TULARE COUNTY CALIFORNIA HISTORY
TULARE COUNTY ORGANIZED.
As we have already stated, the first whites who after
the trappers were attracted to what is now Tulare
County, were those who sought to traffic with the
Indians. But hard upon their heels came others,
attracted hither by the luxuriant vegetation that grew
all over the valley, but more especially along the
deltas of the large streams. Along the Kaweah from where
Wood's trading post stood to the mountains, was in those
days an almost impenetrable swamp, and out of that
swamp, at points a short distance from each other,
issued the four main channels of the Kaweah, now known
as St. John's, Mill creek, Packwood, and Outside creek;
and from this fact the while Kaweah delta took the name
of the " Four Creek" country, and was the first settled
portion of what is now Tulare County. This entire region
at the time was in Mariposa County.
The earliest settlements were made on King's
river, at what is now Centerville, and which was at that
time in Tulare County. It is said that the bona-fide
settlers of Tulare County were easy going, quiet,
respectable people, but adventurers were attracted here
from time to time who were " tough," and they made
society somewhat rough for a time; but they either
killed each other off or left for new fields as
civilization grew and made it uncomfortable for such
characters. It has been claimed that there were about
sixty white settlers in the county at the time of
organization. This is disputed by some of the oldest
residents now in the county. Very few if any of the
first actual settlers are now living. Some, who settled
in the " Four Creek" country as early as 1853,—a few of
whom are yet living,— say they do not believe there was
an actual white resident in the county when organized.
Those who organized it did so to get the offices, and
succeeded in electing themselves to places they sought,
and the majority immediately returned to their homes in
In the winter of 1852 the California Legislature
provided for the organization of a new county, to be
known as Tulare. The territory to be included within the
boundaries of this county was almost precisely the same
as that described as the Tulare valley, and adjacent
water-sheds, with the addition of all the country to the
east as far as the State line. Out of this has since
been formed Inyo and a large portion of Fresno and Kern
counties. In consequence of the Legislative act referred
to, an expedition was fitted out at Mariposa, then an
important mining point, and filled to overflowing with
all kinds of adventurers, for the purpose of organizing
the new county and " corraling" the offices. The
expedition was headed by Major James D. Savage (whose
tragical death has been described elsewhere in this
volume), who as early as 1850 kept a trading post on
Fresno river, and who was one of the four commissioners
appointed to hold the first election in the new county.
The other commissioners were: M. B. Lewis, John Boling
and W. H. McMillen. There were in all the territory,
previous to the arrival of this Mariposa expedition, not
more than sixty-five men and no women; but as the
expedition exceeded that number somewhat, and not all
the settlers were on hand to vote, the visitors chose
whom they would to fill the county offices. Polling
places were opened on the 10th day of July, at Pool's
Ferry on King's river, and also under an oak tree
between the St. John's and the foothills. Fifty-eight
votes were cast at Pool's Ferry, and fifty-one under the
oak tree. Walter H. Harvey was elected County Judge; F.
H. Sanford, County Attorney; L. D. F. Edwards, Clerk;
William Dill, Sheriff; A. B.. Gordon, Recorder; Captain
Joseph A. Tirey, Surveyor; A. B Davis, Assessor; J. C.
Frankenberger, Treasurer; and W. H. McMillen, Coroner.
Davis failed to qualify as assessor, and Thomas
McCormick was appointed to fill the vacancy. J. C.
Frankenberger resigned the office of treasurer, and P.
A. Rain bolt was appointed in his stead.
Of the foregoing officers elected, Edwards was
killed by Bob Collins in a row, the next day after the
expedition returned to Mariposa. Harvey killed Savage,
the leader of the expedition, and there is not now
living in the county a single man who took part in that
election. Charley Wingfield, who was elected treasurer
in 1886, and who died a few months later, was the last.
Harvey died miserably of remorse and fear many years
ago. He did not remain long in the county. Savage seems
to have had many good qualities, and well thought of at
the time. He was the Government Indian agent, and was
succeeded by Colonel Thomas Baker, for whom Bakersfield
was named. A few of the early settlers are yet living in
the county and near Visalia. Among the few are A. H.
Murray, who came from Missouri and settled on the south
side of Mill creek, near Visalia, in 1852, where he has
since resided. Judge S. C. Brown, of Visalia, settled
there in 1852. Dr. John Cutler came to the county about
the same date; also Dick Chaton, Tom Willis, and a
Hollander by the name of Stuefe. Wiley Watson was born
in Georgia in 1812, came to California from Illinois and
erected the first brick residence in Visalia, in the
fall of 1860.
John A. Patterson and Jasper Harrell were among
the early pioneers. The first actual settler in the
county was William Campbell, who located on King's
river. One Woods first located on the Kaweah river in
1850, about six miles from Visalia. He, with a number of
others, attempted a settlement for the purpose of
engaging in agricultural pursuits. He, with the majority
of his party, were killed by the Indians before their
buildings were all completed, a full account of which is
given elsewhere. The location was designated Woodville,
and was the first county seat.
AN IMPORTANT CASE.
The first case of a civil nature that came up for
trial in the new county was before a justice of the
peace, but was quite important, aside from its being the
first. A young Indian had shot an arrow into a work ox
belonging to a white man, crippling the animal severely.
The whites were disposed, at first, to make an example
of the young culprit without process of law, and punish
him severely. Charley Wingfield and Jim Hale were sent
to arrest the offender and bring him into court. They
found the Indians little disposed to recognize the
jurisdiction of the white man's court,—more particularly
until they ascertained what the nature of the punishment
was likely to be. Fearing trouble, the chief volunteered
to go and bring the offender to Wingfield, and for that
purpose Wingfield let him have his horse. Very soon the
braves of the tribe began to gather around in squads of
twos and threes, fully prepared for war; and, when at
last the chief made his appearance with the prisoner,
the whole crowd started for the settlement, the Indians
sullen, the whites apprehensive. There were eighteen of
the latter, and about forty of the former, and it looked
to the whites as if they had " bitten off more than they
could chew." But they could not back out without
sacrificing their prestige with the Indians; so they
assumed a bold attitude and saw it through. For two days
and nights both sides maintained their position, neither
disposed to yield anything. Finally the Indians
consented to have the young offender tried-The trial was
conducted in due form, and judgment rendered that the
offender pay the owner of the ox fifty buckskins as
damages. The Indians had watched the progress of the
trial with profound interest, and the nature of the
verdict was an agreeable surprise to them, as they knew
of none other than physical punishment; and they ever
after cherished considerable regard for the white man's
law. Had a more severe punishment been attempted in this
case, it is more than likely that the infant settlement
would have been destroyed.
Until 1853 the affairs of the county were managed
by what was called the " Court of Sessions," composed of
the county judge and two justices of the peace. This
court held its first session October 4,1852, and was
composed of Judge Harvey, W. J. Campbell and Loomis St.
John. About all they did was to fill vacancies in county
offices, as previously stated.
The first general election was held on the first
Tuesday in November, 1852, but no record of its result
can be found. The first grand jury was impaneled about
the middle of 1853; no thorough record of its
proceedings are to be found. Later in the year one
Samuel Logo was tried, convicted, and sent to the
penitentiary for two years, for assaulting an Indian
with an intent to kill. This was the county's first
representative at San Quentin. The first tax levy, fifty
cents on the one hundred dollars, was made this year,
1853, and on September 7th of the same year a second
general election was held. By this time there were a
good many actual settlers in the county, and this
election was conducted by actual settlers, and not by
invaders from other counties.
At this election John Cutler was elected County
Judge; A. B. Gordon, Clerk; O. K. Smith, Sheriff; W. C.
