State Seal Adopted October 1849

The Greek word “Eureka,” translated as “I have found it,” has appeared on the state seal since 1849, when California’s first Constitutional Convention convened in Monterey preparatory to anticipated U. S. statehood. In 1849, the immense population influx from around the globe to California’s gold fields was called the Golden Migration, because most of the immigrants came looking for a fortune in gold. The seal was designed by Major Robert Garnett of the United States Army and adopted October 11, 1849.  The spear-holding woman in the foreground is Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom, signifying the political birth of the state as one springing forth “whole,” without having first been accorded official status as a United States Territory. The 31 white stars in a semi-circle above her head represent the number of states in the Union after California was admitted. The grizzly bear represents California wildlife, and the grapes symbolize the state’s agricultural richness. On the left a gold miner wields an ax. Ships on the Sacramento River illustrate the state’s commercial greatness, and the peaks of the Sierra Nevada make up the background.

Redding or Reading?

Pierson B. Reading, the head fur trapper for Captain John Sutter in the early 1840s, was well known and respected in early California. He was the first known permanent settler in Shasta County, where he established a ranch on a 26,632- acre land grant awarded by Mexican Governor Micheltorena. Reading took part Continue reading Redding or Reading?

Durst Ranch Riot

During the 20th century California was a major producer of hops, that natural ingredient so essential to brewing beer. Before hop-picking machinery was invented in 1909 the mature, 18-foot-tall vines were harvested by hand during a six week period in the late summer, drawing hundreds of seasonal workers because it paid Continue reading Durst Ranch Riot

August Riots, 1850

Vandalism and petty acts of violence had been escalating in Sacramento for months before finally erupting in bloodshed on August 14, 1850, at the corner of 4th and J Streets. The hotly contented issue was property rights, and emotions on both sides were boiling over. A number of Gold Rush newcomers, dubbed “squatters” by existing landholders, contested John Sutter’s land Continue reading August Riots, 1850