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Fresno County California

Fresno County. Organized in 1856. Bounded northwest by Merced and Mariposa, northeast and east by Mono and Inyo, southeast and south by Tulare, and southwest by Monterey. Area, 8,750 square miles. Assessed valuation of property for 1874, $7,557,426.

County seat, Fresno. Principal towns, Borden, King's River, Kingston, New Idria, and Panoche. Resources agricultural, stock raising and mineral. The great area of the county, extending as it does from the summit of the Sierra Nevada down its western slope, across the valley of the San Joaquin, and to the summit of the Coast Range, possesses native wealth of incalculable value. In the eastern portion are the loftiest peaks of the Sierra, about them grow the largest trees of the earth and the forests generally are of a magnificence unparalleled.

Mines of gold are worked to some extent, but the interest is not prosecuted with great energy. The valley of the San Joaquin, comprised within the county, is of great fertility, and in its western portion are the rich quicksilver mines of New Idria and Panoche, and other discoveries in the vicinity add to this important source of wealth. Coal and iron also abound in the Coast or Monte Diablo range, and copper is found in the foot-hills of the Sierra Nevada. While the mineral and lumbering resources of the county are of the grandest description and practically inexhaustible, the present dependence is mainly upon the agricultural.

The broad and fertile San Joaquin Valley invited the farmers to its occupancy, and the construction of the San Joaquin Valley railroad through the county, gave facilities for transportation, and as a consequence the farming interest, so easily developed, takes the first rank. Wheat is the principal product, but other small grains, corn, cotton, tobacco, etc., are grown, and as the profit of their cultivation are satisfactory, we may expect in future the product to be large. The soil of the valley is generally a sandy loam, and as rains are a precarious dependence, irrigation will be resorted to. For this purpose numerous large canals are projected, and several are In course of construction, which, though only partially completed have proven of great value. One of the most extensive of these projects is that of the San Joaquin and King's River Canal and Irrigation Co., which proposes the construction of canals leading from the San Joaquin and King's Rivers, and their tributaries, and from Tulare Lake and the streams flowing into it for the purposes of navigation, irrigation, etc., with the design of extending the main canal along the western side of the San Joaquin Valley to Suisun Bay, at or near Antioch. A large amount of work upon this grand system has been done, and irrigation of large tracts effected with most encouraging result. This canal, taken from the San Joaquin near the junction of Fresno slough, has a width of 54 feet on top, by 32 on the bottom, and is 4 feet deep. A similar branch will be brought from Tulare Lake. Other companies, and also private parties have irrigating canals of considerable magnitude, for which the streams entering the valley offer favorable opportunities.

The chief rivers are the San Joaquin, King's River, Fresno and the Cowchilla. The San Joaquin is navigable during a greater portion of the year to the junction of Fresno slough, and thus affords transportation facilities in competition with the railroad.

Officers: Gillum Baley, County Judge; Angus M. Clark, Clerk, Recorder and Auditor; Claudius G. Sayle, District Attorney; J. Scott Ashman, Sheriff Thomas W. Simpson, Assessor; Martin B. Lewis, Surveyor; (vacant) Coroner; (vacant) Public Administrator; Thomas O. Ellis, Superintendent Public Schools.

California Gazetteer | AHGP California

Source: Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1876-78, Compiled by Henry G. Langley, San Francisco, 1875

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