French, District Attorney; C. R. Wingfield, Treasurer;
J. B. Hatch-Assessor; E. Lyons, Surveyor, and A. J.
Lawrence, A. H. Fraser, John Pool, Harry Borroughs, and
Warren Mathews, Supervisors. Of these Judge Cutler is
the only one alive and residing in the county. One
hundred and eleven votes were cast at this election, of
which fifty seven were Whig, the remainder Democratic,
and at this election Visalia was chosen as the county
seat by a vote of forty-four to forty-one. Sixteen
voters failed to signify their preference for county
The Supreme Court of the State, having decided
that the legislative functions of the " Court of
Sessions " were unconstitutional, and as new officers
had in consequence been elected under the new law
providing for county government, the local government of
the county had become thoroughly established at this
The spoils of office were by no means great at
this period. At the close of 1853 taxes were collected,
but they amounted to but few dollars, and when Treasurer
Wingfield went to Benicia, the then State capital, to
make settlement, he had some difficulty in making
himself known in his official capacity. The State
officers had actually forgotten that there was such a
county in the State as Tulare.
GENERAL HISTORY RESUMED.
Resuming the early historical period, it may be
said that the county did not make a rapid growth in
population for several years after it was organized, as
the population of the State at the time consisted
principally of roving gold hunters. It has been
previously stated that at the fall election of 1853, the
county seat was changed from the village of Woodville to
that of Visalia, and that the first settlers about
Visalia were in 1852. It is also claimed that all except
two of the first county officers met tragic or violent
deaths in personal rencounters. The first courthouse was
a log cabin surrounded by a cheap fence, and the jail
consisted of four stumps of trees. Within this
enclosure, each stump had an iron ring attached to it by
a staple, to which culprits were chained. The several
county officials carried the county records and public
documents in their hats and pockets.
There are various versions of the county seat
question. The files of the Delta give Woodville as the
first. Mr. Pillsbury, in his interesting little volume
issued in 1888, says that at the fall election in 1853,
Visalia won the county seat by a vote of forty-four, to
forty-one for Woodville. In the same work, when
describing Visalia, he says: " When the county was
organized in 1852, an effort was made to have the county
seat located at Woodville, and that in 1854 the county
was surveyed and Visalia's town site was laid out." The
old files of the Delta state that the town was laid out
in 1856. Elliott's history of the county states that the
election was held in 1854, at which the county seat was
established at Visalia. Two facts are indisputable.
First, that the county seat was for a time at Woodville;
secondly, that there was an election, which established
the county seat at Visalia, where the buildings were
made ample for the transaction of public business at the
time and for several years, until the growing population
demanded more commodious quarters.
MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS OF EARLY TIMES.
This year Visalia was laid out as a town, and
derived its name from Nathaniel Vise, one of the first
settlers. Visalia soon became a place of some
importance, owing much to the overland stage line
started about the time the town was laid out. The richer
portions of the valley were covered with vast herds of
stock, marking and marketing being about all the labor
required, and fabulous prices were obtained.
Consequently men accumulated great wealth with little
effort. Hogs flourished here, as in no other region;
nutritious grasses and immense crops of acorns were at
their disposal. The swine business, under such
conditions, was a mine of wealth of itself. In those
days, it is said that all the capital a young man needed
was a half dozen pigs of the feminine gender, and he
might confidently expect to retire from business with a
competency in a few years. The crop of acorns were so
immense as to seemingly surpass the bounds of the
probable. To repeat some of the many wonderful stories
of acorns we would be accused of romancing, if not of
downright falsehood; yet reliable old settlers assert
that from 50 to 100 bushels of acorns from a tree was
too common to be considered remarkable.
During this year the question of organizing a new
county from a portion of Tulare and Los Angeles counties
was agitated, to be known as Buena Vista County. This
failed to materialize, but the continued agitation of
county division resulted in the formation of Kern and
Inyo counties in 1866.
During the year the Indians were committing
depredations on the property and people in the Owen's
July 2d, T. J. Goodale presented the editor of the
Visalia Delta with some very fine apricots. The same
issue of the paper speaks of having received by
Wells-Fargo Express a batch of Eastern mail, which had
been nearly one month in transit. This was about one
month after the Delta was first issued, which was in
June of that year.
Independence day of that year was celebrated in a
patriotic manner. E. E. Calhoun was master of
ceremonies. "Gem of the Ocean" was well rendered,
Messrs. Barrows and Kline receiving special mention as
fine singers. The Declaration of Independence was read
by Hon. J. W. Freeman. S. C. Brown delivered a fine
There were in the county that year the following
post offices and postmasters : Visalia, H. A. Bostwick,
postmaster; King's River, James Smith; Kinneysburg
(White River), A. Reid; Keysville, J. Caldwell;
Petersburg, A. D. Hight; Goodhue's Crossing, H. G.
The overland stage from San Francisco to St. Louis
arrived at Visalia Sunday and Wednesday mornings; from
Visalia to Los Angeles, via Kinneysburg, Petersburg and
Keysville, arrived on the 8th and 23d of each month, and
departed on the 1st and 15th. Three cents was the
postage on a letter weighing half an ounce, from San
Francisco to St. Louis, points in Arkansas and Texas ;
all points east of that region required ten cents
postage on half ounce letters.
The editor of the Delta in July of this year
offered to wager a No. 1 watermelon that Tulare County
could show more fat and furious babies than any other
county in the State in proportion to population.
T. J. Goodale comes to the front again with fine
fruit—-this time an apple of the Summer Queen variety;
thirteen and one-half inches in circumference.
About the same time, a Mr. Mead, engaged in
freighting, arrived in Visalia with a twelve mule team
and three wagons. He started from Stockton with 21,000
pounds of freight for Visalia, and 7,000 of feed for his
team, making a total of 28,000 pounds. This was
considered the largest load drawn such distance in
California up to that time. Mead offered to take one of
his mules, and in two weeks' time, for a wager of
$2,000, beat the winning horse at the race to come off
in a few days, and that he would put up a forfeit of
$1,000 with any one disposed to accept his proposition.
No mention is made of his offer being taken.
There was organized in Visalia this year a
temperance society known as the Dashaway Association;
James D. Travis, President. This order flourished for a
The editor of the Delta mentions having received
in Augusta delicious watermelon weighing eighty-seven
At the general election that year, T. M. Heston
was elected to the Assembly; W. M. Boring, County Judge;
John C. Reid, Sheriff; John S. McGahey, Clerk; E.
Johnson, Treasurer; S. C. Brown, District Attorney; T.
C. Hayes, Assessor; H. C. Townsend, Public
Administrator; O. K. Smith, Superintendent of Schools.
J. E. Scott, Surveyor; J. D. P. Thompson, Coroner; A. S.
Worthly, J. T. Pemberton and E. Van Valkenburg,
Supervisors. There were 908 votes cast at this election.
This year a gentleman in the county who had a
large acreage of land under fence, which had a heavy
growth of oak timber, sold the acorn crop for $1,800, to
be gathered by the purchaser.
Mention is also made of the arrival of the stage
with overland mail, being only eighteen days and twenty
hours out of St. Louis, the quickest trip made up to
that date. 1860.
January 21, the steamboat Visalia was completed,
and designed to navigate the San Joaquin river between
Stockton and Fresno city.
The Delta seems to have been dishing up Democratic
food at this time, and in its columns March 31 we find
it speaks as follows: " Friends of Seward and Greeley
are talking of starting a black Republican paper in
Visalia, and that there were some recent importations of
office seekers in the county, silly enough to think they
could be elected to the State Senate and other offices
on the Republican ticket."
April, the same year, is the announcement : "Good
news for bachelors. A short time since there arrived in
this county, from Texas, a family composed of the
father, mother, twenty-one daughters and one son!"
During the same week, and from the same State, another
family arrived, in which were fourteen unmarried
June 16,the paper states that "the half dozen
Black Republicans in this county, aided and assisted by
he bulkheaders and pork inspectors of San Francisco, and
their agents in this county and senatorial district, are
determined to have an organ in Visalia, and for that
purpose have dispatched an agent to San Francisco to
purchase the material necessary to carry out their
schemes in the coming election; so they think." After a
tirade of unpleasant epithets applied to Republicans in
general, the editor bids them pitch in, that they will
not get more than one vote to seventy-five for
Democracy. He then mentions the " Lone Republican" of
Fresno County; that he had gone to a more congenial
clime; that his portrait could be seen in the hotel at
Millerton, where Mr. McCray, at great expense, had
placed it, that the passer-by might look at the " Lone
The Atlantic and Pacific Telegraph line was
completed to Visalia June 18.
