They tell us we never can be a manufacturing state, as we are too far distant from the cheap fuel supply, coal, the market and cheap labor. This may be true, but we have an immense electrical power, which is cheaper than coal; and we have an ocean of fuel oil. We need not go to the market to sell our manufactured goods. The market is coming to us. As to cheap labor, no man can foretell the results arising from the Panama canal. Admitting that we may not become a manufacturing state, we are rapidly becoming the garden spot of the nation. Today the exportations from California of fruits, vegetables, cereals and wines (1) are enormous. Yet we have thousands of acres of mountain, valley and marsh lands, fertile and productive, not yet touched by plow or spade.
As the men of 1849 landed in California they rushed to the mines, regarding not the fact that agriculture and horticulture were soon to become the greatest source of wealth (2). Those inclined to farming believed it impossible to raise grain upon soil that was dry six months of the year, and they wrote east to friends, "Don't come to California, for so rainless is this region it is impossible to raise anything except along the river banks." (3). A few of the old pioneers, gaining wisdom from the mission fathers, planted grain and to some extent exported it. That the wealth of the wheat crop alone was far in excess of the value of the gold output is an undeniable fact, as a few figures only will show. In 1860 the state wheat crop was 2,530,400 bushesl; in 1870, 6,937,038 bushels; in 1880, 29,017,707 bushels, and in 1889, 40,869,337 bushels. This was the state's crown point in the production of wheat. It was the largest crop of any state in the Union save Minnesota. This immense yield, figured at one dollar a bushel (it was often worth more, never less), equaled the entire gold output previous to 1853, and nearly doubled the gold production of any two years succeeding 1855. This of wheat alone, to say nothing of oats, barley, hay, corn and other cereals. In 1852 the state produced 90,100 bushels of barley; increasing yearly, the crop in 1879 was 11,000,000, and in 1892, 15,000,000. Barley is never less than ninety cents a bushel.
The long, dry summer of the San Joaquin valley permits the standing for two or more months of the ripened grain. So vast was the yeild, however, great improvements in agricultural implements were necessary. The Russians plowed their land with a long bent beam, to which was fastened a pointed flat piece of iron. The pioneers, cultivating from 400 to 1,200 acres in each farm, first used the single plow. Then two plows were fastened together. Next came the gang plow, one man and eight horses plowing ten acres a day. It cut a three-foot swath. Now they cut a furrow eight feet wide, sow and harrow at the same time, using an oil burning engine.
Captain Sutter cut his grain with scythes in the hands of several hundred Indians, threshed it by driving loose horses over the grain. The chaff was separated from the grain by tossing it up in blankets in a strong wind. This was the work of several months. The pioneer first used the old fashioned mower for cutting the grain. Then was invented the "California header," which, cutting a swath twenty feet wide, sent a steady stream of grain into the wagon which accompanied it. Later came the immense hay fork, lifted by horse power, which quickly lifted the grain from the wagon and stacked it. After 1852 the McCormick thresher was used. Still later the steam power thresher was sent into the field. The engine was so constructed that straw, instead of wood, was used for fuel. It threshed 2,000 bushels a day, but that was not enough. In 1860 James Marvin, a farmer of San Joaquin, invented a combined header and harvester. It was not a success. After his death, however, improvements were made from time to time. Then this immense machine, drawn by thirty horses, cut, threshed and sacked fifteen acres of grain in a single day. Now the horses are gone and the huge machine is run by its own motive power.
The farmers of the great Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys received a severe setback in 1862. It was the year of the record breaking flood (4). For nearly two weeks the entire basin from Sacramento to Visalia was under water. About fifty lives were lost and over $50,000,000 worth of property. The ocean of water running through the Golden Gate prevented sailing vessels from entering port, and the steamships could scarcely breast the swift running tide. So great was the property lost, for over twenty miles along the coast a continuous body of wreckage was seen. This wreckage comprised dead animals, houses, lumber, trees, cordwood, mining sluices, windmills, etc.
