home was completed. Shortly after, on his way to Martinez, Marsh was murdered by three young Californians, who was not only his enemies, but thought that he had a large sum of money on him. Charles spent ten years looking for his father’s murderers, and was able to capture two of them. One, Jose “Chino” Olivas, was released on a technicality, but the other, Felipe “Nino” Morena, was sent to prison for life. However, he was pardoned after twenty-five years.

Thus ends the strange story of one of the most unhappy and mysterious men of California, and all that remains today is the legend of the living man and deserted stone house which stands as a monument to him. This old “Stone House” sits in the open fields about four miles southeast of Brentwood, and is as cold and forbidding as was it’s master.

-Short History of Contra Costa county by Harold E. Davis
December 1965

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Monday, June 15, 2009

History of Concord by Leonora Galindo Fink and Ruth Galindo 1968

History of Concord by Leonora Galindo Fink and Ruth Galindo
Revised copy, 1968

May 14, 1968 Presented before the Contra Costa Historical Society, the Concord Chamber of Commerce, and the Concord Centennial Committee

We are here tonight to celebrate the Centennial of Concord's birth. But first I would like to take you back nearly 100 years before Concord's birth and give you a picture of this area when it was wilderness. The site of an ancient Indian village was very near where we meet tonight. Giant oak trees covered this valley. Tremendous herds of elk, deer, and antelope fed on the wild oats that grew taller than a man and grizzly bears roamed the hills. Salmon filled the streams and flocks of wild geese and ducks covered the tule swamps along the river.

This was the natural setting discovered by the Spanish explorer, Captain Pedro Fages, who in 1772 was the first to enter this valley. It remained a wilderness for another 60 years after its discovery since it was disturbed by only an occasional exploring expedition or punitive raid against the Indians by the Spanish soldiers from the Presidio of San Francisco. The first permanent settler was Don Salvio Pacheco.

Salvio Pacheco's ancestors were men who were closely associated with the first settlement of San Francisco and the Bay area. His grandfather came to California in 1775 as a soldier in the expedition of Captain Juan Baptista de Anza. These soldiers and their families were sent overland from the frontier presidios in Mexico to establish a presidio mission at San Francisco. Salvio's father was a soldier at the Presidio at Monterey and Salvio was born there in 1793. He served at the Presidios of Monterey and of San Francisco and while serving at San Francisco married Juana Flores. Then he was made a corporal of the Escolta, the mission guard, at Mission San Jose de Guadalupe. The Escolta protected the mission from Indian attacks and accompanied the padres of the mission when they traveled.

Don Salvio retired from military service to live with his family at the Pueblo of San Jose. There he took an active part in the government of the Pueblo. For over 20 years he held various official positions. Among them was that of Alcalde, comparable to the office of Mayor, Sindico, similar to that of City Treasurer, and Diputado, or representative to the territorial government.

Some time before 1828 Don Salvio first petitioned for a land grant. In order to obtain a land grant it was necessary to present a petition to the governor and to accompany this petition with a map called a diseno. This map marked the boundaries of any adjoining ranchos and showed natural landmarks such as hills, streams and springs. It was necessary to prove that the land was not already occupied or used by a mission for the grazing of cattle and sheep. On his map, or diseno, Don Salvio indicated the Arroyo de las Nueces, now Walnut Creek and the Laguna or lake which exists on the south side of Concord. These petitions and maps are now in Bancroft Library of the University of California and are one of the principal sources of our research on the rancho history of this area. Every Spanish land grant in California has been recorded and the documents include petitions for land, letters, maps, and other legal documents in both Spanish and English.

In 1828 Don Salvio Pacheco went to San Diego to present a letter to the Spanish Governor, Encheandia, asking for a grant of land. In this petition Don Salvio used the name Monte del Diablo in referring to the land he was requesting. He explained that this name had been given by the soldiers who came through this area in their first campaign against the Indians. These soldiers probably came from the presidio at San Francisco. When Don Salvio called this land Monte del Diablo he was not referring to Mt. Diablo. The Spaniards called Mt. Diablo the sierra de los Bolbones. The Bolbones were the Indians who lived around the mountain. Monte in Spanish means a willow thicket and the Monte del Diablo for which the Rancho was named referred to a willow thicket near the northern edge of Concord.

There are many legends explaining the origin of the name in our local histories. There is a story told by one of the early settlers on the Rancho which was repeated to us by his grandson, Karl Gehringer. When the Spaniards first came through here, the Indians warned them away from this willow thicket which was their burial ground. The Indians were very superstitious about this spot because at night they saw lights which they thought were the spirits of their ancestors. These lights were probably fireflies which early residents recall seeing. The Spaniards called this thicket Monte del Diablo, the thicket of the Devil. The name Monte del Diablo was not used to refer to the mountain until after the Americans settled here.

Don Salvio was granted this land in 1834 by Governor Figueroa, a grant of four leagues. When the United States government gave him title to the land, it was surveyed and found to contain 17,921 acres. These are the boundaries of the Ranch as it was surveyed: on the west the boundary line was the Arroyo de las Nueces, Walnut Creek; on the north the boundary line included within the Rancho the land where Phillips Oil Co. is located and excluded most of the tule and swamp land; on the east the boundary line goes through Clyde and follows along the base of the hills to and along Kirker Pass Road; on the south the line runs along the ridge of the hills separating Cowell and Ygnacio Valley, to Monument Boulevard and continues along this road to the Arroyo de las Nueces, Walnut Creek.

Salvio Pacheco did not move to his grant in 1834 because of his government duties. He remained at the Pueblo of San Jose and his eldest son, Fernando, who was 17 at this time, took charge of the cattle on the Rancho. In order to maintain the validity of a grant, the land has to be occupied and certain improvements had to be made. There were several Indian villages here and this part of Contra Costa was truly frontier country; the only inhabited part was the east bay shoreline. Indians from the San Joaquin Valley came through this valley on their way to Mission San Jose to steal horses and cattle. Felipe Briones was killed near here in a fight with the Indians to recover horses stolen from his Rancho near Lafayette. Salvio himself was shot by Indians when attempting to recover some of his stolen cattle from the Mitchell Canyon area.

About 1846 Don Salvio moved with his family to his Rancho Monte del Diablo; this was the year the United States took over the government of California. He built his adobe (now the Adobe Restaurant to the east of the Park and Shop). It looks now very much as it did then, a two-storied adobe with a balcony, and the old pepper trees still standing in front. Don Salvio built his home there because there were artesian springs to supply water. On the west side was built a brick-lined pool where later the children of Concord used to swim. On the north side there was a bull ring with a low adobe wall surrounding it. When rodeos and fiestas were celebrated, people came from all over the state and some guests stayed for weeks. There were horse races, bull fights and barbecues. Tables were set up outside and a dance platform was erected, covered with willow branches and decorated with Spanish shawls. The first church services in this area were held in the Adobe in a room set aside for that purpose. The priests came from Mission San Jose to conduct services there.

When Don Salvio Pacheco moved to the Rancho he gave his eldest son, Fernando, 1,000 acres of the northern portion of the Rancho and Fernando built his Adobe there. It is now used by the Horsemen's Association and is located north of the Mt. Diablo High School, on Grant Street near Olivera Road.

