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A Brief History of Yorkville

in 1867 Elijah Hiatt along with his wife Elizabeth purchased a small piece of ground from a man named Richard York. This same year Elijah Hiatt went to work to build a large two-story house for his large family. He also turned the house into a hotel to accommodate stagecoach passengers en route from Oak Valley (Cloverdale) to the coast. As the community grew, E.M. Hiatt and Richard York decided that the community should have a name. Each one wanted to name the area after themselves so around 1870 they decided to have a card game between the two of them and the winner would name the area after themselves and the loser would become Postmaster. As it turned out, Richard York won the game so he named the area in Yorkville and E.M. Hiatt became the postmaster. This was the founding of Yorkville.

The post office was located in a small room just inside the front door and remained as such until 1889 when E.M. Hiatt retired as post master. He wanted the use of the room in his house so he constructed a small building about 300 yards to the South to be the new post office. He then appointed his son Charles Hiatt to be the new postmaster. Charles Hiatt remained as postmaster for 48 years until the winter of December 1937 when a very heavy rainstorm in the area caused the Rancheria Creek to overflow its banks and wash away the post office. The building along with all of its mail went down the stream never to be seen again. This brought the dire need for a new post office.

Now step back in time to the year 1870 when another little community sprang up and named White Hall which was located about three miles south of the original community of Yorkville. This small community had a small store which stocked household items such as canned goods, flour, sugar, beer and wine, etc. It was first settled by a man and his family by the name of B.B. Huff who built a hotel and a large six horse stall and barn in order to have fresh horses for the stage. I do not know who ran the store in the early years, however I do remember as a small boy the couple who ran the store in 1934 or 1935 were Lloyd and Alley Prather.

In 1937, after the Yorkville Post Office was destroyed, the need for the new post office was top priority. The postal authorities approached Lloyd and Alley to ask if they could move the post office into their little store. After some talk between the two parties they agreed that a small room would be constructed in the back of the store and established the Yorkville Post Office. This was the time that the name of White Hall vanished and became Yorkville. The Prathers ran the store and Alley Prather became the new postmaster. The Prathers ran the store and post office for several years until ill health caused them to sell the store and the post office to Mrs. Emma Bell Witherell. She ran the store and became postmaster until the mid-1950s when she sold the business to Leo and Barbara Marcot. Leo turned the store into a small diner and Leo became the postmaster. A few years later Leo and Barbara sold the store to Ruben Thommason and his wife Marie. Rubin wanted to remodel the store and make it larger, but Ruben did not want to be postmaster, so Leo set up a room in his house just across the highway from the store and moved the post office into his house and remained Postmaster.

This remained as post office until about 1990 when Austin and Sylvia Hulbert donated a small piece of ground to construct a new building to house the post office, a fire engine, and room for community meetings. This is now the permanent location of Yorkville. 

It never ceases to amaze me to see how widespread the name Yorkville has become expanded with the influx of new people and covers a 10-12 mile radius from the original location. I still remember it as the original Yorkville.

One Comment

  1. Jess October 22, 2021

    …and what about the indian families already living in the area? How did these families treat them? Did they participate in their violent demise? Why, whenever our proud little history is mentioned and all our great ‘accomplishments’ in the area are bragged about, is there never a word, about those villages and camps already spread throughout this beautiful valley, full of thrivng generations of families and what ‘methods’ were used to exterminate them…

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