Guide to the papers on the history of California, 1846-1865

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The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.


History --History, California --History, Sacramento Area Geographical (By Place) --California --Sacramento Area Social Sciences --Anthropology --General

Guide to the Papers on the History of California, 1846-1865

Collection number: BANC MSS C-B 84

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Encoded by:
James Lake
© 1997 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Papers on the History of California,
Date (inclusive): 1846-1865
Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 84
Creator: McKinstry, George, 1810-1890
Extent: Number of containers: 1 vol. Number of microfilm reels: 1
Repository: The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: They relate mainly to the Donner Party, McKinstry's work as sheriff for the Sacramento District, estimates of the whites and Indians in the Sacramento Valley, and early steamboats on the Sacramento River. Included also is a pay roll of the garrison at Fort Sacramento during the winter of 1846-47.
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Papers on the history of California, BANC MSS C-B 84, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Material Catalogued Separately

  • L'Océanie Francaise: Journal de Tahiti has been removed for separate cataloging.

Biographical Sketch

George McKinstry was an overland immigrant who reached California in 1846. He took part in the attempts to rescue the Donner party, was the first sheriff of the northern district at Sutter's Fort, and became prominent in the Sacramento region. From 1849 to 1850 he maintained a trading post on the Cosumnes River. In later life he lived in San Diego, where he practiced medicine. McKinstry gave his collection of letters and documents to the Bancroft Library in 1872.

Scope and Content

The letters are listed here alphabetically by correspondent and the documents, chronologically, with references to the numbers by which they are filed.

Container List



folder Nos. 6-7, (16-19)

Bidwell, John. To J[ohn] A. Sutter. New Salem, Dec. 21, 1847.

1 l.

Transmits estimate of white and Indian population in Sacramento Valley. With enclosure (1 l.).

folder No. 18, (38-39)

Dunleavey, J[ames] G. T. To Geo[rge] McKinstry. San Francisco, Feb. 6, 1847.

2 p.

Prays for the success of the Donner relief party.

folder No. 13, (29a)

Halleck, H[enry] W[ager]. Circular (manuscript copy). State Dept. of the Territory of California. Monterey, Sept. 18, 1847.

1 l.

Requests statistics on population.

folder No. 22, (48-49)

Jones, Tho[ma]s ap C[atesby]. To Geo[rge] McKinstry. San Francisco, Jan. 19, 184[9].

2 p.

Mistakenly dated 1848. Concerns McKinstry's request for a special license for the Peruvian brig "Calderon."

folder No. 11, (26-27)

K[ern], E[dward] M. To [George] McKinstry, Mar. 7, 1847.

2 p.

Requests men and ammunition.

folder No. 19, (40-41)

[McKinstry, George]. To K____, n.d.

Draft? 2 p.

An account of the first ascent of the Sacramento River by a steamboat.

folder No. 20, (42-43)

[McKinstry, George] ? To J. C. Cremoney, n.d.

2 p.

Concerns early steamboats in the San Francisco Bay and on the Sacramento River. With clipping pasted on.

folder No. 25, (53-56)

Ring, Preston. To Geo[rge] McKinstry. Ogdensburgh, N.Y., Jan. 30, 1865.

4 p.

Concerns political events and the Civil War.


Russell, William H.

See Letter, Sutter to Bartlett, Nov. 10, 1846.

folder Nos. 2,

14-17, (9-10,


Sinclair, John. 5 letters to George McKinstry. Alcalde's Office, Sacramento District, 1846-1848.

Each 1 l., with address or endorsement on versos.

Requesting McKinstry, as sheriff, to serve summonses.

folder No. 1, (1-8)

Stanton, Philip V. R. To George McKinstry. Brooklyn, [N.Y.], Feb. 14, 1848.

5 p.

Concerning his brother, Charles Tyler Stanton, member of the Donner Party, who died in the rescue operation.

folder No. 9, (24-25)

Sutter, John A[ugustus]. To Wash[ingto]n A. Bartlett. Fort Sacramento, Nov. 10, 1846.

2 p.

In the handwriting of William H. Russell. Protests the attachment levied on his real estate. Endorsement by John Sinclair.

folder No. 10, (25a)

Sutter, J[ohn] A[ugustus]. To W[ashington] A. Bartlett. New Helvetia, Dec. 9, 1846.

2 p. Copy.

Comments on the legal questions involved in Bartlett's action.

folder No. 23, (50-51)

[Sutter, John Augustus]. To H[enry] W[ager] Halleck. Fort Sacramento, Dec. 20, 1847.

2 p.

Written for him by George McKinstry; in reply to Halleck's request for population statistics.



folder No. 26,

L'Océanie Francaise: Journal de Tahiti. Issue of Sept. 29, 1844.

Removed for separate cataloging.

folder No. 3, (11)

[Statistics on population and livestock, Sacramento Valley], Nov. 1846.

1 l.

folder No. 4, (12-13)

Names of Part of the Tribes of Indians in the Sacramento Valley and their number. Nov. 1846.

1 l.

folder No. 8, (20-23)

Pay Roll of men Composing Garrison at Fort Sacramento from Nov 9/46 to Feby 26 1847.

2 p.

Certifications by Edw[ard] M. Kern, 1st Lieut. Cal. Bat. Commanding Port Sacramento.

folder No. 5, (14-15)

[Statistics on Indian tribes, Sacramento Valley]

1 l.

Endorsed on back: J. A. Gattens, Estimate Indian Population - Dec. 20th, 1847.

folder No. 12, (28-29)

Statistics of Population etc of the district including the country east of the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers Upper California, Dec 20th, 1847.

1 l.

Endorsement on back: "Copy" . . . Sent to the Sec of State upper Cal Jany 8th 1848 by J. A. Sutter Sub Indian Agent.

folder No. 24, (52)

Printed invitation to an anniversary ball, Sutter's Fort, July 4, 1849.

Addressed to G. McKinstry. J. McDougall, B. P. Cornwall, W. K. Grimshaw, T. M. Ames and H. A. Schoolcraft listed as managers.

folder No. 21, (44-45)

Clipping from the Sacramento Daily Union, May 25, 1860 concerning first American census in California.

Pasted on: tickets for the 1849 election in California.