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Solano In Retrospect
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Town not untouched by war
Vacaville residents during the 1850s and 1860s largely were supporters of the Democratic Party. With their strong agricultural background, voters found the Democratic platform more to their liking than the business-oriented one of the Republican Party. Hand in hand with this party affiliation went a sympathetic leaning toward supporting the South during the Civil War years. Thus the turmoil of those years also touched Vacaville.
Pioneer Swift persevered despite the odds
Early pioneers often were adventure-seeking men with the ability to adapt to changing situations and seize any opportunity that offered itself. One day rich, the next day poor again - nothing seems to have stopped their intrepid spirits.
Cherries played vital role in orchards
Cherries once were one of the important crops in the Vacaville and Suisun area. While apricots, peaches and pears were secure crops that could be dried and stored, cherries were - and still are - a highly speculative crop, as late spring rains easily can ruin a whole harvest.
Trial and error determined success of orchards
Orchards have been a part of Solano County's landscape for more than 150 years. Beginning with the first pioneers, settlers brought in plants, exchanged seeds and cuttings with friends and neighbors, experimented with different varieties to see how these adapted to the soil and climate, or even tried to create new strains and varieties.
Produce crops proved profitable for Solanoans
Once the early pioneer settlers had cleared their land and built their homes, the search for marketable produce began. During the first years, this included hunting for wild game and harvesting the abundant grasses for hay. Both commodities could be sold profitably to the markets in San Francisco and Sacramento.
Solano's past heavily influenced by water, its uses
Nearly half of Solano County is bordered by water and it is not surprising that water travel played an important part in the early years of the settlement.
Early schoolhouse couldn't manage to keep its name
Providing education to the growing number of families was a major concern during the early years. In 1855, James W. Anderson of Vacaville, the second superintendent of schools in Solano County, founded the private Ulatis Academy.
Early village's rural assets drew raves from many
The town of Vacaville grew slowly, from its inception with two buildings and a handful of settlers in 1851 to a town of 71 families by June 1880, totaling 361 inhabitants. Another 141 families lived in the surrounding area, adding 938 people to the population number.
Settler's humor helped her cope in pioneer days
During the early years of the Gold Rush, women were a rare sight, especially in the gold fields, but also in the newly forming settlements. One of the few who braved the hardships of the journey was 28-year-old Luzena Stanley Wilson, who, together with her husband Mason Wilson and her two toddler-aged children, came to Vacaville in the spring of 1851.
Solano setters were diverse from the start
Today begins a new column focusing on Solano County history. Each week this year we celebrate the sesquicentennial of Solano County - one of the original 27 counties of California, created in February 1850.
Solano History :
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