“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Wheatland in Yuba County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Johnson's Ranch

Johnson's Ranch Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, February 15, 2006
1. Johnson's Ranch Marker
Inscription. The first settlement reached in California by emigrant trains using the Emigrant (“Donner”) Trail. It was an original part of the 1844 Don Pablo Gutierrez Land Grant. It was sold at auction to William Johnson in 1854. In 1849 part of the ranch was set aside as a government reserve -- Camp Far West. In 1866 the town of Wheatland was also laid out on a portion of the grant.
Erected 1971 by State Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the Wheatland Lions Club (May 30, 1971). (Marker Number 493.)
Location. 39° 0.618′ N, 121° 25.375′ W. Marker is in Wheatland, California, in Yuba County. Marker is on Front Street, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is located at Tomita Park, between Fourth and Main Streets. Marker is in this post office area: Wheatland CA 95692, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Holland House (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Durst Hop Ranch (approx. 0.3 miles away); Chinese Pyre (approx. 0.8 miles away); Overland Emigrant Trail (approx. 2.9 miles away); Union Shed
Johnson's Ranch Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, February 15, 2006
2. Johnson's Ranch Marker
(approx. 3.2 miles away); Sheridan Cemetery (approx. 4.3 miles away); Camp Far West Cemetery (approx. 4.7 miles away but has been reported missing); The Graham Hotel (approx. 7 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Wheatland.
More about this marker. This site is a California Registered Historical Landmark (No. 493).
Also see . . .
1. Wheatland High School Hometown. The history of Wheatland is provided by the students of the local high school. (Submitted on August 20, 2008.) 

2. An 1849 Map of Johnson's Ranch and the Wheatland Area. The Wheatland Historical Society website offers this map and links to additional maps and information. (Submitted on February 27, 2011.) 

3. Johnson's Ranch. An article written by Tom Barry for the E Clampus Vitus publication Hewgag Monitor in 1995. Perhaps the most important thing for which the Johnson Ranch is remembered is that it was there that the five women and two men survivors of the “Forlorn Hope” group from the snowed-in Donner Party arrived (after 33 grueling days which saw 7 of their number die) on Jan. 17, 1847, seeking aid for the remainder of their ill-fated wagon train. (Submitted on March 14, 2011.)
Johnson's Ranch Stable location image. Click for full size.
By Lester J Letson, July 20, 2007
3. Johnson's Ranch Stable location
A group of Clampers and local historians visit the location where the Johnson's Ranch stable used to stand.
Additional comments.
1. Johnson Ranch Marker at the Actual Site
We were on a wagon train 15 yrs ago give or take. We started at Rough and Ready went through Penn Valley through Beale AFB to Johnson Ranch. We spent the night there by a big log (the mountain men killed a rattler and cooked it but the children were protesting the killing. I'll never forget that). I was walking around and found a dirt road next to the walnut orchard (probably east of the Camp Far West Road across from the pasture we were camped in) and ran across a marker. It had something to do with the Donner Party and Johnson Ranch and that is my first knowledge that the Donner Party arrived their after their ordeal. I had read the book earlier so I was acquainted with the Johnson Ranch. Regretfully I didn't get a picture of it nor of the wagon train. Just memories and a few names of the teamsters and outriders. Most of them are gone now or moved.

Just my two cents worth,
Thanks for listening....joyce
Editors Note: Thank you for this personal memory!
    — Submitted August 18, 2013, by Joyce Patterson of Oregon House, California.

Categories. Notable PlacesSettlements & Settlers
Johnson's Ranch Well image. Click for full size.
By Lester J Letson, July 20, 2007
4. Johnson's Ranch Well
The well has been restored and is visible in a grove of trees Southwest of where it is believed the stables once stood.
Trail to Johson's Ranch outbuildings image. Click for full size.
By Lester J Letson
5. Trail to Johson's Ranch outbuildings
Members of E Clampus Vitus walk down the trail to the location of the collapsed outbuildings at the original location of Johnson's Ranch which dates from the 1840's. The actual location of the original adobe is further down this trail on private property and is off limits to all except a few historians studying the area.
Donner Emigrant Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lester J Letson
6. Donner Emigrant Trail Marker
Close up of the simple marker erected near the Johnson Ranch. The Truckee River Route of the California Trail (over what would be known later as Donner Pass) traveled down the Bear River, and Johnson’s Ranch was the first inhabited area the early emigrants would come to in California. This plaque is located near the Johnson's Ranch well.
Donner Emigrant Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lester J Letson
7. Donner Emigrant Trail Marker
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 1,272 times since then and 80 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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