By David Liebler.
Vallejo is a name well known in Northern California. We have the City of Vallejo in Solano County which unfortunately hit the news for a lot of wrong reasons a few years back. We have Vallejo’s Mexican Restaurant, a favorite lunch spot for the Capitol Crowd here in Sacramento. And we have General Mariano Vallejo, who chaired California’s first constitutional convention in 1849-50.
A lot happened at that convention, including the creation of California’s original 27 counties: Branciforte (now Santa Cruz), Butte, Calaveras, Colusi (now Colusa), Contra Costa, El Dorado, Los Angeles, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yola (now Yolo), and Yuba.
These counties celebrated their 165th birthday last month. Between 1851 and 1907, they were joined by 31 siblings to bring the county family to its current 58.
County history buffs will note that there were a few other counties created along the way. For example, Klamath County was created in 1851 out of a part of Trinity County. Twenty-four years later it was dissolved, with the land being granted to Humboldt and Siskiyou counties. In 1852 Pautah County was formed. The California Legislature believed Congress would cede to California a part of the Territory of Utah (now part of the State of Nevada) adjacent to California’s mining frontier. So Pautah County was formed in territory outside of California adjacent to California’s eastern boundary, roughly from the southern end of present Lassen County to the middle of the present eastern boundary of Mono County.
Forty-five years after our counties were formed, their local leaders had a brilliant idea: the creation of this Association. An editorial in Sacramento Daily Record Union on July 26, 1895, supported the concept:
“It is an excellent idea. … Such an organization we say in brief, however, will become actually a more important body than the Legislature. It will do more for the State than the Legislature can, for it will not make new laws, of which there are too many now, but it will study how to make the State and its communities better, stronger, more economic and prosperous, and all the people more happy.
“It will be an exchange, a school, a parliament, a love feast, and perhaps a lyceum of contention. But no matter, it will all work for good, as do all consultations of citizens inspired by a common purpose – the prosperity of the State and every section of it.”
We second that! And a Happy Birthday to our Original 27!