History of Marin County, California, &c. |
GEOGRAPHY.-Saucelito township is made up of the most southerly portion of the peninsula lying between the Pacific ocean on the west, and the San Francisco and San Pablo bays on the east, including also Angel Island. It is bounded on the north by San Rafael and Bolinas townships, on the west by the Pacific ocean, on the south by the Golden Gate, and on the east by San Francisco bay. There are no navigable streams passing through it, and none worthy of special mention from any other cause. Its only harbor is Richardson's bay, which is quite an extensive sheet of water projecting into the southeastern part of the township, and facing directly, the city and harbor of San Francisco, at a distance of only six miles. The roadstead in this bay is a fine one, the anchorage being ample and the protection from storms perfect. It was in this bay that the first ships which entered the Golden Gate came to anchor, both from the fact of the excellencies of the anchorage, and that an ample supply of fresh water could be obtained from the springs bursting forth from the adjacent hillsides. The Raccoon Straits lie between Angel Island and the main land. The northern boundary line of this township passes through the center of Marin's great landmark- Mt. Tamalpais.
TOPOGRAPHY.-The characteristic topographical feature of this township is in general keeping with the major portion of Marin county-up and down, hill and dale, or putting it a little stronger, and perhaps in its more true sense-mountain and valley. The mountains range from very large hills to very high peaks and ridges, the highest of the peaks being Tamalpais, and the longest of the ridges being a kind of a backbone to the peninsula extending southward from Tamalpais to the Golden Gate. The valleys are, however, quite large and fertile, the most extensive of which are the Tennessee, Green and Rodeo Laguna on the west, and the valley surrounding the head of Richardson's bay on the east.
SOIL.-The soil of this township varies in quality and kind to quite an extent, that of the valleys being, chiefly a rich, sandy loam, while on the hillsides there is more or less clay in its composition. It is all very fertile, grass thriving even to the very mountain tops. There is a considerable muck in the soil adjacent to the bay, and also near all the lagunas, owing to the great amount of vegetation which annually grows on these places and is returned to the soil. This kind of soil is here, as elsewhere, very rich indeed, and would serve well as a fertilizer of other more barren sections. Taken altogether the soil of this township will compare very favorably with any other in the county.
CLIMATE.-The climate in this township is very salubrious, the Summer's heat being alleviated by the cool breezes of the sea, while the Winter's cold is tempered by the proximity to such vast bodies of water. On the western side of the township the winds are very heavy in the Summer season, and are at times quite chilly, being heavily laden with moisture, which frequently assumes the nature of heavy fogs. This portion of the coast seems to be very subject to fogs, even in the Winter months. On the eastern side the climate is more temperate and even, and the heavy winds and fogs of the western side are unknown, the winds reaching this section being shorn of much of their fury and almost entirely of their fogs. One could not desire a more mild and evenly tempered climate than is to be had at the town of Saucelito; and, in fact, but few towns in California present the same excellencies of climate as does this place.
PRODUCTS.-The business of dairying being the principal occupation of the farmers of this township, the variety of the products is limited to butter and milk chiefly. It is not that the soil will not produce vegetables and cereals to advantage that such a condition of affairs exists, but it is owing to the fact that a great portion of the land is topographically unfit for farming purposes, and from the more potent fact that the business of dairying pays a better profit on the investment. The San Francisco market is easy of access for milk, and much of it is shipped from Saucelito daily to the city. A ready market is also found in the city for the golden butter which is produced here. Vegetables thrive wherever planted, and grain grows in luxuriance. The most of the grain sown is cut for hay, which is used for feeding the cows during the Winter months. Ordinarily, as soon as the rains come the grass springs up, and it is not necessary to feed the stock longer, therefore no great amount of hay is required, and hence but little grain is sown on the different ranches. Fruits do not seem to thrive here, the wind being too strong for the trees*to grow to any considerable size, and the produce is naturally as stunted as the trees which bear it. Berries do not thrive either, owing to the same reason. Some varieties of grapes do well, but they are of the hardier kinds, for no spot is so sheltered but that the air is laden with moisture and the grapes are struck with mildew.
