52 Joseph Schafer
The buildings are of wood and the town is situated on a ledge of rocks about 30 feet above the average level of the river. Behind the town a perpendicular scarp rises for about 40 feet, sloping gradually away to the rear. This is one of the most important points in the settlement, commanding the navigation of the river, and offering every advantage, as regards position, for defense.
We regret not having been able to make a survey of this place, being fearful of increasing the jealousies already excited by our arrival in the country, which feeling has also prevented our making sketches of many other points, or obtaining information to make our report as efficient as we could wish.
The surrounding country is fertile, and the forests of pine and oak are interspersed by prairies on which the settlers build their houses, raise their crops and pasture their cattle.
The settlement extends about sixty miles on either bank of the river, the country is comparatively level, that on the right bank being frequently inundated during the spring freshets for a considerable distance into the interior; the soil yields an abundant return, with comparatively little labor; and the pasturage is excellent.
To the eye the country, particularly the left bank of the river, is very beautiful. Wide extended, undulating prairies, scattered over with magnificent oak trees, and watered by numerous tributary streams (on which several saw mills are now in operation) reach far to the south, over the confines of North California (to near which boundary our journey was extended), and offering a field for an industrious civilized community, but seldom surpassed, for pastural and agricultural purposes.
On the right bank of the river, about 30 miles above the Falls, is a Roman Catholic Mission, having four resident priests and six sisters (from Belgium). A church, dwelling houses, and school houses, where we witnessed the examination of about sixty children, the sons and daughters of the Catholic half breed population. About 25 miles above on the same----