Sunday, September 30, 2018


When considering the history of early California and the coming of the Anglos, because of the discovery of gold at the site of his sawmill, many are familiar with John Sutter. However, another early pioneer to the area was Jared Dixon (Joaquin) Sheldon.
Jared Dixon Sheldon
In 1845, Sheldon built a grist mill to mill wheat for Captain John Sutter on the Consumnes River. He came to the area after receiving a land grant from the Mexican Government. "Omochumnes Rancho" was about 14,000 acres encompassing Sloughhouse & Rancho Murieta.
Map of Rancho Omochumnes Rancho region
Just this past week I drove through this area where Jared Sheldon lived on my way to an American Night Writers Association chapter meeting. It was familiar territory for me since some 14-15 years ago as a union steward for the California Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, I traveled often to Folsom regarding a mail count grievance. Rather than fight the freeway system through Sacramento, I exited off of Highway 99 onto Grant Line Road, one of the borders of the original Omochumnes Rancho, and traveled the many miles through mostly undeveloped land. While Highway 99, I crossed the Consumnes River, and I drove passed Sheldon and Sloughouse—all part of the 1845-1851 world of Jared Sheldon.

The historical marker reads:

Sheldon Grist Mill Site

Site of grist mill built by Jared Dixon (Joaquin) Sheldon 1846-1847 on Omochumnes Rancho, granted to him by the Mexican government in 1843. Sheldon born in Vermont on January 8, 1813, came to California 1832. Sheldon shot July 11, 1851 by miners in a quarrel over dam he built which flooded miners' claims.

Tablet placed by California Centennials Commission. Base furnished by Liberty Parlor No. 213 Native Daughters of the Golden West and Elk Grove Parlor No. 41 Native Sons of the Golden West.

California Registered Historical Landmark No. 439
Plaque replaced by Liberty Parlor No. 213, Native Daughters of the Golden West, September 26, 1997.

There seems to be some question about the millstones used in this mill. One source claims the grinding stones were originally cut from a place called Stony Creek, about 25 miles from Sutter Fort. Archaeologists and geologists suspect they probably came from the area of present day Rocklin.

At the site of the old mill, a marker states the following:

Jared D. Sheldon 1813 – 1851
These millstones were brought from Mexico by water and oxcart in 1846 and were used by Jared D. Sheldon one of the earliest settlers in this valley in his grist mill near here, his Rancho Omochumne was granted him in payment for his work on Customhouse at Monterey and for service under the Mexican government.


My book, Millwright’s Daughter, mostly takes place in a location just west of where Thomas Parrott operated his ferry. It is part of the Under a Mulberry Moon anthology which may be purchased by CLICKING HERE.

I am also finishing up a novel in The Widows of Wildcat Ridge series titled Nissa. It is currently on pre-order and will be released on October 15th. To reach the book description and purchase link, please CLICK HERE.
Here is a little teaser from Nissa:
         “We’ll turn and go back now.” Dallin shifted a drowsy Molly to his other arm, moved to the outside of the boardwalk and told Jamie to walk on the other side of his mother.
         “Why’d we do that? Why didn’t we just turn around where we were?”
         “Because, Jamie, it’s polite for a gentleman to walk on the outside of a walkway so a woman’s skirt doesn’t get splashed by mud or dust if a wagon or horse travels too close to the boardwalk.” Dallin leaned forward and smiled at Jamie. “I’m no expert on how to be a gentleman, but my mother taught me that much.”
         “I think you have done a fine job of being a gentleman, Dallin. I appreciate your example and what you are teaching my son.”
         Nissa looked over to find Dallin’s gaze locked on hers. They walked in that manner for several steps.
         Nissa faced forward, fighting back tears.
         Why, oh why could not James have been a father like this? Why couldn’t Dallin have been Jamie’s father?

Sources for Sheldon Grist Mill:

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. I live just North of Sacramento, and have been through Sheldon several times. I didn't know its history.Sutter also had a farm not far from me in Marysville.


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