Civil War San Francisco

Booklady

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Location
New England
I lived in the Bay Area in the 1970s for a couple of years. I was in the semiconductor industry, and had to do my time in Silicon Valley! I was single, just out of college, and had a lot of free time. That gave me the opportunity to do a lot of exploring. As I was developing my fort avocation, I still traveled to the Bay Area a lot, and was able to schedule time on those trips to continue my research. As I approached retirement from my "real job," I started doing more training for NPS at GGNRA and used those trips to be able to continue my research.

A funny story: John Martini, a great friend and fantastic historian, sent me an email that one of the non-historic prison buildings on Alcatraz had been torn down, revealing parts of the sally port that had not been visible previously. He also sent me a great group of pictures! I called to my wife, who was in the living room; she came into the office and looked over my shoulder at the photos. I said, "Carol, we need to go to San Francisco!" She responded, "You're not going to get any argument from me!" We spent a week in the area climbing around the fortifications from all periods!
I grew up in Pleasanton (Civil War name, misspelled) and still have some family in Livermore. I moved to Massachusetts (from Sunnyvale) in 1980 and can't say I miss the Bay Area at all, but I have great memories of what it was like in the 50s and 60s.

You have a great wife, a good sport. :smile:
 

jrweaver

Corporal
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
I grew up in Pleasanton (Civil War name, misspelled) and still have some family in Livermore. I moved to Massachusetts (from Sunnyvale) in 1980 and can't say I miss the Bay Area at all, but I have great memories of what it was like in the 50s and 60s.

You have a great wife, a good sport. :smile:
During my career with Delco Electronics/General Motors I had many opportunities to visit both companies and universities in the Bay Area, many times doing joint development programs on semiconductor equipment. About 18 years ago my career transitioned to Purdue University and nanotechnology facilities and operations. I continued traveling to the Bay area, doing a lot of work with Stanford, Berkeley, and the Berkeley National Labs. I enjoyed the work, and also enjoyed the ability to spend time around San Francisco. It is still one of my favorite cities, along with London and Prague!
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Many started out in California but ended up in Oregon when gold was discovered here in 1851 (thus moving north rather than south from the main Oregon trail). Southern Oregon was very pro-south and even pro-Confederacy in places, I think as a result of the white population having been largely initially from southern states.

Slavery per se wasn't popular but non-white citizenship was strongly opposed (and ended up in the constitution).

I have no ancestral connection to anywhere west of Missouri but have traced many local pioneers. Your folk sound pretty typical.
That's interesting stuff. I know that a lot of the early settlement in the Willamette Valley, etc came from New England and the Midwest.
 

John Winn

Major
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
That's interesting stuff. I know that a lot of the early settlement in the Willamette Valley, etc came from New England and the Midwest.
In my research I've seen that it was more the western-most southern states where people down here came from early on (not sure why) but, of course, after the gold rush people from all over arrived. Southern Oregon wasn't really settled by whites until after gold was discovered here in 1851 whereas the Willamette Valley was at the original end of the Oregon trail and was also close to large rivers. It remained pretty rural down here until the railroad came south in the early 1880s.
 

damYankee

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
In my research I've seen that it was more the western-most southern states where people down here came from early on (not sure why) but, of course, after the gold rush people from all over arrived. Southern Oregon wasn't really settled by whites until after gold was discovered here in 1851 whereas the Willamette Valley was at the original end of the Oregon trail and was also close to large rivers. It remained pretty rural down here until the railroad came south in the early 1880s.
In the case of the Jackson side of our family, they came to Virginia in the late 1700s, migrated to North Carolina, then west into Tennessee, then some went to Arkansas and others to Missouri.
Some stayed in those areas, but many took the big leap and went to either California or Oregon.
I can't help but wonder why?
As the family went further west it seems they voluntarily abandoned slavery. Perhaps it was a religious or political reasons, perhaps an economical reason. Owning slaves is a large responsibility, I know that may sound like an odd observation, but even when your farm has a bad year slaves have to eat, be clothed and housed. Employees can be let go. Slaves, not so much.
Then there is the possibility that many of those southerners who went west did so for the same reasons northerners went west, opportunity to acquire free, fertile land, and a fresh start.
But has it occurred to anyone else they were southern unionists ?
 

