Guide to the Peter H. Burnett Papers, 1849-1885

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


History --History, California --General Social Sciences --Political Science --State Government

Guide to the Peter H. Burnett Papers, 1849-1885

Collection number: BANC MSS C-B 345

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Date Completed:
April 3, 1962; revised March 2000
Encoded by:
Padma Rubiales
© 1996 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Peter H. Burnett papers,
Date (inclusive): 1849-1885
Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 345
Creator: Burnett, Peter H. (Peter Hardeman), 1807-1895
Extent: Number of containers: 1 box and 1 oversize folder
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.
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

[Identifcation of item], Peter H. Burnett papers, BANC MSS C-B 345, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

These papers, mainly reflecting Burnett's governorship, were assembled from various sources. In Part I there are items from the T. W. Norris Collection, purchased from John Howell, and from other sources noted on the folders. Items in Part II were from the Boutwell Dunlap Collection, purchased from W. Wreden in 1954.


Trader and lawyer in Missouri and Tennessee, Peter Hardeman Burnett came to Oregon in 1843. In 1848 he joined the miners in California where he acted as agent for Sutter. He was active in urging California to form a state government and was elected first constitutional governor of California in 1849. He resigned his governorship in 1851 to return to law practice, becoming supreme judge in 1857. From 1863 until 1880 he was president of the Pacific Bank of San Francisco.

Scope and Content

Mainly documents and letters to and from Burnett as Governor of California, regarding sale of municipal lands in San Francisco and appointments. Contains many petitions, some relating to Collectors of licences to foreign miners, with signatures of members of the Constitutional Convention 1849, and of the first California Legislature. Also includes legal papers, concerning property in Santa Clara County, chiefly in the city of Alviso, 1849-1857.

Partial List of Correspondents and Papers


Ambris, Doroteo

box-folder Box 1:44

May 4, 1850

Additional Note

Relating to illegal occupation of four rooms formerly belonging to the Padres.

Bidwell, John, 1819-1900

box-folder Box 1:40

Apr. 13, 1850

Additional Note

Recommending Elam Covington as Collector of Taxes from Foreign Miners in Yuba Co.

Broderick, David Colbreth, 1820-1859

box-folder Box 1:41

Apr. 13, 1850

Additional Note

Requesting appointment of a Mr. Olds as Tax Collector for Sutter County.

Burgoyne & Co.

box-folder Box 1:57

Dec 28, 1850


Burnett, Peter Hardeman, 1807-1895

item 1., box-folder Box 1:1

Feb. 8, 1850

Additional Note

Draft of order prohibiting further grant or sale of municipal lands of San Francisco. To Horace Hawes, Prefect of the District of San Francisco, 1813-1871.
item 2., box-folder Box 1:2

Mar. 4, 1850

Additional Note

To the Commandant of military forces of the United States at Sonoma. Re Indian disturbances.
item 3., box-folder Box 1:3

Mar. 4, 1850

Additional Note

To Edward John Cage Kewen, 1825-1879, concerning sale of municipal lands in San Francisco.
item 4., box-folder Box 1:4

Mar. 6, 1850

Additional Note

To Prefect of district of Monterey. Photocopy only. Concerning provision for the general election and acts for the organization of the state.
item 5., box-folder Box 1:5

Apr. 24, 1850

Additional Note

No addressee. Concerning appointment of Captain W. Richardson to post of County Collector.
item 6., box-folder Box 1:6

July 8, 1850

Additional Note

To William Van Voorhies, 1815-1884, requesting commission to be sent to Charles Findley of Baltimore, Maryland.
item 7., box-folder Box 1:8

Aug. 7, 1850

Additional Note

To Samuel Royal Thurston, 1816-1851, re formation of the constitutional convention. Typed transcript only.
item 8., box-folder Box 1:9

Aug, 13, 1850

Additional Note

To Robert Anderson Wilson re property in Alviso.
item 9., box-folder Box 1:10

Nov. 4, 1850

Additional Note

To Charles Lewis Denman, concerning Denman's offer of services in case of Indian difficulties.
item 10., box-folder Box 1:11

Nov. 9, 1850

Additional Note

To Charles Gilman.
item 11., box-folder Box 1:12

Sept. 6, 1852

Additional Note

To Lewis Jacob Cist. Prophecy of California's greatness.
item 12., box-folder Box 1:13

Mar. 2-10, 1885

Additional Note

To Edward Worthington Burnett, 1842-?, giving genealogical information for his branch of the Burnett family. Also notes on E. W Burnett.
item 13., box-folder Box 1:18

Dec. 20, 1849

Additional Note

Oath of office as Governor of California. Facsimile.
item 14., box-folder Box 1:59

Nov. 9, 1849

Additional Note

Deed to Dwight Jay Burnett for property in Alviso.
item 15., box-folder Box 1:60

Feb. 18, 1850

Additional Note

Power of attorney to Thomas L. Burnett to sell property in Alviso.
item 16., box-folder Box 1:61

Sept. 25, 1850

Additional Note

Quitclaim deed to D. J. Burnett
item 16a., oversize Oversize folder 1A

Nov. 17, 1850

Additional Note

Certificate of appointment for Frederick P. Tracy.
item 17., box-folder Box 1:62

Dec. 21, 1857

Additional Note

Power of attorney to D. J. Burnett to lease property in Santa Clara Co.

