Santa Cruz County History - Places

Notes on the History of Williams Mill and Williams Landing in Bonny Doon, California
by Paul Tutwiler


The Rancho Arroyo de la Laguna
James Williams and his Rancho
Land Transactions Involving or Related to the Rancho Before the Death of James Williams
Land Uses and Transactions After the Death of James Williams
A Note on George Liddell
Appendix: Maps

A Note on George Liddell

According to Edward Martin, History of Santa Cruz County California with Biographical Sketches, Los Angeles: Historic Record Co., 1911, George Liddell, a civil engineer and contractor, left his native England in 1850 for San Francisco. The next year:

Coming to the Santa Cruz Mountains at this time Mr. Liddell built a steam saw mill and also constructed a water mill and began taking out redwood lumber. The venture proved a complete success, prospering far beyond his expectations, and the creek on which his mills were located finally became known as Liddell’s creek [sic]. This was the pioneer effort in lumbering in the redwood of Santa Cruz county, an enterprise which finally developed into a thriving industry. Receiving an injury in the mill which incapacitated him for active service Mr. Liddell retired from business and thereafter made his home in Santa Cruz, where his death occurred.

Granted that the name Liddell Creek bespeaks the presence of a Liddell, it is hard to imagine that George Liddell was as great a pioneer entrepreneur as Martin gives him credit for being. The land where he seems to have been belonged to James Williams, after whom there was a succession of owners – Liddell not among them – as named above.

There was a George Liddell, born in Scotland, 54 years of age in 1860, a carpenter by trade, who lived somewhere in the northern part of Santa Cruz county with his wife and children according to the U.S. Census of 1860. It seems possible that George was a skilled employee of Gluyas and Coult in the 1850s.

The heads of the households enumerated immediately before and after Liddell’s in the 1860 census were Samuel Myrick, a millwright; Hiram Imus, also a millwright; Samuel Hillman, a master carpenter; George Innskeep, a farmer; Nathaniel Hutchins, a day laborer; and John Perry, a master carpenter. It is not necessarily the case that all these people were neighbors because no addresses were given and it is hard to imagine that one or more census takers could have gone in a perfect geographic sequence to the 58 households, including Liddell’s, reported for July 14, 1860. Nevertheless, there is some probability that they were neighbors, and if so, the clustering of the houses of these construction men may have reflected a project they were working on together, possibly on the Rancho for Andrew Glassell.

Appendix: Maps to Accompany the Text

  1. Diseno of Rancho Arroyo de la Laguna
    Courtesy of the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
    Diseno of Rancho Arroyo de la Laguna
        click to enlarge
  2. School Land Warrant number 87
    From School Land Warrant Book of Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz County Recorder’s Office
    Diseno of Rancho Arroyo de la Laguna
        click to enlarge
  3. 1867 survey of (Rancho) Arroyo de la Laguna
    From United States Archives, Pacific-Sierra Region, San Bruno, California
    Diseno of Rancho Arroyo de la Laguna
        click to enlarge
  4. 1878 survey of (Rancho) Arroyo de la Laguna
    From Map Room, University of California, Santa Cruz
    Diseno of Rancho Arroyo de la Laguna
        click to enlarge
  5. Map in three sections, showing the Rancho Arroyo de la Laguna and related school land warrants.
    This map is plotted on excerpts from United States Geological Survey maps of Santa Cruz, 1994, and Davenport, 1991; scale 1:24,000.
    Diseno of Rancho Arroyo de la Laguna
        click to enlarge

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