Great Value for Napa Landlords
The name "Napa" was probably derived from the name given to a southern Nappan village whose native people shared the area with elk, deer, grizzlies and cougars for many centuries, according to Napa historian Kami Santiago. At the time of the first recorded exploration into Napa Valley in 1823, the majority of the inhabitants consisted of Native American Indians. Padre José Altimira, founder of Mission San Francisco Solano in Sonoma, led the expedition. Spanish priests converted some natives; the rest were attacked and dispersed by Spanish soldiers. American farmers began arriving in the 1830s.
Before California was granted statehood in 1849, the Napa Valley was in the Territory of California's District of Sonoma. In 1850 when counties were first organized, Napa became one of the original counties of California. At the time, its boundaries also included Lake County to the north. By this time, the indigenous people were either working as field laborers or living in small bands in the hills surrounding the valley. Tensions between the white settlers and Native Americans broke into war in 1850, with a white man's death resulting in soldiers hunting down and killing all the natives they could find, driving the remainder north toward Clear Lake. In 1851, the first courthouse was erected. By 1870, the Native American population consisted of only a few laborers and servants working for the white settlers.
The City of Napa was founded by Nathan Coombs in 1847. It was not the plan of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. He had paid to survey for a township down river at Soscol Landing where riverboats could turn around. The Napa town site was surveyed by James M. Hudspeth on property Coombs had received from Nicolas Higuera, original holder of the Rancho Entre Napa Mexican land grant. The first business establishment in the town was a saloon built by Harrison Pierce, a former miller at the Bale Grist Mill. Napa's first general store was opened a year later in 1848 by Joseph P. Thompson. The first record of a ship navigating the river was the Susana in 1842. John Sutter's schooner the Sacramento landed in 1844 to pick up a load of lime and deliver passengers. By 1850 the Dolphin became the first passenger steamship to navigate the Napa River in order to open another path of commerce.
In the mid-1850s, Napa's Main Street rivaled that of many larger cities, with as many as 100 saddle horses tied to the fences on an average afternoon. John Patchett opened the first commercial winery in the county in 1859. The vineyard and wine cellar were located in an area that is now within the city limits of Napa. The Lyceum movement established a facility and reading room and an agricultural society was started. The Napa Reporter founded by Alexander J. Cox in 1856 published its first weekly edition on July 4 of that year. The Napa Valley Register founded by J.I. Horrell and L. Hoxie Strong made its debut on August 10, 1863 with weekly publications until becoming a daily newspaper in 1872.
Nathan Coombs and many other important city founders and builders are buried nearby in Tulocay Cemetery. Many Bear Flag Riders are buried here with their adversary Salvador Vallejo. At the entrance is the tomb of Mary (Mammy) Pleasant who is considered the Mother of Civil Rights in California.