Organization of Colusa County.
This county, though among the earliest in the State to be created, having been organized in 1851, is yet new
in its life and development. While its early annals are brief and meager, some of them traditional, some of them
of record, they are nevertheless replete with interest and instruction and should be authenticated, collected,
and preserved. They should not be permitted to rest too long upon the fleeting and sometimes diverse testimony
of those who were contemporaries and actors in the early days of American settlement, and even subsequent to that
period. The unconscious exaggeration, partial recollection, or dimmed remembrances of these, create many discords
of narrative so difficult for the compiler of events obscured by time or omitted of record, to reconcile.
Its name is derived from a tribe of Indians called Colus, as it was pronounced by the early white explorers and
settlers, though Coru seems to have been the accepted pronunciation of the word among the Indians themselves. Coru
among the tribe is said to have originally meant "scratch," from a very unseemly practice of the young
squaws of lacerating with their nails the faces of their Indian spouses on the first night of their marriage. Be
this true or not, it seems singular that a whole tribe of aborigines who treated their squaws as slaves and inferiors
should name themselves from so insignificant an incident as a purchased bride resenting, with womanly purity, the
Roman Sabine methods of the lustful buck who bought her. Time, the advent of white settlers, and perhaps an unconscious
drifting into easy euphony, soon transformed the word into Colusi.
These, Indians occupied the valley country north of the mouth of the Feather River, whose chief village or rancheria
was located where the town of Colusa now stands. The town of Colusa was located in the spring of 1850, while the
county was created by the Legislature shortly afterwards, and before there was a house worthy of the name erected
there. Originally the county, even after its creation, was attached to Butte County on the east for judicial purposes.
Its boundaries were defined as follows:-
"Beginning at a point on the summit of the Coast Range due west from the Red Bluffs, and running thence due
east to said bluffs on the Sacramento River; thence down the middle of said river to the northwest corner of Sutter
County; thence due west along the northern border of Yolo County to the summit of the Coast Range; thence in a
northwesterly direction following the summit of said range to the point of beginning."
County boundaries had scarcely been defined when began the usual quarrel over the location of the county seat so
common in nearly all of the Pacific and Middle Western States. Colusa now, with only one house and a half score
of inhabitants, wanted it, and so did Monroeville, no larger nor more populous. Monroeville was located towards
the northeast boundary line of the county, near the mouth of Stony Creek, and was called for U. P. Monroe, an active
land owner of the proposed site and the first inspector of elections in the county. He was a pushing, ambitious
fellow, and not only desired that the county capital should be on his land. but that it should also bear his name.
The Colusa people were equally as resolved that the seat of justice and the offices of the county should be located
with them. While there was very little bitterness exhibited on either side in the contest, owing more, perhaps,
that there were few to be embittered against, still there was a quiet determination for each side to carry its
individual point by adroit scheming or vigilant strategy. Colusa town scored the first point in having the county
created and named. It will be readily seen that while it had scarcely a "local habitation " it possessed
a name. In only the latter, a doubtful acquisition, was it ahead of its rival on Stony Creek. The question now
resolved itself between these rivals, who should first succeed in organizing the county and capture the county
seat. And right here was enacted a most curious proceeding, one that was as whimsical as it was illegal and high
handed, though conducted under the forms of law, as understood - or misunderstood - by the adherents of Monroeville.
An act of the Legislature of 1850, the first. Legislature of the State, provided that any of the unorganized counties
of the State could, upon the petition of its inhabitants to the district judge of its judicial district, be organized.
Monroeville thought it saw in this act a chance of hewing its way to eminence. And so for this purpose it presented
a petition to Judge Moses Bean, county judge of Butte County (not district judge of the district), praying that
the county of Colusi (as the name was then spelled) be organized. It was clearly apparent that Judge Bean had no
more authority to act in the premises than Sioc, the Indian chief, who was a dazed observer of these primary steps
of the white man towards local government. But Bean assumed jurisdiction, all the same, and issued the following
"Notice is hereby given that there will be opened at Monroe's ranch on Friday, the 10th day of January, A.