EARLY SETTLEMENT.-The very first visitors to this section of Marin county are now unknown, but they were voyageurs in search of discoveries. After them came the whalers, who, having spent a season on the north-west whaling grounds, returned to the Bay of San Francisco to spend the winter in its secure harbor and salubrious climate. The first settler in the township was Capt. John Read, who came to the coast in 1826, and to Saucelito in that year, and is said to be one of the first, if not the first Irishman who ever located permanently on the Pacific coast, and the first English-speaking resident of Marin county. In 1826 he made an application to the Mexican Government for a grant to the Saucelito Rancho, but was refused, owing to the fact that this tract had been reserved for government purposes. In 1827 he went to what is now known as the Cotate rancho, in Sonoma county, and made application for that tract, but the Indians drove him off, and destroyed his crop of wheat and his improvements by burning them. By the advice of Padre Quijos he then went to San Rafael, and took charge of that mission as mayor domo. Padre Quijos had, at that time, charge of both the San Rafael and Sonoma Missions. Read remained at the mission until he came to Saucelito to locate permanently, which was in 1832. He located on the Saucelito ranch, near where the old town stood, hoping now to be able to get a grant for it, but, like many other matters entrusted to friends to be done, when the papers arrived they were not in his name. While here he built a small shanty, evidently the first house erected in the township, and plied a small boat across the bay for the purpose of carrying passengers. This was doubtless the first ferry-boat on the bay, which now counts them by the dozens, and the first in the State. When we compare this mere pigmy of a sail-boat making its one or more trips a week, with the palace steamers which now pass to and fro over the same track more than a dozen times each day, we can form some conception of the magnitude of the changes which have occurred in the past half century. After remaining on the Saucelito ranch about one year, he, in 1833, applied for and received a grant to the rancho "Corte de Madera del Presidio," which being translated into English means the place where wood is cut for the Presidio, and derived its name from the fact that the timbers and lumber for the erection of the presidio buildings at Yerba Buena had been brought from this place. The final papers of this grant were made out in 1843. His first house on this ranch was a small one, constructed of split boards, which were placed on end, and was covered with shakes. He then built an adobe house which was about eighteen by thirty, and one story high, which is still standing, although in a very dilapidated condition. In 1843 he began operations on an adobe house which was twenty-four by forty-five, and two stories high, but he died in that year, before he had it completed. He had a lot of Indians, which he hired at Sutter's Fort, at work building this house. When finished the house had three rooms below and the same number up stairs, the partitions being of adobe and extending to the roof. The outer walls were three feet in thickness, and had a double porch five feet wide entirely around them. This house is still in a good state of preservation, and is occupied by Mrs. Ynez Read Deffenbach and her husband. The timber and lumber used in the construction of this house was sawed at the mill on the Read ranch. Mr. Read unfortunately came to his death through the kindness of his friends. He was sick with a fever, and there being no physician accessible, his friends thought the best thing to be done was to bleed him, but not being experienced in the art of phlebotomy, they allowed the blood to flow until he was so weak that his recovery was impossible. In 1836 he was married to Seiiorita Hilaria Sanchez, born in the Presidio at Yerba Buena in 1817, and the daughter of Don Jose Antonio Sanchez, who was a member of one of the first Spanish families which came from Mexico to California, arriving when he was only five years of age, and at this time captain of the troop at the Presidio. She died March 4, 1872, at the age of fifty-five. They had four children, two sons and two daughters. After Mr. Read's death, Mrs. Read was married a second time, and had one daughter.
To Captain Wm. Antonio Richardson belongs the honor of being the second settler in this township, and his family was the first that resided in it. He was born in England in 1795, and at the early age of twelve went to sea. August 27, 1819, he left "the Downs" as first officer of a vessel bound for the Pacific ocean on a whaling voyage. Coming around the Horn, they remained out till August 2, 1822, when they arrived at San Francisco bay. It is not known what induced this son of Britain to cast off his allegiance to his native country and ally himself with a foreign race in a wild and unknown region. Be that as it may, he did not sail with the vessel when she left port, but at once associated himself with his newly chosen people, and proved his allegiance by being baptized into their church and being rechristened, whence the name Antonio. On the 9th day of August, 1824, we find that he was granted a lot in the Pueblo of Yerba Buena, which was two hundred varas square. His next act of allegiance consisted in uniting in marriage with Senorita Maria Antonia Martinez, which event occurred May 12, 1825. Senorita Maria Antonia was born in Santa Barbara in 1803, and was the daughter of Ygnacio Martinez, for whom the present town of that name in Contra Costa county was called. October 10, 1828, he made application for the Saucelito ranch, but it was at that time reserved by the government, consequently it was not granted to him till February 11, 1838. On the 3d day of June, 1835, he was appointed Captain of the Port of San Francisco, which position he held for eleven years, being relieved September 11, 1844. Most of the above dates were taken from a diary kept by him, in which the last entry is, "War, July 9, 1846," referring to the breaking out of the Mexican war, which was destined to give our glorious golden State to the United States Government. In April, 1836, he moved his family to the Saucelito ranch, and the first night was spent under a tent formed by spreading a sail over a bended sapling. He soon built a house of boards, which had been whip-sawed at the "Corte Madera" by the Indians. It contained only one room, and was about twelve by fourteen feet in size, and was located near the site of the adobe ranch house which was so familiar to all old settlers in after years. They lived in this shanty till the Fall, when a small adobe, about sixteen by twenty feet in size, was constructed, in which they resided for about three years, when an addition of a room on either side was made, making the entire house about twenty by forty feet, with a storage loft above. He began the erection of a very large adobe, and carried it as far as the completion of the walls, when he abandoned the project, and it was all washed away by the rains. Captain Richardson died April 22, 1858, at the age of fifty-three, leaving his wife and their two children to mourn his loss. Senora Richardson, although now in her seventy-seventh year, is still remarkably active both in mind and body, and forms one of the few remaining links of the chain which unites the long ago Spanish regime with the active American condition of affairs in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
