George C. Yount

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George Calvert Yount
Portrait of George C. Yount (CHS-11443).jpg
Born May 4, 1794
North Carolina
Died October 5, 1865(1865-10-05) (aged 71)
Yountville, California
Resting place
Yountville, CA
Spouse(s) Eliza Cambridge Wilds
Children Robert Wilds Yount, Frances Yount, and Elizabeth Ann Yount
Relatives Harry Yount, nephew

George Calvert Yount (May 4, 1794 – October 5, 1865) was a trapper in William Wolfskill's party from New Mexico and came to California in 1831. He was the first Euro-American permanent settler in the Napa Valley, where he was the grantee of two Mexican land grants. Yountville, California is named for him.


George C. Yount was born in Burke County, North Carolina, but grew up in Missouri. He fought in the War of 1812 and the Indian wars. Yount was a farmer but in 1826, after business difficulties, left his wife and three children in Missouri, and went to Santa Fe and became a fur trapper.[1]

Yount eventually made his way to California, arriving in 1831 with the Wolfskill party. He trapped sea otter on the Santa Barbara Channel Islands. He went to Sonoma in 1834, where he was employed as a carpenter by General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. Through the influence of Vallejo, Yount received the Rancho Caymus land grant in 1836, and became the first permanent settler in the Napa Valley. He built a cabin, or block-house and a grist-mill. In 1843 he received the Rancho La Jota land grant on Howell Mountain north of Rancho Caymus, where he built a saw-mill.[2][3] George C. Yount received a US patent on both of these grants with a total of 16,341 acres (66 km2).[4][5][6]

A town known as Sebastopol was laid out on the property in 1855. However, a town in nearby Sonoma County had already laid claim to this name, and the town was renamed Yountville in 1867 after George Yount’s death.

His estate remained mostly intact during his lifetime, and Yount died on his property in 1865 at the age of 71.[7]


George C. Yount and Eliza Cambridge Wilds had three children: Robert Wilds Yount (1819–1850), Frances Yount (1821–??), and Elizabeth Ann Yount (1826–1853),[8] and nine grandchildren.[9]

His nephew, Harry Yount, was a gamekeeper in Yellowstone National Park and is considered the first park ranger of the National Park Service.


Yount had left his family in Missouri in 1826. His two daughters, Frances Yount with her husband William Bartlett Vines and her sister Elizabeth Ann Yount came west with the Walker-Chiles Party of 1843. They lived in George Yount's blockhouse on Rancho Caymus.


Elizabeth Yount (1847 to 4/7/1916 the daughter of his son Robert Wilds Yount, married Thomas Lewis Rutherford (d. 1892) in 1864.[10] George Yount gave the couple 1,040 acres (4 km2) in the northern part of Rancho Caymus. Thomas Rutherford established himself as a grower and producer of high-quality wines during the late 1800s, and Rutherford, California is named for him.

Elizabeth Anne Davis (1847–1922), the daughter of his daughter Elizabeth Ann Yount, married William Campbell Watson (1843–??) in 1864. Watson established and named Inglenook Winery.

Georgina Frances Sullivan (1853–1936), the daughter of his daughter Elizabeth Ann Yount, married John P. Jones in 1875.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ George C. Yount
  2. ^ Zoeth Skinner Eldredge, 1915, History of California Vol 2, Century History Company, New York, ISBN 978-0-7812-5030-6
  3. ^ Hoover, Mildred B.; Hero & Ethel Rensch, and William N. Abeloe (1966). Historic Spots in California. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-4482-9. 
  4. ^ Report of the Surveyor General 1844 - 1886
  5. ^ Napa History
  6. ^ Gaughan, Tim (June 19, 2009). "Where the valley met the vine: The Mexican period". Napa Valley Register (Napa, CA: Lee Enterprises, Inc.). Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  7. ^ Grave of George C. Yount
  8. ^ George Calvert Yount and Eliza Cambridge Wilds
  9. ^ Descendants of George Calvert Yount
  10. ^ Thomas Lewis Rutherford and Elizabeth Yount
  • Yount, Lewis, and Clark, 1966, George C. Yount and his Chronicles of the West, Old West Publishing Co, Denver
  • Ellen Lamont Wood,1941, George Yount:The Kindly Host of Caymus Rancho, Grabhorn Press, San Francisco