Excerpts from
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

p. 36

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 present time.
    From the table:
    September	  .000
    October	         sprinkle
    November         2.170
    December	 8.637
    January		15.036
    February	 4.260
    March 		 2.800
    April		  .821
    May		 1.808
    June 		  .011
    July 		  .000
    August 		  .006
. . . .
--Mike Barkley, 167 N. Sheridan Ave., Manteca, CA 95336 (H) 209/823-4817
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