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1863 CA Legislature. Appendix to Journals of Senate and Assembly, 14th Session.pdf

[click on the title with the Adobe mark next to it - pdf pagination is a bit screwed up for it, pp. 1-90 works, p. 91 jumps to the 225th page, so it's tricky getting to the Surveyor-General's Report

(c) 2012, Mike Barkley

Appendix to Journals of Senate and Assembly
of the
Fourteenth Session of the Legislature
of the
State of California

Benj. P. Avery, State Printer.
. . . . . . .

3.--Annual Report of Surveyor-General for the year 1862.

[p. 132 of the document, see note above about .pdf pagination]

THE YEAR 1862.

p. 42 [p. 175]


[Much of this is in ; I copied that into this file rather than re-type it, and there are some differences between the two type-setting styles that I have not caught.]

During the prevalence of the floods of last winter, while the incidents connected with them were fresh in the memory of all, copies of the following circular, the object of which is explained by itself, were addressed to each of the county surveyors throughout the state. At the same time, letters were addressed to


responsible persons in different parts of the state, requesting them to furnish this office with any reliable information regarding the destruction by the late flood of any old landmarks or evidences of antiquity, which would tend to show the extent of the floods of eighteen hundred and sixty-two, as compared with those of former years:

Surveyor-General's Office. }
Sacramento, February 13, 1862. }

Sir: -- It is deemed of utmost importance to preserve in concise form in the state archives, for future reference, as much statistical information as possible in regard to the recent floods throughout the state.

The most proper method of obtaining such information seems to be through the surveyors of the several counties, acting under instructions from the Surveyor-General.

There is no appropriation out of which such services can be paid, but it is hoped that an interest in the general welfare will prompt each of the county surveyors to as efficient a performance of this duty as possible.

You will, therefore, whenever opportunity occurs, so far as it can be done without expense to the state, collect all possible information upon the points indicated below, and any other information you may deem of importance in this connection, and report to this office in July next :

First: The extreme height above low water at any well designated points upon streams in your county.

Second: Date of highest water.

Third: The general depth over the adjacent lands.

Fourth: The approximate quantity of land overflowed in your county.

Fifth: If the banks of the streams have been seriously affected, state in what manner and to what extent.

Sixth: If any bars were formed, or considerable change of channel occasioned, state the facts and circumstances.

Seventh: If there was much deposit upon submerged lands, state the general depth and character of it.

Eighth: Upon swamp and overflowed lands, state the depth of water and general direction of the current, depth of deposit, etc.

It is suggested also, that all persons having facilities for doing so, should be requested to mark distinctly, upon large trees, or other objects not liable to removal, the point of highest water.

The value of this information will readily suggest itself to the surveyors of counties containing swamp lands belonging to the state, in reference to their future reclamation.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. F. Houghton, Surveyor-General.

To _______________________________________-
County Surveyor.

__________________________ County, California.

p. 43

The result, so far as answers have been received, has been highly satisfactory, and the testimony furnished in the report of Amos Matthews, county surveyor of Yolo, and of Dr. Louis M. Booth of Stanislaus, furnish strong circumstantial evidence that the flood of eighteen hundred and sixty-two is without parallel in centuries past.

In Yolo County. Indian mounds of great depth, formed of the lightest material, which would almost float in still water, bearing unmistakable evidence of great antiquity in the large oaks growing upon them, have been almost entirely carried away, trees and all, leaving strewn along the course of the current, numberless skulls and other bones of the tribes who once inhabited the valley of the Sacramento, and who made these mounds, at the same time the home of the living and the resting place of the dead.

Reliable information has reached me of the destruction by the rising of the waters melting the sun-dried bricks of which it was constructed, of an old adobe house in Solano County, built twenty-five years since, in a position which had never before been above the rise of the waters. Evidence which is believed to be reliable,


has been received of a similar disaster to an old adobe, built in the valley of Russian River fifty years since.

By the report of Dr. Booth, it will be seen that the Stanislaus River, which, to all appearances, had for centuries discharged its waters through its proper channel, and allowed alluvial deposits to accumulate upon its banks to the depth of ten or twelve feet, and upon the top of this deposit oaks from five to ten feet in diameter to grow undisturbed for more than three hundred years, during the great flood of eighteen hundred and sixty-two tore away its old banks, carried away considerable tracts of land well grown over with timber, and uprooted and carried down its swollen stream the trees which its waters had so long nourished, and in some places left its old bed, and formed a new channel entirely away from it.

The report of Mr. Drew, county surveyor of San Joaquin, in answer to the circular, contains full statistics of the flood in the vicinity of Stockton, and the county, which will be valuable in reference to the reclamation of the great body of swamp lands bordering the San Joaquin and other rivers in that county.

The County Surveyors of Lake and Fresno have also furnished valuable information respecting the flood in their counties.

An erroneous impression prevails to a considerable extent, created chiefly by a series of well written articles published last spring in several public journals of the state, that the Straits of Carquinez, connecting Suisun and San Pablo bays, have, by incapacity to discharge a sufficient amount of water, contributed largely to the overflow of the Sacramento Valley.

It is a well admitted and self-evident principle in hydraulics, that when an obstruction to the free passage of any current of water occurs, it is accompanied by a corresponding rise in the water. Had the writer of these articles applied this simple test to the Straits of Carquinez, no complaints would have been made of their want of capacity

The highest water ever known at Benicia was occasioned by an extraordinary high tide, being eight inches higher than any previous spring tide, and occuring about the fifth or sixth of January, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, or several days before the highest flood, and at no time afterwards was the water so high as on that day.

Upon the swamp lands bordering the Suisun Bay on the north, at a distance about a mile below Collins' Landing, hogs lived all winter,

p. 44

with no floating islands to flee to. showing that there could not have been two feet of water at any time on the marsh.

Ascending the Sacramento, at a distance of a mile above Collins', the water was about four feet over the marsh, and at Rio Vista it has increased to about eight feet,


These curious phenomena, existing, so far as observed, only in the delta at the mouths of the Sacramento and San Joaquin, and along the banks of the last named river, having attracted considerable attention during the floods, I caused an examination to be made by persons in whom I placed reliance, to ascertain their origin. They were found to be an aggregation of strong fibrous grasses and roots, which had overgrown sloughs and small lakes, which frequently occur in the Swamp Lands, interweaving and increasing in thickness until sufficiently bouyant and strong to bear live stock, and even loaded wagons.

Some cases were found where it was thought this mass of grass and roots rested upon, without adhering to, quicksands beneath, and were floated by rising water. A knowledge of the locality of these islands would be valuable with reference to reclamation.

Reports have been received from Surveyors of the following counties only: Yolo, San Joquin, Lake, and Fresno.

It is much to be regretted tht notwithstanding the law requiring them to report to this office is plain, and indicates to them what they shall report upon, so few of them feel sufficient interest to comply with the law.

I am under many obligations to Dr. Thomas M. Logan of Sacramento of valuable information which he has allowed me to compile from his most complete and reliable records; also, for a chart showing the oscillations at Sacramento, extending over a period of thirteen years.

Also, to Mr. William A. Begole, of Red Dog, Nevada County, for measurements of rain falling at that place from December twenty-third, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, to June twelfth, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, showing by actual maasurement that there fell during that time, seventy-nine and fifty-three one-hundredths inches of rain, and he estimates that before the twenty-third of December there had fallen about thirty inches, which would give for the whole season upwards of nine (9) feet of rain, a quantity without a parallel in the history of observations.

I am also indebted to Hon. W. H. Lyons, of Stockton, for valuable information collected and forwarded by him, at my request. All of which information, charts, tables, and reports, are herewith submitted.

From all the information I have been able to collect, which is not as full as I had reason to hope would be furnished in response to the circular to County Surveyors, yet is quite satisfactory, I have found the following remarkable combination of circumstances tending to produce the floods of December ninth, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, and January tenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, and continuing several weeks later:

During the later part of the month of November, and the first few days of December, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, large quantities of snow fell in the mountains to the east and north of us.

