In April 1865 the Confederate Army surrendered to the Union. The Confederate newspaper in Santa Rosa did not.

Over the four horrific years of the Civil War, the Sonoma Democrat remained steadfast in its support of the South and opposed to the Union and everything it stood for, including freedom for the slaves. This article covers what happened in Sonoma county at the end of the war and mirrors the earlier story of how the Democrat reacted to Lincoln's 1860 election ("THAT TERRIBLE MAN RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT").

A devil's advocate might defend the Democrat by arguing the paper only reflected its readership - Sonoma was the only county in the state which didn't vote for either Lincoln's election or re-election. But the Democrat went way, way beyond simply standing as the loyal opposition.

For starters, the paper consistently lied to its readers about how the war was going. Victory for the South was always just around the corner because the Union troops were in disarray, cowardly or unwilling to fight. In 1863 the Sonoma Democrat reported, "The battle of Gettysburg was, on our part, a triumphant success an overwhelming victory...General Lee had won the ground and could have held it, hut he chose, for military reasons, to fall back, after he had utterly broken the backbone of the Yankee army." That was a reprint from the Confederate paper in Richmond, Virginia - enemy propaganda, in other words, flipping the truth about the South's critical defeat.

The Sonoma Democrat was edited and published by Thomas L. Thompson. Although there was no Civil War combat in California, of course, week after week Thompson battled Samuel Cassiday, editor of the Argus in Petaluma, the only major town in the county supporting the Union.

Each of them denounced the other as a misguided fool and hypocrite. To the Argus, the Santa Rosa paper was deceitful by insisting the Rebels were only defending their constitutional right to govern themselves, while they actually wanted to hold on to their slaves. To the Democrat, the Petaluma paper was dishonest in stating the Yankees only wanted to preserve the Union, while they actually wanted to take away the South's slaves.

This was no temperate political debate; it was a blood feud, each editor reacting to the other's latest outrage - and often reacting to the other's reaction to their reaction. These guys would have loved Twitter.

Their pages are full of fightin' words which reflect the passions of the Civil War quite clearly, and could provide enough material for a series of articles (maybe even a book) - but historians rarely discuss the feud. The reason why: Thompson's Sonoma Democrat also quite clearly reflected the Confederacy's racist malignancy.

I defy anyone with a measure of basic empathy to read through the 1860s Sonoma Democrat and not come away sickened. The problem goes far beyond merely the use of "the n-word," although that appeared hundreds of times in the Santa Rosa paper (along with every other racist epithet imaginable). It's that the Democrat smothers the reader with its unceasing and pathological hatred and loathing for the entire black population of America. Sometimes the paper published a speech or sermon trying to justify slavery on historical, legal or biblical grounds, but mostly Thompson didn't bother and preached to his Confederate-fan choir as if it were a settled matter - everyone with any smarts just knew blacks were inferior, the abolition of slavery would never work and the South was winning the war. Today we have a term to describe such delusional thinking: The Dunning–Kruger effect, meaning the smug over-confidence of the ignorant.

Then suddenly, Thompson's favorite soapbox was taken away when the South surrendered.

Petaluma, joined by like-minded Union patriots in Marin, held a nine-hour celebration with a marching band, fireworks and a mock battle. There were three parades, all featuring banners with the artwork of a local man "whose patriotism is only equalled by his ingenuity in caricaturing treason and traitors." What impressed most was a float 14 feet high and nine feet wide depicting "the Goddess of Liberty, holding in her hands the Stars and Stripes, and supported on both sides, by two 'recording angels.'"

Meanwhile, Santa Rosa sulked and the Democrat - true to form - lied to its readers, claiming the displays seen at the Petaluma parade "were devoted almost entirely to the abolition of slavery and the elevation of the black race" (none had any reference to slavery or race). Editor Thompson, who did not yet know the details of the surrender at Appomattox, held out the hope that General Grant's terms would roll back the clock to the good ol' days before Lincoln: "...it has always been understood that he, like George B. McClellan, is for the 'Union as it was.'”

Petaluma did not have long to celebrate, nor Santa Rosa long to grump. Three days after the parade came news of Lincoln's assassination. From the Argus:

...All that we could learn was that Lincoln had been shot dead, in Ford's Theatre, and that Seward had been stabbed several times, while in his bed, and was yet alive. At length the boat arrived, and to Mr. Charles Yeomans we were indebted for a [San Francisco] Bulletin Extra, giving the details. This was read from the Journal and Argus office to the throng outside. We soon had the sad particulars in type, passing extras, to those outside clamorous for the news, at the rate of 1,200 an hour...

The Petaluma newspaper continued: "...To render still more intense the excitement, a dispatch came announcing that the people of San Francisco had literally sacked five Secession newspaper offices, and that the Military and Police force was powerless to restrain them."

In another article on the same page, the Argus reprinted an item from a San Francisco paper reporting that the assassination news led to mobs destroying the printing presses and type cabinets of all pro-Confederacy newspapers in the city. (It's said the De Young brothers founded the Chronicle using the lead type they swept up in the street.) Soldiers at the Presidio were called out to assist the police force, and the combined armed force patrolled the streets until the next day, quelling the only Civil War-related riot in California.

The San Francisco "Lincoln Riot," April 15, 1865, destroyed the presses of pro-Confederate newspapers and journals. Photo: Lincoln Museum, Ft. Wayne, Indiana via foundsf.org

You can bet Thomas L. Thompson was nervously peeking out the windows at the Democrat once word reached Sonoma county that angry patriots were busting up the offices of disloyal newspapers. And given his years of snarkily taunting Petaluma, should he also fear being tarred and Petaluma-chicken feathered?

Luckily for Thompson, nothing happened - but both Petaluma and Santa Rosa papers suggested it was a close call.

Writing of Petaluma's reaction to news of the San Francisco "Lincoln Riot," the Argus stated, "This deed of righteous vengeance gave birth to dark thoughts and significant murmurs which required the combined efforts, cool heads to keep in restraint. The remotest semblance of exultation, over the fall of Lincoln, either by word or act, would have called forth swift and summary vengeance...it was a critical time and we felt rejoiced when night drew its curtains about our city and the people had dispersed to their homes..."

A couple of days later, Thompson wrote that someone in Petaluma was spreading rumors: "We have heard that some worse than brute in human shape, circulated a report at Petaluma [that Santa Rosa was not in mourning] and we deem it due to our people, as well as those in other portions of the State, to denounce the originator of the slander a wilful and malicious liar."

Of course, Thompson being Thompson, he could not write a single paragraph without including some provocative remark. He now claimed the Sonoma Democrat was always respectful to Lincoln despite everything: "...as the great head of the Nation, which we have been taught to love and respect from our infancy, we have ever been willing to accord to him that respect which is properly due to the Chief Magistrate of the country." Maybe Thompson bumped his head and forgot the barrels of ink he had used over the previous four years denouncing Lincoln as a dishonest, incompetent, lying, cowardly, deformed, witless tyrant - and that's not even the rough stuff, where the president was accused of being a race traitor.

The history of those days cannot be written without mentioning "The Battle of Washoe House." For those unfamiliar, there's a story that a mob of Petaluma men did start to ride towards Santa Rosa but got no further than the famous roadhouse, drowning their indignant anger in suds. (A variant says their wives had to fetch the drunks home the next morning.) There's no proof the story is even partially true; it was not mentioned in any period newspaper or book that can be found and as commented above, the local papers suggest there was nothing more than grumbling in Petaluma. Should something turn up I'll correct it here, but after a long search I'm ready to file it away as a tall tale.*

A few days later, both Santa Rosa and Petaluma had funeral obsequies for Lincoln. Petaluma went all out, as might be expected. A rifle salute was fired every thirty minutes from sunrise to sundown; a cort├Ęge, complete with hearse, traced a route through all the main streets with church bells tolling the entire time. In Santa Rosa the procession went from the Fourth streed courthouse to the Methodist church a block over, then back to the Plaza. "Nearly all the business houses in town were draped in mourning," the Democrat reported. Nearly.

There followed a brief and uneasy truce in their (un)civil war. at least in the sense Thompson temporarily dialed back his attacks on the government and black people - perhaps he feared those buckets of hot tar and sacks of chicken feathers were still sitting in the back of Petaluma wagons. The Democrat reported, without comment, about residents of other counties being arrested for rejoicing over Lincoln's death, and meekly protested the Democrats now felt like strangers in their own country.

Cassiday, on the other hand, kept hammering away, writing that the national Democratic party, the Sonoma county Democrats and the Santa Rosa paper were all guilty of treason. He took to calling Thompson "Limberback" for reasons unknown, although apparently it was a pretty good insult.

That truce lasted only a month after the war. Thompson wrote an obnoxious (but tame, for him) op/ed stating abolition was just a Yankee social experiment that may fail. "We the whole people of the United States, who have paid the price in blood and treasure for this little experiment in New England ideas, will endeavor patiently to await the result."

The Argus shot back angrily: "We rather think you won't have long to wait. Have you heard from Jeff. [Davis] lately? By the way, Limberback, where was your blood and treasure expended? On which side of the line did you invest? Didn't you lose most of your cash on the Confederacy?"

And then they were off again. Soon the Democrat was relitigating the war, insisting the South had the higher moral ground and a right to secede in order to maintain its slave economy. Thompson was back to flinging "the n-word" in nearly every issue and the newspaper's racism was as bad as ever - no, actually worse.

