by Edward Leo Lyman
Chapter Five: Expansion of Enterprise
[p.199]By the midpoint of the Mormon period at San Bernardino the city had reached a level of maturity and production impressive for just three years of development. Outside observers noted the extent of growth with praise. By late 1854 and early 1855 virtually all inhabitants were established on their own town lots and had their new homes at least habitable. The unfinished state of the houses was due to the higher priority of making ranch payments than to negligence on the part of citizens who occasionally expounded to visitors what they would do when “clear of debt.”1 The settlers were in the forefront of some aspects of Southland economics, helping to set the pace as the region commenced the transition from a pastoral Hispanic ranchland economy to the more complex endeavors of cultivated agriculture, rudimentary manufacturing, and commerce then characteristic of the mainstream of Anglo-American life.
One of the greatest undertakings was home construction. Some details of this process may be gathered from the experience of the Jonathan Crosby family, who built two houses during their spare time during the last two years of the settlement. Their first house was built of lumber retrieved from an unfinished machine shop on their city lot. After dismantling the structure’s frame and [p.200]reducing the proportions to make it a suitable residence, workers erected outer walls of wood. Recently sawed boards comprised portions of the walls and floors. “Pasting up the cracks in the walls” was left to Caroline, as was the larger task of hanging wallpaper. Jonathan acquired scrap lumber from Charles Crismon’s planing mill, from which he fashioned finished sash boards. He built the chimney himself while his son Alma laid adobe walls in the kitchen. Later Caroline sewed a cloth “lining,” which her husband installed on the kitchen ceiling. No one complained about the hastily completed building, perhaps because the family intended to begin work on a more substantial house as soon as funds permitted.2
In the fall of 1856 Alma Crosby commenced digging the footing-foundation for the new home. Masons probably filled the trench with rock masonry, raising a foundation above ground level. Adobe walls were promptly laid. Unexpected rains forced Jonathan and Alma to place temporary boards around the adobes to protect them from erosion, at least until the roof overhang was in place. Soon thereafter Justus Morse delivered shingles and the Crosby men hurriedly installed the roof.
After completing the basic enclosure and walls, Jonathan did some interior painting, probably the woodwork. He cut windows in the adobe walls, framed them, and set in glass panes. Alma plastered some kitchen walls, probably the outer adobe ones, while his mother wallpapered others. The son erected a partition within the kitchen to create a separate pantry-storeroom, while his father laid the plank floor of the “chamber,” an upstairs sleeping quarters, and Caroline placed a carpet on the floor of at least one room, probably the parlor. Fireplaces apparently provided heat in both the parlor and the master bedroom. The iron kitchen stove would be moved outside the house during [p.201]the hot seasons. The Crosby’s “bathing room,” unique at least in their community, arranged to enable convenient shower baths, drew admiration. It is unclear whether the room was detached from the rest of the house or exactly what Caroline meant by their “patentwright bathing establishment. 3
There were several smaller buildings on the premises, including the never-mentioned outdoor privy; a woodshed with a chimney, which might indicate a smokeroom for curing pork or water-heating facilities for washing clothes. Jonathan had a workshop, complete with workbench and his good assortment of tools for woodworking. Alma constructed a henhouse as well as facilities for a cow and for stored barley.
Like their neighbors, the Crosby family did not neglect basic landscaping. A picket fence covered at least the front of the property, probably adjacent to the irrigation ditch that Alma helped dig. From Sister Jackson’s nursery they procured shrubbery, including three locust trees, two alanthus, two rose bushes, and assorted root slips. Caroline enjoyed her flower garden each season. An orchard, probably in the rear of the yard, consisted of at least a dozen peach, along with a few pear, apple, and plum trees. A vegetable garden was situated nearby and a barley field would have comprised the greater portion of two acres of the two city lots.4
Caroline’s and Alma’s outdoor chores were typical of most households. The housewife milked the family cow twice a day. Alma sometimes relieved his mother, and occasionally milked the neighbors’ animals in exchange for other work. His cousin, Ellen Pratt, who resided on a lot to the rear of the Crosbys, received a cow as a gift from Cucamonga rancher John Rains, and after she married in 1856, her husband, William [p.202]McGary, assumed the milking responsibility, at least at first. The eggs and poultry the Crosby family and others produced indicates much time feeding chickens and gathering eggs. Caroline sprouted tomato and other plants inside, probably in pots on her window sills, for mid-March transplants and a head start in the growing season. The garden required some effort, particularly the weekly turn at irrigating, which often came at night. Caroline’s outspoken sister, Louisa Pratt, was critical of the city for not guaranteeing women with no men at home their water turn during daylight hours. Firewood gathering was an inevitable duty, requiring wagon trips into the mountains, cutting, and storage in the woodshed.5
Even for a housewife with no small children, domestic chores were time-consuming. Manufactured goods, including cloth, soap, and ready-made clothing, were easily accessible from local merchants, but disadvantages more than made up for conveniences. The most formidable challenge would have been the frequent dust storms caused by the high winds and unpaved streets. After one such storm Caroline lamented this “dust curse,” as she cleaned the newly-deposited soil from the beds, dishes, and virtually everything else in the house, affirming she was trying to bear the condition with patience. In her diary she seldom mentioned sweeping or mopping but sometimes referred to “brushing and cleaning house.” The beds probably received more than the usual attention, as she sometimes turned the mattresses or took bedding outside for “sunning.” Still, she confessed to sometimes being kept awake at night by vermin, specifically bedbugs. [p.203]If such a meticulously clean home was infested, so were all the others in the San Bernardino Valley.6
Monday washdays were an inevitable part of a woman’s week, occupying more time than any other task except baking. Caroline often had assistance from her son, a Pratt niece, or a hired girl. Until a well was completed on the premises in the spring of 1856, water was undoubtedly obtained from the irrigation ditch and heated either on the stove or in some kind of special heating tank in the woodshed. Often the washing took so long that the afternoon winds forced them to wait until the following day to “put out” articles to dry. Caroline devoted more than the ordinary amount of time, usually on Tuesdays, to ironing, including starch for skirts and shirt collars. Sewing was common, but for Caroline it was more leisurely than a necessity. Much of what she sewed went to disadvantaged girls, although she sewed some for her own family and, more rarely, for others as barter for such items as wallpaper and butter.7
Despite the financial and agricultural problems that beset San Bernardino over the years, citizens were almost universally well-fed. The gardens provided a good variety of vegetables, and fruit orchards and grape vineyards began to produce in 1854. Potatoes are seldom mentioned, but they were grown in such abundance and were available so much of the year that they must have been the most common food, along with bread. A large amount of milk, butter, and cheese was produced, half of which was consumed at home. The same is true of eggs and poultry. With no refrigeration, perishable items were sometimes kept in well buckets suspended just above water level. When livestock was slaughtered in the warmer months, the meat was widely shared. Some of it was dried as local Mexicans and Indians did. Pork was made into sausages and mincemeat, a common pie [p.204]filling. Chicken was commonly used for special occasions throughout the year, with some ducks, geese, and turkeys also used as festive foods. Some excellent colony hunters occasionally brought in venison, game fowl, and trout.
Although some Americans may have already begun preserving food in cans and jars, there is no indication of this in San Bernardino except for jam, prickly pear jelly, and what was called raselle, pear, apple, and tomato preserves. Tomatoes and fruits were dried, and Caroline even made catsup. No explicit mention is made of pickles or sauerkraut, but since cucumbers and cabbage were produced in quantity, they were probably preserved at times in such a manner. Peas, beets, melons, beans, squash, and pumpkins were grown in abundance and could be stored effectively far into the winter season.8
Even with the apparent abundance of good iron cookstoves, baking and cooking were a time-consuming aspect of most housewives’ days. Caroline baked bread more than once per week, and larger families probably did even more frequently. Judging from the Crosby household, it is surprising how often other baked goods were also produced, with pies made several times each month, and puddings, cakes, and doughnuts only slightly less frequently. Another common dessert was duff, a sweetened dumpling cooked in a covered pot with stewed fruit. Roast chicken, beef stew, and “fresh meat soup” were common main courses.9
Jonathan serves as a good example of the few colonists who worked other than as farmers and cattlemen. Maintaining a shop near his house, he was in frequent demand to clean and repair clocks and watches, and to assist in repairing the gristmill. He constructed at least one entire water wheel for Ebenezer Hanks. Crosby also built and repaired windmills and other types of water [p.205]pumps, though his primary work was that of a finisher or woodworking carpenter. On several occasions he helped convert residences into stores.
