Yolo County Then & Now

Yolo Cnty- Port of SacThe geographical area of today’s Yolo County remains substantially the same as when it was established in 1850 as one of California’s original counties. It contained several ranchos and its first county seat was in Fremont, founded in 1849, a town which grew rapidly with miners passing through on their way to the gold fields. However, Fremont’s demise was imminent when popular vote in 1851 transferred the county seat to Washington (later renamed Broderick; now part of West Sacramento). Today the site of Fremont is privately owned farmland. The first American settler, William Gordon, received a land grant from the Mexican government in 1842, and began planting wheat and other crops. In 1850 he was still the owner of Rancho Quesesosi, in the vicinity of modern Woodland.  Ohioan Jerome Davis, who had been a member of John Charles Frémont’s topographical survey expedition of 1845, settled in Yolo County after the Gold Rush, where he developed a profitable ferry across the Sacramento River in partnership with his father-in-law, Colonel Joseph B. Chiles of Napa County, and also established Yolo County’s first diary north of Putah Creek. Davisville (later Davis) was named for him when it was established in 1868, although Davis had moved to Sacramento two years earlier. Much of the county remains a relatively rural agricultural region.  West Sacramento is home to the Port of Sacramento, constructed in 1963, which ships out one million tons of Yolo County’s many agricultural products such as rice, wheat, and safflower seed to world-wide markets; the county is also a major contributor to California’s tomato canning industry.  The University of California at Davis, the State of California, and Cache Creek Casino are the three largest employers. Boating, hiking, and camping can be enjoyed at Lake Berryessa and other parks. Woodland became the permanent county seat in 1862, but Davis is the largest city. As of the 2010 census, the population was 200,849 and growing.

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