Gold Towns: Stockton

In 1847, German-born immigrant Charles Weber laid out a new town on the Rancho Campo de los Franceses, a Mexican Land grant of some 48,000 acres that he had purchased from his business partner, Guillermo Gulnac. Weber attracted a few settlers while mainly living in San Jose himself, where he was a successful merchant. When the gold frenzy hit California in the spring of 1848, hordes of miners passed through his land on their way to newly discovered mines in the foothills. Weber seized the opportunity to both further develop his property, and realize higher profits as a local supplier. He erected a large mercantile establishment where Main and Center Streets later intersected, and named his fledgling settlement in honor of a man he greatly admired, Commodore Robert F. Stockton. It was the first community in California to have a name that was neither Spanish nor Native American in origin. Weber also built the first permanent residence in the San Joaquin Valley on a piece of land now known as Weber Point. Located at the head of a navigable channel connected to the San Joaquin River, Stockton developed as a river port and as a central stagecoach hub to the outlying gold camps; by July 1849, it had grown from a village of 50 residents to a town of one thousand. The city was officially incorporated on July 23, 1850, and the first city election was held on July 31, 1850. In 1851, the City of Stockton received its charter from the State of California. Early settlers included gold seekers from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, the Pacific Islands, Mexico and Canada. Today Stockton continues to serve as a major shipping point for many of the agricultural goods and manufactured products of northern California. 


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