As he had done earlier on shipboard as a missionary en route to the Society Islands, Jonathan manufactured furniture, including tables, chests of drawers, and sofas. His wife made the cushions and covered the furniture with appropriate fabric.10 In furniture making, others preceded the Crosbys. John Harris and non-Mormon Lewis F. Cram and his brothers constructed a breastwheel and placed it in “the fall” of the old zanja at the asistancia to propel a wood lathe to turn legs for what were widely claimed to be the first chairs manufactured in southern California. They reportedly made over a thousand of these with solid wood frames and seats fashioned from cowhide. Neighbor A.D. Boren purchased a considerable number of the chairs and hauled them to market in other Southland towns at good profits. The furniture factory, which appears to have operated from 1854 to 1857, also produced tables, cupboards, and bedposts. Harris is known to have fashioned such small kitchen utensils as rolling pins and potato mashers.11
The United States census indicates that at least four blacksmiths, two gunsmiths, and a wagon-maker resided at San Bernardino at its inception. Being so closely situated to sources of manufactured goods likely precluded their being as crucial as in more isolated settlements, but local blacksmiths would have fashioned plowshares from old wagon rims and made horseshoes. The operators of the combination blacksmith-wagon shop, Clark Fabun and William McDonald, were noted to be proficient [p.206]at repair and manufacture of farm implements. There were several others of each kind of shop in use during the hectic days when the Saints were preparing to return to Utah, but little else is known. Some such craftsmen were doubtless involved in making parts for the threshing machines of “domestic manufacture” known to have been constructed in 1852 and thereafter. The town’s cooper, Gashum Case, made wooden drums and on occasion butter churns; Ed Dennis, a former sheet metal dealer in Hawaii, produced and sold “tinware”; and a late arrival from Australia, Luke Syphus, fashioned rakes from tree parts.12
There was one notable San Bernardino mechanical invention likely to have been significant in the development of farm implements adapted to the new techniques of irrigation. When local mechanics devised their own versions of grain drills to more efficiently plant the relatively scarce wheat, barley, and corn seed, they probably drew from experience with similar machinery they had observed elsewhere. But these local models had some type of shovel or blade attached for not only covering the seed but also creating furrows ready to receive irrigation water when it was needed to mature the crop. Since there had been so little irrigation among people with the technological skill to produce such equipment, this type of machine may well have been an invention first developed in the southern California colony.13
Weedon V. Hakes operated a shoe and harness-making shop throughout his six years in San Bernardino. He probably could not compete well with the local merchants’ stock of ready-made shoes and boots, but he did considerable shoe repair and harness-making. In 1856 Francis A. Hammond set up a similar [p.207]business in order to raise funds to resume his return journey to Utah from his Sandwich Islands mission. He noted he could “make out quite well” in the business if he could collect his fees when he finished the work. This was probably a persistent problem among such close-knit people who would expect leniency in credit and debt collection. The matter got to be so bad for Hammond that he went to Los Angeles to investigate the possibility of moving his shop there—presumably to be paid more promptly since he was anxious to continue on his way to Zion.14
In 1854, the year most Latter-day Saint families left the fort and established their own homes, crops reached the highest point of production of the entire Mormon period in spite of several obstacles. Most of the grain was still planted in the large common field north of the settlement, near the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, where farmers continued to experiment with various methods of cultivation. On three hundred acres the seed grain was sown on the stubble of the previous crop which was harrowed but not plowed. This yielded less than a fourth of the normal harvest. A fire caused by people cooking nearby destroyed two to three hundred acres of the best grain. Also, for some reason, which the Los Angeles Southern Californian unaccountably attributed to shortage of manpower, the grain was allowed to become so ripe it fell from the heads to the ground during the reaping process. Despite these drawbacks, the total yield was reported at 50,000 bushels of wheat, an average of twenty bushels to the acre. Colony leaders reported that the price for wheat was strong at $1.25 per bushel, but “because of the scarcity of money” as the economic depression reached its lowest point, few sales were being made. Without appreciable grain sales abroad, even this good harvest may not have been of major assistance in helping families pay for their share of the ranch debt [p.208]or for as much building materials as they needed to complete their new houses that year.15
By the second harvest in the area the farmers possessed several of the latest designs of reapers just then being publicized by Cyrus McCormick’s company at the New York World’s Fair. These vastly improved the efficiency of harvesting wheat and barley. The more complex phase of the harvest process was threshing. Fanning mills then in use stood some five feet high, with a hopper at the top. Two levels of sieves, about thirty inches square—one coarse-screened to separate out the grain heads and a finer one to divide kernels from the straw which was blown away—allowed clean wheat or barley to be placed in sacks or bins for use. These machines still depended on hand-flailing or animal hoofs for the actual threshing.
There were also threshing machines from the end of the first year of settlement, and by 1854 and 1855 different partnerships of farmers possessed at least five machines that mechanically combined the entire processes of separating the grain from the straw. Some of these machines were moved from one city lot to another, threshing the individual farmer’s crop. In the case of the Crosbys’ two-acre barley crop in the summer of 1856, Thomas Tompkins set up his thresher on Saturday, and, though there was no activity on the Sabbath, Sunday evening several of the threshing crew arrived to spend the night after an evening meal prepared by Caroline. The next morning she fed the entire crew breakfast. When the workmen finished in early afternoon, they ate dinner before moving the machinery on to another family’s property. Alma [p.209]Crosby often worked on these crews, as did other young men like Marion Lyman who noted $2.25 per day wages for such work. Lyman also mentioned that the harvest fee for his ten acres of barley was two bushels per acre for cutting and five bushels per acre for threshing, in addition to feeding the crews.16 The settlement had knowledgeable mechanics, including Charles Crismon, builder of the first sawmill and gristmill in the Salt Lake Valley, and George Garner, who brought the first reaper into Utah. There is little question that, situated closer to the sea, some southern California Latter-day Saint farmers used the latest technology in their operations more promptly than their more isolated counterparts in the intermountain region.
In the autumn of 1854 the county assessor noted that San Bernardino had a “large fine flouring mill” which manufactured large quantities of “superfine flour.” The Southern Californian, for which Judge Benjamin Hayes served as a correspondent, promoted the Lyman and Rich gristmill, which was already engaged that year to process a third of the local crop. Hayes confessed that “heretofore the flour of the San Bernardino mills, was of an inferior quality,” explaining that the establishment was new and that they had no machinery for removing mustard and other foreign seeds from the wheat. That problem had been solved and the remodeled mill made as “clean and good flour as can be manufactured anywhere.” Several weeks later Rich brought some of the fresh product to the editor who tested it and proclaimed it “excellent.” A second article opined: “[I]t seems a mystery why [Los Angeles citizens] would rather eat old musty flour which must necessarily be so when brought around the [Cape] Horn” and called on local merchants to boycott importers, concluding Mormon [p.210]flour could compete with any in “quality, quantity and cheapness.”17 This was doubtless true for 1854, but because of the rust and drought problems in each of the other harvests, San Bernardino wheat would never become consistent enough to be relied on.
Carelessness cost the community as much as a third of the recently threshed grain, destroyed by rainstorms before the roof was completed or repaired on the storage house adjacent to the gristmill. In the absence of Lyman and Rich, this mishap stimulated stake president David Seeley to urge completion within weeks. There were further improvements at the mill, particularly on the “scouring” equipment. As in other years winter rains and uncontrolled runoff posed problems for the mill race from Warm Creek, a section of which washed out in early 1855. When the streams subsided somewhat, Lyman, Rich, and company agent Richard Hopkins “had the horn blowed [sic] and raised hands,” and undertook the difficult work of repairing the breach by stretching logs across and driving stakes in behind them after which straw and sand placed back of the dam accomplished the purpose.18
As the 1855 planting season began, Hopkins reported to Lyman and Rich that the community was doing “first rate in the farming line.” With the consent of the absent proprietors, interested citizens were granted an additional 900 acres at the rear of the big field, along with a new plot of 500 acres at old San Bernardino. The final estimate by Lyman and Rich of the extent of cultivated ground was raised from 5,000 to 6,000 acres, while a correspondent to the Southern Californian claimed that such farmland had reached 8,000 acres. As late as March colony leaders reported “our wheat crop looks fine and bids fair for a [p.211]rich harvest.” Then the rust set in, causing the most extensive damage ever to both Los Angeles and San Bernardino County grain. Rich informed a wife in Utah that he did not think over one-tenth of the grain acreage harvested would produce more than five bushels to the acre, adding that none of his own wheat crop was even good enough to merit cutting. Assessor Herring reported the average yield at not more than four bushels per acre on 3,000 acres actually harvested for a total harvest of 12,000 bushels. This was less than one-fourth of what they had raised the previous year with fewer farmers and less acreage planted. The assessor reported that approximately half of San Bernardino’s wheat was not fit to harvest, and the miller said it was so light it would take up to five bushels to make 100 pounds of flour whereas in normal years it would not take more than two-thirds that much. Lyman expressed optimism that San Bernardino had sufficient for their own bread for the coming year, but their hopes of making the final debt repayments were dashed, making the harvest one of the great disappointments of the entire Mormon period.19
As Rich settled up gristmill accounts with millwright George Sirfine, he ascertained, with some relief, that the construction and operating costs of the mill were less than $2,000 more than its income. Compared with flour milling operations in many communities, that was rather good success for a venture known to be more a community service than a money-making endeavor. Judging from their fragmentary diaries, there were few things that occupied as much of the proprietors’ time and attention while in San Bernardino as did the gristmill.20
[p.212]One potentially redeeming aspect of the 1855 harvest was that neighboring farmers experimented with wheat varieties from Chile and Australia and discovered that rust did not affect them at all. This could have boded fair for the future, since the regional newspapers widely encouraged planters henceforth to use these strains, for which there was plenty of imported seed available in subsequent years. Apparently Louis Rubidoux used it fully at his neighboring Rancho Jurupa. But there is no indication that the Mormons paid much attention to this new development.21
Desperate to recoup their losses in 1856, San Bernardino farmers entered the new year plowing and planting once again. But in the ensuing several months the weather was remarkably dry and cold, neither suitable for the important early germination period for so-called winter wheat. For this reason Rich advised planting corn, beans, and other crops depending on artificial irrigation. After an extensive April rainstorm Rich noted prospects “good for the coming harvest.” But by early June the outlook for the wheat crop was not as good, although the price of flour at Los Angeles was ten dollars per hundredweight as a result of a failed wheat crop to the north, and San Bernardino farmers were still optimistic. So was the Los Angeles Star, which estimated the Mormon harvest would total 100,000 bushels. However, the drought took its toll on the final yield, which averaged only seven to ten bushels to the acre.22
