Rancho Bosquejo
Friday, December 14, 2012 at 10:07AM
Jo Giessner

Peter Lassen (in the day pronounced Law son) actually viewed and picked out the land he wished to be granted. The acreage was east of the Sacramento River extending north of Deer Creek as the other meandering stream.

California Statehood in 1850 put the 22,206.27 acres in Butte County and in 1856 when Tehama became a county, the acreage fell within the county lines making Rancho Bosquejo one of the several grants in Tehama County.

1843 March, John Bidwell, Peter Lassen and others came up the east side of the Sacramento River looking for a party en route to Oregon that might have his horse and mule that had been lost. In Bidwell's words:  "We were now on the trail of the Oregon company, which lay on the east side of the Sacramento River. The streams flowing into it, with the exception of Butte Creek, had not at that time been named, so I had the rare good fortune to name them. Seeing some Sabine pine in the stream where we camped, it was dubbed Pine Creek. The next stream we came to was beautiful and clear and flowed swiftly from the mountains with considerable force. On its banks appeared numerous deer, seemingly in droves, so we named it Deer Creek. . . ."~

1843 October 11 - Peter Lassen, born 31 October 1800, near Farum, Denmark, completed his application for the land grant and also applied for naturalization with the Mexican government.~

1844 July 25 - Mexican citizenship granted by Manuel Micheltorena:  "Pedro Lassen, a native of Denmark, having complied with the conditions and requirements prescribed by law for the granting of naturalization letters to foreigners, I have concluded hereby to naturalise the said Don Pedro Lassen by virtue of the powers conferred on me by said law."~

1844 December 26 - Mexican government approved Lassen's land grant request.~

1845 - "Sutter's need (for timber) sparked Peter Lassen's deal with William Brown Ide, newly arrived from the states with a circular saw and a set of mill-irons. Had they not come to sudden disagreement, the first sawmill in interior California would have been at Vina and the only president of the Bear Flag Republic would have been a lumberman." - W.H. Hutchinson in California Heritage A History of Northern California Lumbering

1845 October 29 - Peter Lassen, William C. Moon and Ezekiel Merritt arrived at Sutter's Fort with the grindstones they had manufactured on Stony Creek and boated down the Sacramento River selling what they could along the way to market.

1846 - Peter Lassen planted a small vineyard.

1846 May 9 - Lassen, as an escort to a man named Archibald Gillespie carrying letters of an urgent matter, and five other men arrived at Fremont's camp at Denny Creek, west shore of upper Klamath Lake. He was involved with fighting Indians with Fremont's troop and when he left to return to his rancho, he came a different route.

1847 February 27, California Star - New Helvetia, Feb. 13, 1847 - Mr. E.P. Jones "Dear Sir--An opportunity offering today to send to your town by Mr. Lassen on his way down in a canoe, I write to inform you of the latest news from the mountains..."

1847 June 30, "Lassen deeded the land north of Deer Creek, 5,000 acres, to Daniel Sill, his ranch overseer. . ." - Keith Lingenfelter (See Wagon Wheels 1978, No. 2, September 1978, page 12).

Daniel Sill, native of East Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut arrived in California in 1832. He was a trapper and a carpenter and came in the winter from New Mexico. He hunted otter in Santa Barbara. In 1844, he spent most of his time in the Sacramento Valley, working as a blacksmith for John Sutter part of the time.

He married Harriet Hungerford in 1818 and amongst his children were Daniel Sill, Jr. and a daughter, Harriet.

Harriet Sill married Dansforth Besse at Lassen's Rancho in 1850. On 8 September 1853, Mrs. Harriet Sill Besse married William Perry Mayhew in Yuba County as Danforth B. Besse was deceased.

Daniel Sill, Jr. married Miss Sarah R. Mayhew at the Luna House in Red Bluff in May 1857. Both bride and groom were listed as of Lassen Township in Tehama County.

1847 July 19 - Lassen in company with Commodore Robert F. Stockton and a party of over forty men left California for Missouri. Their arrival in St. Louis was noted in a newspaper dated 4 November 1847.