The flood of 1862 was followed two years later by a dry year. Scarcely any rain fell in the winter of 1863, or during the following spring (5). As a result, the farmers cut but little hay. The wheat crop was a complete failure. Hay arose in value to $60.00 a ton, and wheat was scarce at $5.00 a bushel. Horses, cattle and sheep died by the thousands of starvation. Black beef, poor and scrawny, sold for food at twenty-five cents per pound. The horses of the cities and farm--poor and weak from hunger--staggered as they walked. The street car company of San Francisco had great difficulty in maintaining their service. Hay and barley were imported from Oregon and Nevada. There was stagnation in all kinds of business and thousands of men were out of employment. Now irrigation canals can offset a dry year to some extent, and thousands of tons of alfalfa are yearly raised.
A great assistance to the state at that time was the importation of silver from the Nevada silver mines. The mines were discovered about the time of the decline in gold mining. Thousands of people rushed into the territory. Almost in a day Virginia City was founded and it became a large flourishing capital. The Comstock, Hale & Norcross, Ophir and Gould & Curry silver mines were developed and worked, principally by citizens of San Francisco. There William Sharon, J. B. Haggin, Flood and O'Brien, Wm. C. Ralston, William Hearst and Adolph Sutro (6) made their millions and in San Francisco spent it like lords. Many of the finest buildings were erected and money flowed as in the earlier days of California's wealth. About this time was organized the San Francisco stock boards. They were a moral blight upon the state, a curse not yet destroyed. Stock gambling became contagious. All classes, from the child to the gray haired man, engaged in gambling. It demoralized business, disrupted homes, caused murders and suicides and ruined the lives of thousands of young men and women.
Almost simultaneously with the discovery of Nevada's silver, copper was discovered in June, 1860, in the Sierras east of Stockton. Cornish miners were imported from Cornwall, England, to work in the mines. A town was immediately founded. Within five years Copperopolis had a population of 10,000 inhabitants. A new industry was created for the mule teams, and at one time 800 tons of copper in 100-pound sacks were daily loaded upon the water front. It was then landed upon a steamer built for the copper trade and in San Francisco bay the copper was transferred to a sailing vessel bound for England. Within six years copper was discovered in Michigan. A metal was also found that at a cheaper price would take the place of copper. The price of copper fell twenty per cent and the Copperopolis mines were shut down. Over a thousand men in the mines alone were thrown out of work and the town was deserted.
One of the demoralizing effects of the gambling mania was the lottery October 31, 1870, of the San Francisco Mercantile Association. The association, although composded of the wealthiest and most influential citizens of the city, became very heavily involved. As the creditors were about to seize the library and building, the association planned an immense lotter and concert to pay the debt. By law the lottery was prohibited, yet the Legislature of February 10, 1869, passed a special act empowering the association to hold a lottery. The scheme was patronized by thousands of citizens throughout the state. The drawing for prizes took place as advertised and over a million dollars was distributed. The highest prize was $100,000. The concert included a three days' program, commencing February 22, 1870. It was the largest musical celebration of the Pacific coast and, later, once only has it been excelled. Singers, twelve hundred in number, from every singing society in the state took part, one hundred coming by special train from Nevada. The orchestra of two hundred instruments was accompanied by fifty anvils in the "Il Trovatore" chorus and an immense bass drum. Rudolph Herold held the baton. Camelia Urso, the world wide famous woman violinist, was present and she was the principal attraction. An audience of twelve thousand each afternoon filled the Mechanics' pavilion.
Two years previous, October, 1868, San Francisco was given her first earthquake fright. The shock was first felt at 7:50 a.m., and for a period of forty-two seconds the suspense was terrible. The cheeks of thousands of citizens blanched with fear. Hundreds ran into the streets scantily clothed. Six persons were killed by falling walls and jumping from lofty heights. The city suffered a loss of over $500,000. Outside of San Francisco the loss was very small. In San Jose men reeled as if intoxicated. Many persons became deathly sick. The artesian wells increased their flow of water. San Leandro creek, a running stream two feet in depth, became dry. The earth opened in places several feet wide. In Stockton the shock was slightly felt at 7:51. The time of travel of the wave was just one minute. The city lies northeast of San Francisco some eighty air miles (7).
