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.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Flames Raze Historic Old Clyde Hotel

Flames Raze Historic Old Clyde Hotel
Oakland Tribune March 12, 1964

Clyde - The Clyde Hotel, an irreplaceablepart of Contra Costa County's history, burned to the ground early today

A one-time mansion that fell into disrepair with the passing years, the three story, wooden structure came to an end as spectacular as its past.

Flames broke out at 1 A.M. and half the huge building was engulfed by the time firemen arrived. Residents for miles around could see the glow of the blaze.

Fifty firemen battled the fire until dawn.

An arson investigation was launched because three youths were found in the building earlier.

the well known landmark, just east (?) of Concord, was built during World War 1 to house Port Chicago shipyard workers. Its first floor was finished in solid redwood and decorated with electrical fixtures that were replicas of California Poppies.

The current owner, Mrs. Eunice VanWinkle of 880 Bay View Ave., Port Chicago, was unable to estimate the value of the structure, which cost $250,00 to erect in 1917.

The 176-room building had been abandoned and reopened from time to time. At one time it served as a government hospital, at another time it was a training center for wayward boys, at another it housed the Civilian Conservation Corps of the depression years.

It also served as a social center for town meetings and parties, and marathon dances were held in its spacious lobby, when the fad was in vogue.

The Caretaker, Mrs. Lillian Evans, (end of copy)