History of Stockton
Stockton is a town and county seat of San Joaquin County in the US state of California’s Central Valley. Stockton was founded in 1849 by a German immigrant, Charles M. Weber, who had purchased more than 48,000 acres through a Mexican land grab. Captain Weber attempted gold mining but realized that there were ways to supply gold seekers from around the world. Stockton had been given many names including Tuleburg, Gas City, and Mudville. The city was named officially after Commodore Robert F. Stockton, a naval officer in charge of forcing the Mexican forces out of California in the 1840’s. It became California’s first city to obtain a name that was neither Spanish nor Native American. On 23 July 1850 the City of Stockton was formally incorporated. The State of California charter for Stockton dates from 1851. By 1854 Stockton became California’s fourth largest city. Today, Stockton is the San Joaquin County county seat with an estimated 286,000 inhabitants.
When Europeans first visited the Stockton area, the Yatchicumne, a branch of Yokuts Indians in the Northern Valley, occupied it. Their villages were constructed on low mounds to hold their homes above daily floods. On a mound between Edison and Harrison Streets on what is now the Stockton Channel in downtown Stockton, a Yokuts village called Pasasimas stood.
The Siskiyou Trail started in San Joaquin Valley in the north. It was a centuries-old Native American footpath that led over the Cascades and into present-day Oregon via the Sacramento valley.
For centuries Miwok Indians fished and navigated the vast network of waterways in and around Stockton. The San Joaquin River was navigable by ocean-going vessels during the California Gold Rush, making Stockton a natural inland seaport and a point of supply and departure for prospective gold-miners. From the middle of the 19th century onwards, Stockton became the transport center for the area, dealing mainly with agricultural products.
At the beginning of the 1848 California Gold Rush, Europeans and Americans began arriving in the Weber rancho area on their way to the goldfields. In late 1848, when Weber decided to try his hand at gold mining, he soon found it more lucrative to sell supplies to gold-seekers.
As the navigation head on the San Joaquin River, during the Gold Rush the town developed rapidly as a supply point for miners. Weber established the first permanent residence on a piece of land now known as Weber Point in the San Joaquin Valley.