1848 October 27, Lassen's Ranch - The first wagon train to cross from Oregon Territory to California has successfully arrived in the Sacramento Valley. Party members, led by Peter H. Burnett, are resting today on the ranch of Peter Lassen before proceeding to the gold fields.~

1849 November 26, "Lassen mortgaged one-third of his property to Joel Palmer and John Wilson." - Keith Lingenfelter (See:  Wagon Wheels, Number 2, September 1978, page 12).

1851, Daniel Sill sold his portion of Rancho Bosquejo to his daughter Harriet Sill Besse for $1.00. - Keith Lingenfelter (See Wagon Wheels, Number 2, September 1978, page 12).

1851, LASSEN (LASSEN'S) - Post Office established 29 July 1851, according to Daily Alta California Newspaper. In Butte County and then in Tehama county with boundary change of 1864. 's dropped 15 April 1870 when post office re-established. Lassen then discontinued 26 August 1872 when the mail service moved to Vina. Named for Peter Lassen the site was also known as Deer Creek Station (without a post office) located 8 miles SE of Tehama. Charles W. Pomeroy was the first Postmaster.~

1852 April 21Daily Alta California, U.S. Land Commissioners - Claims filed since our last report:  By E. Norton and Jno Wilson:  No. 182, of Peter Lassen, to "Bosquejo," 5 leagues on the Sacramento River. 1844.~

1852, Peter Lassen failed to pay back $25,000 owed to Henry Gerke (1810 -1882) from an 1850 agreement, thus giving up 10,000 acres to Gerke. Gerke developed wheat fields and planted grape vines. Gerke lived on the property (now a part of the Abbey at Vina) and worked as a vintner from 1861 until his death 22 April 1882.~

1854 August 23, Sacramento Daily Union - Board of U. S. Land Commissioners - "Claim argued and submitted. -- No. 182, Peter Lassen for Bosquejo, 5 square leagues on the Sacramento river."

1855 February 28, Sacramento Daily Union, THE COURTS - SUPREME COURT. - Present- Hon. H.C. Murray, C.J.; S. Heydenfeldt and C J Bryan, Associates. Tuesday, Feb. 27. Wilson et al vs. Gerke & Lassen - Argument commenced and to be continued to-morrow.~

1855 July 24, Land Commission of San Francisco confirmed Lassen's Mexican Land Grant.~

1857 March 2, United States District Court confirmed Lassen's Mexican Land Grant.~

1857 August 14, Sacramento Daily Union - Gored by an Ox - On Friday, August 7th, Daniel Sill, sr., of Deer Creek, Tehama County was seriously gored by a Spanish bullock, which he was trying to capture. One horn of the animal passed up between the lower jaw and the roof of his mouth.~

1857 October 29, Daily Alta California - The Honey Lake Valley Indians - We are informed that Col. Henley yesterday appointed Isaac Roop, Peter Lassen and Jonathan Williams as agents to settle the difficulties at present existing between the whites and the Indians in Honey Lake Valley, authorizing them to negotiate a treaty of peace with the Indians. Mr. Lassen went up yesterday with a quantity of blankets and other articles to be distributed as presents to the Indians after a treaty is concluded. Mr. Lassen is of the opinion that he will be able to conclude the difficulties at present existing.~

1859 February 2, Red Bluff Beacon - PETER LASSEN - Hutching's Magazine for February 1859, contains a very good likeness of Peter Lassen and a short sketch of his life. Peter being an old resident of this county, and having many aquaitances herabouts, we have deemed it proper to state a few of the more prominent features of his truly eventful life.

Peter Lassen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on the 7th of August 1800, where he learned the blacksmith's trade. In the year 1820 he emigrated to Boston, Mass., and from thence to Keytesville, Mo., where he remained nine years. In 1839 he crossed the Plains to Oregon, arrivng at the Dalles in October of that year, in 1840 he came to California.