Francisco Galindo married Salvio's daughter, Manuela, and came to live on the Rancho about 1850. His grandfather had also come with the Anza expedition at the same time as Salvio's grandfather. Don Francisco was living in San Jose at the time Salvio and his family were living there. The Galindo and Pacheco families, at this time, had been colonists in California for over two generations. When Francisco moved to the Rancho Monte del Diablo, Salvio gave him over 1,000 acres of the southern portion. He bought additional land from Salvio until he owned over 5,000 acres. He built his home, a frame house, facing the Don Salvio Pacheco Adobe, which was a short distance to the north. His house was later remodeled for his son and is still occupied by the Galindo family.

These three men, Salvio Pacheco, Fernando Pacheco, and Francisco Galindo were responsible for the present town of Concord.

The rancho period in California ended about the time Don Francisco Galindo moved here. Up to this time each rancho consisted of thousands of acres; cattle roamed freely over the hills and life was leisurely and carefree. Then the Gold Rush brought thousands of immigrants to California from all over the world. Many of the gold miners were unsuccessful at the mines or became discouraged by the hardships of life there. Some found that it was as profitable to farm the land as it was to dig for gold, since supplies were in such great demand. In the 1850's many settlers came to Contra Costa County and began farming. One of the principal crops was grained and the best shipping point was at Pacheco. Warehouses and docks were built just north of Pacheco where the sloughs were deep enough for ships to enter and load. This town was named for Salvio Pacheco and a portion of it was built on his Rancho Monte del Diablo. Pacheco became the largest and most important town in the county.

But Pacheco had a very unfortunate history. There was a series of disastrous fires that burned several of the business buildings. The greatest disasters were the floods that caused serious damage. For a period of years there was such a heavy rainfall during the winter months that the town badly flooded. As the floods continued, silt was carried down in the streams and deposited in Walnut Creek and in the slough were the ships came in to dock. The docks were moved farther and farther to the north of Pacheco until they finally had to be abandoned. The stores and houses were raised in an attempt to get them above flood level, but as the floods continued the flood level raised. The merchants suffered severe losses from the floods, became discouraged and began to move out of Pacheco. Many of them moved to Martinez. A severe blow to the town was the earthquake of October 1868 that caused damage all over the Bay area. Some of the most substantial brick buildings in Pacheco were badly damaged.

Salvio Pacheco felt a sense of responsibility toward this town that was named for him. He decided to start a town on his Rancho where the merchants of Pacheco could move their businesses and be safe from constant floods. Salvio Pacheco, his son, Fernando Pacheco, and his son-in-law, Francisco Galindo hired Luis Castro, a surveyor from Alameda County, to come to the Rancho to survey a town for them near Don Salvio’s Adobe.

There was already a small Spanish population that had grown up around his Adobe. Every rancho in those early days was like a small village. The people who worked on the rancho lived near the adobe home of the owner. There was at least one small store in the area and a Spanish school that was conducted by a man and his wife in their home. It had an enrollment of about thirty pupils. One of the busiest roads in the county ran near Salvio Pacheco’s Adobe. This was the road from Martinez and Pacheco to the coal mines at Nortonville and Sommersville, east of the town of Clayton.

The town was surveyed in August of 1868 and named Todos Santos, meaning All Saints in Spanish. Apparently the name, Todos Santos, was too strange for the new settlers, because it changed very soon to Concord. No one seems to know who chose the name Concord, or how it happened to be chosen. The only reference to its origin that we have been able to find appeared in an article in the Contra Costa Gazette. It is dated April 17, 1869 and reads: “Concord” is the name, as we hear, by which the sponsors have decided to call the new village that is to form the east extension of Pacheco town. For significance and euphony no finer designation could have been found, and, in the spirit of the name, we congratulate our neighbors on its adoption.” You will notice that this was written about eight months after the town was surveyed.

The town was surveyed into nineteen blocks and a Plaza. Salvio Pacheco donated the Plaza to the town to be used as a recreation center. He and Fernando Pacheco and Francisco Galindo offered free lots to the merchants of Pacheco who would move their businesses to the new town. Several of the merchants took advantage of this offer and some of the houses were moved from Pacheco also. One of the buildings that was moved in later years is the Odd Fellows Hall on Salvio Street. Samuel Bacon, the proprietor of a book and stationary store in Pacheco, was one of the first merchants to move to Concord. He opened a general merchandise store at the corner of Salvio and Galindo Streets and built a home next to his store.

The first important social event to occur in the new town was reported by the Contra Costa Gazette on May 15, 1869 as follows: (quote) The inauguration of the new town of Concord by a social party and dance at Bacon’s store took place on Tuesday evening last (May 11, 1869). The new store; 26’ x 52’ was filled with a ‘Merrie Companie’, gathered from all over the country round who gaily tripped the hours of night away an reluctantly took their several ways home in the grey, or bloom of morning” (end of quote).

Across Salvio Street from Bacon’s store, where Beede’s Variety Store is now, was the machine shop of Charles Lohse of Ygnacio Valley and Syranus Standish of Pacheco. Gradually other small stores were built along Salvio Street, one and two story buildings. There was a butcher shop, a millinery store and several saloons. Salvio Street became the business center of Concord.

The town livery stable was on Salvio Street across from the Plaza, just opposite the old Library that was torn down when the new one was built. The stage coaches stopped there on their way from the coal mines at Nortonville and Sommersville to Pacheco and Martinez. If you wanted to go to San Francisco in those early days, you took the stage coach to Martinez, then took a boat to San Francisco. Next to the livery stable, at the corner of Mt. Diablo and Salvio Streets, was the Concord Hotel, more commonly known as Klein’s Hotel after the owner, Philip Klein. It was a two-story building constructed within a year after the survey of Concord and is still standing at the same location. Other businesses grew up around the Plaza, blacksmith shops and two or three saloons. The town slaughter house was only a half block from the Plaza, on Mt. Diablo Street, in the very early days.

The Plaza was planted with evergreen and eucalyptus trees in 1876 and children were paid five cents a bucket to keep the trees watered. Then a picket fence was built to keep out the wandering cattle and horses while the trees were growing. Later a dance platform and bandstand were built in the center and all the town celebrations were held there. The Fourth of July celebration was the most important of the year, with a parade, barbecue, speeches and dancing. The eucalyptus trees grew to be tremendous in size and were removed in 1931. A redwood pergola was constructed around four sides of the Plaza and planted with Wisteria. All of the town organizations donated trees, shrubs and plants and a Wisteria Festival became an important annual event. A number of years ago the pergola was removed.

The most important organization in early day Concord was the local Volunteer Fire Department, called the Concord Hook and Ladder Company. It was organized in April of 1879 with a membership of 100 and dues were 25 cents a month. This was a social as well as a functional organization in which most of the men in town participated. Money for equipment was raised by means of dances, socials and suppers held in a hall over a saloon on Salvio Street. After the equipment had been purchased, additional money was raised for a Fire Hall. The Hall was erected in 1883 on Mt. Diablo Street across from the Plaza, near the location of Hilson’s Department Store. The upper floor was used for dances, musicals and other community affairs. In 1911 the Fire Hall was moved to the south side of Willow Pass Road to make room for the construction of the Concord Inn. For many years it was used as a City Hall and is now occupied by the Concord Chamber of Commerce.