The first man to locate in the old town of Saucelito with a family was Capt. Leonard Story, who came to the State February 28, 1849, and to this place on Christmas day of the same year. When he arrived there he found only a saw-mill building and a shanty for the men to live in. His first house consisted of a few rough slabs from the outside of saw-logs, put together so as to form a shelter from the winter's storms, for which he paid at the rate of three hundred dollars per thousand feet. When the first settlers came to old Saucelito, they found an old shanty standing up in the gulch some distance, but nothing was known as to who built it. It is quite probable that it was the one occupied by John Read at the time he had the ferry from Yerba Buena to Saucelito. Early in 1850 Captain Story built a house eighteen by thirty feet and one and one-half story high, the frame for which came around the Horn, and cost him one thousand dollars. In the latter part of 1850 George Milewater erected a dwelling house where L. Story, Jr., now lives, and during that year Robert Parker built a dwelling and a building which he used as a bowling alley. His was the second family to live in the town. He also erected a dwelling for Charles Hill, who had charge of the bowling alley. A man by the name of McCormack erected the first hotel of the place during this year, and called it the "Fountain House," and he was also the builder of the first government store at this place, which was also built in 1850. It was thirty by one hundred feet and two stories high. Captain Hill also built a two-story dwelling during this year. In 1851 Captain Goodwin erected a two-story dwelling, and during this year Captain Charles Dickinson and E. T. Whittlesey came into possession of the "Fountain House" and the bowling alley. Early in 1852 another two-story government store, fifty by one hundred feet, was built, and also a store-room connected with it, thirty by one hundred feet. After the great fire which occurred in Sacramento City during this year, there was so great a demand for lumber that the hotel, bowling alley and Hill's store were torn down and the lumber shipped to that place. One of the government stores was removed to Mare Island, and the other was sold to John Perry, Jr., and he disposed of it to _____ Richards. The mill was sold to Joseph Angelotti, and he transferred it to L. Story, Sr., and it was finally blown down in a south-easter. A man known to old pioneers only by the suggestive cognomen of "Bill the Cook," had a hotel there, probably in 1852, though it is impossible to fix the date definitely now. Of all the buildings mentioned above, the only one remaining at the present time is the dwelling erected by L. Story, Sr., although there is a house there which appears to have been reconstructed out of the old lumber, some of which came around the Horn. One of the old timers of that section, who came there in 1852, is William Crossley, better known, however, as "Horse Shoe Bill," which sobriquet he received on account of the conformation of the stretch of beach he formerly lived upon. In 1854 Captain George Snow erected the "Saucelito House," which remained standing till 1875, when it was destroyed by fire.
Old Father Time has dealt rather harshly with these pioneers, and a muster of them at the end of a trifle over a quarter of a century shows that only four of them remain. The following catalogue of them will show what has become of them all:-George Milewater died in Saucelito; "Bill the Cook" committed suicide in San Francisco; Captain Snow is still living on the north side of Richardson's bay; Captain L. Story is living in San Francisco; Captain Dickerson died on board steamer en route for the Eastern States; E. T. Whittlesey went East, and it is not known whether he is living or not; "Horse Shoe Bill" (William Crossley) is still living at Saucelito; McCormack went to China and died; Captain Hill died of cholera in 1851; Charles Hill went to the southern part of the State and is still living; and Captain Goodwin is dead.
MILLS.-The pioneer saw and grist mill of Marin county were erected and put in operation by John Read. It is not known just when he built the grist mill, but it is probable that it was shortly after he located permanently on the Corte de Madera del Presidio rancho. He purchased the stones from the Russians at Fort Ross, Sonoma county, and they were made of basalt, and are still in a good state of preservation. The bottom burr is two feet eight inches in diameter and eight inches thick, with a hole in the center one and one-half inches in diameter, and the upper one is two feet and one inch in diameter and three inches thick, with a hole four inches in diameter in the center. Some sort of a horse-power was arranged for the purpose of running the mill, but as that has all long since disappeared it is impossible to give any detailed description of it. He erected his saw-mill in 1843, and had but just got it in operation when he died. His prime object in building it was to saw lumber for his house, which he had in process of construction when he died. It was a sash-saw and was driven by water-power, and while its capacity was not very great, it was far superior to whip-sawing, which was the usual mode of making lumber at that time. It was located in the ravine about one-half mile south-west of the Read ranch house, and it is not known now how long it continued in operation, but it evidently worked up a great amount of timber. Only a few posts and slabs are left to mark the site, and soon all traces of this pioneer mill will be obliterated. The first steam saw-mill and the only one ever in the township was built by Robert Parker, ____ Botts and _____ McCormack, in November, 1849, and had a sash-saw for ripping the logs, and a pony (circular) saw for working the lumber up into smaller pieces and boards. The logs were obtained near the head of Richardson's bay, and were rafted around to the mill, which was located at the site of old Saucelito. This mill was sent out by the goverment, but was operated by private individuals. The building was thirty-five by one hundred feet in size, and passed into the hands of Captain T. F. Peck, and was discontinued in 1852.
LUMBER.--Altogether there has been a great deal of lumber cut in this township, especially in early days. It was from here that the most of the lumber used in Yerba Buena was procured, and when the new city of San Francisco sprang into existence those forests which were the most accessible were drawn on first for supplies. In 1849 a great amount of timber and piling was cut here and taken across the bay. Captain Leonard Story ran a large bark in that trade during that year, and Captain Charles Lauff and William Hood took a raft of eighty thousand feet over, being the largest raft ever floated on the bay. A man by the name of Maple had the contract for delivering the lumber and piles at the Embarcadero, and a large force of men was employed.
