Click Here to Print This Story!   Click Here to get a PDF Copy of this Story!   

Sunday, December 15, 1996

Number of doctors grows in Solano

Kristin Delaplane

Construction continues in Suisun City

In the spring of 1863, a decision was made in the case of George Dingley vs. John O’Connor, and the sheriff was to sell Dingley’s Mill property on the 24th of March. Other records indicate that perhaps this sale did not go forth.

Dingley had come to Solano County in 1850. In 1853, Dingley purchased 64 acres in Green Valley and established Solano County’s first grist mill. When he purchased the land, the seller failed to disclose the mortgage liability and in 1862 or 1863 the mortgagee, possibly named John O’Connor, came after Dingley. Dingley refused to pay, but some records indicate he somehow managed to delay the loss of his land for some two and half years.

In news from the Navy Yard, a Capt. Bissell was transferred to Mare Island and a Capt. Paul Shirley took command of the U.S. sloop-of-war Cyane. (For local historians: Is this the same Paul Shirley listed as sheriff of Solano County in 1856 and 1857?)

There was a report that an E.T. Allon, while at work at the Navy Yard, died as a result of a brutal attack by two other workers.

A government bill passed, giving the Navy Yard $366,000 and another $25,000 for the construction of a hospital. The hospital was to be three stories and 150 feet by 90 feet.

In local medical news, Dr. C.H. Coffran of Suisun was in print for one thing or another. He advertised that he furnished his own medicines and charged $2 for a home visit in Suisun and within a mile. He wrote a lengthy article for the Herald on the dangers of using mercury as a medicine. He clearly knew that his views on the issue would have many call him a quack.

Later that spring the doctor shot himself in the hand. With his fingers on the muzzle, the charge exploded driving the ball between his fingers lodging just beneath the skin.

The county’s contract to care for the indigent sick went to Dr. T. Dean for $925 a year. Other doctors who had applied were Dr. M.S. McMahon, J.G. Allison, Dr. A. Verhave and Dr. W.F. Peabody.

Suisun City was continually growing.

Dr. W.H. Stanley was the new dentist on the block. Hailing from Washington, D.C., he had made diseases of the gums and teeth his special study. His practice was located in rooms at Tom Roberts’ Restaurant. It was noted Roberts put a new sign out over his restaurant at the insistence of many in town.

Chrisler’s, possibly a new store, began advertising. In his first ad, Chrisler advertised one product - kerosene oil. It was said to be the purest on the market having gone through a new refining process. In ensuing ads, he advertised tobacco, confections, toys and “anything.”

Nicholas Lumsden opened a boot and shoe store on Main Street where he made footwear to order in the latest style of pumps, dress shoes and welted and single or double-soled boots. All the work was done by hand. The editors gave a testimonial for the shoe man when shown a pair of his boots selling for $12. Lumsden was soon put in a help-wanted ad for a boot maker who would be paid $6 for fitting and making boots.

Another employment opportunity was open for anyone having $300 to $400 to invest in a lucrative business and wishing steady employment during the summer. The application was to be made at the Herald office. The suggestion was that this “employment opportunity” was with the paper.

John Peyton opened the “New Meat Market (opposition to monopoly)” on Solano Street, two doors from Main Street. His store had been the premises of the Snug Saloon. He promised a first-class market with a full assortment of fresh and salted meats. He employed John Streeter to travel with the Meat Wagon to make deliveries in Fairfield and the Suisun Valley.

George Eichnor operated the other meat market in town, The Suisun Meat Market. He carried a line of steaks, roasts, chops and boiling pieces. It was Eichnor who had lost his pocketbook a few months back. Apparently, Eichnor bowed out of the business after the New Meat Market opened and J. Carroll Owen leased the business. This market was a few doors north of the Pacific House.

The wagon maker and blacksmith, J.B. Shields, was noted for doing everything from shoeing a horse to building a carriage.

In 1858, Cutler & Anderson were partners in the Livery and Feed Stable. In 1863, Isaiah Anderson was selling the end of the stock from the livery stable: three American horses, a double-seated family carriage, three single top buggies, a double set of carriage harness, a set of light harness, three sets of single buggy harness and two buggy robes.

The general store, Ferrell & Miller & Co., had by now decided against doing a cash-only business, though they did promise to sell for cash “cheaper than the cheapest.” Their stock included new and fashionable goods, ladies and gents’ furnishing goods, hats and caps, boots and shoes, crockery, glassware, hardware and everything usually available in a county store.

The large general store, J. Frank’s, was featuring ladies’ spring bonnets in the latest styles.

