History of Orland, California
From: Colusa County
Its History Traced From A State of Nature
Through The Early Period of Settlement
And Development To The Present Day
By: Justus H. Rogers
Orland, California, 1891


This is the most northerly railroad town in the county, and has an intelligent, progressive population of about four hundred. it lies one mile south of Stony Creek, close to the low, undulating hills which terminate eight miles west of the town in the Black Buttes. The country round about is comparatively thickly settled. It is the only railroad town in the county having the advantage of a natural park, that beauteous luxury being afforded by a large grove of oak trees on Stony Creek, the property of Mrs. H. A. Greenwood, and here the people assemble for celebrations.

T. H. Dodson and Joseph James were the first settlers in the town, in 1875. The latter located southwest of, and the former opened a store and hotel on the present site. These were followed by Michael & Co. building a general store, and Freeman & Klemmer, a hardware store. The railroad was not completed to Orland until several years later, and not knowing where the road would enter the town, residences were scattered over a large territory, and the town today presents a scattered appearance.

In 1884 a public school building, costing $6,000, and a model one in many respects, was built. A Catholic Church was built in 1885, a Methodist Church the year following and a Baptist Church in 1889, all fine houses for the size of the town. The Orland College, or school, is an elegant two story brick building, and cost over $7,000 in its construction. The course of study is comprehensive and practical, and it is liberally patronized.

This institution was founded by Professor J. B. Patch, who secured the aid of several rich men to help erect the building. The college floated along under adverse circumstances while Patch was in charge, for, though he was a man of fine organizing abilities, he was a character in his way, noted for his unreasonable stubbornness and his capacity for making enemies.

We cannot resist briefly narrating an amusing incident in the career of the professor while occupied with the college. It appears that he was in debt to Mr. Lake and refused to pay. Lake, on January 14, 1884, secured judgment after bringing suit. Armed with an execution, Lake and Constable Gifford proceeded to the college. But the professor was prepared for them. Up in the belfry of the college he had deposited a cart load of stones from the creek. When the constable would approach him, down would come a shower of cobblestones. If the officer of the law attempted to parley with him, the professor would ring the bell vigorously. Then the constable procured a warrant against him for resisting an officer. Returning with this document, the constable effected an entrance into the second story, but there was the professor again in the bell tower overhead with the ladder pulled up. Then the besiegers endeavored to capture the determined professor by means of planks shoved into the scuttle hole, when down out of the airy fortress came the muzzle of a gun with the doughty professor behind it. Then a parley was held, the professor dictated his own terms of surrender, and these were that he was to be allowed to carry his gun, was to be tried in Colusa and not in Orland, and that no one should come within so many yards of him. Then the besieged came down from the tower where he had been exposed for hours to one of the coldest northers that had ever visited the valley. He then entered one of the school rooms, where he drew a dead line with a piece of chalk, the constable being placed on one side of it and the professor on the other, where both spent a cheerless night.

Professor William Henslee afterwards took charge of the college and conducted it for four years, in such a manner as to endow it with a universally accepted reputation for eminence in educational training. It is now under the direction of Professor A. P. Stone, who is sustaining the good reputation made for the school by Professor Henslee.

Among the benevolent societies at Orland are: The Stony Creek Lodge, I. O. O. F.; Orland Lodge, F. and A. M., and Brilliant Star Chapter Order Eastern Star.

The Orland Silver Cornet Band represents an association of musical gentlemen, of whose progress and performances the citizens are justly proud. It is composed of the following members: W. L. Mecum, Stanley Murdock, I. E. Mecum, Charles Knock, William Papst, A. N. Bender, Charles Winne, George Mecum, Jr., W. B. Griffith, E. A. Mecum and E. J. Lautario.

The Orland News is the name of a live, handsome, five column quarto, published by Dodson & Dawson. It is Democratic in politics, and a vigorous friend of irrigation. While we are upon this subject, let us mention that the Stony Creek Irrigation Company has taken out a ditch on the south side of the creek near the Buttes, and have already excavated eight miles of the work. This ditch is to irrigate the land on the south side of Stony Creek. It is proposed to water lands on the north side of the creek by a district canal.

Near the railroad station are the great grain warehouses of A. D. Logan & Co., the largest warehouses north of Port Costa. They are fifty by seven hundred and fifty feet in dimensions and are laid with concrete and coaltarred plank floors. All classes of commercial interests are encouraged and promoted by the Bank of Orland. Around Orland, as elsewhere in the county, the land is sown mostly in wheat, but now in turn the orchard and the vineyard are superseding the grain fields, affording a greater variety of crops. The soil of this locality is of a gravelly nature, adapted to fruit and vines. Already the growing trees, producing fruit of bounteous size and luscious quality, are rising above the plain in every direction, and the dark green of the vineyards, and the light purple of the alfalfa, are seen in contrast with the golden grain fields. A network of irrigating canals, when completed, will render every acre around the place susceptible of the highest degree of productiveness, and the reputation that Orland has already so meritoriously earned for the flavor and quantity of her varied fruits, will be enhanced a hundred fold.

The business places of the town, aside from those mentioned, are represented by the following: Two general merchandise establishments, B. N. Scribner & Co. and W. H. Papst; Prentiss & Diggs, hardware; C. F. Schmidt, harness and saddlery; M. E. Nordyke, meat market; John Mehl, boots and shoes; J. G. Bender, lumber; J. H. Mitchell, drugs; B. E. Atwood, furniture and upholstery; three saloons, two insurance agencies, one hotel, the Union, one restaurant, two livery stables, bakery, barber shop and bath house, two attorneys, three physicians, fruit and candy store, three blacksmith and wagon shops, two grain dealers, and two stock buyers. The town is a shipping point for a large territory, and more business is done than the quiet appearance of the place would indicate.

Daily stages run from this point to Newville, and to St. John and Chico, carrying passengers and mail.

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