SAUCELITO WATER WORKS.-In 1850 Captain W. A. Richardson and his son-in-law, Manuel Torres, established the Saucelito Water Works for the purpose of supplying the city of San Francisco. A tank about thirty feet square and eight feet high was constructed on the beach and the water was conducted to it from springs on the adjacent hillsides, whence it was taken to the city in steam scows. When the demand for water in San Francisco outgrew the capacity of their tank they built another about one hundred yards from the beach which was about sixty feet square and eight feet high, which is still standing. The business was discontinued when water was supplied to the city by the Spring Valley Company.
RECRUITING STATION.-For many years before the tide of immigration set in towards California the Bay of San Francisco was used by whaling vessels, war ships and voyageurs as a recruiting station, not only on account of the safe anchorage found in it, but also because of the remarkably fine fresh water and the easily obtained supply of beef to be procured there. For a number of years Captain Richardson drove a very thriving business in slaughtering cattle and disposing of the beef to these vessels. To stock a whaling vessel for a season's cruise required no small amount of beef and there were a large number of them in port every Winter, and a very busy scene was presented when the carrying of meat by all the crews of these ships was at its height. It was always looked upon by the seamen as a kind of a holiday season, especially as Christmas was usually spent here, and they comported themselves accordingly.
OLD GRAVE YARDS.-From time to time as men from the vessels lying at anchor in Richardson's bay died they were taken ashore and interred. At one time several Russian vessels lay in quarantine there with some contagious disease, from which a number of their men died, and they were buried in shallow graves extending from the beach back some distance in a little gulch. Since then the tide has washed many of these bodies up, and excavations for lots, and the filling in of others have unearthed many of them, and buried others far deeper, and very soon all traces of them will be lost and forgotten. Some distance south of the site of old Saucelito, on the brow of a hill overlooking the bay, there is an enclosure about forty feet square containing, perhaps, a dozen graves of seamen, two of whom have headstones which tell their story as follows:-
To the Memory of
A Seaman of the U.S.SHIP
"Vincennes" Born in London, England, 1820, who
Was drowned in Saucelito bay
August 27, 1850, aged thirty years
This tombstone was erected by his
Shipmates, though his body's under
Hatches, his soul has gone aloft.
In Memory of
A native of Queenstown,
August 29, 1855, aged eighteen years,
By falling from aloft
On board H.M.S.
Erected by the Ship's Company.
SAUCELITO LAND AND FERRY COMPANY-From the time the stores and mill were torn down in old Saucelito in 1853 till the year 1868, there was not much of a town at that place, but during the last named year an enterprise was set on foot which was destined to cause new life to spring into the old wreck of a town, and to draw the attention of people seeking a quiet rural home in a lovely place to it as being just the location they desired. This was the organization of the Saucelito Land and Ferry Company. They purchased about one thousand two hundred acres lying on the south side of Richardson's bay, for which they paid at the rate of four hundred and twenty-five dollars per acre, and divided it into town lots and country seats, laying out broad avenues and streets. The company at once established a ferry line between this place and San Francisco, and put the steamer "Princess" in the trade, and continued to run her till 1875, when they refitted and put on the elegant steamer "Petaluma of Saucelito," which now makes about eight round trips daily, thirty minutes being consumed in crossing the bay. The first building erected in the new town was the "Saucelito" Hotel, and was built by Daniel _____ and Joseph Coster in 1869. This was soon followed by a two-story hotel near the Ferry Landing erected by James Greene. This building was burned in December, 1879. A man by the name of Ford built a store south of the Ferry Landing in 1870. New Saucelito is a delightful place for a homestead, commanding a lovely and most extensive prospect, and having a fine climate, and being near the city, all of which conspire to always make it one of the most desirable locations within reach of San Francisco for country residences.
OFFICIAL AND BUSINESS DIRECTORY.-The post-office was established at this place December 12, 1870, with John Schnell, postmaster. The present postmaster is B.P. Pearson; Justices of the Peace, C.C.P. Severance and C. G. Dye; constables, Charles Forest and C. DeSilla; and M.C. Hamlin, telegraph operator. The business interests of the town may be catalogued as follows: three hotels, three saloons, one carpenter shop, four stores, one bakery, one meat market, two blacksmith and wagon shops, one shoe shop, one livery stable, one harness shop, and one lumber yard. The machine and car shops of the North Pacific Coast Railroad are also located here.
YACHT CLUB HOUSES.-The Pacific and San Francisco yacht clubs have each a fine building and wharf here; the building: and grounds of the former being located south of old Saucelito, and of the latter south of the ferry landing. The building of the Pacific club was erected in 1878 and opened July 4th of that year; and is forty-six feet square with a twelve foot porch on three sides of it, and two stories high. The house of the San Francisco club was built in September, 1878, and is seventy by forty-five, and one story high.
ANCIENT ORDER UNITED WORKMEN.-Saucelito Lodge No. 20, A.O.U.W., was organized January 26, 1878, with the following charter members: N.C. Hamlin, Geo. J. Hood. M. Mancebo, Geo. W. Crow, James Welch, J. Feutren, V. Guerineau, T.P. Powers, S. Susavilla, Charles Forest, M.S. Jeffries, A.R. Shaw, Thomas Wosser, and J. Machado. Their first officers were: G.J. Hood, P.M.W; N.C. Hamlin, M.W; Chas. Forest, Recorder; V. Guerineau, Receiver; and Thomas Wosser, Financier. Their present officers are: R.J. Brown, P.M.W.; Charles E. Wulferdingen, M.W.; T.P. Powers, Recorder; M. Hannan, Receiver; and George W. Crow, Financier. Their present membership is thirty-six.
