Straddling the boundary lines between Amador, Sacramento, and San jaoaquin Counties is a large, open tract of land covered by rolling hills that give away to flatlands to the west.
This sparsely inhabited expanse is all that remains of what is know as Rancho Arroyo Seco, which began as a bogus Spanish land grant.
This grant included a larger part of this valley which, like Ione Valley, was a great sufferer, though not to tbe same extent as much of the land had been purchased of the first claimants, in 1857. Some of the principal sufferers were Calvin Cole, Patrick and Wm. Sculley, Chas. Black,- Strobridge, and Samuel Deardorff.
By 1853, the region that was to become Amador County as well populated, and many citizens were determined to form a new county. During a trip to the state legislature at Benicia in 1853, Dr. E.B. Harris and H.A. Carter, both of Ione, discovered that the Arroyo Seco claim had been filed in the General Land Office. It took in 11 square leagues of land, including their town. The document, filed by Andres Pico, a Mexican Californian, stated that Gov. Jaun B. Alvarado had granted the tract to Teodocio Yerba on May 8, 1840, who in turn sold it to Pico on October 4, 1852.
When the ejection took place the soldiers were quartered on the premises of Cole, his goods being piled rather roughly out on the common. They made free use of his property, killing his sheep and appropriating whatever was needed by them. It is believed Captain Starr tried to preserve the property from harm, but soldiers are not apt to starve in the midst of plenty, and the old man had plenty, for he was as saving as he was thrifty. It is said that one of the soldiers, while dressing a stolen sheep, received a bullet in his leg, inflicting a severe though not dangerous wound.
Charley Black's house was opened in the absence of the family, and the goods, a valuable organ among the other things, thrust out into the storm' to be ruined. At other places the same rudeness was displayed. It must be remembered that the soldiers' were not in reality acting under the commands of their own officers, but under the command of Herman Wohler, one of the grant proprietors.
The soldiers disliked the business and did not hesitate to show it. After a representation of the matter to tbe authorities they were relieved from handling hot stoves, and other household goods. When they came to Joe Fithians he had the United States flag hoisted, for Joe was an out and out Union man, and the soldiers disliked more than ever to tumble his family of little children into the street, but the orders were peremptory, and they were loaded into an army wagon and hauled out to tho boundaries of the grant with the flag flying over the wagon, so that it had the appearance of a triumphal march.
At Deardorff's they found the door locked (which they broke open), and the cooking stove red hot, which was Mrs. Deardorff's system of war, They found means to carry it away however. When they were about locking the door of Bill Sculley's bouse, after having taken possession, Bill shook his fist in the agent's face (the agent's name was Clark), observing, "I would like to lock the gates of hell on you," and looked as though he might make short work of the job then and there. Clark called for protection, but Sculley was not arrested.
The following night Sculley's house was burned, no attempt being made to save it. lt may be remarked that Sculley obtained very easy terms when be purchased his property, perhaps, for the reason that the grant owners did not care to have him for an enemy, for capital is quite as cowardly as it is unscrupulous aud selfish.
In a few years the excitement abated and industry was resumed, although men rested uneasy, not knowing when the torch should fire the dry grain fields and the fire sweep away the accumulations of years of industry, but the law was suffered to lake its course; indeed, the people of this valley have ever been remarkable for their law abiding character, not a single homicide ever having been committed in the valley.