George Henry Tinkham, "History of San Joaquin County, California : with biographical sketches of leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present" (1923)

(c) 2012, Mike Barkley

at (multiple formats - the .pdf is searchable)

[This 1,638 page 1923 History is relatively removed from the times of the 1861-62 floods so the treatment of those floods is minimal. There are also a number of other floods mentioned - the County has suffered a bunch of them.]

p. 34

. . .Time passed; by means of glaciers, icebergs, avalanches, snow slides and heavy rains. Nature began sending debris into the valley below. After a time shrubs, plants and trees grew upon the new-made earth. Then they disappeared, covered by mountains of new soil. Through aeons of time, this soil-building continued until the Sierras were worn down to the present height, an average of probably 6,000 feet. The soil has been deposited over the inland lake to a depth unknown. Borings have been made in this county to a depth of 2,000 feet with no indications of any different type of soil than mountain soil. How many years was Nature at work in the building up of the valley we have not the remotest idea, except from the great flood of 1862. In that year the entire valley was covered with water for nearly two weeks, and during that time the soil was covered with debris from one to four inches in depth. Old Mother Earth is still soil-building along the river bottoms, and upon the swampy lands. The rivers are fast filling up from the debris brought down by the spring floods-- even San Francisco Bay is filling up--and one of the great problems of the day is how to keep our navigable rivers from destruction.

. . .Thousands of those majestic oaks that have braved the storms of many a century were cut down for firewood. For over twenty years they supplied the homes, flour mills, factories and steamboats with fuel. In the flood of 1862 over one hundred cords of white oak, piled upon the river bank for steamer use, were swept onward to the Golden Gate. . . .

p. 43

. . .Indian mounds were found in many places around Stockton, and on February 8, 1862, the Stockton Independent said, "Captain Hayes and Ben Sanborn yesterday made a trip down the channel where an old Indian burial ground had been discovered, the flood having washed the earth from several of the graves The parties dug up several skulls and bones beads, arrow heads and ornaments and brought them to this city. The curiosities may be seen in the rooms of the Natural History Society in the Agricultural Society rooms." . . .

p. 77

. . .We have never had a failure of wheat crops but once, the year following the flood of 1862, and a partial failure in 1872. . . .

p. 96

. . .The first bridge in the county was erected in 1854 over the Calaveras River at what was then known as the Leach & Frost ranch. The river was not wide but during the spring months the water ran deep and swift, the banks were steep and during these months of spring floods it was impossible to cross the stream. Leach & Frost had built a toll bridge across the river. In December the farmers of that vicinity made liberal donations, money was liberally subscribed by Stockton merchants, the bridge was purchased and opened free to the public. In giving an account of this enterprise the press declared, "All we want now is a bridge over the Mokelumne River to have a fine road to Sacramento." In 1858 Jeremiah H. Woods built a toll bridge across the Mokelumne River at Woodbridge, at a cost of $1,000. His toll charges were one dollar for two horses and wagon and fifty cents for each additional pair of animals. He is said to have taken in $9,000 the first year. The bridge was swept away in the flood of 1862. Soon after a better and more substantial bridge was built by Leonard, the San Francisco bridge builder, and soon after Woods' tragic death it was purchased by the farmers and opened free to the public. . . .

p. 120

. . .The principal part of the town had been destroyed in the fire of May 5, [year?] and in the spring of 1851 came the first of those floods that since that time have caused hundreds of thousands of dollars damange [sic] because the citizens made no movement to prevent damage by floods until some ten or fifteen years ago. In the winter, of 1851-52 a very peculiar condition of weather existed for it was the heaviest rainfall--17.98 inches in 1851 : 27.40 inches in 1852--in the history of the county, save that of 1862. . . .

p. 159

. . .They obtained a lot on the north bank of the channel on Miner Avenue near Hunter Street, the rear of the lot being under water much of the time. . . .During the flood of 1861-62 there was two feet of water on the floor of the synagogue and a rushing river on the front and rear of the building, and as soon as possible the building was removed to a lot on Hunter Street opposite the home of Wm. Kierski. It was set three feet above the ground and provided with a portico and fence. . . .

p. 293

. . .In the great flood of 1861-62 the entire country was under water and there was considerable suffering in the mountain camps because of the scarcity of food. Dr. D. J. Locke conceived the idea of chartering a steamer in San Francisco, loading it with provisions, sailing the vessel to Lockeford, and make the town a depot of supplies for the mining camp. Then Lockeford would rapidly grow as the head of navigation on the Mokelumne. Going to San Francisco he chartered a small steamer called the Fanny Ann, Captain Haggerty. The steamer was loaded with supplies and left San Francisco February 12, 1862, bound for Lockeford. Mr. Locke instructed the captain to spend two weeks time if necessary to reaching that point, as he considered it a very important business proposition, which it was, if successful. In the meantime J. H. Woods, the founder of Woodbridge, did not propose to have the rival town of Lockeford be declared the head of navigation, and he bribed the captain of the Fanny Ann to loaf on the job and cast anchor at Woodbridge. The stearner was eight days making that point and arriving February 20, the captain told Dr. Locke that he would take no chances of a shipwreck by snags in steaming to Lockeford. The goods were unloaded at Woodbridge and hauled to the mining camps by team. Woods had certainly put one over Dr. Locke, as the saying goes, and in the town there was great rejoicing. . . .

