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Carole Rohrings, County Coordinator 1996-1999
Prior to 1840, the land now known as Sutter County was the home of the Maidu Indians and under the control of the Mexican government. John Sutter received a grant in 1841 from the Mexican government of about 50,000 acres and named his settlement New Helvetia. He established a Hock farm near what is now Yuba City and by 1844 had nearly completed Sutter's Fort. The United States seized control of California from Mexico in 1846 at the start of the Mexican War. Gold was discovered on the American River in 1848 by John Marshall, an employee of Sutter. This discovery eventually ended Sutter's empire as thousands of gold seekers came to the area.
Sutter's Hock farm was his summer home and farm. It was, in fact, the first non-Indian settlement in Sutter County and the first large-scale agricultural settlement in Northern California. He eventually lost the farm following the downturn of his personal finances following the Gold Rush. The original mansion built on the property was lost to fire in 1865. Today, a set of original steel doors from the farm resides in front of Sierra Gold Nurseries. The nursery sits on a corner of Sutter's original farm. As to the name "Hock," a number of theories are offered - from a close spelling of the name of a nearby Native American village to a misspelling of the German word for high - meaning above Sacramento or perhaps referring to the farm as high ground.
The California State Legislature incorporated Sutter County on 18 February 1850, which originally included parts of Colusa and Placer Counties. The current boundaries were established in 1857. After the gold rush, the settlers developed the rich farmland and made use of the abundant water in Sutter County. Several agricultural advancements were introduced in Sutter County. In 1868, Edward Proper developed a strain of wheat which was known for it's suitability to ship it over long distances. In 1873, William and George Thompson developed the Thompson Seedless Grape, which is now the most widely planted table grape in the world. In the 1880s, two farmers, A.F. Abbott and Joseph Phillips, developed a strain of cling peach. Today, Sutter County still has vast stretches of farmland, but now enjoys a diverse population and industry.
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