The City of San Joaquin, founded in 1915, and located on (low) lands patented to Jefferson Gilbert James in 1878, and (high) lands patented to Cuthbert Burrel, is near the original headquarters of the 76,000 acre James Ranch. Burrel sold out to James eight months after the patenting. The Fresno Ranch of Jeff James had its beginning in 1857 when he and his partner William Douglas pastured 960 head of cattle on the free land along the Fresno Slough north of Kingston. Later, James made his first purchase of 640 acres of swamp and overflow land from the state for $1 an acre. There were many homesteaders who failed to survive the dry years of ’64, ’67 and ’71, and sold out. A few had money to buy, including George F. Smith, Moses Selig, and James, who eventually bought out the rest. James established 36 ranches on his tract and rented them. In San Joaquin his renters included Fred Goodrich, Tom Mullins, Walt and Bill Caruthers, Tim Hurley, Walker C. Graves, J.T. Carmichael, Piper, Krone, and Esaboro Wada. The floods of 1892 and 1906 washed out most of them, and in 1910 the heirs of James decided to sell part of the land to colonists. A syndicated land company from Los Angeles, under Dr. Herman Janz, established the town of San Joaquin, and it was incorporated as a city in 1920. There have been may changes since James first pastured his Mexican cattle on the wild marsh grasses. The produce of the colony has changed from the cattle, grain and hogs of the first settlers, and the dairy and alfalfa farms of the 1920’s to the present crops of cotton, rice, grain, and alfalfa seed.
Want to learn more about the City’s history?
Read our Centennial Booklet!
City of San Joaquin
21900 Colorado Avenue
San Joaquin, CA 93660