In 1842 Governor Micheltoreno made him a grant of land known as the Lassen grant, (now Gerke's), on Deer Creek, in this county, where in 1843, he removed with a band of cattle that he had earned by blacksmithing for Captain Sutter. In 1847, Uncle Peter crossd the Plains to Missouri with Commodore Stockton, and again returned in 1848 bringing with him several familes, among whom was Wm. Myers, the pioneer of Red Bluff, and now a farmer in this neighborhood.

In the spring of 1850, Peter Lassen having disposed of one-half his ranch and stock to Palmer, took several teams of oxen, and went to Sacramento city to purchase provisions, and while there conceoved of the idea of selling his cattle, and buying a steamboat, which proved to him the most unfortunate speculation of his life. Mr. Palmer sold his interest in the concern to Gen. Wilson, and while Peter, with his purchase, (the little steamer Washington) was cordelling up the river with his Indians, other parties were taking away and selling his cattle. The steamboat project proved a failure -- his cattle were all gone -- the parties to whom he had sold half his ranch and stock had paid him nothing, and he had incurred a debt that nothing short of the sale of the balance of his ranch would pay. He accordingly sold to Henry Gerke, of San Francisco, his remaining interest in the place, together with his claim against Wilson, which enabled him to pay up his debts, and remove, with a few head of cattle, to Indian Valley, in Plumas Co., and afterwards to Honey Lake, where he still resides, making an occasional visit to Red Bluff for provisions, and to his old ranch, where he is allowed to help himself to whatever pleases his fancy.

Peter is now engaged in the erection of a mill at Honey Lake, where, if Providence spares his life for a few years,we have no doubt he will again accumulate a handsome property.

We have prolonged this sketch of the life of a man whose character as published in Hutching's has failed to inform the reader of several important events connected with his life, among which are his return to the States in 1847-48, his steamboat speculation, etc.~

1859 May 21, Sacramento Daily Union - Genoa, May 20th - Major Dodge, Indian Agent, returned to-day from Honey and Pyramid Lakes, whither he has been to investigate the matter of the reported Indian depredation. Major Dodge is not satisfied that the murder was entirely the work of the Indians, as in the house occupied by the murdered man were found two sacks of flour, some dried beef, and about half a keg of whisky, which articles would undoubtedly have been carried off by Indians. Peter Lassen and Edward Clapper were killed at first fire. Lemarcus Wyatt, who escaped at the time, is in Honey Lake Valley. The other party have also returned, together with the party of twenty who went out to bury the dead. The Major will use his utmost endeavors to discover the perpetrators of this dreadful murder.

Major Dodge met the venerable Piute Chief Wenamuca, together with about three thousand of his tribe, in council at Pyramid Lake.~

1859 June 8, Red Bluff Beacon, TRIBUTE OF RESPECT. - At a meeting of the F. and A.M. of Honey Lake Valley, held at Susanville, this 22 day of May A.L., 5859, the following preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted, viz: --

Whereas, it has pleased the Supreme Architect of the universe to suddenly remove from our midst, on the 29th day of April, A.D. 1859, our worthy and beloved brother, Peter Lassen. He obeyed the summons, and the door of destiny was opened unto him. We confidently believe that sudden as was his summons he was prepared to meet and take a seat in the presence of his Divine Grand Master, and be invested with the great mysteries of that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Therefore, be it resolved, That in the death of Peter Lassen the community has suffered the loss of an enterprising citizen, a warm-hearted friend, true and faithful brother, one of the earliest and most ardent members of the Masonic Fraternity in the State of California.

Resolved, That we sincerely sympathize with the brethren of Western Star Lodge No. 2, at Shasta, California, of which he was a member.