California. Citizens

box-folder Box 1:16, 19, 23-24, 51

Petitions for various appointments, 1849-1850

Additional Note

Include signatures of some members of the constitutional convention and first Legislature.

California. Citizens

box-folder Box 1:30-39

Petitions for appointments of "Collectors of licenses to foreign miners", 1850.

Additional Note

Include petitions on behalf of Horace W. Carpentier, William A. Richardson and others. Signed by many citizens.

Colton, Gardner Quincey, 1814-1898

box-folder Box 1:26

Feb. 13, 1850


Dodge, Henry Lee

See: New England Society of San Francisco


Geary, John White, 1819-1873

box-folder Box 1:42

Apr. 14, 1850

Additional Note

Recommending Dr. Horace W. Carpentier as tax collector for the mining districts.

Gómez, José Miguel

box-folder Box 1:55

Nov. 25, 1850

Additional Note

Asking for exemption from state taxes.

Gwin, William McKendree, 1805-1885

item 1., box-folder Box 1:21

Dec. 30, 1849

Additional Note

Recommending Richard N. Berry as Aid.
item 2., box-folder Box 1:56

Nov. 28, 1850

Additional Note

Requesting appointment as Commissioner of Deeds for California in Louisiana, for Benjamin Tappan.

Halleck, Henry Wager, 1816-1872

box-folder Box 1:20

Dec. 22, 1849

Additional Note

Introducing Captains Simpton and Wright who are to urge passage of a bill for Pilots in San Francisco.

Hawes, Horace, 1813-1871

box-folder Box 1:28

Mar. 20, 1850


Hayes, Benjamin Ignatius, 1815-1877

item 1., box-folder Box 1:43

Apr. 20, 1850

Additional Note

Re organizing of Los Angeles government. With typed transcript.
item 2., box-folder Box 1:54

Nov. 12, 1850

Additional Note

Recommending George T. Burrill as Justice of the Peace.

Jones, Thomas Ap Catesby, 1790-1856

box-folder Box 1:46

June 26, 1850

Additional Note

Written from Flagship Savannah, concerning mutineers from English schooner Helen.

Letcher, Robert Perkins, 1788-1861

box-folder Box 1:47

July 1, 1850

Additional Note

Written as U.S. minister to Mexico, introducing the Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg, Apostolic Missionary coming to California to look after church property.

McAllister, Hall, 1828-1888

box-folder Box 1:17

Dec. 17, 1849

Additional Note

Tendering resignation fron District Attorneyship of San Francisco and suggesting Alexander Campbell as replacement.

New England Society of San Francisco

box-folder Box 1:53

Oct. 21, 1850

Additional Note

Resolution to request the Governor for a day of public thanksgiving in California. In writing and signed by Henry Lee Dodge, 1825-1902.

Norton, Myron, d. ca. 1867

box-folder Box 1:15

Nov. 20, 1849

Additional Note

Requesting appointment as secretary of state.

Ramirez, José María

box-folder Box 1:14

Nov. 17, 1849

Additional Note

Petition to Antonio María Pico, Prefect of the district of San Jose, to renew Mexican citizenship. Referred to Burnett by H. W. Halleck on behalf of Bennett Riley. Petition acknowledged on verso, initialed by Burnett.

Rough and Ready, Calif. Standing Committee.

box-folder Box 1:52

Sept. 2, 1850

Additional Note

Requesting reward be given for arrest of William Ewing, murderer. With note of Governor Burnett's reply by C. T. Ryland on verso.

Ryland, Caius Tacitus, 1826-1897

box-folder Box 1:7

July 19, 1850

Additional Note

To Thomas Oliver Larkin, 1802-1858. Written as secretary to Burnett. With typed transcript.

Semple, Robert Baylor, 1806-1854

box-folder Box 1:49

July 16, 1850


Smith, William Lyncoya, 1830-1902

box-folder Box 1:45

May 25, 1850

Additional Note

Reporting of finding a block of gold-bearing quartz from the Mariposa Mines for the Washington Monument.

Stevenson, Jonathan Drake, 1800-1894

box-folder Box 1:48

July 14, 1850

Additional Note

Recommending James H. Brady for position of Port Warden of San Francisco.

Townsend, Alfred A.

box-folder Box 1:29

Apr. 9, 1850

Additional Note

Defending his actions in court case.