Rich attributed the poor harvest more to the fact that farmers had depended upon volunteer grain instead of a carefully [p.213]replanted crop. Judge Daniel M. Thomas’s report to Lyman during the planting season corroborates Rich’s explanation, saying that at the big field the colony farmers trusted “to make wheat without sowing.” They did replant the San Bernardino mission district field where irrigation was possible. For whatever reasons, the wheat harvest, though not as bad as the worst estimates, was 30,000 bushels total, more than double the previous year but just over half that of 1854.23
In both 1854 and 1855 approximately one thousand acres of the dry land fields were converted to barley and to a smaller extent oats, both used primarily as feed for livestock rather than human consumption. In the better harvest of the former year, the barley yield was 25,000 bushels. In the latter year the decline was not so marked as in wheat, with a production of 15,000 bushels. The same amount was harvested from less acreage in 1856. The extra land planted into corn which yielded 7,000 bushels and, in the absence of much other forage feed, kept the livestock from starving. In 1857, despite some continued drought and an unusual number of foggy days during the crucial ripening season, twice as much barley and a “good deal more wheat” than the previous year were harvested, along with another good corn crop.24
[p.214]Although the colony originally intended to rely primarily on small grain for their livelihood, it was the products from their vegetable gardens, fruit orchards, hen houses, dairy pastures, and cattle ranges that did most to tide them through the depression which extended through the last half of their stay in southern California. In 1854 the county assessor reported about 2,000 bushels of potatoes, an equal amount of onions, and 200 bushels of beans, with an “abundance” of cabbage, beets, and other vegetables. The following year the same report neglected to mention any specific vegetable production, although there is no reason to think that the amount produced declined significantly. Tithing records do not indicate any deficiency of the previously-listed items. In fact, there were also considerable amounts of squash, pumpkins, and melons produced and paid in kind into the church storage facilities. The 1856 potato crop reportedly failed, although some were produced and used for home consumption. Other vegetables were reported by Rich and the Star to be abundant. This production occurred despite the drought that stopped the irrigation water by July, since most garden produce was already harvested prior to that time.25
Among the items paid greatest attention were grape vineyards and fruit tree orchards. A few peaches and grapes were gathered in the 1854 season, when the official report noted 50,000 grape vines then growing. The next year’s report included 400 bushels of “fine” peaches. Although there are no official reports thereafter, the products of orchards and vineyards certainly enhanced the variety of locally-consumed meals, if not the profit ledgers of the owners. The Los Angeles Star predicted in late 1856 that San Bernardino “bids fair to become celebrated as a fruit growing country,” as it already had a large variety of trees, many imported from Oregon, “which under proper culture thrive remarkably well.” The paper also praised the area’s potential [p.215]for grape culture then underway. It was later recalled that the Alden Jackson family, with an exceptional interest in plants of all kinds, had an orchard numbering 700 trees and several different vineyards. Just after the Mormon exodus, the San Francisco Alta California reported some 10,000 fruit trees, many of them peach, in full blossom and ready to yield in 1858. Many of the trees probably died from lack of proper care, but some, such as those of Dr. Benjamin Barton, produced impressively that season and thereafter.26
Despite all of the problems of rust, drought, and debt, San Bernardino had quickly emerged as a significant agricultural center in southern California, outstripping the field production of Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Barbara counties combined. The area was often noted to have the best combination of soil, water, and climate in the region. But the most essential component was the industry and determination of the people who had effectively established their settlement on the traditional but firm economic foundation of tilling the soil and raising livestock.27
Interest in horticulture was part of the original motivation for authorizing the southern California colony. Brigham Young wanted a self-sufficient economy, and almost immediately upon arriving in the Great Basin seed wheat was carried to Salt Lake [p.216]City in saddle bags from Taos, New Mexico, and California peas were brought by some of the “battalion boys” the first year. Utah had several horticulturalists experienced in nursery, grafting, and plant propagation. One of these was William C. Staines, an English immigrant and expert gardener. Another, C. H. Oliphant from upstate New York, gathered whatever scions and seeds were available and embarked upon the tree raising business on a large scale. In 1856 he received some of his most valuable plants from San Bernardino, including some from Mrs. Caroline Jackson.28
Caroline and Alden A. M. Jackson were avid collectors and distributors of plants. They sold and gave away fruit trees, shrubs, vegetables, and flowers, and Caroline was well-known as the “floral lady.” One of Sister Jackson’s most appreciative recipients, Louisa Pratt, was herself an important contributor to the collection of useful plants being gathered at San Bernardino. She brought the seeds of black pepper trees with her when the family returned from their mission to the Society Islands. After starting a nursery from the seeds, she planted the drought-resistant shade trees which grew “very high” in just three or four seasons. These were reportedly the first of their kind in the Southland where they still flourish.29
In the spring of 1857, at a time when the network of Mormon nurserymen was fully established, including the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society and the Utah Horticultural Society, Brother Jackson responded to requests from Brigham Young for additional California plants by explaining that it was too late in the growing season there to transport such starts, but he pledged to do so at the first realistic opportunity. Jackson promised to send such cuttings and seeds not only to Young, but to brothers Staines, Oliphant, and others, already known to him by reputation and common interest. The contributions [p.217]of these plant experts, at both ends of the Utah-southern California trail, enhanced Mormon productivity through their plant propagation efforts in these crucial pioneering years. In this they were fully supported by efforts of the church hierarchy, including both Apostle Wilford Woodruff and President Young, who also inquired of Charles C. Rich concerning plant cuttings.30
A number of factors combined to bring about one of the most significant contributions of the entire Mormon period in San Bernardino history. The reduced annual wheat yields caused by a combination of rust and drought forced colony farmers not only to locate new fields with more potential for irrigation, but also to seek crops that would flourish with such artificial watering. The lack of adequate forage for the livestock in such dry years would also have made the farmers more aware of the need to produce a better supply of feed for such occasions. One such crop, alfalfa, proved to be not only a boon to agriculture in San Bernardino County and the entire Southland, but before long to Utah as well. As lucerne, this plant had been extensively used in Europe since the ancient Greek and Roman eras and been planted in New York and other eastern states as early as the 1830s. But it was apparently not reproduced successfully in the United States, or at least the West, until the early 1850s.
In 1852 Mormon convert John F. Metcalf and his wife Eliza, natives of England, left Sidney, Australia, for the United States. Late that year or early in 1853 they arrived in San Bernardino and took up lands adjacent to Lytle Creek on present-day Mt. Vernon Avenue, near Third Street, where they planted some of the alfalfa seed they had brought from Australia. The crop did so well that it was soon cultivated by others, and the Metcalf seed sold for a time for $1 per pound and was distributed throughout [p.218]southern California. By 1855 both Archibald Sullivan and Joseph Matthews paid tithing in kind amounting to about a half ton of hay each, and others were apparently equally engaged in the enterprise. The next year the hay crop was generally noted to be doing well throughout the community, with the Los Angeles Star predicting production would be “very abundant.”31
In the spring of 1857 San Bernardino resident John Gribble sent alfalfa seed to Brigham Young, along with instructions for its proper cultivation. Although it is impossible to prove conclusively who grew the first crop in either Utah or California, Young was at least one of the first. Prominent Salt Lake City resident Hamilton Park later disputed Isaac Goodwin’s claim to being the first, saying it was Young. Goodwin, another San Bernardino farmer, emigrated to Utah in 1858, locating at Lehi, where he planted alfalfa in a field west of the Jordan River in 1860. Others also planted the crop soon after, but indications are that the initial impetus was from the California Saints. An equally important contribution of the transplanted San Bernardino residents in Utah was in cultivating, harvesting, curing, and storing the alfalfa hay with which they had several years’ extra experience.32
Certainly one of the other main San Bernardino contributions to Utah was to publicize and promote the crop. Former San Bernardino resident David H. Holladay, who with most of his family located after the California exodus at Santaquin, Utah County, further illustrates this aspect of the San Bernardino contribution to the beginnings of alfalfa growing in Utah. As bishop of the Santaquin congregation, he did much to advance and improve the community but considered it his personal [p.219]mission to convert the people to an alternative to the wild grass hay they were accustomed to harvesting at the Goshen sloughs some ten miles away. The local historian of the area recalled that “alfalfa was little known at this time” and that Holladay’s sermons and talks usually centered on “plant alfalfa.” She personally heard him affirm, “I will preach alfalfa until every farmer has a patch of it in his field.”33
By the turn of the century one of the most prominent Utah agricultural experts, Professor Charles H. Brough, designated alfalfa “the premier crop in point of valuation,” even if wheat still occupied the greatest acreage. The same was partially true in California, where a few years earlier Charles Nordhoff claimed San Bernardino farmers could get seven cuttings annually and up to fifteen tons of hay to the acre. Utah farmers, with a shorter growing season, were content with three crops of hay per year, and alfalfa continued to be a most valuable asset.34
In the period after the initial two years of what proved to be unusually abundant precipitation, the farmers in San Bernardino began to question the feasibility of centering their agricultural operations in the same locality as the big field of the first years. There had been several committees designated to investigate the various areas of the San Bernardino Valley. In 1854 the main wheat field was moved to “higher ground” nearer the mountains [p.220]than in previous seasons. There had also been a wheat field planted on the irrigable lands near the asistancia in 1854, along with the already-flourishing fruit orchards and grape vineyards. Rainfall had thus far been sufficient to bring up and mature the grain crops, but with the persistent rust problems some settlers were undoubtedly becoming more interested in other crops which demanded irrigation. Thus many brethren were inclined to urge the ranch proprietors to include most of the land that could most easily use irrigation water as part of the final selection of ranch property and that was obviously considered in the official land claims. It would take several years for San Bernardino citizens to make the transition from the semi-common farmland locations to their preferred individual plots, selected in conjunction with ranch proprietors. But when this was accomplished, irrigation was dearly a primary consideration, and when lands known to have been purchased are plotted on a map, they duster around streams where water diversion was most practicable.35
Many area farmers had prior experience with the relatively unknown techniques of irrigation either from observing New Mexican farmers while on their Mormon Battalion trek, early Utah Indian irrigated plots, or from personal experience using the streams flowing into the Salt Lake Valley during their several years’ sojourn there. And they had right in their midst, in the Mill Creek zanja, one of the most impressive examples of how Hispanic and Indian workers had conveyed stream water a considerable distance to where it could be used on a substantial tract of [p.221]level land. During the first year the pioneers provided water in the fort by digging a ditch that carried water from Garner Springs (later called Raynor Springs)just under three miles to the west and north of San Bernardino, and the next season they tapped the flow of Lytle Creek sufficiently to assure a more reliable water source. About the same time they constructed the extensive mill race from the junction of City and Warm creeks carrying some 1,500 inches to turn the gristmill water wheel. In 1854 about 200 additional inches were diverted from Warm Creek by Rabel’s dam, but this appears to have been for joint culinary and garden use rather than an individual water right.
