ContentsPutah and Cache: Capay Valley

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Robert Thayer

Capay Valley is a unique landform of low, flat alluvial soils extending into the foothills like an appendage of the Central Valley. Named after "capi", a Hill Patwin word for creek, Capay Valley was explored by French trappers from Hudson's Bay company in the 1829-30, then granted to three Berreyesa brothers as a Spanish Land Grant in 1846. Native Patwin living along its banks were heavily depopulated by malaria and smallpox epidemics which swept the Central Valley in 1832-34, but surviving Patwin lived in relative peace with their white neighbors, working on fruit farms and ranches. A fascinating book about native life in this area is Mabel McKay: Weaving the Dream, by Greg Sarris.

Guinda, the small community at about mile 160, was founded in 1887 as a cooperative colony of urban families from the East San Francisco Bay. "Guinda" is the name of a choke cherry which originally grew near the center of town. A group of African American settlers also established several small ranches northeast of Guinda, and their relatives live there still. During the heyday of fruit ranching, Guinda maintained a population of about 500 people and featured a town hall, railroad depot, hotel, and saloon which served "Yolo Brewery Steam Beer".

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Upper Cache Creek
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Return of the Tule Elk
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Lower Cache Creek