About this time, Judge Boring resigned the
position of County Judge, and engaged in the mining
business, and E. E. Calhoun was appointed to fill the
This year, Henry Hartley produced 1,000 pounds of
onions on eight square rods of ground, some of which
weighed one and a half pounds.
In September a newspaper was started at Visalia,
The Sun, which was intended to unite the Democratic
factions, as well as gather to one fold the disgruntled
of all parties.
Efforts were made during this year to organize a
fire department in Visalia.
Dr. Mathews raised a single cluster of grapes
weighing nine pounds.
In October, at a public meeting in Visalia, E. C.
Winchell, candidate for the Assembly on the Democratic
ticket, spoke on the issues of the day, and the Delta
editor said "Dr. McCaffery appeared on the part of 'old
Abe' and did his best to bolster up the cause of
In November culminated the difficulty which had
for some time been pending between Wm. Gouverneur Morris
and Editor Shannon, which resulted in the death of the
latter. We quote the Delta's statement of the trouble at
the time: "On Thursday evening Shannon entered the law
office of W. P. Gill, where Morris was sitting. Shannon
held in his hand a cocked pistol, and on entering raised
it, at the same time saying, 'Morris, are you armed '?
Morris at once sprang to his feet and grappled with his
opponent. Shannon being much the taller, Morris was
unable to disarm him, and Shannon beat him severely over
the head with the pistol, inflicting nine severe scalp
wounds. At the first or second blow Shannon's pistol was
discharged accidentally. After receiving the blows,
Morris fell to the floor covered with blood, whereupon
Shannon gazed upon him several seconds, then turned and
left the room. Morris, however, sprang to his feet and
drawing his revolver rushed out of the south door of the
building so as to intercept Shannon before reaching his
office. The parties here exchanged shots ineffectually.
Morris then left his position and proceeding to the
north side of the building climbed upon the fence;
Shannon meantime retaining his position. Morris took
deliberate aim and fired the ball, striking Shannon in
the abdomen. At this instant Shannon had raised his
pistol, but lowered it without firing, and putting his
hand on the wound turned and walked to his office, where
he died in about an hour and eighteen minutes."
During this year the question of a new county was
agitated, to be formed from Tulare and Los Angeles
territory. The name to be Tejon, and Fort Tejon to be
the county seat. It failed to materialize.
The first settlement in Tulare County was at
Woodville, six miles east of Visalia, on the south bank
of Kaweah River, where, in December, 1850, fourteen men,
under guidance of one Mr. Woods (whence the village gets
its name), attempted to found a settlement. But one of
the five houses which they began to build was completed
when Francisco, the chief of a large tribe of Kaweah
Indians, warned the party that they must leave within
ten days, which they agreed to do. See a full history of
The wheat threshed in the county in 1860 amounted
to 3,850,000 pounds.
In November W. G. Morris was arraigned for the
killing of John Shannon. Morris was acquitted on the
ground of justifiable homicide.
Shannon's administrator, G. W. Rogers, managed the
Delta for a time, which was edited by L. O. Sterns.
November 1 the total debt of the county was $33,262.46.
The Delta was purchased in December by L. A.
Holmes, of the Mariposa Gazette.
The school census of the county this year shows
465 children of school age, which entitled the county to
$548 of State school funds.
The families who were announced as having recently
arrived in the county with such unusual numbers of
daughters failed to fill the demand for wives.
The Delta in February says: "The business of
marrying will come to an end about here soon, resources
are failing, marriageable virgins all taken, only a few
now in short clothes, and several juveniles near 50
years old are around prospecting for these."
In March it was stated that there were strong
indications that the rising waters would inundate
In April is the following: "Briggs, who has been
appointed to the Visalia land office, is a black
Republican, but is said to be otherwise a nice man. But
the Delta was a strong Unionist. In the 30th of May
issue is the following: " With the blessings of Almighty
God we expect to call things by their right names and
shall continue to denounce treason whether it comes from
the North or the South, and shall speak of the John
Browns and Jeff. Davises as they deserve, regardless of
consequences. While our hair holds on and the stars of
heaven shine in their accustomed places, we will
recognize no flag but the stars and stripes of our
John G. Parker was appointed postmaster at Visalia
Grasshoppers in legions invaded portions of the
valley and destroyed all vegetation where they went.
A disposition is manifested among a portion of the
Democratic party to oppose the war measures. They are
known as Anti-Coercionists. The editor of the Delta in
his paper of August 29th said that the Los Angeles News
stated they had heard a story about an armed body of men
camped in the neighborhood of Visalia, and that fifty of
them had torn down an American flag. The Delta man said:
"Our American flag still waves, Mr. News. One of them
flutters from the Delta office; it hasn't come down—not
muchly; the halyards won't let it. There was a party
encamped here, bound for Texas, whether to join Jeff'.
Davis or not we don't know. They behaved themselves like
gentlemen and are "done gone away.'"
At the general election this year Thomas Baker was
elected to the State Senate; Pemberton to the Assembly;
S. W. Beckham, District Attorney; W. C. Owens, Sheriff;
E. E. Calhoun, Clerk; L. L. Bequette, Recorder; J. C.
Reid, Treasurer; R. B. Sagely, Assessor; M. G.
Davenport, Public Administrator; B. W. Taylor,
Superintendent of Schools; J. D. P. Thompson, Coroner;
J. E. Scott, Surveyor.
This year splendid deer-skins, dressed, sold for
$19 per dozen.
In October the newspaper Sun was discontinued, the
proprietor joining with L. A. Holmes of the Delta.
During this year the Board of Supervisors
appointed to fill vacancies—T. O. Ellis, Superintendent
of Schools; S. Sweet, Coroner; and John Cutler, Public
One Dan Showalter attempted with a company to
reinforce the Confederates. He was arrested and
treasonable papers found on him. Another party is
mentioned passing through Visalia headed south; they
were from Mariposa County. They were not so well
equipped as were the Showalter party, owing to the fact
that Southern sympathizers were getting a little
frightened at, as well as disgusted with, Uncle Samuel's
unceremonious method in confiscating the effects of the
Showalter company. It is said that the prominent "
seceshers" in Tulare County positively refused to
contribute one dollar to the Mariposa column. Some small
contributions are said to have been made consisting
principally in poor whisky.
January 23 the editor says: "Owing to the flood,
and being short of paper, we issue but a half sheet this
week. During the flood a thief broke into the Delta
office, supposedly to take a rifle usually kept there. A
vigilant Newfoundland dog on watch objected to intruders
at that hour and bit the would-be thief, who left near a
pint of his blood on the floor. The dog was alone, but
knew his business, and well did he perform his duty."
In January the water was so deep on the streets of
Visalia that travel from house to house was by
One Captain Powell headed a company from this
region bound for Dixie about the first of the year.
The floods washed away large tracts of heavily
timbered land along the streams in the county. Some of
the trees, from their size, were estimated to be 200
April, Warren Wasen, writing of the Indian war on
Owen's river, said: " Being unable on my arrival at
Aurora to obtain provisions or transportation for the
company organized there to receive the arms sent in my
charge by Governor Nye, I was compelled to leave them
and proceed, accompanied by Lieutenant Noble and his
company of fifty mounted men. They arrived at the upper
crossing of Owen's river on the evening of April 6, and
the following morning met Colonel G. Evans with
Lieutenants French and Oliver, Captain Winne of his
command, having been left with seven men to garrison the
stone fort forty miles below. These were under Colonel
Mayfield from Visalia. The Indians, during the previous
winter had been in the habit of killing cattle, which
led to the killing of some Indians, and this caused the
Indians to begin a retaliatory warfare. The whites
finally collected their cattle about thirty miles above
the lake, where they fortified themselves and dispatched
messengers to Visalia and Carson for relief. They were
reinforced by eighteen men from Aurora on March 28, when
sixty men under Colonel Mayfield followed the Indian
trail fifty miles up the valley to a creek opposite the
upper crossing, where they encamped.