Outside of the periodic use of the old zanja in the mission district, the first valley residents known to have used stream water for irrigating fields were west of San Bernardino. These settlers chose not to purchase land from Lyman, Rich, and Hanks. The first was George Lord, a non-Mormon, who arrived in the area in 1852 and occupied what he assumed to be government land later known as the Rialto Bench, just west of a branch of Lytle Creek. He constructed a ditch to convey creek water onto his lands. Within a year George Garner, one of the original Mormon pioneers, chose land also near Lytle Creek and took part of his irrigation water from an extension of the Lord ditch, along with some from nearby swampland. A third resident, George Day, was still on good terms with many city church members if not with his neighbors, Lord and Garner, with whom he had disputes.36
Soon thereafter a number of families, including other dissident Mormons, began to locate in the vicinity. Besides the alfalfa-growing Metcalfs, in 1854 Joseph and Nancy Augusta Bemis Hancock and some of their relatives established farm [p.222]operations for what may eventually have become the largest extended family in the history of the valley in the vicinity of later Mt. Vernon Avenue farther down Lytle Creek. The next year men named Hale and Perdue dug another ditch. This and the Lord ditch thereby established what was later considered the oldest water right claims in the valley except for the zanja.37
As these developments were taking place, in 1854 the California legislature passed an act providing for a “board of commissioners … to regulate water courses” and apportion irrigation water, including authority for the construction of ditches. San Bernardino complied by electing three Mormons—Marcus Lafayette Shepard, Sidney Tanner, and William Matthews—to comprise the local board. There is no record of disputes during their first year, but while occupants of the fort had utilized Lytle Creek for their gardens and continued to use it after abandoning the fort, they lost their prior right to users upstream by 1856. Branch clerk Richard R. Hopkins noted to the absent Lyman that the entire drought-year flow of Lytle Creek was “monopolized by settlers on the [Rialto] bench and above Garner’s,” meaning he, Lord, Day, Hale, Perdue, and perhaps others. There is no mention of a dispute or contest. Hopkins simply reported an accomplished fact. There is no record of Charles C. Rich or any other church official, besides the clerk, even mentioning the loss of the water use.38
According to a later study of area water rights, in 1854 the Mormons sought to improve their Lytle Creek ditch flow and endeavored to take out water farther upstream, above the Lord ditch intake. Lord thereupon asserted his right to a continuous flow equal to what he had used the previous two years. Just as the dispute was reaching a crisis, increased precipitation precluded the necessity of irrigating San Bernardino city lots for the remainder [p.223]of the year and essentially washed away the new Mormon ditch. The next year, when the Saints again sought to reestablish their stream source, their right had been interrupted and that of Lord and his neighbors prevailed.39
The lack of conflict over Lytle Creek water does not mean Charles C. Rich was unconcerned about the threat of the drought in early 1856. While in the midst of what was clearly a stressful period as he sought to disengage from the colony, Rich counseled not only the planting of irrigable crops but encouraged development of irrigation projects, citing the “abundance of small streams” converging on their settlement that they could readily use in such a manner. Although San Bernardino farmers had already been moving in that direction for several years, this advice could not have been implemented more impressively. One resident, Henry Boyle, informed Western Standard readers that despite the 1856 drought they possessed “plenty of water,” adding: “all that we have to do is to divert the various streams of water from the old channel and divert them to where they may be wanted, which we are now extensively engaged in doing.”40
The two most substantial streams arising directly north of San Bernardino were known as the Twin Creeks at the mouth of present-day Waterman Canyon. In early 1856 work crews tried to bring the creeks’ combined flow into the city for culinary use and for watering gardens and orchards. As the town expanded northward, it became increasingly difficult to deliver water from the [p.224]west to higher elevations. Hence the need for a stream approaching the town from the slopes to the north. Unfortunately, the latter source of water promptly proved inadequate. The watershed area feeding the Twin Creeks was limited and the intermediate soil so porous that it absorbed much of the stream flow prior to reaching the city. By July Hopkins informed Lyman that the gardens were without water because the Twin Creeks water had failed to reach the city limits.41
Unruffled, colonists simply commenced digging shallow wells to tap groundwater and conducted several experiments with methods of pumping the water to the surface, including windmills. Although the lack of gravity-flow irrigation water that summer cost some fruit trees, such as those on Amasa Lyman’s lots, others were undoubtedly saved by well water carried by bucket to allow survival until the resumption of normal rainfall.42
The next significant irrigation stream to the east, arising from the southern slopes of the San Bernardino Mountains, was City Creek. As settlers left the fort area, a number of families established a settlement called City Creek, near present-day Sixth Street between Waterman and Stealing avenues. The soil was particularly moist and deep-rooted plants could flourish through subirrigation. A similar, though larger, offshoot village developed about the same time almost directly south of City Creek. The so-called Timber Settlement was located amidst the heavy stand of cottonwood trees growing near the north bank of the Santa Ana River, about three miles east and a little south of the fort. Farmers there enjoyed the benefit of soil naturally moistened by the river. However, during the crucial drought of 1856 both [p.225]hamlets recognized the need for additional water which they acted effectively to provide.43
As early as March of that year the church high council discussed diverting water from the Santa Ana River, by far the largest stream in the valley, to supplement the zanja to irrigate 800 acres of wheat already planted in the vicinity of the old San Bernardino asistancia, probably along with contemplated cultivating of additional land. According to a report by a local correspondent to a northern California newspaper, participants at a public meeting discussed the same subject and resolved to construct the necessary ditch. However, the “timely advent of rain precluded the necessity” of such a project, at least for the moment, and the necessary digging did not take place during the spring months. A newspaper note reported that operations on the irrigation canals were suspended in consequence of the welcome precipitation. 44 The Timber and City Creek settlements demonstrated more foresight by uniting to pursue a similar project to divert water from the Santa Ana River to the opposite side in the same general area as the earlier high council proposal. They constructed a dam on the Santa Ana some two-and-a-half miles upstream from the Timber Settlement and eight miles below the canyon mouth. From the diversion point they built a ditch large enough to carry the entire regular summer flow of the river westward along the north bank toward the Timber Settlement. A smaller ditch branched off the main one to convey water northward to the City Creek settlement. There is no evidence that any of this was done under the direction of church authorities, [p.226]or even with their permission, although participants understood that the lands they occupied were to be designated as ranch lands to be purchased from Lyman and Rich and there are no recorded disputes with any of them. Reuben DeWitt, who directed the canal building effort, recalled purchasing his sixty-acre farm from the ranch proprietors for the typical price of $11 per acre.45
Later in the summer Nathan Tenney, acting for Lyman and Rich, resumed the effort to divert Santa Ana water to the south. Since the Tenney ditch aimed to take water from the main channel farther upstream than the Timber ditch intake, the ranch promoters intended to preempt the newer settlement’s water. Citizens of the Timber and City Creek settlements thereupon appealed to the board of water commissioners who decided in their favor and ordered the new ditch sealed off for at least that drought season. Despite implications to the contrary by historian Beattie, there is no hint that these important developments were accomplished in a defiant manner, although the people of the north bank settlements firmly asserted their rights against Charles C. Rich and his associates. They were doubtless aware that the earlier plan would have jeopardized their own needs. When that threat subsided, at least temporarily, the City and Timber Creek settlers simply seized the initiative and gained primary rights to the Santa Ana River flow.
There was undoubtedly disappointment among the associates of the San Bernardino rancho proprietors and farmers in the old San Bernardino vicinity. But it was simply a matter of one group of claimants asserting their right to use the water on their existing crops, while the asistancia area activity was stimulated [p.227]principally by the ranch proprietors, primarily in the interest of future purchasers. At the time the residents in the mission district included only Bishop Tenney, his counselor John Harris, A.D. Boren, Daniel Starks, Bushrod W. Wilson, Lee and Alfred Bybee, the three Cram brothers and their father, and Benjamin Van Leuven and his extended family. Since these people already had a good right to water from the Mill Creek zanja, they probably focused their efforts thereafter on improving the flow of that stream and cultivating the lands it could irrigate. Beattie surmised that agricultural development in the future Redlands area, still evident some twenty years later when permanently settled, stemmed from that time.46
Even with all the disappointments and failures, San Bernardino farmers established irrigated crop cultivation and related technology and practices on a larger scale than had ever before existed in California. The Latter-day Saints never claimed any particular credit for accomplishment in that regard. But contemporary outside observer Horace Bell asserted, “The agricultural wealth that has accrued to the state from the introduction by these Mormons of their system of irrigation can scarcely be estimated.” He continued to claim that the new technology garnered more profits for California than did the discovery of gold, which, Bell reminded, was also partially a Mormon contribution.47
Despite the attention focused on cultivated agriculture, livestock proved to be equally important. In fact, in the absence of much income from grain sales this latter endeavor appears to have made most of the ranch debt payments. The Mormon livestock industry began in Utah when “forty-niners” exchanged [p.228]their property, including worn out draft animals, for fresher ones and renewed food supplies. Latter-day Saints thus acquired some of North America’s best cattle and horses at drastically reduced prices. The large number of these animals brought to California in 1851 with the original settlers—over 1,000 oxen, cattle, and horses—was a factor in Young’s anger at the company’s departure.48
At the end of 1856 the San Bernardino county assessor enumerated 13,510 range cattle, used primarily for beef, counting only those animals over a year old. There were 731 cows that appeared to be for milking and 230 draft oxen. Added to these were 1,383 California horses, 175 “American” horses, and 1,383 mules. The sheep numbered 3,917, the goats 500, and hogs 437. Some of these livestock holdings, particularly range cattle, belonged to gentile county residents like Rubidoux, Yorba, and Williams, but most were the property of Latter-day Saints. This shows a phenomenal increase in numbers in just five years, particularly since there were almost yearly requisitions on livestock for purposes of ranch debt payments. Mormon stockmen periodically sold extra bulls to neighboring ranchers who recognized the value of cross-breeding their California cows. Two-year-old bulls from San Bernardino reportedly sold for $25 each, which was considered a bargain by both parties. Not only were the calves produced from “Mormon bulls” substantially larger, but the crossed strains of stock reputedly produced beef more appetizing to the taste than either the California or American breeds separately.49