The average temperature of the month of December for eight years,

p. 45

at Sacramento is forty-six and thirty-one hundredths degrees (46.31) December, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, being forty-three degrees (43): while the average of December, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, reaches the high figures of fifty and ninety-eight one hundredths degrees, (50.98), and the few days preceding the flood still higher, as follows: December seventh, fifty-six degrees (56); December eighth, fifty-seven and sixty-six one hundredths degrees (57.66); December ninth, fifty-one and sixty-six one hundredths degrees (51.66).

On each of these days a warm rain was falling, which rapidly melted the large accumulations of snow in the mountains, and the rivers, already high, receiving these accessions of rain and melted snows of the seventh and eighth of December, reached here on the ninth of December, with the result already too well known.

Mr. Begole, as is shown by his report, also estimates that previous to the twenty-third of December, some thirty inches of rain had fallen, and although we have no positive measurements of each day's downfall, reports which were received daily from the interior show that the weather in many mountain localities was warm, and heavy rains were falling for several days preceding the flood of December ninth.

The flood of January, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, which reached its highest point at Sacramento about nine o'clock P.M. of the tenth of said month, combined all the unfavorable circumstances of that of the previous month, with the most remarkable downfall of rain ever recorded.

The temperature at Sacramento for a few days previous to and succeeding the highest stage of water, was: for December seventh, forty-seven degrees (47); December eighth, fifty and sixty-six one-hundredths degrees (50.66); December ninth, fifty-four and sixty-six one-hundredths degrees (54.66); December tenth, fifty-seven degrees (57); December eleventh, fifty-seven and sixty-six one-hundredths degrees (57.66); while the average of the whole month was only forty-six and forty-one one-hundredths degrees, (46.41) and the average of January for eight years, was forty-five and fifty-nine one-hundredths degrees, (45.59).

Allowing a corresponding high temperature for the mountain counties, nearly every particle of snow must have been melted and hurried off to the first common receptacle, the great valley of the Sacramento.

This theory is well borne out by the facts, for in the early part of January nearly all the snow which had accumulated on the mountain tops since the December flood had disappeared, showing that a high temperature prevailed there as well as at Sacramento.

This high temperature, as will be shown by reference to the reports of Mr. Begole and Dr. Logan, was accompanied by the most remarkable and almost incredible fall of rain, before referred to.

Mr. Begole reports from December twenty-third to December thirtieth, seven and fifty one-hundredths inches of rain; December thirtieth to January ninth, six and sixty-five one-hundredths inches; January tenth, five and eighty-two one-hundredths inches; Janu-


ary eleventh, five and fifty one hundredths inches; being a total of twenty-five and forty-seven one-hundredths inches in nineteen days, or eleven and thirty-two one-hundredths inches in forty-eight hours, ending with January eleventh. This includes ten inches of snow, which is reduced to rain, being about equal to one inch; and also shows a total of forty-five and three one-hundredths inches falling in that locality from December twenty-third to January twenty-third.

Dr. Logan's report shows that on the eighth of January there fell at

p. 46

Sacramento, six hundred and eighty-one thousandths inches rain ; January ninth, one and four hundred one-thousandths inches; January tenth, seven hundred and sixty-one thousandths inches; January eleventh, nine hundred and ninety-six one-thousandths inches; and a total for the mouth, of fifteen and thirty-six one-thousandths inches. The nearest approach to which was in December, eighteen hundred and forty-nine, in which fell twelve and one half inches ; and next, in March, eighteen hundred and fifty, in which month fell ten inches.

In view of all the above facts, the greatest wonder is that the water did not obtain a greater height than even that of Jnuary tenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-two.

I have presented these facts, together with the absence of evidence of any similar occurrence in the past, to show how remote is the probability of another such combination of unfavorable circumstances in the future, and to restore, so far as it may, confidence to the purchasers of State Swamp and Overflowed Lands bordering the great artery of the State, that another such overflow cannot reasonably be anticipated in their lifetime. . . .

    INCHES OF RAIN FALLING AT SACEAMEXTO During the Months of December, 1861, and January, 1862, also the mean of the Thermometer during the same time.
    - - - - - - DECEMBER - - - - - - - - - - - - - JANUARY - - - - - - - Days. Inches of Rain Mean Temp. Days. Inches of Rain Mean Temp. 1 - - - 59 1 - - - 51 2 0.015 57 2 - - - 49-1/3 3 0.105 57 3 0.020 41-2/3 4 0.010 50 4 - - - 38-2/3 5 - - - 44-1/3 5 2.080 41-2/3 6 0.020 48 6 0.610 41-2/3 7 0.030 56 7 - - - 47 8 0.080 57-2/3 8 0.680 50-2/3 9 0.910 51-2/3 9 1.400 54-2/3 10 - - - 47-2/3 10 0.760 57 11 - - - 48 11 0.996 57-2/3 12 0.008 47 12 - - - 53 13 0.012 46 13 - - - 48-1/3 14 0.010 46-1/3 14 0.680 45 15 - - - 48 15 - - - 41 16 0.025 48-1/3 16 0.950 42 17 - - - 49-2/3 17 3.460 46-2/3 18 - - - 50 18 - - - 52-1/3 19 0.120 50-1/3 19 - - - 51-2/3 20 - - - 50 20 1.650 54-2/3 21 0.030 47-2/3 21 0.800 55 22 0.480 50 22 0.700 56 23 1.040 51-1/3 23 - - - 51 24 0.470 53-2/3 24 - - - 45-1/3 25 - - - 49-1/3 25 - - - 44 26 2.230 50-1/3 26 - - - 42-1/3 27 0.210 52-2/3 27 - - - 35-2/3 28 0.130 51-2/3 28 - - - 35 29 0.430 58-2/3 29 0.250 37-1/3 30 0.660 54-2/3 30 - - - 37-1/3 31 0.170 53-2/3 31 - - - 36 Total...8.637 Mean. ... 50.98 Total..15.036 Mean... 48.41 Mean Temperature for December, for eight years . . . . . . . . 43. Mean Temperature for January, for eight years . . . . . . . . 45.59.

p. 50

Red Dog, December 25th, 1862

Hon J.F. Houghton,

Dear Sir: --I have just received your communication of December twenty-second, and in reply would state that I kept an account of the amount of rain that fell at this place after the twenty-third day of December, A.D. eighteen hundred and sixty, to June twelfth, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, and if the account is of any benefit to you I give it with pleasure, because I consider it the duty of every citizen to afford such information when it is in their power to do so.

    Date. 			Remarks. 				     Inches.
    December 30 		For week ending at date				7.50
    January 1 to 9		Including snow often inches			6.65
    January 10 		Twenty-four hours				5.82
    January 11 		Tweuty-four hours				5.50
    January 12 		Twenty-four hours				 .50
    Jan. 12 to Jan. 18 	Six days. including snow			8.50
    Jan. 19 and 20     	Two days					3.63
    January 21 		Twenty-four hours				2.25
    January 22 		Twenty-four hours				3.00
    January 23 		Twenty-four hours				1.68
    January 24 		Slight snow squalls, with clear and cold night.
    			  Thermometer at 8, a.m. 20
    January 25 		Clear and cold. Thermometer at sunrise, 18
    January 26 		Clear and cold. Thermometer at sunrise, 18
    January 27 		Cloudy and cold. Thermometer at sunrise, 16
    			  with three fourths of an inch of snow
    January 28 		Clear and cold. Thermometer at sunrise, 6
    January 29 		Snow. Thermometer at 7, A. M. 22
    January 30 		Snow sixteen inches deep. Thermometer at
    			  7, A. M. 30
    January 31 		Clear and cold. Thermometer at 7 A. M. 20
    February 1 		Cold and cloudy. Thermometer at 7 A. M. 20.
    			  Amount of water in snow			1.84
    February 2 		Clear and cold. Thermometer at 7 a. m. 22
    February 3 		Snow. Thermometer at 7 a. m. 32
    February 4 		Clear. Water in snow				 .68
    Feb. 4 to Feb. 18 	Clear, with cold and freezing nights
    February 19 		Snow squalls
    February 20 		Clear
    February 21 		Snow
    February 22 		Snow and rain
    February 23 		Rain
    Februarv 24 		Amount of water falling in three days past	4.14
    Carried forward							       51.69

