Moley's History Notes

February 4, 1846 The ship "Brooklyn" left New York bound for San Francisco with members of the Church of Latter Day Saints aboard. They had been instructed to "Flee Babylon". They departed for California the same day other Saints left Navoo, Illinois, following clashes with settlers over polygamy. The party from Navoo was to have met Brannan's group at Yerba Buena.

May 23, 1846 The United States declared war on Mexico after American troops were killed while crossing the Nueces River.

June 14, 1846 John Fremont launched the Bear Flag Revolution, and established the California Republic. Governor/prisoner Vallejo was moved to Sutter's Fort.

June 15, 1846 The U.S. treaty with Great Britain set the Oregon boundary at the 49th parallel. Expansionists in congress disagreed, hence the slogan, "54-40 or Fight".

June 24,1846 Col. Castro's forces from Monterey, under the command of Joaquin de la Torre, fought the Battle of Olompali north of San Rafael with Fremont's troops from Sonoma. Two Americans and five or six Californios were killed.

July 1, 1846 John Fremont crossed to the Presidio with his Republic of California forces and spiked 10 Spanish guns. He also gave the name, "Chrysoplylae", or “Golden Gate" to the entrance to the bay.

July 31, 1846 The "Brooklyn" arrived in port with 230 Mormons under the leadership of 26 year old Samuel Brannan. He was to meet other Latter Day Saints who were crossing the country from Illinois.

August 2, 1846 General Vallejo was released from Fort Sutter.

August 10, 1846 Commodore Stockton's frigate Congress arrived in San Francisco Bay.

August 14, 1846 Mormon Elder Sam Brannan preached a sermon in front of Richardson's Casa Grande.

August 15, 1846  The weekly "Monterey Californian" was published half in English in Monterey. The idea for the newspaper came from Commodore Stockton. Naval Chaplain Walter Colton, the first American Alcalde of Monterey and frontiersman Robert Semple found Augustin V. Zamorano's old press in a storeroom and printed their publication on it. Zamorano had published California's first book in 1834, as well as all proclamations of various Mexican governors.

October 18, 1846  Californios resisted the American occupation and routed the forces of Capt. Gillespie of the U.S. Marines in the "Battle of the Old Woman's Gun" in Southern California.

November 2, 1846 The Donner Party, crossing the Sierra, were stopped by a snowstorm that kept them "camped out" until February of '47. Many of the 40 of 87 who started the trip survived by eating the flesh of the dead.

November 16, 1846 American and Mexican forces battled at Natividad, near Salinas.

November 18, 1846  The First Thanksgiving Day was observed.

February 22, 1847 As one of his last official acts, Alcalde Bartlett certified the accuracy of the new town plan for San Francisco before the County Recorder.

March 1, 1847 W. Bradford Shubrick, Commander-in-Chief of the US Naval forces at Monterey issued a proclamation today: "To all whom it may concern, be it known that the President of the United States has invested the undersigned with separate and distinct powers, civil and military," in the California territory. Brig. Gen. Kearny was named Civil Governor.

March 10, 1847 Governor Kearny, at the capitol in Monterey, issued a decree authorizing the sale of beach and water lots on the east front of San Francisco. O’Farrell surveyed the new city, which covered about one and a half square miles.

March 15, 1847 Company F of Colonel Jonathan D. Stephenson's 7th Regiment of New York Volunteers arrived aboard the ship Brutus, to fight the Mexican War. Stephenson St. was later named for the colonel.

March 26, 1847 Capt. John L. Folsom arrived as Quartermaster of Stevenson's regiment. Folsom Street was later named after him. 12 members of the Russ family arrived overland to join Adolphus G. and Fredrick Russ who came to California with Col. Stevenson's volunteers.

March 27, 1847 12,000 American troops captured Vera Cruz, Mexico.

April 1, 1847 A count of structures in Yreba Buena showed 79 buildings that included 22 shanties, 31 frame houses, and 26 adobe structures.

April 19, 1847 Mail service between San Franciasco and San Diego begins a twice a week by 2 soldiers on horseback.

May 31, 1847 Col. Richard B. Mason was appointed Governor of California replacing Brig. Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny.

June 1, 1847 Alcalde Bryant resigned and returned to the east. The "Californian", formerly the "Monterey Californian" is now published in San Francisco.

August 19, 1847 Capt. Sutter and John Marshall entered in to an agreement to construct a lumber mill at a place known to the indians as, "Cullooma".

September 14, 1847 The first town council was elected. Its members were: William Glover, William D.M. Harwood, William Leidesdorff, E.P. Jones, Robert A. Parker, and William S. Clark.

September 14, 1847 American troops captured Mexico City.

November 2, 1847 The court-martial of Lt. Col. John C. Fremont began in Washington D.C. Gen. Kearny had charged him with mutiny and disobedience for siding with Commodore Stockton in an Army-Navy dispute over authority in California after Los Angeles was captured from the Mexicans.

December 29, 1847 Gov. Mason ordered that all civil cases exceeding $100 be tried by jury.

January 7, 1848 James Lick arrived in San Francisco and purchased the the fifty-vera lot on the northeast corner of Jackson and Montgomery streets from S.J. Ellis.