Early in 1870 Salvio Pacheco and several other residents of the new town petitioned the County Board of Supervisors for a school. The Concord Grammar School was built the same year at the south east corner of Grant and Bonifacio Streets, on lots donated by Fernando Pacheco. It was a two story building containing two classrooms and a library. The teacher was Miss Annie Carpenter.

Concord’s first postmaster was Samuel Bacon, one of the town’s earliest businessmen. He was appointed March 28, 1872 and the first post office was located in his store and later in his home adjacent to the store.

The first church in Concord was Queen of All Saints Catholic Church. Construction began in 1873 at the south west corner of Salvio and East Streets, the land having been donated by the Pacheco and Galindo families. The church was dedicated November 5, 1876. The second church was the Presbyterian Church, organized December 9, 1882 and the building was located on the west side of Galindo street just north of Pacheco Street. Land for this church was donated by Samuel Bacon. The first bank in town was the Bank of Concord, established January 1, 1901 by Melvin E. Lyon. It later became the Bank of America.

The citizens of Concord finally felt the need to have such improvements as water and lights, so Concord was incorporated in 1905. On February 4, 1905 an election was held and the voters elected five trustees, a Town Treasurer, a Town Clerk and a Town Marshall. The Trustees met and elected a President of the Board, who corresponds to our mayor. The first President of the Board was Joseph Boyd, the owner of a blacksmith and carriage shop. The other Trustees were Myron Breckenridge, who owned a hardware store; Henry Bott, also the owner of a blacksmith shop; Herbert Elworthy, later one of the town bankers, who was in the cattle and butcher business; and M. E. Lyons, a businessman who owned several of the business buildings in Concord. Frank Foskett was the Town Treasurer and was associated with Mr. Elworthy in the cattle and butcher business and in banking. George Keller, the Town Clerk, was a druggist. John Guy, the Town Marshall was also the town undertaker and the carpenter who built the Fire Hall.

The Board met once a month in the Fire Hall. A few months after the town was incorporated street lights were installed, one light at each of the main street intersections. The first electric bill paid by the town was for fourteen dollars. A few months later water hydrants were installed and for the first time the town had an adequate water supply for fire protection. Town expenses averaged from one hundred fifty dollars to two hundred dollars a month, principally for water and lights and gravel for the streets. There was a Street Poll Tax of two dollars for each man living within the town limits which some paid by putting in a day’s work on the streets.

One of the most disastrous events in the history of early day Concord was the 1917 fire. By this time some of the original wooden store buildings had been replaced by more modern, substantial buildings on Salvio and Mt. Diablo Streets. Early in the morning of April 25, 1917 a fire started in the basement of a store on Mt. Diablo Street. Before it was discovered it had spread so rapidly that the Fire Department was unable to control it. Practically the whole block burned with the exception of a few buildings on the Galindo Street side. Several years before the fire a hotel had been built on Mt. Diablo Street that was considered one of the finest hotels in this part of the county. It was called the Concord Inn, a name that is familiar to us now. It was a two story building with entrances on Salvio Street and Mt. Diablo Streets. This hotel was completely destroyed by the fire, in addition to the Bank of Concord, the Concord Mercantile Company of Francisco Galindo, several other businesses and the Post Office. This fire was a great loss to the community and many of the businessmen suffered heavy financial losses. Some businesses, such as the hotel, were never rebuilt and it was many years before that art of the business section of town recovered from the fire.

Concord remained a small farming community. In the very early days the farms were quite large. The first settlers on the Rancho Monte del Diablo bought large acreage as land was so cheap. Most of the settlers had no money to buy land but they paid for it by giving Salvio Pacheco a share of the crops that they had raised. The farms averaged two hundred to six hundred acres with several being over one thousand acres. Francisco Galindo farmed over five thousand acres of the Rancho and raised large number of sheep on part of his land.

As more and more settlers came into this area, the large farms were broken up into smaller and smaller farms. In the early days hundreds of acres of wheat were raised on the east side of Concord. As the farms became smaller, orchards and vineyards were planted. The population of Concord did not increase very rapidly. In 1910 the population was 700. Then industry began to develop along the river and people in Concord found jobs in these industries. But the town itself did not grown very rapidly in size. In the early 1930’s the population was only about 1,200. It was only after World War II that the population expanded so rapidly and the town expanded. Concord changed from a small farming community to a large suburban community. As the size of the town has changed, the character of the town has also changed.

Change is a part of progress, but in the course of progress often our valuable historical heritage is sacrificed. Progress in many of our communities has resulted in the destruction of important historical buildings. We are particularly fortunate to have in our community two State Historic Landmarks, the Salvio Pacheco Adobe (the Adobe Restaurant) and the Fernando Pacheco Adobe (the Horsemen’s Association Clubhouse). The Plaza and our tow Adobes represent a rich heritage of Concord’s historical past which we should appreciate and preserve as best we can.


Monday, May 25, 2009

William Welch and Rancho Las Juntas

William Welch and Rancho Las Juntas
(Revised copy, 1961) by Leonora Galindo Fink and Ruth Galindo

No streets, roads, subdivisions or towns are named for the first "gringo" to settle in Spanish Contra Costa. This pioneer was given a rancho of thousands of acres, extending from Walnut Creek to Martinez, called Rancho Las Juntas. He was a man little known to historians, yet he was the only foreigner to be given a land grant in this county. This pioneer of Contra Costa County was an Irishman named William Welch.

In the year 1821 the sailing vessel "Lady Blackwood", coming from Bengal India, anchored in Bodega Bay to trade with the Russians. William Welch, on board as a sailor, jumped ship there with Joseph Lawrence, ship's carpenter and calker. The two men travelled by launch from Bodega Bay to San Francisco and then went south to the Pueblo de Los Angeles. Joseph Lawrence married and settled in Los Angeles, but William Welch, after two years there, came north to the Pueblo de San Jose.

The Californians welcomed newcomers to this isolated land but required they be naturalized and that they help protect the pueblos and mission. William Welch, by then twenty-eight years old, became a naturalized citizen and served as a sergeant in the militia based at the San Francisco Presidio. Another requirement of the newly naturalized citizen was that he be baptized. This was probably not the first baptism for the Irishman, but this time his Spanish friends christened him Julian Willis, and this is the name by which he became known to them.

Having taken a Spanish name and become a citizen, one further step more firmly established Julian Willis in his new home in the Pueblo de San Jose. He courted a daughter of one of the earliest pioneer families and eventually married her. She was Maria Antonia, daughter of Juan Crisostomo Galindo, a citizen of the Pueblo. Her brother, Francisco Galindo, later became one of the founders of Concord.

California's livelihood in those days came principally from the export of hides and tallow. Cattle raising was the principal business and before long William Welch had developed a herd of 500. The common lands for the use of the inhabitants at the Pueblo de San Jose were limited. So William Welch made an agreement with an American trader, Captain Cooper, to keep his herd temporarily at Rancho Los Corralitos, near Santa Cruz. His ambition was to acquire a rancho of his own where he could raise his family, increase his herds, and enjoy life in the manner of the Californians.

