How the County Seat of Moniteau County got its name
The following paragraphs were taken from:
A History of Moniteau County Missouri by J. E. Ford
Published by Marvin H. Crawford, 1936
Chapter XI Cities and Towns p.266
The city of California occupies a site officially selected for a county seat in 1845 when the county was organized. It was officially named Boonesborough, a name which was discarded in compliance with the postal authorities because of the existence of another Boonesborough in the state.
The original town of California, which had been in existence for ten years, was located about a mile east of the site chosen. Walter Garner established a blacksmith shop there in 1834. Shortly thereafter a saloon and residence were built by Samuel Hand and J. Anderson. At the log raising it is said that California Wilson, a brother of Mrs. Garner, offered the builders a treat of two gallons of whiskey, worth at that time 25 cents a gallon, if they would name the new town after him. Thus the name California. Several stores, another saloon, a hotel, a cabinet shop, and a carding machine were in operation before Moniteau County was created.
On account of its geographical location near the center of the county an attempt was made to have the county seat of the new county located at California. The county court, not being able to secure the land desired at a price they were willing to pay, selected a new site in a cornfield a mile west.