Inyo county on March 26, 1872, suffered the most violent shock in California up to that date. The terrible destructive wave ran along the base of the Sierra Nevadas, and it was felt from Red Bluff to Los Angeles. San Francisco, Stockton and San Jose knew nothing of it until the telegraph reported the news. The principal buildings in every town were destroyed. The face of the county was changed. In places the earth crust sank several feet; in other places it was thrown up in ridges, forming embankments ten feet high. In places lakes disappeared and springs ceased their flow. In other spots springs were created. In the hills near Visalia trees were uprooted and immense rocks were thrown into the canyon. Over one hundred persons were injured and thirty-four killed in various ways. The shock came at 2:00 a.m. It was preceded by a low rumbling. There were three hundred distinct shocks and for three days the earth trembled.
The Legislature assembled at Sacramento January 5, 1862. At that time Sacramento was from two feet to ten feet under water, and in rowboats or high gum boots the legislators reached the capitol. The adjourned January 23rd to meet the following day in San Francisco. The Legislature took passage on the Chrysopolis and they paid the company $1,000 for the trip (8).
The year 1862 was a very disastrous one of shipping and the California owners lost over six and one-half million dollars from the destruction of steamers and sailing vessels. Oregon at that time had no communication with the eastern states except by the way of San Francisco.
Steamers ran semi-monthly between the last named port and Portland. The Northerner of this line was wrecked in January, 1860, and seventeen passengers lost. All of the women passengers save one were saved through the heroic efforts of Arthur French, the third mate. Pulling to the shore, trailing a rope, he succeeded in fastening it. Two boatloads of women were safely landed. The third load was swamped and all were drowned, including French.
Another marine disaster five years later was the loss of the famous steamship Brother Jonathan. As she left her San Francisco pier bound for Portland a heavy wind was blowing. She had on board one hundred and ninety passengers, including James Nisbet, one of the proprietors of the Bulletin, and Brigadier General Wright and family. The general was on his way to Oregon to pay off the troops and he had $2,000,000 in gold and greenbacks (9). On the second day at sea (July 31, 1865), the wind increasing to a gale, Captain De Wolf concluded to put into port at Crescent City. Eight miles from the harbor the ship struck a sunken rock. She went down in forty-five minutes. The boats were launched, but they could not live in the raging sea and only seventeen passangers were saved. Later General Wright's body was washed ashore and with full military honors he was buried in the state plot at Sacramento.
Had General Wright lived until this date he would have been despised by the laboring classes, as they declared they have no use for the militia. So declared the miners of the gold quartz mines at Sutter Creek, Amador county. They struck for higher wages in July, 1871, and the employers refused their demand and employed non-union labor.
Then the miners, marching from mine to mine, threatened to beat up the non-unionists. They stopped work. The mines began t fill with water; the employers then called upon the sheriff for protection. The county official called upon Governor Haight, and two companies of the National Guard of San Francisco, in command of W. H. L. Barnes, sailed June 18th on the steamer Yosemite for the seat of war. The militia on arrival guarded the mines and the non-union men were set to work pumping out the water. The damage was in excess of $100,000. After a month of these conditions the mine owners compromised with the "Union League." It was, they thought, a costly proposition paying non-union miners to pump water out of the mines and militia to guard them. During the trouble two men were killed, Edward Hatch, the bookkeeper of the Amador mine, and John McManey, the leader of the strike. Hatch was killed by a stray shot. McManey, assaulting the bookkeeper at a dance that evening, was killed the following day in a quarrel by a friend of Hatch.
The Amador war was succeeded two years later by what was known in history as the Modoc or Indian war. It was the last Indian fight, the end of the massacre of the poor savages, once the sole owners of California's soil. I can touch but lightly upon the cause and the result of this fight.
The Modocs were a tribe of brave Indians who lived in Northern California on the banks of the Pit and Lost rivers. They had in early days been massacred and maltreated in every manner possible--and they retaliated in kind. In 1856 the government established a military post in Surprise valley. An Indian campaign was then begun, which continued until 1864. Then a treaty of peace was signed between the governments and the Modocs. They were compelled to go to a small reservation near Klamath lake. There they were to be supplied with food and clothing through Indian agents. The agents stole all they could carry and the Indians were scatily clothed and only half fed. Then the settlers began encroaching upon their reservation, killing their game and occasionally a Modoc. Finally the tribe was reduced to such a condition that it was starve or fight.
