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Sunday, October 12, 1997

Bustling with bachelors and much business

Kristin Delaplane

Depot Street a hub of activity

A list of eligible bachelors in Vacaville appeared in the Reporter to commemorate the Leap Year season.
H.E. Baldwin, private and confidential secretary to G.N. Platt. Well-read and witty with a sarcastic turn of mind.
James Krause. Dashing young man with G.N. Platt & Co. Happy disposition. Would be a model husband.

J.C. Truex. Head salesman in the dry goods department of Platt and Co. Brunet, dark eyes, intellectual forehead.

Frank Platt. Red hair and complexion of strawberries and cream.

Ralph Platt. Brunet, with a ready wit and good looks.

M.L. Bolte, efficient bookkeeper at M. Blum’s. Attentive to business and agreeable.

S. DeBow. Head of the button department at Blum’s. Raven-haired. Engaging manners.

Jake Blum. Amiable disposition. Vivacious brunet with exquisite taste, dressing in the latest fashions.

Isa Blum. Handsome young man with liquid dark eyes and of poetical temperament.

Raleigh Barcar. Rising young attorney. Blond.

Frank Buck. Popular young rancher. Rosy cheeks, captivating smile and graceful manners. Considered a great catch. Owns much valuable property in famous fruit belt.

Fred Buck. Charming manners. Guileless simplicity.

Charles Dutton. Gracefully manipulates a meat ax at his shop on Main Street.

O.B. Little. Fragile brunet with melting dark eyes and winning ways.

W.E. Lawrence. Jeweler. Sports a prodigious but very handsome mustache. Generally understood he is spoken for.

J.M. Miller. Popular druggist. Good looking. A favorite in social circles.

Meridith Miller. Flowering side-whiskers and retiring disposition.

Andy Stevenson. He can be found at the depot.

Charles Stevenson.

C.D. Walters. Real estate agent. Generosity is the greatest of his charms. Has a bachelor apartment on Main Street.

Gus Wihe. Modest, blond gentleman. Can be seen at the depot, especially at mealtime.

Dr. N.B. Upchurch. Young dentist.

John Cory. Tall dignified blond gentleman.

Jeff Dobbins. Best of society gentleman with blue eyes and wavy blond hair. Subject to fits of melancholy.

Sterling Dobbins ended the list. He was described as a tall willowy young man with blond hair and an Apollo like form.

There was a great deal of activity down on Depot Street by the railroad station.

A.B. Miller was building a blacksmith shop by the depot. Elmira’s blacksmith, J.A. Collier, was going to occupy the space and continue his business in Elmira.

Work also commenced on A.B. Miller’s store near the depot. Levinson and Bros. of Rocklin leased the store for five years. Advertising as a Cheap (Cash) store, they carried a general stock of merchandise.

An addition was made to the depot building, making it two stories high with a porch east, west and south. The second story was to be bedrooms for the railroad’s office men.

E.P. Williams rented his new building near the depot to a man named Lynch and was fitting it up as saloon.

E.P. Williams’ new hotel on Main Street was completed. O.C. Williams occupied a new harness shop next to the hotel.

Young boys were shooting their pistols and shooting out the glass in the Catholic Church. E.P. Williams was plagued by a group of boys who were throwing tin tops from the cannery building onto his new house. The boys were arrested. Shortly after this, F.B. Tucker leased the canning factory.

R.U. Gray had lots for sale near the depot, which could be for residents or businesses. He was had a large stock of secondhand goods for sale, such as bedsteads, mattresses, cook and heating stoves, harness equipment and wagons. In 1884, one could go back to nature. A plant called soap weed by the Indians was thick in the hills west of Vacaville. In its native state, it was supposed to clean almost as well as ordinary soap and made a good lather. (It still grows in the odd spot in these hills.)

A local man invented an early day heating pad. He went out to camp on his claim. To ward off the coolness of the night air, he built a fire, scooped the embers into a pit and then buried them. He then slept soundly on top of the warm earth. He claimed his rheumatism was recovered the next morning.

Hunters were happy. The area around Allendale was suffering from a plague of wild geese and there were ducks by the thousands on Putah Creek. A blind duck was rescued in the country. It was supposed its eyes had been scratched out going through the rough chapprel.

The Pleasants had their woes with stock. Zach Hoper found a boss duck nest with 74 eggs. Many others had rolled into the water and were lost. The duck belonged to Mrs. W.J. Pleasants. Her husband had several horses afflicted with distemper.

Fishing was another popular sport. Catfish were abundant in Putah Creek, the fish were flowing in Pleasants Valley Creek, and Lawrence Cantelow reported that salmon trout were plentiful in the canyon.

Not all were happy in this countryside setting. D.C. McDonald, who lived a short distance west of town, was going through his pasture when he spied a coat neatly folded under a tree with a rock on top of it. Looking up he was to witness a man hanging from a successful suicide.

The man’s hat was also nearby with a stone on it as well to prevent it from blowing away. Near the coat was a pint of whiskey from which only two swallows had been necessary to get up the nerve to do his deed. The man was neatly dressed and had apparently been hanging there for more than two weeks. There were no letters or identification, only $3 in his coat. H.M. Swasey and J.P. Rivera stated a man of his description had worked for them and then had disappeared mysteriously. They said he was from Toronto, Canada.

Also, G.N. Blake was building a dam across the Pleasant Valley Creek 20 feet high for the purpose of irrigating his orchard and vineyard.

T.S. Wilson was building a one-story house on his property to be used by the field hands. A while later he put a notice in the newspaper: “All persons are forbidden from this date to pass across my field. Take due notice and save trouble.”

G.W. Thissel ordered a cannery with the capacity of 2,000 cans per day, which he proposed to have in operating by May 15. Dr. Austin, also in Pleasants Valley, had a cannery in running order with a capacity for 1,500 cans.

David Button recovered two of his animals that strayed as far as Davisville (Davis).

J.W. Gates was complaining that a good many of his sheep were had been killed by dogs that were allowed to roam freely.

Coyotes killed 35 sheep and lambs belonging to McCune and Garnett.

On Sundays, drunken men were a common sight on Main Street. Thus the odd brawl occurred in the street. Constable Parker was known to cart a drunk off to the jail in a wheelbarrow.

With saloon business steady, Jeff Owens had his Gem Saloon painted.

The advertisement for Miller’s Depot Saloon read: “If you are going on a journey wet your whistle before starting and buy a fine cigar to perfume the air with. If you have just arrived from a trip just step in and take a sip of cool lager, wine brandy or choice whiskey.”

There was no lack of enterprising ladies in the area. Mrs. W.B.R. Kidd manufactured Cherokee Salve, which was sold at Miller’s drugstore or Morgenstern and Milzner’s. This ointment was good for cuts, bruises, burns, and old sores. It was also said to be a healing agent for deafness and broken breasts. (Maybe you had to be there . . .)

Mrs. L. M. Lawrence returned to Vacaville and resumed her millinery and dressmaking business.