While the livestock used for milking, farm work, and transportation was held in corrals on the home lots, most other cattle [p.229]and horses roamed widely for forage. By California law, the burden of keeping range animals out of fields, gardens, and orchards rested with the individual property owners—thus the high priority on fences. Aside from land purchase, fencing was the most demanding aspect of establishing an individual farm. Lyman presumed that the 1857 wheat crop would be diminished substantially by the limited amount of land that farmers would be able to enclose and protect that first year the old common field was not in use. Barbed wire was not yet invented, but the nearby mountains were rife with poles. Some had experience constructing the zig-zag “Virginia” style pole fence, but most in the valley built straight fences with four or live poles wired or tied with rawhide thongs to upright posts planted in the ground. In the moist soil areas there was considerable use of “live fence”: close-growing plants, various cacti, willow, alder, and sycamore trees, along with experimental Osage Orange and other shrubs, as a less expensive or labor intensive means of protecting fields from ranging livestock. Pickets were also at a premium, since such fences were considered requisite at least for the front of one’s home lot in San Bernardino city.50
No one attempted to maintain separate grazing areas, and the community’s horses and cattle mixed freely on the range. Some stockmen, like sawmill owner Andrew J. Cox, assigned young sons to keep track of the family cattle. Owners branded and marked or notched ears for proper identification. It was important to place such marks on calves while they were still in the presence of the mother cow of known ownership. This might be done individually by ranch hands encountering their cows with calves on the open range, but it was more often attended to during the more extensive round-up or “rodeo” staged at least annu-[p.230]ally in the spring when “everybody would turn out and make a general drive to bring the cattle together at some central point.” At this time each owner’s cattle would be separated out and those not yet branded and marked would be attended to. In this process some local vaqueros, such as Silas Cox, acquired excellent skills as cowboys.51
If anything, the San Bernardino cattle used in dairy enterprises were even more superior to most others then used in southern California for milk cows. After this aspect of the valley economy was fully established, some, such as Richard Hopkins, advertised for sale “milch cows” claimed to be the first “ever imported from the Atlantic States.” They were sold in lots and delivered to any location in the region. It is not known how many cattle were exchanged through this means, but there is no doubt that the southern California dairy industry stemmed in part from these beginnings.52
Indications are that so far as actual cash income for household expenses was concerned, as opposed to that for ranch payments and capital investments and improvements, most was generated at home, probably by women, from poultry and dairy products. There are only rough estimates of the production from chickens. The assessor’s report for 1856 mentions a “great quantity” of poultry and 13,000 dozen eggs sold for outside consumption, with at least a like amount used at home. In 1855 a full ton of butter was produced for sale in San Bernardino and beyond, with a slightly lesser amount of 1,700 pounds churned for sale the next year. Cheese production for outside sale increased from 2,500 pounds in 1855 to 3,000 pounds the next year. None of [p.231]these figures reflected the approximately equal amount consumed locally.53
Despite this tremendous dairy production, there is no evidence of any of it being accomplished by larger than family enterprise. Numerous households with more than one milk cow allowed the fresh milk to stand in large bowls, often fashioned from wood, for the cream to rise. The skimmed cream would then be churned into butter, probably almost daily, or saved longer for the more complex operation of cheese-making. The closest thing to a more extensive dairy operation mentioned in the sources was George Day’s enterprise to the west of San Bernardino in or near the swamplands of Lytle Creek. This was undoubtedly a good location because it would enable the proprietor to easily divert a small stream right through his “dairy house,” thus promoting a cooler inside temperature than would usually prevail in San Bernardino buildings. It is doubtful if Day obtained milk from other than his own cows, partly because of his relatively isolated situation and partly because of his hostile relationship with the only close neighbors on both sides. Day did have a hired hand, Robert Baldwin, who, like himself, was among the original pioneer company, but the employee appears to have been primarily engaged in operating an allegedly illegal liquor distillery. Neither resident sought to hide the beverages from friendly guests, dispensing both wine and “melon whiskey,” as well as the more common variety, along with grapes, figs, bread, butter, and cheese.54
Thus in just a half-dozen years the Mormon colonists at San Bernardino had virtually ushered in the kind of diversified field crop agriculture which would be widely used in the southern California economy for much of the next century. Only the citrus and viticulture industries were not at least partially pioneered by [p.232]them. And while not initially in the forefront of cattle ranching and dairying, the superior breeds of stock brought to the Southland by them certainly improved production in those areas as well. Irrigation and the use of the latest farm implements were also already underway prior to the arrival of the Latter-day Saints, but they used both more extensively than their predecessors and in this and other endeavors set an example for area farmers to follow in future decades.
In like manner there were already plenty of merchants in the region prior to the colonizing of San Bernardino, but that city still became an important distribution center at that time, which it thereafter remained. Early in 1856 Lyman’s remaining partner in the retail business, J. Henry Rollins, informed him that they were “no longer merchants in San Bernardino.” He had attempted unsuccessfully to procure loans necessary to replenish their stocks. Clark Fabun, owner of the building they were using, wanted to rent to a Jewish merchant, Charles Glaser, who would pay higher rent. Also, Rollins was having difficulty collecting some of the old customer debts, which approximated the sum they owed their own creditors. He attempted to sell the remaining stock to competing Jewish merchants at what he considered a most reasonable price, but they declined.
There was definitely disappointment evident in his letter informing Lyman of these developments. Some was likely because of shrewd competitors arriving on the scene, but the greatest measure was reserved for Mormon customers who he concluded appeared to be willing to do anything except “that which will advance our interests here.” He was critical of his brethren for not only delaying the repayment of their debts, but when they did have some funds, “they patronize the Jewish merchant houses” rather than paying back Lyman and Rollins. There was undoubtedly some truth in the implication that church members expected more patience from their fellow Mormon creditors than they would ever expect from the outsiders. But it [p.233]might be equally true that the new merchants were more businesslike and efficient than the retiring Mormon merchants.55
The final months of 1856 witnessed marked growth in San Bernardino mercantile houses. A Star correspondent noted at least eight such establishments thriving, more than half of which were new and almost exclusively Jewish-owned. The article mentioned the firm of Ephraim and Company which had operated in the city for several years and recently moved into a large new building. Charles Glaser, who had rented the Fabun building, subsequently constructed a fine new store. Early merchant Louis Glaser was reportedly in this same establishment, but it too was “very much improved.” The firm of M. J. Newmark and S. Cohen, which earlier in the year had replaced the partnership of Calisher and Cohen, was located near the school house where they were said to be doing a large business. An ad in the Star not much earlier before listed among their merchandise a good assortment of groceries, liquors, hardware, dry goods, boots, shoes, and clothing. Newmark had been a Los Angeles merchant, as was another new San Bernardino storekeeper named Frank who had recently bought out a partner and was reportedly conducting a large business. Longtime city merchant Simeon Jackson was building a brick store, and Ellis Eames and Company, the only Mormon in the group, occupied a part of the Williams building that also housed Dr. Andrews’s drug store. And former city merchant Marcus Katz, who had spent some time at San Diego, returned and moved into a brick building. His earliest competitor, Louis Jacobs, was well-situated in a new brick building opposite the county clerk’s office. The article noted that each of these businesses was well-stocked. When the other known establishments, such as the Crosby and Daley hotels, a restaurant, and the Rainbow saloon, are added to the list, the number of busi-[p.234]nesses supported by a population of 3,000 was remarkable for an agricultural center only five years old.56
During the last year of Mormon domination several (Jewish) gentile businesses failed. This was probably because businessmen who showed sympathy to the anti-Mormon opposition lost trade. Several church members established stores in 1857, including Benjamin Clapp, John P. Lee, and Daniel M. Thomas. Some lukewarm Saints, including Truman Swarthout and Robert Walkinshaw, former employees in existing establishments, apparently became partners in these. During the fall of 1857 others of the faithful, J. Henry Rollins and Ebenezer Hanks, were in the process of opening a mercantile house when the decision was made to return to Utah.57
One of the most striking aspects of the store trade was the variety of goods dispensed. These were not just staple commodities but items seemingly tending toward luxury including eastern and European imports. Despite the fact that local merchants advertised “produce of all kinds taken in exchange for merchandise,” judging from the experience of Caroline Crosby, store transactions were just as frequently conducted with cash. When trips to the store are mentioned in her diary, cash was used five times and barter in the form of poultry or eggs only three times. Another interesting fact was the three pairs of shoes she purchased that year, along with one ordered from the shoemaker. And while she was an excellent seamstress, she bought herself several ready-made dresses. For a family deriving income mainly from carpentry and related mechanical work, these purchases indicate a surprising level of prosperity. In fact, the number of stores and the frequency with which they were patronized is a [p.235]good indication of the relatively high standard of living in the settlement.58
The city’s manufacturing enterprises were also growing. The community gristmill, now owned by Lyman, Rich, and Hanks, was extensively refurbished to include a second run of grind stones. It averaged 250 bushels of wheat milled into flour each day. A second gristmill was operated by Charles Crismon in conjunction with his planing mill. Crismon also had a whiskey distillery either there or attached to his mountain sawmill. A tannery was reported to be in operation and was said to produce a “good article of leather,” using oak bark found in the nearby canyons as the tanning agent.59
Lumber production continued to be a major factor in the area’s economy, despite the fact that in drought years four of the mills were dormant from June until December. During their productive season each mill had an estimated capacity of 300,000 board feet annually. Weather conditions did not affect the Mill Creek Canyon mills where the water flow was more uniform. Colonel Isaac Williams purchased and rebuilt the Sexton-Vignes mill and spent $20,000 to make it one of the best in the state. The less elaborate mill, owned by Lyman, Rich, and one of the Tanner brothers, was apparently purchased by Edson Whipple. The good steam mill was operating in the mountains and consistently producing 4,000 board feet of good lumber per day. When the salamander mill in which Lyman and Rich were involved burned in late 1855 at a loss of at least $10,000, plans to rebuild included steam-propulsion. Another mill was being converted at the same time. Shingle production too kept pace with the increasing area demand. At the end of 1856 the Star reported that [p.236]San Bernardino had produced a full half million shingles that year.60
In late October 1855 Ephraim Green, one of the missionaries passing through from Hawaii, was persuaded by a former Mormon Battalion associate to return to San Diego to locate a coal mine he had discovered while stationed there in 1846. Making headquarters with H. C. Ladd, a lapsed Mormon who cultivated tobacco in his garden, Green searched along the outer bay peninsula some two miles north of Point Loma. Upon finding the coal seam, Green, Ladd, Seth Tanner, and George Sirrine formed a mining company and approached San Diego city for a lease. When officials hesitated to make such a grant to Mormons, Green replied that he had kept the location secret for nine years and could easily keep it indefinitely. The city fathers acquiesced, doubtless recognizing the great enhancement of their seaport if it could also serve as a coaling station.