Resolved, That a copy of the above be furnished unto Western Star Lodge No. 2, and the Shasta papers, Red Bluff Beacon and Tehama Gazette, for publication, with a request that other papers throughout the State will please copy. - Isaac Roop, Chairman; A.M. Vaughan, Secretary.~

1859 October 29, Sacramento Daily Union, SF Oct 28th - The United States Survey was orderd to be returned before the United States District Court today in the case of the claim of Peter Lassen to the place called "Bosquejo."~

1859 November 21, Sacramento Daily Union - A party from Honey Lake Valley were in search of the assassins of Peter Lassen and E. Clappers. Lassen will be buried, temporarily, with Masonic honors.~

1859 December 2, Sacramento Daily Union, More Land Cases - In the case of Peter Lassen claiming Bosquejo, an order was entered reviving the suit in the name of Gerke, Administrator.~

1861 January 21, Patent date for Rancho Bosquejo.~

1862 February 21, Sacramento Daily Union, Circuit Court - The patent has been received for the Bosquejo Ranch by Henry Gerke. It is five leagues on the Sacramento River, near Deer Creek.~

1871 April 4, Vina (Spanish Word for Vineyard) post office was established on land acquired by Henry Gerke from Peter Lassen's Bosquejo land grant. Samuel C. Dicus was the first postmaster.

1872 October 5, San Francisco Bulletin - The Sacramento Valley - Its Price and Products - Where Small Farms May Be Had - Redding, Shasta County, October 1st, Information fro Land Buyers - ". . .  The next large ranch is that of Henry Gerke, twenty miles above Chico. It now contains about 18,000 acres of which a large portion is suitable for wheat or corn growing and grazing purposes. One of the largest and finest vineyards in the State is on this ranch. Gerke's native wine is noted for purity and lightness and for its freedom from headiness and ground flavor. The most of Gerke's land is devoted to wheat raising; 1,800 tons of wheat were raised on it last year and about 2,200 tons this year. It is mostly tilled by tenants. The land is worth from $20. to $50. per acre. The owner would sell in small tracts or not. He has a standing offer of $675,000. for the land, vineyards and improvements..

General Wilson owns several thousand acres of the original Gerke grant. His land is altogether devoted to wheat growing and is worth $40. per acre. . ."

1874 June 19, San Francisco Bulletin - California Wines In London - There has recently been a notable exportation of California wines in London. Bell's Weekly Messenger, of May 23d, contains the following reference to it:  The California wines, to which we referred last week, are a remarkable production. We have heard much of the prolific and luscious character of ordinary fruits produced on the hill sides and in the valleys of the Western State, which is fanned by the warm air of the Pacific Ocean. But, till recently --indeed until this International Exhibition of Wines more particularly--we have had no indication of the capacity for wine-yielding grapes which belongs to the soil and climate of California.  Messrs H. Starr & Co., of 22 Morgan Street, have however, a stand upon which they show four kinds of wine that cannot fail to grow in favor with the British public. These are the production of one estate, and manufactured and bottled by the owner, so that nothing in the form of mixing or adulterating may take place to injure the character of this produce. The wines shown in the Albert Hall vaults are of the vintage 1868. Two of them are dry and two are sweet. No. 1 which is reckoned to be the first in quality, is named Gerke, after the owner of the estate from which it came. This Gerke is certainly a clean, delicate and fine-flavored wine. The other, Muscat, is made from the Muscat of Alexandria grape, and while its quality is fine, its flavor is peculiar, and many persons would not like it at first, but we doubt if there are but few who would not quickly acquire as great a taste for the musky aroma it yields as persons generally have for the same flavor from the grape after which it is named. The sweet wines are named Bosquejo and Angelica, the former after the vineyard. These wines are as rich and clean in the mouth as such luscious beverages can be. Their quality and flavor are superior, and we shall be surprised if we do not hear that they have become great favorites as dessert wines.