After exploring the land of the Contra Costa, William Welch in 1828 petitioned Governor Echeania for a tract of land called Laguna de los Bolbones. The land along the east shore of the San Francisco Bay, called Contra Costa, was becoming settled. The interior valleys were still inhabited by Indians, among them the Bolbones. La Laguna de los Bobones was undoubtedly the lake that still exists on the southwest side of Concord. It was quite large and was a well-known landmark in those days.

Before receiving word from the Governor on the outcome of his petition, William Welch decided to move his cattle from Rancho Las Corralitos to the new location. To do this it was necessary to receive permission from the Alcalde of the district. The Alcalde of the Pueblo de San Jose and of the district was Salvio Pacheco. William Welch was given the necessary permission to move his cattle. Then Alcalde Pacheco discovered that the cattle were now pastured on land known as the Monte del Diablo. Salvio Pacheco had petitioned this land for himself and was indignant. He traveled by ship to San Diego to present a renewed petition for the land to Governor Echeandia and to protest the invasion of his property.

In the meantime William Welch went to the Commandante of the Presidio of San Francisco, Captain Luis Antonio Arguello. The land of the Contra Costa was under his juristiction. Captain Arguello gave William Welch permission to occupt Laguna de los Bolbones, not knowing exactly where it was located. Governor Encheandia, on receiving Salvio PAcheco's petition, learned that Captian Arguello had granted William Welch permission to occupy this land. The Governor fined William Welch $50 and reprimanded Captain Arguello for granting him the land, saying that this was not within the province of the Commandante to grant land. This incident was cited by legal authorites in establishing the validity of land grants in the San Francisco area years later. William Welch was ordered to remove his cattle from Monte Diablo and he took them to the Rancho El Pinole of Ignacio Martinez.

The search for the rancho continued. There was unoccupied pasture land between the Ranchos of Igncaio Martinez and Salvio Pacheco. This was the location chosen by William Welch, with the approval of the neighboring rancheros including Salvio Pacheco, who had by now forgiven William Welch for the earlier land dispute. The land was called Las Juntas and lay between the Arroyo del Hambre (now Alhambra Creek) and the Arroyo de las Nueces (Walnut Creek). Las Juntas was the Spanish name given to the Junction of streams where the city of Walnut Creek in now located. The streams, or arroyos, that joined together at Las Juntas were then called Las Trampas, El Ingerto and El Reliz. They formed the Arroyo de las Nueces. William Welch was given permission to occupy this land and moved his cattle there about 1832. He made his formal petition to Governor Figueroa in 1834 for this grant. Then he began the improvements that were required as a condition of receiving a land grant. A corral was built and an adobe house started about a mile north of Las Juntas, near a permanent spring.

This was frontier country and Indians were a constant threat to the settlers. Indian horsetheives used the route along the north side of Mount Diablo ( then Sierra de los Bolbones). and down San Ramon Valley, for their raids on the Missions and the Pueblo of San Jose and Santa Clara. The Welch family lived at the Pueblo de San Jose and a mayordomo took care of the cattle on the Rancho. Every two or three months William traveled from the Pueblo to the Rancho to check on the cattle. Because of the danger from Indians he usually stayed on the Rancho of the Martinez family or at that of the Briones family. Then illness prevented him from completing the improvements on his Rancho. While Jose Sibrian was his mayordomo the Indians burned the adobe house that had been started and stole the horses. The cattle were scattered onto the neighboring ranchos or wandered away into the hills. The mayordomo returned to the Pueblo de San Jose and the Rancho was abandoned.

But William Welch had not abandoned his idea of becoming a ranchero. He sold his house in the Pueblo de San Jose to Ignacio Martniez for 500 cattle and made an agreement with him to keep the cattle on Rancho El Pinole for one third of the increase. He and his family, which included his wife and nine children, moved to Rancho Milpitas, or Rancho Chamasito, of Jose Mario Alviso. His wife and the wife of Jose Maria Alviso, Juana Maria Galindo, were sisters.

It was not until 1844 that William Welch was again able to present a petition to the Governor for Rancho Las Juntas. The family remained at Rancho Milpitas while William worked to re-establish his own Rancho. The cattle had to be moved onto the Rancho from Rancho El Pinole and a home built that would provide his family with safety from Indian attacks.

A dispute arose, however, when the time came for the delivery of his cattle. Some of the cattle had died and Jose Martniez, the son of Ignacio Martinez, refused to deliver as many as William Welch demanded. When they could not come to an agreement, the dispute was taken to the Alcalde of the Pueblo de San Jose, Felix Buelna, and the matter discussed until a compromise was reached. Jose Martinez agreed to deliver 300 cows, 50 heifers, 25 bullocks and 25 steers. But Alcalde Buelna had to go to the Rancho El Pinole to make certain that the agreement was fulfilled. Jose Martinez was still reluctant to turn over the cattle because William Welch demanded only the best cows. He finally agreed to round them up when Alcalde Buelna informed him that he would have to pay damages if the agreement was not kept.

The cattle were rounded up by vaqueros from the Pinole Rancho and driven to the eastern side of the Arroyo del Hambre. Alcalde Buelna was paid a hide a day to keep count of the cattle. Francisco Galindo, Ignacio Sirbrian and Ignacio Soto helped William Welch during the rodeo, the round-up. A corral and a small house were built where the county court house in Martinez still stands. When the rodeos were completed, Henry Bee of San Jose was hired for one third of the increase to help the oldest Welch boy, William, care for the cattle. He moved them to the center of the Rancho when he found that some were getting sick from drinking the salt water, and built a small house for himself in what is now Pleasant Hill, where the water supply was better.

The Rancho Las Juntas was formally granted to William Welch by Governor Manuel Micheltorena on February 21, 1844. This grant was for three leagues of and, as surveyed by the United States Government, contained 13,292 acres. The Spanish settlers recognized its boundaries as El Arroyo de las Nueces (walnut Creek) on the East, the Straits on the North, El Arroyo del Hambre (Alhambra Creek) on the Northwest, La Cuchilla del Reliz (the ridge of the Reliz) on the West, and Las Juntas (the junction of streams) on the South.

The Spanish government made no accurate surveys of most of these ranchos. Boundaries were natural landmarks that were agreed upon by the Rancheros. When the United States survey of Ranch Las Juntas was completed, the natural landmarks were retained except for the western side. An artificial western boundary was established that ran from the Arroyo del Hambre, a short distance south of its intersection with the Arnold Industrial Highway, in a direct line over the hills and through the Pleasant Hill area. This line then followed the base of the hills to intersect with the Arroyo de las Nueces just North of the junction of the streams. This Rancho includes the northern part of the city of Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, the western half of Pacheco and the eastern half of Martinez.

About 1845 the Welch family decided to move permanently to the Rancho. The oldest son was sent to build a home near the ruins of the adobe that had been burned by the Indians several years previously. A frame house was built on a knoll not far from the Arroyo de las Nueces and just north of the present center of Walnut Creek.