p. 51

    Date. 			Remarks. 				     Inches.
    1862.  			Brought forward 			       51.69
    Feb. 25 and 26 		Rain 						4.87
    February 27 		Rain 						1.48
    February 28 		Rain
    March l 		Rain 						 .22
    March 2 		Clear
    March 3 		Clear
    March 4 		Clear
    March 5 		Rain 						 .37
    March 6 		Fair
    March 7 		Snow
    March 8 		Fair
    March 9 		Snow
    March 10 and 11 	Rain 						2.25
    March 12 		Warm rain 					1.25
    March 13 		Clear
    March 14 		Rain 						 .75
    March 15 and 16 	Rain 						3.00
    March 17 to 25 		No rain
    March 26 and 27 	Rain 						1.50
    Mar. 28 to Apl. 8 	Rain 						4.50
    April 8 to 10 		Rain 						 .50
    April 10 to 14 		Slight rains 					1.10
    April 14 to 30 		No rain
    May 1, 2, and 3 	Rain 						4.10
    May 9. 10. and ll 	Snow and rain 					1.25
    June 2 			Rain 						 .25
    June 9 			Rain 						 .20
    June 12 		Rain 						 .25
    			  Making in all, after December 23 	       79.53

p. 51

There was probably about thirty inches fell before I commenced measuring it. The mean temperature I have not kept.

The foregoing table is just as I have kept it. It affords me pleasure in transmitting it to you.

All of which is respectfully submitted.


Wm. A. Begole . . .

p. 87


p. 89 [to p. 148]


- - - - - - - -


J. C. WALKER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .County Surveyor.

Office County Surveyor, }
Millerton, July 1st, 1862. }

Hon. J. F. Houghton,

SIR:--In compliance with instructions contained in your circular, I have the honor to submit the following report of the effects of the recent floods in this county.

The extreme height of the San Joquin above low water at Millerton, was about twenty-six feet, which was on January eleventh.

The greatest height at Fresno City, which is at the head of navigtion on the San Joaquin, was about sixteen feet above low water, and the general depth over the adjacent lands at that place was four feet.

The land which was overflowed in this county is so extensive that it would be very difficult for me to ascertain the approximate quantity of it.

Some bars were formed, and a change of channel occasioned for a short distance, at different places in the San Joaquin.

There is considerable deposit upon the submerged lands in this county, and varies from half an inch to one foot in depth. It was washed from the rich soil in the low hills, and it has improved the quality of the land.

The San Joaquin and King's rivers have been very high the present season, from the thawing of snow in the mountains. I have made inquiries of men living in various parts of the county, and have learned from them that many crops have been destroyed the present summer by being overflowed on land which was reported as high.

My business has not called me away from home sufficiently to gain a


p. 90

very extensive information concerning the effects of the recent floods. I trust you will therefore excuse me for my meagre report.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. C. Walker,

County Surveyor.

- - - - - - - -


- - - - - - - -


JOEL WILLARD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .County Surveyor.

Office County Surveyor, }
Lake County, July 3d, 1862

Hon J.F. Houghton,

SIR:--In accordance with law and instructions, I herewith submit the following:

Not having made any surveys for individuals, I have nothing in that line to report upon.

I have received one application for Swamp Land, dated April seventeenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, a plat and field notes of which I transmitted to your office, since when I have heard nothing of it. You will oblige me, as well as the applicant, by stating whether it has been

p. 91

received, and if so, whether it has been approved, and why not sent back to me.

In regard to the information required of County Surveyors in your circular of February thirteenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, I have collected the following information:

First--The extreme height of water at the head of Clear Lake was, as near as I can determine, about eleven feet.

Second--Date of highest water, January twenty-second, eighteen hundred and sixty-two.

Third--From one inch to five feet, the farms in the valleys around the lake being all more or less submerged.

Fourth--Outside of the line of segregation of Swamp and Overflowed Lands, probably between ten and fifteen thousand acres.

Fifth--The banks of streams have not been seriously affected.

Sixth--No bars have been formed or channels changed at the head of the lake, where the principal streams that feed the lake put into it.

Seventh--The deposit varies according to the current, in many places it is washed, and left in eddies from one to four feet deep; as a general thing the lands will be benefited, the deposit being a fine sand, the finer and clayey parts being carried into the lake.

Eighth--I can answer this question better next October, the water now being only about six inches lower than high water mark of previous winters, made since the settlement of the valley by Americans.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant.

County Surveyor,

- - - - - - - -


A. D. EASKOOT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .County Surveyor.

Office County Surveyor, }
San Rafael, Nov. 15th, 1862

Hon J.F. Houghton,

SIR:--In reply to your circular under date of February thirteenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, in regard to the flood in this county, I beg leave to report:

The highest tide in this county was in the month of January, eighteen hundred and sixty-two. The extreme highest above low water mark was about eight feet. The deposit on the submerged land was a light soil, to the depth of about one inch, except at the mouths of the mountain streams, where they intersect the marshes; there the deposits were stone, gravel, and sand, to the depth of about two feet. The navigable streams that run through these marshes were partly obstructed by the deposits, and some small bars were formed, but not so large as to stop navigation. . . .

pp. 92-3

Very respectfully, your obedient servant.

County Surveyor,

- - - - - - - -


GEORGE E. DREW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .County Surveyor.

Office County Surveyor, }
Stockton, Dec. 3th, 1862 }

Hon J.F. Houghton,


. . .In consequence of the great flood of last winter, it will be observed that a very limited number of surveys have been made, as our citizens are now very timid about investing in the tule lands. . . .

p. 94
. . . I have received a circular from your office, propounding eight questions, having reference to the floods of last winter. By personal examinations and inquiry I have endeavored to collect such information as was possible, and will give you only such as may be reliable, as in many cases it is so conflicting as to be unavailable.

First: The highest water in Stockton was on the 24th day of January, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, being twelve feet one inch above the low tide of this date; December third, ten feet six inches above the high tide of this date, and three feet six inches above the highest water in the flood of eighteen hundred and fifty-two. About fifteen miles northwest from this city, in Township 3, North, Range 5, East; the highest water was on the twenty-fourth day of January, being fourteen feet higher than the summer low tides.

In Township 1, South, Range 5, East. 12 miles from this city, in a southwesterly direction, and near the forks of the San Joaquin River, the highest water was on the twenty-fourth day of January, twelve feet above the summer low tides, and five feet above the highest water of eighteen hundred and fifty-two.

Second: The first heavy flow of water, from the east or mountain streams occurred on the twenty-sixth day of December, on which day the city was slightly submerged. On the twenty-eighth day of December, the water in the city was a few inches higher than on the twenty-sixth.

On the eleventh day of January occurred the greatest overflow of the country to the northeast, east and southeast, caused by the water from the mountain streams. The highest water in this city and on the land to the west, was on the twenty-fourth day of January, being twenty-four inches higher than on the eleventh of January. This was back water, and came from the north, or Sacramento River; no current near the city. A short distance to the west of the city, on this and several subsequent days, there was a strong current running past the city from the north, and running nearly due south, to a point six miles south from this city, there meeting the waters of the San Joaquin, and changing the direction of the current to a northwest course.

Third: It is difficult to answer this question satisfactorily. I believe about two thirds of our entire county was inundated. Of the agricultural and grazing portion, about one-half. Over this portion the water would average one and a half to two feet in depth.

[no fourth]

Fifth: The banks of the streams have not been seriously affected.

Sixth: No considerable bars or changes of channel have been occasioned by the flood.

Seventh and Eighth: There was no large amount of deposit left on the agricultural portion--perhaps an average of two inches except at a few points on the river bottoms. This deposit was a very fine sand or slum, and to the most of our land was an advantage. It is impossible to tell the amount of deposit there may be on the tule lands, as they are still submerged.

p. 95

The greatest danger we have of a recurrence of the events of last winter is from the waters of the Sacramento and American rivers breaking over the plain to the north, as it was the waters from these rivers which caused the greatest amount of damage in this vicinity. Aside from the Sacramento water, the damage in this vicinity would not have exceeded ten thousand dollars.

