California Recalled by Thomes & Toomes
Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 9:19PM
Jo Giessner

1890 November 29, Themis (Sacramento, CA) - "I have just received the following information from Albert G. Toomes, now of Tehama, who formerly lived at Monterey and is well known in that town where he resided from 1842 to 1851" - -

I sat down with my old partner Thomes a few days ago and got talking of old times in California and all that sort of thing. It occurred to us to make a list of our ancient companions and the hard journey we made from Independence twenty-seven years ago and since our sandy hairs are getting gray, and we often remember those blessed old reminders of gay Monterey. Some claim that we were the first regular emigrants who ever started from the States to Californa and those who came before us dropped in by mere chance as old trappers, whalesman, and sailors from the lands and Boston ships.

Our party was divided in two companies who left Independence the 6th day of May 1841 and we got into California on the 10th of November of the same year. The first company was headed by Robert H. Thomes who crossed over by the way of Salt Lake, and the second was headed by William Workman who went by the way of Santa Fe and the middle route of Los Angeles and both got into the country about the same time.

We were all armed with rifles and mounted on horseback and had literally to smell our way every day of that long, hard journey of 176 days; but we arrived all safe and hearty, and nearly every one of the emigrant mentioned  have either died in the State or still reside here. But I never want to cross those hard deserts and big mountains again, except on railroad; and, you bet, I shall run over to old pike on the Fourth of July - 1870 car or may hop on those of 1869 - as I hate salt water. 

I have mentioned in sub-joined lists those of many "foreigners' then so-called who lived in California before my time; but several have escaped me, as I have never seen a proper list of the names of the first immigrations.

You know when Thomes and self got our ranchos up here from Micheltereno and Jimeno; this place was out of the world, and league farms to be had for the asking, but it is quite different now. The Indians once so numerous, are all gone and the rail cars will soon rush by our doors and land is worth $20. per acre.

The house we built for Governor Jimeno in 1845, was one of the best jobs we ever did in our lives, for the old gentleman not only paid us well, but got us our farms without any of the trouble others had. Here is the list of our old friends:

Pioneer Companies by the overland route of the Mary's, Ogden or Humboldt river in 1841 - in company no. 1 - Robert H. Thomes, now of Tehama, Mr Bartlett, Joseph Childs, Major Rickman, Talbot H. Green, Josiah Belden, of San Jose, Charles Weber, of Stockton, Henry Hubert, John Bidwell, of Chico, Charles Flugge, Mr. Barrett, Mr. Brolasky, Charles Hooper, Grove C. Cook, Benjamin Kelsey, Andrew Kelsey, Mr. Kelsey, all of Sonoma,  Mr. Henshaw, Green McMahon, Nelson McMahon, Mr. Patten,  Mr. Dawson and brother, Mr. Chandler, Michael Nye, Mr. Walton, Mr. Swartz, Mr. Jones, James Littlejohn.

In company No. 2 of 1841, William Workman, John Roland, and Benito D. Wilson of Los Angeles, Albert G. Toomes, of Tehama, William Knight, William Gordon, William Moore, Isaac Given, Mr. Pickman, Frank Given, Frederick Bachelor, Mr. Teabo, Frenchman, Wade Hampton, Dr. Meade, Dr. Gamble, Hiram Taylor, Mr. Lindsay, Col. McClure.

There were three or four others in these two companies whose names I have now forgotten, and many on the list are still living in the State.

We suffered great hardships, and got into very tight pinches for food and water, but we made up for it when we got among the fat beef and venison of California.

In the company which came across in 1843, were:  Major P.B. Reading, Major S.J. Hensley of San Jose, Major Jacob R. Snyder, of Sonoma. William Blackburn of Santa Cruz, James and John Williams, Isaac Williams, of Los Angeles, and two others whose names I have forgotten. This company crossed over the Pit River mountains and came down the Sacramento valley to Sutters Fort, and their history is better known than ours.

When I arrived on the coast, in 1841, I found living in different parts of the country the following old American and foreign settlers: 

In Los Angeles - John Temple, Abel Stearns, William Carpenter, Richard Locklin, Mr. Vignes, William Wolfskill, John J. Warner, Mr. Williams, and Stewart and Sam, two American colored men; and it really is a good thing to see a darkey once more as in old Missouri.

At Monterey - Thomas O. Larkin, David Spence, John B. R. Cooper, James Watson, William E. P. Hartnell, George Kinlock and wife. George Allen, James Stokes, William Watts, Ernest Romio, from Germany, William Foxson, Mr. McVicker, William Garney, James Meadows, and James McKinley.

At Santa Cruz - Isaac Graham, Henry Nail, Job F. Dye, now of Idaho, William G. Chard, Jacob Majors, Peter Lassen, John Sinclair, Dr. Dickey and several others I have forgotten.

At Yerba Buena or San Francisco - Mr. Ray and wife, of the Husdson Bay Company, Hickley & Spear, merchants, Teal & Titcomb, merchants, Sherreback & Voiget, of the hotel, William H. Davis and Daniel Sill - ____ Davis, blacksmith, _____ Andrews, carpenter,  Robert T. Ridley, John Coppinger Elias Grimes and Mr Johnson.

At Santa Barbara - David E. Hill, Lewis Burton, Ziba F. Branch, Isaac Sparks, A.B. Thompson, Thomas Robins, Nicholas A. Den and Alfred Robinsons.

At San Diego - William Shooks.

At Sonoma and the Bay - Jacob P Leese, Victor Proudon and George C. Yount of Napa.

W.D.M. Howard and Joseph P Thompson of San Francisco I believe were after my arrival one or two years besides these were W. A. Richardson of Saucelito, John Gilroy and David Littlejohn who had lived in the country many years and our well-known friend Captain John A. Sutter.

[the lists and names may be misspelled and jumbled as a result of the old newspaper copy.] ~

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