About noon on the 6th of April the Indians
appeared in considerable force toward the mountains on
the southwest. A detachment was left in charge of the
camp, and the main force advanced in two columns against
the Indians. The firing began as soon as they approached
within range, at which time C. J. Pleasanton of Aurora
was killed, and the columns fell back in confusion, and
would no doubt have continued their flight had not some
of their officers compelled them to make a stand in a
ditch which bad been dug and used by the Indians for
irrigating purposes. Here they kept up a desultory
tiring with the Indians at long range until night, few
shots taking effect. Sheriff Scott of Mono County
received a ball in the head, killing him instantly. Mr.
Morris, formerly of Visalia, was shot in the bowels and
died the following day. The whites retreated that night,
leaving behind some eighteen horses, considerable
ammunition and provisions.
The following day they met Colonel Evans and his
command, who persuaded some forty-five men to return
with him in pursuit of the Indians; the remainder
continued the retreat to the fort. Colonel Evans now
took command of the entire expedition, and that night
camped on the battle ground of the previous day, and the
next morning buried the bodies of Scott and Pleasants.
Scouts sent out reported the Indians miles above at the
head of the valley. The command was soon on the move and
about noon arrived at the mouth of the canon where the
Indians were reported to be. Lieutenant Noble was
ordered to advance with his command up the mountain to
the right of the canon, while Colonel Evans with his
force advanced on the left, and Colonel Mayfield to push
forward between the two. They proceeded up the mountain
three miles, facing a terrific snow storm, which
prevented them seeing objects three yards in advance.
Not finding the Indians, they returned to the valley and
encamped on the creek. Soon after dark they discovered
Indian fires in a canon one mile north of the one
Next morning Sergeant Gillispie, of Lieutenant
Noble's command, with nine men, was sent to reconnoiter
the canon where the fires were seen; and after
proceeding up the rocky canon 300yards they were fired
upon. Sergeant Gillispie was instantly killed, and
Corporal Harris wounded. They retreated, leaving
Lieutenant Noble was now instructed to take
position on the mountain to the left of the canon.
Colonel Evans was to have occupied the right. Colonel
Mayfield and four men accompanied Lieutenant Noble, the
rest of Mayfield's command remaining below7. Noble's
command succeeded in gaining their position under a
brisk fire on both sides from concealed Indians. Here
Colonel Mayfield was killed. Lieutenant Noble, seeing it
impossible to maintain his position, or proceed up the
mountain without great loss, owing to its precipitous
nature, or to return the fire from the concealed foe
with effect, retreated in good order down to Colonel
Evans' command, carrying with them Sergeant Gillispie's
body. Colonel Evans then retreated with the entire
command down the valley, followed by the Indians. The
command camped that night twelve miles below at the
place where Scott had been buried. Colonel Evans
continued the retreat back to Los Angeles, and the
Indians were for a time master of the situation, and
were troublesome at times for several years; many
battles of more or less magnitude were fought, lives
were sacrificed, and considerable money expended by the
citizens and Government, when finally the Indians were
gathered up and placed on a reservation, and Owen's
river people began to sow and reap in peace.
During this year an Indian on Kaweah creek died.
Two medicine men of the tribe had pledged that he should
recover. One of these made his escape; the other was
attacked by the relatives of the deceased, armed with
guns, pistols and bows and sent to the happy
hunting-ground in short order.
This year a Mr. Jefferds grew a field of wheat
estimated to yield sixty bushels to the acre.
In September Messrs. Hall and Garrison commenced
the publication of a weekly paper called the Equal
Rights Expositor, with the material which had been used
for printing the Tulare Post. The latter had but a brief
L. A. Holmes of the Delta died in Stockton,
September 8,1862. Although he had long been an active
newspaper man, ably and fearlessly advocating the cause
of his country, he had no enemies.
This year a Mr. Bliss reports that in the spring
he had eight stands of bees. They increased by swarming
during the season to forty stands. He took from the
hives that year 1,000 pounds of honey.
A military camp was established near Visalia,
which was christened Camp Babbitt, in honor of
Lieutenant-Colonel E. B. Babbitt, deputy quartermaster
general of the department of the Pacific Troops were
stationed here during the war,—• two companies of Second
United States Cavalry. Colonel George S. Evans was the
first to command the post.
There were 822 school children in the county this
year, entitling the county to $739 of the State school
Colonel Evans was transferred to Salt Lake and
Major O'Neal placed in charge of Camp Babbitt.
There was raised in the county this year 150,000
bushels of wheat and 90,000 of barley.
One evening in March, the town of Visalia was
aroused by the sound of crashing and smashing, which was
soon ascertained to proceed from the building occupied
by the printing office of the Equal Rights Expositor. A
crowd at once rushed toward the spot, but did not get
far, for on each street and alley intersecting the block
were found sentinels with cocked pistols who informed
them that " no citizens were allowed inside the lines,
and the orders were enforced to the letter. In a short
time the establishment was a total wreck; the type was
thrown into the streets, and the cases, press, etc.,
smashed to pieces. Their work done, the rioters
departed. On entering, Mr. Garrison, the junior partner,
was found at work and a guard was placed over him, with
the assurance that no harm was intended him. The
immediate cause of the outbreak is said to have been the
publication of an article on the " California Cossacks,"
which teemed with abuse;but the starting of it is
attributed to the almost unintermitted publication for
several months of such as the following: " We have said
Abraham Lincoln has perjured himself and we have proved
it. We now tell those who support this detestable war,
to the extent of their support they participate with
Lincoln in the crime of perjury." "Much has been said
and written about the spirit of Americans, but that
portion of them who sustain the administration are base
cowards. They have hearts only of does and rabbits, not
of men; they are an incumbrance and disgrace to any free
country, and are constitutionally fitted only for serfs
to some despot. They would cringe and lick the rod as
often as it smote them." These insults had been keenly
felt, and great patience and forbearance exercised ; but
forbearance ceased to be a virtue and the office was
destroyed. The good citizens irrespective of party
rejoiced at the destruction of this vile press. The
senior editor had used more vile epithets in regard to
good citizens of the county, and persisted in publishing
more seditious, treasonable matter than any other two
papers of secession proclivities in the State; and it is
but natural in times of war excitement that some men
will excite deeds of violence.
On the Tule river Indian reservation there was
grown, harvested and threshed, all by Indian labor,
600,000 pounds of wheat, 50,000 of barley, 10,000 of
rye, 175 of seeds, and 300 pounds of peas.
During this year the soldiers from Camp
Independence had a battle with the Indians on the east
side of Owen's lake, killed several and took five
prisoners. While crossing the river en route to camp the
prisoners attempted to escape by plunging into the
water; two were shot, and the other retaken. In October,
William H. Grubbs was returning from Steinmore's about
eleven o'clock at night, when he was attacked by a
number of drunken Indians, who attempted to stop him,
and take some liquor which he had.. Failing to escape by
the speed of his horse, he used his knife freely,
killing one Indian, mortally wounding another, was
organized in and cutting a third badly.
December 9, the First Presbyterian Church Visalia
by Rev. Edwards.
During this month high water prevailed in the
streams throughout the county.
In August, Sergeant Charles C. Stroble, of Company
I, Second Cavalry, was killed by a notorious
Secessionist, James L. Wells. It appears that Wells and
one Donahue had been quarreling, after which Wells
remarked to George Kraft, " You'll see some fun in a few
minutes," and passing into a store took a position close
to a pillar supporting the front of the building.
Donahue and Stroble came out of an adjoining building
together, when Wells and Donahue renewed their angry
conversation, Stroble taking no part in the quarrel. At
this time Wells put his hand to his side, when Donahue
drew his pistol and covered him. Wells raised both hands
and said he had no arms,— only a pocket-knife. Donahue
turned to walk away, when Wells sprang behind the
pillar, drew his pistol and fired at Donahue, and then
at Stroble. The shot fired at Stroble entered the right
breast and passed out at the left side. In less than ten
minutes he was dead. Meanwhile, Wells, from his
sheltered position, was exchanging shots with Donahue,
who stood in the open street. About this time other
parties began firing at Donahue, and a soldier came to
his assistance. The parties emptied their pistols at
Wells without effect, owing to his protected position.