Several propositions have been made to protect the city from another inundation. I have made one survey and estimate for a canal and levee around the city on three sides, about three and a half miles in length, estimated costs, one hundred and ten thousand dollars, which plan was objected to on account of its cost. I have also made an examination of an entire new channel for the Calaveras, the earth taken from the channel to be placed in embankment for a turnpike road. This would protect the middle and southwesterly portion of the county, then by raising the grades in the lower portion of the city two feet, and we are safe. This plan would also involve the expenditure of a larger amount of money than our county and city authorities feel justified in expending. In fact, no protective plan can be adopted that will not cost a large amount of money, as it would be useless to do the work in a cheap manner.....

George E. Drew,
County Surveyor of San Joaquin County.

- - - - - - - -


JOHN PEABODY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .County Surveyor.

Office County Surveyor, }
Fairfield, Dec. 10th, 1862 }

Hon J.F. Houghton,
Surveyor-General: . . .

p. 96


. . . As to the height of the waters above low water mark in the last flood, it was impossible for me to keep any memorandum of it; but I have been told that at the head of the Cache Slough, at a place called Main Landing, the water was 10 feet above the ground, which would make it about 18 feet above low water mark. In the marshes around Suisun City, the greatest height attained was only about two feet six inches, which would give about nine or ten feet above low water mark. In the islands in Suisun Bay the water did not rise more than six inches above the

p. 97

marsh, and that only at the highest tides. All these islands were covered with cattle, and they continued on them all winter without the least inconvenience, and have been doing all the time exceedingly well.

In your letter of the 28th of November, last, accompanying your circular, you mention the washing away of Baca's house on Putah River. I never heard of it, but. however, it is possible, as that house was built very near the bank and immediately below a ford, and the least overflow of the river would wash any adobe building.

John Peabody,
County Surveyor, Solano County.

- - - - - - - -


AMOS MATHEWS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .County Surveyor.

Office County Surveyor, }
Washington, Dec. 2th, 1862 }

Hon J.F. Houghton,

. . .From Cache creek, extending to the river at Knights Landing, is the old bed of a slough, supposed to have once been the continuation of

p. 98

Cache creek. The banks of this slough are high. No water during the late great flood passed over this natural barrier. Above this point, running about parallel with the river bank, is the Sycamore slough, extending northward into Colusa County. This slough is the natural but inefficient outlet to the tule water which comes partly from the mountains and partly from the overflow of the river. A great part of this water must await evaporation during the series of dry years. Previous to eighteen hundred and sixty-one, the tule lands were the almost sole pasture of the immense herds of cattle then in the county; and they had, within the knowledge of residents, receded from earlier limits to the extent of more than a mile. The unprecedented flood of last year swept away whatever of improvements had been placed upon these lands. But confidence is again being established in their availability for agricultural and grazing purposes.

I am of the opinion that such a flood as the last has not occurred within the last hundred years, and, perhaps, never since the Great Flood receded from the land. The evidence upon which I found my opinion, in part, is the undoubted fact, that many years ago, the banks of the Sacramento were inhabited by populous tribes of Indians, who have disappeared from the face of the earth. In witness, we see the numerous mounds scattered along the river bank through the whole valley. These mounds must be very old; some of them had large oak trees, grown from acorns carelessly thrown aside by this extinct race. These mounds, till within a year, retained their shape as left by the aborigines; there could be seen the excavation scooped out where stood the principal hut, with numerous smaller cavities, used for like purposes. Now the flood has destroyed the original shape of the mounds, and we see but a heap of earth strewed with the skulls, which, for centuries, had lain covered with the light ashes and mould of which the mounds were composed. Some say the Indians did inhabit the valley, but were destroyed by a great flood, wherefore we do not find their descendants; but all of us have seen just such mounds on high lands, where no modern flood has ever reached; and the apparent age of these mounds indicates their inhabitants to have been coeval with those who lived along the river. The mounds are of the lightest material, and accumulated slowly, in long years, from ashes and decayed vegetable matter. In my opinion, if floods had often occurred, they would have been washed away ages ago. In one place on the river I saw an innumerable number of skulls, the mound in which they were buried having been almost entirely swept away. In many places great oak trees, centuries old, have been uprooted and carried away. The Indians have no knowledge of any disaster which happened to their ancestors by reason of floods, and their traditions must certainly extend back a hundred years, as many of them have lived three-quarters of that time.

In the valley, away from the Sacramento river, are small streams upon whose banks the early Spaniards built their adobe houses. In one such case, whose history is verified by many men, the last winter's flood carried away the houses which stood, above all thought of floods, for twenty-five years. I mentioned the last fact as one upon which we can reasonably rely. I spoke of the material of which the mounds are composed, that you may see they could not withstand a great current of water. I spoke of the mounds as evidence that the Sacramento valley is inhabitable. I spoke of the great age of these mounds as showing the valley not to have been submerged so lately as many believe. It is needless for me to say we require levees and canals. The Sacramento valley

p. 99

is composed of the sediment which, from creation, slowly washed from the mountain sides and settled in the lake, which I imagine, one day bordered on the foot hills. The heaviest of this sediment settled near the mountains, the lighter further down towards the bay, or what I suppose to have been the outlet to the lake. This process was continued through time till the lake became shallow; the points near the mountains still more rapidly filling up, the slope was finally established from the mountains to the sea, which gave current through the centre of the shallow lake. This current threw sediment along its eddies, which, in time, became the banks of the Sacramento river. If the course of nature had been allowed to go on, the low lands would have been gradually filled, the banks of the river gradually raised, accumulating faster near the mountains, till, in time, the river would have gained sufficient fall to have carried, by its rapid current, without overflow, all the waters from the mountains. But, unfortuntely, we prematurely found the El Dorado, and ever since have sought to guide nature in her work of reclamation; and we must so guide her henceforth.

In reply to your request for statistics of the late flood, I can state, perhaps, but little not generally known. This county was pretty generally overflowed, either by the river or by the rush of water from the coast mountains. The greatest depth of water in the tule, west from Sacramento, was about fifteen feet. Considerable quantities of sediment were deposited. I think we should ask to know how the water stood at different points with reference to the river when its banks were full, with no regard to height above low water mark. The river, at this point, rose about two feet above its banks; fifteen miles farther down, about three feet; and at Rio Vista, where the incline plane of the river meets the horizontal plane of the bay, it rose nearly eight feet. There was but little current in the river during the flood. The water, as is natural, ran where was the greatest fall, that is, where there is a fall of one in sixteen by the tortuous course of the river, there may be a fall of one in four on a direct line. In one instance, the counter current carried a barn two miles up the river, and deposited it on the opposite bank, where it now stands. To reclaim the valley, we must adopt a general system. I think the present reclamation law needs some radical changes. The surveys obtained under it are, perhaps, worth all they cost. Under the law, we must permanently reclaim a district, or let it alone altogether. We cannot cut a drain which would render the worst swamp fit for grazing, unless the Engineer reports that the district will be permanently reclaimed. Some Engineers have been forced to do so, most of them have refused, and so but little is accomplished. I think the executive of the Swamp Land Department should be given more authority. I think money should be expended for partial reclamation. To do this with success, a thorough system for the main valleys must be adopted. There must be a thorough survey, unless from the detached surveys a general system can be determined upon. The executive of the department shoud have power to direct works for reclamation, without regard to persons immediately interested as land holders. Without a general system, we will be, by the breaking of detached levees from time to time, inundated, or if the levees stand, the water will be forced into some unnatural channel, and thus render all insecure. It has been proposed, and, I think, with wisdom, that an additional outlet be made, from the Sacramento river to the Bay [Yolo Bypass?]. I believe such a channel might be made sufficiently large to carry a great portion of the waters of the upper Sacramento, and also the waters of Cache and Putah creeks, which

p. 100

would, perhaps, permanently reclaim the main tule in this county. I judge, if this policy were adopted, the river should be tapped above the mouth of Feather river, and its waters carried into an arm of Suisun Bay. This Bay rose scarcely higher this year than at other times. The supposition that the Straits of Carquinez would not let the water pass as rapidly as it accumulated, is, as you know, entirely erroneous. If a channel is to be cut for the purpose of relieving the Sacramento, it will be a work in which the whole Sacramento valley is interested. This county will be but little more interested than Sutter, Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Solano Counties. Any survey, with such an object in view, the Board of Swamp Land Commissioners have no power to order. If it is desirable to cut away an obstruction in the channel of any stream, the board find no authority in the law. Our valleys will always have to be guarded, and it is proper that we take measures thus early for the systematic construction of all improvements. I would, therefore, respectfully ask you to consider and recommend some practical amendments to the reclamation law.

