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In 1848 Rose was building a barley mill for Salvitor Vallejo in the town of Vallejo when gold was discovered.  All his men wanted to quit and head to the mines but Rose convinced them to finish their job by promising to take them to Sacramento as soon as the job was completed. 
After arriving at the American River in June of 1848 Rose and his men heard of discovery of gold on the Yuba River.  Traveling in a straight line they headed to the new gold strike over a vast open territory without the benefit of roads.  Finding the Yuba River just west of what was to become Timbuctoo, Rose continued upstream to Rose’s Bar where gold had been discovered.

Mary Donnaly


GEORGE RIGBY was born in Sucker Flat (in a house built by JOHN ROSE).  George’s grandfather lived in Sucker Flat and George therefore knew about life in the old days of Smartsville and vicinity even if it was before he was born.   George’s book “He Made a Saddle and Wrote a Book” was, for years, the definitive account of Smartsville history.  When the book was out of print it became a collector’s item.  George died in 1979 and left his book plus a number of other unpublished articles which Kathy Smith and Lane Parker collected and published together with his original stories.  The new book is called “The Sage of Smartsville, the Collected Works of George Rigby.”   Fascinating reading, and available through this website.       

For about five years he traveled between San Francisco and Los Angeles working on Pacific Coast vessels and during that time he learned to speak Spanish and became a Mexican citizen.  In 1843 he settled in Monterey where he worked as a ship carpenter and cabinet-maker.  Because of his carpentry skill he was in demand for the construction of boat landings, wharves and helped construct one of the first vessels in California.  He was prominent in civic affairs and became the first Treasurer of the town of San Francisco.JOHN ROSE was born in Leeds, Scottland in 1817.  Because of the death of his father, young John was only 10 years when he was apprenticed to learn the ship’s carpenter trade from his uncle who owned a shipyard.  At age of 16 he signed on as a seaman on a sailing vessel bound for Valpariso, Chile.  After the ship landed in Los Angeles it sailed north along the coast and sailed into San Francisco Bay In 1839.  He got permission to lay off until the ship made port again, but although he had no intention of spending the rest of his life in California, that was to be his fate.

Since the founding of the towns of Smartsville and Timbuctoo there have been a number of their citizens who have become famous or have distinguished themselves and today are remembered as early pioneers.  Here are some brief stories of a few of these noteworthy pioneers.

Daniel McGanney

DANIEL McGANNEY and WILLIAM CRAMSIE came to Smartsville from Ireland in about 1856.  Daniel was older and first came to New York  in about 1846.  McGanney and Cramsie may have met in New York and the story is that they came to San Francisco together via Panama.  After arrival in Smartsville they became involved in the mining business.  Daniel was the first to marry, taking Mary Donnaly as  his bride at St. Joseph’s Church in Marysville in 1859.  In 1870, the year that the Smartsville Church of the Immaculate Conception burned to the ground, William married Elizabeth Havey.  Both William and Daniel undoubtedly helped reconstruct the new church building on the same site in 1871.  Pew number 5 in the church bore the names “Mr. William Cramsie and Mr. John Havey.”  Pew number 28 was labeled “Mrs. McGanney.”
Between these two couples 13 children were born.  Two of them, Anna McGanney and John Cramsie were married in 1906, thus connecting the two families by marriage as well as by friendship and ethnic background.

Father Andrew TWOMEY was the presiding priest of the Smartsville Church of the Immaculate Conception from 1887 to 1902.  Fr. Twomey tragically died at the age of 36 when traveling to say mass at distant area churches that were too small to have their own priests.  Dry Creek was swollen with flood water following a heavy rain when Fr. Twomey tried to ford the stream in his buggy.  He was highly respected and dearly loved in Smartsville.