Wells finally withdrew by way of the rear of the
building, ran to a livery stable, where he procured a
horse and was gone before a half dozen men in town knew
that he had been engaged in the shooting. He succeeded
in eluding his pursuers, and made his way to Mexico,
where he was joined later by his family, and where it is
said that he died a few years since.
The election in the county this year gave strong
Union encouragement, and secession began to wane.
Total amount of taxable property in the county
this year, $1,200,418; total tax levied, $29,919. There
were 836 school children in the county, for which was
received from the State school fund $484.88.
Visalia elected her first town officers in May,
viz.: Trustees—-D.R.Douglas, Daniel Woods, Jr., J. H.
Thomas, J. E. Denny and Nathan Baker; John Gill,
Assessor; J. W. Kennedy, Marshal; and Horace Thomas,
Treasurer. Tipton Lindsey was elected clerk for one
year, and the salary for that official was fixed at $3
per day when employed, the assessor $5, the marshal same
fees as are allowed constables, and for collections same
percentage as is paid the sheriff. Treasurer to receive
the same pay as the county treasurer for like service.
At the fall election the Democratic ticket was
successful, with one exception, that of Tipton Lindsey,
who was elected Supervisor.
The first legal execution for crime in Tulare
County was that of Jose Jesus Stanner, less than
eighteen years of age. The crime was the killing of two
men by the name of Williams, sheep grazers, and an
Indian boy, knocking out their brains with an ax while
they were asleep! He was executed early in December.
On the night of December 31, on the Kaweah
meadows, the Indians killed Mrs. McGuire and her son
about six years of age Mr. McGuire was immediately
informed of the tragedy by a messenger, who found him at
Fort Independence. A party of twenty men, under Captain
Gran by, started at once for the scene, and succeeded in
killing several Indians.
February, the newspapers have an article on the
immense oil springs discovered along the eastern base of
the Coast Range, from the Pacheco to Buena Vista lake. A
Mr. Hamilton and party had made the discovery several
months previous. This is the oil region since famous,
and now covered by Kern County.
In March the Summer Mining Company at Kernville
were doing a good business, running two mills, and
averaging $1,000 per week.
Joseph H. Thomas, J. W. Freeman and McKinney & Co.
erected quartz mills in the Clear Creek mining region.
Mining this year was profitable. Messrs.
Livermore, Jewett & Co., put in 200 acres of cotton on
Colonel Thomas Baker built a dam 160 feet long
across the slough, severing the connection between Buena
Vista and Tulare lakes, by which the waters were
diverted for irrigating purposes.
The assassination of President Lincoln was
denounced in strong terms by men of all parties in
Visalia. Immediately on receipt of the news of the
President's assassination a mass meeting assembled in
the courthouse, which was addressed in a feeling and
appropriate manner by S. C. Brown, Hon. Nathan Baker, A.
J. At well, George Palmer, Father Dade and Dr. James
Webb. A number of appropriate resolutions were passed,
among which was: "That the history of the world does not
furnish a parallel to this damnable deed of darkness,
whereby the freely chosen head of a great, intelligent
and Christianized people has fallen a sacrifice to the
frenzied hatred of the adherents of a rebellion whose
wickedness has fully culminated in the deed of infamy."
July 18, Colonel L. W. Ransom, of the Delta,
started on a tour through the Eastern States.
The question of two new counties to be formed from
Tulare was agitated this year.
There were in the county live stock of all kinds
95,685 head, valued at $1,212,381.
The population of the county in 1860 was 4,500; in
Early in March all the streams in the county got
on a tear, and " there was much water there, doing
considerable damage in Visalia as well as the country
adjunct to the several streams.
Some time in this month a successful operation in
tracheotomy was performed by Drs. Ben and George upon
the child of Wm. T. Cole, of King's river, who had
swallowed a grain of corn, which was extracted. The corn
had sprouted, having been two weeks in the larynx. The
In the same month Messrs. Kramel and Slocum killed
in the foothills, near the Kaweah, a California lion,
which weighed, after being well bled and lying out all
night, 140 pounds, and measured from tip to tip nine
feet four inches.
Charles W. Bowman became associated with the
publication of the Delta in May. Also T. J. Brundage was
appointed Superintendent of Schools, to fill the vacancy
caused by the resignation of M. S. Merrill. Rev. Edwards
presents the editor of the Delta peaches three inches in
diameter, picked from trees in his garden.
At the September election J. C. Brown was chosen
Assemblyman; W. F. Thomas, Sheriff; A. J. Atwell,
District Attorney; T. J. Shackleford, Clerk; J. E.
Scott, Treasurer; T. J. Hawkins, Assessor; J. M.
Johnson, Surveyor; Joseph Lively, Coroner. The Delta man
wailed over defeat as follows : " Ye that have tears
prepare to shed them now; yes, and you that haven't
tears get an onion and make some; for we are beaten,—not
only beaten, but demoralized, destroyed, demolished,
subjugated, squelched, wiped out, gone up the spout,
gone to grass, pulverized, cleaned out, kerflummnxed,
knocked into 'pi,' upset and totally annihilated. We
acknowledge the corn, we own up, throw up the sponge,
capitulate, cry peccavi, take him off, we feel bad,
don't think we're well, and want to go home. ' But
there's no use in crying over spilled milk; we can't
help ourselves, for the present, and there's no use
making any fuss about it. We shan't make a war, as the
Democrats would if they had been beaten; we don't want
to hurt anybody that we know of in particular, and after
the experience of the 4th we don't feel quite certain we
could do it; in fact we don't feel quite certain about
anything. Rather think we weren't at the election; don't
know what Pinto means; don't think we are voters; are
not quite certain whether we live in the United States
or Dixie, but have a faint recollection that on the 4th
something fell on us. What was it ?"
W. Owen exhibited some pears measuring 15 1.2 by
17 1/2 in circumference, and weighing 2 1/2 pounds.
In March there was shipped from Visalia at one
time, by one man, two tons of honey and 1,000 dozen
eggs. The month previous he shipped 10,000 dozen eggs.
The Board of Supervisors at a meeting this month
granted Hugh Hamilton, W. S. Powell and others, the
exclusive right to float saw-logs down the Kaweah river.
This act was so ridiculous that it was treated as a huge
During this year A. O. Thomas started a rapid
transit stage line between San Francisco and Visalia.
Three trips a week were made; time between the two
points, 36 hours; and from Visalia to Havilah in one
day. In May a severe hailstorm and waterspout visited
the country along White river, which came near drowning
the residents. The storm extended nearly to Poso creek,
a distance of twenty miles. Many of the hailstones were
as large as quail's eggs. In many places the trees were
completely shorn of foliage. Visalia was incorporated in
1868. At the election held for city officials there were
chosen for Trustees—E. Jacob, William Harlan, J. A.
Samstag, J. A. Patterson and W. A. Russell; W. F.
Thomas, Marshal; R. E. Hyde, Treasurer; O. H.Glasscock,
This brings us down to the modern period of the
country's development, which will be more fully
Of the county in 1860 was 4,368. In 1870, it was
as follows: Farmersville, 807, of which 755 were
natives; King's River, 166, 148 of whom were natives;
Packwood, 214, of when 172 were natives; Tule River,
1,098, of whom 953 were natives; Tule River Reservation,
124, natives, 2; Venice, 490, of whom 475 were natives;
Visalia District, 1,626, of whom 1,377 were natives;
Visalia town, 913, of whom 707 were natives; White
River, 120, of whom 87 were natives. Total, 5,446, of
whom 4,684 were natives. The census of 1880 gave a total
population of 11,280, and in 1890, 24,574.
