News of statehood spreads

Peter Burnett 1879

As it happened, Peter H. Burnett, then Governor of California, was in San Francisco when the SS Oregon arrived with the news the state had been admitted to the union and was present at the mass meeting at Portsmouth Square. The next morning he left for San Jose, then the state capital. Two stagecoach lines ran between the two cities, about fifty miles apart, and they were intense rivals. Burnett rode on a stage owned by Jared Crandall, an experienced coachman who personally drove the team that day. Burnett sat on the top seat beside him.

A stage from each line then started out at the same time, both determined to be the first to bring the news to San Jose. The race was on. First they had to pass through the heavy sands between the plaza and the mission where the going was slow. Then they hit the hard, smooth road that skirted San Bruno Mountain and, with the bay in sight to the east, they ran full out past San Mateo to Santa Clara and from there, by way of the alameda, they made their way to the old pueblo of San Jose.

Both stage drivers put their mustangs to the test and made one of the fastest times for the run on record. Along the way, at every town, village and ranch house, people flocked to see what the hubbub was about. But with no slacking of their gait the carriers of the great news only waved their hats about their heads and shouted, “California has been admitted to the union.” And all who heard the news immediately began to celebrate as the coaches careened on down the road pursued by loud, hearty cheers. Burnett later said he had never seen such a scene before in his life and became more excited than he’d ever been. He would never forget this great stagecoach race that Crandell won only by a scant few minutes.




  1. Oh to have been a fly on one of the coaches. What an amazing sight that must have been. I can see the whole in my mind’s eye.

  2. Jared Crandall was my ancestor that was a famous stagecoach driver and was partners with Warren Hall. By the way his name was Crandall not Crandell.
    Jerry Crandall

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