Thursday, October 4, 2012

Book Review: San Joaquin City

This book was written by Earle Williams, who is a former resident of San Joaquin City.  San Joaquin City is a ghost town which was located close to the San Joaquin River and the Durham Ferry.  This is now were Airport Way crosses the river, on the West side of the river and South of the road on S. Kasson Rd.  The author attended New Jerusalem School.  For a look at the area now:

This book was loaned to me by Linda Hicken from the Ripon Ward.  I have already explored what it said about New Hope in a couple of blogs:

San Joaquin City was first established as a river boat town, where first wood was shipped to San Joaquin for wood stoves and steam heat.  It then evolved into a grain shipping town, and much of the wheat, when the valley was covered with wheat, was shipped to market from this town.

There are a couple of men that bare mentioning.  These are men from San Joaquin City.  The first was William H. Riecks who was sheriff of San Joaquin County for almost twenty years. 

The other was George Williams.  George had developed a smokeless gunpowder, and pursued this invention with almost manic drive.  He as a youth attempted to rob a train and ended up in juvenile detention as a result.  When he came home he lived on the East side of the San Joaquin River, opposite San Joaquin City.  A friend from the detention center lived with him, and when George could not get parties interested in funding his research and development of the gun powder, they decided to rob a train.  The attempt took place where Manteca is currently located.  They made a fire on the rails to stop the train.  However when George went to get the car opened with payroll money, a transient emerged, and as he surprised George, he let lose with his shot gun and killed him.  This caused George to leave the attempt, and he just left and went back to his home on the river.  His partner took off as well.  George was arrested as they found a letter that had fallen from his coat.  After he was arrested, his partner was also.  They were both tried for train robbery.  The murder was never tried.  Both were sentenced to life in prison and sent to San Quentin.  However years later George was paroled and returned home.  His partner was never released and died in prison. 
George was a character that lived on the river for many years.  He developed his own electricity for his place, fished for sturgeon, his home was on sturgeon bend.  Raised bamboo for fishing poles. 

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