I'm sure I'll have to mention again their epic feud; any researcher looking at Sonoma county during the Civil War (and following years) can't go very far without stumbling over their quarrels. And some of it is great fun in its own right; later in 1865 the Democrat offered a parody endorsement for "Dr. Gunny Bags’ Extract of Butternut Sap" which "cured political maladies, especially that peculiar type called fanaticism." A fake testimonial declared, "I poured a little on the wheels of the Petaluma Journal and Argus, and it acted like magic. It immediately expelled the flatulency which had so long inflated the editorials of that paper."

But like so much of what appeared in the Sonoma Democrat at that time, "Dr. Gunny Bags" is ruined by Thompson's compulsive need to insert racial slurs. That shift in the article changes it from satire to white supremacist pornography, so I'll never transcribe that item or write more about it than what appears right here. It's enough to point out that a cesspool stinks without offering a scratch 'n' sniff card to prove it.


* "The Battle of Washoe House" first appeared in print in Adair Lara's 1982 "History of Petaluma: A California River Town." On pg. 50 she quoted Ed Mannion, an Argus-Courier columnist and local history buff per the fable of the "Petaluma Navy" which was poised to attack Santa Rosa once there was "an extremely high tide" (in other words, once the entire county flooded, yuk, yuk, yuk). In the next paragraph, Lara introduced the Washoe House story, stating, "...LOCAL HISTORIANS say that these guardians of the national honor got as far as the Washoe House..." (emphasis mine). Adair does not recall her source but agrees it could have been Mannion. Perhaps it was an old saloon tale or the sort of spoof which Mark Twain called a "quaint" which appeared in some lost, non-local newspaper. My personal theory is that it was either born or gained traction in 1958, the year of Petaluma's centennial. That was also the 99th birthday for the Washoe House and members of E. Clampus Vitus mounted a plaque at the roadhouse in celebration. The Clampers were up to their usual hijinks that day, including trying to push an old fire engine into the lobby of the Hotel Petaluma. The events ended with a group dinner at the hotel ("A whole chicken for each man, and served on pitchforks" - Pet. A-C, April 14 1958) where the Clampers heard the "vigilante bell" story and other old tales.



Petaluma Argus, April 20, 1865




REJOICING!

From Plymouth Rock to where the Pacific's waves lave [sic] shores of California, Oregon and Washington, the capture of the Rebel army under Lee, by the conquering hero, Lieut.-Gen. U. S. Grant, has called forth demonstrations of unbounded enthusiasm and rejoicing. The mountains echo back the shouts from the vallies, and to the outermost verge of civilization, bonfires have been kindled to herald the downfall of one of the most wicked and uncalled for rebellions that ever blotted the pages history. On Wednesday the loyal people of Sonoma and Marin counties assembled in this city, to exchange congratulations upon the encouraging prospect of a speedy restoration of our Union and termination of the further effusion of blood. Our city was filled to repletion with the inhabitants of the surrounding country. About noon the Lincoln Cavalry, Lieut. Causland, and Bloomfield Guards, Capt. C. R. Arthur, led by the Bloomfield Brass Band, entered our city with flying banners. About the same time the Washington Guards, Capt. W. A. Eliason, from Santa Rosa cheered us with their presence. At 1 1/2 o'clock, P. M. the above named Companies, with the Petaluma Guards. Emmet Rifles and City Guards, Major Jas. Armstrong, commanding, preliminary to a grand review on Union square, East Petaluma, escorted the patriotic boys of our Fire Department, comprised of Sonoma, No. 2, through several streets. The review at Union Square was witnessed by a vast concourse of ladies and gentlemen, and reflected great credit upon our citizen soldiers. A sham battle, in which the Lincoln Cavalry made repeated charges upon the Infantry drawn up in battle array, was the most exciting feature of the review. The clash and clatter of the cavalry, so they swept down upon the serried lines bristling bayonets, followed by the rattle of musketry as volley after volley of brank cartridges greeted the assailants, on a small scale, gave a fair representation of a battle scene. Nobody was hurt, however, and at 4 o'clock the Military was dismissed. At 7 1/2 o'clock in the evening a procession was formed on Main street, headed with the military, led by the Bloomfield Brass Band, and marched through the principle streets with a good display of fireworks, torches, transparencies and banners. The houses of the loyal people throughout the city were illuminated. As the procession moved along, cheer upon cheer answered the waving of handkerchiefs by the patriotic ladies along the route. God bless our mothers and sisters for the noble self-sacrificing spirit which has prompted them to buckle the armor upon sons and brothers, and bid them strike for their country, in its hour of peril! Their heart's treasure has strewn a thousand fields; but they can today rejoice that their noble slain repose beneath their Country's Banner. A large number of transparencies and banners, painted by Mr. Samuel Dearborn, of this city, whose patriotism is only equalled by his ingenuity in caricaturing treason and traitors, was a prominent feature of the procession. The following are a few of the inscriptions and devices:

Representation of the Goddess of Liberty, holding in her hands the Stars and Stripes, and supported on both sides, by two "recording angels." This was a splendidly executed device, being fourteen feet high and nine wide, and was drawn on a wagon through the streets, to the admiration of everyone.

"The Angel of Peace." (Picture of Gilmore's 'Swamp Angel.'")

"The rebel Hill; the difference between his place and name is all in your 'eye,' (i)"

Picture of Johnny Crapeaud in Mexico. Johnny is represented as a frog, under the iron heel of Brother Johnathan [sic].

"Steel Bayonets, Yankee Shoe pegs."

"Long may he wave." (A picture of Jeff. Davis suspended by a rope around his neck.)

Sam's large transparency, the one used in the last campaign, was changed to suit the occasion, and was carried on an omnibus.

"Blessed are the Peace Makers--Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Thomas and Porter."

"The Rebellion shipwrecked on a 'LEE' shore."

"Sound the tocsin, beat the drum, the year of Jubi-'Lee' has come!"

At about 9 o'clock the procession was disbanded on Main street, when a platform was erected in front of the American Hotel, and the meeting organized with I. G. Wickersham, Esq., as Chairman. Prof. E. S. Lippitt addressed the vast assemblage present for over an hour, after which the Glee Club sang a patriotic song, and the Band played several spirited pieces. So ended the jubilee over the capture of Lee's army.

- Petaluma Argus, April 13, 1865



Treason and Hypocrisy.

We can endure with a good deal of patience the rebels in their revolt, for although it is one of the most henious crimes known to our laws, yet it is true, the great mass of them, from habit, education, and their entire surroundings, have been honestly led to believe they are justifiable in fighting against the Government, for what they term their independence. In fact we cannot refrain from respecting an open and manly enemy. One may contend for a principle, amid many trials and through sacrifices, the principle for which he is striving may be most pernicious and dangerous in its tendencies. And while we insist that the rebels should be punished, for the good of society and the well-being of future generations, yet we deeply commiserate them and painfully regret they had not received a better and more correct education.

But there is a class of men in the North, for whom we neither can have respect or feelings of pity. They occupy a position so perfectly inexcusable, and without excuse, that patriotic men cannot help but feel that the severest penalty known to our laws would, at best, very inadequately punish them for the crimes of which they are guilty.

We refer to that hypocritical and treasonable portion of the Democratic party, which cover itself with a flimsy mantle of loyalty, just sufficiently heavy to save them from being banished beyond our lines, or from imprisonments in the cells of our military prisons--some of them, even then, only avoiding the latter by the nimbleness of their heels. Men who belie their early education, stultify their judgements, an go contrary to the clearest promptings of their consciences; who remain under the Government; claim and receive its protection, which they are constantly scheming for its overthrow; who for the sake of saving their necks will urge men to enlist, while with the next breath they proclaim that the guilt and entire responsibility for the war, in the first place, and for its further continuance, rests upon the North.

Now, in the name of all that is sacred and solemn, if the rebels are right in this struggle, and are willing to lay down their arms just as soon as they have the promise and security that they will be protected in their just and constitutional rights, but can any one believing this, aid the Government in the further prosecution of the war? If we held such views we would not stop under such a government a single day, but would join our destiny with the party battling for the right; and so would every man who is worthy of the name. Those who hold that on Mr. Lincoln rests "the odium, the blood, the guilt of a further prosecution of the war," while at the same time they are urging men to enlist, demonstrate to the public, as clear as the noon-day sun, that they are both hypocrites and traitors, and although personally they may be very insignificant and beneath the notice of the military authorities, yet some of them occupy positions which places a lever in their hands by which they may accomplish much mischief. And the community which patronizes and sustains such persons, will be very likely ultimately to find, that they have been warming a viper into life, which will turn on them and fasten its envenomed fangs into their quivering flesh.

- Petaluma Argus, April 13, 1865



From the San Francisco Dispatch
Great outburst of Popular Feeling.
WHOLESOME DESTRUCTION OF COPPERHEAD NEWSPAPERS.

This afternoon between the hour of two and three o'clock, P. M. the loyal people of San Francisca, paid their respects to the office of the Democratic Pres, which they at once proceeded to demolish without ceremony. The types and other printing material were cast out of the windows and down the stairs, the stands and cases were smashed into fragments, the papers were distributed on the viewless wings of wind, much more expeditiously than the carrier ould have done it, the window frames were bodily torn out of the fastenings, and thrown down upon the pavement, where all the debris was gathered in a pile--the office, in fact, completely destroyed and gutted.

An immense multitude gathered in the streets and watched the proceeding with interest. Not the least attempt at resistance or rescue was made, showing that this prepeeding met with universal approbation.

