1851: Windsor's first settlers: Tom and Ike Smith; J.W. Calhoun; John Prewett; James Campbell; H.J. Pool; James Brooks; L. Slusser; and the Chitwood Brothers.
1852-1853: Arrival of settlers J.W. Yates, Henry White, RT Mitchell, Alexander Wilson, George Brumfield, and Robert Cunningham.
1855: Pony Express rider, Hiram Lewis, names the area "Windsor" because it reminds him of his native England.
In January 1848, gold was discovered by James Marshall at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. Shortly after Marshall's discovery, General John Bidwell discovered gold in the Feather River and Major Pearson B. Reading found gold in the Trinity River.
Throughout 1848, reports and rumors about plentiful gold in the mountains and streams of California swept throughout America. When President James K. Polk confirmed the tales of gold in his State of the Union address on December 5, 1848, thousands of people (mostly men) began streaming across America to seek their fortunes in the west.
By the end of 1849, there was an estimated 40,000 people mining in California, and the promise of gold drew more miners every year. However, after 1850, the potential for making a big fortune diminished as the surface gold disappeared and mining became more difficult. Many prospectors who had come to California for gold chose instead to settle in the area in and around Santa Rosa and work the land as farmers.
Settlers came to this area from all over the United States, as well as Scotland, Ireland, England, Germany and France. In early 1855, Hiram Lewis, a pony express rider who would later become Windsor's first postmaster, named the area between Santa Rosa and Healdsburg, "Windsor," presumably because the area's pastoral beauty reminded him of the grounds surrounding Windsor Castle in his native England.
Windsor's earliest recorded settlers, Tom and Ike Smith; J.W. Calhoun; John Prewett; James Campbell; H.J. Pool; James Brooks a hunter and trapper; L. Slusser; and the Chitwood Brothers, arrived in Windsor in 1851. They were joined in 1852 and 1853 by J.W. Yates, Henry White, RT Mitchell, Alexander Wilson, George Brumfield, and Robert Cunningham.
The Cunningham's house (seen above and in the background) is a Windsor historic landmark being the oldest house in Windsor and one of Windsor's few remaining structures from the Gold Rush period.