D. 1851, for an election for the organization of Colusa County, at which there will be elected the following officers,
viz.: One County Judge, Clerk, Sheriff, Assessor, Treasurer, Recorder, Surveyor, Coroner, and County Attorney.
"Inspector of Election, U. P. Monroe.
"On the morning of election, the first inspector will appoint two judges and two clerks. It is the duty of
the first inspector to carry the returns to Sterling's ranch by Wednesday, the 15th day of January, and with the
inspectors of the other polls held within the county, to canvass the returns of all the votes and prepare certificates
of election for the candidates having the highest number of votes within the county.
"Judge of Butte County."
On this was written the following indorsement:-
"No. 1 - 'M' Judge Bean's order for election in organization of Colusa County. Recorded.
"Filed A. D. 1851, Nov. 4, 10 Hours, 5 minutes.
"U. P. MONROE, Clerk.
"By WM. B. IDE, Deputy Clerk."
In this clearly unauthorized proclamation, Bean only suggested that the polls be opened at one locality, viz.,
Monroe's ranch, but intimates that there will be inspectors of other polls, and consequently other polling places.
It was clearly a highhanded game to favor Monroe's ranch as a place of local prominence, and thus give it the prestige
of an aspirant for county seat honors, without any rival worthy of mentioning in the pronunciamento of the pioneer
The Sterling's ranch, to which all the returns were to be brought, is now the present residence of Hon. John Boggs.
The officers of this first election ever held in Colusa County were: John B. Holland, John F. Willis, John S. Davis,
J. T. Ramsey, U. P. Monroe, J. M. Cavests, H. L. Ord, William G. Chard, L. H. Sanborn, J. J. Fort, I. F. Bowman,
J. C. Hicks, E. C. Metheny, R. N. Parkhill, J. L. Beaty, Thomas Martin, A. C. St. John, E. C. Huntoon, J. Berry
and N. C. Hardick.
To understand better the early condition of this county seat imbroglio, its snarls and perplexities, we will append
the voluminous letter of Judge William. B. Ide, the first treasurer of Colusa County, and incumbent besides of
several other county offices, which those elected to fill them declined, which were in a measure forced upon Judge
Ide, and which his desire for order, together with his public spiritedness, obliged him to administer. Judge Ide
was a pretty level headed man, pedantic and much given to verbose sentences. But he was among the earliest pioneers,
and led his patriotic countrymen under the Bear Flag in the capture of General Vallejo and the fort in Sonoma on
June 15, 1846. He seems to have been a rough diamond in his way. All through this lengthy and unique letter to
the State treasurer, notwithstanding its apparent affectation of legal phraseology, there runs a vein of sincere
devotion to public duty, in endeavoring to bring order out of the chaos at that time incident to the newness of
official machinery, or in seeking to serve his neighbors and advance the interests of his own locality. He sees
his way clearly enough to the objective point, but fears he cannot reach there without being entangled in legal
perplexities. He holds several offices, but does not correctly understand why the nature of his character as a
good citizen should oblige him to hold them, yet seems willing to do anything to get county matters out of the
snarl, and the machinery thereof so well adjusted that there will be no friction. The quaint devotion of this man,
who will always be a central and an honored figure in California's early history, shines out in spite of himself
when he says in his letter: "There being no person willing to devote his whole time in keeping the office
[of county clerk] open, according as the law requires, at the county seat, and who was able to procure the requisite
bonds, as I was bound in compliance with my official duties to be at the county seat, to attend twenty four distinct
sessions of various courts per annum, and considering I could save two thousand miles' travel, I rented out my
rancho and accepted services as deputy county clerk, and became my own clerk, in accordance with the old maxim,
If you would have a good servant, and one you like, serve yourself."
The following is Judge Ide's letter to the State treasurer:
STATEMENT OF THE TREASURER OF COLUSI COUNTY TO THE STATE TREASURER.
MONROEVILLE, COLUSA COUNTY, Cal., Dec. 10, 1851.