Fortifying themselves in the center crater of the lava beds, they killed several settlers and then defied the whites to come and take them. After an encounter January 17, 1873, in which General Wheaton lost forty men and several muskets and one thousand rounds of ammunition, the government concluded to again make a treaty of peace.
Three peace commissioners were appointed, A. B. Meacham, then one of the Indian superintendents; Rev. William Thomas, a Methodist pastor; Dyer, an Indian agent, and General E. R. S. Canby. Efforts were made several times to make a treaty. The Modocs, fearing treachery, would make no treaty which compelled them to leave the lava beds. Another conference was arranged for April 11th. Frank Riddle, a white man, was the interpreter. His squaw wife advised the commissioners not to meet the Modoc committee that day. "They will kill you," she said. Heeding not her advice, on arrival they found seven Modocs sitting on the earth. According to the agreement there should have been five only. Fearing no treachery, the commissioners dismounted from their horses. Dr. Thomas addressed the Indians in a short speeh and said in closing, "I know their hearts are all good (these Modocs). We want no more blood shed." Just then Meacham, observing a suspicious movement on the part of one Indian, exclaimed, "What does this mean?" The commissioners were unarmed, and Captain Jack, drawing a revolver which had been concealed, shot and instantly killed General Canby. Three Modocs armed with rifles, who had been concealed in the bushes, now took part in the fight. Boston Charley shot and killed Dr. Thomas. Meacham fled, but as he ran he was shot in the shoulder by John Schonin. Dryer and Riddle saved themselves by flight. From the bluff a squad of soldiers saw the massacre. Hastening to the spot, they found General Canby stripped of his uniform and clothing. Dr. Thomas' clothing was partly gone. Meacham was unconscious and badly wounded.
Orders now came from Washington to drive out the Modocs with shot and shell if necessary. Their fortification in the lava bed was almost impregnable. General Gillem in a three days' engagement April 15th was surprised and nineteen killed and twenty-eight wounded, over forty-seven men having been killed during this campaign. General Gillem was superveded by General J. B. Davis. He fought the Modocs as they had fought, from behind rocks and barriers. He shelled heavily every point before he advanced, using mountain howitzers, and May 15th he reached their stronghold, an extinct crater. Not a Modoc in sight. They had all fled. Later Captain Jack, John Schonin and Boston Charley were captured. They were tried for murder, found guilty and together hanged (October 3, 1973) at Fort Klamath.
While the Modocs were causing considerable excitement around Mount Shasta, a band of Mexican desperadoes lead by Timburcio Vasquez were making things lively in Monterey and other southern counties. Vasquez in some respects followed the plan of Joaquin Murietta. He would quickly ride from place to place, committing robberies and murders. At one time the band operated in San Joaquin county. At that time an Italian named Frank Medina kept a store some twenty miles east of Stockton. A teamster passing December 10, 1869, found the building burned to the ground. Search being made for the proprietor, he and five others were found murdered. Three of the Vasquez desperadoes committed the murder. In 1870 they were taken prisoners, tried, convicted and hanged. Vasquez, the chief, who had been committing robberies and murders for nearly twenty years, continued his depredations. In July, 1873, he committed what was known as the Tres Pinos murder in Monterey county. One Snyder at that town kept a store. Vasquez and two of his companions killed the proprietors and three others, and robbed the store. He was now such a terror to the southern country that the Legislature of 1874 appropriated $5,000 reward for Vasquez dead or alive. The money was placed in the hands of Harry Morse, of Alameda, three of the best officers of the state, Harry Morse, Thomas Cunningham and Benjamin Thorn of Calaveras working together.
After several months of travel and dangerous experiences, they captured the outlaw (May 13th) near Los Angeles. During the fight, says Morse, "The bandit threw up both hands, crying, 'No shoot, no shoot!'" Almost instantly he fell wounded by a charge of buckshot. Vasquez recovered from his wound and was tried at San Jose for the Tres Pinos murder. He was found guilty and hanged in the courtyard of the jail March 19, 1875.