NEWSPAPERS.-In May, 1870, the Saucelito Herald, a hebdomadal sheet, sixteen by twenty-two, made its appearance with Thomas P. Woodward as editor and proprietor. It was continued for two or three years, and then gave up the fight. Its successor, under the management of James McCue, has had several titles, such as American Union, Telephone, etc., but none of the enterprises amounted to much, financially, at least. None of these papers were printed in the town of Saucelito, hence it can hardly be properly said there has ever been a paper published in that place.
SMELTING WORKS.-The Saucelito Smelting Works were established in 1878 by Henry H. Eames, for the purpose of reducing and manipulating all classes of ore and quartz. The building is eighty-five by one hundred, and contains an engine, pulverizer, roasting furnace, smelting furnace, amalgamating pans, concentrators, settlers and all the other appliances necessary to carry on the business. All this machinery is the invention of the proprietor, and is especially adapted for the purposes of treating ores. Crude petroleum is used for all heating purposes, even in the smelting furnaces.
MANGANESE MINE.-There is quite an extensive body of manganese in the mountains west of the town of Saucelito, and one mine is being quite extensively worked at present, which yields about fifty tons of the black oxide of the metal annually.
TELEGRAPH.-Telegraphic connection with San Francisco for all those lines on the north-west side of the bay is had through a cable extending from Lime Point to Fort Point, a distance of two and one-half miles. There are thirteen telegraph stations on the North Pacific Coast Railroad.
LIGHT-HOUSE AND FOG-SIREN.-There is a light-house and fog-siren at Point Bonito, but to give an idea of what it was like eight years ago, we append the following pen picture taken from the Saucelito Herald:-
"Point Bonito is said to be situated but a little over three miles from Saucelito, yet it is doubtful if any of the visitors to that section of the country could be persuaded to vouch for that fact. Like the way to Lime Point, it is a rough one, and if possible worse than the former, and certainly there is more of it. A stranger needs the services of a guide. Horses were obtained, and the ride from Saucelito to Point Bonito was made in about an hour and a half. The trail, till the government land was reached, was found rather a rough one, up hill and down, and, in the heat of the sun, not a very pleasant ride. Reaching the government land, there was an obstacle-a gate, and what was more, a gate securely padlocked. Numerous keys were brought into requisition, but none would fit. To tear down the fence was hardly deemed advisable, yet neither was the walk to the point, a good two miles off. Recourse was had to an adjoining farm-house, and here the right key was found, and through the gate, on a comparatively good road, but a short time sufficed to reach the destination in view. On the bluff, just in the rear of the house, stands the old fog-cannon, a sixty-pounder, that in years past was fired every thirty minutes during foggy weather. The gun has been standing in this exposed position for a number of years, and of course is deep in rust, though the carriage appears as sound as ever. Murphy, the keeper, told us that when he first came there, nearly two years since, he found in the cannon a large nest of rats, and killed eight or ten by discharging the contents of a shot-gun in the muzzle. It is but a short walk from here to the light-house, through which we were shown. Everything here is a model of neatness and order, and this requires no little amount of work, on account of the quantities of oil used around it. This oil is kept in large tanks near the entrance and is drawn off when required. Up one flight of stairs and we find a small room, occupied by the keeper when on watch, and in which are kept all the tools, glasses, etc. Up another flight, and we came on the lamp, which in the sun-light, with its many reflectors, it was impossible to very closely examine. It is a Fresnal light, manufactured in Paris. It consumes five quarts of oil each night during the time lighted, from sunset to sunrise. A small tank overhead, connected by a pipe with the lamp, supplies the oil used each night. The view from the upper part of the light-house, in clear weather, is unsurpassed. San Francisco and the bay fortifications seem but a short distance off. Almost beneath us a number of vessels, ships, schooners, even the smaller fishing craft, passing in and out; the rocky line of coast stretching away to the northward, over which the waves dash with a roaring sound, leaving a line of white foam behind; the heavy breakers on the bar beyond; the Farralones in the distance, altogether present a most pleasing picture, an ample return for the trouble experienced in reaching the spot.