"On the first day of December, instant, the present treasurer of Colusi County was appointed to the office,
by the Court of Sessions of said county, to supply and fill the vacancy of G. P. Swift, treasurer, resigned October
21; bond filed 6th of December instant, which was justified instead of being accepted by the county judge, by reason
that said judge was personally in - terested, and the said treasurer this day enters upon the discharge of the
duties of said office, by complying as far as practicable with the requirement of section 49 in the latter clause,
and to guard against the penalty imposed by the fifty second section of the Revenue Act. Owing to the peculiar
circumstances in which the county has existed during the six months past relative to service rendered by its officers,
our officers (present) will be detained somewhat (if not in some cases wholly impeded) in the collection of the
State and county tax for 1851. Only $73.05 have been collected and paid into the treasury. Of this $11.97 1/2 is
for court house; $29.95 for county purposes, and $55.14 1/2 for State and State loan on interest tax. The tax list
was delivered to the sheriff, or to the under sheriff, J. C. Hu ls, who, as near as I can learn from information
derived from unofficial sources, has collected some $401.46, exclusive of his own fees, and has resigned without
making payment thereof either to the treasury or to his principal, December 8. December t0, H. P. Bemis was appointed
under sheriff, and is proceeding as the law directs, except as to time, and will, it is expected, make a vigorous
effort to collect the said taxes, which amount in the aggregate to $5,147.25, of which $1,838.30 1/2 is for State
purposes, $551.49 is interest on public State loan tax, $1,383.30% for county purposes, and $918.15 for court house
and jail. Further there are 101 polls assessed, at $3.00, $202 for State purposes and $101 for county purposes.
The State comptroller has received the auditor's duplicate, together with a very brief statement of some of the
difficulties under which we labor.
"Some of the principal tax payers (or who should be taxpayers) positively refuse to pay any taxes. There was
collected by the former treasurer, G. P. Swift, some $600 or $700 of poll and other tax on personal property. Of
this I cannot specify, as the said ex-treasurer has not, as yet, although ordered so to do by the county judge,
delivered over the money and papers pertaining to the office of treasurer of Colusi County. It is expected that
most of the tax will be collected in thirty or forty days from this time, although it will be, and is probable,
that a considerable portion of our tax for this year will remain delinquent, from the fact that many persons have
removed from the county and some from the State. I am unwilling to trouble you with so long a communication, but
it may be essential to the welfare of the interests of our county, in this manner, and at this time, that I, their
county judge and treasurer at present, should explain.
"This county, as you probably know, was organized, tinder an order obtained by the petition of its legal voters,
of Judge Bean, of the adjoining Butte County, election l0th of January, 1851. J. S. Holland was elected county
judge and U. P. Monroe was elected clerk and president. The other officers elected either did not qualify, or failed
to give bonds according to law. At an election called and held on the 25th of February, other officers were elected;
of these W. G. Chard, Joseph C. Huls, the former assessor and the latter county surveyor, and John F. Willis, sheriff,
qualified and gave bonds, which were accepted by Judge Holland. The Court of Sessions was organized on the 8th
of March by the election of William B. Ide and Newell Hall to the office of associate justices, being the only
justices of the peace qualified to vote at said election. Judge Holland was then quite unwell, and only able to
superintend said organization, which, completed, he being quite sick, left the newly elected justices (a lawful
quorum) to proceed in the county business.
"The said court divided the county into precints, townships, road districts, etc., and ordered that the taxes
for county purposes the year ensuing should be the highest rate allowed by law, which was then twenty five cents
to each $100, this county then not being in debt subsequent to the present year. Judge Holland lingered in an inconvalescent
state and died on the 12th of April. An election was called on the 3rd of May, when John T. Hughes received a majority
of the votes cast for county judge, Newell Hall, Esq., removed from the township in which he was elected, and the
office of the junior associate justice became vacant, and there was no other qualified justice within the county
except the senior associate. An election was called, and justices called to supply vacancies, one justice, viz.,
J. C. Huls, qualified and gave bonds, and he became in due time a member of the Court of Sessions. Judge Hughes
held one term of the Court of Sessions in Colusi only, and the only business brought before that session was the
appointment of a road viewing committee. On the second Monday of August the associate justices met in accordance
with the old law (Judge Hughes being absent from the county), when for the first time was presented William G.