The local newspaper reported the coal had been tested and burned clean and hot, fully meeting the demands for blacksmithing and other purposes. With no question of the quality of the product, the company commenced investigations concerning the quantity of the deposits. They sunk a shaft and then to save time bored an exploratory hole at the high water mark, at the foot of a high bluff, where several small veins of coal were visible. Convinced of a good prospect for success, including one seam five feet in width, they resumed sinking a shaft with which to work the vein. The company engaged an experienced collier, Mr. Parks, who also expressed confidence in the prospects. At this height of optimism in the summer of 1856, Rich, who had encouraged the venture from its beginning, confided to Young that “if the coal proves as good as we expect … we think it will open the way to liberate us,” referring to the continuing [p.237] oppression of the ranch debt that anticipated coal mine profits were apparently pledged to help liquidate.61
However, the coal was below the water line, and although the company ordered a heavy steam pump, which Tanner heroically dragged to the site with mule power and rolling logs, the engine functioned so poorly that the San Diego newspaper alleged the Mormon miners had been victims of a “great swindle” which the reporter hoped would be rectified before the company failed. But no such action was taken. The shaft ultimately penetrated a depth of at least sixty feet, and the prospects for future development seemed to improve with the addition of Ebenezer Hanks to the investment group. However, before long the new partner noted that he and his associates would probably be ruined financially by the ultimately unsuccessful coal mining venture. The final outcome was summarized in a note from Hanks in late 1857 when he stated that “the San Diego coal company has gone in. We found no coal where we expected to and the [steam] engine is attached [for debt].”62
Among the early San Bernardino settlers were more than a dozen men with successful experience in the gold fields of the California mother lode. In most cases these brethren had resisted the attractions of remaining in the northern mines and had returned to their families and duties of their religion. Within a [p.238]year of the establishment of the southern California Mormon colony, according to Jewish merchant Marcus Katz, who himself had experience in California mining camps, some of the Latter-day Saint men brought in gold nuggets they had found in the mountains of the area. However, this discovery was not welcomed at the time because the leading brethren were apprehensive that rumors of such deposits would cause a rush of gentiles which would adversely interfere with the harmonious development of the infant settlement.63
In July 1854 a former Brooklyn Mormon, George Winner, one of the most experienced in the mother lode country, brought specimens of quartz bearing gold he had located. Within days, others set off into the local mountains. “[S]o strong [was] its magic,” Lyman noted, that the excitement was immediate. Nothing indicates that Lyman attempted to discourage these endeavors, perhaps because he recognized that Winner and his associates were not inclined to follow church counsel anyway. A month later Young was informed that “there has been some excitement about gold” in the colony and “some little has been found.” Interest in prospecting persisted through the remainder of the year. Clerk Hopkins reported that in early November a party of men embarked “to look for gold on the Mojave.” If unsuccessful there, they would extend the search all the way to Salt Springs, near Death Valley, where fellow San Bernardino resident Addison Pratt and his associates had discovered ore deposits in 1849.64
The next year, after Lyman and Rich had placed some hopes of relief on the mining mission to the Kern River, apparently with Young’s approval, the search for minerals was renewed. A party of prospectors embarked for the vast region “behind Mount San [p.239]Bernardino” where neighbor Benjamin D. Wilson attested there were “as good signs as he [had] seen anywhere in the state.” In September Pauline Weaver, another neighbor, responsible for several mining discoveries on the Colorado River and in Arizona, had employees each taking out ore worth seven dollars per day from a mine located near Mount San Bernardino. A month later the Star claimed its staff had been shown gold specimens from “mines near San Bernardino, said to be extensive.” In his subsequent report to the California Surveyor General, Assessor V. J. Herring elaborated further that the gold came from the other side of what was then called Bear Lake (later Big Bear Lake) where he claimed something like 100 ounces of gold had been extracted that year. Herring reported that while some were still prospecting in the area, most had abandoned the hunt until the winter rains could provide water for more effective placer mining. That was the drawback to extracting the clearly abundant deposits, except perhaps for three months of each spring. This may have deterred some interest for the remainder of the decade. But the Mormons and their neighbors knew of the gold at least eight years prior to the well-publicized “discovery” by William Holcomb, for whom the valley where the subsequent gold rush centered was named and who, incidentally, married a Mormon girl the year the rush began.65
Early in 1856 Rich reported to Young that many men were in the mountains looking for gold, which could be found “scattered over a large scope of country, but not very rich—making on the average of two dollars per day.” It had become “a well-established [p.240]fact” that the precious metal existed in “paying quantities” on the eastern slopes, “provided that water can be got sufficient for washing purposes.” Some of the brethren were trying to bring water from a nearby stream, but obviously without success.66
Perhaps more promising than the gold was the report of other minerals located even closer to the settlements, including word that a party of brethren was digging right on the ranch premises, believing they had discovered a rich mine there. While there was no specific mention of this mine following the first notice to Brigham Young, Charles C. Rich did list silver, copper, lead, quicksilver, and antimony as having “been discovered on the western slope near by us—some of them on the ranch.” He continued that should any of the deposits look promising, they would “commence working them.” Rich reported that George Sirrine had discovered an antimony mine that was supposed to be valuable. Similarly, Ebenezer Hanks had a piece of ore located near San Bernardino analyzed and found it contained 70 percent pure lead.67
The man most diligent in prospecting and mining was Theodore Turley who discovered a quicksilver (cinnabar-mercury) mine in City Creek Canyon. Working with primitive equipment, he was extracting a pint per day. Although he once suffered poisoning, he continued, convinced of its demand for use in separating gold. Turley also discovered a type of carbon which, when added to iron, supposedly made steel hard enough to cut glass. He thought he had “struck it at last,” but there is no further notice of that endeavor. He also had a placer gold mine in “the canyon that goes to the Mojave,” which places it somewhere in or near Summit Valley, perhaps in the area still known locally as Mormon Diggings. Late in the spring of 1857 he showed George [p.241]Q. Cannon specimens of silver ore considered by the observer “the richest we ever saw.” Cannon inaccurately predicted “it will probably yield a rich harvest for its discoverer.”68
The reaction of the local church leader to Turley’s last strike reveals why no real mining rush occurred while the region remained predominantly under Mormon control. Turley informed stake president William Cox of his success and of his contemplated visit to San Francisco to get his ore more fully assayed. He pledged that he would not sell his claims or generate publicity which would bring numerous “strangers” to the area. Despite such assurance, Cox feared that an excitement might occur over the presumed prospects for wealth. The branch clerk recorded that “the company” did commence work at the silver mine, but there was never any report of appreciable success.69
Equally demonstrative of Mormon awareness of the tremendous mineral wealth potential of the San Bernardino region is their report that a “mountain of limestone” of “inexhaustible quantity” was located just four miles to the southwest of their city. Local masons had discovered that when the stone was properly heated, it produced a “good, strong quality of lime.” The extent to which the deposit was used is not known, but since most of the structures of the settlement had at least a stone masonry foundation and the commercial buildings were mainly of brick, there was at least some demand for mortar probably obtained from a quarry there. There were also some adobe buildings being plastered inside and out. Had these early residents remained in the area and continued to expand the region’s economic potential as they had commenced to do, the cement industry which has long been a mainstay of the county’s economy, centered first at [p.242]that very Slover Mountain site, would probably have been developed earlier.70
Despite the mining excitement, San Bernardino’s economy remained firmly based on the same agriculture and cattle-raising upon which it had been started. A San Diego writer noted in mid-1856 “the great enterprise, industry and application of the people” of San Bernardino, and lauded that with united effort they had “converted the ranch into one vast hive of industry.” About the same time a Southern Californian reporter-observer stated of the Mormons there, “The industry of this people is sure to develop the resources of the section of the state—as they have done in all places they have heretofore settled and upon this, to a great extent, depends the prosperity of our valley,” referring to the entire Southland basin. Many indications at the time supported these suppositions that southern California’s future economic growth would be led largely by the San Bernardino brethren, who had certainly started in that direction between 1851 and 1857.71
In 1856 San Bernardino was seemingly destined to continue its sustained growth. It was already the largest primarily Anglo-American town in the California Southland and was the leading producer of flour and lumber as well as an important contributor in other agricultural products. Some estimates mentioned that the Mormon property owned in the area would sustain 100,000 people, so the growth potential was still great. It would be a tragedy for the region and its people if the growing dissent and other outside factors destroyed that rapid trend toward economic preeminence in southern California.
The vastness of the American West certainly held advantages for the Mormon people seeking a safe refuge from the [p.243]persecutions outsiders had so often brought upon them. But for them and other pioneers the distances also posed problems to transportation of emigrants and essential goods, as well as communication of information from and to the outside world. Perhaps the primary reason for Brigham Young’s initial approval of the southern California colonization venture was the perceived possibilities of improving his peoples’ situation through a Pacific Coast link to the outside. Travel through the Mississippi-Missouri valleys was undesirable on several counts, including the endemic diseases, the long-hated Missourians on the edge of the United States where much essential outfitting needed to take place, and the fact that the route was only passable in the spring and summer months. Young intended the colony to be situated near the major entrance to southern California through Cajon Pass to serve as a friendly outfitting post for emigrants arriving there and bound for Utah and also as a shipping point for goods still needed in the centers of Mormondom. He also urged subordinates on both ends of the Utah-southern California trail to seek other localities for settlement along the way so that, as he said in a letter disseminated throughout the church at that time, they could have “a continual line of stations and places of refreshment between [Salt Lake City] and the Pacific.” He informed readers that such a route was open throughout the year.72
Besides the convert-emigrants from the Pacific nations who would gather to the centers of Zion by way of the California colony, church leaders made some effort to determine the feasibility of such an entry point for Europeans as well. Young directed the mission president in Europe, Franklin D. Richards, to investigate as thoroughly as possible the “various routes, and rates and conveniences” of the lines of travel from Liverpool, England, to San Diego, California, and report such matters to [p.244]Utah as soon as possible. Lyman and Rich were given similar directives as part of their initial assignments. In fact, at the first opportunity Rich, Jefferson Hunt, and several others journeyed overland to San Diego to determine the practicability of travel over that road, concluding it was certainly passable. But they may not have successfully apprised Young of their findings, since no such communication presently exists in the correspondence and no plans for using the route followed. Amasa Lyman did write to Richards informing him of the feasibility of the San Diego to Salt Lake City route, but not before the mission leader had become discouraged with the lack of favorable information at his disposal in Europe. Thus, just as Lyman was writing to him, Richards was informing Young that there was no regular shipping line from England to San Diego and the present prospects for emigration by that direction were impractical. The church leader consequently passed such conclusions on to the general church membership in his next epistle.73
Young had not given up on the possibilities of the California route and subsequently directed those who wished to do so to travel in that direction. But it is unfortunate that the First Presidency did not make a special assignment to someone unencumbered by other responsibilities to investigate such points as New York City, New Orleans, and perhaps even the Panama-Nicaragua area regarding potential travel possibilities. Within another several years would-be California gold miners could get from New York to California in six weeks by steam or clipper ship to Central America and by railroad across the isthmus, where they could engage semi-regularly-scheduled steamships to California. This would not have been more expensive than equipping pioneers with teams and wagons, and judging from the number who died [p.245]in subsequent years on the overland route, particularly in the handcart companies of 1856, compared to the virtual absence of such tragedies on the alternative route, a serious mistake verging on gross negligence was made by not further pursuing the Pacific routes.74
On the other hand, the chain of settlements essential for convenient travel from California to Utah by the southern route was never established. A mission outpost was planted at the midpoint at Las Vegas in 1855, but it never flourished. This was partly because of poor leadership, but also because of the propensity of some local Native Americans for stealing and for not fully accepting the Mormon gospel. Although similar outposts could have been established at Resting Springs and somewhere along the Mojave River in the California desert and the Muddy River and Beaver Dam Wash in present-day Nevada and Arizona, Indians there indicated no inclination to cooperate or allow such way stations to prosper. Undoubtedly, Lyman and Rich tacitly concluded such ventures were not feasible, and the subsequent disbandment of the Las Vegas venture essentially bore them out.
