Tuolumne County Timeline


1851, May 1 City of Sonora incorporated by California legislature
1852 Tuolumne County population was 17,657 according to state census
1852 Turn Back Creek in Tuolumne area-first placer gold mining activities, along creek at Cherokee
1852, Sept. Clark-Skidmore party first pioneer settlers to successfully traverse Sierra Nevada with wagons. They crossed at Emigrant Pass and arrive in Sonora
1853 St. Patrick’s Catholic Church is started with an adobe structure; new church consecrated in 1863 nearby to west
1853 East Belt mineral lode discovered and produced such important mines as the Confidence, Payboy, Independence and Soulsby Mines
1854, July 1 "Union Democrat" newspaper was started in Sonora, continues to present
1856 Tong War in Chinese Camp area; estimated 2000 warriors battle; several casualties; no winner was determined

New Tuolumne County jail opens; later becomes the home of Tuolumne County Museum and Tuolumne County Historical Society

1858 Eureka Mine: Gold quartz lode discovered by Cornish men in vicinity of town of Tuolumne (East Belt)

St. James Episcopal Church “Red Church” opens; oldest Episcopal Church in California

1862, May First spontaneous celebration of the Battle of Puebla held in Columbia; initiating Cinco de Mayo tradition in California
1864 Sonora Pass Road opens as a toll road and later becomes State Highway 108
1864, June 30 President Lincoln signed bill granting Yosemite Valley & Mariposa Grove to State of California, as inalienable public trust
1864, Dec. 4 Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) arrives at Jackass Hill, near Tuttletown
1868 John Muir arrives in California; his preservationist ideas lead to founding the Sierra Club
1869, May 10 Transcontinental Railroad completed; Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads connect the east to the west by rail meeting in Promontory, Utah with Golden Spike ceremony
1874 Big Oak Flat Road opened to Yosemite Valley; tourism flourishes
1880 Humbug Mine, the richest tunnel mine under Table Mountain on the east slope near Jamestown; closed in 1913
1880s Big Oak Flat-oak tree, 11 ft. diameter, falls to ground. Early miners dug under its roots & later the fire of 1863 reduced it to massive trunk
1884 Hydraulic mining was outlawed because debris or tailings filled the river channels causing flooding in the central valley
1889, May Preliminary steps taken to organize the 29th District Agricultural Association; later officers and board of directors were recommended and approved by the Governor
1890, Oct. First 29th District Agricultural Association fair was held on property near Shaws Flat at pioneer race track (livestock) and Sonora Opera Hall (exhibits)
1890, Oct. 1

Yosemite National Park formed

1893 Beginning of Second Gold Rush in Jamestown area - Old Rawhide Mine, owned by Captain W. A. Nevills, re-opened and struck an immense body of rich ore with three shafts and 40-stamp mill; rekindled interest in quartz hard rock mining
1897 Stanislaus Forest Reserve formed; 1905 renamed Stanislaus National Forest
1897, Nov. 10 Sierra Railway brings first passenger service to Jamestown connects Tuolumne County to other parts of U.S. through Oakdale
1898, Jan. Jamestown Branch Jail construction was completed in 1897 and accepted by the Board of Supervisors
1898, Nov. 10 Brick Tuolumne County Courthouse construction begins, replacing the 1853 wooden structure at the same site
1899, May 31

West Side Flume & Lumber Co. is incorporated by Thomas Bullock