Chard's assessor's list, so indefinitely expressed that it was utterly impossible to equalize the said list. And
the said Chard and his assistants were all absent from the county; moreover, at this time we received the scattered
fragments of the new acts of legislation, from which we learned that since May 1st our acts were not in accordance
with the supreme law of the land.
"We had no longer any evidence that we, the associate justices, constituted a legal quorum to do business;
that we are not qualified by any provision of the new law, convened, not being called by order of the judge for
special term, and further, we are of the opinion that there existed on the 1st day of May, 1851, a vacancy in the
0ffice of county judge of Colusi County. Having the Acts of the Legislature of California for our guide, we conclude
that if a vacancy did exist on the first day of May, it could only be filled by appointment of the Governor. An
opinion prevails in the minds 0f said court that if an officer be illegal, all his acts official are illegal also;
and if so, the court has become disorganized by lack of a legal quorum.
"In conformity with this opinion, the junior justice refused to act, and the court dissolved without adjournment.
In this state the business of the county was suspended until the first Monday in October last, when, in accordance
with the law, I having been elected at the general election to the office of county judge, and being duly sworn,
convened three justices of the peace, being all the qualified justices resident in said county, and organized again
the Court of Sessions, which was engaged four days in the transaction of criminal business, when junior associate
was absent, and the other, after one day's further attendance, left also. A called session was ordered expressly
for the purpose of learning complaints, and for the purpose of equalizing the assessment roll, and five notices
were posted in the several precincts. On or about the first of October the assessor returned to the county, and
was ordered to go over his assessment again, or to appear and give such information as would enable the court to
equalize the list or assessment roll. On the 17th one of the associate justices only appeared, and the vacancy
could not be filled. And the assessor, being sick, did not attend, nor did he procure and return to the court any
description of the personal property of the tax payers, whereby the court could be informed in anywise of the impartiality
of the assessment, the amount of personal property being given in the sum total, expressed by figures; and it does
not appear that any oath was required, or of what the amount of personal property consisted. The court not being
able to come to any decision on the subject of equalization of the assessment roll, the court was adjourned to
the 4th of November following. On the 3rd of November, I repaired to the county seat for the purpose of holding
the first County Court since the first organization. And, having discovered, on the 27th of October, that the Probate
Court had previously no rec0rd of its existence, I now discovered that the County Court and Court of Sessions were
in the same condition, as also was the District Court, except such minutes as I myself; as a member of the Court
of Sessions, had taken, and excepting the minutes signed by Judge Sherwood, of the District Court, Ninth District.
"Thinking that these interests might suffer from scattered conditions of the only legal evidence of the existence
of these courts, I issued a special order to U. P. Monroe, county clerk, ordering him to perform these several
duties of the county clerk himself, or to cause them to be performed by someone duly appointed, and serve as his
deputy. And there being no person willing to devote his whole time in keeping the office open, according as the
law requires, at the county seat, and who was able to procure the requisite bonds, as I was bound in compliance
with my official duties to be at the county seat to attend twenty four distinct sessions of various courts per
annum, and considering I should save two thousand miles' travel, I rented out my rancho and accepted services as
deputy county clerk, and became my own clerk, in accordance with the old maxim, 'If you would have a good servant,
and one you like, serve yourself.' But to resume more particularly this long narration of our county affairs in
relation to taxes: the said Court of Sessions being on the 17th of October adjourned to the 4th of November, and
from the said 4th of November from day to day until one of the associate justices was in attendance, at which time
the equalization of the assessment roll was again attempted, but was again laid over to the regular term in December,
first Monday, in consequence of the inability of the presiding judge legally to act in deciding a question in which
himself and children were interested. During the interim, the county assessor, being recovered from sickness, appeared
at my office and made some explanations in the matter of the assessments, also some corrections, and signed his
assessment roll officially, which was not before. November 24 I received an answer from the comptroller of State
to a statement I had made in relation to abstract of taxable property in Colusi. I came to the conclusion that
I had better proceed at once to make the auditor's tax lists, and have them ready to be accepted or rejected by
the Court of Sessions at its December term. I did so and made up the books (duplicates) on a basis of equalization
proposed and signed by the only associate justice hitherto in attendance. On the first day of the December term,
Dr. H. P. Bemis being appointed clerk for the term, I called up the deferred business of equalization, and it was
proposed by a vote of both associate justices, and was so entered by the clerk on the minutes. The aforementioned
tax duplicates were examined, and an order issued for their delivery to the sheriff and treasurer, with the order
and execution on the backs thereof for collection, duly executed and signed by the clerk and presiding judge.