After the consumation of this act of signal justice, the crowd moved off to the office of Marriot's News Letter, which was served in a similar manner. Great enthusiasm prevailed. A number of persons secured the latest impressions. One person cried out "here's the last issue of Marriot's News Letter. The work of destruction was accomplished when Chief Burke accompanied by two companies of armed police, with bayonets fixed, marched round several squares and up Clay street to the News Letter, where the Chief spoke in favor of moderation, as the crowd began to move away, only, but ever, to rush up to the office of the Monitor (weekly Copperhead,) where they in a manner demolished, or in Secesh parlance, "wiped out."

The office of the Occidental shared the fate of the Press. During its destruction, the Vox de Mejico, the loyal Mexican paper, took in its flag, but after the occurrence threw it out again amid loud cheers.

The proprietors of all the papers destroyed made good their escape, and no violence was perpetrated at that time.

This act of justice, happening upon the heels of the sad intelligence announcing the double murder in Washington seems most appropriate.

- Petaluma Argus, April 20, 1865



Petaluma in Mourning.

...All that we could learn was that Lincoln had been shot dead, in Ford's Theatre, and that Seward had been stabbed several times, while in his bed, and was yet alive. At length the boat arrived, and to Mr. Charles Yeomans we were indebted for a Bulletin Extra, giving the details. This was read from the JOURNAL AND ARGUS office to the throng outside. We soon had the sad particulars in type, passing extras, to those outside clamarous [sic] for the news, at the rate of 1200, an hour. To render still more intense the excitement, a dispatch came announcing that the people of San Francisco had litterally[sic] sacked five Secession newspaper offices, and that the Military and Police force was powerless to restrain them. This deed of righteous vengeance gave birth to dark thoughts and significant murmers [sic] which required the combined efforts, cool heads to keep in restraint. The remotest semblance of exultation, over the fall of Lincoln, either by word or act, would have called forth swift and summary vengeance. Those of known secession proclivities seemed to fully realize the position of affairs, and deported themselves accordingly. It was a critical time and we felt rejoiced when night drew its curtains about our city and the people had dispersed to their homes...

- Petaluma Argus editorial, April 20, 1865



The Death of the President.

The announcement of the sudden and tragic death of President Lincoln reached Santa Rosa on Saturday last at about 11 o’clock. Two dispatches were received from San Francisco bearing the terrible intelligence, and the people stood aghast for a time, loth to believe that such could he true, but the announcement was soon affirmed by other dispatches. The effect upon the minds of the people of every sect, partv and denomination was the same. A truly mournful gloom was soon spread over the entire community.— Business houses were all closed, and the flags upon the public and private buildings were lowered to half mast. We have heard that some worse than brute in human shape, circulated a report at Petaluma to the contrary of what we have stated, and we deem it due to our people, as well as those in other portions of the State, to denounce the originator of the slander a wilful and malicious liar. We have never seen any gloom so generally shared in as that occasioned in our midst by the sad announcement of the brutal and fiendish assassination of the Chief Magistrate of the Nation. We have never been a supporter of Mr. Lincoln's peculiar policy in administering the government, but as the great head of the Nation, which we have been taught to love and respect from our infancy, we have ever been willing to accord to him that respect which is properly due to the Chief Magistrate of the country. We have heard nothing but the deepest sorrow and regret expressed by all our people at the sad announcement of his death.

- Sonoma Democrat, April 22 1865



THE NEWS--AND HOW IT WAS RECEIVED. —Those who have advocated the war, and accepted and ratified every act of the administration, without hesitating a moment to consider the consequences hereafter, looking forward alone to the subjugation of the South and the liberation of the negro, have had a gay old time this week over the news which has been transmitted across the wires. The intensely loyal had a good pow-wow at Petaluma on Wednesday, and at Healdsburg and Santa Rosa, demonstrations of joy were manifested in various ways. It is not because of the prospects of peace that they celebrate, but rather the triumph of might. We are informed that the transparencies in the procession at Petaluma were devoted almost entirely to the abolition of slavery and the elevation of the black race. It may be that these sticklers for Sambo, celebrate too soon, for Grant has made the terms, and it has always been understood that he, like George B. McClellan, is for the "Union as it was.”

- Sonoma Democrat, April 22 1865



A NUMBER OF ARRESTS.--From our numerous exchanges we see that in almost every portion of the State men have been arrested for rejoicing over the assassination of President Lincoln, and have been sent to prison. Here is a chance for the great Democratic Constitutional expounder, of this city, to declaim against "unconstitutional arrests."

- Petaluma Argus, April 27, 1865



Mob Violence.

San Francisco stands alone in the category of cities which, upon the arrival of the recent dreadful news from Washington, was disgraced by a resort to mob violence, in order to appease the grief and indignation of her people. It is gratifying to hear that even there those who had recourse to such dangerous and unlawful proceedings formed bnt a small portion of the inhabitants, and the outrages committed were condemned and deeply regretted by the more respectable classes of the community. Generally those who give vent to their feelings on such occasions as the present by a resort to unlawful measures are men who have nothing to lose and everything to gain by throwing a community into a state of tumultuous excitement, and in such times it becomes every good citizen to raise his voice in behalf of law and older. Since 1851, San Francisco has been subject to periodical outbreaks of popular excitement, and on this occasion we find in the ranks of the mob men who at other times have sustained the law, and wo can only account for their conduct on this occasion in believing it was instigated by a desire to gratify a spirit of revenge harbored against certain loyal publication offices in that city as well as against Democratic papers. It is a well known fact that had it not been for the timely interference of the military on the 15th inst., the offices of the Alta and Bulletin and the Overland Telegraph Company would have suffered. It is positively asserted by the Flag newspaper, the organ of the disorderly, as well as by citizens of San Francisco who witnessed the proceedings that these establishments were included in the programme laid down for the mob to execute. The military commandant of the coast was appealed to for protection, and did prevent the destruction of these as well as certain Churches in the city which were also threatened, by the establishment of a military guard about them. From the best information we can gather we are fully satisfied that credit is due to Major General McDowell for the prevention of further and more disastrous, destruction of property than did occur. We regret exceedingly that we cannot record that he saved the property of Democrats as well as of other citizens, for to assume that they are not entitled to the protection of law is to ignore the rights of fully one-half the population of the loyal States.

All reports of the destruction of newspapers elsewhere in the State besides San Francisco were without foundation. In every other section the people manifested their grief by more quiet and respectful proceedings. True, in some instances, threats were made by persons who imagined it would be proper for them to imitate the example set at San Francisco, but thanks be to the cooler heads of the more orderly masses, we are spared the necessity of recording any further violation of law. It is to be hoped that every law abiding citizen, be he Democrat or Republican, Abolitionist or Copperhead, will continue to exert himself in behalf of law and order, for surely no good can come of violent demonstrations, be they of what character they may.

We append hereto some very sensible remarks upon this subject taken from the S. F. Bulletin:

“Every intelligent Unionist must perceive that no good can possibly result from lawless bursts of anger at this time. The duty of the hour is a calm adherence to the legal sanctions of order, that society may as soon as possible recover from the disturbing effects of civil war and the passions that follow in the train. Mere brutal violence is an affront to the spirit of the great dead, whose marble serenity still hushes the nation’s capital. We should go through this memorial week--about to be made sacred forever in our history his by obsequies -- with dignity and decency worthy of our grief and of his character. Everv good citizen should frown upon all incitements to scenes of disorder, chief among which, and altogether the most reprehensible, are incendiary publications of the character of the American Flag, which should be discouraged and discarded by every friend of sobriety and good government. The civil and military authorities should continue their efforts to preserve the peace, and use every proper means to prevent inflammatory appeals and expressions.”

- Sonoma Democrat, April 29 1865



The Opponents of the Administration.

Some people place a poor estimate upon the patriotism, virtue and intelligence of the American people when they endeavor to fix the responsibility of the recent tragic occurrences in our Nation’s history upon those who, in their wisdom, have seen proper to exercise the privileges of citizenship by recording their votes against the peculiar policy of those who administer the Government. The right of freely expressing one’s views and the free exercise of the right of suffrage are privileges which have been guaranteed to the people of this country, not only by the Constitution of the United States, but by that of every individual State in the Union... At the recent Presidential election over fifteen hundred thousand American citizens entered their protest against the peculiar policy of those who were administering the Government. If it were true that these people desired the downfall of the Government or the assassination of its Chief Executive, then, indeed, are we a degenerate nation. We do not believe that the masses of the dominant party attribute any such designs or motives to those who opposed them in the last Presidential contest--but, rather, they stand with the lamented President, who himself spurned to assume such to be the case, and in his last Message administered these fanatics a withering rebuke by taking upon himself the defense of the Democratic party against this senseless cry of disloyalty and treason.

But, we regret, there are some high in authority who see proper to take a different view from Mr. Lincoln, and declare or insinuate that those whom the late President would defend from the foul invectives hurled against them are guilty, as charged by the fanatical press of the country. We have heard nothing from the East of this tirade against Democrats; it appears to be confined alone to the Pacific coast. — And feeling, as we do, that they have cause to and do as deeply mourn the loss of the lamented dead as any who set themselves up to be models of loyalty. we deeply regret that such should be the case here. In the defense of the Democracy by Mr. Lincoln we have another reason Democrats everywhere should deplore his loss; for surely we had a better friend in him than we may ever hope to find in those who rule the country now.

- Sonoma Democrat, April 29 1865



Military Arrests.