A.F. Knorp, of the furniture and undertaking business, had quantities of geese feathers for sale and carried window glass. Knorp had recently applied for a patent for a new style fruit box he developed. The improvement was in the fastening for the cover which would greatly facilitate closing the box. In late spring, Knorp had a scare when his 2-year-old boy was missing for a few minutes. The tyke was discovered by John Brower in a nearby ditch. The boy was holding onto a board, keeping his head just above water, and crying for help.

In keeping with the spring season, Stockmon Bro’s offered cotton and other seeks for farmers.

Building was a constant in Suisun City. J. Hamilton, a Suisun builder, raised a cross on the new Catholic church. Jerry Marston was paying builder J.D. Perkins $2,900 for his new residence. Col. Reeves was putting on an addition to the Pacific House located in Reeves’ Block. Hotel proprietor Mr. Halsey required more room for his paying guests. Likewise, Vallejo’s Metropolitan Hotel proprietor, Mr. Lee, announced he was adding another story to the north wing.

O. Smith made an announcement that he no longer had any connection with the Suisun Valley Diary and Milk Ranch. G.W. Hill purchased the business, which sold milk, butter and eggs.

Besides seeing the meat wagon on the local roads, people would see Charley Loomis, who was in the draying business - hauling things around for people.

The new Dashaway Washing & Wringing machine had made its way to Solano County and was in use at the Metropolitan and American Hotels in Vallejo, the Solano and American Hotels in Benicia and several private homes, including those of A.P. Jackson of Suisun, A.P. Ryerson of Benicia and Mrs. L.C. Frisbee of Vallejo.

The listing of I.O.O.F. Societies included the Suisun Lodge, San Pablo Lodge in Vallejo, Solano Lodge in Verhave’s Building in Benicia, and the Carquinez Encampment, which met in the Odd Fellows in Suisun. Masonic Lodges included the Suisun Lodge, the Naval Lodge in Vallejo, Benicia Lodge and the Vacaville Lodge. There was a Fairfield Lodge I.O.G.T.

The Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodges in Suisun purchased about 10 acres of land about half a mile north of town on a hill for a cemetery. Joseph R. Chadbourne, a resident of Suisun Valley since 1851, died in San Francisco, leaving a wife and four small children. He was to be buried at the new Masonic burial grounds.

Temperance remained a prominent issue in this century and lectures and temperance groups abounded. In Vallejo the Order of Good Templars was heading up a temperance organization. Already about 100 people had signed up. Rev. W.T. Lucky of the Pacific Methodist College in Vacaville was set to give a Temperance Lecture at the Brick Church in Fairfield.

Many local militia groups were formed in response to the Civil War. The Vacaville Rifle Co. met and had regular drills with Frank Drake as their captain. The Sarsfield Guards were presented with a flag by the citizens of Benicia. The ceremony was followed by a dance at City Hall. The Calvary Company was organizing in Suisun.

A shooting in Green Valley involved a squatter by the name of John Goakley and Charles Ramsay, on whose ranch he tried to settle. A fight occurred between Holland Ramsay and Goakely. Goakely was ordered to leave the land, but as the two headed for the fence Goakely tried to draw his pistol. Ramsay beat him out firing a derringer. Upon missing Goakely, Ramsay ran for cover. Goakley finally got his pistol out and fired at the retreating Ramsay. Holland responded by firing his firearm again and this time, he hit Goakely in the shoulder. Goakely filed a complaint and the Ramsays had to pay a bail bill of $2,000 each. However, as there were no witnesses to the event, it was doubtful anything would come from Goakley’s charges.

The Wolfskill name was ever prominent. Up at Milton Wolfskill’s (near Manka’s Corner) a 30-year old George B. Day died of consumption. He left behind an aged father and a young wife. Coincidentally, 30-year old John King, died near Wolfskill’s (on the Putah). He left destitute a wife and four children. Later that spring, a valuable horse with saddle and bridle was stolen from Matthew Wolfskill’s ranch on the Putah.

Another man hit the news and his was not a happy ending. The first mention of Manuel Vera was when he was tried for assault against Mrs. Eliza Preston of the Suscol Ranch. He was found not guilty as there was no such offense as “an attempt” to commit assault and battery. However, the case was apparently strongly reviewed as it first came up in Riley’s court in Vallejo, was moved to Lemon’s court in Green Valley, then to Hubbard’s court in Suisun and finally was decided in Justice Miner’s court in Fairfield.

Shortly after this two young men, Shafley and Preston, were walking about a mile from Vallejo when they were fired upon by a man in a wheat field. Shafley was wounded and Manuel Vera was arrested for shooting him. It was supposed that Vera meant to kill Preston as Preston had shot Vera several months before. While Vera was being held prisoner in Wilson’s store in Vallejo, 60 men, disguised, broke in, seized the sheriff and shot Vera dead. Governor Leland Stanford offered $800 reward for the arrest and conviction of the persons involved.