"The above represents our true state in relation to the past; what it will be in future, a little time will
tell; the taxed swear they will not pay, and threaten combination to prevent the sale of property.
"I shall be pleased to receive any advice or direction in the matter, and shall conform to the requisition
of the law as far as practicable.
Your very obedient servant,
"WM. B. IDE,
" Treasurer of Colusi County, Cal."
It should be observed in the foregoing letter that the spelling of the county name is Colusi, which was the accepted
manner of writing it at that time, and it was not spelled Colusa officially in any of the statutes or records prior
to 1854, when the county seat was finally located at Colusa.
It will be seen that Judge J. S. Holland was the first county judge. He lived but a short time after his election,
dying on April 12 following. John T. Hughes was chosen his successor, at which election, held May 3, thirty eight
votes were cast. Hughes left the county shortly afterwards. To fill the vacancy caused by Hughes' failure to perform
the duties, an election was held September 3, when Judge Win. B. Ide was chosen. The returns of this election are
the first official ones found in the official records of the county, and the vote was as follows: For Assembly,
C. D. Semple, twenty three; H. L. Ford, forty seven; Newell Hall, twenty three, and S. Gwinn, five; for County
Judge, Wm. B. Ide, forty; L. H. Sanborn, thirty five; for County Clerk, E. D. Wheatly, seventy four; James Yates,
eleven; for Treasurer, G. P. Swift, three; Ben Knight, eighty two; for Sheriff, J. F. Willis, eighty four; for
Assessor, W. G. Chard, twenty one; W. H. Shepard, fifty seven. Knight did not qualify as treasurer, nor John T.
Hughes, then of the town of Colusa, who was chosen district attorney.
The obstacles in the way of filling offices at this period seem to have been great. There was no scramble for position,
and, as appears from Ide's complaints, very few of those elected would or could qualify, and even some of those
who did qualify soon resigned. The opportunities for speedy enrichment at the neighboring mines on Feather River
or Yuba River were too tempting, and the allurements of acquiring large farms with virgin soil, in the perfection
of climates, too irresistible to allow one to seek the petty emoluments of office in an embryo county.
We have run across nothing which so well depicts this state of affairs, and portrays as well the social condition
of the people then resident in Colusa County, as the following letter from Judge Ide to his brother. Simeon Ide,
of Claremont, New Hampshire. This letter was written while its author was apparently submerged in the cares of
too many offices, and is as follows:-
"MONROEVILLE, COLUSI COUNTY, Cal., Nov. 9, 1851.
"DEAR BROTHER: I am seated in the office of the county clerk of Colusi County, where I am at present, by virtue
of the elective franchise, having been made judge of the County Court, civil and criminal, president of the Commissioners
Court, or Court of Sessions of said county, and judge of probate; and, by appointment duly recorded, I am made
the county clerk - cleric of the Districttourt (Ninth District), and of the Court of Sessions, clerk of the Probate
Court, county recorder and county auditor. These several offices, at present, limit my official duties, for I suppose
I shall, just to accommodate our floating population, be cornpelled to serve as treasurer, deputy sheriff, deputy
county surveyor, and very probably as coroner and justice of the peace, and very probably as deputy notary public.
"This account may excite some surprise, but I will explain: Nine tenths of our population are here today and
tomorrow are somewhere else. Our population is like birds of passage, except their migrations are not exactly periodical.
All the circumstances which combine to make it difficult to obtain responsible and permanent county officers combine
to make these officers necessary. At present ten individuals pay more than three fourths of the taxes paid within
the county, and comprise nearly all of its permanent residents. These men, as a general thing, reside on their
ranchos, to attend to their private affairs, and are the only residents of the county who are able to give the
requisite bonds. At the polls the non residents, when they unite, have the elections as they please; and the result
is that transient, irresponsible persons are elected and bonds of the like character are filed. Last year the sovereign
people elected for county judge who is by law the acceptor or rejector of all official bonds) a dissipated lawyer,
who, of course, accepted such bonds as came to hand; and the administration of public affairs, financially, went
on swimmingly for a few months all the offices were promptly filled, bonds filed, and gin, wine and brandy bottles
and glasses occupied the place of stationery. The records of the courts became unintelligible to sober people.
