Volume 1 – Number 1- 8/31/1893
A Brief Write Up of the Town
An Enterprising Community-One of the Most Prosperous Little Villages in Northern California-Good Schools, Good Churches and Hosts of Good Citizens.
Early in the fall of 1877 three travelers drew rein in front of a little saloon, kept by George Maxwell. They were favorably impressed with the country and had faith and foresight enough in the future of the country to decide upon locating here. The men were Bill Lowery, Kage Harlan and George Spaulding. The place was then called Occident, and was but a watering place between Colusa and Sitesville. At the date mentioned, surveyors of the Northern Railway were in this vicinity endeavoring to secure the right of way for an overland road. The terminus was then at Williams.
In the summer of 1878 Spaulding and Lowery purchased lumber for a post office and changed the name to Maxwell in honor of George Maxwell, the first settler, who died that same year. Shortly afterward a stage line was opened between Williams and Willows and the town made rapid strides forward.
While the town was yet in its infancy two intelligent, progressive, enterprising men arrived on the scene, and to them is nearly due all the credit of the prosperity of Maxwell in the past and still have faith in her future. They have been closely identified with every enterprise calculated to advance the interest of the town. These gentlemen were George and Thomas Harden. They immediately commenced work on the erection of a building for storage of grain, the result of their labors being the large warehouse now occupied by the firm of Harden Bros. and designated as “the old building.” Shortly thereafter the building recently destroyed by fire was erected. These buildings were fifty feet wide and 1,000 feet long, and in 1880 the storage of grain at one time was 22,000 tons, and 3,000 tons were refused because the space was all occupied.
The growth of the town has been conservative but steady, and at the present time has a population of six hundred.
While the surrounding country is chiefly devoted to grain, the soil has proven itself especially adapted to fruit and viticulture.
Numerous small vineyards have been planted, and orchards for home use mostly, have done remarkably well. The olive and apple, the orange and pear, the pomegranate and the plum, the peach and apricot, the fig and cherries stand in the same orchard and do equally well. All vegetables, in quantity, are nowhere excelled, and all fruits attain to perfection. Every cereal reaches the highest state here.
Maxwell can justly pride itself in its educational advantages and church facilities. The public school building is a large , handsome, two story brick building constructed at a cost of $10,000.
The school is presided over by Professor Anderson and assisted by Misses Lillie Laugenot, Maze Phelps and Minnie Shaver. In educational qualifications these teachers compare favorably to any town in the state.
There are five churches, the Methodist, Episcopal, Christian, Baptist and Catholic.
In the way of internal organizations Maxwell is well represented. The first order was the A. O. U. W. instituted in 1879, the Chosen Friends, Good Templers, Masons, I. O. O. F. and Foresters following. A lodge of N. S. G. W. was organized but flourished only a short time when the Charter was surrendered and the paraphernalia moved to the Willows Parlor.
Maxwell has been well supplied with newspapers. The Maxwell Star made its appearance early in 1880, with the veteran newspaper man, Ben Frank, at the helm. He sold out to W. W. Felts at present, editor of the Arbuckle’s Peoples Voice, who changed the name to the Maxwell Argus. Felts was superseded by Nathan and Jasperson, who, soon tiring, sold out to J. F. Matthews, now of the Ukiah Republican-Press. Matthews remained but a short time when he disposed of the plant to J. G. Overshiner. John thought Argus too common and changed the heading to Mercury, and a name the paper carried to its ashes. Overshiner ran the paper four years when he sold out to Allyn O. Taylor, our fellow citizen, who conducted the destinies of the little craft for ten months, or until the disastrous fire of July 12th, when the building and the entire contents went up into smoke. Bro. Taylor canvassed the town but did not receive the encouragement he expected, and he could not revive the paper.
Maxwell however has a future, and a newspaper is a necessary adjunct , and we, trusting in that future arise as it were, phoenix-like from the ashes of our contemporary.
On the morning of July 12, 1893, a serious conflagration visited the town and the principal business portion of the place-two blocks- was entirely consumed, together with the warehouse heretofore referred to. The loss was fully $100,000.
Below we make brief mention of the majority of the merchants and business enterprises as they are today, some of whom however , we were unable to find and due mention will be given in the future:
W. H. Cross and Co. have an elegant stock of general merchandise in a handsome two story brick building in the central part of town. They carry a fine line of clothing, dry goods, fancy goods, notions , groceries, crockery-in fact everything usually found in a first class county store. The firm has been in Maxwell and are doing a good business. Messrs. Cross and Peart are enterprising citizens and understand the merchandising business thoroughly. Adam Sutton is their right had man. He is handsome, popular and accommodating.
Just across the street is G. F. Scott’s Cash Store, and as the name implies, a strictly cash business is conducted. A fine line of goods are carried in stock, consisting of gent’s furnishing goods, boots, shoes, dry goods, hats, caps, etc. and a fine grade of groceries and provisions, cigars and tobacco. Mr. Scott is a pleasant gentleman and his many customers testify to his popularity as a merchant. Clarence Crutcher is always on hand to wait on customers, especially the ladies with whom he is a favorite.
