The air is crisp, the leaves changing into vivid colors of gold and red, and the little town of Marysville is about to be born.
In the fall of 1842, John A. Sutter leased some land to Theodore Cordua. Cordua built a home, raised livestock and built a trading post at what we now know as D Street. In 1844, Cordua attained additional land from the Mexican government. The land was next to the land he had leased from Sutter.
After striking it rich in the gold fields in 1848, Cordua’s former employee, Charles Covillaud, bought half of Cordua’s ranch.
In January 1849, the other half was purchased by Michael C. Nye and William Foster. Nye and Foster, brothers-in-law to Covillaud’s wife Mary, then sold their interest to Covillaud. In October, Covillaud sold three-fourths of the ranch to Jose Ramirez, John Sampson and Theodore Sicard. Their names are seen throughout the town: Sampson Street, Ramirez Street, Sicard Street, Covillaud School and Cordua School.
During the gold rush, Marysville was a busy town filled with boats, trains and people from Sacramento, San Francisco and many from far off places. The city took off so quickly that the four partners decided to hire a man to create a plan for the city: French surveyor Agustos Le Plongeon.
The city’s name, Marysville, came from Covillaud’s wife, Mary Murphy, a donor party survivor.
The land development brought along city government. The town was accepted by the new California legislature in 1851. Marysville’s first mayor was elected in the same year. By 1853, Marysville’s population was nearing 10,000. Churches, schools, mills, shops and two newspapers took the small town and turned it into a big city. The levee system, built to protect the city from its vulnerability to flooding still protects it today.
Unfortunately, it is the same thing that prevents the city from expanding, and its population has not increased much since the gold rush days. Marysville’s current population is 12,324 and is about 3.5 square miles in size.
Marysville is now one of the top five commercial centers in the surrounding 27 counties. It is served by three railroads, four highways, a regional airport and a public bus line. Nicknamed the “Hub City” it is steeped in a rich history.