History of Colusa County
Colusi County, which was the original name of Colusa County, was first organized by the California Legislature on February 9, 1850. It was made up for the most part of the present Colusa and Glenn Counties and that part of Tehama County as far north as Red Bluff. In Mrs. Lambert’s history she says; “Among the first acts of this first legislature which met before California was admitted to the Union, was one outlining the boundaries of various counties. Colusa was one of these first counties formed, and it’s boundaries were defined by the legislature as follows: ‘Beginning at a point on the summit of the Coast Range Mountains due west from the red Bluffs, and running thence due east to the said bluffs on the Sacramento River, thence down the middle of said river to the northwest corner of Sutter County, thence due west along the northern border of Yolo County to the summit of the Coast Range, thence in northwesterly direction following the summit of said range to the point of beginning.’ The district thus defined was attached to Butte County for judicial purposes.”
In 1855, the State Legislature passed a bill reducing the county area to the present northern boundary of Glenn County. The area taken away was thirty-six miles wide and included the city of Red Bluff. At this time the eastern boundary of the county was extended beyond the Sacramento River to Butte Creek and ended a few miles north of Butte City. In 1891, the county was again divided and Glenn County was formed, the latter being named after its more illustrious citizen, Dr. Hugh Glenn, the world’s greatest wheat producer.
John Bidwell is one of the first white men who has recorded as being in the county as early as 1843. He says he saw at least ten thousand Indians here at that time. IN Will S. Green’s History, he wrote: “while there were many small tribes of Indians living in Colusa County, there were three belts, as it were, of them, the tribes in each having more or less intercourse with each other, and being generally on friendly terms. Those occupying either side of the river formed one, those occupying the foothills along Bear Valley and Stony Creek another, and those occupying the pine timber region of the mountains the third. Many of these tribes have died out entirely and their manes have passes entirely from man. Many persons have supposed that each village was a tribe of itself, but most of these were the temporary residences of families of the same tribe, and while all acknowledged the authority of the principle chief, the government of the villages were largely patriarchal.
The first settler in the county was Bryant, at the mouth of Stony Creek; the next, John S. Williams, at what is now the Boggs place, south of Princeton; the next, Charles B. Sterling, William’s successor in the employ of Larkin; the next, Swift and Sears, on the south side of Stony Creek, and some twelve or fifteen miles from the Sacramento River. The number of white people living in the county at the time gold was discovered could have been counted on both hands.
As soon as the county’s boundary lines were settled in 1850, a controversy arose over the location of the county seat. Monroeville was located towards the northeast boundary line of the county, near the mouth of Stony Creek, and was named after U.P. Monroe, an active landowner of the proposed site and the first inspector of elections in the county. The State Legislature had passed an act providing for the organization of a county by the district judge upon petition of the electors of the county. U.P. Monroe was quick to take advantage of the act. Instead of presenting the petition to the district judge, he gave the petition to Judge Moses Bean, Superior Judge of Butte County. Judge Bean proclaimed that an election would be held at Monroeville on January 10, 1851, for the organization of the county and the election of county officials.
Among the first churches of Colusa County was Trinity Methodist Church which celebrated its centennial in 1956. The Catholic Church was the second and was founded in 1863 at Dry Slough Schoolhouse. The First Presbyterian Church was the third being founded in 1874.
The first public school in the county was opened in the old court house in Colusa in March in 1855, with a session of three months and twenty-nine children in attendance. From that time on, the people of Colusa County have tried to give their children the best education that was available. In time High Schools were established, in Colusa first and then in Willows and gradually the larger centers provided such schools for their children. Two colleges were located in this area for a number of years. Pierce Christian College was founded in September 1874 and Orland Normal College was founded in 1884. Many prominent men and women received their education in these two colleges until they ceased as institutions of learning in middle of 1890’s.
Thanks to County of Colusa for this information...