But in 1846, before any improvements could be made on the Rancho, William Welch died. Years of constant illness had finally taken their toll, although he was still a relatively young man. His widow and children were left with the responsibility of developing their Rancho in what was still frontier country. After his death they moved to the Rancho to join the oldest son. According to Jose Martinez, the frame house was torn down and the boards used to build a new adobe. This was the Welch home until, in 1870, a larger frame house was constructed on the same location. This burned in 1883 and was replaced by the present house. These homes were occupied by the widow Welch, her children, and later her son, William, and his wife, Felipa de Soto.

About the time of William Welch's death, the first of the overland wagon trains crossed the Sierras into California. The Contra Costa attracted some of the pioneers who had come in these wagon trains. Among them were Elam Brown and Nathaniel Jones. Then gold was discovered and thousands of gold seekers poured into California. One of the well traveled routes to the gold mines crossed the Straits near the mouth of the Arroyo del Hambre, by ferry to Benecia. In 1849 the town of Martinez was established by the Martinez family on the west side of the Arroyo.

The town grew rapidly and when Contra Costa County was formed, it became the county seat. In that same year the Welch family hired Thomas A. Brown, son of Elam Brown, to survey an addition to the town of Martinez on the east side of the Arroyo. In 1851 land was deeded to the Court of Sessions for a County Court House which was built on the rodeo site of Rancho Las Juntas. Stores, hotels and other businesses were built on the Welch Addition. By 1857 William Hoffman had a Tannery on the east side of the Arroyo, opposite the adobe of Vincente Martinez. In 1859 there was a race track just to the north of the Tannery.

But William Welch had left his family with more than a partially settled Rancho. His widow and children also inherited a long and costly legal fight to prove their right to the land. It begam in 1852 when the Welch family presented their Rancho documents before the United States Land Commission, as required by the new land laws. Even after the Rancho was confirmed to them in 1857, there followed years of litigation over the boundaries. No surveys of this land had been made by the Spanish or Mexican governments. The rancheros recognized mutual boundaries by natural landmarks that only vaguely defined the limits of their ranchos. Neither the rancho owners nor the new settlers knew what land was privately owned and what was government land. The Unites States Surveyor General had to determine the exact boundaries of each rancho.

The land along the banks of the Arroyo del Hambre was claimed as part of three ranchos: - the Rancho El Pinole of Ignacio Martinez, the Rancho Las Juntas of William Welch and the Rancho Canada del Hambre of Teodora Soto. Several surveys of each Rancho were made before the final boundaries were established. Many early settlers, both Spanish and American, were asked to testify before the United States Land Commission to help determine the boundaries. The rancheros testified about the natural landmarks that defined each rancho and the origin of the Spanish names that were used for them. Salvio Pacheco and Jose Maria Amador, whose father had been one of the soldiers, told how Spanish soldiers before 1811 had named the Arroyo del Hambre during a campaign against the Indians. Nathaniel Jones described the Ranch as he first saw it in 1847. Daniel Hunsaker stated that, in 1848, he worked on the ferry boat that crossed the Straits to Benicia from a landing near the Arroyo. These men and others named many of the pioneer settlers on the Rancho. Some of the most prominent at that time were Judge Warmcastle, Mathew Barber, Colonel Lathrop and Henry Bush.

While William Welch's wife and children were attempting to prove their ownership of Rancho Las Juntas, the settlement of the Rancho proceeded rapidly. The new settlers did not have the large cattle herds of the Spanish rancheros, but some had been successful at the gold mines. The demand for food supplies of all kinds during the early gold rush days often made farming more profitable than mining. So, many of the gold miners turned to farming, fenced the great cattle ranges and began raising grain. Land was cheap because the rancho owners had to sell much of their land to raise money for legal fees. Land titles were uncertain but the land was rich and productive, never having been farmed before. Some of the settlers, who had been unsuccessful at mining, settled on the Rancho as squatters, hoping to retain their land without having to pay for it.

Within a few years after 1850 hundreds of acres of Rancho Las Juntas had been sold. Many blocks in the Welch addition to Martinez and many acres of the Rancho were turned over to surveyors and lawyers as fees. Some of the settlers paid for their land with shares of the crops they raised and each year acquired more land until they finally owned large acreages. the farms on the Rancho ranged in size from a squatter's claim of one or two acres to holdings of 300 to 1,000 acres. In 1855 the Boss family owned over 1,000 acres in what is now Pleasant Hill, where Henry Bee had built his small house in 1844. Judge Warmcastle had a farm of 300 acres to the south and east of the Boss Ranch. Colonel Lathrop's farm was 945 acres and Colonel Gift's was 733 acres. William Hook bought his first land in 1854 and continued to add to his holdings until, in 1879, he owned 1,700 acres south of Pacheco. This farm was typical of large scale farming during that period. In 1879 William Hook raised 600 acres of wheat, 500 acres of hay and 150 acres of barley. Cattle raising was no longer the principal industry .

As soon as the farms began to produce, there was a need for storage and shipping facilities for grain. Warehouses were built along the slough into which the Arroyo de las Nueces emptied, the first by Gerret L. Walrath and Colonel Edwin Lathrop about 1853. The original course of the stream lay to the west of its present course, running parallel to the road to Martinez. The slough was deep enough for schooners, and docks were built where they could be loaded.

In 1858 Lafayette and Charles Fish had a warehouse on the slough and operated a schooner called "Queen of the Bay". George Loucks bought the Walrath warehouse and home and built a dock. William T. Hendrick built a flour mill south of the warehouse, and P. H. Standish established a blacksmith shop. Dr. James Carothers opened a drug store in what was now becoming a thriving village on the banks of the Arroyo de las Nueces. This was the second settlement on Rancho Las Juntas. It was first called Pachecoville or Loucksville, then Pacheco, after Salvio Pacheco whose Rancho del Diablo adjoined Rancho Las Juntas on the east. Pacheco became the shipping center for all the grain raised in the valleys and was the largest town in the county at one time.

At the southern end of the Rancho, a third village developed. From the early days of the Spanish settlement the route from the Martinez area to the Pueblo de San Jose had led along the valley of the Arroyo de las Nueces south through the San Ramon Valley. Until settlements were built up by the Americans and other immigrants the Pueblo de San Jose was the nearest trading center. Las Juntas, the junction of streams, was a natural crossroads were travellers from east or west joined the main road south. At this place another small town grew up with the coming of new settlers. It was originally called The Corners and is now the city of Walnut Creek. It has been built on Rancho Las Juntas and the adjoining Ranchos whose boundaries met at the junction of streams.

The large farms were broken up over the years into smaller ranches and eventually were subdivided. Most of the 13,000 acres of the Rancho Las Juntas are now divided into small lots with individual homes. Few of those who live on the Rancho know of the man who pioneered the land when it was inhabited only by Indians.

Unlike many of the other rancheros, William Welch's death prevented him from taking an active part in the historic developments in the county after California became a state. Long years of poor health, living away from his Contra Costa Rancho, had made him personally a relative stranger on his own land. Few historians realized that William Welch and Julian Willis were in reality the same man, and this undoubtedly detracted from the prominence the Irishmen would otherwise have had.

William Welch was a true pioneer . He was adventurous enough to become a sailor on a long and dangerous journey to unknown shores. He was courageous enough to seek his future in a primitive land. He was successful enough to have won title to a veritable kingdom. Yet fate has denied him his rightful place in history.

