William Minis (1875-79)

Photo of William Minis

William Minis was born March 7, 1819 in Beaver County, Pennsylvania and spent his early years on the family farm. Minis received his early education in a neighborhood log schoolhouse, but due to the isolated location of the farm, his formal education was apparently limited.

In 1847 the Gold Rush brought Minis across the country to California, where he finally settled on land near Putah Creek in Yolo County.

In 1876, at the age of 56, Minis became Surveyor General of California. Minis presided over the office during a difficult period in its history, when his predecessor, Robert Gardner, was pursued through the courts on legal charges of absconding with funds belonging to the Surveyor General's Office and the State Lands Office. In 1878, Minis was re-elected to the Surveyor Generalship.

From 1880-1886, Minis owned and operated a store in Woodland and lived quietly in that town with his family. In 1886, he resumed public office when he was elected Treasurer of Yolo County. He was re-elected in 1888 and 1892 and served the County until 1894 when, at the age of 71, he retired from public life.

Bi-Annual Reports

Surveyors General

The following include a short biography, photo of, and the annual reports from each Surveyor General, documenting some of the activities and observations of the Surveyors General, and record the early geographical development of the new state.