One reason the Pacific Coast entry way was not further considered was the poor mail communication during the crucial time of consideration. It is known that Lyman and Rich regularly sent reports to Young during the first year of settlement in California, but the church leader complained on several occasions about not being apprised of the colony’s progress. If anything, Franklin D. Richards was even more frustrated by his lack of information from his California brethren. There were reasons for assuming that during 1851 and 1852 Indians along the southern route intercepted some of the mails, but the main problem was the lack of provision for adequate service by the U.S. government. There were several explanations for the lack of [p.246]proper mail facilities in the region. The desire of existing steamship companies to control mail-carrying by sea was a major factor, and there were the contemporary rivalries between representatives of the northern and southern states over which overland route should be favored, along with the persistent unwillingness of the majority population of northern California and their government representatives to consider southern California’s needs with anything approaching fairness.75
The government first contracted for a company headed by a man named Watson to carry mail from Independence, Missouri, to Salt Lake City, and two years later Absalom Woodward and George Chorpenning were authorized to handle monthly mail service from Salt Lake City to Sacramento by the northern route. They realized the first winter the necessity of diverting their riders toward San Bernardino and then north, subcontracting with Jefferson Hunt. Hunt, well connected with influential California men, engaged in this service through his sons, sons-in-law, and foster-sons with notable success. The Hunt mail carriers traveled by twos, with others accompanying if they needed to travel the route at that time. They cultivated good personal relationships with the Indians along the route and had no known problems even though others at the same time suffered considerable losses from that source. During that time it was not uncommon for letters to reach their destination within four weeks.76
[p.247]Mail service beyond those points remained poor. Latter-day Saints in both Utah and San Bernardino complained and petitioned frequently for more consistent mail service from the East and northern California, but seemingly to no avail. Actually, all of southern California shared equally ineffectual postal service. The most horrible illustration of this was that at the beginning of 1855 a convicted murderer had his execution stayed by judicial authority in the north, but the documents did not arrive in Los Angeles in time to save him. The San Diego Herald published a February letter from a Mormon in St. Louis advising midwestern church members to send their correspondence through Panama to San Diego and on to Utah, since snow blocked the westbound routes. Still, this writer understood that mail-carrying ships would go first to San Francisco and that mail would return to San Diego by way of notoriously unreliable coastal steamboats. Mormons joined other southern Californians in petitioning for bi-monthly mail service.77
The lack of good mail service helped stimulate private freighting enterprises. The earliest of these was anything but successful. In 1853 Utah merchants John and Enoch Reese promoted a venture to southern California that lost them $20,000 and the lives of several employees who in their hunger ate poison berries. Equally unfortunate for San Bernardino was Enoch Reese’s attempt to place the blame for the failures on others; he [p.248]reported to Brigham Young that the members of the colony had not been particularly helpful and in other ways made disparaging comments to the church leader already unfavorably disposed toward the settlement.78
In 1854 Congress appropriated $25,000 to improve the road from the Utah end for military and mail purposes. Lt. Col. E. J. Steptoe advertised for bids at year’s end, specifically for a road from the head of the Santa Clara River across Utah Mountain and over a stretch of desert to the Muddy River which would entirely bypass the difficult Virgin River canyon. It is not known to what extent work on that portion of road was actually undertaken. There was some criticism in the usually biased Utah newspapers that little road improvement was accomplished and that designated funds found their way into the pockets of favorite “spoilsmen.” On the other hand, many freight wagons subsequently transversed the route and there were no notable difficulties other than the vastness of the deserts.79
By far the most challenging remaining Stretch of the entire Salt Lake City to Los Angeles road was the “hogback” on the summit of Cajon Pass. The Reeses must have gotten their wagons up the 40 percent grade by unloading and carrying much of the freight on the backs of draft animals and teamsters. Fortunately, soon thereafter a better passageway was constructed just over a mile west of the former crossing point. It is doubtful if any federal funds were available to W. T. B. Sanford as he cut a more gradual slope up the edge of a small side canyon intersecting the west Cajon. Jefferson Hunt introduced a bill in the California legislature that eventually appropriated funds for the road, and Sanford and his backers may well have been partially reimbursed for some [p.249]of the private funds apparently expended before the state money was available. The Southern Californian concluded in April 1855 that the roadway was now “completely free of obstacles.”80
The first to use the improved road were Mormon merchants J. Henry Rollins and Richard R. Hopkins, probably representing to some extent Amasa M. Lyman as well. They took three wagons loaded with a “handsome assortment of goods” up Cajon Pass and on to Utah without incident. Rollins later recalled that they “sold the things enroute,” stopping at each of the merchandise-hungry settlements along the so-called Mormon corridor. The remaining goods were disposed of to the Salt Lake City mercantile firm of Hooper and Williams, after which the successful traders promptly returned to California.81
Just weeks after Rollins’s departure for Utah the Alexander and Banning company, destined to become preeminent in southern California, sent Banning’s brother-in-law, former Santa Fe trader Sanford, on a far more ambitious trade expedition over the same route. The Los Angeles entrepreneur dispatched fifteen ten-mule teams, each pulling a wagon loaded with two tons of merchandise. With this venture the Los Angeles-to-Salt Lake City trade was fully inaugurated. Although Sanford was snubbed by church leaders in Utah, he repeated the trip the following year. When Sanford attempted to sell a considerable supply of liquor in 1856, Banning claimed Brigham Young essentially forced his company out of the Utah trade.82 But by that time, with the need [p.250]clearly indicated to both Mormon and gentile, an increasing commerce over the difficult route was unavoidable until the Central-Union Pacific Railroad replaced it in 1869.
Even at the inception of the overland trade by the southern route, there may have been some encouragement through promises of government freight contracts, perhaps including mail. The Adams Express Company of San Francisco was at least preparing to run some wagon outfits over the road. But the company was one of the most notable casualties of the financial slump of 1854, which probably prevented them from ever doing more than discuss the venture. Thereafter, the more financially stable Wells, Fargo and Company appears to have encouraged one of their most popular agents, F. Gilbert, also associated in some way with mail contractor Chorpenning, to establish a Salt Lake City to Los Angeles freight line which connected to their system in southern California. Soon the Salt Lake City freighting company of Gilbert and Gerrish began to flourish in that area. It is possible that they became the employers of Mormon drivers at both ends of the line for the wagons which carried the mail and probably some freight with good regularity during the last several years the Latter-day Saints occupied San Bernardino.83
In the early spring of 1855 southern California newspapers reached a high point of criticism of the mail they received “semi-occasionally from God knows where or by whom” and encouraged more frequent use of the Salt Lake-to-Los Angeles route. Pacific Express, formed by employees of the defunct Adams and Company, and the California Stage Company with “splendid coaches” and livestock, planned runs from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City. The Southern Californian stated “the movements are significant of the future importance of the business relations [of Los Angeles] destined to bind us in interest to the immense [p.251]territory occupied by our Mormon brethren” at the other end of the trail. However, the Kern River gold rush diverted the stage coaches, and there is no evidence they ever made the runs to Utah.84
Actually any company which had to make the long Utah to San Bernardino trip, or even the shorter ones within the southern California region, whether they possessed a full-paying load or not, would be hard-pressed to compete with the free-lance hauling operations engaged in by a large number of the San Bernardino brethren between plantings and harvests of their crops and during the winter seasons. Several dozen different individuals are mentioned in the sources as engaged at times in freighting, particularly hauling lumber from the mountains to Los Angeles. And during the six-year Mormon sojourn in southern California a considerable number also made at least one trip back to Utah as well. Already possessed of the necessary outfit for the enterprise, all that was needed was the load, which on their part-time basis they could outbid regular service much of the time. This was probably one reason there was no regular freighting company based in San Bernardino until after the Mormon exodus, although it became a major center of such activity thereafter.85
Still another potential freight and transportation route not ignored by Brigham Young and his associates was the Colorado River. The church leader had charged Lyman and Rich to explore the area as soon as they found opportunity, which largely because of Indian threats they had not yet done by 1855. Finally in June of that year Young found another opportunity to explore the region. He sent a party led by Rufus Allen along with some of the people assigned to establish a mission station at Las Vegas to “get the soundings” of the Colorado to determine its navigability and, [p.252]if possible, sight the steamboat already reportedly on the river. Because of the difficult terrain and stifling desert heat, the expedition only spent two days on the river, of which party member George Washington Bean reported: “[T]he current runs remarkably smooth for such rough, rocky canyons and with the exception of one place it was not impracticable for navigation.”86
From the beginning of Mormon settlement in southern California, some knowledgeable observers predicted they would be the ones to ultimately link the state to the nation through a railroad. District judge Benjamin Hayes, perhaps drawing on the recent government survey reports, envisioned Cajon Pass as the entry point for such a road into the Southland and San Bernardino as one of the “grand depots” on a system branching from there toward San Pedro and San Diego harbors. He predicted, “When the Mormons of San Bernardino can find time, their own necessity will compel them to attend to this.” Such developments never took place in that manner, but the judge was realistic in the possibility, which may well have made the southern California inland valleys the hub of commerce—instead of Los Angeles—as the resident of the latter city essentially predicted during the era when San Bernardino showed an indication of economic preeminence in the region.87
The Latter-day Saint founders of San Bernardino County, while concentrating on agriculture, developed a somewhat diversified base that anticipated what the region would soon be like and thereby helped usher the Southland into the mainstream of United States economic enterprise so important in the area from then on. In the first years after separation from Los Angeles the new county virtually outshone its neighbors in much individual and some group enterprise. Indeed it is possible to assert that had such development continued at [p.253]anything like a similar pace, San Bernardino, not Los Angeles, would have remained the economic center and dominant influence in southern California.
