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Sunday, October 26, 1997

Vaca business boomed during the late 1800s

Kristin Delaplane

Social events were also on rise

The summer of 1884, the editor published a list of businesses in Vacaville:

Attorneys: A.J. Dobbins, R. Barcar.

Dentist: N.B. Upchurch.

Physicians: J.S. Cunningham, J.W. Stitt, Dr. P. Cargill, and Mrs. A. Garrison.

Cargill had his office and residence on Davis Street.

When a horse kicked the 8-year-old son of Marcus Lorenzo, seriously injuring his skull, Dr. Stitt was called upon. He bandaged the boy’s head, but the boy was not expected to survive. A few days later the boy rallied and was reportedly doing remarkably well.

Banks: Bank of Vacaville.

Real Estate Agents: Brown & Walter, Fleet & Garlichs, B.F. Newport, A.J. Lyon and G.N. Platt.

B.F. Newport had long had a fruit and notions store, The Bazaar. He now decided to sell and to devote full time to his real estate business. His store’s stock included clothing, ladies and children’s shoes, notions and gent’s furnishings and men’s overalls.

Dry goods and general merchandise: M. Blum, Morganstern & Milzner, Bamberger & Levy, H. Craner, Levison Bros.

Bamberger and Levy were selling apricots canned by Dr. W.H. Austin. He was canning with a cannery of his own invention. The firm was selling at great reductions the entire stock of general merchandise. They were able to sell cheaply as they had bought the entire stock of goods from G.N. Platt and Co. at very low prices.

A short while later, G.N. Platt concluded to try his hand once again at general merchandise, and a portion of the shop occupied by saddler O.C. Williams was being partitioned off for Platt. Apparently, Bamberger and Levy advised Platt, he could not do this, having sold his business to them.

So Platt & Co. advised that all those indebted to the firm were to settle their accounts at once, as the business had to be closed. Shortly after this, Platt went into the real estate business with A.J. Lyon and G.N. Platt

Mr. Leach, the new deputy constable, captured Emil Brokowsky in San Francisco. Emil had robbed the general merchandise store of Morganstern and Milzner. However, Emil managed to give the constable the slip. He said he was just stepping into a place to ask a friend to provide him bail, which seemed a reasonable request. Emil fled out a back door.

Hotels and boarding houses: Davis House, Williams Hotel, Windsor House a.k.a. Hodgins House, Miller House, Mountain View Home.

Harry Barber took full charge of the Davis House, when his partner O.B. Little retired from the business to move to Arizona to engage in the cattle business. R. Warner was the day clerk at the hotel. Barbers: E. Eisle at the Davis House.

Al Pope had been employed at the Williams Hotel, but he tapped the till and skipped out.

W.C. Hodgins’ boarding house was the scene of many rowdy affairs. He once again made the news when Charles Hodgman filed suit against him for slander in the sum of $299. Nevertheless, Hodgins had a growing concern and was making extensive improvements to his boarding house. The building was to be raised two feet and another story added.

Dr. Gregory returned to Vacaville and had the Mountain View Home, known as the college boarding house, thoroughly overhauled, painted and papered. After settling into the completely refurbished home, a fire completely demolished a building.

The Band Box, selling ladies hats, was located on Davis Street. Mrs. Hinman, wife of the manager of the Williams Hotel, was selling French corsets, forms and bustles from that place.

Saloons: Gem Saloon, Jeff Owen; B. & P., Our Corner Saloon & Billiard Hall, William P. Hamner; Miller’s Depot Saloon, A.B. Miller; W. Lynch. The Hodgins House also had a bar.

Livery Stables: D.K. Corn, John Ducker.

Tinner: Carl Roskie. H.E. Lea leased a building from T.S. Wilson was proposing to start tin shop.

Painters: Jeff Gordon, Murray & Nelson, Bennett & Lytle, George Stilwell. Stilwell did paper hanging and graining.

Lumber Yards: F. B. Chandler, Blum & Hutton.

While digging for water at F.B. Chandler’s lumberyard, a good specimen of coal was found and it was generally believed a strata could be found at no great depth in that locality.

Brickyard: W.B. Davis. Three gangs of workmen were going to be put on at the brickyard to cope with the high demand for brick locally and out of town.

Laundry: Hay Sing. A man named Trowbridge got in a scuffle with laundry man Hay Sing regarding some clothes left at the establishment. He ended up hitting Sing in the mouth.

