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Benson’s Ferry sparks beginnings of Thornton

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Posted: Saturday, May 3, 2014 12:00 am

It was a simple river crossing in the Gold Rush years, but the modest crossing known as Benson’s Ferry sparked the initial settlement that eventually became the town known today as Thornton.

As thousands of eager gold-seekers poured into California in 1849, the old pioneer trails through the Valley became roads. At river crossings, it became necessary to have substantial ferries that could accommodate the wagons, livestock and the increased traffic of miners and suppliers heading to the gold mines in the Sierra Nevada.

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