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July 23, 2010 > Washington Township Historical Society

Washington Township Historical Society

Submitted By Al Minard

Lorin K Hansen, will speak at the Washington Township Historical Society (WTHS) meeting on Monday, July 26. The meeting is open to the public and everyone is encouraged to attend. This meeting will start at 7:15 p.m. with a short business meeting and then at about 7:45 p.m. Lorin Hansen will speak about John Horner and his contribution to California agriculture. Lorin has thoroughly researched John Horner and the ship Brooklyn that brought the Mormons to California before it was part of the United States.

John Horner sailed from New York on February 1, 1846 with 238 passengers that included 70 men, 68 women and 100 children. They arrived about six months later in what is now known as San Francisco which had a population of 40 people.

"Book-length accounts of the activities of the Latter-day Saints in early California have been written without a single reference to the name of John M. Horner. Yet here was a faithful member of the Church who built and lost one of the first fortunes from tilling the soil on the west coast and was the first Anglo-Saxon settler of Alameda County.

As a pioneer in agriculture, he furnished fresh vegetables and grain to the gold-crazed miners and the people of the growing city of San Francisco as early as 1849. He fenced and brought under production many hundreds of acres of virgin land, established a commission house in San Francisco for the sale of produce in 1850, imported agricultural implements from the eastern states and iron fencing at $1,000 a mile from England and built a flour mill.

In the course of his operations, he opened sixteen miles of public road, operated a steamer and a stagecoach line, laid out no fewer than eight towns, built a public schoolhouse, and paid for the services of a teacher. In this schoolhouse for many years every Sabbath were held religious services. Missionaries and other brethren traveling through the area always received kind and ready assistance from his hands.

Although he never visited Utah, he sent numerous cuttings of fruit trees, vines, and berries to aid the Saints in establishing themselves in the mountain valleys. All of his life he was an advocate of temperance and the Word of Wisdom, of hard work and frugality, of honesty and honor.

Why his story should be all but forgotten is hard to understand, for it is a tale filled with courage, inspiration, and romance."

Washington Township Historical Society
Monday, July 26
7:15 p.m.
Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum
37417 Niles Blvd., Fremont

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