A Short History of Freestone


From a History of Sonoma County, California, by Ernest L. Finley (Press Democrat Publishing Company, Santa Rosa: 1937), p. 203:

Freestone derives its name from a kind of free or easily-worked sandstone quarried in the vicinity. Because of this quality the rock has been used extensively for building purposes. THis attractive little village is situated not far from the eastern line of the township, near the corners of three ranchos -- the Jonive, the Pogolome and the Estero Americano...

The name was given to the town by suggestion of Frank Harris. It was considered a town after a saloon had been added to the few homes there. In these early days business seems often to have followed the saloon. A small store was attached to the saloon, which was kept by Ferdinand Harbordt, in 1849. In either the same or the next year S. Bruggeman built a large store, and in 1853 Blume erected a two-story hotel and rented it to James Dobson. W. H. Sailhardt [W. H. Zilhart?] built a blacksmith shop in the same year.



From a Historical and Descriptive Sketch of Sonoma County, California, by Robert A. Thompson (Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & Co., 1877), pp. 97-98:


General Vallejo says he was ordered by his government to extend the settlements of the frontier colony on the northwest, in the direction of the Russians, in 1835, an he invited the settlement of James McIntosh, James Dawson and James Black, -- three James'. They settled on land afterwards granted to Black, called the Canada de Jonive, near the town of Freestone. They were the very first settlers, except the Russians, in all the Bodega country. They formed a partnership to build a saw-mill on Salmon Creek. Black got from the Mexican government a grant of the Jonive ranch for this purpose. McIntosh and Dawson agreed to make application jointly to the Mexican government, for the grant known as the Estero Americano. Dawson furnished the money for McIntosh to go to Monterrey to get the necessary papers. He accomplished his purpose, and returned to Bodega from the capitol. Dawson, on examining the papers, found that they were made out in the name of McIntosh, and that he was left out in the cold. Well authenticated tradition says that when Dawson made this discovery, he first gave his partner a thrashing, and then with a cross-cut saw he sawed the house, in which they had been living, in two parts, and removed his half to the place where F. G. Blume's house now stands, in Freestone. In fact, we have been told that a portion of this, the only original severed house on record, stands to this day. Dawson afterwards applied for, and received the Canada de Pogolimi grant, and his widow, who afterwards married F. G. Blume, of Freestone, received a patent for the same.

The mill on the Jonive was completed, and run until 1849, by McIntosh, James Black, Thomas Butters, William Leighton, Thomas Wood, and a pioneer, who went by the euphonious soubriquet of "Blinking Tom." That year they sold all the lumber they had to F. G. Blume, and left for the gold mines.

In 1849 Jasper O'Farrell bought the Estero Americano ranch, of two leagues, one thousand five hundred head of cattle, and one hundred and fifty head of horses, in consideration of a promise to pay McIntosh an annuity of eight hundred dollars or, should he elect in lieu of the annuity, the sum of five thousand dollars in cash. The latter sum was afterwards paid by Mr. O'Farrell, who acquired title to the property. F. G. Blume and his wife still reside within the limits of the town of Freestone, and are the oldest settlers. The Hon. Jasper O'Farrell exchanged a ranch, which he owned in Marin, with Black for the Jonive, on part of which Freestone stands.He resided there until his death, which occurred a few years ago.

Freestone is on the line of the narrow-gauge road just now completed, and has a very flattering prospect for the future. It is rapidly improving, and houses are in demand. It is within a few hours' travel of San Francisco, and trains pass the place every morning for that city, returning every afternoon. F. G. Blume is postmaster. There is one store, a blacksmith shop, tow hotels, a livery stable, and a number of residences. And so the wheel of time has brought it round that in less than forty years after the settlement of the pioneers, Black, Dawson, and McIntosh, on the frontier of Bodega, to checkmate the Russians, the shrill whistle of the locomotive is echoed by the hills back of Ross as the trains speed by; but three hours from a city of three hundred thousand inhabitants -- and the then defenceless colony, a dependent of a distracted government, has now become a great and powerful State in the American Union. Such a change would have seemed to the pioneer wilder and more improbable than the enchantment wrought by the Genii of Aladin's wonderful lamp.



From a History of Sonoma County, California, by Honoria Tuomey (S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., Chicago: 1926), volume 1, p. 408:


One of the shrewdest and most successful pioneers of California was James Black, who came in 1832 to Monterey, a common sailor and a sick man, and within a few years acquired ownership of many thousand acres of land, which he possessed the ability to hold and improve.

When General Vallejo, in 1834, asked his brother-in-law, Capt. Juan B. R. Cooper, to send him some sturdy men other than Californians to deal with the encroaching Russians in the Bodega region, Black, McIntosh, and Dawson were the captain's choice. Black married Mary Agustina Sais in 1844 and brought her to the new adobe dwelling at the western base of the Jonive Hill, on El Camino de Santa Rosa. Here was born, in 1845, their only child, who later married Dr. Galen Burdell and lived on the Olopali Ranch. In 1847 Black exchanged the Jonive grant for the Rancho Nicasio, which Jasper O'Farrell had received from the Mexican government as compensation for his services in surveying land grants.

In 1849 Mr. O'Farrell married Miss Mary McChristian and the home on the Jonive grant became noted for its generous hospitality to friend and stranger alike. Mr. O'Farrel renamed the grant the Analy Ranch, and when the county was divided into townships, its name was adopted for the township composed in part of the lands of the grant.

"Jasper O'Farrell, claimant for Canada de la Jonive, two square leagues in Sonoma County (situated in Analy and Bodega townships), granted February 5, 1845, by Pio Pico to James Black; claim filed March 2, 1852; confirmed by the commission April 18, 1853; by the district court July 16, 1855, and appeal dismissed December 22, 1856, containing 10,786.51 acres. Patented. Vide page 12, Appendix Hoffman's Reports, Vol. 1.




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This page created on 11/17/01 20:54. Updated 11/10/05 22:47.