Respectfully yours,

County Surveyor ,


- - - - - - - -

Stockton, December 26, 1862.

Hon. J. F. Houghton,

Dear Sir :--In response to your questions in relation to the late flood, I have obtained from Mr. J. D. Morley, of Stanislaus County, the following replies in relation to the effects of the flood in that county, and also certain other information which is thereto appended:

First:--The extreme height above low water mark at well designated points upon the Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers, was twenty feet, but where the Tuolumne River flows through the mountains, the extreme height was fifty or sixty feet. The extreme height above low water mark at well designated points on the Merced River and Dry Creek, was fifteen or sixteen feet.

Second:--The water attained its greatest height on the tenth or eleventh of January. eighteen hundred and sixty-two.

Third:--The lands in Stanislaus County adjacent to the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and San Joaquin rivers, and Dry Creek, were overflowed to the depth of eight or ten feet.

Fourth:--All lands bordering upon streams in Stanislaus County were overflowed. The Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers overflowed land to the width of about a mile; the San Joaquin, in Stanislaus County, overflowed lands, to the width of from five to twenty miles. Persons living upon lands overflowed by that stream, only saved their lives by fleeing to the mountains and high lands. Dry Creek overflowed lands to the width of from one-quarter to two miles.

Fifth:--The banks of the Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers have been very seriously affected by washing; in some places the width has been increased from two hundred to fifteen hundred feet ; and whenever those

p. 101

rivers rise five or six feet, there will be three or four channels at different points, all occasioned by the washing of the late floods. The banks of the San Joaquin are very little changed, the river retaining its original channel. Tuolumne River, by changing its channel and overflowing its banks, has destroyed many ranches by washing away the soil.

Sixth:--The Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers have changed their channels in many places, and large sand bars have been formed in those rivers. The San Joaquin retains its original channel, and there are no bars to obstruct the navigation.

Seventh:--There was a deposit of light sandy material upon most of the submerged lands in Stanislaus County, varying in depth from six inches to four feet

Eighth:--Upon the Swamp and Overflowed Lands in Stanislaus County the depth of water was about ten feet, the current running west-northwest. The deposit was less than upon some of the higher lands, varying in depth from four inches to two feet, the deposit upon submerged lands near the mountains and low hills being always greater than upon the lower lands. The deposit upon the Swamp Lands was more of a vegetable character than that upon the higher lands.

Nine-tenths of the crops upon the Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers were destroyed, and many houses were swept off; a general destruction of fencing occurred; many cattle and horses perished in the flood; the destruction of timber was very great, caused entirely by the soil being washed away from the roots of the trees by the immense volume and velocity of the water. Many of the ferry-boat landings were entirely destroyed by washing of the banks, changes of channel and formation of bars.

In relation to Merced County, on the Merced river the effects of the flood were very similar to those occasioned by the Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers.

The effects of the flood in Mariposa County, generally, in consequence of the face of the country being more hilly, were that so great an area was not overflowed, and the injuries were confined principally to mining improvements upon the banks of the Merced River and various creeks, the water rising as much as fifty or sixty feet above low water mark.

At such times as I receive information in relation to the flood, I will send it to you.

Yours respectfully,



- - - - - - - -

"Branche's Ferry, Stanislaus County,
December 5, 1862.
W. H. Lyons, Esq.

Dear Sir:--In answer to your note of the first instant, I would state that it gives me great pleasure to impart any information in my power regarding the subjects mentioned in the Surveyor-General's circular:

First:--On the Tuolumne River, at this point (Section 35, 3. South, 13, East), the extreme height was about 30 feet above low water mark, and about seven feet higher than the high water mark of the flood of eighteen hundred and fifty-one and eighteen-hundred and fifty-two.

Second:--About meridian, on the tenth of January, eighteen hundred

p. 102

and sixty-two. On Saturday, the eleventh at twelve o'clock, it having fallen three or four feet in the interval, it was a few inches lower.

Third:--From seven to twenty feet.

Fourth:--All the bottom lands on the Tuolumne River, from bluff to bluff. I should think that ten times as much land was submerged as lies within the United States meandering posts.

Fifth:--The banks of the river have all been washed away; in some places to the extent of five or six rods.

Sixth:--Old bars were washed away, and new ones formed. The channel was changed every half mile, in many instances sweeping away all the bottom lands, in others, cutting a new channel through the center of a ranch.

Seventh:--In some instances the flood left large deposits on the land of a light sandy character, unfit to sustain vegetable life. The flood appears, in most cases, to have swept off the soil and original deposits to the depth of from five to twenty feet, and as the water subsided, to have deposited sand and loose gravel of various depths.

Eighth:--I can only state that I believe that nearly every acre of overflowed land within the United States meandering lines on the Tuolumne River has been swept away, or rendered valueless by a deposit of sand, as the water fell.

In reply to the concluding clause of your letter I would state that no flood of like character and extent has occurred on the Pacific slope for many hundred years. The evidences in support of this conclusion are to be found in the facts that the land washed away along the river banks was originally formed from alluvial deposits, in some places ten or twelve feet above the bed rock, where the Indians had for years bruised the acorns and seeds for food, forming dozens of small and large holes in the rock. The period of time occupied in forming ten or twelve feet of deposit, including a foot or two of soil, geologists can determine. Upon that deposit grew oak trees from five to ten feet in diameter, washed up and carried down the stream. Some of them must have been more than three hundred years old. In some places the hearts of large oak trees can now be seen lying on the bed rock where ten or twelve feet of the original deposit has been washed down stream.

My ranch, as well as those of many of my neighbors, was rendered nearly valueless by the sweeping away of the soil and depositing afterwards of loose gravel and fine sand, which the wind blows hither and thither as it changes.

In a hurried manner I have given you all the information thought of at this moment; any further questions answered with pleasure.

I should estimate the damage caused by the flood on the Tuolumne River, from Jacksonville to its mouth, at not less than one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

Yours respectfully,

Louis M. Booth, M. D.

p. 103


- - - - - - - -

S. Y. HALE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .County Assessor..

Office County Assessor, }
Oroville, December 1st, 1862 }

Hon J.F. Houghton,

. . . This county, in common with the other stock raising counties, suffered severely in the loss of cattle last winter, which has been the cause of the falling off of the assessable property, compared with last year. Farmers and stock raisers are now turning their attention more to raising horses and sheep, and are improving the breeds of each. . . .

p. 104

. . . Very respectfully yours,,

Assessor of Butte County,

- - - - - - - -

J. THOMPSON AND OTHERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Township Assessors..

Office County Assessor, }
Mokelumne Hill, Dec. 6th, 1862 }

Hon J.F. Houghton,

. . .You will observe there is a small falling off in total amount of assessable property in this county, as shown by the returns made, from the amount of eighteen hundred and sixty-one. This is to be accounted for by the general depreciation and loss arising from the unusually severe winter last past; but for this, we might figure up, perhaps, at lest one quarter of a million of dollars more in total value: . . .

p. 105

. . .The extreme winter lately passed was very destructive to our mining ditches and other improvements of like character, so much so that some of the larger ones have been compelled to make an outlay of many thousand dollars to bring them to a condition to pass water through; while many of the small ones were entirely destroyed or rendered valueless; this will account for the decrease in the number as compared with last year's returns....