Undertaker: H. Eversole. Eversole notified the parents of boys who had been in the habit of swimming in the hole by Dr. Dobbins that he would hold them responsible for any further damage that might occur to him by their presence there.

J.W. Gates had a cannery in operation at his ranch and was running out 200 cans per day.

Building and improvements continued. Frank P. McKevitt was building a two-story residence on his ranch. Sidney Walker was having his residence painted a lavender color. A stable was being built adjacent to the Catholic Church for the priest.

The population of Pleasants Valley had plans to build a schoolhouse in the vicinity of J.M. Pleasants ranch. The ranch was cut into subdivisions and 320 acres of fruit and vegetable land, selling from $75 to $100 per acre, were being sold. The parcels could be divided to suit the buyer. There was a good country road to all of the lots.

W.J. Pleasants was also raising sheep. A mud turtle was found in the branch of the Pleasants Valley bearing the marks, ‘‘W.J.P. 1855,’’ which W.J. Pleasants had carved onto the turtle’s shell when he was a youngster.

Entertainment was on the agenda. A masquerade ball was set for the Fourth of July celebrations. There was a moonlight party at Senator Buck’s residence and the most of the young people in the vicinity were present. There was to be a large picnic at Oiler’s Grover July 4th with speakers and music and entertainment.

At the spur of the moment, a group from Pleasants Valley set off for Putah Creek for a picnic. They spent the day roaming the shady groves, fishing and rowing and target shooting and then sat down to a fine picnic supper.

There was going to be a horse race in Vallejo and local horsemen including livery stable owner Ducker, realtor Newport, saloon owner Hamner, Jeff, Dobbins and Garlichs all had fast trotters which they planned to enter in the race.

Vacaville had a baseball club and another club was formed in Lagoon Valley.

There was roller skating Saturday afternoon and evening at Oiler’s Grove

There was a quiet wedding in Vacaville when R.H. McDonald Jr., son of a well-known San Francisco banker, was married to Clara B. Gardner at her residence. Only a few relatives of the bride were present at the ceremony.

Mrs. Broughton was united in marriage to a man named Walter Gilmore of San Jose. This apparently angered one Louis Sohn. A few days after the lady and her husband returned to her homestead in Vacaville, Sohn passed by the house. He was greeted by all, but his return was a sour, ill-humored retort. This aroused fear in everyone present and one of the young ladies present flew off to a neighbor for help. She gave the neighbor an account of what she supposed would happen, i.e. everyone on the premise would be murdered by Sohn. The constable was informed of this supposition as fact. He arrived at the ranch and arrested Sohn. Meanwhile, Walter Gilmore, in fear of his life, had barricaded himself in the upstairs bedroom with a gun. When it became known that indeed no one had been murdered, Sohn was released and given $20 to appease his offended feelings.

There were apricot and peach trees and mission grapes that had been planted 34 years previous by Pena on Mrs. E.P. Buckingham’s ranch.

Robert Sweaney was out looking for his cows again. When the mule he was riding refused to go forward and also his dog halted in his tracks, Sweaney hastily dismounted. In the distance he could discern the outline of animal and he sent a ball from his rifle through it. The animal turned from the trail. The next morning the animal was easily traced by the blood that flowed from its wound. Sweaney eventually found the carcass on Fitch’s cliff. It was a bear and there was evidence that its mate had endeavored to cover it up.

Hunting dogs were always in demand. G.W. Bassford out of seven pointer pups sold five at $20 each.

G.L. Parker filed a complaint charging Ah Jack for the crime of using a horse having the glanders. As this was a crime, a warrant was issued for his arrest. After hearing all the evidence, Jack was found guilty. He was fined $25 and the horse was condemned to death.

Saloons were the scene of many problems as evidence by the following notice. ‘‘The parties that took a pistol out of my pocket last Sunday evening had better return it to the Gem Saloon, as he is known.”

Juan Espinosa stabbed a man named Martinez at the Hodgins House. Martinez was actually making to avoid trouble by leaving the premises when he was stabbed from behind. Juan fled outside and on coming across Mrs. K. Pena’s team, he drove away at a gallop.

A man named P. Barker was arrested on a complaint of Mrs. M. Hodgins of the Hodgins House. She charged him with using vulgar and obscene language in the presence of women and children. Mrs. Hodgins threw a glass at Barker’s striking him on the head. He pocketed the glass and walked off to Mr. Hamner’s saloon. Mrs. Hodgins, with a drawn revolver, went to the saloon and demanded her glass be returned. Barker gave up the glass. P. Barker failed to appear in court and charges were dropped.