Harry Morse was a pioneer and a member of the California Pioneers, that society that decreases in number as the years fly on. On the 9th of July, 1850, President Zachariah Taylor died. The steamer California August 23rd brought the news. The citizens of San Francisco August 29th honored the deceased Whig President by a procession, oration and music. All pioneers were requested to assemble and march in the procession. It was their first appearance, those sixty founders of the state. Samuel Brannan was the grand marshal. A few days later they organized a pioneer society, with W. D. M. Howard as president. That year they celebrated California's admission in grand style. During the day they were presented with a handsome banner designed by George Derby (10). Since that time not a year has passed uncelebrated. And in processions, banquets, orations, poems, songs and dances they have kept alive that memorable event September 9th. In July, 1853, they reorganized with Samuel Brannan as president. In their ninth celebration they mourned the death of the gifted young poet, Edward Pollock, also the veteran pioneer, Thos. O. Larkin. That year (1858) the pioneers were deeded a lot on Montgomery, near Pacific, by James Lick. A handsome building July 8, 1863, was dedicated, with Thomas Starr King as the orator. Occupying this building until 1890, they then removed to a handsome building on Fourth, near Market, from money contributed from James Lick, deceased. In their room of "memorable days" they gathered thousands of relics of California's past. The fire of 1906 swept nearly everything out of existence. In the early '60's pioneer societies were organized in every large city. Now the gray haired pioneers are but a few, "waiting the judgment day."
The California Pioneer Society was the only body of its kind in existence. From its loins there sprung the Native Sons of the Golden West (11). The first parlor, California No. 1, was organized July 11, 1875, with twenty-five members, none less than seventeen years of ago. This was the only parlow in the state until December, 1877. Then a branch was instituted at Oakland. A third parlow was organized March 28, 1878, at Sacramento. In 1880 (June 8th) the Grand Parlor was instituted and in April, 1883, the thirteen parlors then organized resolved to celebrate each Admission Day (September 9th), the first celebration taking place in Stockton, and there were one thousand Native Sons in line.
The celebration of 1880 in San Francisco was as fine perhaps as any that has been celebrated. The festivities continued three days, commencing on the evening of September 6th with a parade, open air concert and fireworks. The following day was Sunday. On Monday there was boat and barge racing on the bay. From all parts of the state the boys assembled and each parlor tried to outshine every other parlor. The parade of September 9th was grand. Every organization in San Francisco took part--the militia, pioners, veteren firemen, county officials, Mexican veterans and over thirty parlors. Twenty thousand were in line and sixty brass bands furnished the music. there were twenty large and handsome floats. Quite a number of them were contributed by the Native Daughters of the Golden West. Their first parlor was organized in September, 1886, at Jackson, Amador county.
San Francisco is the winter quarters of the floating population of the state. Naturally there is at times among such a class much suffering and hardships. In 1874, to partly relieve the distress, Charles Crocker gave employment to several hundred men. They filled up Mission bay, where now stands the Southern Pacific railroad building. The San Francisco Benevolent Association in 1876 expended over $10,000 in relieving distress. In the following year they fed over one thousand persons during the winter. In November a bread riot was threatened and a committee appointed quickly collected $20,000 for relief. The suffering continued and in January, 1878, Dennis Kearney at the head of one thousand men marched to the city hall and demanded of the mayor, "Bread or a place in the county jail." The winter of 1889-90 was another period of extreme destitution. the sum of $20,000 was raised and work was given to the unemployed in Golden Gate park. Married men were given the preference. So eager were these men to earn their "one dollar" a day, on one occasion for three days they labored in a heavy rain. Some of those men had but a crust of bread for their noon meal.
Aside from the panic of 1855, the heaviest financial crisis of the coast was the failure August 26, 1875, of the Bank of California, the "King of California banks." It was incorporated in 1864 with a capital of $2,000,000. Its directors were among the wealthiest men of San Francisco and behind them the Nevada silver mines. The bank immediately took rank with the leading banks of America and Europe, and its stock at all times brought a high premium. It exerted a strong influence in the state. Rival banks declared that the Bank of California was controlling the finance and the legislators of both California and Nevada. The assertion was true.