Matt Farrell conducts a livery stable in the western part of town. Mr. Ferrell was a loser by the recent fire but has added many new vehicles and stock to his stable, and will spare no pains to give satisfaction to his many customers.
The Central Meat Market, Yarbourgh and Vann, proprietors, is run in first-class style. Only the best and freshest meats served to the trade. A large refrigerator is used by them, insuring the purity of meats. They keep constantly on hand a fine line of fresh sausages, lard, bacon, etc. and also buy and sell live stock.
E. E. Scott, one of the sufferers of the late fire, has confidence in the future of the town and has just completed a new building and will be ready to open to customers by the 15th of next month. He will carry a complete stock of stationary, fruits, groceries, confectionary, cigars and tobacco. Also agent for all newspapers and periodicals.
W. N. Taylor, druggist, has been in business in Maxwell for over ten years. He carries in stock a complete line of drugs, medicines , toilet articles, perfumery, etc. Prescriptions carefully compounded.
Prime and Graham -Joe and John-conduct a saloon opposite Farrell’s Livery Stable, and are doing a brisk business. They carry a fine stock of wines, liquors and cigars, and keep the celebrated Chicago beer on draught.
J. B. Vezine may be found in his tonsorial parlors at all hours, where he is every ready to shave or dress hair in the latest style known to the art.
W.T. Cooper and R .E. Farrell have catered to the wants of the thirsty in Maxwell for the past three and one half years. They were heavy losers in the recent fire, their building and the entire contents being consumed in the flames. It was only a few days after the fire, however, when they reopened in their present quarters with fresh stock of liquors, cigars, etc.
J. C. Doty is the accommodating mixologist who will always be found at his post ready to wait on customers.
J. F. Durham and Co. have been in the hardware business in Maxwell for fifteen years and carry everything in stock usually found in a first class hardware store. They also carry a line of sporting goods and are agents for the Gem Steel Windmill.
They are progressive businessmen and have hosts of warm friends.
Peter Belando has a cozy barber shop next door to the Corby’s saloon and is having a good run at business.
M. Stewart had been employed in the Maxwell Harness Shop for ten years until three years ago when he purchased the business and has since conducted it in a workmanlike manner. He carries a large stock of carriage and work harness, saddles, whips, ropes, halters blankets. etc., in fact everything in this line.
J. H. Harke is the proprietor of the Maxwell Hotel, a first class stopping place centrally located. The table is supplied with the best the market affords and the rooms are large and airy. At the bar can be found the choicest of wines, liquors and cigars.
At Gould’s Sample Rooms, of which E. W. Gould is proprietor, and B. F. Gould is manager, can always be found a choice stock of wines liquors, and cigars. These gentlemen have been in business in Maxwell about one year, coming here from Williams. Mr. B. F. Gould formerly conducted a saloon at Sulphur Creek and was also at one time in business at Lower Lake.
Miss Ida Scriver has conducted a dressmaking establishment here for several years. All work promptly executed in a first class manner.
J. L. Corby is well known though out the county having conducted a saloon at this place since 1879. His stock of liquors are always pure and fresh.
Mrs. C. W. Pollard is attendant for the Great American Tea Company, and also deals in choice confectionary. Fresh bread received from Willows daily. She has conducted her store at this place for the past six years.
A.P. D’Artney, is a first class mechanic, who has been doing business at Colusa for the past ten years, recently purchased the Maxwell Machine shop and is prepared to do all kinds of general blacksmithing, horseshoeing, wagon making and machine work in a skillful manner at short notice.
Hardin Bros., in connection with the warehouse business mentioned above, do a general commission business and are agents for all leading foreign and domestic fire insurance companies. These gentlemen are very accommodating and in all business transactions the interests of the patrons are zealously guarded.
Mrs. Peterson, the milliner carries a complete and well selected stock in her line. Hats and bonnets trimmed in the latest styles at reasonable prices.
The Russ House is well conducted by Mrs. M. E. DaShiell. The rooms are meat and comfortable and the tables are always supplied with the best the market affords.
C. B. Coons is agent for the Southern Pacific Company and Wells Fargo and Co. Express.
Drs. Crowder and Sanford, two able physicians, have an office in the Maxwell Hotel and enjoy the fullest confidence of the entire community.
C. C. Simpson does all kinds of blacksmithing and horseshoeing. He has been in business thirteen years and enjoys a liberal share of the public patronage.
The Post Office and Postal telegraph company’s business is ably presided over by Mrs. Roebe. These offices were in the burned district and since the fire have been located in the office of the Sierra Lumber Company.
The Sierra Lumber Company, F. A. Kauffman, agent, recently purchased the Maxwell Lumber Yard of W. A. Hampton and carry in stock a complete line of building materials, which they are prepared to furnish at living rates. ■