The base of the light-house stands three hundred and six feet above the level of-the sea. Directly in the rear of it, and facing on the ocean, is the fog-bell, whose dolesome tones, during foggy weather, are heard for miles and miles around. A sort of clock-like machinery, wound up every six hours when in use, moved by a little fan wheel, works the hammer and strikes the bell at regular intervals. Having exhausted this locality, we start for the place where preparations are far advanced towards the establishment of a steam fog-whistle. From the high bluff on which the light-house is situated, there makes out a narrow ridge of rocks and earth for a distance of some three or four hundred feet, known under the name of Land's End. It is upon the extreme of this Land's End that it is proposed to place the fog-whistle, and at an elevation of about two hundred and fifty feet or seventy-five feet above the water. But a faint idea can be given of the work experienced, and the dangers through which the workmen passed in making their way to this terminus. At few places could a foothold be gained on the ridge, and to fall was certain death, as beneath, at the water's edge, there is nothing but a mass of great jagged rocks. Many gangs of men were brought over, when the work was commenced of cutting a pathway, but few were equal to the situation. Commencing at the main land, a narrow path has been cut to the leeward, a slow and perilous undertaking, as but one or two men could work at a time. About half-way, where the rocks take a sharp angular turn, it was found necessary to construct a little bridge. From here the path is cut right in the side of the hill-which is composed of a sort of rotten rock-to the front beyond, where the necessary excavations are about complete, and the building, which will have to be firmly anchored, owing to the exposed position, will be commenced as soon as the boilers are in place. During the cutting of the path quite a number of slides occurred, and consequently there were a number of narrow escapes. It was stated by our guide, Mr. Murphy, that it was confidently expected others would occur as soon as the rains set in, owing to the looseness of the overhanging rock. Over this chasm we passed on the width of a single plank, with no support, and only a single rope to hold on to, while away below, over two hundred feet, the waves dashed with fury against the rocks, ensuring certain death to any one should the bridge give way, or he fall from it. All these facts taken together might well create some nervousness to the passer-by; certain it is, we breathed freer when across. No little trouble was experienced in finding a suitable place for a landing. In the basin, between the point and the main land, a solid rock making out into deep water was determined upon as the most available. Men were lowered by ropes, and the necessary supports and planking put in, and this part of the work completed, and a small derrick erected. Carpenters are now constructing a way from the landing to the pathway, where a winch will be put in. The way will be continued from here to the building on the end of the point, and a car made to run upon it. The boilers will be landed at the wharf, probably, during the present month, hauled up the way to the road above, and then by the car to the building, and immediately placed in position. The carpenter work is under the superintendence of Mr. McDonald, the laborers under that of Mr. Emerson. In the lawn, near the light-keeper's house, a reservoir is being constructed, to supply the water required by the boilers at-the point beyond. It is to be of a capacity of about three thousand gallons, to be filled from a spring-well in the ravine below, forced up by wind-mill power. At the present time there are about forty men at work in the various departments. Having seen about all of interest to be seen here, we turned our horses' heads homewards again, and concluding to make the circuit of Lime Point, Mr. Murphy accompanied us, not only as a guide, but as the open sessame of the government gates. After a hard ride over the hills we first canle to the "gravelly beach batteries," which, of the Lime Point fortifications, are the furthest advanced toward completion; in fact, little remains to be done here, except place the guns in position. There was no one here to give us any information, but judging from the magazines, seven in number, a like number of guns will be mounted. This battery is situated on the beach, which, at this point, makes into a little cove, and it is probable from its nature the battery gains the name as above. From this point there is a good road, winding up by the- fortifications on the hill, and down again, to the headquarters on the beach below. Here we again stopped, took a hasty glance at the work-shops, the quarters of the officers and men."
How changed is everything now! A fine grade road, leading through the Throckmorton ranch, has been constructed, and one can drive leisurely along through the beautiful fields, drinking in the fresh sea breeze and enjoying life to the fullest extent. All the projected improvements spoken of above and far more have been completed long since, and we will try to describe it as it is now. The old fog cannon is still there, much more rust-eaten, and the carriage is getting very rotten, and is half buried in the accumulating sand. The fog bell is gone, as its services were no longer required when the siren was put in operation. The tower on which the light was placed is still standing, but as it has been in disuse for the past three years, it is getting much out of repair. It was a round tower standing high on the cliff, so high, in fact, that it was often enveloped in fog, when there was none on the levels near the water, hence the object of moving the light lower down. The present light-house is located on the western or seaside of the point on the north side of the entrance to the Bay of San Francisco, in latitude thirty-seven degrees, forty-seven minutes, forty-eight seconds north, and longitude one hundred and twenty-two degrees, thirty-one minutes, forty-four seconds west, and is number four hundred and eighty-seven of the twelfth district. The height of the tower from base to focal plane is twenty-one feet, and the light is one hundred and forty feet above the sea. The first light on the old round tower was erected in 1855, and the new building was constructed in 1877. It is a second order stationary light and can be seen a distance of eighteen nautical miles at sea. The building on which the tower rests is twenty-four by fourteen feet, and the tower extends sixteen feet above the roof, and is twelve feet in diameter. The lamp is a Funk's Hydraulic Float, U. S. L. H, 1873, and has three circular wicks, ranging in size from one to three inches in diameter. The lamp, including oil chambers, is seven feet high, the lower chamber holds five gallons of oil, and the upper the same amount, the latter having a register attached which indicates the amount of oil in it. The average amount of oil consumed each night during the year is one and a half gallons. The reflecting apparatus consists of a series of prisms, arranged so that all rays are thrown on the focal plane, or bull's eye, and there are four series of these prisms, two above and two below the focal plane. Of the upper series, twelve are open and six are closed, and of the lower five are open and six are closed. The bull's eye is nine inches in diameter, and on the opposite side of the light there is a silver-plated reflecting concave, two and one-half feet by two and one-sixth, which throws the light to sea south-west by south. The force here consists of a keeper, Mr. John B. Brown, who has been stationed here eight years, and three assistants. There is telegraphic communication to all parts of the premises. There are three rooms in the building beneath the tower, one of which is used for an oil room, a second for storage of necessary articles, and the third for a sitting room.
