Cathey's Valley in Mariposa County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
By 1849, during the gold rush, Andrew, (age 45) son Daniel and son-in-law Benjamin Wills made their first trek west to the mine fields. In 1851, Andrew returned to Arkansas where he formed an oxen drawn train of 30 wagons and 32 head of livestock.
In April of 1852, Andrew Cathey was chosen captain, and the party started their journey west from Benton, Arkansas. While en route they witnessed the aftermath of the infamous Oatman Massacre. The train arrived in Indian Gulch in October 1852. The family lived in tents on Burns Creek near Indian Gulch where they mined and sold milk to the miners.
About 1854 Andrew purchased the Evans and Hill Louisiana Ranch known as “Vallecita” meaning “Little Valley”. His sons and son-in-law Wills became large landholders in the area. Engaging in farming and livestock raising; hence, it became known as Cathey’s Valley.
When Daniel Wills and son Alex, two of the families former black slaves were freed, they walked to California, upon their arrival, they stated “We have come to be with our people”.
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Children: Nathan • James • William • Daniel - came in 1849 • Sarah • John, born in Catheys Valley • McCurdy
Benjamin and Amanda Wills
Children: George and Mary
William and Mary Lewis Wills
Married by the Colorado River
Joined party in Texas
Harris C. and Eliza Rowland
James and Susan Rowland
John B. and Francis Hammonds
Green Berry Nixon Vandegrift
Hayes Family Left baby buried by Rio Grand N.M.
Turned back at Oatman Massacre aftermath scene
During the Mariposa Indian War 1850-1851, a garrison of Mariposa Battalion soldiers (awaiting orders) were stationed at the stone fort on Mariposa Creek at the southern end of Bull Run Canyon.
Twelve quartz veins were in the valley, some miners used arrastras to crush the ore. In the early 1900’s Artie and Virgil Givens operated a stamp mill located on Owens Creek. Cathey’s Valley was known to miners for the fruits and grain grown here. The miners enjoyed bull, bear and cock fights.
In the 1860’s, Chinese laborers earned twenty-five cents per rod (sixteen feet) to build the native rock fence boundaries which are still seen criss crossing the hillsides. About 1870 other settlers
Cathey’s Valley Post Office was established in 1879, Emma Wills was the first postmaster. Prior to 1879 mail came around the Horn by boat to Stockton, California and then by stagecoach or freight wagons to the mines. By 1882 the name of the post office was erroneously changed to “Cathay” until 1964 when the citizens petitioned for the change back to “Cathey’s Valley.”
In 1880 an International Organization of Good Templars (I.O.G.T.) Lodge was formed. In 1883 there was a Dickerson Store. During the early 1900’s a small group of citizens published the “Cathey Cackler” newspaper. Most social and political events took place in their homes or the schoolhouse before the community hall was built.
Cathey Mountain is 3 miles north of here, Cathey Pond is near Indian Gulch.
Location. 37° 26.295′ N, 120° 5.178′ W. Marker is in Cathey's Valley, California, in Mariposa County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 140, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. This marker is located in a 'history' park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2820 California Highway 140, Catheys Valley CA 95306, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers Catheys Valley Schoolhouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Bridgeport (approx. 4˝ miles away); The Townsite of Agua Fria, California (approx. 5 miles away); Agua Fria (approx. 5.1 miles away); a different marker also named Agua Fria (approx. 5.1 miles away); La Mineta 1850 - Princeton 1854 - Mount Bullion 1862 (approx. 5.3 miles away); The Ophir Mines (was approx. 5.4 miles away but has been reported missing. ); Indian Gulch (approx. 6.1 miles away).
Also see . . . Cathey Family Chronicle - Mariposa County. (Submitted on September 4, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
Categories. • Agriculture • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 4, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 925 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on September 4, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.