Register of the Winkley (John W.) "Major Pierson Barton Reading, California Pioneer"

Processed by Don Walker; machine-readable finding aid created by Don Walker
Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
University Library, University of the Pacific
Stockton, CA 95211
Phone: (209) 946-2404
Fax: (209) 946-2810
URL: http://www.pacific.edu/Library/Find/Holt-Atherton-Special-Collections.html
© 1998
University of the Pacific. All rights reserved.



Register of the Winkley (John W.) "Major Pierson Barton Reading, California Pioneer"

Collection number: Mss167

Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections

University Library

University of the Pacific

Contact Information

  • Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
  • University Library, University of the Pacific
  • Stockton, CA 95211
  • Phone: (209) 946-2404
  • Fax: (209) 946-2810
  • URL: http://www.pacific.edu/Library/Find/Holt-Atherton-Special-Collections.html
Processed by:
Don Walker
Date Completed:
August 1998
Encoded by:
Don Walker
© 1998 University of the Pacific. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Winkley (John W.) "Major Pierson Barton Reading, California Pioneer"
Collection number: Mss167
Creator:
Extent: 0.3 linear ft.
Repository: University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
Stockton, CA 95211
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Language: English.

Administrative Information

Access

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Winkley (John W.) "Major Pierson Barton Reading, California Pioneer", Mss167, Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

Biography

Pierson Barton Reading (1816-1868)came to California with Peter Burnett's party (1843). Upon arrival he applied for lands at the north end of the Central Valley on the west side of the Sacramento River between Cottonwood Creek and Flat Creek totaling about twenty-six thousand acres. The grant was the northernmost Mexican land grant, known as Rancho Buena Ventura, now in Shasta County. Reading worked for Capt. Sutter until it became probable that war would be declared against Mexico (1845). He then enlisted under John C. Fremont and was appointed paymaster of the California Battalion with the rank of major. He was at Sutter's Fort in March 1848 and quickly returned to his own lands to search for gold. In the latter part of March he discovered gold and it was reported that he took out $80,000 worth of the precious metal. In the fall of 1849 Major Reading fitted out an expedition to discover the bay into which the Trinity and Klamath rivers must empty. The bark Josephine, in which the party sailed, was driven by a storm to Vancover Island. He then engaged in business in Sacramento with Hensley and Snyder (1849-1850).
In 1850 Major Reading visited Washington to settle his accounts as Paymaster of the California Battalion. In 1851 Reading was nominated Whig Candidate for governor but was defeated. In 1854 Reading again went east for a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court on his land grant claims. There he met and married Fanny Wallace Washington. Reading then returned (1856) with his bride by steamship, remaining on his Shasta County ranch and devoting his attention to agricultural pursuits until his death.

Scope and Content

Manuscript biography by John Winkley of the prominent northern California pioneer, Major Pierson Barton Reading (1816-1868). Winkley accessed three collections in his research for this biography: the Reading family papers in the possession of Major Reading's grand-daughter, Eleanor Lee Reading-Templeman of Arlington, Virginia; a file at the California State Library in Sacramento; and, papers at Sutter's Fort, Sacramento. The family collection includes letters, personal notations, newspaper clippings from Shasta City, Sacramento, San Francisco, and other towns and a biographical manuscript on Major Reading by his daughter, Alice Reading. Sutter's Fort holds a diary kept by Mrs. Pierson B. Reading (1861-1862). The State Library holds Reading's correspondence.

CONTAINER LIST

 

BOX 1: WINKLEY BIOGRAPHY of PIERSON B. READING

 

1.1: STAFF RESEARCH FILE

 

-"Pierson B. Reading" in A Memorial and Biographical History of Northern California Chicago, Lewis Publishing Company, 1891, pp. 791-792. [photocopy]

 

1.2: JOHN W. WINKLEY. "MAJOR PIERSON BARTON READING, CALIFORNIA PIONEER," CHAPT. 1-3

 

Preface.......................................i-ii

 

Chapter 1. Life in New Jersey and Mississippi...1

 

Chapter 2. The Reading Overland Diary, Part one...5

 

Chapter 3. The Reading Diary, Part two.18

 

1.3: JOHN W. WINKLEY. "MAJOR PIERSON BARTON READING, CALIFORNIA PIONEER," CHAPT. 4-8

 

Chapter 4. In Old Monterey.............29

 

Chapter 5. Clerk for Sutter............35

 

Chapter 6. Trapper and Explorer........42

 

Chapter 7. The Bear Flag Republic......47

 

Chapter 8. The California Battalion....53

 

1.4: JOHN W. WINKLEY. "MAJOR PIERSON BARTON READING, CALIFORNIA PIONEER," CHAPT. 9-12

 

Chapter 9. The Gold Digger.............61

 

Chapter 10. Rancho Buena Ventura.......68

 

Chapter 11. Reading, the Citizen.......73

 

Chapter 12. Reading, the Indian Agent..81

 

1.5: JOHN W. WINKLEY. "MAJOR PIERSON BARTON READING, CALIFORNIA PIONEER," CHAPT. 13-15

 

Chapter 13. Marriage to Fannie Washington...90

 

Chapter 14, Home and Ranch.............101

 

Chapter 15. Business Ventures.........111

 

1.6: JOHN W. WINKLEY. "MAJOR PIERSON BARTON READING, CALIFORNIA PIONEER," CHAPT. 16-17; NOTES

 

Chapter 16. Nature Lover..............117

 

Chapter 17. Journey's Ending...........124

 

Notes..............................132-145