5. Ibid., 15, 16 Feb., 5, 25 Mar., 30 Apr. 1856; William McGary Diary, 9 June 1856, archives, Historical Department, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah (hereafter LDS archives); Louisa Barnes Pratt Diary, in Kate B. Carter, ed., Heart Throbs of the West, 12 vols. (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1947), 8:311.
11. Josephine R. Rumble, “History of the Mill Creek Zanja,” W.P.A., 1937, 16-17, San Bernardino County Library, San Bernardino, California; Mrs. E. P. R. Crafts, Pioneer Days in the San Bernardino Valley (Redlands, CA: privately printed, 1906), 43.
13. Amasa M. Lyman to George Q. Cannon, 4 May 1856, published in Western Standard, 12 July 1856. Although different patents were recorded in Washington, D.C., on various models of grain planters, there were apparently none registering attached corrugators.
15. V. J. Herring, County Assessor, to S. H. Marlette, Surveyor General of California, 4 Nov. 1854, 67-71, Annual Report of the Surveyor General of the State of California, Journal of the Senate and Assembly, 6th Session, 4 vols. (1855), vol. 4, doc. 5; L.A. Southern Californian, 3 Aug. 1854, in Benjamin I. Hayes, Emigrant Notes, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
19. (Richard R. Hopkins) to Amasa Lyman and Charles Rich, 8 Feb. 1855; Los Angeles Southern Californian, 8 Feb., 1 Mar. 1855; Charles C. Rich to Eliza Ann Graves Rich, 1 Aug. 1855, Rich Papers, LDS archives; Sacramento Democratic State Journal, 17 Nov. 1855, contains the Herring report.
20. Charles C. Rich to Amasa M. Lyman, 30 Dec. 1855; John Mack Faragher, Sugar Creek: Life on the Illinois Prairie (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986), 67-8, cites a gristmill owner saying there was not profit in such business, which needed to exist mainly as a public service.
24. V. Johnson Herring to S. H. Marlette, Surveyor General, 25 Oct. 1855, Annual Report of the Surveyor General of the State of Cailfornia, Appendix of Senate and Assembly, California, 7th Session, 4 vols., vol. 3, Doc. 5, pp. 290-96; J. H. Rollins, County Assessor Report, 1856, in L.A. Star, 20 Dec. 1856; Andrew Jensen, comp., “History of San Bernardino, California,” being mainly material recorded by Richard R. Hopkins, San Bernardino branch and stake clerk in his “San Bernardino Branch Record,” 20 Aug. 1857, both LDS archives (hereafter Hopkins-Jensen); William J. Cox to Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich, 8 June 1857, Rich Papers.
26. Crosby Journal, 5 July 1856 had more lavish praise for Simeon Andrews’s orchard than for Jackson’s; L.A. Star, 20, 22Dec. 1856; San Francisco Alta California, 14 Mar. 1858; San Bernardino Guardian, 17 Dec. 1870, reported that in that season, the proprietor of the 80-acre Barton-Mormon vineyard produced 25,000 gallons of wine and 3,000 gallons of brandy.
27. Millennial Star, 22 Jan. 1853, cites the New York Herald, which drew on the San Francisco Herald, asauthority for the statement that San Bernardino County’s “agricultural interest is larger than that of Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego Counties united and the capabilities of producing are much better.”
30. Ibid., 312; Alden A. M. Jackson to Brigham Young, 4 Apr. 1857, Young Papers; Brigham Young to Charles C. Rich, 28 May 1856, Rich Papers; Wilford Woodruff to Charles C. Rich, 4 Oct. 1856, Rich Papers.
31. Luther A. Ingersol, Annals of San Bernardino (Los Angeles: L. A. Ingersol, 1904), 134, 201; Leland H. Creer, The Founding of an Empire (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1947), 347; L.A. Star, 21 June 1856; San Francisco Alta California, 23 June 1856.
33. Emma N. Huff, Comp. Memories That Live: Utah County Centennial History (Springville, UT: Daughters of Utah Pioneers and Art City Publishing Co., 1947), 480; Andrew Love Neff, History of Utah (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1940), 770-71; Orson F. Whitney, History of Utah, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City: George Q. Cannon & Sons Publishers, 1892-1904), 4:381, noted former San Bernardino resident Elmer Taylor was also the first at Springville to plant lucerne.
34. Charles Hillman Brough, Irrigation in Utah (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1898), 84-5; Charles Nordohff, California: for Health, Pleasure and Residence, a Book for Travelers and Settlers (New York: Harper and Bros., 1875), 143.
35. Although there are no known regional precipitation figures for the 1850s, the records kept at Sacramento are helpful in assessing the general annual levels: 1851-52, 17.98 inches; 1852-53, 36.15 inches; 1853-54, 20.06; 1854-55, 18.62; 1855-56, 13.77; 1856-57, 10.44. See Wallace W. Elliott, History of San Bernardino and San Diego Counties, California with Illustrations (reprinted, Riverside, CA: Riverside Museum Press, 1965 ), 66.
36. Beattie’s Notes include several pages on disputes with Lord and Garner primarily over water and livestock; Ingersol, Annals of San Bernardino, 235, 238; Lyman Journal, 17 Oct., 23 Dec. 1853, 25 Feb., 5 Apr. 1854, Lyman Papers; An Illustrated History of Southern California (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1890), 572.
39. William H. Hall, Irrigation in Southern California (no publication information available but apparently an official state of California publication by the state engineer), 1888, 326-28; Douglas R. Littlefield, “Water Rights during the California Gold Rush: Conflicts over Economic Points of View,” Western Historical Quarterly 24 (Oct. 1983): 415-34.
43. George William Beatty, Origin and Early Development of Water Rights in the East San Bernardino Valley, Bulletin No. 4 (Redlands, CA: San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District, 1951), 1-4; Crosby Diary, 10 Feb. 1857, mentions an attempt to grow grain using water from Plunge Creek even farther east.
45. Beattie, Development of Santa Ana River Water Rights, 14, 46-47. Reuben DeWitt later explained that much of the crucial ditch was excavated by oxen, dragging a “crowder” made from a large forked cottonwood tree, up and down the length of the project. The surveying was done by level and water flow rather than by more scientific methods. An Illustrated History of Southern California, 607.
50. Cleland, Cattle on an Thousand Hills, 86-7; Crosby Journal, 6 July, 12 Sept. 1856; Amasa M. Lyman to Brigham Young, Dec. 1856, Young Papers; Fred T. Perris to Charles C. Rich, 5 Mar. 1856, Rich Papers.
51. Cleland, Cattle on an Thousand Hills, 75-77; Richard C. Thompson, ed., “Silas C. Cox: Daniel Boone of the West, Life History,” San Bernardino County Museum Quarterly 22 (Fall 1974): 11-14; Hopkins Branch Journal, 11, 12 Feb. 1852, 3, 4 Mar. 1856.
61. Richard Hopkins to Amasa M. Lyman, 30 Nov. 1855, Lyman Papers; Charles C. Rich to Brigham Young, 2 Dec. 1855, 4 Apr., 5 July, 3 Aug. 1856, Young Papers; Ephraim Green Journal, 18 Oct. 1855, 19 Jan., 1 Mar., 2 Apr., 20, 25 May 1856, LDS archives; San Diego Herald, 1 Sept., 24 Nov. 1855.
62. San Diego Herald, 19 Jan., 8 Mar., 28 June, 18 Oct., 13 Dec. 1856, 21 Feb., 15 Aug. 1857. Ebenezer Hanks to Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich, 5 Nov. 1857, Lyman Papers. The expert collier was probably Arthur Parks, formerly a superintendent of the Cedar City, Utah, coal operations, who had been a resident of San Bernardino for some time.
65. Hopkins to Rich, 7 Nov. 1856; Amasa M. Lyman to Charles C. Rich, 4 Apr. 1855, Rich Papers; Jensen-Hopkins, 29 Sept. 1855; L.A. Star, 13 Oct. 1855; Herring to Marlette, 1855; Charles C. Rich to Amasa M. Lyman, 30 Dec. 1855, Lyman Papers. Holcomb married into a Mormon Stewart family the year he made his discovery and had undoubtedly heard something of the earlier activity previous to his own strike.
68. Jensen-Hopkins, 10 Jan., 27 Dec. 1856, 5 May 1857; Lyman Journal, 22 Nov. 1854; Charles C. Rich to Amasa M. Lyman, 1 Feb. 1856, Lyman Papers; Hopkins to Lyman, 7 May 1857, Lyman Papers; San Francisco Western Standard, 15 May 1857.
73. Lyman and Rich to F. D. Richards, 10 Dec. 1851, in Journal History, same date, LDS archives; Richards to Young, 24 Feb. 1852, in Journal History, same date; Young to Richards in Millennial Star 14:75-76.
76. Helen L. Moore, “California in Communication with the Rest of the Continent … Before the Railroads,” Annual Publications Historical Society of Southern California 13 (1924): 75; LeRoy Hafen, The Overland Mail: Promoter of Settlement, Precursor of Railroads, 1849-1869 (Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark, 1926), 63-70; Robert G. Cleland, “Transportation in California Before the Railroads, with Especial Reference to Los Angeles,” Historical Society of Southern California 11 (1918): 60-65; Ingersol, Annals of San Bernardino, 146-47; Joseph Caine to Charles C. Rich, 1 June 1856, Rich Papers, indicates Hunt renewed the contract for the entire San Bernardino period.
77. San Diego Herald, 27 Jan., 6 June 1855, 29 Mar. 1856; L.A. Star, 5 Mar. 1856; San Francisco Alta California, 9 Feb. 1856, indicates that if anything, Utah was even more poorly served by the existing mail service. One correspondent from Salt Lake City to the Alta stated: “[W]e are entirely shut out for the balance of the winter from any communication by the eastern route and have to rely upon California for all of our news.” Newmark, Sixty Years in Southern California (Los Angeles: Zeitin & Ver Brugge, 1970), 147.
80. Pugh, “Wagon Freighting, 28-30; Sacramento Union, 26 Dec. 1854; Jefferson Hunt to Charles C. Rich, 7 Mar. 1855, Rich Papers; California State Assembly Proceedings, 1855, 608, 4 Apr. 1855; L.A. Star, 28 Apr. 1857; Southern Californian, 8 Feb., 28 Mar., 18 Apr. 1855.