Joshua B. Tufts

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Joshua Bradstreet Tufts (1824-1914) and his bride, Mary Ann (Kingsland) Tufts (1830-1921), were pioneers of 1849 and some of Davis's earliest residents. Born 18 (or 17) November 1824 in Blazing Star (now Carteret), Middlesex County, New Jersey, Joshua was the eldest of seven children born to John Mills and Mary Wilson (Davis) Tufts, she a relative of Jefferson Davis. Joshua lived on the family homestead in Tufts Landing, New Jersey until 1845, when he went to New York City to become a printer. There he met and married Mary Ann Kingsland, the one-time sheriff's daughter. The day after their marriage on 24 April 1849, they took a six-month honeymoon voyage to California, where Joshua planned to establish a business. But much like today, San Francisco real estate prices were too rich for his blood, so he established his first retail store in Sacramento. In 1850 the Tufts moved to Yolo County and built a hotel in the newly established Washington Township. There he developed a profitable truckyard and invested in Jacob Lewis' Ferry and the Yolo Plankroad Turnpike, a toll road chartered in 1855.

Joshua entered the political arena in 1852, winning Democratic election to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors and serving two successive terms. In 1855, the Tufts purchase 500 acres on the south bank of Putah Creek for $850, where he established orchards and truckyards. A hotel, livery, blacksmith, and general store soon followed just east of the Vaca-Pena grants. Seven acres of this land were subsequently deeded to William Dresbach and William Krekeler shortly before Dresbach was named postmaster. All this development provided fertile ground for a stage stop and eventual site of the Solano Post Office, established 12 November 1862.

In 1869, after completion of the railroad and development of a new town on the north bank of Putah Creek, Joshua Tufts sold the "Solano House, a barn and six adjoining fenced acres". In 1888, after selling the last of his land, the house on the original homestead was moved into town and two years later he built the large home still standing on the southeast corner of Fifth and J Streets (later established as the Longview School). Committing the remainder of his years to community activities, Joshua Tufts was a pioneer member and long-time elder of the Presbyterian Church, served a time as Justice of the Peace, and helped his children establish themselves in business. Joshua died while cording wood at the age of 90 at the family home on 7 December 1914. His wife died 9 December 1921. Joshua and Mary had ten children, three of whom died in infancy.

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