In what manner the news became public I do not know. Near the hour of noon, however, on August 26th, the public began making a run on the bank. The few soon increased to hundreds and the poorly dressed men and women pushed and crowded each other in order to reach the counter and withdraw their hard earned deposits. Finally so great was the press it became necessary to close the doors and compel them to enter one by one. The crowd continued increasing, but at 3:00 o'clock, the usual time of closing, both doors were locked. The doors were not again opened until October. The directors, now assembling, began an examination of the books. Much to their dismay, they found the bank had on hand $100,000 only, and that their liabilities (including their reserve fund of $1,000,000 and their capital stock of $500,000) amounted to $19,538,000. They had given full confidence to their president, W. C. Ralston, and he, presenting false statements, had exhibited for their inspection money borrowed from other banks. He had been spending money lavishly, they knew, but he had also been making immense sums of money in speculation. Examining his accounts, they found his assets were $8,000,000, but his debts exceeded his assets by $4,000,000. The bank lost $5,000,000. This was a trifle only, for the directors were each worth from five to twenty million. The bank again opened for business October 3rd. Every clerk was in his accustomed place and today the bank pursues the even tenor of its ways.
One officer only was absent from the bank on its opening day, William C. Ralston--the boldest, gamest speculator on the Pacific coast, the brainiest man of all state financiers. Born in Ohio in 1825, he received a common school education. Then he learned the ship carpenter's trade. His next occupation was clerking on a Mississippi river steamer. In 1850 he started for California, but remained at Panama as the agent of the Garrison & Morgan steamer line. The company in 1853 transferred Ralston to San Francisco and he became a clerk in their bank. The young man, industrious, frugal and saving, soon had acquired quite a sum of money, and he purchased the bank of his employers. He now took in a partner named Fretz and they continued the banking business until 1858.
Ralston now began planning for the ambition of his life, namely, to become the king of California bankers. With this object in view, he interested Darius O. Mills (12), William Sharon and others and in 1864 the Bank of California was incorporated. D. O. Mills was the first president and W. C. Ralston the cashier. The success of the bank surpassed even their highest hopes, as it paid a one per cent monthly dividend. D. O. Mills resigned in 1873, and the directors having great confidence in the ability, business tact and honesty of their cashier, elected him president. With gold unlimited at his command. Ralston now plunged into gigantic enterprises, schemes which fairly astonished his friends and brought forth praise from press and people. He built a beautiful and costly mansion at Belmonth, San Mateo county (13). Then, withothers, he engaged in enterprises and speculations far in excess of any other capitalist on the coast. Among his enterprises was the Mission woolen mill, the Cornell watch factory, the Kimball carriage works, the San Joaquin and Calaveras irrigation scheme, the building of the Palace hotel (14), the erection of the California theater (15), and the north extension of Montgomery street. It was customary at that time for bank presidents to borrow money from themselves, and as the directors knew that Ralston was a man of tremendous ability and unlimited credit, they did not worry. but he was too snaguine regarding his own ability. The crisis came and he could not meet it. Yet said Ashbury Harpending in 1913, had Ralston been spared another month, he would have emerged from all difficulties, as he had property and stock worth $15,000,000.
The day following the closing of the bank the directors requested Ralston to hand in his resignation. He complied, and immediately leaving the bank was not again seen in life by the officials. It was about 4:00 o'clock and Ralston, rapidly walking to North Beach, entered the Neptune bath house, intending to take a swim in the bay, as was his usual custom. A boatman advised him not to enter the cold water, as he was too warm. Heeding not the advice, Ralston, who was a strong swimmer, plunged headlong into the bay from the end of Meigg's wharf and struck out boldly for Alcatraz island. A few minutes later the boatman noticed the swimmer struggling in the water. Rowing quickly to his side, the boatman carried the unconscious man to the beach. A few minutes later he died. A hack driven at full speed up the streets stopped at the bank and a man running into the office shouted, "Ralston has killed himself." The news spread like wildfire and soon thousands were hurring to North Beach.
