At no time since the discovery of gold in 1849, in the state of California, have the eyes of the world been turned upon this garden spot as at present. During a period of over fifty years of prosperity, not unmixed with adversity, the state has steadily forged to the front, and today with its boundless resources and un paralleled advantages, it stands before the world in a new light, with a new ambition, and has taken its proper rank with the other peculiarly favored spots of the United States.
The second largest state in the Union today, it combines more natural advantages, more incentive for location and more inducements for industrial activity than any other of its sister states, and with the dawn of a new era before it, the time has been deemed opportune when a distinctive statement of the growth and development of this unsurpassed region should be spread upon the pages of history and when the factors in this development should be represented for the benefit of both the present and of future generations.
The new California is a different institution from the old. While the change may have been so gradual that it has been practically unnoticed by the permanent residents, the people of the world recognize that the new condition of affairs exists. This is mainly due to the men at the helm and one of the purposes of this history has been to give credit where credit is due.
The conderful fertility of the soil, the great advantages of climate, the immense superiority of geographical location have at times been presented in a brief way, but a comprehensive history of the same has never been published and such is the object at present. In dealing with this subject the purpose has been to represent only those certain localities that have practically made the history of the state and this with the especial reference to Central California, including the great Sacramento, San Joaquin and Santa Clara valleys and the magnificent district bordering on the bay of San Francisco.
Central California affords also a peculiarly interesting field for genealogical and family history. Her soil has been the scene of events of the utmost importance; her sons, at home and abroad, have shed lustre upon her name by deeds of gallantry on land and sea, by achievements in the arts and sciences, in the professions, in statesmanship and in commercial affairs, and have been a power for ideal citizenship and good government. To afford to the present and future generations a much deeper source of reliable information concerning this historic section of our country, this work has been made a veritable history of the people in their various localities, portraying their home life, their customs, their institutions, their past, their present, and their hope in the way of future development.