The estate on which these wines are grown is situated on the foot-hills in the county of Tehama. Henry Gerke, the proprietor, has taken every trouble to produce these wines, so that they may acquire an established reputation. So far as we may judge from the samples and cases which are shown at Kensington, we may confidently say that he has not only deserved success but achieved it. The grapes produced on this estate are expected, from experiments which have been made with them, to yield first-class qualities of sparkling wine, and but little, if anything, inferior to the champagnes and hocks of France. As we import double as much "champagne" and "hock" into the country as the vineyards of Europe produce we shall be glad to welcome a supply from Californian grapes, for to know that it is made from grape-juice is better than to feel assured that much that is offered must be nothing more nor less than productions from the juices of rhubarb and beet-root.~

1874 July 14, San Francisco Bulletin- The wheat yield of the Gerke estate, on the borders of Tehama and Butte counties, has been immense this year. Nearly every acre cultivated has brought forth abundantly, and will afford to both owner and tenants ample remuneration for labor and capital invested. More than 9,000 acres have been under cultivation this season. The orchards and vineyards have far outstripped the supply of many years back and the manufacture of the justly celebrated Gerke wine will be very large.~

1875 August 13, Weekly Journal Miner (Prescott, Arizona) - An Empire for Sale - We have received the maps and schedule of the division of the old Peter Lassen grant in Tehama County, Cal., which now belongs to Henry Gerke, and is advertised for sale at auction, in lots of from 40 to 160 acres, commencing on the 8th of September. This little empire is 13 miles long and three wide in the very heart of the Sacramento Valley embracing the celebrated Gerke vineyards and farms. Gerke has 11,000 acres in wheat this year on the place.~

1876 August 31, Tocsin - GERKE RANCH - We learn from Wheatland Free Press that there were thrashed last week 4,133 bushels of barley with a steam thrasher on the Gerke grant, near Cana. Grain is good there. This is the garden of California. Thrashing will last about thirty days yet.~

1878 February 14, Tocsin - Married - At Tehama, January 30, 1878 by A.J. Clark, J. P., Daniel Sill, of Vina to Mrs. Elizabeth Orr of San Francisco.

1879 July 24, Arizona Weekly Star (Tucson, AZ) Chico Record -Saturday night a party of men went to Vina looking for work. Not being able to procure any, they became violent, and finally threatened to burn the country up. The same night the grain on the Gerke grant was fired in five different places, and but for the promptitude of parties who were on the watch, a total destruction of the grain in the neighborhood would have taken place. The Sheriff of Tehama County was notified and a vigorous search made for the parties who made the threats, but so far without avail. James Sweeney was the heaviest loser, having about twelve acres of grain destroyed.~

1880 October 30, Pacific Rural Press, Tehama County - No. 3 - "Lassen township is the smallest of the seven, and is south of Tehama township. It is nearly all under cultivation and has some magnificent farming land in it. J. S. Copeland, Thomas Washington, Press Moore, and H. Gerke have fine farms. The Bosquejo ranch is in itself a marvel of fertility. H. Gerke, the owner, has rented it out to several tenants. The fine vineyard where the Gerke wine is manufactured is on the Bosquejo ranch, and pays its owner better than the raising of wheat. There are some waste portions of hilly land in this township, but they are not of a great extent."

1881 - Leland Stanford purchased Gerke acreage and started the "Stanford's Great Vina Ranch".~

1882 January 25, San Francisco Bulletin- It is reported that Governor Stanford intends to spend $300,000 in improvements on the Gerke Ranch, Tehama County, this season. About 300 men are now employed in and about the vineyard.~

1916 April 23, Sacramento Union, FRASER SELLS HOP RANCH - Oroville, Butte County, April 22nd - Formal transfer of approximately 1,000 acres of what is known to the public as the Fraser Hop Ranch at Nord, but recorded as a portion of the Bosquejo Rancho, has been made by Harry Fraser to Henry Haile and D.I. Waltz. The deal has just been filed with the county recorder. The deal was made several years ago.~

1923 May 11, Evening Tribune (San Diego, CA) - Redding, Cal. May 11 - Seventy five years ago yesterday - May 10, 1848, Peter Lassen instituted the first Masonic lodge in the state at Benton City. He brought the charter with him from Missouri. That lodge, the Western Star, still is functioning in the old town of Shasta. Only a month ago the site of Benton City, a city of the past, was located positively on Deer Creek five miles south of Los Molinos, 19 miles north of Chico on the state highway. At that historic spot the Western Star members yesterday dedicated a monument commemorative of the event and of Peter Lassen.~

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