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First there was Atlanta, then Manteca

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First there was Atlanta, then Manteca

The Atlanta Cemetery was founded in 1865.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED December 30, 2008 2:04 a.m.

Before there was Manteca or Ripon, there was Atlanta.

Atlanta — located east of Manteca near Due Road and Lone Tree Road — dates back to the mid-1860s. It served as the community center for farmers and settlers east of French Camp, south from Collegeville, and north from the Stanislaus River.

Although the cemetery founded in 1865 and the Methodist Church built in 1878 are located at Five Corners where Jack Tone Road, French Camp Road and Lone Tree Road meet, the actual community was one mile to the east.

Atlanta was named after the Georgia city by the same name. That isn’t disputed. But how it got its name is. One version is that settler and Georgia native Lee Wilson named it for his home city. The other has the first postmaster, William Dempsey, naming it Atlanta to recognize the “kindness and hospitality” of the Georgia city when he visited there as a boy.

The post office was established in June 10, 1868 inside the Murphy Brothers store for whom Murphy Road is named.

By 1878, Atlanta had one-store seven homes, a wagon shop, and a blacksmith shop. There was a freestanding post office, two churches and a saloon added by 1880.

The Atlanta area in the 1860s originally was a cattle-raising region much like depicted in the 1960s show “The Big Valley.” Fifteen years later, wheat was king.

Atlanta was one of six settlements in the greater Manteca area. Lathrop, French Camp, Ripon and Manteca that ended up persevering while Mossdale and Atlanta have largely disappeared. Atlanta was the fourth settlement after French Camp, Mossdale, and Lathrop.

French Camp can trace its history back to 1820. It is the oldest settlement in San Joaquin County.

At one time, it was the southern terminus of the Oregon-California trail used by the trappers employed by the Hudson Bay Company. Most of those trappers were French Canadians hence the name French Camp.

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