The Board of County Supervisors met in special
session on Monday, April 10, 1876. for the purpose of
receiving and adopting plans for building a new
courthouse and jail. A. A. Bennett of San Francisco was
awarded the prize, and his plan was adopted. There was
$20,000 in county bonds, denomination $500 each, for
such building purposes. Notice was published that on May
6, 1876, the old courthouse and jail would be offered
for sale to the highest bidder. In accordance with said
notice, on the day stated the courthouse was sold by
Sheriff Wingfield to A. H. Glasscock for $682.50, and
the jail to R. E. Hyde for $225. Among the several
bidders to construct the new building were Stephen and
Childers, whose bid being the lowest—$59,700—was
During the erection of the new buildings the
county officials occupied a town hall.
The new courthouse corner-stone was laid and
formally dedicated October 27, 1876. Various civic
organizations participated in the ceremonies, which were
conducted by the Most Worthy Grand Master of the Grand
Lodge of Masons of the State of California, John Mills
Browne, who was presented by the citizens of Visalia
with a handsome and elegantly engraved silver trowel as
a token of respect and appreciation of his highly
honored position and services. A very interesting
address was delivered by E. Jacobs. The following were
the articles deposited in the corner stone: Roll of
officers and members of Visalia Lodge, No. 128, F. & A.
M., and a copy of their by-laws; proceedings of Grand
Lodge of F. & A. M. of California; list of officers and
copy of by-laws of Damascus Encampment, No. 44, I. O. O.
F. ; list of officers and members of Four Creeks Lodge,
No. 94, I. O. O. F.; Holy Bible, presented by I. N.
Matlick; by-laws and members of Visalia Chapter, No. 44,
R. A. M.; one trade dollar, one half dollar, one
twenty-cent piece; constitution of the United States in
manuscript by A. Beyer; copy of regulations of school
laws and of school libraries, by W. A. Wash; copy of
California revised school laws, by W. J. Ellis;
announcement of Visalia Normal School, September 4,
1876, by McPhail & Orr; copy oi Tulare Weekly Times of
October 28, 1876, containing a fine picture of the
courthouse as it will appear when completed, and a
description of the several rooms; copy of Visalia Weekly
Delta of October 28, 1876; copy of Visalia Iron Age of
October 25, 1876; copy of the great register of Tulare
County for the Year 1876; poster and programme of the
Centennial celebration on the 4th day of July, 1876, at
Tulare City; one redwood knot from the largest redwood
tree in Tulare County, 43 feet in diameter and 300 feet
in height, by George Kraft; a piece of silver ore from
the Emma mine of Tulare County, by George Kraft; he also
deposited one ten dollar note of the late Confederate
States of America; one Prussian silver dollar, by R.
Broder and Leon Jacob; two vials of wheat grown in 1876,
by E. Jacob, and one $20 gold coin by same, date 1873;
also one five dollar gold note, First National San
Francisco Gold Bank, 1870; one dollar currency note; one
twenty-five cent United States currency; nine foreign
coins, and San Francisco Journal of Commerce, October
26, all by E. Jacob; one trade dollar and a number of
foreign coins by Dr. Davenport; copy of the Ulster
County (New York) Gazette of 1800, January 9, containing
an account of the death of Gen. George Washington, by P.
The courthouse is a handsome brick structure with
granite sills and steps, is 60 x 95 feet, with two wings
12 x 31 feet. Basement story, 12 feet; main story, 15
feet; district court room, 22 x 22 feet; county court
room, same size; and rooms in upper story, all 17x17
feet. The jail and some of the county offices are in the
basement. In 1890 there was completed anew, handsome and
substantial jail building, second to none in the State.
By the courthouse act, the Board of Supervisors
were authorized to issue bonds of the county to an
amount not to exceed $75,000; all bonds payable twenty
years after issue, with interest at ten per cent, per
annum, payable annually on the second Monday in January
each year, both principal and interest to be payable in
United States gold coin only; the bonds to be issued in
denominations of $500 each and signed by the Board of
Supervisors and the County Clerk; and the interest
coupons to be attached and signed in like manner. The
Supervisors had authority to issue such bonds, in such
sums, and at such times as was necessary to meet demands
as the courthouse structure progressed toward
completion. Bonds could be redeemed at the pleasure of
the county after ten years from date of each.
Supervisors were also authorized to levy a tax annually
for paying interest on bonds.
This is one feature of the county which we do not
feel inclined to praise, and yet it serves an important
purpose, no doubt. There is nothing beautiful about it,
and yet it serves to hold the surplus waters at flood
tide of the several streams flowing into it, and to cool
somewhat the summer breezes as they sweep over its
surface; is a home for myriads of fresh water fish; and
makes an excellent resort for ducks and geese. The lake
is now about eighteen miles square, and has a possible
area of 324 square miles. It has a depth of perhaps
forty feet in the deepest places, but in most places one
can wade out for two miles or more from shore. A strip
of tules two or three miles wide and ten feet high grows
in the shallow water encircling the lake.
The main line of the Southern Pacific passes
through the county from north to south. From Goshen on
the main line, a branch road passes through the heart of
the western portion of the county. On this line, sixteen
miles from Goshen, another road branches out in a
northwesterly direction, and connect with the Central
Pacific railroad at Tracy, 140 miles away. A road
running east from Goshen seven miles connects Visalia
with the main line; another road of eleven miles
connects Visalia with the main line at Tulare City. The
two last named are controlled by Visalia capitalists. On
the east side of the valley is a new line of road
constructed by the Southern Pacific Company.
This road leaves the main line at Fresno, Fresno
County, passes entirely through Tulare County from north
to south, hugging closely the foothills, and connects
with the main line again at Poso, Kern County. There are
177 miles of railroad in the county.
The first school taught in the county was in the
winter of 1853-54, and was a select school taught by
Rev. Kennedy, a Presbyterian minister, in Visalia, in a
The first public school taught in the county was
by a Mr. Carpenter, in the winter of 1854-'55.
An academy was founded by Rev. W. B. Taylor in
Visalia in 1860, and flourished under his able
management for four years, the number of students
ranging from 100 to 175.
A change of management caused it to decline as
rapidly as it had grown, and it soon ceased to be.
H. McLean and J. D. Travis were among the pioneer
teachers during the first school decade, when there were
but three school districts. The entire county was one
district, which had been divided into three during the
first ten years of public schools. The second decade
increased the school districts from three to
twenty-seven. The third decade increased the number to
eighty three districts, with ninety-nine schools. In
1880 the total number of census children in the county
between the ages of five and seventeen years was 3,447;
number of schools, 75; number of teachers employed, 88;
money appropriated for the year, $44,481.93. In 1883
there were 3,646 children in the county between the ages
of five and seventeen years, and 1,671 under five years;
number of school age attending school, 2,758; number of
school age not attending, 742; number of school
districts, 83; number of months taught teach year, 6
1/2; average daily attendance, 1,784; average monthly
salary paid teachers, $69; amount of State funds
received, $31,123; amount of county funds received,
$14,657; amount of special funds received, $2,693; total
expenses incurred, $53,814; and valuation of school
In 1890 there were: school children, 6,270; number
of schools, 120; number of teachers, 152; total money
paid for school purposes, $114,742.40. The school census
for 1891 gives the total number of children in the
county of school age, 6,768; of whom there are boys,
3,391; and girls, 3,377. Of these there are three Indian
boys and three girls in the Excelsior district, and two
Chinese girls in Tulare city, and one Chinese boy in
Visalia. Totals in 1890: Boys, 3,281; girls, 2,987;
total boys and girls, 6,270. Increase for 1891: boys,
110; girls, 388; total of boys and girls, 498. No
figures could be obtained as to the average salary paid
teachers in 1890.
The following figures regarding the census of the
Visalia school district will be found interesting:
Number of white boys between five and seventeen years of
age, 355; girls, 359; 16 Negroes and 1 Mongolian; total,
731. Number of white children under five years of age,
200; Indians, 3; total, 203. Number of white children
between five and seventeen years of age who have
attended public school at any time during the school
year, 510; Negroes, 9; total, 519. Number of white
children between five and seventeen years who have
attended private schools, 2. Number of white children
who have not attended school during school year, 199;
Negroes, 10; Mongolians 1; total, 210.