Yours, etc.,
J. THOMPSON, Assessor Fourth Township.
B. K. THORNE, Assessor Fifth Township.
D. S. BATES, Assessor Sixth Township.
S. W. BRIGGS, Assessor Seventh Township.
JOHN GILLILAND, Assessor Eighth Township.
VOLNEY SHEARER, Assessor Ninth Township.
p. 106-108 . . . .

- - - - - - - -

GEORGE MCDONALD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . County Assessor.

Office County Assessor, }
Placerville, Nov. 10th, 1862 }

Hon J.F. Houghton,

The unprecedented floods of the past winter destroyed a large amount of property in this as well as other counties in the State. The loss of cattle and other stock was immense, nearly every bridge in the country was swept away, and gret damage done to canals, ditches, gardens, saw mills, etc. Under these circumstances it was expected there would be a large decrese in the amount of taxable property as compared with last year. Yet, notwithstanding these reverses, the energy and perseverance of the people are rapidly recovering and repairing the losses. Already the assessments show a small excess over the total valuation of eighteen hundred and sixty-one. I regret being unable to furnish you with much of the valuable information required in your circular of February last. Many and unforseen difficulties have prevented the collection of much statistical matter....

George McDonald,
Assessor of El Dordo County.
. . .

p. 109

- - - - - - - -

THOMAS J. ALLEN. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . County Assessor.

Office County Assessor, }
Millerton, November 4th, 1862 }

Hon J.F. Houghton,

. . .Owing to the many difficulties in the way, occasioned by last winter's floods, it is impossible for an Assessor this year to get any accurate information in regard to the statistics of the county....

pp. 110-111

...This year there is not much grain raised, it being so wet last winter that many farmers could not plough in time to plant....The increase of live stock since last year has been small, and in some species of stock (as you will see by the report) has run behind, owing to losses occsioned by last winter's floods, and removal of stock from the county....

p. 112

...The one that was operating last year, as you will see by the report, sawed but a small amount of lumber, much under the demand; the other mill is steam-power, located on the waters of the Cowee, or Mill creek, and, owing to last winter's flood having cut up the roads so bad, and no person being at the mill, I could not get the information desired, but from the large amount of lumber hauled from there last year, and from what I can learn, leads me to believe that there was a large quantity of lumber sawed....

Yours, respectfully,
Assessor of Fresno County.

p. 113-116

- - - - - - - -

GEORGE W. CORNELL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . County Assessor.

Office County Assessor, }
Coulterville, November 5th, 1861 [sic] }

Hon J.F. Houghton,

p. 117-118
. . .We have no toll bridges--the floods of last winter carrying away all we then had, and they never have been rebuilt....

I am, Sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Assessor of Mariposa County.

p. 119

- - - - - - - -

G. B. MCKEE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . County Assessor.

Office County Assessor, }
Nevada City. }

Hon J.F. Houghton,

p. 120


...The floods of last winter injured some of the older and deeper mines, filling them with water, and causing slides; they are, however, being repaired and re-opened. New leads are being daily struck, and at no period has this branch of mining appeared as active and promising as at the present....

p. 121-122

All of which is most respectfully submitted:

Assessor of Nevada County.


- - - - - - - -

WILLIAM W. KELLOGG. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . County Assessor.

Office County Assessor, }
Nevada City. }

Hon J.F. Houghton,

p. 123
... The damage done by the flood of last spring was great, but is mostly replaced, and much more substantial than before. . . .

Yours respectfully,
WM. W. KELLOG, [gg or g ?]
Assessor Plumas County.

- - - - - - - -

J. M. LONG. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . County Assessor.

Office County Assessor, }
Stockton, November 12, 1862. }

Hon J.F. Houghton,
Surveyor-General: . . .

pp. 124-126


. . .it will be seen there is a considerable falling off in some instances from last year's report. There is little doubt that in consequence of the floods of last winter, much loss was sustained, and the statistics of produce are necessarily less. It is to be presumed that next year will exhibit the county in a condition superior to that of any one previous.

Hoping the report will meet with your approbation,

I remain your obedient servant,

Assessor of San Joaquin County.


- - - - - - - -

NELSON TAYLOR. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . County Assessor.

Office County Assessor, }
Santa Cruz, Nov.11th, 1862. }

Hon J.F. Houghton,

. . .The blanks not calling for leather, lime, etc., I will here state there is five tanneries in this county. The statistics of three show the value of leather manufactured, seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000) One was entirely swept off last winter, the value of which was not obtained. The floods of last winter were very severe, sweeping off several saw mills and materially injuring others. . . .

p. 127

All of which is respectfully submitted,
Yours, &c.,
Assessor of Santa Cruz County,

- - - - - - - -

A. MARMON. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . County Assessor.

Office County Assessor, }
Downieville, Dec. 4th, 1862. }

Hon J.F. Houghton,

. . . Notwithstanding the great floods of last December and January, which swept away many thousand dollars' worth of property in buildings, bridges, flumes, ditches, and numerous other improvements, there has been a steady development of the mineral resources, as well as permanence and interest attached to agricultural pursuits, which seems to overbalance the destruction caused by the floods, as the assessment roll of eighteen hundred and sixty-one and eighteen hundred and sixty-two will show. . . .

pp. 130-131

. . . All of which is respectfully submitted.

Assessor of Sierra County.

- - - - - - - -

THOMAS O. ROURKE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . County Assessor.

Office County Assessor, }
Yreka,, Nov. 12th, 1862. }

Hon J.F. Houghton,

pp. 132-134


Siskiyou County has suffered from the floods fall as much as any mountain county in the State, while her loss in population, owing to our proximity to the northern mines, has been far greater; full fifteen hundred have left this county the past year, taking property to the amount of three hundred thousand dollars, while our loss by flood, and the general depreciation of property, will reach two hundred and forty thousand more--making a total loss in property the past year of five hundred and forty-thousand dollars.

Respectfully submitted,

County Assessor.

p. 135

- - - - - - - -

CYRUS AYER. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . County Assessor.

Office County Assessor, }
Fairfield, Nov. 10th, 1862. }

Hon J.F. Houghton,

p. 135-137

. . . The cry was this spring that "tule land is a failure," and many abandoned their claims on account of the floods of last winter, very unceremoniously, protesting against all tule lands, and declaring an eternal evacuation for all time to come. The calm and thoughtful, who always succeed in life, have remained in the enjoyment of their lands, and find what many call ruin and destruction was only one of the greatest blessings that Heaven could bestow, by raising the whole surface from one inch to six feet, making in some cases from fifty to sixty acres of dry land where there was nothing but tule; and on other ranches, filling

p. 138

up holes of from one to ten acres in the centre of a man's farm. If these new-made lands are not a blessing, what would be? Yes, Sir, they are a blessing; and I say the county is worth more to-day than it was before the flood, although some men were ruined by it. Yet, let me say, there are some of the prettiest farms in the tule that can be found in California, and no better land can be found anywhere.

If a canal was cut from Knight's Landing, in Yolo County, to Nurse's Landing, in Solano County, (which is eight miles from Suisun City,) it would forever prevent such an overflow as was experienced last winter. I believe it is the opinion of most tule men that it is the only thing that will be of much value to the tule. So let me say, if the State would take hold of the project, and work its criminals to dig such a canal, it wouid not only reclaim the tule lands of Solano, but also of Yolo, and Sacramento County and City would be greatly relieved from so great a surplus of water as they had last winter. You may think that I am chimerical, but let me say that whenever there is a Legislature that cares one groat about doing any thing for the benefit of the State at large and the tule bordering on the Sacramento River, that is what will be done. If the Legislature could but see what the tule is capable of doing for the country, and what it has already done, they would do something besides squander the funds of the State. . . .

p. 139

. . .Now, since our county lost by the flood of last winter to the extent of one half of our stock, and as the tract of land about Benicia and Vallejo, together with the Suscol Rancho, has been declared United States Government land, I was obliged to make a light assessment in comparison with former assessments, which, together with the loss of stock, must have been half a million at least. . . .