David James and two sons, Wm. P Durbin and son, Charles Ramsey and son, and John Stilts were arrested by military order in Green Valley, Solano county, on Monday List, lor rejoicing over the death of President Lincoln. — A company of militia were despatched from Benecia to execute the order, and met with resistance from the parties, two soldiers being wounded. After an exchange of several shots, the above named parties surrendered themselves to the militia, and are now confined at San Francisco, where they will be tried by military court for resisting the execution of the order. Four men were arrested at Colusa on Thursday of last week, by a company of soldiers from Sacramento, also charged with rejoicing over the death of the President. The names of the parties so arrested are...

- Sonoma Democrat, April 29 1865


Will Awaken Reflection.

There is scarcely a Copperhead journal in the State but that comes to us clothed in mourning, and filled with lamentations over the untimely fall of Abraham Lincoln, by the hand of an assassin. How sincere they are in their protestations of sorrow is a matter of little or no importance to us; but we are curious to see what effect it will have upon those who had been educated up to an intense degree of fanatical hatred of Lincoln by these same organs. Ignorant men and women whose minds are plastic material in the hands of unscrupulous demagogues, when once thoroughly indoctrinated with sentiments, however brutal, are hard to uneducate; and in the present instance very many of them gave utterance to their joy at the cowardly assassination of President Lincoln, little dreaming that the journals which had always held him up to them as a "monster in human form;" a "tyrant whose iron rule was insufferable," would exhibit such an agony of grief at his removal. Even the lowest order of intellect can discern that either in the beginning or end they have been dealt falsely by; that if their leaders were sincere at the outset, they have deserted them now; and if sincere now, they willfully deceived and betrayed them into a false position in the beginning. Those who, upon hearing of the assassination of Lincoln, exclaimed, the 'Abolitionists' have been rejoicing over the capture of Lee's army but now it is our turn to rejoice, little dereamed that their leaders would fail to join with them in their origies [sic] over a slain "tyrant." How chilling must have been the effect upon the patrons of the Santa Rosa Democrat, when upon unfolding its pages expecting to find a ponderous leader under the caption, "Caesar found his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell, and Lincoln his Booth," their eyes were greeted with an ostentatious display of mourning, and professions of inconsolable sorrow. However bitter the disappointment to some, it will not be wholly barren of good results. Some minds are so constituted that just such impressive lessons are the only instrumentalities that will arouse them to the perception of new truths. Party leaders, so long as they keep up a semblance of consistency and sincerity, may keep such minds in the grooves of old beaten tracks, but when, as is the case just now, those leaders stand unmasked, shrinking from the position into which they have betrayed their dupes, their misguided followers will be slow to fall into line and follow them into new and unexplored fields. The whole stock in trade of the Democratic leaders, in this county, has been vituperation of Lincoln, By falsehood and misrepresentation they kept men in their party trammels by systematic and unscrupulous appeals to the lowest instincts of brutalized humanity. Like the keeper who shrinks back powerless to command the obedience of animals whose appetites have been whetted by the blood of some hapless victim, these same leaders stand trembling in the presence of the demoniac spirit they have instilled into the hearts of their followers, and which will not down at their bidding. This condition of affairs has awakened reflection in the minds of a small minority in that party, who can lay some claims to intelligence and respectability, and they unhesitatingly renounce their allegiance to it. Oceans of hypocritical tears will not suffice to remove the stain of Lincoln's blood from the Democratic party; it will adhere to it with the tenacity of the poisoned shirt of Nessus.

- Petaluma Argus, May 4, 1865



Beginning to Reap the Penalty.

So long as there was a remote possibility that the armed rebellion with which our Government was struggling, might ultimately accomplish its end, Norther traitors could hold up their heads with some assurance; but now that the cause which has commanded their entire sympathies, is hopelessly crushed, they beging to have a foretaste of the infamy in store for them and their posterity, for generations to come. Every day is rendering more legible the line of demarkation between loyal men and traitors. Where loyalty and treason have been unequally yoked together in business firs the work of severance and readjusting is rapidly going on. Aiders and abettors of treason are being made to feel that they are regarded as moral lepers who live by the sufferance of the community they infest. As well might they attempt to elude their own shadows as the disgrace which will attend them at every step throughout their lives and brood over their graves after their death.

- Petaluma Argus, May 4, 1865



The Day of Reckoning.

What did you with the inheritance bequeathed to you by the founders of our Government? When treason uplifted its bloody hand against the National life, what position did you assume, that of loyalty or disloyalty to your country? These are grave questions, but they are interrogatories which will meet you at every turn in life, and whether you are willing or not, answer to them will be exacted. The antecedents, associations, and records of some of the would-be prominent men of this county have branded their brows with treason, in characters so legible, that even children will recognize them, and shrinking from their path will point after them and say, "there goes a TRAITOR."

- Petaluma Argus, May 4, 1865



"LET THE GALLED JADE WINCE."--No wonder Limberback, of Santa Rosa, is afraid that during the coming canvass "Democrats will be denounced as sympathizers with treason and assassination." Jeff. Davis is certainly a good Democrat. Jacob Thompson, C. C. Clay, Beverly Tucker, and Geo. N. Saunders, dictated the platform which was adopted by the Democratic National Convention at Chicago. They are good Democrats, yet they are directly implicated in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and are supposed to be in sympathy with the  late rebellion. The plot to assassinate the President was doubtless well known in the wigwams of the Golden Circle, or Knights of the Columbian Star, and no sensible person will attempt to deny that the leaders of the Democratic Party of Sonoma County, were members of that organization. Is it strange that the people hold the Democratic Party responsible for the rebellion and the assassination of Mr. Lincoln?

- Petaluma Argus, May 11, 1865


U. S. BONDS--The Santa Rosa treason mill has been selected as one of the papers to advertise the U. S. 7-30 Loan! That is proper and right. The paper has been loyal for two weeks through fear of being destroyed by an outraged people! This brazen-faced hypocritical, teason-breeding tool of Jeff. Davis, after working four years for the Southern Confederacy, now has the impudences to advise loyal men to invest in the Government Loan! Oh, what cheek! Limberback is subjugated! He will be a howling Abolitionist in another month. Advising the people to subscribe for the National Loan! Aint, that funny! He will be advocating negro equality pretty soon. Can't be subjugated, oh no! Where is the last ditch? Ha, ha, haw-haw!

- Petaluma Argus, May 11, 1865


New England on Trial.

New England chuckles over what she deems the complete success of her blind theories; she has obtained in the hour of national insanity, what she vainly endeavored for half a century to win from the calm judgment of our people, viz: The privilege of testing the the truth or falsity of her Abolition dogma. We the whole people of the United States, who have paid the price in blood and treasure lor this little experiment in New England ideas, will endeavor patiently to await the result. If upon a practical demonstration, Emancipation shall prove a benefit to humanity, white and black, then glory be to New England. Then who would not be an abolitionist? If the negroes and their former masters can inhabit the same soil equal in all things, and nearly equal in numbers, each happy and all things harmonious in their new relation, then New England ideas have triumphed. New England stands or falls by the result. The test of Emancipation is the test of New England, and woe to the disciple of John Brown if after a fair trial we find that we have paid so dearly for their teachings, only to be deceived in the result.

- Sonoma Democrat, May 13 1865


"We the whole people of the United States who have paid the price in blood and treasure for this little experiment in New England ideas, will endeavor patiently to await the result." - Santa Rosa Democrat.

We rather think you won't have long to wait. Have you heard from Jeff. lately? By the way, Limberback, where was your blood and treasure expended? On which side of the line did you invest? Didn't you loose [sic] most of your cash on the Confederacy?

- Petaluma Argus, May 18, 1865

Ever been to Santa Rosa? You know; it's that charming village in the middle of a forest. Too bad about their second-rate courthouse, however.

Those are among the surprising observations made by a writer traveling by stagecoach from Petaluma to Healdsburg in June, 1865. Although not very long (the whole essay can be read in less than five minutes) the article is richer in detail than other descriptions I've read from that era.

It appeared in the Daily Alta California, the leading newspaper of the time, and the author was named only as "S. D. W." The Alta regularly offered items from such "an Occasional Correspondent" without any further personal details; it is possible the author was a woman, although an earlier article using the same initials was written from a Nevada mining camp.

Travelogs and "rural letters" like this often pop up in the old papers but are almost always painful to read, like an eighth-grader's required book report ("...the valley is some fifty miles long and about five miles wide at the southerly extremity, thence it narrows down gradually as you proceed northerly... - Daily Alta, July 14, 1876). While the prose gets a bit flowery at times, S. D. W. delivers the true story of what (s)he saw, warts and all.

The roads were terrible, causing "the bounding of the stage from rut to rut, keeping us passengers clinging to the sides for dear life." And although the scenery was spectacular, the people living in the country had shabby farmhouses and only wanted to "cram their pockets at the expense of comfort and every social amenity and pleasure." By contrast, the farmers in Napa were "less avaricious and more full of the generous love of the beautiful." The author was told our places were dumps because the farmers were squatters and any improvements would be for naught if they lost their land claims in court. As it was then 1865, some of the properties had been in limbo for over a decade.

Santa Rosa, "nesting in the bosom of a forest of grand old oaks," gets a mostly rave review as a place with "many a garden of blooming roses, full of troops of rosy-cheeked laughing children." But the courthouse was something of a disgrace although he doesn't explain why - only joking (?) that maybe Santa Rosa doesn't want to fix it up because they could be in litigation like the squatters.

Given that the author only spent a day here, some of his remarks are astute and even prophetic. Years before Luther Burbank dubbed our county the "chosen spot of all this earth" this essay described the valley as "the garden spots of the Pacific" and "a perfect Eden,"  remarking once the people of the state "will be sobered down" from get-rich-quick silver and oil schemes, they will "study the nature of the soil, the adaptation of plants to it, and every waste acre of land will bloom with a rich and lucrative vegetation."

