Frank T. Gilbert,
History of San Joaquin County, California:
with illustrations descriptive of its scenery, residences, public buildings, fine blocks, and manufactories, from original sketches by artists of the highest ability.
(c) 2012, Mike Barkley
In the winter of 1861, about the 10th of November, the winter rains
commenced. The winds were strong and the temperature unusually cold.
This continued until about Christmas night, when the streams broke
loose from their channels, inundated the whole country, and came
pouring like a turbid sea through the streets of Stockton, tearing
up a portion of the public square, carrying away causeways, breaking
through embankments, and doing considerable damage. But the fury
of the storm seemed to be spent. The sun came out and smiled upon
the face of nature, and they believed the worst had passed. But
the shutting off of the flood-gates was only temporary, and again
the elements seemed to be at war. The cold rains came. down, day
after day, until about the middle of January, 1862, the tide of
water came from over the country, flowing into the streets, to
be met by the back waters from the San Joaquin river in the west,
and the "Ararat of the Plains" was under water.
The whole country for miles arounrd was an unbroken ocean, with a
city in its centre, coming up out of the waters, which, like Venice,
was mistress of the seas. Boats navigated the streets; platforms were
erected in stores, over which customers could pass; while wood, fences,
bridges, lumber, wrecks of houses and debris of all kinds floated along
the thoroughfares upon the flood.
The Mokelumne river, higher by several feet than ever known by
white men before, broke over its banks at the ranch of James Tallmadge,
and flowed over the country through where the village of
Lodi is now standing. Woodbridge was an island. Samuel Merryman
sailed from his door, in Dent Township, ten and a half miles across
the country, into Stockton, in a small boat; and many others performed
the same feat. R. C. Sargent was shipwrecked within forty yards of his
own door, in Union Township, when returning
from Stockton, with several persons and freight. A schooner anchored
in ten feet of water under the telegraph wires on J. Brack’s ranch.
It was the great flood of modern times; for five weeks the sun was not
seen; flour went up to $40 per barrel, and hay sold for $50 per ton.
There were 15 inches of rainfall in the month of January, and 35-1/2 during
the season. . . .
We append herewith a table of rainfall. Those seasons marked with a
* are taken from the register of Sacramento, as there was no record of
rainfall in San Joaquin County for those years. The seasons not so
marked are from the records kept at the State Insane
Asylum, for which we are indebted to Drs. R. K. Reid and
U. A. Shurtleff.
The table, which may be found at the head of this page, shows
the comparative rainfall, for the several years from 1849 to the
From the table:
. . . .
--Mike Barkley, 167 N. Sheridan Ave., Manteca, CA 95336 (H) 209/823-4817
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