The siren at this place is the only one on the Pacific coast, all the other fog signals being simply gigantic steam whistles. In this the steam passes through a trumpet six inches in diameter at the small end and thirty at the outer opening, and sixteen and one-half feet long. The steam passes through a disc, with twelve holes in it, situated at the smaller end of the trumpet. This disc is revolved at the rate of two thousand two hundred times a minute, being driven by a small engine, and the steam passing through it, while going at this rate of speed is what creates the sound. There is an automatic arrangement which governs the length of the blast, which is of four seconds duration, and at intervals of thirty-five seconds. The boiler is ten feet long, four feet in diameter, and contains forty-two tubes. Everything is in duplicate, so that in the event of an accident no delay will occur. The sound emitted is very different from the ordinary steam whistle, and can be heard at a great distance. It truly awakes the echoes as the sound pierces through the fogs in the canyons at the rear of it. The building is twenty by sixty, and is located quite near the light-house, only on a spur of the cliff projecting towards the south.
SHIPWRECKS.-The steamer "Tennessee," plying between San Francisco and Panama in the freight and passenger business, went ashore on a beach about two and a half miles north of Point Bonito some time during the year 1853. All the passengers were saved, but the vessel was wrecked. Fortunately the ship stranded on this beach, for had she struck a few hundred feet either side of the place she did not a soul would have escaped. It was claimed that the officers thought they were going into the heads, at the same time they stated that it was so foggy that they did not know where they were, hence it would appear that they were taking their chances on finding the entrance to the bay, and struck the beach instead. A bonus of four thousand dollars was offered for her recovery, but to no avail. All that remains of her now is the shaft, which may be seen at low tide, and, as a souvenir of the event, the canyon opening out from the ocean at that place is still called "Tennessee Valley."
The clipper ship "San Francisco" went ashore on what is known as "Devil's Head" rock, just inside the north head in 1856. She was a new vessel, and was from Boston, with a cargo of assorted merchandise, and had on board twenty passengers. She was beating through the Golden Gate and when the attempt was made to tack her she misstayed, and dashed upon the rock with such force that her masts snapped like pipe stems from the shock. All on board succeeded in getting ashore in safety, but the vessel soon went to pieces.
In the month of May, 1857, the sloop "General Story" was upset on the four fathom bar just outside the Heads, known as the "Potato Patch," under the following circumstances. The sloop left San Francisco bound for Bolinas at 7 o'clock in the morning of the ill-fated day, with the following persons on board: Captain Charles Allen, Samuel S. Jones, J. C. Crane, August Moldrop, Mrs. Frances Greenwood (now Mrs. Clayton, of Clatsop county, Oregon), and Mrs. Marcella Wise and her infant child. When they reached the Heads they were met by a terrific gale of wind blowing on shore, which caused the waves to run very high on the bar. The ladies and the child were in the cabin, between which and the hold of the vessel there was no partition, while the men were all on deck. Suddenly the ladies felt the vessel careen to such an extent that they knew she must be capsizing, but before they could escape she was lying keel upwards, and the force of the water had bursted the cabin door and driven them into the forward part of the hold. Fortunately the air, which could not escape, prevented the water from filling up all the space. The child was dashed out of its mother's arms and lost, but Mrs. Greenwood succeeded in grasping one of the cross-ties in the bottom of the hold, and Mrs. Wise had clasped her around the body, and in this manner they managed to keep themselves above the water. As soon as the sloop capsized the men succeeded in getting on her bottom, to which they clung until a fishing smack came to their rescue. The last man rescued stated that he was sure the ladies were still alive as he had just heard them calling for help, and he insisted that some effort should be made to rescue them from their perilous position. Luckily there were two Kanakas in the smack, and they proffered to dive under the vessel and rescue them. Taking a boat hook they passed under the deck and into the hold where the ladies were, and, extending the hook to Mrs. Greenwood, told her to make it fast to her and not be afraid, but let go when they dove again and they would bring her out. She fastened the hook to her clothing under her left arm, and when she had done so signified her readiness to go. As she released her hold of the timber of the vessel and sank into the water, Mrs. Wise lost her hold on Mrs. Greenwood but, fortunately, when she came to the surface she was outside the sloop, and was easily rescued. When Mrs. Greenwood and the Kanakas came to the surface they were clear of the vessel and were taken safely into the boat One can easily imagine the horrible suspense of those ladies imprisoned by the treacherous water in so small a compass that to keep the head out of the water brought it so close to the timbers that every lurch of the waves nearly knocked them senseless, and the very darkness of night was about them. They could hear the men being taken off, hear them go away and all was quiet-all hope was dead. After being rescued by the smack they were landed near Laguna valley and taken to the house of Captain William Johnson, and kindly cared for by his wife, Mrs. Ellen Johnson. The body of the child eventually came ashore, and the sloop was dashed into splinters against the rocks near the Heads.
In March, 1849, the schooner "Fourth of July" was lost at Tennessee valley. She was on her way up the coast when she was met by a gale from the north, which caused her to turn about and seek port for safety after having proceeded as far north as Point Reyes. The wind blew with such fury that, although sailing before it, the waves swept over the vessel with such force that two men were washed overboard, leaving the Captain alone to meet whatever fate awaited him and his craft. The wind blew toward the land with such force that the Captain saw that she must go ashore, so he made for the beach at this valley, hoping to be able to hold her with an anchor and be able to get off safely, but the anchor failed to hold her, and the mighty breakers which were running mountains high and dashing upon the beach took the vessel, as a toy in the hands of a giant, and tossed it end over end far upon the sand. Nothing was ever seen of the Captain afterwards.