John Winn

Major
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
In the case of the Jackson side of our family, they came to Virginia in the late 1700s, migrated to North Carolina, then west into Tennessee, then some went to Arkansas and others to Missouri.
Some stayed in those areas, but many took the big leap and went to either California or Oregon.
I can't help but wonder why?
As the family went further west it seems they voluntarily abandoned slavery. Perhaps it was a religious or political reasons, perhaps an economical reason. Owning slaves is a large responsibility, I know that may sound like an odd observation, but even when your farm has a bad year slaves have to eat, be clothed and housed. Employees can be let go. Slaves, not so much.
Then there is the possibility that many of those southerners who went west did so for the same reasons northerners went west, opportunity to acquire free, fertile land, and a fresh start.
But has it occurred to anyone else they were southern unionists ?
Like I said, there were many from the states you mention who first arrived here. I'm not sure why, either.

Most Oregonians (and those in Washington Territory) were strong unionists although those in southern Oregon were also sympathetic to the slave states. Oregonians were mostly against slavery because slaves would take jobs from whites and they just didn't like non-whites (e.g. Chinese). I don't think for most slavery was much of a moral issue.

Those living in northwest Oregon were largely of a different persuasion politically than those in the southwest or eastern portions. The northwest folk tended to be Republican types whereas everybody else were - for many years - strongly Democrat. Lincoln barely won Oregon in his first election and that was because the Democratic ticket was split. Most of the population lived in the northwest so they also could outvote the rest of the state (and that's still the way it is; very liberal in maybe fifteen percent of the state where something like 85 percent of the population lives and conservative everywhere else).
 

damYankee

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
Like I said, there were many from the states you mention who first arrived here. I'm not sure why, either.

Most Oregonians (and those in Washington Territory) were strong unionists although those in southern Oregon were also sympathetic to the slave states. Oregonians were mostly against slavery because slaves would take jobs from whites and they just didn't like non-whites (e.g. Chinese). I don't think for most slavery was much of a moral issue.

Those living in northwest Oregon were largely of a different persuasion politically than those in the southwest or eastern portions. The northwest folk tended to be Republican types whereas everybody else were - for many years - strongly Democrat. Lincoln barely won Oregon in his first election and that was because the Democratic ticket was split. Most of the population lived in the northwest so they also could outvote the rest of the state (and that's still the way it is; very liberal in maybe fifteen percent of the state where something like 85 percent of the population lives and conservative everywhere else).
The Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 is probably the reason Oregon, Washington and Idaho drew so many settlers from the east,

https://www.historylink.org/file/9501

Donation Land Claim Act, spur to American settlement of Oregon Territory, takes effect on September 27, 1850.​

  • By Margaret Riddle
  • Posted 8/09/2010
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 9501

On September 27, 1850, the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 takes effect. The act creates a powerful incentive for settlement of the Oregon Territory by offering 320 acres at no charge to qualifying adult U.S. citizens (640 acres to married couples) who occupy their claims for four consecutive years. Amendments in 1853 and 1854 continue the program, but cut the size of allowable claims by half.
Settling Oregon Territory

The Donation Land Claim Act


Oregon Territory’s first Congressional representative, Samuel Royal Thurston (1816-1851), took on the land issue as his first legislative effort, convincing legislators of the growth potential of the Pacific Northwest and the need to legalize property rights in the Territory. Thurston authored the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850, which recognized past claims granted under the provisional government, created the Office of Surveyor-General of Public Lands, and made land grants to new settlers. The Donation Land Claim Act spurred a huge migration into Oregon Territory by offering qualifying citizens free land.