County Assessor.


[p. 140 Nome Lackee Reservation, disparaged]

p. 141

- - - - - - - -

G. F. MIERS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . County Assessor.

Office County Assessor, }
Weaverville, November 7th, 1862. }

Hon J.F. Houghton,

. . .our agricultural operations are so limited ( being confined to small valleys and benches on the creeks and rivers, ) the county being decidedly mineral, that it is impossible to arrive at anything like a correct estimate of the agricultural productions of the county. There is, however, a falling off since the last year, a good deal of our arable land having been destroyed by the high waters of last winter. . . .

Our mines, comprising surface, hill, and river diggings, are as extensive and, with the exception of the river mining, in as flourishing condition as in previous years. The latter suffered severely from last winter's freshets, almost every wheel, flume, and ditch, having been destroyed and the miners have not fully recovered from their losses. This, with the destruction of the numerous bridges over Trinity river, will account for the falling off in the amount of our taxable property, none of the bridges being completed in season for this assessment. . . .

All of which is respectfully-submitted.

Assessor of Trinity County.

p. 142

- - - - - - - -

G. J. OVERSHINER. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . County Assessor.

Office County Assessor, }
Woodland, Nov. 1st, 1862. }

Hon J.F. Houghton,


Of the number of fruit trees in this county, you will find a large falling off from the figures of last year, owing to the great destruction to that branch of agriculture from the floods of last winter. . . .

p. 144

. . .The saw mill is owned by Messrs. L. S. Hunt & Co., of Washington, and has been doing a very extensive business, but owing to the

p. 145

heavy losses of lumber during the floods, they were prevented making as lengthy a run as they would otherwise have done. . . .


Owing to the severity of the winter, the heavy losses of cattle will greatly diminish the number reported last year. . . .


. . . Notwithstanding the great destruction to all kinds of property during the past winter, the assessed valuation shows a large increase over that of last year, speaking loudly in favor of the general prosperity of this county.

p. 146

With high esteem.
I remain yours respectfully.

County Assessor.

- - - - - - - -

T. J. SHERWOOD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . County Assessor.

Office County Assessor, }
Marysville, November, 1862. }

Hon J.F. Houghton,

p. 147

. . .Eighty-four head of horses, two thousand three hundred and fifty head of cattle, eight thousand four hundred and thirty-eight head of sheep, eight hundred and thirty-four head of hogs, and one hundred and fourteen stands of bees, were lost during the floods of last winter. Also, several mining ditches, and several bridges, were taken off by the same cause. Then, there is a great depreciation in the value of lands, along the Feather and Yuba rivers. Among the fine farms which have been almost entirely destroyed, there are those of C. L. Low, J. C. Fall, C. H. Hedges, C. Covillaud, N. Wescoatt, J. H. Ramirez, G. Woodward, Mrs. H. P. Haun, Mrs. C. Kimmerling, William McCullough, Dr. Teegarden, S. P. Pomyea, G. G. Briggs, and a great many others, too numerous to mention, all of which were damaged more or less by the flood. of last winter: and it will be remembered that on the ninth day of December, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, the Merchants' Hotel, and other buildings near it, fell down from the effects of the high water. In February, before I had commenced assessing. a petition was circulated in the City of Marysville. and signed by a large number of the tax payers of the city which petition was laid before the Board of Supervisors, praying for them to so fix the rates of taxation that their property should be assessed at its actual cash value, ( it having been assessed heretofore at what thev termed a ficticious valuation). The Supervisors called my attention to the petition, and requested me to comply with the same as near as I could and comply with the law, which I did to the best of my abilities. And after making the assessment on the city property I find, from a close comparison, that there is a deduction from last year on real estate and improvements of five hundred and forty-eight thousand three hundred and eighty-four dollars, ($548,384,) and yet I think that property in the city is assessed at as much as it is worth. . . .

p. 148

. . . All of which is respectfully submitted.

Assessor of Yuba County.

p. 43


- - - - - - - -


Samuel Page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Superintendent.

Hon. Andrew J. Moulder,
Superintendent of Public Instruction:

p. 44

. . .Tax.--This year the county levy for School purposes has been doubled. We will reap the benefit of this in the coming year. It will not increase the proceeds from this county in the same proportion, as I see by the Assessor's returns we have over one half million less taxable property than last year. Fire and flood have caused great devastation with us. By the former, Jackson and a part of Sutter Creek and Volcano were laid in ruins--loss five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000;) by the latter, as much more. . . .

Sup't of Public Schools of Amador County.
- - - - - - - -

Charles E. Street . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Superintendent.

Hon. Andrew J. Moulder,
Superintendent of Public Instruction:

p. 49

. . . I will say in this connection, that the sections of the county where no Schools have been maintained suffered severely last winter from the floods. The loss of property and impaired resources of the citizens has doubtless had much to do in damaging the prosperity of the Public Schools. It is my opinion, however, that these several Districts will all maintain Schools for at least a period of three months during the ensuing year--the county having to a great extent recovered from the losses of last winter, and assumed an encouraging degree of prosperity. . . ,

I am your most obedient servant,

Sup't of Public Schools of Colusa Conntv

p. 72

- - - - - - - -

F. W. HATCH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Superintendent.

Hon. Andrew J. Moulder,
Superintendent of Public Instruction:

. . .Notwithstanding the unforseen and unusual obstacles against which we have been compelled to contend--the temporary interruption of some of our Schools by an unprecedented flood, the destruction of property, and the consequent breaking up of communities--. . . .

p. 73

. . .When we consider the extent of evil done to many sections of the county by the floods of the last winter, and the pecuniary losses of the population, the review of the School interests just made is highly gratifying. It is indicative of a spirit of enterprise superior to the severest misfortune, and an energy which no disaster can abate. With one or two exceptions, in which the destruction of property and the breaking up of social relations was so overwhelming as to be, for a short time, almost irremediable, no serious interruption in our Schools has occurred. They have been maintained in defiance of many obstacles, and, in some cases, at much pecuniary sacrifice, and under circumstances reflecting credit upon the decision and perseverance by which it was accomplished. . . .

p. 77

. . .Probably no District in the State has suffered, to anything like the extent of this, by reason of the floods of the past winter. It will be seen that the interruption of the Schools, consequent thereupon, has materially reduced the total number of School months during which they were maintained. . . . Respectfully yours,

Sup't of Common Schools of Sacramento County.

p. 1

Trustees of the Insane Asylum
THE YEAR 1862.

. . .

p. 15


p. 17


Insane Asylum, }
Stockton, Dec. 1st, 1862. }

To the Trustees of the Asylum for the Insane of the State of California:

p. 18

. . . Although not as favorable as could be desired, the results thus shown are more encouraging than we had reason to expect in view of a state of things worse, in many respects, than at the commencement of the year. At that time there were one hundred and fifty patients in the Asylum more than we could properly accommodate, and scarcely a month had elapsed thereafter before we were called upon to remove over a hundred from the two outside wards to the main buildings--these wards being, during the terrible flood of that season, two feet in depth of water.

The sufferings of the patients and the inconveniences to the entire household thus occasioned, and continued for more than two months, can scarcely be imagined, certainly not described.

The inconveniences also suffered from the same cause, in the destruction of cattle, hogs, fences, bridges, embankments, fruit trees, and vines, together with the loss of lumber, wood, hay, and many other articles of minor importance, was very great, requiring an expenditure of twenty-five hundred dollars to replace the articles thus lost and destroyed.

Added to this chapter of misfortunes, was a visit, early in October, from the contagion of small pox.