Not a court of any kind, except justice of the peace courts, was held within the county (except the Court of Sessions,
and that was uniformly conducted by the senior justice, while the presiding judge was otherwise employed).
"The 'property holders,' as we are called here, refused to pay their taxes, on the ground of the insufficiency
of the official bonds, and the good host at the county seat became tired of his boarding customer, the county judge.
Next followed a proclamation from the governor, ordering the election of a person to fill the office of judge.
Judge ____ resigned, and the election resulted in the choice of one of the 'property holders,' your brother. And
a further result was that legal bonds are required, which transient persons cannot procure.
"Another provision of the law is that all public offices, except that of justice of the peace, shall be kept
open at the county seat from ten o'clock until twelve, and from one to four each day, except Sundays, New Year's,
Christmas and election days; and none of the county offices will, separately, pay a person who cannot furnish the
requisite bonds for keeping these office hours. But ten or twelve of the county offices combined will serve to
amuse for a while the present incumbent, and will also interest him not a little to keep down expenses, or at least
to prevent profligacy in public expenditures.
"There is another dark side to the picture here. No church bells call together its solemn assemblies! In fine,
nothing but the rude haunts of dissipation supply the place of schools, academies and colleges. Ox teams and mules
make up the locomotive power, in the main. But improvements are being made. We have already passed some of the
evils attendant, more or less, on all newly organized governments; still there is nothing very flattering in the
civil and political prospects before us, and less in the moral aspects ahead. Nearly all the enterprise of the
county serves to corrupt and demoralize our transient population. 'Transient!' - in that one word much is lost,
but as it respects morals much is gained - as, when nothing but vice is learned and promoted in a community, the
oftener that community is changed the better.
"Last night while the rain was pattering against, not the windows, but against the rawhide hung up to keep
the storm out of my sleeping room, a good old man whom I had known for two or three months past, came to my door,
and awoke me from a quiet sleep, saying, Judge, I must leave you; I am going home. Here are the books you gave
me; I have recorded but two cases therein; I must resign the justiceship. Where shall I lay the books and papers?
The stage is waiting.' On the table,' I replied. Good by, Judge;' said he. 'Good by, dear sir,' said I, 'and may
peace and prosperity go with you!'
"Sad were the reflections of the hours which followed. My peace was, indeed, gone. The blear contrast was
full before my mind, while in my ears sounded the harsh and tempestuous voices of the scholars of intemperance
and crime, as they at that moment issued from their gaming haunts, pistol and knife in hand, screaming vengeance
unearthly. But while the noise gradually died away in the distance, as the weaker party fled, long were the hours
that intervened ere the morning light gave other scenes to enliven the sleepless mind. But I will content myself,
as well as I can, until April, 1853, when I shall (if I live) be free again. And in the meantime I hope to improve
my mind somewhat by the study of law. I haven't a very high regard for lawyers generally.
"About thirty days ago sentence of death was passed upon a horse thief before the Criminal Court of Colusi
County. This morning was laid upon my table an order of commutation from the governor to fifteen years' service
in the State prison. The same man is charged with highway robbery, and will in all probability be brought up by
writ 0f habeas corpus for trial again at Colusi."
In another letter to the same brother, Ide, who was, no doubt, impressed with some slight self importance, whimsically
attempts to disguise it in the following manner:-
"This is court day, and as I am one of the associate justices, it is somewhat necessary that I should attend.
I suppose that some of the nabobs' of your c0untry will be 'horrified' to hear that such a person as myself should
be dubbed with the title of 'judge;' but strange things happen in California (sic). It is undoubtedly very improper,
but so it is, and we must put up with it the best way we can."