The act took effect on September 27, 1850, granting 320 acres of federal land to white male citizens 18 years of age or older who resided on property on or before December 1, 1850. If married before December 1, 1851, a couple received an additional 320 acres in the wife’s name. (A large number of marriages reportedly took place during this one year.) Recipients agreed to live on and cultivate the allotment for four consecutive years, which could be counted retroactively. A certificate was issued to the claimant, granting immediate ownership once the land was occupied. Claimants who located on property between December 1, 1850, and December 1, 1853, (later extended to 1855) could obtain 160 acres of land (320 acres to married couples). Under an extension of the act in 1854, land could be purchased for $1.25 an acre. This policy held until Congress authorized the Homestead Act in 1862.
 

John Winn

Major
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
The Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 is probably the reason Oregon, Washington and Idaho drew so many settlers from the east,

https://www.historylink.org/file/9501

Donation Land Claim Act, spur to American settlement of Oregon Territory, takes effect on September 27, 1850.​

  • By Margaret Riddle
  • Posted 8/09/2010
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 9501

On September 27, 1850, the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 takes effect. The act creates a powerful incentive for settlement of the Oregon Territory by offering 320 acres at no charge to qualifying adult U.S. citizens (640 acres to married couples) who occupy their claims for four consecutive years. Amendments in 1853 and 1854 continue the program, but cut the size of allowable claims by half.
Settling Oregon Territory

The Donation Land Claim Act


Oregon Territory’s first Congressional representative, Samuel Royal Thurston (1816-1851), took on the land issue as his first legislative effort, convincing legislators of the growth potential of the Pacific Northwest and the need to legalize property rights in the Territory. Thurston authored the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850, which recognized past claims granted under the provisional government, created the Office of Surveyor-General of Public Lands, and made land grants to new settlers. The Donation Land Claim Act spurred a huge migration into Oregon Territory by offering qualifying citizens free land.

The act took effect on September 27, 1850, granting 320 acres of federal land to white male citizens 18 years of age or older who resided on property on or before December 1, 1850. If married before December 1, 1851, a couple received an additional 320 acres in the wife’s name. (A large number of marriages reportedly took place during this one year.) Recipients agreed to live on and cultivate the allotment for four consecutive years, which could be counted retroactively. A certificate was issued to the claimant, granting immediate ownership once the land was occupied. Claimants who located on property between December 1, 1850, and December 1, 1853, (later extended to 1855) could obtain 160 acres of land (320 acres to married couples). Under an extension of the act in 1854, land could be purchased for $1.25 an acre. This policy held until Congress authorized the Homestead Act in 1862.
Yeah - that was a big factor. What I don't really understand is why there seemed to be more settlers from certain areas than others (that is, before the gold rush). Northwest Oregon had lots of resources and good land, mild weather, and no real Indian threat so it was quite popular.
 
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Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
In my research I've seen that it was more the western-most southern states where people down here came from early on (not sure why) but, of course, after the gold rush people from all over arrived. Southern Oregon wasn't really settled by whites until after gold was discovered here in 1851 whereas the Willamette Valley was at the original end of the Oregon trail and was also close to large rivers. It remained pretty rural down here until the railroad came south in the early 1880s.
I know that early on there were New Englanders who actively promoted the Oregon Country pretty heavily as a destination. Some of them knew of it from the marine trade and others from a missionary connection. The Willamette Valley was a logical target. The Trail also attracted quite a few from the Midwest (some of whom had themselves or their ancestors originally moved there from New England).
 

John Winn

Major
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
I know that early on there were New Englanders who actively promoted the Oregon Country pretty heavily as a destination. Some of them knew of it from the marine trade and others from a missionary connection. The Willamette Valley was a logical target. The Trail also attracted quite a few from the Midwest (some of whom had themselves or their ancestors originally moved there from New England).
Yeah, Jason Lee was a Methodist missionary who was a big factor in bringing early immigrants. And, yes, there were many from what we now call the Midwest. Interestingly (to me) Oregonians were for a very long time strongly Democrat (of the nineteenth-century type) and so were somewhat different in their views than people living in New England. For reasons I don't understand, when southern Oregon began to be settled by whites (some ten years after the Willamette Valley was first being settled) it seemed to attract more southerners (Missouri in particular). Lincoln's early Oregon connections (he was offered the governorship) were all in the Willamette Valley area.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Yeah, Jason Lee was a Methodist missionary who was a big factor in bringing early immigrants. And, yes, there were many from what we now call the Midwest. Interestingly (to me) Oregonians were for a very long time strongly Democrat (of the nineteenth-century type) and so were somewhat different in their views than people living in New England. For reasons I don't understand, when southern Oregon began to be settled by whites (some ten years after the Willamette Valley was first being settled) it seemed to attract more southerners (Missouri in particular). Lincoln's early Oregon connections (he was offered the governorship) were all in the Willamette Valley area.
Good point about Lincoln and the offer in 1849. After that, his friend Henry who had moved there from Illinois, induced Lincoln's other friend Baker (also from Illinois) to move north from California to Salem and run for the US Senate. IIRC the N-S split in the State legislature also led to a compromise, giving the pro-South faction the other seat.
 

