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Pleasants family papers, 1859-1917.
BANC MSS 2002/192 cm
Collection Overview


Pleasants family papers, 1859-1917


Pleasants, James M., 1809-1899


Pleasants, William J. (William James), 1834-1919


Pleasant family.


Consists of correspondence between the Pleasants' friends and family including James M. Pleasants, William J. Pleasants, the Pleasants family in Kentucky, fellow wagon train members the Hopper family and the Rhea family, the George Miller family (son-in-law to J.M. Pleasants), W.S. Reavis family, H.H. Bancroft & Co. and the History Co. Letter topics include the Pleasants family fruit business, Native Americans, horse thieves, Mazatlan, Mexico, and stage coach robber and fellow wagon train member John Houx. Also includes business documents covering their fruit business, distillery and horses.


1859 (issued)


n-us-ca -- n-us-ky -- n-mx---
Hopper family
Ray family
Miller family
Reavis, W. S
Pleasant family
Houx, John
H.H. Bancroft and Company.
History Company.
Crime -- California -- History -- 19th century
Indians of North America -- California -- History -- 19th century
Fruit trade -- California
Horse stealing -- California, Northern
Solano County (Calif.) -- History -- Sources
Mazatlán (Sinaloa, Mexico) -- Description and travel
Kentucky -- Description and travel


In 1849 the Pleasants family, living in Van Buren County, Mo., heard of the gold discoveries in Calif. Consequently father James M. and sons William J. and Joseph E. traveled west to Calif. In 1850, they settled near Winters, Calif. in valley that now bears their name. In 1856, William J. was sent back to Mo. to bring his three sisters and brother back to Calif. The family raised fruit and cattle in Solano County. In 1906, William published an account of his travels to Calif. entitled, "Twice across the plains: 1849...1856."
John Houx, a member of the same 1856 wagon train to Calif. as William J. Pleasants, became famous in Sonoma County, Calif. in 1871 for stage coach robberies. He was the leader of the Big Foot Houx Gang that attacked 6 stage coaches, stealing Wells Fargo treasure boxes and killing one man. After his capture, Houx betrayed his partners to law enforcement officials for a lighter sentence. In 1875, he is noted as farming in the Sebastopol area.

Physical Description:

1 box (.4 linear ft.)




BANC MSS 2002/192 cm