p. 318

. . .In 1861 a 100 cords of wood piled on the levee for the use of the steamers was swept away by the flood and floated through the Golden Gate. . . .

p. 507

. . . opened a lumber business which was carried on by them together until Andrew Simpson's retirement. It was soon demonstrated that of the two, Mr. Simpson was a very capable buyer of stock, and it came to pass that all purchases were left to him; and eventually Mr. Gray attributed much of the success of the firm to this wise division of activities. For more than fifty-five years their office was in the same location and was one of the best known business headquarters in Stockton, although at first its front faced Commerce Street; but in 1861 such changes were made that it fronted on Weber Avenue. The main yard was bounded by Commerce, Main and Madison streets and also Weber Avenue, and they had three other yards in the city to further protect their interests, doing in early days a large wholesale trade. This location and long tenure of position enabled the authorities, by means of marks made by Mr. Simpson on the cornerstone at the main yard, to determine the record of the high water in 1906, and to prove conclusively that the waters rose higher then than during the memorable flood of 1861-62.

p. 520

. . .Arriving in San Joaquin County he purchased a claim of a man named Adams, situated nine and a half miles from Stockton and five miles from what is now Lodi. He sold the place in 1857 and went down to the Lower Sacramento Road, where he purchased 200 acres where he had stock. He remained there until the fall of 1862, when on account of flood he came back and purchased again near the old place. . . .

p. 571

. . .Her father, Nicholas Walsh,. . . With his neighbor, Mr. Kenyon, Mr. Walsh built the first schoolhouse in that part of the county on land owned by G. Moore. The school is known today as the Moore School. Mr. Walsh, Mr. Kenyon and Jacob Peters were the first trustees. When the new building was erected it was built on land donated by Mr. Walsh. In 1862, the year of the flood in this county, the people of the section about the Walsh ranch ran out of supplies. They built a boat, and starting from Walsh's house rowed direct to Stockton to the stores for their supplies, and out into the open and back to the ranches.

p. 669

Mr. Smith bought a block of land in Stockton, and in the fall of 1861 the family home at 347 East Poplar Street, which is now the property of his daughter. Miss Nellie Alice Smith, was ready for occupancy. After selling his ranches in Stanislaus County, he purchased the Fish slough range of 8,000 acres, and moved his horses and cattle there, while Mrs. Smith made a visit to her brother, James Bell, near Sonora. Her brother, Thomas Bell, was taking her to Stockton to their new home when they were caught at Knights Ferry by the flood and had many exciting experiences. She was the guest of the Edwards family for six weeks, and saw the Two Mile Bar Bridge (a toll-bridge built and operated by her brother, Thomas Bell) go down the Stanislaus River. She also saw the Knights Ferry Bridge go off. The present bridge at Knights Ferry was also long operated as a toll-bridge, in which all the Bell brothers held large interests. During the disastrous flood, Mr. and Mrs. Smith had no knowledge of each other's welfare, and Mr. Smith did not succeed in reaching Stockton until two weeks after his wife had arrived.

p. 891

. . .and in 1860, with a party of fifteen ox-teams started across the plains; after six months they arrived in Clements, Jackson Valley, Calaveras County, Cal. The company experienced many hardships and adventures, but had no trouble with the Indians. Securing land they began to farm, but in 1862 a disastrous flood almost ruined the settlers of Jackson Valley. . . .

p. 963

. . .He established his first home on Union Isle and engaged in raising grain and stock until the winter of 1861-62, the year of the disastrous flood that inundated the island and caused great financial loss to the farmers. . . .

p. 1003
. . .Daniel S. Stuart was a Californian forty-niner, who started West, but was shipwrecked at Acapulco, Mexico [???], and packed and walked across the Isthmus; they encountered severe hardships, and many died from the Panama fever. He arrived in San Francisco, Cal., and went to Amador County, where he engaged in mining, meeting with considerable success on the North Fork of the American River; in 1850 he returned East and spent seven years at his home in Bangor, Maine; then in 1858 he came around the Horn to San Francisco with his wife and five children and they located on the south end of Grand Island in Sacramento County, where he became a successful horticulturist. The flood of 1862 completely inundated Grand Island and Mr. Stuart and family lost all their personal property as well as the houses and barns, horses, cattle, hogs, etc., including 1000 cords of wood, which was swept away into San Francisco Bay. . . .

p. 1004

. . .The Thornton family took up their residence on the John Pollock ranch near Bellota and experienced the great flood of 1862, but remained there until 1864; . . .

p. 1423

. . .born in San Francisco, Cal., on July 10, 1870, the son of a California pioneer who came from Newark. Wayne County, N. Y., via the Isthmus of Panama in 1SS8, locating in San Francisco, where he remained until 1862, when he located in Sacramento and there conducted a livery stable, but was driven out by the floods of that year. . . .

p. 1477

. . .work for his uncles, Bisagno Brothers, in a crockery store, and six months later he was sent to Stockton to take charge of a branch store which was erected at the corner of Washington and El Dorado streets. . . .Mr. Alegretti related interesting experiences during his lifetime. During the flood of 1862, when the lower part of the city was covered with water, an old barge from the river floated down the street and went aground at the corner where he was employed in the store; . . .

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