Even more accurate, he specifically predicted a bright future here for grapes. Calling Windsor/Dry Creek region by its old nickname "Poor Man's Flat" he noted, "soil in this section is not very fertile, but is said to be admirably adapted to the culture of the vine." He was probably unaware Cyrus Alexander had already established a pioneer vineyard not far away in the valley to the east.

Otherwise, the writer was impressed with the Russian River's "bed of beautifully colored pebble stones" and the "quiet and peaceful village" of Healdsburg. As for Petaluma, the less said; S. D. W. mainly complained about the slowness of the brand-new Petaluma & Haystack Railroad, which carried passengers the two-and-half miles from the steamship wharf to downtown. "Their speed resembles more the limpings of an old lame horse," he griped, and if that's good enough for the people of Petaluma, "they must have a dull and stagnant public mind." He was less grumpy after a good meal at the American Hotel, thank goodness.

Photo taken on February 20, 1875 showing the Sonoma county courthouse, jail, Hall of records and corner of the Plaza.  Photo courtesy Sonoma County Library



NOTES OF A SUMMER TOUR.
(from an Occasional Correspondent of the ALTA.)

In Petaluma Valley.
HEALDSBURG, June 29, 1865.
Editors Alta:— In my last we parted just as the little steamer was coming in sight of Petaluma. From that point we here resume our journey. Reaching the wharf we changed to the little cars that were waiting our arrival, and soon were under way to the city. These cars, running between the Embarcadero and Petaluma, are not representative ones by any means. Their speed resembles more the limpings of an old lame horse than the lightning speed of the locomotive. They are an insult to the energy and enterprise of any live people; and if the spirit of the Petaluma people only keep pace to such slow coach affairs as these, they must have a dull and stagnant public mind. At last, however, we reached the depot, and were soon made welcome to the hospitalities of the place by the polite and gentlemanly proprietor of the American Hotel. If there is a man in California who will win the regard of the traveller by his kind and assiduous attention, and by heaping before him every comfort and luxury, that man is Mr. P. Emerson. After a dinner rich in viands, culled from the fatness of the land, and bearing no evidences of the Fast Day, we mounted tbe driver's box on the Healdsburg stage, and at the crack of the whip away we went, leaving dust and city far behind. After driving three or four miles from Petaluma there opens to view one of the most magnificent valley scenes in the State. The long level plain of

The Petaluma Valley

Extends as far as the eye can reach, lying with its feet to the sea, and pillowing its head among the mountains; it lies in beauty like a reclining queen, the solemn mountains around the decorations of her couch, beautified by the hue and shade of their forests and over all these bends the arching beauty of a smiling sky. It is a lovely picture of natural scenery; a fit cradle for the inspiration of the poet or the painter. From the bases of the mountain ranges that bound it on every side, the valley extends like the waters of some great inland sea. These mountains, irregular and wild in their contour, are clothed with forests of all kinds peculiar to the soil and climate of California. At their bases sheltered in their mighty shadows, the oak and madrona flourish in their freshness and beauty, while the higher elevations are clothed with the shades of tanged wildwood, composed mostly of the chimesal and chaparral shrubs peculiar to the mountains of the Pacific slope. The loftier peaks are crowned with forests of gigantic pines, or, in places bald and bare, lift themselves to the clouds, open to the sun and stars. Although the sides of this great Valley are covered with dense forests the central portions are totally destitute of them — hardly a lone tree rises out of its bosom to rest the eye or please the desire.

Lack of Taste.

Wonderful as is the beauty and fertility of this Valley, and susceptible of the finest artificial polish, yet in travelling between Petaluma and Santa Rosa, a distance of sixteen miles, and this too along the principal highway of the country, there it hardly to be seen a farm house worthy such a country and such an age of improvements. Their style of architecture shows no study of the Grecian or Egyptian art, but seems to have descended to them by tradition from the aborigines of the contry. The great fault in the farmers of Sonoma County seems to be their total destitution of any love for the beautiful, even when moulded into symmetry and harmony with the useful and practical. Their prime desire is, or at least seems to be, to wring from the soil every drop of productive gain, to cram their pockets at the expense of comfort and every social amenity and pleasure. The general appearance of the Valley compares poorly with that of her sister, Napa. There the farmers have some love for the ornamental and ornate, are less avaricious and more full of the generous love of the beautiful, while they nourish a healthy desire for the necessary and practical. The reason, however, given by the farmers of Sonoma, when questioned on this point, is that their lands are in litigation, and with a defective title they are fearful lest in improving they build only for their antagonists. If this it a true reason, it bears upon it a plausibility which cannot be gainsaid: but it is a huge block in the path of improvement for the county. While these apologies may satisfy the practical man, they do not affect the ideas of the tourist, who travels through unacquainted with the reason why a county is not attractive and beautiful.

The Roads in this County,

At present, are not very pleasant ones, at least in some parts of the county. This arises from the nature of the soil, it being the black adobe. In the winter it becomes very soft, and by the passing vehicles is cut up into ruts and deep grooves; in the summer, by the hot sun, it becomes hardened almost into adamant, leaving all the irregularities and roughness to be smoothed down by travel, and the bounding of the stage from rut to rut, keeping us passengers clinging to the sides for dear life, gave us no very pleasant idea of the smoothing process. Time and enterprise will remedy these peculiarities, and Petaluma Valley will become one of the garden spots of the Pacific, a second Mohawk or Wyoming; but needing ever the rolling tide of a splendid and majestic river to beauty and fertilize. After driving sixteen long miles, we reached

Santa Rosa,

A pleasant village, nesting in the bosom of a forest of grand old oaks: its white cottages are fine, in contrast to this wilderness of green. As we drove through we caught sight of many a garden of blooming roses, full of troops of rosy-cheeked laughing children. As you well know, this is the county seat, but a stranger would hardly conceive the fact if his knowledge was born out of a vision of their Court House. For one of the largest and wealthiest counties in the State, it is a poor public building. Taking advantage of their stereotyped apology, it may be in litigation and "they don't feel like improving."

On the Road Again.

After leaving Santa Rosa the route lies through one of the loveliest tracts in the county. The position of the country, the fertility of the soil, and the extent of forest, all conspire to make it a perfect Eden. We drove through it late in the afternoon, and the whole scene was worthy the pencil of a master, it was so expressibly beautiful. From his western goal the declining sun poured a rich flood of light, lighting up the forest, and the waving fields of yellow grain, till the whole glowed in the sunshine as if it had been bathed in gold. About six miles from Santa Rosa on the bank of Mark West Creek, we had pointed out to us the old mansion of the late Mark West, an early settler in this part of the country. The farm and mansion has an antiquated look, it being one of the oldest buildings in the State. The widow and family of the deceased gentleman still occupy the homestead. On the opposite side of this creek, lying in the direction of Healdsburg, there is a large extent of country, bearing the very expressive name of

"Poor Man's Flat"

I am not able to give the history of the title, but will say it is a most expressive one, and apropos to the general appearance of the country. The soil in this section is not very fertile, but is said to be admirably adapted to the culture of the vine. In time, if this is the fact, it will be occupied by extensive and productive vineyards. For the times are coming to this State when the irregular and erratic energy and genius of her people will be sobered down, and agriculture and manufactures occupy their minds instead of silver and petroleum. Then will they study the nature of the soil, the adaptation of plants to it, and every waste acre of land will bloom with a rich and lucrative vegetation. Beyond this region, the valley gradually grows more narrow, the soil more fertile and productive, and the scenery more beautiful and interesting. The mountains are brought into nearer view, and in the distance the bright line of timber, extending in circuitous windings, marks the course of the famed

Russian River.

This name was given to this stream in commemoration of the fact that a number of years ago a party of Russians encamped for some time upon its banks. It is a clear, sparkling stream, very shallow, and flowing over a bed of beautifully colored pebble stones. The level river bottoms which lie along its banks, varying in width from a few hundred yards to half a mile or more, comprise some of the richest land on the coast. Corn here in some places grows ten or twelve feet high, and smaller grains even too luxuriantly for the convenience of the farmer. On the western bank is situated the beautiful and lovely village of

Healdsburg.

And, with due consideratlon for the feelings of others, I shall say this is the most enchanting town and region on the Pacific slope. We drove into town just as the sun was sinking behind the western hills, and before us was a picture too beautiful for any description: to feel it is to see it. The setting sun, flinging his farewell to valley and stream, the deepening shadows of the mountains, the glowing forest, and the quiet and peaceful village, were parts of a splendid and bewildering picture, graceful in combination and beauty. The evening shadows closed the further vision of scenery, and we waited in patience till the morning again invited us by his light to the feast of eye and soul.

After a night's sleep, made deep and refreshing by our tired limbs and the quiet of the country, we rose in the morning eager as ever for the visions of beauty. Thirsty as may be the mind for them, here will they find living fountains thereof, at whose lips they might stoop forever. The first prominent object of interest close at hand is a noble mountain peak, rising from the bosom of the valley just in front of the town, standing like a watchlul guardian over the beauty that lies at its base. This has been christened Fitch Mount, in honor of the late Mr. H. D. Fitch, the first American settler in these parts, well known as locator of the celebrated Fitch Grant. The old homestead of the family lies directly at the base of this peak: it contains a body of some six or eight hundred acres of rich bottom land — a princely looking farm. I shall write my next from the mountains.
S. D. W.