January 11, 1848 The Town Council attempted to ban gambling in San Francisco.

January 24, 1848 James Wilson and Peter L. Wimmer discover gold at the new lumber mill under construction on the American River.

January 31, 1848 The court-martial of Lt. Col. Fremont ended. He was found guilty, but President Polk offered a full pardon and restoration of Fremont to the Army. Fremont refused, saying acceptance would be an admission of guilt.

February 2, 1848 The brig "Eagle" brought the first shipload of Chinese workers to San Francisco.

February 2, 1848 The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo formally ended the Mexican War and California was ceded to the United States. All persons then living in Alta California were granted U.S. citizenship. Claims were also ceded to lands in Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and part of Colorado.

March 15, 1848 The "Californian" reported that gold was discovered along the American River at a sawmill owned by Capt. John A. Sutter. The news was not widely believed in San Francisco.

March 18, 1848 The "California Star" reported that the non-Native population of San Francisco was: 575 male, 177 female, and 60 children.

March 25, 1848 A new item in the "California Star" about the gold discovery did not stir excitement in San Francisco.

April 1, 1848 Dr. Victor John Fourgeaud wrote about the "Prospects of California" in today's "California Star", a special edition for distribution in the east to describe the wonders of California. 2000 extra copies were printed and carried to the East by muleback.

April 3, 1848 The First American public school opened in San Francisco. Thomas Douglas, a Yale graduate, became the first teacher with a salary of $1000. Trustees of the new district however, soon abandoned it when they ran off to the gold fields.

May 12, 1848 Sam Brannan set off gold fever in San Francisco when he waved a bottle of gold dust around and shouted, "Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River. He received the gold as payment for goods he sold in his store at New Helvitia at Sutter's Fort.

May 27, 1848 Crewmen on ships in San Francisco departed and rushed to the gold fields. Some coastal cities saw a major drop in population as the citizenry rushed to the Sierra foothills.

May 29, 1848 The "Californian" complained: "The whole country from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and from the sea shore to the base of the Sierra Nevada resounds with the sordid cry, "Gold, Gold, Gold!" while the field is left half-planted, the house half-built, and everything neglected but the manufacturers of pickaxes and shovels. "The Californian" also announced the suspension of publication because of staff leaving for the diggings.

May 30, 1848 Col. Mason was brevetted Brigadier-General for meritorious conduct.

June 10, 1848 The "California Star" wrote of whole towns being emptied as the inhabitants rushed to the gold washings.

June 14, 1848 The "California Star" ceased publication as the staff ran off to the gold fields.

June 18, 1848 Capt. Charles Welsh arrived in San Francisco. He was to build the first brick house in North Beach. A street was later named for him.

July 11, 1848 California's Governor Gen. Richard Barnes Mason visited gold fields for a report to U.S. government. He was accompanied by his aide, Capt. William T. Sherman.

August 7, 1848 A proclamation announced the ratification of a peace treaty with the Republic of Mexico. Gov. Mason issued it at the capitol in Monterey.

August 19, 1848 The "New York Herald" printed an item about the discovery of gold in California.

September 10, 1848 The price of gold dust was set at $16 per ounce. The residents of San Francisco demanded that the United States open a branch mint in their town.

October 18, 1848 Commodore Jones of the U.S. Navy Pacific Squadron offered a total of $40,000 reward for sailors who deserted and ran off to the gold fields.

October 24, 1848 Col. Stevenson's Volunteers were ordered to disband.

November 1, 1848 John A. Sutter Jr., son of the general, announced plans to build a new town called Sacramento City, along the Sacramento River. Presbyterian Minister Timothy Dwight Hunt began weekly services in the school house on the plaza.

November 9, 1848 The post office opened at Clay and Pike streets.

November 18, 1848 Edward Cleveland Kemble resumed publishing the "California Star" and the "Californian" as the "Star and Californian". Both had closed when employees ran off to the gold fields.

November 28, 1848 The USS Lexington departed San Francisco with $500,000 in gold destined for the US Mint in the east.

December 5, 1848 In a message to congress, President Polk confirmed the discovery of gold in California. His message was based on reports from California's Governor Gen. Mason. The president wrote, "The accounts of the abundance of gold are of such an extraordinary character as would scarcely command belief were they not corroborated by authentic reports of officers in the public service".

December 7, 1848 Lt. Lucian Loeser arrived in Washington with 230 ounces (6.5 kg) of gold stuffed into a tea caddy. It was placed on display at the War department and caused much excitement.

December 31, 1848 There was a cold spell in San Francisco. The temperature dropped to 37° F (3 degrees C) during the week. Snow covered the foothills to the east.

January 4, 1849 Robert Semple changed the name of the combined "Star and Californian" to the "Alta California".

January 9, 1849 Henry M. Naglee and Richard H. Stinton formed a bank called, the "Exchange and Deposit Office" on Kearny Street facing Portsmouth Plaza. Stinton was acting Paymaster aboard the "Ohio" and came to San Francisco with Commodore Jones.

January 22, 1849 President Polk appointed John White Geary as postmaster and the "Alta California" became the first DAILY newspaper in California.