The suicide theory was prevalent among the enemies of Ralston, but the physicians declared that he had died of congestion of the lungs and brain. After a careful analysis no poison was found in the stomach, yet the Call and the Bulletin both declared it a case of suicide. The papers charged him also with forgery, fraud and embezzlement. The assertion created the greatest indignation and hundreds of San Francisco's best citizens fought the assertion. His death was looked upon as a common calamity, said one of his partners now living, and no spectacle has ever been witnessed in modern times such as his funeral presented. By common consent business of all kinds was suspended in San Francisco and thousands attended the last service. He was buried in Lone Mountain cemetery (16). Thomas Fitch, the silver tongued orator, delivered the funeral oration.
The year following Ralston's death another notable figure died, a man the exact antithesis of Ralston, and yet he was to mankind a far greater benefactor. While living, the world called him eccentric, selfish and an old skinflint, yet after his death no praise was too lavish for Jmes Lick (17), for in his will, leaving $150,000 only to his son, not one center to relatives, he left $4,000,000 to be expended for humanity. To the Old Ladies' Home he left $100,000, for the building of a public bath house and free public baths $150,000, for statuary representing California history $100,000, for a school of mechanicl arts $540,000, a bronze statue of Francis Scott Key, author of "The Star Spangled Banner," $60,000, and for an astronomical observation with a telescope lens larger than any yet made (18) $700,000.
The year 1878 was a notable one in many respects. Not the least was the death of five prominent men. Four of the number were millionaires, and the fifth, ex-Governor Haight, was wealthy. Two of the deceased, Mark Hopkins and David D. Colton, were Central Pacific railroad directors. Michael Reese and William O'Brien became wealthy through the Washoe, Nevada, silver mines. O'Brien was an Irishman. He came to California in 1849 and became a ship chandler. He then became a whisky dealer, his partner being James S. Flood, who died in England in February, 1888. Among their patrons wer many stock brokers and mining men. The two partners kept their ears open and they picked up considerable knowledge regarding stocks and mining. Finally they concluded to go into the stock brokers' occupation. They invested heavily and became partners with John W. Mackey and Wm. G. Fiar, afterward a United States Senator from Nevada. The two last named were practical miners. They remained in the mines. Flood and O'Brien played the bull and bear in the San Francisco stock board. It was a firm almost invincible because of their united strength and shrewdness. In their first deal they made a half million dollars. Buying the stock of several mines, they consolidated two of the best mines. Wm. G. Fair, then going to Washington, offered to supply the government with $10,000,000 in silver per month. They put in circulation over $100,000,000 in silver. When the California bank failed, each partner was worth $20,000,000. In October, 1875, they established the Nevada bank with a capital of $5,000,000. They soon increased the capital to $10,000,000 and erected a handsome bank building costing $1,500,000.
Andreas Pico in early Mexican days applied for and received a grant of land eleven square leagues in what is now San Joaquin county. It was known as the Los Moquelmos grant, which now includes Lodi, the "home of the Tokay grape." Farmers in good faith purchased and located on the land and improved it. The land commissioners in 1852 for some reason refused to confirm Pico's title. He continued selling lands, however, and nothing was said regarding a clouded title. The farmers builded fences, erected homes, raised families of children and remained in undisputed claim of the land until 1869. The Central Pacific then claimed the land undeer their twenty-mile subsidy. The settlers fought for their homes under the "Newhall vs. Sanger" case and won their suit. The Supreme Court of the United States sustained the state court and May 8, 1876, Senator Newton Booth wired their decision. This was among the first suits whereby the Central Pacific endeavored to drive from their homes farmers who had lived from five to twenty years upon their land.
The settlers greatly rejoiced, and wishing everybody to rejoice with them, May 19th they celebrated at Lodi. The entire surrounding country, including Stockton, took part in the happy occasion. There was a procession, oration, music, dancing and festing throughout the day. The farmers paid the entire expense. Cattle, hogs and sheep were barbecued and the 15,000 people had plenty to eat and drink, Lodi furnishing an 800-gallon barrel of claret.