- Daily Alta California, July 8 1865

It will always be a popular rip–roarin' tale of Santa Rosa's early days: How a few guys sneaked into the town of Sonoma, snatched the county records, then raced back to Santa Rosa amid fears that a furious mob of Sonomans were in pursuit. Unfortunately, it's not true - well, not much, anyway.

Santa Rosa was born in 1854, or perhaps it's more accurate to say it was declared by fiat. The previous summer Barney Hoen and his partners joined with Julio Carrillo to lay out a future town of 70 total acres - from the creek to Fifth street, from E to A street - small enough for anyone to walk across any direction in a couple of minutes or three. At the time there was only one house (Carrillo's) and a store. It had no reason to exist, much less thrive, except for roughly being at the crossroads between Sonoma city and settlements north and west.

But in the state election of 1853 a local land squatter, James Bennett was elected to he  Assembly. The only accomplishment in his single term was to pass an act in 1854 calling for a vote on what town should be the county seat, which came as a surprise to residents of Sonoma city, which had been county central since statehood. To sway county voters (who were mainly squatters), promoters of the nascent town of Santa Rosa threw a blowout Fourth of July BBQ that was said to draw 500 people, and is heavily credited with Santa Rosa winning the vote a few months later - a story told here earlier in "CITY OF ROSES AND SQUATTERS." When the voting results were announced on September 18, Hoen and Julio Carrillo threw another beef-a-palooza even more riotous than the July shindig, this event supposedly lasting two days and involving firing an anvil one hundred times.1

(RIGHT: James R. Williamson portrait from the Press Democrat, September 21 1904)

Besides all the free meaty eats, another argument for making Santa Rosa the county seat was that the existing county courthouse in the town of Sonoma was on the verge of falling down (that old adobe actually did collapse in 1862) and had been condemned by a grand jury. Hoen et. al. promised to donate land and build a new courthouse within six months and until then court could be held at Julio's house, in part because he also had room to store the official county record books.

And here our questionable adventure begins - those important books had to be transferred from Sonoma once Santa Rosa was officially the county seat. And the person to do that was Jim Williamson.



Today's housing shortage in Santa Rosa pales in comparison to the lack of places to live when the town became the county seat in the autumn of 1854. As there were then only eight (or so) houses in Santa Rosa, Williamson likely still had his camp near the corner of Fourth and D streets. Jim later boasted he was "the first white man to reside on the actual site of the city," which I hope was a clumsy joke about the Pomo village which was here and not a racist slur against Julio Carrillo, who had an actual house on Second street.2

Jim may have been living in a tent, but he did have a light spring wagon and a pair of good mules. Here's the version of the story which appeared in the first published history of Sonoma county:

On the day appointed, Jim Williamson, with a four-horse team and wagon, accompanied by Horace Martin and some others, went down to Sonoma, captured and brought up the archives, amid dire threats of injunction and violence from the Sonoma people, who saw, with no little chagrin, the county seat slip through their fingers. The Santa Rosans had the law, wanted only possession, and would not have hesitated to use all the force necessary to get that; as it was, they captured the archives by strategy, and the dry and dusty documents of former drowsy old alcaldes were whirled over the road as fast as Jim Williamson's four-in-hand could take them to the new capital...

That was written in 1877 by Robert A. Thompson. When it comes to evaluating the accuracy of a historic account, generally the closer an author is to that time and place, the better - and that would seem particularly true in this case, as Thompson lived here and was writing after only 22 or 23 years had passed. But it turns out Jim Williamson later was interviewed and told the story himself, revealing almost nothing in Thompson's version was true.

Thompson either made up/exaggerated details or swallowed a dramatic interpretation he might have heard told over beers at local saloons. And this is not the first time he seems to be caught writing historical fiction; it appears he also invented Chanate, the friendly Indian who supposedly discovered the bodies of Bear Flag martyrs Cowie and Fowler.

The oldest version of Jim Williamson's ride is exciting, but mostly fiction

The easiest parts of Thompson's tale to debunk are simple facts; Williamson had two mules, not a team of four horses. Thompson omits mention County Clerk Menefee who played a major role in the doings, but claims Horace Martin was an accomplice. Martin was a remarkable fellow - see extended footnote - but there's no other mention of him being part of this adventure.3

Then there’s Thompson’s claim of “dire threats of injunction and violence” from Sonomans who wanted to keep the records in town and that the Santa Rosans “would not have hesitated to use all the force necessary” to get away with the books. Williamson certainly had some concern there might be legal pushback (discussed below) but he never feared being chased like a survivor on The Walking Dead.

To the contrary, the editor of the Sonoma Bulletin seemed resigned, if not downright pleased to be rid of the county seat. In his first comments right after the election, A. J. Cox remarked, "The up-country people battled furiously against us, and have come out victorious...'it is as it is, and can't be any 'tis'er,' which incontrovertible truth consoles us, at least." A week later, Cox added:

Last Friday the county cofficers with the archives left town for the new capitol amidst the exulting grin of some, and silent disapproval (frowning visages) of others. We are only sorry they did not take the courthouse along - not because it would be an ornament to Santa Rosa, but because its removal would have embellished our plaza...

The editorial continued with a mock lament that they were now going to lose the political blowhards and "country lawyers and loafers in general" who hung around the veranda of the courthouse whittling. (Other sources mention they were not whittling so much as carving stuff on the posts holding up the veranda, which might help explain why the place went to pieces.)

Thompson later backed away from his melodramatic tale. In a smaller 1884 history just about Santa Rosa he didn't mention the "capture" at all, only that Jim was paid $16 "for getting away with the records." Of the six local histories which were later published, only half describe something about Williamson's wagon ride, as summarized here.4



So what's the real story about how the county records got to Santa Rosa? According to Jim Williamson himself, the events were more comic than dramatic.

Jim's own telling appeared September, 1904 in the Press Democrat, which followed an April article providing further details from Williamson and others involved. My summary here mixes the two sources, but everything is transcribed below so anyone can untangle the details if desired. As it turns out, only Tom Gregory's county history came closest to being accurate. It was written while Williamson was still alive and he loved to gab about the old days, according to his PD obituary, it is quite likely Tom heard the story directly from Jim, as they both lived in Santa Rosa. But be forewarned Tom Gregory was also a serial exaggerator and unreliable historian, so the colorful additional details he provided have to be read with caution.

The first Board of Supervisors meeting following the vote was to be Friday, September 22, 1854 at the courthouse in Sonoma. After an official canvass of the returns, they were to formally declare Santa Rosa as the new county seat. Daniel Davisson, a Sonoma real estate investor with his own horse stable, was asked to have a team ready to move the official records - but when word got out around town he was apparently threatened with a boycott or harm, so he declined. This likely was where historian Thompson got the idea that there might be danger lurking.

Plan B was to hire someone from out of town, so County Supervisor R. E. Smith tapped Santa Rosa's Jim Williamson, who was not known in Sonoma City. Smith told Jim to take his wagon there the day before and keep a low profile. He hitched up his mules (named "Jim" and "Liza" per Tom Gregory) and he and the team camped that night in a creek bed outside of town.

The next day Jim walked into town and hung around the courthouse, waiting for a signal from Smith. Once the meeting was over Smith gave the sign and Williamson fetched his wagon. "The Supervisors and clerk helped to load the archives into the wagon,” Williamson later wrote. In other words, there was nothing at all sneaky about it - the records left via the front door in the middle of the afternoon. And there really weren't that many books; Jim recalled there was only about two wheelbarrow worth.

Riding back to Santa Rosa with Jim was County Clerk N. McC. Menefee, who had a jointless peg leg. He must have lost his leg above the knee, as the artificial limb was so long he could only ride comfortably in the wagon by resting it on the top of the footrest, which meant it was sticking straight out towards the backside of the mules. "[W]hen the wagon wheels struck a chuck hole and there would be a jolt, first one and then the other mule would receive a prod from the tip on the end of his wooden leg," Williamson wrote.

Williamson and Menefee believed there was a chance they might be stopped. After the results of the vote were known, Lilburn Boggs, the most influential man in Sonoma after General Vallejo, asked Menefee to issue a restraining order blocking the transfer - but the County Clerk demurred “on account of pressing business.” Why Boggs sought to keep the records there is not clear; he was not challenging the validity of the election. It was probably because Boggs had been Alcalde for all of Northern California during the last years of Mexican rule, and the county books included those pre-statehood court records; had Boggs planned to write his memoirs he certainly would have wanted to cover his decisions from those crucial years.

Menefee thought Boggs still might seek a restraining order from the court in Napa and send the sheriff after them. If they were pursued, their plan was for Menefee to get off and hide in the brush. As no one knew Williamson, any court order would have had to name Menefee, so the plan was for Jim to claim he was alone. (Always the colorful fabulist, historian Tome Gregory claimed the handicapped Menefee "intended to take to the woods giving the injunction a run through the brush.")

But nothing happened. The constant poking from Menefee's wooden leg is probably why the mules made the trip back to Santa Rosa supposedly in the record time of a hundred minutes - it was considered good time for a man on horseback to travel between Sonoma and Santa Rosa in two hours.

A more realistic interpretation of what happened

Then just as they reached Julio Carrillo’s house and were getting ready to unload the books, "we heard the thud of a horse’s hoofs in the distance," Jim Williamson wrote.

As the sound came nearer and nearer, we saw that the rider was Israel Brockman, the sheriff. His horse was panting furiously, and was covered with foam. We saluted the sheriff and inquired what was the occasion of his apparently fast ride from Sonoma to Santa Rosa. He replied. "I just thought that 1 would get over here quick and find an office so as to avoid the rush."