Number of children in the county under five years
of age, 2,730; number who have attended school during
school year, 5,289; number who have not attended school,
1,479; number of foreign born children, 40; Mongolians,
natives, 3; Indians, 10.
Advance school district has lapsed, and Rocky Hill
district has been consolidated with the Yokohl school
There are few counties in the State that have made
as great advancement in public education in the past
year as Tulare County. Visalia has erected a new school
building that would be a credit to any city in the
State, at a cost of nearly $30,000. Lindsay school
district has a new brick building just completed at a
cost of $10,000, and Orosi district one that cost
$6,000. There are eleven school buildings in the county
that have cost a sum exceeding $6,000, several of these
having cost $30,000. The pioneer schoolhouse ^in every
district in the county is giving way to the modern
structure, and the people are taking a special pride in
their schools, as is shown not only by their
schoolhouses but by the well selected libraries found in
Number of grammar schools in the county, 60.
Number of primary schools, 94.
Number of new districts organized, 4.
Number of trustees appointed by county
Number of schoolhouses built of brick, 5.
Number built of wood, 113.
Number of schoolhouses erected during the year, 6.
Total number of schoolhouses in county, 118.
Number of male teachers, 58; female teachers, 96.
Total number of teachers, 154.
Average monthly wages paid to male teachers,
$85.60. Paid to female teachers, $72.39.
Number of teachers who are graduates of California
State Normal school, 28.
Number of graduates of other State normal schools,
Number of teachers who hold life diplomas, 48.
Number of teachers who hold State Educational
Number of teachers who hold high-school
certificates, 9. Number who hold county certificates,
first grade, 117. Second grade, 25.
Number of certificates granted to male teachers,
19. To female teachers, 43.
Number of certificates renewed, 18. Number of
applicants rejected, 60.
Number of schools maintained less than six months,
1. Number maintaining schools six months or over and
less than eight months, 54.
Number of districts maintaining schools eight
months and over, 65.
Number of teachers who attend county institutes,
Number of teachers who subscribe for educational
Salary of county superintendent, $1,800.
Number of schools visited, 128. Number not
Rate of school tax levied in 1890, 25 cents.
County assessment roll of taxable property for
Number of private schools in county, 2, employing
two teachers. Number of children attending private
Amount expended in construction of new
schoolhouses during the year and purchasing sites, etc.,
Like most of the counties in the State, Tulare's
records are imperfect in many respects as to the earlier
events, elections, etc. We have gathered from all
sources the officials to date as nearly as possible. The
two first elections are given under the head of County
Organization, and other election data will be found
under head of Miscellaneous Items of Early Times.
The records show that in September, 1854? the
Board of Supervisors were: Warren Mathews, A. H. Murray
and Loomis St. John. Mathews was Chairman of the Board.
John Cutler was County Judge. Records do not show result
of elections from 1854 to 1857 inclusive.
Elected in September, 1858: Robert C. Redd, County
At the September election in 1859 William Boring
was elected County Judge; S. C. Brown, District
Attorney; John C. Reid, Sheriff; Ewen Johnson,
Treasurer; H. C. Townsend, Public Administrator; J. D.
P. Thompson, Coroner, and O. K. Smith, Superintendent of
At the meeting of the Board of Supervisors
February 4, 1861, there were present: Robert K. Nichols
and H. W. Niles.
Elected in September, 1861: James C. Pemberton,
Assemblyman; Samuel W. Becker, District Attorney;
William C. Owen, Sheriff; E. E. Calhoun, County Clerk;
Louis Bequette, County Recorder; John C. Reid, County
Treasurer; R. B. Sagely, County Assessor; M. G.
Davenport, Public Administrator; B. W. Taylor,
Superintendent of Schools; J. D. P Thompson, Coroner; J.
E. Scott, County Surveyor; Pleasant Byrd, Supervisor of
the Third District, and R. K. Nichols, Supervisor of the
Election in September, 1862: J. W. Freeman,
Assemblyman; T. O. Ellis, Superintendent of Schools; H.
A. Bostwick, Public Administrator; W. A. Russell,
Coroner; A. M. Donnelson, Supervisor District No. 1.
At the general election in September, 1863: J. C.
Brown, State Assemblyman; S. A. Sheppard, District
Attorney; John M. Meadows, Sheriff; F. J. Shackelford,
Recorder; J. T. Holmes, Clerk; E. H. Dumble, Assessor;
T. T. Hathaway, Treasurer; J. E. Scott, Surveyor; W. A.
Russell, Coroner, and M. S. Merrill, Superintendent of
J. W. Freeman was State Senator from the district
of which Tulare County was a part. At this time politics
was warm in the county, and it is said that H. N.
Carroll, who ran against Baker for County Judge, and
Meadows, who was pitted against Gill for Sheriff, were
both really elected. Both were warm sympathizers with
the South and had been free in expressing themselves,
incurring the ill-will of the soldiery and more loyal
citizens, and Meadows declined to qualify as sheriff,
fearing violence, and John Gill, his opponent, was
confirmed sheriff and filled the position. The courts
decided in favor of Nathan Baker against Carroll, and
Baker was made County Judge. A. J. Atwell was appointed,
by the Board of Supervisors, County Superintendent of
Schools, in December, 1863.
General election, 1865: J. W. Freeman, State
Senator; J. C. Brown, State Assemblyman ; T. Reed,
County Sheriff; S. A. Sheppard, District Attorney; T. J.
Shackelford, Recorder; John G. Knox, Clerk; J. E, Scott,
Treasurer; M. S. Merrill, Superintendent Schools; A. H.
Glasscock, Assessor; Hamilton, Coroner; Joshua Lewis,
Surveyor, and Jordan, Supervisor of District No. 1.
Elected in September, 1867: J. C. Brown,
Assemblyman; W. F. Thomas, Sheriff; A. J. Atwell,
District Attorney; T. J. Shackelford, County Clerk; J.
E. Scott, County Treasurer; T. H. Hawkins, County
Assessor; W.Williams, Superintendent of Schools; J. M.
Johnson, Surveyor; Joseph Lively, Coroner, and W. F.
Markham, Supervisor of District No. 2.
Elected in September, 1869: S. A. Sheppard, County
Judge; R. C. Redd, District Attorney; W. F. Thomas,
County Clerk, and A. H. Glasscock, County Sheriff.
Elected in September, 1871: A. C. Biadford,
District Judge; S. A. Sheppard, County Judge; A. J.
Atwell, District Attorney; A. H. Glasscock, Sheriff and
Tax Collector; W. F. Thomas, County Clerk; Pleasant
Byrd, Treasurer; F. G. Jefferds, Assessor; George Smith,
Surveyor; S. G. Creighton, Superintendent of Schools; D.
L. Pickett, Coroner and Public Administrator; and Board
of Supervisors: James Barton, W. C. Owens, David Strong
and C. R. Wingfield.
Elected in September, 1873: W. Canfleld,
Assemblyman; C. R. Wingfield, Sheriff; J. E. Denny,
County Clerk; John W. Crowley, County Treasurer; R. P.
Merrill, County Superintendent of Schools; George W.
Smith, County Surveyor; George S. Palmer, District
Attorney; F. G. Jefferds, Assessor; R. P. Martin,
Coroner, and W. C. Owen, Supervisor of District No. 3.
Elected in September, 1874: Alexander Dearing,
District Judge; John Clark, County Judge; C. R.
Wingfield, Sheriff; J. E. Denny, County Clerk; W. W.
Cross, District Attorney; J. W. Crowley, Treasurer; F.
G. Jefferd, Assessor; G. W. Smith, Surveyor; R. P.
Merrill, Superintendent of Schools; and Board of
Supervisors: James Barton, W. C. Owens, and F. H. Baker.
Elected in September, 1875: C. R. Wingfield,
Sheriff; J. E. Denny, Recorder; J. W. Crowley,
Treasurer; J. S. McGahey, Clerk; W. W. Cross, District
Attorney; F. G. Jefferd, Assessor; T. J. Vivian,
Surveyor; R. P. Merrill, Superintendent of Schools; J.