-November 16, 1961

Thursday, May 14, 2009

History of Pacheco by Annie Loucks March 1939

History of Pacheco by Annie Loucks March 1939

In the midst of the beautiful Pacheco Valley under the shadow of Mount Diablo lies Pacheco once the largest, busiest and most enterprising town in Contra Costa County. Shorn of its early glory, it today is but a ghost of its early conditions.

Water and fire have been the elements tat have contributed to its decay.

When in 1853 G. L. Walwrath of New York built his home from timbers here from our famed Moraga Redwoods, he little knew that this building was to prove the first house in the future village.

Tiring of country life, Mr. Walwrath sold his house to my father George P. Loucks in 1856. Having faith in the rich agricultural land of the vicinity, Mr. Loucks sold his commission business in San Francisco and on December 8, 1857, moved to the ranch and at once began the erection of a large warehouse about a mile below the present town on Pacheco Creek which at the tme was navigable for small stern-wheel steamboats as far as my present home.

It may be a bit of town news to add that in this home on July 14, 1858, I was born, the first child born in Pacheco.

In 1857 William Hendrick purchased a tract of land from Mr. Loucks and on it erected a dwelling house and a flour mill. This mill was the only flour mill ever operated in Contra Costa County.

The home erected by Mr. Hendrick is the present Anderson home.

Around these two enterprises, the warehouse and the flour mill, the town grew.

Farmers from all parts of Central Contra Costa County hauled their grain to both warehouse and mill. From the Tasajara and the San Ramon valleys came great four and six-horse wagons with their precious loads of grain.

On the return trip loads of flour and goods from the ever increasing stores were taken. It required two days to make the round trip from the most remote branches.

The first sailing craft to come to the warehouse was the "Ida" by the late Captain Ludwig Anderson. Captain Anderson later built a larger and swifter vessel which he named the "Annie Caroline" honoring his eldest aughter and myself.

In 1857 Dr. J. H. Carothers purchased a tract of land from the Pacheco family on the eat bank f the Pacheco Creek and laid out the town of PAcheco. Here Hale and Fassett built the first business building called familiarly "The Long Store". About the same time Captain Anderson built his first residence and Elijah Hook erected a two story brick building, the lower floor being used for a general merchandise store and the upper floor later housed the Contra Costa Gazette. Building went on rapidly. Main street made a brave showing of several two story brick buildings. Dr. Carothers built a large concrete building which was occupied by small stores and as offices.

Residences built after the models of Eastern homes grew apace. Gardens and orchards were laid out and Pacheco was a reality.

Almost by magic the town grew and Pacheco became the hub about which things moved. All traffic from Southern and Eastern Contra Costa County to the County seat at Martinez passed through Pacheco.

Traffic to the Sacramento Valley passed through here, crossing on the Martinez Ferry. Great herds of long-horned Texas cattle, ox-teams, and large heavily laden Conostoga wagons en route to the Russian River County and the Nevada gold fields were familiar sights and caused a thrill equal to the airplane of today. These lingered to refresh both man and beast and many wonderful tales were related by teamsters and drivers.

About this time Hale and Fassett dissolved their partnership, and William and Henry became the new firm. Theirs was the finest store in the county. Their patrons came from as far south as Livermore and from as far east as Nortonville ad Somersville.

Pacheco depended upon the mines of Nortonville and Somersville for coal. The flour mill was operated by the use of coal. Every day the "Mill Team" as it was called, made a trip to the coal mines bringing back a load of this soft coal.

In later years when the mill property was owned by Russi and Sonner electricity became the driving power.

Two hotels were built. The "Eagle" on the corner of Main and Monument streets was owned and operated by Mr. Woodruff. This hotel is still used as the home of Mrs. DeMartini.

The "French" hotel was located on the corner of Main and Center streets and was operated by M. Bateau who gained a reptation for his fine French dinners. This hotel was burned in the 80's.

Restaurants and boarding places had their part in satisfying the inner man, while the town pump afforded refreshment for hrses and cattle.

In a very short time two iron foundries, a wagon building establishment, Soda Works, two lumber yards, blacksmith shos, meat markets, and a harness shop had been added to the business enterprises.

About this time the Pacheco Fire Engine Co. No. 1 was formed. To it Don Salvio Pacheco presented on February 16, 1862, a handsome banner elaborately trimmed with gold lace and surmounted by a gold eagle.

Uncle Sam early decided that we were entitled to a Post Office. The arrival of the mail coaches twice a day was the most exciting time of the day, for the Government news was at a high pitch about this time. Newspapers telling of Lincoln's death brought fabulous prices. The San Francisco mail came to Martinez by the river steamers and from there was brought to Pacheco by the four-horse coach owned and operated by the S . W. Johnson Livery Company. The early mail from Eastern Contra Costa County was brought from Antioch by coach. This line was operated by James Curry, father of the late H. C. Curry, who carried mail and passengers between Antioch and Oakland. Pacheco was the station were horses were exchanged. Wells Fargo Express did a thriving business.

Pacheco now presented a scene of life and bustle. The histching rails from early morning until late afternoon were filled with teams, carraiges, and saddled horses of people from the surrounding country. Many fine matched carriage teams were to be found for there were lovers of fine horses in the country.. ColonelW. W. Gift whose home was mid-way between Martinez and Pacheco was a lover of fine horses and was a familiar visitor at Pacheco. He did much towards encouraging the breeding of blood horses in our community. *
* At this time an endeavor was made to incorporate the town. The papers were made out and ready to be recorded but a question arose as to whom the honor of the first mayorship be given. while the discussion was being carried on interest waned on the main qestion and the papers were never recorded. In consequence Pacheco never had a mayor.

The first school was built in 1859 and D. S. Woodruff became the first teacher. This building soon became inadaquate to accomodate the rapidly increasing school population, so in 1863 a large two story building was erected. The dedication of this building was my first appearance at a grown-up ball. The wonder of it all! The lights, music, dancers, and wonder of wonders, a black-eyed, curly haired-rosy-cheeked teachedr made Miss Nettie Dond who later became Mrs. Woods, and until a few years ago when death claimed her, was connected with the San Francisco schools.

Miss Jane Weeks, a sister of Mrs. Henry Hale of Martinez, a graduate of Knock College, Galesbury, Illinois, became the principal of the new school. Under her guidance, superior instruction, and charm of manner a high standard of scholarship was attained by the young men and women who were her pupils.

It was not unusual to find pupils of nineteen and twenty years of age in school. There were no high schools outside of San Francisco at this time so pupils continued their advanced courses until something else interested them. The Pacheco school continued these high school branches until the county schools became strictly graded.

This building was occupied until 1926 when it was condemned and a very modern cement building was erected. **
**Many pupils whose careers are worthy of note have gone out from the old school but time and spac e will not alw me to name all. However, two outstanding names that are very familiar to you are those of Doctor Marianna Bertola who was born in Pacheco and Warren Greghory who was born in Ygnacio Valley and Commuted daily.

Churches-- The first church built in Pacheco was the Presbyterian in 1862. The Rev. Yager was the first pastor and his eloquence filled the church every Sabbath. His flock was drawn from as far south as Walnut Creek and from Clayton and vicinity. Children went to Sunday School in those days, and sat quietly through the church services afterwards.