And there you have it - no hot pursuit, no attempted arrest, no vigilante threats and no actual showdown over the county records. The biggest concern of the day was really about someone finding housing in Santa Rosa.

Was ever thus.



1 “Firing anvils” was a popular way to celebrate political victories in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It involved packing the indentation on an iron anvil with gunpowder and placing another anvil upside down above it. When the gunpowder was ignited, the top anvil flew into the air making a deafening boom remarkably like a cannon. It was recklessly dangerous – hopefully the anvil straight up, and not arcing into a crowd – and one has to ponder what sort of reckless idiot thought of trying it in the first place. Watch a video here where a "world champion anvil shooter" launches one 200 feet in the air.
2 Jim Williamson (1830-1913) operated Santa Rosa's main livery stable through the Civil War at the corner of Third and Main, but there's no evidence it was yet built in September 1854. The previous year he was found growing barley on ten rented acres just east of the town plaza. Farming and camp details from "Early Recollections of Santa Rosa", Sonoma Democrat, October 6 1877; first resident remark from "Coming Golden Jubilee in Santa Rosa Recalls Memorable Drive With the County Records," Press Democrat, April 10 1904
3 Few in Sonoma county today will recognize the name Horace Martin but we're all familiar with his work; he was County Surveyor 1861-1862 and a contract surveyor for the county for several years before and after. He laid out the road from Santa Rosa to Healdsburg, several roads in West County, the plat map for Bodega, and probably lots of other work we don't know about. You'll still sometimes see mention of maps by "H. B. Martin" in the property notices which appear in the Press Democrat.

But Horace's real talents lay in inventions. He engineered miniature steam engines to run home sewing machines and ones large enough to power the printing plant of the Sonoma Democrat. It was reported he further designed a machine for making rugs, a rain-making machine he called the "Pluviator," San Francisco's first hydraulic elevators in office buildings, a fast steam-driven plow called "Old Jumbo" that burned through a ton of coal a day and a "Magic Calculator," which supposedly was particularly adapted to calculating taxes.

His brother-in-law, Richard Gird, operated a stock farm called Gird & Co. on the Russian River in the 1860s before moving to Arizona. There he happened to meet a penniless prospector with a bag of rocks which he had been told were mostly lead. Gird - who had a background in assaying but was himself nearly penniless - recognized the samples actually were rich in silver. They perfected the mining claim and created the Tombstone Mining District, which became the town of Tombstone. Gird and his partners walked away with millions. (More in The San Bernardino County Sun, March 31, 1963 or an internet search for "Dick Gird".)

Gird returned to California and used his wealth to buy the Rancho Santa Ana del Chino and adjacent land in San Bernardino County, creating a 47,000 acre ranch. Horace joined him there and platted out the town of Chino. Horace B. Martin died in Chicago in 1903.
4 Notes of local history book coverage:

1877 (Thompson; Historical and Descriptive Sketch of Sonoma County, California) "On the day appointed, Jim Williamson, with a four-horse team and wagon, accompanied by Horace Martin and some others, went down to Sonoma, captured and brought up the archives, amid dire threats of injunction and violence from the Sonoma people, who saw, with no little chagrin, the county seat slip through their fingers. The Santa Rosans had the law, wanted only possession, and would not have hesitated to use all the force necessary to get that; as it was, they captured the archives by strategy, and the dry and dusty documents of former drowsy old alcaldes were whirled over the road as fast as Jim Williamson's four-in-hand could take them to the new capital, where they safely arrived, and were deposited pro tem. in Julio Carrillo's house, which was rented for that purpose..."

1884 (Thompson; Central Sonoma) Thompson did not mention the "capture" at all, but quotes the editorial reaction from the Sonoma Bulletin: "When the archives were finally taken the irrepressibly witty Sonoma editor gets off the following: Departed.--Last Friday the county cofficers with the archives left town for the new capitol amidst the exulting grin of some, and silent disapproval (frowning visages) of others. We are only sorry they did not take the Court-house along--not because it would be an ornament to Santa Rosa, but because its removal would have embellished our plaza..." Thompson continued: "Board District Attorney McNair put in a bill for $250, for helping the Supervisors to get legally out of Sonoma; he was allowed $100. The Board thought they did most of the work--at least two-thirds of it. Jim Williamson modestly put in a bill of $16, for getting away with the records, which was allowed, without a groan, as it ought to have been."

1880 (Munro-Fraser; History of Sonoma county, including its geology, topography, mountains, valleys and streams) quotes Thompson 1877. Per the vote, Sonoma City was "feeling a presentiment of impending evil [and] were afraid to raise the issue"

1889 (Cassiday; An illustrated history of Sonoma County, California) repeats Thompson 1884

1911 (Gregory; History of Sonoma County California) Section, HOW JIM WILLIAMSON STOLE THE COURTHOUSE: By a vote of 716 to 563 the "court-house" left Sonoma, as a newspaper man of that period graphically writes, — "On Jim Williamson's two-mule wagon." Even with the popular decision against them the Sonoma people were loth [sic] to let the institution go, but a little head-work by N. McC. Menefee, and no little foot-work by Jim Williamson's team of mules quietly passed the county government from the pueblo. The man and the mules also have "passed," but their part in "the stealing of the court-house" merits honorable mention. Menefee was the county clerk, having only one leg, but he could get around rapidly. "Jim" and "Liza" were the team, but unlike the general run of mules, could, and would — and did — move with speed. By arrangement with the supervisors Williamson camped near Sonoma the night before the day of the removal, and next morning having received a quiet notification that the board had officially adopted the "move" resolution, he was at the door of the building. William Boggs and several other persons anticipating the move were trying to get out an injunction, even rushing a courier off to Napa for that purpose — but before the citizens in the vicinity were fully alive to the job, the county records, including the dusty old documents of the alcaldes, had been "rushed" aboard the wagon, and Jim and Liza were treading the "high-places" for Santa Rosa. Williamson was at the brake — which he never used in all thai wild, twenty-two mile flight, and which lasted just one hundred minutes. Menefee beside him on the spring-wagon seat, had to let his jointless artificial leg — a mere wooden stick — rest on the dash-board, the end of the "peg" only a few inches from Liza's lively body. If she lagged ever so slightly in the mad pace she touched Menefee's peg-leg and this would almost jump her through the collar. Dropping down into a gulch or any of the many low places of the rough road and starting to rise in the corresponding ascent Liza would not fail to get "a good punch," and this, reports her owner, "sent the team up faster than it had come down." Menefee expected they would be overhauled by Sheriff Israel Brockman with the writ, and he intended to take to the woods giving the injunction a run through the brush; knowing that as an official he would be sought for service of the paper, and Williamson would be left to continue the journey. Even with a wooden-leg he grittily determined to keep Brockman on the trail until Jim and Liza got home. They were not overtaken, but landed the "court-house" in Santa Rosa, — time, 4:54. Jim Williamson — everybody calls him "Jim," is yet a citizen of the county-seat he "stole," and the petty-larcenous character of the act in nowise detracts from his popularity. Liza and the other Jim are no more, but their famous Hundred Minute Run is a living record. District Attorney McNair for his services allowed himself $250, but the supervisors amended it to $100. Jim Williamson modestly thought $15 was enough for the mules and himself, and the board thought likewise.

1926 (Honoria Tuomey; History of Sonoma County California) No mention of the ride

1942 (Finley; History of Sonoma County, California: Its People and Its Resources) No mention of the ride

1985 (Lebaron et. al.; Santa Rosa A Nineteenth Century Town) Summarizes Thompson 1877, repeats Thompson 188. Has Williamson and Martin stealing the records at night, then riding back to Santa Rosa at daybreak "standing up in the wagon, whipping the mules, and emitting whoops of triumph." Also claims the two-day BBQ was held to celebrate obtaining the records, not the announcement of winning the vote four days earlier.








Supervisor R. E. Smith employed Jim Williamson, still an honored resident of Santa Rosa Township, to go for the records. Jim hitched up a two-horse team one afternoon, went to, and through the town and camped on the other side. The next morning he drove up to the Court-house door, the records were hustled into the wagon and County Clerk Menifee on the box with Williamson, who cracked his whip, and in less time than it takes to tell it, the dusty old documents were rolling out of Sonoma...At the second meeting of the Board in Santa Rosa, Jim Williamson modestly put in a bill of sixteen dollars for getting away with the records — and the Clerk. That bill was allowed, as it ought to have been, without a groan.

- Sonoma Democrat, March 29 1884



Coming Golden Jubilee in Santa Rosa Recalls Memorable Drive With the County Records

In connection with Santa Rosa's golden jubilee in September which celebrates the fiftieth anniversary as the county seat of imperial Sonoma many interesting bits of history are recollected of that memorable day half a century ago when the Board of Supervisors met in the historic town of Sonoma and after a canvass of the votes formally declared Santa Rosa to be henceforth the county seat.

There are several old pioneers residing in this county who have vivid remembrances of the stirring times circled about the making of Santa Rosa the capital city. Among this number is J. R. Williamson, who resides near this city. He is the man who handled the ribbons over the stout pair of mules who hauled the wagon carrying the county documents from Sonoma to Santa Rosa after the formal declaration of the change of county seats. It was a memorable drive across the apologies for roads leading from Sonoma to Santa Rosa of 1854. Mr. Williamson prides himself as being the first white man to reside on the actual site of the city, and the man “who stole the county seat,” as he smilingly puts it.

