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Hill's Ferry

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Historical Marker


geo:37.350142,-120.977266 Location (KML)

The monument

Hills Ferry Historical Marker at The Historical Marker Database (hmdb.org)
               July 18, 1964
    Historic Landmark
       Hills Ferry
      founded 1849 
  by Judge O D Dickerson
Named for Jesse Hill
   operator of the ferry boat
   that landed just upstream
   under the present bridge.
P3190456.JPG | 360.92 KB - photo of the plaque P3190457.JPG | 422.67 KB - photo of the plaque


These photos were taken March 19, 2006 showing the views looking in various directions while standing at the Hill's Ferry historic marker placed there by the Boy Scouts in 1964.

P3190459.JPG | 472.04 KB P3190462.JPG | 435.22 KB P3190463.JPG | 457.80 KB P3190464.JPG | 511.16 KB P3190465.JPG | 461.17 KB

Historical Notes

Chronology of Stanislaus County History

1850. Jesse Hill established Hill' s Ferry, just north of the junction of the Merced and San Joaquin rivers, on the Orestimba Rancho.


Up and down California in 1860-1864; the journal of William H. Brewer

MONDAY, April 6 [1863], we started on and rode thirty-one miles without any incident. We stopped that night at Hill's Ferry, a dirty place, where a drunken "Secesh" made an uproar the whole night. A few vaqueros were managing a lot of wild Spanish cattle, to get them on board the ferryboat, and gave us some specimens of horsemanship and lassoing that were decidedly fine. ... Firebaugh's was even a harder place than Hill's. I ought to have mentioned that near our Sunday's stopping place a murderer had just been arrested, and that at Hill's four horses had just been stolen.


History Of Merced County California

In 1878 old Los Banos and Hill's Ferry were the only West Side towns. At Hill's Ferry there were two stores, Newman's and Kahn's. A man named Charles Harris had a lumber yard at Hill's Ferry. There was a school there, called the Orestimba School. There was also a Cottonwood School when Mr. and Mrs. Smith settled on their ranch.


Merced County History

These comparisons enable us to reconstruct in some measure the California of 1880. ... It will be noted that the towns in the Mother Lode country — Mariposa, Sonora, and their neighbors — were of a good deal more importance than they are now; and so also were the towns along the San Joaquin River. Hill's Ferry had 161 people; the railroad had not yet come to the West Side, and this town had not moved to Newman. Hill's Ferry is now just about as completely gone as its neighbor, Columbia, up near Sonora — once, in the early gold days, a good deal larger than the 650 which it had in 1880, and one of the first incorporated cities in the State.

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