Later a Roman Catholic was built which drew a large congregation from the surrounding country; and at a later date the Congregational body built a church, and the Free Methodist followers bought a dwelling which they remodeled for a meet house.

With the decline of the town the Roman Catholic Church was moved to Concord, and the other churches, after a brave fight, surrendered, so today Pacheco is churchless. Its popuation is dependent upon the neighboring towns for itsspiritual guidance.

Lodges had their part in the social life of the town. Pacheco Lodge #117 I. O. O. F. organized in July 1863 is still existent but has moved to its location in Concord, The "Independent Order of of Good Templers", "Chosen Friends", and "Pacheco Grange of Husbandry" flourished for several yearsbut lapsed with the passing of the town's importance.

The Contra Costa Agricultural, Horticultural and Mechanical Society was organized in Martinez on January 1, 1859, but owing to Pacheco's central location it was moved to Pacheco and the pavillion, race track, Stockbarn and other necessary buildings were build in the Eastern part of town.

The annual fai was the one great event in the county. Families from the far confines of the county and distant places filled the hotels, boarding houses and homes of friends. Many who could not find lodgings in town were permitted to erect tents in the center of the race track.

Even in those early years fine exhibits of orchard, field, and garden products, livestock, and machinery were made. Housewives exhibited their handiwork as well as their culinary skills. Some of the finest race horses in the state and their famous drivers were seen on the track.

The grandstand filled with a gayly dressed crowd, fine carraiges within the rail, and the band playing caused a thrill tooo exciting for words.

One great attraction was the "Ice Cream Parlor". At that period ice cream was a luxury, and we children hoarded our money for an entire year in order to satisfy our longingfor that daintyat the next fair.

The grand ball under the management of the Society proved a fitting climax to the week of sports.

At this time the wheat in the virgin soil of the surounding fields was growing taller than man. Life on the farm was a busy one. The farmer had no harvesters and cooks houses in those days, so his home must be open to the men of the harvest fields as an eating place. On our farm, when a double crew was operating, forty men were provided with three meals a day.

(a section is missing from this article due to the mishaps of the Pleasant Hill Library Copy machine of which I strongly detest and am prone o the use of foul language when I describe said copy machine. Pardon. A.I.P.)

twice a day.

During this perios Pacheco had experienced one disasterous fire in the "Farmers' Bank" on Main Street; but undaunted, rebuilding began at once. Seven years later another fire destroyed some of the most imposing buildings on Main Street, and October 21, 1868 a severe earthquake destroyed or injured many of the brick and concrete buildings. But Phoenix-like the town again arose.

With the increasing business and wealth the need of a bank was realized. On December 29, 1870 the "Contra Costa Savings and Loan Bank" was organized wit the following directors; - Barry Baldwin, G. M. Bryant, Walter K. Dell, John Gambs, and W. M. Hale. The capital stock was fifty thousand dollars and the time limit was fifty years, but by 1882 the bank had moved its location to Martinez and so began the bank of Martinez.

The Western Union Telegraph Company completed its line to Pacheco May 29, 1869 en route to Antioch.

May 10, 1871, officers were chosen for a newly organized military company.

On February 6, 1874, the "Pacheco Tobacco Company" was incorporated with a capital of ten thousand dollars for the purpose of leasing or purchasing land for the raising, curing, and manufacture of the product. The tobacco grew marvelously, but proved to be too strong in flavor to be of use commercially so the the company lapsed.

The tractor of today had its incepton in Pacheco when Philander Standish made the first steam gangplow in the iron foundry of his brother Syranus Standish. The trial of the plow was made on a level field East of Pacheco. Farmers came from many miles to watch the working of the plow. William Kelleher of Diablo Valley bought the machine and after operating it for a time found it too cumbersome and expensive for practical use. In the meantime Mr. Standish had rebuilt his model and made it a horse power plow. These "Standish Gangplows" were used on my father's ranch. Mr. Standish had these plows patented in the U. S. and in nearly every country in Europe. His patents and medals may be found in the Museum at Cleveland, Ohio. The gradual improvement of this first steam plow has become our tractor of today.

Pacheco filled a large place in the political life of the county. The County slogan was "As goes Pacheco so goes the County", so you may be sure that Pacheco's vote was eagerly sought.

The Agricultural Pavillion was used for political rallies. Martinez would gather her forces and with music, torches and an anvil that made a great noise would come to Pacheco. If the gathering was Republican they would stop in front of Mr. Loucks' gate, build a bon fire, fire the anvil, the band would play, the torches flare, my father would enter the speaker's carriage and the procession would move on. How I longed to be a man so that I cold vote and take part in all of the excitement. The priveledge to vote has become a reality, but the procession has passed away.

While all these stirring times were passing, Pacheco was fighting its arch enemy WATER. The great flood of January 1862 carried the warehouse of Mr. Loucks and all of its contents out to the bay and the silt from the flooded district partly filled the navigable channel. Mr. Loucks never rebuilt the warehouse but devoted himself to raising grain, sheep, and fine horses.

William Hook, father of Ex-Supervisor Vincent Hook, had built a concrete warehouse on the eastern side of town and from it had dug a canal to deep water. This canal too filled, so a track was built and a horse drawn car used to carry the grain to tide water. This was abandoned in a short time.

With the fillings of land business houses and homes were raised, until Pacheco became a veritable "town on stilts".

At this time the Hawkshurst addition was laid out on the west side of the creek and soon the schoolhouse and the larger part of the residences were moved to the new location. But the Fates proved unkind, and the reoccuring floods filled the new levels, and changed the course of the creek. In 1869 Fernando Pacheco and Francisco Galindo who owned the land, offered to lay out a town two miles east of Pacheco to give a certain number of lots to those of the flood-stricken merchants of Pacheco who would move their places of busines there. The exodus soon began, and so Concord was founded. Martinez, too, received a goodly number of enterprises. Gradually the town declined, and, ere we realized it, Pacheco surrendered her crown.

Only we of that early period who have memories of the glories that were, can feel the heart pangs one feels as for the loss of a loved friend.

But we are not entirely disheartened! With the building of Contra Costa's main highway through our Main Street, the location of Contra Costa'sfirst Public Park within the original survey of Pacheco, and the Contra Costa Golf Club on our southern boundary the worldis again recognizing our fine climate and beauty of location.

The element which caused our downfall will cause us to rise again - This time on a hill slope.

When artisan water becomes available, the the natual beauty of its scenery and its unrivaled climate will lure those seeking country homes and Pacheco will rise again.

When Colonel Lindbergh pressed the button that sent the first beam from "Standard Diablo" it fell upon Pacheco as well as upon her grander sisters. No longer are we a "Deserted Village". Progress is ours.

Since wrting the original "History of Pacheco" many changes have come to the tow which is fast becoming a desirable place of residence.

With City Water, Coast Counties Gas and Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Electricity and Dial telephones, the new homes are equipped with every modern convenience.

The homes are ?ented before they are complete and more are eagerly sought. While Pacheco will probably never again become a manufacturing town, it will, with its location on the state highway and the new Arnold Industrial Highway and its unsurpassed climate, lure homeseekers.
the Central Valley Canal will be located on its Western Boundary.