Some time before the canvass of the election returns in view of the bitter agitation over the removal of the county seat, Robert Smith, a brother of W. R. Smith, the pioneer Santa Rosa blacksmith, saw Mr. Williamson and arranged with him to be on hand with his wagon and team as soon as the vote was canvassed for the purpose of hurrying the county records to Santa Rosa. Mr. Williamson took his light spring wagon and span of mules and drove over to Sonoma the day before the Supervisors met. He did not go into the town as that would have been dangerous. He camped over night beside a little creek in order to avoid anybody’s suspicion as to Santa Rosa’s expectations regarding her victory.

Mr, Williamson recalls that the canvass of the election returns was held in the little adobe courthouse on the south side of the historic. Sonoma plaza. Before the meeting Smith and Williamson had agreed that the latter should be within hailing distance when the formal order should have been made by the County Fathers. The sign was to be a note from Smith to which Williamson was to get the wagon without delay.

The meeting was called and if any one hand to look from the old courthouse they would have seen a man standing outside leisurely whittling away at one of the posts supporting the porch, a favorite pastime judging from the appearance of the posts as described to a Press Democrat interviewer.

The vote was finally canvassed and Williamson got the tip and hastened to get his team. This was accomplished and in less than fifteen minutes he was at the door of the old Courthouse. Not a moment was lost as it was feared that an attempt might be made to stop the removal of the records from the old town to the new capital. All five of the Supervisors and County Clerk Menefee assisted Mr. Williamson in loading the books into the wagon. Mr. Williamson remembers that there were about two wheelbarrow loads of volumes.

Former Governor Boggs, was one of those opposed to the moving of the county records and he sought to have County Clerk Menefee to issue a restraining order to stop the taking away of the books, as he knew that they would never be returned. Mr. Menefee declined to issue any papers, “on account of pressing business,” Mr, Williamson says, and taking his seat beside Mr. Williamson in the wagon, the lash fell smartly upon the anatomy of the mules and the hurried drive to Santa Rosa with the county records was commenced.

Mr. Williamson says that they knew there was no time to lose and they fancied that in his wrath Boggs might go across into Napa county and endeavor to get the restraining order there. Both Menefee and Williamson cast their eyes behind ever and anon to see whether they were being pursued. If the restraining order was secured they knew that the Sheriff would endeavor to stop them. Menefee and Williamson planned in the event that the man of the law hove in sight that Menefee was to alight from the wagon and hide in the brush. The Sheriff did not know Williamson and Williamson was to try and bluff him out of his purpose.

The road to Santa Rosa, as stated, lay over a rough country. When the whip failed to meet with the response desired from the mules, there was another method to urge them forward. County Clerk Menefee had a wooden leg, and it was of the pegleg style. He had to let the peg rest on the dashboard of the wagon out over the backs of the mules. Consequently when the wagon lurched at every chuckhole in the road Menefee’s wooden leg served as a goad to the mules and kept them going at a breakneck speed. Mr, Williamson fifty years later cannot restrain a smile as he recalls Menefee’s pegleg goading the mules. So that a man’s wooden leg has somewhat of an important motive factor in the removal of the county records to Santa Rosa on that memorable day.

Spurred on by Menefee’s wooden prod the mules fairly flew across the country. Mr. Williamson remembers how tired he was in holding anything like a check on the animals. Santa Rosa was reached in a little over two hours. They drove direct to Julio Carrillo’s house. It had been arranged, Mr. Williamson says, as a temporary place for the keeping of the records until some other arrangements could be made. The men had not been far wrong In their guess that they would be pursued. The last of the county records had not been carried into the house when up the road, riding for dear life, his horse panting and covered with foam came the Sheriff, Isreal Brockman. If he had any papers to serve or whether he would have stopped Menefee and Williamson is a matter for conjecture. When he saw the last of the records disappear Into Carrillo’s house he explained that he had come over hurriedly to secure office room in Santa Rosa, “before the rush begun." There were no up-to-date office buildings with electric lights and free Janitors in those days.

This Is but a glimpse of the historical significance of the golden jubilee which will be celebrated in Santa Rosa in September. Williamson and others of the pioneers who remember the incidents of fifty years ago, have enough to make an interesting novel with the central plot the removal of the county seat from the old town of Sonoma to Santa Rosa.

D. D. Davisson, the pioneer of this city, is well posted on the doings of those memorable days. He was living in Sonoma at the time and he had a number of teams. He was approached and asked if he would have a team ready to haul the county records to Santa Rosa. It had leaked out that a proposition had been made to him and he was given to understand that it would be dangerous for him and his business if he lent his team, and he did not do so. Pioneer Williamson will never forget the ride he and Menefee took or the incident connected with the pegleg.

- Press Democrat, April 10 1904



WILLIAMSON’S WILD RIDE
How the County Records Were Brought to This City

The accomplishment of the purport of Supervisor Fowler’s motion, namely, the removal of the archives from Sonoma to Santa Rosa, occasioned some foreboding. There were open
threats of violence from those who disliked to see the county seat removed from Sonoma, and it was also hinted that the law of injunction might be called into exercise to balk the removal of the records. It was realized that to remove the documents in safety and with success strategy would have to be employed. And so it came to pass that James R. Williamson, the well-known pioneer, whose picture appears in connection with this historical sketch, and who, still hale and hearty, resides just outside the city limits at the extension of West Third street, proved the man for the occasion. Here is Mr. Williamson’s graphic description of the task he performed.

“It was Supervisor Smith, who was by the way, a brother of William R. Smith (the latter the well known pioneer blacksmith of Santa Rosa), who importuned me to steal with the archives from Sonoma into Santa Rosa. He arranged with me to drive from Santa Rosa to Sonoma the day before the Supervisors were to pass the resolutions declaring Santa Rosa the new county seat and ordering the removal of the documents to the new seat of administration. I was to keep out of sight as much as possible until after this preliminary work had been accomplished.

“‘Jim Williamson,’ Smith said, ‘you are the only man to do this job, and do it right. When you get near the old town get around back somehow so as not to excite the suspicion of people, camp with your team somewhere for the night, and tomorrow about the time when we are in session you come up to the hall in town and be on hand where I can get a glimpse of you without delay after the act is done.’ (meaning the order for the removal of the archives). ‘When you see me give a nod in your direction, get your wagon and drive up to the door of the court house as fast as you know how.’

“Well, I hitched up the mules to the wagon and drove from Santa Rosa to Sonoma, carefully avoiding going into the town and keeping out of sight as much as possible. That night I and the mules camped in the bed of a little creek where no one could see us, a little outside of the town limits of Sonoma. It was a pretty long night. I took a coffee pot along and made some coffee. Morning came and I fed the mules and myself. I did not go up town for some time as the Board meeting was not called until 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Finally I strolled up town after I knew that the Supervisors had been in meeting for sometime, and entered the court house. There were quite a number of people around, and, seeing me there, some of them suspected that I had come on business of some sort. Supervisor Smith and one or two other members of the Board and County Clerk Menefee knew why I was on hand. I had been waiting some little time, always keeping in sight, when suddenly I looked up and saw Smith rise, and, I got the nod that I had been expecting.

“I hurried as fast as could to the camp and in a jiffy had the mules hitched to the wagon and in less than fifteen minutes I drove up to the door of the court house. The Supervisors and clerk helped to load the archives into the wagon and in less time than it takes to te11 it County Clerk Menefee was on the wagon seat beside me and we were whirling over the dry and dusty ground with the documents on tha way to Santa Rosa.”

"Menefee and I knew that we might be overtaken on the way and an effort made to force ua to give up the archives. We had planned as to what we would do in case anyone interfered. There were no roads in those days like we have today. I remember very well that Menefee had a wooden leg, and it was too long to rest in the bottom of the wagon, so he let it hang over the dash board. The wooden leg served as a goad to the mules, for when the wagon wheels struck a chuck hole and there would be a jolt, first one and then the other mule would receive a prod from the tip on the end of his wooden leg.

“Those mules made a record-breaking trip for those days from Sonoma to Santa Rosa, and luck was with us. No one interfered. Soon the old adobe in Santa Rosa hove in sight and it was not long before we pulled up in front of Julio Carrillo’s house, where it had been previously arranged the archives should be stored until Barney Hoen, Hartman and Hahman had built a court house. We had barely got out of the wagon outside Carrillo’s house, which then stood on the site of the feed mill built later by Mr. Cnopius on Second street, and which now forms the rear of two houses on Second and B streets, when we heard the thud of a horse’s hoofs in the distance. As the sound came nearer and nearer, we saw that the rider was Israel Brockman, the sheriff. His horse was panting furiously, and was covered with foam. We saluted the sheriff and inquired what was the occasion of his apparently fast ride from Sonoma to Santa Rosa. He replied. ‘I just thought that 1 would get over here quick and find an office so as to avoid the rush.’ If he had, as we believed, injunction papers to restrain the removal of the archives, he did not attempt to serve them. We carried the books into Carrillo’s house, and' —well, that is how I brought the records from the old county seat to the new.”

- Press Democrat, September 21 1904



COUNTY SEAT OF SONOMA. — From the Bulletin we learn that in the late contest for county seat in Sonoma county, Santa Rosa proved to be the successful candidate. The Bulletin "takes on" as follows:

That's "a gone (or going] case" from Sonoma. The up-country people battled furiously against us, and have come out victorious. What majority the new seat got we are not aware, but whatever it is, why, "it is as it is, and can't be any "tis'er," which incontrovertible truth consoles us, at least. By the way, the people of Santa Rosa, after being satisfied" of their success, fired one hundred guns in honor of the event — that is, an anvil supplied the place of cannon, which was "let off" one hundred times. Great country this, fenced in or not.

- Sacramento Daily Union, September 20 1854

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