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A Picaresque History of the Port of Oakland  Part 2

"Squatters’ rights" was a live topic in the early 1850’s in Oakland, and the entire county as well. Such pioneers as Andrew Moon, Edson Adams and Horace Carpentier had their battles with old Don Luis Peralta. The battles were of a varied sort, sometimes waged by diplomatic wiles; sometimes gold; and sometimes rifles.

But there were others in those fights besides the three principal pioneers. There were so many of them that they formed, in 1851, what was known as a "Squatter’s League," to which each member contributed five dollars, The main demand of the league being that no individual should adjust or settle titles to land without first consulting the league. It was the old Three Guardsmen policy of "all for one, one for all."

A former California governor, Don Picot a distinguished and far-sighted gentleman, had issued a proclamation in the 1840’s that foretold how things were likely to go in California, and of course that included Oakland. The governor’s pronunciamiento said in part:

"We find ourselves threatened by hordes of Yankee immigrants who have already begun to flock into our country, and whose progress we cannot arrest. Already have the wagons of perfidious people scaled the almost inaccessible summits of the Sierra Nevada, crossed the entire continent and penetrated the fruitful valley of the Sacramento. What that astonishing people will next undertake I cannot say, but in whatever enterprise they embark they will be sure to be successful. Already these adventurous voyagers, spreading themselves over a country that seems to suit their tastes, are cultivating farms, establishing vineyards, erecting sawmills with which to saw lumber and doing a thousand other things that seem natural to them. "

Governor Pico was right. He struck the nail exactly on the head. The "squatters" were determined to do the very things he deplored. They were ambitious for the things he hated. They proposed to develop a city patterned after those on their eastern seaboard.

Their first job was to secure land. Incidentally they wanted a valid title to that land refused to take the Spaniards’ claims seriously. Their job was a long and arduous one, but they stuck to it. Some lost and others won but at no time was a Yankee’s loss a Spaniard’s gain.

The squatters and their associates knew well that pioneers in other parts of the country had struggled along. Their forefathers had wrung a livelihood from the soil. Oakland was merely at the rear of the procession. They proposed to lead if possible,

In those years hustling "Yankees," as Governor Pico called them, were on the job at Pleasanton, Hayward, Livermore, Alvarado, Centerville and elsewhere in the county. Their doings and their successes were not unknown to Moon, Adams, Carpentier and their fellow townsmen.

Over in the Livermore valley grazed more than fifty thousand head of cattle and horses. Robert Livermore. the first Anglo Saxon to settle in this part of the state. owned them. He had arrived in 1835, and had built a fine wooden house, the material for which came around Cape Horn.

William Hayward was another pioneer who did well in the county. He was one of those "gold rush men" who had tried mining and failed. Then he visited what is now Alameda County; looked upon the Livermore valley; squatted there but gave up his claim when it was proved to him to be illegal. He then pitched his tent in the present town of Hayward, lived there and prospered and built a hotel of one hundred rooms in the town which bore his name,