SCHOOLS.-There are three school districts in the township, the Richardson, Saucelito and Read, in all of which schools are maintained during the requisite time each year.
CHURCH.-The only church building in the township is one erected by the Methodists in 1872 at Saucelito. It is small, and services are not held in it regularly. The Catholics have a building in course of construction at that place also.
ANGEL ISLAND.-This is the largest island in the bay of San Francisco, and lies just east of the mouth of Richardson's bay. It is occupied as a government station, to whom it belongs, for troops, and there are some fortifications upon it. It is said that there is some gold on it, but as it belongs to the government no one is allowed to prospect for it.
THE PIONEER BUGGY RIDE.-Very unlike the fate of the "wonderful one-hoss shay," which run one hundred years to a day, was the end of the pioneer buggy of Marin county. Some time in 1849 Charles Lauff, Charles Alban and George Brewer, three men working in the red woods on the Corte de Madera del Presidio ranch, took it into their heads that they ought to have a buggy. Had they been asked "What for?" they would certainly have been at a loss to have answered the question, as there was not at that time a road in the entire county over which they could hope to drive the vehicle. But this did not deter the boys. They had made up their minds to have a buggy, and have it they would, and having it, they were determined to have a ride in it, road or no road. After casting about in San Francisco for some time, one was found which they thought would answer all purposes. It was as old-fashioned as the hills, and looked much as the same "one hoss shay" mentioned above might be supposed to look. The owner was induced to part with his four-wheeled treasure for the consideration of the sum of three hundred dollars in golden octagonal slugs, which formed the currency of the land, to him in hand paid by the aforesaid would-be buggy owners. In due course of time the vehicle arrived at the ranch, and all was impatience with the happy owners till Sunday should come, and they should be able to indulge in the luxury of a genuine carriage drive. The day came at last, as all days do, and a more propitious one never dawned upon the world. Before the crimson hues had changed to white they were out scouring the hills and valleys in search of a horse which they thought would do to trust hitched to their treasure, for, be it known, that at that time no horse in Marin county had ever been initiated into the mysteries of bridle bits, harness or buggy thills, and none of the capricious broncos nor festive mustangs of that day would answer the purpose. At last a very sedate looking Spanish Alasan horse of gigantic stature was found quietly grazing on the side hills, little dreaming that the beautiful Sabbath day just dawned was destined to bring to him the honor of being the patriarch of all those of his kind who in after years were to be monarch s of the track and road. No trouble was experienced in getting the horse adjusted to the harness (if the harness had not been a fit for the horse it would never have entered their heads to have adjusted the harness to it), and he was soon environed by the shafts. Then the boys got into the buggy, Charley Lauff took the port side of the craft, and Charley Alban was relegated to the starboard, while George Brewer desposited his three hundred-pound-hulk amidships, so to speak, and was given the helm. All was in readiness, and the order was given to cast off the lines and weigh the anchor. Peremptory orders to march were given in vain to that Pegasus; clucking till blisters were raised in the roofs of their mouths availed them nothing, and finally the rod was applied, and with what success the sequel shall tell. Rearing up in the mighty power of his belabored greatness, old Alasan made one mighty bound, clearing many feet in the leap, but planted himself as firmly as adamantine rock in his tracks when he again deigned to descend to the earth. The amount of velocity acquired by the corpus gigantica of Brewer, during this little coup d'etat on the part of Alasan caused the momentum to so far overcome the inertia that he went sprawling, in ungraceful confusion, under the horse's heels, taking the dashboard along with him as a souvenir of the high estate he once had held. Strange to say the horse remained quiet until Brewer had extracted himself from between his nether limbs and had again deposited himself on his precarious perch. now rendered doubly dubious by the absence of the dash-board, and what is more strange to relate, old Alasan trudged off as gently and unconcernedly as an old dray horse, with but little coaxing, for they dare not repeat the application of the goad. But he had a head of his own, and wandered whithersoever he listed, bridle bits to the contrary notwithstanding, and they did not care to argue the question with him, but yielded the point very gracefully. And so they went, up hill and down dale, over stones and through chapparal, hither and thither, during all the bright and merry hours of that happy Sabbath day, recking not nor caring for aught beneath the sun. At last the glorious orb of day sank far below the lofty peak of Tamalpais, casting its shadow far out over the valleys below, and they, full satiate with their day's pleasures, persuaded old Alasan to come to a halt, a very easy task by the way, and unfettering him from the harness, allowed him to seek the quietude of the mountain solitudes, and cogitate and dream over his exploits of the day, while they found their way to camp as best they could, for the purpose of hushing the cries of a too long unburdened stomach, and to relate their adventures. The buggy, which was worth three hundred dollars in the rosy morn, was not worth a shilling in the dewy eve. Its first day's use in Marin county was its last. The duration of pleasure is always commensurate with its intensity, and a life-time had been crowded into that one day's existence for that vehicle.
History of Marin County, California, &c., by J.P. Munro-Fraser, Historian, Alley Bowen & Co., 1880, page 390, Saucelito Township. A copy may be found at the Anne T. Kent California Room, Marin County Free Library.
This Marin County history has also been republished in 1972 by Charmaine Burdell Veronda, Petaluma, California.