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California Counties The U.S. state of California is divided into fifty-eight counties.
On January 4, 1850, the California constitutional committee recommended the formation of 18 counties. They were
Benicia, Butte, Fremont, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Monterey, Mount Diablo, Oro, Redding, Sacramento, San Diego, San
Francisco, San Joaquin, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, and Sutter. On April 22, the Counties of Branciforte, Calaveras, Coloma, Colusi, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Trinity, and Yuba were added. Benicia was
renamed Solano, Coloma to El Dorado, Fremont to Yola, Mt. Diablo to Contra Costa, San Jose to Santa Clara, Oro
to Tuolumne, and Redding to Shasta. One of the first state legislative acts regarding Counties was to rename
Branciforte County to Santa Cruz, Colusi to Colusa, and Yola to Yolo.
The last California county to have been established is Imperial County in 1907.
Calaveras County, California
Calaveras County History, Geography, and Demographics
County Seat: San Andreas
Year Organized: 1850
Square Miles: 1,020
891 Mountain Ranch Road
County Government Center
San Andreas, CA 95249-9713
Etymology - Origin of County Name
The meaning of the word calaveras is "skulls." This county
takes its name from the Calaveras River, which was reportedly so designated by
an early explorer when he found, on the banks of the stream, many skulls of
Indians who had either died of famine or had been killed in tribal conflicts
over hunting and fishing grounds.
County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick
Calaveras County, one of the original 27 counties of the State, was organized at the 1849-50 session of the
California State Legislature. At one time it embraced a portion of Amador, Alpine and Mono Counties. In 1854, Amador
County was created from Calaveras and El Dorado counties, and parts of Calaveras County was taken to form Fresno County
in 1856, Mono County in 1861 and Alpine County in 1864.
Calaveras is a Spanish word meaning skull. This name was first given to the river because of the great quantities of
human skulls found along the lower reaches of the river.
The first officers of the county were: William Fowle Smith, County Judge; Colonel Collier, County Clerk; A. B. Mudge,
Treasurer; H. A. Carter, Prosecuting Attorney. Pleasant Valley, better known as Double Springs, was designated as the
first county seat. Court was first held in a large tent, and later a small court house was erected from camphor wood
imported from China. The old building is still standing at Double Springs. The county seat was moved to Jackson in 1850
where it remained until 1852. (Jackson was at that time in Calaveras County.) In 1852 the county seat of Calaveras
county was moved to Mokelumne Hill where it remained until 1863. After an election in 1863 San Andreas was declared to
be the county seat. Legal action followed this election, and it was not until 1866 that the county seat was actually
moved to San Andreas where it has since remained.
The Calaveras Chronicle, the first weekly newspaper published in California, was first published on October 28, 1851, at
The first grove of Big Trees, "Sequoia Gigantea," discovered in California was the Calaveras Grove of Big Trees. These
were located in 1852 by A. T. Dowd, a hunter for the Union Water Company which was at that time building an aqueduct
from the Stanislaus River to Murphys.
The largest gold nugget found in the United States was taken from the Morgan Mine at Carson Hill in November, 1854. When
weighed on Adams Express Company's gold scales in Stockton, it balanced the scales at 214 pounds and eight ounces, Troy.
The first three story building erected in the interior of California was in Mokelumne Hill.
Calaveras County is famous for its lode and placer mines, and for many years it was the principal copper producing
county in California. Cement production from its vast limestone deposits has become one of the county's major industries
in recent years.
The following places were early day mining communities: Angels Camp, Fourth Crossing, Mokelumne Hill, Calaveritas, Old
Gulch, Douglas Flat, Vallecito, Murphys, Sheep Ranch, San Antone, Rich Gulch, Campo Seco, Copperopolis, West Point,
Glencoe, Middle Bar, Carson Hill, Robinson's Ferry, Jesus Maria, Mountain Ranch, El Dorado, North Branch, Camanche,
Railroad Flat, Blue Mountain City, Telegraph City, Petersburg, Gwin Mine and Jenny Lind.
John W. Robinson and Stephen Mead were licensed by the Court of Sessions of Calaveras county on August 13, 1850 to
maintain a ferry on the Stanislaus River at Robinson's Ferry. L. Martin and Aristede L. Pench were licensed to maintain
a ferry at Middle Bar on the Mokelume River on June 5, 1850 by the Court of Sessions of Calaveras County.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,037 square miles (2,685 kmē),
of which, 1,020 square miles (2,642 kmē) of it is land and 17 square miles (44 kmē) of it (1.62%) is
water. A California Department of Forestry report lists the county's area in acres as 663,000, although
the exact figure would be 663,477.949 acres (2,685.00000 km2). There are a number of caverns located in
- Northeast: Alpine County
- Southeast: Tuolumne County
- Southwest: Stanislaus County; San Joaquin County
- Northwest: Amador County
Cities and Towns:
- Angels City
- San Andreas (County Seat)
Enter County Resources and Information Here
The history of our nation was a prolonged struggle to define
the relative roles and powers of our governments: federal, state, and local.
And the names given the counties
, our most locally based jurisdictions,
reflects the "characteristic features of this country!"