Yuba County Then & Now

yuba-cnty-yellow-mariposa-lilyEstablished in 1850 as one of California’s first 27 counties, Yuba lost lands within its original borders to Nevada and Placer counties in 1851, and Sierra County in 1852.  Three ranchos—Theodore Cordua’s Honcut Rancho north of Marysville, John Sutter’s Nueva Helvetia, and William Johnson’s ranch on the Bear River—as well as numerous mining camps and settlements, dotted the region because gold had been discovered in the Yuba River in 1848. Dobbin’s Ranch, settled in 1849 in a foothills valley, was the terminus for Langton’s Pioneer Express, which transported supplies via stagecoach to that location starting in 1850, and then loaded the freight on mules for transport over the mountains to Downieville (after 1852 in Sierra County).  Today fruit orchards, rice fields, grazing cattle and a diversity of flowering plant species, among them the yellow mariposa lily, enliven the flat valley landscape—yet numerous outdoor recreational possibilities such as boating, camping, and fishing are close by in the Sierra foothills, the gateway to the historic Mother Lode.  The county was named after the Yuba River, although some controversy exists over the name’s derivation. Swiss pioneer John Sutter claimed that he named the river for the Indian village Yubu (or Jupa) near the confluence of the Yuba and Feather rivers. Native-born Californian Mariano Vallejo stated that the river was named Uba by a Spanish exploring expedition in 1824 because of the quantities of wild grapes growing on its banks.  As of the 2010 census, the population was 72,155. Marysville is the county seat.