With the Contra Costa Golf Club on its Southern boundary and the Martinez Gun Club on its Northern, the many visitors to these places are learning of its merits.

The Central Valley C anal will be located on its Western Boundary

The fertile lands adjoining the town are being devoted to intensive truck farming. When Vallejo no longer wished to remain the capitol of California, the choice of a new Capitol lay between Pacheco and Benecia.

Pacheco lost by TWO votes.

The county has purchased several acres to enlarge the popular park at Pacheco.

In the early days of Pacheco, saloons and gambling houses had their quota of visitors.

When one famous gambling house was demolished several years ago several gold coins of early date were found between the floor and the ceiling of a lower room. One well known game lasted a week, at the end of which Mr. "X" put a mortgage on his home and Mr. "Z" took his wife and daughter to the Centennial Exposition in Philidelphia.

March 1939

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

History of and About Concord by F. C Galindo

History of and About Concord
by F. C Galindo

I will give you a short history of and about Concord and will mention many of the early settlers of this disctrict. If any have not mentioned, it has been because I have not been able to get data or find any mention in any of the records available.

California as you know has been governed by three governments, first by Spain, until 1844, and then by Mexico, until it was admitted into the Union September 9, 1950.

I will now give you a short history of the Salvio Pacheco family for several reasons, he being one of the first early Spanish settlers in this district, and because Salvio Pacheco land grant was a tract of land of 17,912 acres starting at or about the tide water and draw bridge at Avon and extending to the base of Mt. Diablo and on the east nearly to the town of Clayton, taking in all the lands between Willow Pass and the town of PAcheco.

Salvio Pacheco received title to this grant of the land from Spain in 1838, and when Mexico took possession of this state he then applied for a title and the same was granted by Mexico in 1844. LAter California was admitted as a state into our United States, and Salvio received a United States Title to this tract of land in 1856. The first assessment of this land by the state of California was made in 1852 and same was assessed at $8.00 per acre or about $143,000.00. If this propert had remained as one tract at present values, same would be worth $10,000,000.00 for the bare land without any improvements.

Salvio Pacheco had a family of five children and at his death this tract was subdivided and he heirs all received their portion. The heirs were Fernando Pacheco, Manuela Galindo, Sarah Amador, Salvador Pacheco, and Conception Soto. The Galindo shares were south of Concord; the Fernando Pacheco property were north of the Avon road; the Amador property was south and west ofthe town of Pacheco; the Salvador Pacheco property were near or around the Southern Pacific Railroad depot; and the Conception Soto property were what is now Maltby Ranch, which is about the same acreage as when bought by Maltby.

The following is a list of the first early settlers in this part of the county in the Spanish Colony. The family names follow: Pacheco, Alvarado, Castro, Sepulveda, Estudillo, Moraga, Briones, Martinez, Sunol, Peralta, Amador, Miranda, Berryesa, Higuera, Alviso, Galindo. Most of these families held land in Spanish grants before California was admitted into the Union.

The town of Pacheco was laid out in town lots by Hale & Carrother in 1850. George P. Louks had located near Pacheco in 1856; the first house built there was in 1853 by G. Walbrath; the first flour mill was built by Hendricks in 1857; a wharf at Pacheco Landing where ships would come to load hides and wheat was built in 1857; the first boat to land was the Schooner Ida under Capt. L. Anderson who settled in Pacheco and started a lumber business there; the first brick house built in Pacheco was built by Elijah Hook in 1860; a hotel by W. Woodford was built in 1870; and in 1859 the first school house.

The lodge of I. O. O. F. organized in 1863 which is now located in Concord having moved their building to Concord about 30 years ago. The first telegraph office in this part of the county was located in Pacheco, 1869. Owing to flood conditions in Pacheco which destroyed and also interfered with the business of the community, Fernando Pacheco, and Francisco Galindo, heirs to Salvio Pacheco, started the town of Concord in 1869, donating one entire block as a city park which is still in use as such. Sam Bacon was given a lot free to start a store and a post office in Concord which he did at the corner of Salvio and Galindo Streets where the Foskett and Elsworthy building is now located. The first lots sold in Concord were sold to John Browand, Phillip Klein, John Gavin, Ches. Lohse, Wm. Pell, and Santos Miranda. These lots were bought for $30.00 cash. The following year many lots were sold.

The first church built in Concord was the Catholic Church in 1873. The first English school was started in 1870. Spanish was taught in a small building for a number of years and this building still stands on Pacheco Road. Some of our oldest Spanish residents of today attended this school.

W.S. Burpee living today in Walnut Creek, operated a stage line from Concord to Oakland starting same in 1869 and operating same for several years.

In 1850 the county offices of clerk, recorder and auditor were held by one office holder.

B.(or R.) Roberts was the first constable of township 3 distrcit which took in Clayton, Pacheco, Concord, and Martinez. J. Huff was the first Justice of the Peace of this district. We had six constables and six Jstice's of the Peace in the entire county at this time.

The old salvio Pacheco adobe building was built in 1838 (???). The Fernando Pacheco adobe house was built in 1845(?) when Fernando married in San Jose and moved to Concord to live on the grant of his father Salvio.

Will just say a few words about the early Spanish life. The Spanish settlers were engaged mostly in stock raising, and sold cattle but mostly hides. The value of cattle was very small, there being no markets for the sale of beef, but the hides were shipped to the eastern markets on schooners, many of which landed at Pacheco landing for their cargoes. These sailing vessels had to make the trip to New York and eastern ports around Cape Horn of South America, this trip taking many months.

These early settlers lived in a plain and simple life, living mostly on meat, and corn, and a few vegetables that were raised, but meat was the principle food. Lack of transportation and communication with the rest of the country east of the Sierra Nevadas confined the lives of these early California families to local communities, the only means of transportation being mostly horseback, there being no roads nor vehicles nor convoyances till about 1856.

Houses rented in Concord in 1870 for $5.00 per month. The taxes on lots in Concord at this same period was an average of $1.00 per lot per year.

I will now give a list of some of the early pioneer families that located in or near Concord. Histories only give a small list of these early pioneers.

Joel Clayton started the town of Clayton in 1857; Joshua Bollinger came to this district in 1855; John Brawand in 1869; and Wm. Caven in 1868; Sylverio Soto married in San Jose and moved to the Soto Grant of 1000 acres in 1856, (many children and grandchildren still live in this community); S. J. DeSoto. P. M. Soto, our postmaster, and Mrs. J. G. Costa of Ygnacio Valley, all children of Sylverio; J. E. Durham came to Concord in 1871; John Gambs located in Pacheco in 1860; Henry Polley located in Clayton Valley in 1860; A. Dorman 1850; Andrew Gehringer came to this district in 1861; J. H. Keller located here in 1871 and operated a butcher business for many years.

Only a few decendants of Salvio Pacheco remain in this district. A. F. Soto, son of Conception Soto; R. J. Bellastero and Mrs. S. Soto, decendants of Fernando Pacheco, and F. C. Galindo and children and Mrs. Chas. Guy, Jack Miranda, Mrs. Peter Sibrian and Harold Lathrop, decendants of the Galindo Ranch.