I have, during several years' practice in a crowded city, passed through epidemics of cholera, small pox, ship fever, and kindred diseases, without further inconveniences than naturally consequent upon excessive labor, loss of rest, and anxiety for the safety of my patients, and I had believed that my intercourse with the various forms of disease, familiarized by twenty years observations, had prepared me to meet any emergency without more than ordinary apprehension; but the anxiety of my professional life, summed up in one shock, could scarcely have more than equalled the degree of alarm I experienced when, in passing through the wards on the seventh of October, I came suddenly upon two cases of small pox. which had developed themselves during the night before. It was not the disease itself that alarmed me, for with it 1 was familiar, but it was the thought of small pox with such surroundings; small pox in an Asylum having room for only two hundred and fifty patients, and

p. 19

containing over five hundred persons; small pox in a crowd difficult to manage under the best of circumstances, but wholly unmanageable if the disease should spread through the Institution.

What could be done? Of course, they must be removed, but where to? That was the question. Some one suggested a vacant house in the country, distant a mile to the east. It was rented, and in three hours from the time the alarming discovery was made, the cases were comfortably located out of the reach of further harm to us. It was now necessary to prevent, if possible, the spread of the disease. General vaccination was resolved upon, and I will take occasion hereto express my gratitude to Doctors Morse, Logan, Taylor, Harkness, Oatman, Simmons, and Montgomery, for their prompt and generous response to my call upon them for vaccine virus. While waiting for a supply of vaccine, another trouble arose in connection with these cases. The people in the vicinity of our newly established hospital, not one of whom were in the least danger, took alarm, and applied to the Board of Supervisors and the Grand Jury to have them removed; and failing in this, gave me notice (indirectly) that if they were not taken away, they would mob the place, and burn the house. Anxious to avoid a difficulty, I had them removed, at midnight, to the pest house in connection with the County Hospital, under the management of Doctor E. B. Bateman. By the prompt removal of the first cases, the effects of general vaccination, and the blessings of a merciful Providence, the further appearance of the disease was confined to one other case, which being immediately taken away, our small pox troubles came to an end.

How the Contagion got into the Asylum I have never been able to determine. The filthy condition, however, in which many of the patients come to us from some of the county prisons, is at least suggestive that it may have reached us on the person of some one of them.

What with the want of room, an empty treasury, a limited credit, the inconveniences of the flood, epidemic diarrhoea and dysentery, and the contagion of small pox, it would be a matter of wonder if the results compared favorably with institutions which have escaped such misfortunes, and which lack nothing in proper arrangements and most approved appliances. . . .

p. 16


p. 27

. . .You will remember, doubtless, that the work on the sewer was interrupted early last season by repeated rains, and that it was finally stopped in the early part of January. It was resumed about the middle of June, and completed the first of October. . . .

p. 38

. . .I remain, gentlemen, respectfully, etc.,

Resident Physician.

p. 1

State Geologist of California,,
THE YEAR 1862.

p. 5

- - - - - - - -


. . .The field work was much delayed in its commencement, by the almost entire destruction of the roads and bridges throughout the State, consequent on the unprecedented winter storms of eighteen hundred and sixty-one and eighteen hundred and sixty-two. Our wagon being at San Francisco, and our mules at Clayton, in Contra Costa County, we were unable to commence operations with the whole party until the creek at Pacheco was made passable. This was in the latter part of April. . . .

p. 6

. . . it had been my intention to have the party cross the San Joaquin and meet me at Snelling's, on the Merced, and there to devote our whole strength, for the remainder of the season, to working up the geology of the foot hills of the Sierra Nevada, going as far north as time would permit, and then returning on the west side of the Sacramento, in the foot hills of the Coast Eanges. It appeared, however, that all the ferries of the San Joaquin had been broken up by the winter's storms; and, up to August, there was no possibility of crossing at any point, the river continuing greatly swollen by the melting of the snow of the Sierra until late in the season. . . .

State Capitol Commissioners,
December, 1862.

p. 5


p. 6

[ A.]

Showing the amount expended in the construction of the State Capitol since the Report made to the Legislature hy the Board of State Capitol Commissioners, dated March 12th, 1862.


. . .
    Amount paid Messrs. Blake & Connor, under the provisions
    of section three of an Act approved April 19, 1862, being
    "for materials furnished and work done by them" on the
    Capitol Building, since the first day of January, 1862,
    and for the damages sustained by them by reason of the
    flood, and all other claims growing out of said contract
    and the annulling thereof,"                                  $10,000.00
    . . .
    Replacing plans destroyed by flood                               500.00
    Rent of Architect's office during flood                           60.00
    . . .

p. 8

[B ]

Of the total amount expended by the State Capitol Commissioners in the construction of the State Capitol

. . .
    Replacing plans destroyed by flood                               500.00
    Rent of Architect's office during flood                           60.00

p. 10

[ C ]
December 2d, 1862. }

To the Honorable the Board of State Capitol Commissioners :
. . .
Amount of Work Executed on the Building, under the provisions of the Act referred to :
. . .
    Number of bricks thrown down and injured by the floods        80,000

p. 10

. . . Of the amount expended for labor, nine hundred and sixty-six dollars and twenty cents ($966 20) was for cutting drains, clearing the deposit formed by the floods from the materials on the grounds, taking down and cleaning bricks and granite, caused by the change made in the grade line of the building. The expense of carrying on the works duriug the past season has been proportionally greater than the probability is that it will ever be again during the progress of the works, as it was not alone repairing the damages and cleaning the materials, but also the purchase of tools, lumber for scaffolding, laying water pipes, etc. . . . .

p. 1


p. 10

Board of Swamp Land Commissioners, }
Sacramento, May 27th, 1862. }

Hon. Wm. H. Parks: . . . The devastating floods of the last ten years, warn us to spare no pains in guarding against similar disasters in future. . . .

p. 11

Yery respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
President Swamp Land Commissioners.

p. 1

The Special Committee of the Assembly,

p. 3

p. 42


D. R. Ashley, sworn and examined : . . .

p. 57

p. 59

p. 68

[exhibit] [V]

October 9th, 1862.

Ashey :

. . . I have thought of reviewing matters a little, and by way of preparation, would like to know how long it is since our Judges and State officers have received any pay.


p. 1

Trustees of the State Library
THE YEAR 1862.

p. 9

. . .
Paid for repairing and binding books . . . . .864.85

. . . Since the report of the Trustees made to the Legislature at its last session, the Library has sustained some injury in consequence of the floods of last January. The injury was, under the circumstances, unavoidable

Two Committees of the Legislature, one from each House, after an investigation of the circumstances, exonerated the Librarian from all blame.

The Librarian was directed by the Trustees to have such of the books as could not be replaced at small cost, repaired in a substantial manner. It was at first thought that many of the books could be repaired without removing the covers; but it was found that it would be necessary for their preservation to have the covers taken off and the books rebound.

The whole number re-bound is seven hundred and fifty, and the cost of binding, seven hundred and sixty dollars and eighty-five cents, ($760 85.) A large proportion of them were folios and quartos, which it was necessary to have well bound. The books are now in good condition. About four hundred volumes were slightly injured; these were repaired in the Library, at a cost of one hundred and four dollars ($104.)

We have in the Library one hundred and twenty-five damaged books which have been replaced by new purchuses, and they are now ready for sale.

The Trustees have procured for the Miscellaneous Library an upper room, adjoining the Law Library, the rent of which is fifty dollars ($50) per month, and, as the Legishiture made no appropriation to meet the

p. 10

expense it has been paid out of the Library Fund. Althongh taking from the Library Fund a considerable amount for rent and fitting them up, it was absolutely necessary to procure upper rooms for the Miscellaneous Library. Had the books remained in the lower room they would now have been worthless.

The Library is now in a good condition. The books purchased the past year are valuable, and a great acquisition. After receiving all the books ordered, the Law Library will be one of the best in the United States

When the present Board of Trustees came into office, there was not a full set of the Reports of any State in the Union; but notwithstanding the great difficulty of procuring odd volumes of Reports we have now complete sets of nearly every State. Measures have been taken to procure the volumes that are yet wanting to complete the sets of all the State Reports.

J W. WINANS, } Trustees

p. 1


p. 5

. . .The salaries of the officers and Guards have not been paid for nearly a year. . . .

--Mike Barkley, 167 N. Sheridan Ave., Manteca, CA 95336 (H) 209/823-4817
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