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Walter Colton, Three Years in California, 1846-49

The 1846-1849 journal of Walter Colton, member of California's high society


Following the Mexican-American war, California increasingly drew thousands of men and women seeking a life in the new territory. This database is the published journal of Walter Colton (1797-1851), who lived in California from 1846-1849. A distinguished member of California's high society in the period, his florid prose recounts a number of prominent social events of the period.

Extended Description

Walter Colton (1797-1851) of Vermont had a career as clergyman and journalist before sailing to California as naval chaplain of the Congress. In July 1846, Commodore Stockton named him alcalde of Monterey, a post to which he was elected a few months later. He remained in California until 1849, using his time to found the state's first newspaper and building its first schoolhouse. Three years in California (1850) contains Colton's memoirs of that period, including descriptions of the U.S. military occupation of California, social life and customs of Monterey, discovery of gold and firsthand impressions of the Sonora mining camp in the Southern Mines, visits to Stockton and San José, John Charles Frémont, the Constitutional Convention of 1849, and California missions.
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