Mention has been already made of the efforts of U. P. Monroe and others chiefly in the n0rthern part of the county
to make Monroeville the county seat. The county officers transacted public business there and seemed to care little
for statute or authority in so doing. But the town people of Colusa were not blind to this extraordinary condition
of affairs, nor asleep in endeavoring to correct it. Col. C. D. Semple, at that time a prominent resident in the
little but aspiring hamlet of Colusa, drew first blood in the contest in favor of his place by causing to be passed
in the legislative session of 1851, the following section of the act concerning counties:-
"County of Colusi - Beginning at a point in the middle of the Sacramento River, opposite the mouth of Red
Bluff Creek, below the Red Bluffs, and running thence up the middle of said creek to its source on the Coast Range;
thence west in a straight line to the summit of the Coast Range; thence in a southeasterly direction following
the summit of the Coast Range to the northern boundary of Yolo County; thence east along the northern boundary
of Yolo County to a point in the middle of the Sacramento River; thence up the middle of said river to the place
of beginning - the seat of justice shall be the town of Calusa."
This section, mandatory as it was, did not ruffle the composure of the county officers, nor cause them to remove
themselves and their archives to Colusa. They continued to do business at the old stand in Monroeville in spite
of legislative enactment. It was but natural that dissatisfaction should fill the hearts of the people of Colusa
town and its adherents at this indifference, if not contempt, for the law as passed.
The whole county seat difficulty had grown out of the fact that the act of the Legislature creating the County
of Colusa had omitted to designate its county seat. When this defect was cured, this omission supplied by Colonel
Semple's efforts with the members of the Legislature, it was but reasonable to expect that all dissensions on this
subject would cease, and the law be quietly complied with. Such was not to be the case, however. Still continuing
to keep the county offices at Monroeville and conducting official business in defiance of the plain letter of the
statute, the adherents of that place murmured loudly at the law as it stood. Conscious that their hold on the county
seat must now necessarily be short, they resorted to the last remedy known to their obstinacy and despair. They
caused to be drawn up a petition, on June 2, 1851, subscribed by ninety five persons, and addressed to the county
judge praying him to hold an election to determine at what place the county seat should be located. An election
was held, though the details thereof are scant, but sufficient have been found to show that Judge Hughes, the county
judge, signed an official document declaring that Monroe's Ranch had received a majority of all the votes cast,
and was hence the county seat - all this in defiance of the law, still unrepealed, making Colusa the seat of justice.
Evidently, the Kansas "boomer" had then no prototypes, or county seat, offices and archives would have
been carried away to Colusa overnight and by force if necessary. It was not till after the general election in
1853 that Monroeville sullenly yielded to the just claims of Colusa, when the vote on the county seat differences
stood as follows: Colusa,three huudred and ten; Monroeville,fiftytwo; Moon's ranch, seven; Twenty one Mile House,one;
Swift's Corral, three. So "the little town at Salmon Bend," as the Monroeville faction sneeringly termed
Colusa, carried the day in supreme triumph, while in a brief period afterwards ambitious, usurping little Monroeville
saw her dreams of county capital and inflated town lot values go to pieces like a child's toy house of cards shaken
by the wind. Her once staunchest adherents now felt compelled to leave. Her few tenements, rude and scattered,
were soon left tenantless. Ichabod himself was now "painting the town red." Broad furrows were soon turned
on its projected streets, avenues and boulevards; bearded grain on golden lances soon pierced the s0il and stood
up and waved and nodded in autumnal contentment in places where the founders of the defunct county seat had fondly
visioned out church spires and court house dome.
And so, divorced from all further ambition for county preeminence, Monroeville retired within herself, resuming
her maiden name, apparently, for she was soon better known as Monroe's ranch than as Monroeville. It is true that
for about nine years after, before the postoffice was removed to St. John, the postoffice department continued
to address her as Monroeville, but this was only a form of chivalrous condolence, whose very delicacy of expression
could only serve after all to remind her now scattered admirers that politeness is no remedy for disappointment.
It might be added here that Monroe, the founder of this deserted village, remained a few years afterwards in the
vicinity, farming in a small way on Stony Creek, and then disappeared. The town site of Monroeville, which was
afterwards merged into a seven hundred acre farm, was purchased by Jubal Weston, Jr., a Connecticut man, who reached
California early in theyear 1849.