John Winn

Major
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
Good point about Lincoln and the offer in 1849. After that, his friend Henry who had moved there from Illinois, induced Lincoln's other friend Baker (also from Illinois) to move north from California to Salem and run for the US Senate. IIRC the N-S split in the State legislature also led to a compromise, giving the pro-South faction the other seat.
The politics of the day was largely controlled by a sort of cartel (known as the "Salem clique") that included Joseph Lane (who eventually ran for VP with Breckenridge) and they made sure they kept control. The state had been strongly Democrat from the get-go. During the war it elected a Republican governor but after two Republicans it went back to the Democrats. Most in the state didn't support much of the Reconstruction Republican politics and the legislature even tried to rescind it's vote on the 14th amendment (made under one of the Republican administrations) as the Oregon constitution said only whites could be citizens.
 
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damYankee

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
Yeah - that was a big factor. What I don't really understand is why there seemed to be more settlers from certain areas than others (that is, before the gold rush). Northwest Oregon had lots of resources and good land, mild weather, and no real Indian threat so it was quite popular.
It may just be a coincidence, if John Doe from a small county in say, Arkansas went to southern Oregon and wrote back to relatives claiming the wonders of the area, the letter would probably end up in a local newspaper and BINGO!, you have fifteen other families from that area heading out.
Also, the Donation Land Act allowed any white male over 18 to claim 320 acres, most families were large in those day's, so you would have several families traveling in the same wagon train going to the same general area to attempt to claim as many acres as possible where they could work together to clear wooded wilderness and build homes etc.
 

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
It may just be a coincidence, if John Doe from a small county in say, Arkansas went to southern Oregon and wrote back to relatives claiming the wonders of the area, the letter would probably end up in a local newspaper and BINGO!, you have fifteen other families from that area heading out.
Also, the Donation Land Act allowed any white male over 18 to claim 320 acres, most families were large in those day's, so you would have several families traveling in the same wagon train going to the same general area to attempt to claim as many acres as possible where they could work together to clear wooded wilderness and build homes etc.
That would be a good incentive. Still, if knowing the difficulties of the route ahead of the journey, how many would have remained put? It wasn't one of those trips you could turn around and go back easily, but there were some that went to a point when they decided to just settle somewhere along the trail.
Lubliner.
 

damYankee

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
That would be a good incentive. Still, if knowing the difficulties of the route ahead of the journey, how many would have remained put? It wasn't one of those trips you could turn around and go back easily, but there were some that went to a point when they decided to just settle somewhere along the trail.
Lubliner.
It amazes me every time I think about it, my grandfather walked the trail when he was just 9 years old. His father was the son of a Kansas Union veteran, who at the age of 40, along with his brother, sold good farms in Kansas and took the two families to Oregon on the trail.
My grandfather passed away when I was 11,. He and his brother and sister would tell us stories about it. They always said it was one long junk yard, with scavengers picking up the abandoned goods to sell to settlers.
These were hardy people, never backed away from hard work.
Grandmother's grandfather was a restless soul, moved from Tennessee to western Arkansas, then by himself to the California gold fields, then returned to Arkansas to gather his family before going to Oregon.
With no guarantee of anything other than a hard life of a pioneer.
How and why, we can't imagine today. We can only stand in awe of them.
 
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