M. Montgomery, Road Commissioner; W. A. Russell,
Coroner; and Samuel Hunting, Supervisor of District No.
General election in the fall of 1877: J. C.
Campbell, Sheriff; John G. Knox, Clerk; E. J. Edwards,
District Attorney; Philip Wagy, Treasurer; C. S.
O'Bannon, Recorder; W. P. Kirkland, Auditor; Seth Smith,
Surveyor; L. D. Murphy, Coroner; and J. H. Grimsley,
Supervisor of District No. 1.
T. Osborn was elected Supervisor District No. 2,
General election, 1879: W. W. Cross, Superior
Judge; H. A. Keener, County Treasurer; John G. Knot,
County Clerk; J. F. Gordan, County Auditor; M. J. Wells,
County Sheriff; E. J. Edwards, District Attorney; C. S.
O'Bannon, Recorder; F. G. Jefferd, Assessor; Seth Smith,
Surveyor; W. J. Ellis, Superintendent of Schools; L. M.
Lovelace, Coroner; and J. H. Shore, Supervisor of
District No. 2.
General election, 1882: P. Reddy, State Senator;
W. L. Martin,* State Assemblyman; W. C. Cough ran,
County Treasurer; L. Gilroy, County Clerk; John F.
Jordan, County Auditor; William F. Martin, County
Sheriff; O. Sanders, District Attorney; J. E. Denny,
Recorder; Seth Smith, Assessor; Thomas Creighton,
Surveyor; C. H. Murphy, Superintendent of Schools; L. M.
Lovelace, Coroner; and Board of Supervisors: S. M.
Gilliam, W. H. Hammond, J. W. C. Pogue, C. Talbot and S.
General election, 1884: E. De Witt, Assemblyman;
W. W. Cross, Superior Judge; W. B. Wallace, District
Attorney; L. Gilroy, County Clerk; A. Balaam, Sheriff
and Tax Collector; W. F. Thomas, Recorder; W. W.
Coughran, Treasurer; Ben. Parker, Auditor; Thomas
Creighton, Surveyor; T. W. Pendergrass, Coroner; and
Board of Supervisors: T. E. Henderson, M. Premo, J. W.
C. Pogue, D. V. Robinson and G. E. Shore.
General election, 1886: Tipton Lindsey, State
Senator; A. B. Butler, Assemblyman; C. G. Lamberson,
District Attorney; George D. Parker, Sheriff; L. Gilroy,
Clerk; W. F. Thomas, Recorder; Seth Smith, Assessor; C.
R. Wingfield, Treasurer; C. H. Murphy, Superintendent of
Schools; Dan G. Overall, Auditor; T. W. Pendergrass,
Coroner; and J. S. Urton, Surveyor.
General election, 1888: John Roth, State Senator;
G. Stockton Berry, Assemblyman; W. W. Cross, Superior
Judge; John G. Knox, County Clerk; Duke S. Lipscomb,
Treasurer; J. M. Johnston, Recorder; Dan G. Overall,
Sheriff; W. R. Jacobs, District Attorney; Seth Smith,
Assessor; C. H. Murphy, Superintendent of Schools; C. T.
Buckman, Auditor; T.W. Pendergrass, Coroner; A. T.
Fowler, Surveyor; and Board of Supervisors: D. V.
Robinson, Thomas E. Henderson, James Barton, John H.
Woody, and J. B. Newport.
General election, 1890: G. Stockton Berry, State
Senator; W. S. Cunningham, Assemblyman; W. W. Cross,
Superior Judge; E. W. Kay, Sheriff; John G. Knox, Clerk;
D. F. Coffee, Assessor; Duke S. Lipscomb, Treasurer; M.
E. Power, District Attorney; C. F. Buckman, Auditor; C.
E. Evans, Recorder; T. W. Pendergrass, Coroner; Samuel
A. Crookshank, Superintendent of Schools; A. T. Fowler,
Surveyor; S. L. N. Ellis, Supervisor District No. 4, and
J. H. Fox, Supervisor District No. 5.
A. Wheaton Gray was appointed Judge of the Supreme
Court of the county in 1891, under an act of the
Legislature allowing an additional judge for the county.
The southern portion of the county has been sorely
afflicted in the past by train robbers. These bands have
not been citizens of the county, but have made the
rather isolated region from Goshen to Alila, seeming to
give the highwaymen better opportunity to secure their
plunder and escape to the mountains before any organized
pursuit could be made.
The first train " held up " in the county was at
Pixley, on the evening of February 22, 1889. The next
successful effort was at or near Goshen, on the morning
of January 21, 1890. In the first case two men were
killed, and at Goshen a tramp was shot in the face and
lost an eye. The last attempt to rob a train occurred on
Friday evening, February 6, 1891, near Alila about 8
o'clock, in which George Radliff, a fireman, was shot;
he died the following morning. Suspicion strongly
pointed to the Dalton brothers, some of whom reside in
San Luis Obispo County. Other brothers from Oklahoma
were known to be at the time visiting these brothers.
Sheriff E. W. Kay arrested William and Grattan Dalton,
and circumstantial evidence was strong enough to justify
the grand jury in finding a bill against them.
The sheriff then went to Oklahoma in search for
the other two brothers (supposed accomplices), Robert
and Emmett Dalton.
The officers did not succeed in capturing the
outlaws. The two arrested were brought to trial, and
Grattan Dalton was found guilty and sentenced to a term
of years in the penitentiary. No proof being produced
that William was a direct accomplice, he escaped the
penalty of the law. This it is believed will put a final
end to these robberies.
A BRAVE DEED.
Conrad Alles, a young man seventeen years of age,
is the hero of the day in the vicinity of Three Rivers.
One morning in 1890 he took his rifle and thought that
he would kill a deer for breakfast. He had gone about a
mile from home when he noticed that his dog was acting
queer and smelling along a track of some kind. Knowing
from the dog's actions that it was not a deer, he hissed
him onward, and in glancing around spied a large animal
of some kind across the river from him. The dogs
discovered it about the same time and away they went.
They soon treed the animal and when Conrad came up to
about fifty yards he saw the creature standing on the
limb of a large oak. It proved to be a good-sized
California lion. Undaunted by this discovery he took
rest off of the side of a tree and shot. The beast
tumbled out into a hollow place,where, to get sight of
it, Conrad had to surmount a rock near where the lion
fell. He did so, and as soon as the wounded lion saw him
it made a spring for the lad. He shot unerringly, as the
beast fell dead at his feet.
It was a courageous deed for a boy, for in order
to get to the lion he had to crawl through thick brush
for a long distance and had only a narrow opening to
maneuver in after he got there. The lion measured six
and one quarter feet from tip to tip.
Daniel Rhoades and wife arrived in 1846. Mr.
Rhoades was one of the relief party of seven who first
reached the ill-fated Donner party.
Mrs. Mary A. Clark, nee Graves, arrived in 1846.
She was one of the seven first rescued members of the
Donner party who arrived at Johnson's ranch.
George W. Williams arrived in 1846. He was a
member of the " Bear Flag " party, and gave his red
shirt to make the border of the original bear flag. C.
Burrell arrived in 1846.
A. C. Neill, Green B. Catron, John A. Patterson,
A. J. Lafever and wife, John Cutler, W. D. James, John
B. Hockett and wife, C. Van Loan, Joshua Lewis, John A.
Hart, R. L. Freeman, Samuel Fowler, A. Tyner, J.
Richardson, R. C. Redd, Dr. F. A. Combs,Dr. D. Ray, J.
T. Clark, T. Lindsey, W. B. Wallace and C. H. Smith
arrived in 1849.
John B. Hamilton, L. B. Ruggles, Charles Rose,
George W. Smith, J. B. Zumwalt and Daniel Wood arrived
[Excerpts from the book Memorial and
Biographical History of the Counties of Fresno,
Tulare and Kern California The Lewis Publishing
Company 1892. Submitted by a Friend of Free