Folsom A to Z: Pierson B. Reading

By: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
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Editor’s note: Folsom A to Z is an intermittent series in the Telegraph where readers can learn facts and history about Folsom. Each week, the Telegraph will select a landmark, place, historical figure and major historical event that start with the next letter of the alphabet. This week we continue with "R.”

  • Pierson Barton Reading (pronounced Redding) was born November 26, 1816 in New Jersey. 
  • Reading came across the country to California as a member of the Chiles-Walker party in 1843. 
  • Gold had not been discovered yet, but Reading was looking for wealth in land. 
  • Employed by General Sutter as a clerk, explorer and chief of trappers, he saw what the future suggested for Sutter and learned from him. 
  • Like many others who Sutter helped establish in California, Reading became successful after he left his employment at Sutter’s Fort. 
  • He was given land grants by the Mexican Governor Micheltorena that included vast tracts of placer claims in the northern sections of the Sacramento Valley. 
  • Reading received the 26,632-acre Rancho Buenaventura land grant in Shasta County in 1847. 
  • After discovering gold in Trinity County in 1848, he became a very wealthy man. 
  • Reading participated in the Bear Flag Revolt in 1846. 
  • He enlisted under Fremont and was appointed Paymaster of the Californian Battalion with the rank of Major.
  • He became the Whig candidate for governor of California in 1851. 
  • Four years later, Reading was appointed a Special Indian Agent.  
  • After his death on May 29, 1868, the Central Pacific Railroad arrived and laid out a town they named for him, Redding, California. 
  • Joseph Folsom honored Major Pierson Reading because of his leadership in California by naming a street after him, Reading Street.