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George Calvert Yount
Portrait of George C. Yount (CHS-11443).jpg
Born May 4, 1794
Died October 5, 1865(1865-10-05) (aged 71)
Resting place Yountville, CA
Spouse(s) Eliza Cambridge Wilds,
Children Robert Wilds Yount, Frances Yount, and Elizabeth Ann Yount.
Relatives Harry Yount, nephew. Daughter Elizabeth Ann married John Calvert Davis. Grandhildren: Mary Eliza, Elizabeth Ann, John Calvert. John Calvert Davis married Margarethe Claus. Great-granddaughter Sue Francis Davis married Stephen Cholomondley Maynard. Great-great-grandson Harry Cholomndley Yount Daker Maynard married Joan Alice Cosgrove. Great-great-great-granddaughters Mary Sue, Julie Ann and Sally Joan. Mary Sue married Dave Wellbeloved and bore: Great-great-great-great-grandchildren David, Elizabeth and John Wellbeloved. Mary Sue's second marriage to Earnest Reed produced Patrick and Alice Reed. Sally Joan married Paul Stephen Smith. IV grandsons Paul Bret and Wilson Blakely Smith.

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.

Yount eventually made his way to California, arriving in 1831 with the Wolfskill party. He trapped sea otters 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. George C. Yount received a US patent on both of these grants with a total of 16,341 acres (66 km2).

George Yount recounted that, in early Spring of 1847, around the time the first relief party for the Donner Party was being organized, he had a repeated dream in which he saw a struggling group of pioneers in deep snow and other striking details of their appearance and difficulties. He may have heard of the plight of the Donner Party, which had been widely-publicized by James Reed in San Francisco that winter. In Richard Henry Dana, Jr.'s 1869 'Twenty-Four Years Later', Dana writes that Yount's dream was responsible for at least part of the rescue of the Donner Party. Dana refers to it as "[Yount's] celebrated dream, thrice repeated." Rev. Horace Bushnell's 1858 report of Yount's first-hand account places the location Yount saw in the dream in the wrong place from the Donner Party; however, Dana's 'Journal of a Voyage Round the World, 1859-1860' (published in 1968) makes it clear that Yount considered the dream as a helpful spiritual communication which led to relief to the Donner Party. Yount's dream and its connection to the Donner Party are now accepted as part of George Yount's legacy.

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.


George C. Yount and Eliza Cambridge Wilds had three children: Robert Wilds Yount (1819–1850), Frances Yount (1821-1870), and Elizabeth Ann Yount (1826–1853), and nine grandchildren.

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, Elizabeth Ann and Frances, along with her husband William Bartlett Vines, came west with the Walker-Chiles Party of 1843. They lived in George Yount's blockhouse on Rancho Caymus.


George and Eliza had nine grandchildren:

Elizabeth Yount (1847 – April 7, 1916), only child of Robert, married Thomas Lewis Rutherford (d. 1892) in 1864. George Yount gave the couple 1,040 acres (4 km2) in the northern part of Rancho Caymus as a wedding gift. Thomas Rutherford established himself as a grower and producer of high-quality wines during the late 1800s, and Rutherford, California is named for him.

Children of Frances: Mary, Ellen and George

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

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

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