The great social movement of national organizations was inaugurated in 1883. In that year (August 23rd) the Knights Templar assembled at San Francisco in their twenty-third conclave. As the Knights Templar of the metropolis were among the most intelligent, wealthy and influential citizens of the state, the celebration was one of the grandest. The city was decorated as never before, and the buildings were one mass of banners, flags, mottoes and Masonic emblems. The national guests were tendered a free concert and ball, excursions by steamer around the bya, and by cars to Santa Cruz and Monterey. During the week competitive drills took place for five magnificent prizes. The material of which they were made was marble, onyx, silver and gold. An immense parade was held, there being over five thousand Knights in line. The Boston and the St. Louis commanderies, with their $5,000 uniforms, were a special feature. Marching to Golden Gate park, the commandery with appropriate ceremony laid the corner stone of the Garfield monument. At all hours of the day and night marching bodies of Knights paid fraternal visits, and the music of the bands gave San Franciso a week of melody.
Before daylight on the morning of January 19, 1884, as the Los Angeles express approached the Tehachapi mountain, the passengers were sleeping soundly. The night was cold. There was a heavy frost upon the rails. Slowly the two engines, rear and front, over the steep grade of 125 feet to the mile, moved the heavy train up the hill to the Tehachapi station. The relief engine then ran back to Caliente. The pulling locomotive ran ahead for coal and water. Suddenly the train began moving backward. The air brakes had slackened. Efforts were made to use the hand brakes. They were out of order. The train, rapidly increasing its speed, was running at a fearful velocity. Striking a curve, the train jumped the track and the cars fell one upon the other in the canyon below. The cars then caught fire and a terrible scene was witnessed. Twenty-seven of the passengers were killed or burned to death and a like number badly injured. The accident was due to careless trainmen and worthless brakes.
The fortunes of politics are as surprising as the fortunes of war. In 1854 a young captain named U. S. Grant was stationed for a time at Knight's Ferry, Stanislaus county. Returning to the east, we heard nothing of him until the Civil war. Then rapidly rising in military rank from colonel to general, we see him finally accepting the surrender of General Lee's army. Now the people's hero, he was elected to the Presidency of the United States. California gave him, however, only a small majority--Grant 54,583, Seymour 54,077. Again elected President in 1872, the state gave Grant 54,020, Horace Greeley 40,718.
Crowned as hero of the Civil war and as ex-President of the United States, in 1879 he made a tour of the world. He followed in the footsteps of Wm. H. Seward in 1870. Everywhere welomed with distinguished honors, he was nowhere more royally welcomed than in his pioneer state. For many days previous to his arrival from China extensive preparations had been made for his reception. As soon as the City of Tokio, twenty miles at sea, was sighted from Point Lobos September 20th, the news was telephoned to the Merchants' Exchange. It was then telegraphed over the state. It was 3:00 o'clock and in San Francisco as if by magic flags were run to every housetop and flags and streamers decorated every steamer, ship and yacht in the harbor. Bells were rung, whistles blown and cannon fired. Thousands of people then joined the multitudes upon the hillsides until they were black with the excited throng. Steamers and sailing vessels now began moving toward the Golden Gate. Near 7:00 o'clock the heavy black smoke over Fort Point indicated the arrival of the Tokio within the bay. Cheer after cheer from thousands of throats now filled the air. The Tokio as she moved along the shore led the procession of shipping craft crowded with people. The cannon of Alcatraz and Angel islands responded to the signal salute from Fort Point and the air, heavy with powder smoke, almost obscured the triumphal parade. Upon reaching the wharf General Grant was welcomed to the city by Mayor Bryant, and a long procession of military, civilians and old friends escorted him to the hotel. The ex-President remained several days as the city's guest and excursions, dinners and entertainments formed only a part of the program arranged in his honor. Wherever he visited, San Jose, Stockton and Sacramento, he found the same joyful greeting, and his return from San Francisco to Washington was one continuous ovation across the continent.
In a spirit of revenge, because of his rejection by the miller's daughter, he built a mill at San Jose, and making it finer than the "old gentleman's mill," he finished it in California laurel, the most expensive of native woods. This foolishness cost him $200,000.
Aside from this extravagance, he spent but little money, dressed shabbily, and building in 1861 the magnificent Lick house, rented it and lodged alone in one of the cheapest rooms. He there lived in dirt and filth and would not even permit the washing of the windows. In carrying on his business, he rode about the streets driving an old horse, in an old buggy tied up with wire. The harness was tied with strings. The public laughed and joked about the "old man and his rattle trap." His yearly income at this time was about $250,000.