1848: California becomes U.S. territory.
1849: Gold Rush. Manoah Pence arrives in California.
1850: Butte County is created. California becomes 31st state.
1856: Sophia Chase (pictured right) arrives in California. Messilla Valley School—originally called the Oregon School—is built.
1857: Manoah and Sophia get married.
1859: Watt Pence born.
1860: John Bidwell founds Chico.
1861: Civil War breaks out, lasts until 1865.
1863: After murders of white children, settlers move Indians onto the Round Valley Reservation. Of 461 Indians who left Chico area, 277 survived the “trail of tears.”
1864: Pence applies for post office; it gets spelled wrong in Washington, D.C.: Pentz. The post office operates until 1912.
1872: Chico incorporates as city.
1879: Messilla Valley School (pictured above) moves to the site where the Pence Hotel now stands. The school operates until 1964.
1880: President Hayes (pictured right), General Sherman speak on the front porch of the Pence Hotel.
1882: Manoah Pence dies.
1892: Sophia and Watt Pence (pictured left) move off the Pence Ranch.
1940s: Clayton Gunn Sr. buys ranch from Chico Meat Co. for $100,000 plus stock in Tucker Autos, which was worth nothing.
1990: Messilla Valley School moved to Pete Schwede and Becky Woods’ property on the west side of Messilla Valley Road.
2002: School relocated to Concow, being restored
by Yankee Hill Historical Society.
2005: Dale Dunlap buys Pence Hotel from Clayton Gunn.
2006: Lyn Batt buys hotel from father, buys land where Messilla Valley School once stood. Moves hotel onto that land.