A History of Chinese Americans in California:
Quick Ranch Stone Wall
This rock boundary wall is four miles long, four feet high, two feet wide at the base, and one foot wide at the top. It covers 640 acres. Uncut field stones without mortar were used to make it.
The wall runs up and down rolling hills, the highest elevation of which is 2,022 feet. Because the wall is built across the hills rather than on level ground and because it appears to continue endlessly, it is often referred to as a miniature "Great Wall of China."
Throughout California, there are stone walls that are said to have been built by Chinese workers in the nineteenth century. It is undeniable that one of the great contributions of Chinese Americans to development of California was their stone masonry skills. However, there were stone masons of other nationalities at work in the state at the time, so without conclusive documentation, one cannot be absolutely certain how many walls were built by the early Chinese.
The stone walls on the Quick Ranch present no problem, since the ranch has remained in the family of the founder for six generations. The walls were built in 1862, and there is written documentation concerning the Chinese builders. Thus, these stone walls can be taken as a prime example of Chinese stone masonry technique, and can be used to help identify other Chinese stone walls throughout the state.
The Quick Ranch sits in the rolling foothills along the former Raymond-Mariposa Road. The original plank house that dates to the 1850s still stands. The ranch is now owned by Clyde E. Quick, the great-grandson of the founder, Morgan W. Quick. In 1849, Morgan Quick, at the age of 21, sailed from New York to California, then traveled to Mariposa to mine gold. In 1859, Morgan bought a homestead 11 miles south of Mariposa for $250. The 160-acre property was located on Rancheria Creek, surrounded by a common brush fence. The highest hill on the ranch is 2,022 feet. Altogether, including various home steads, the ranch covered 4,000 acres. Remains of the homesteads are still on the ranch.
In 1862, Morgan Quick had a rock wall built. This not only kept the livestock in but cleaned the fields of rocks. Cattle, horses, hogs, turkeys, and chickens were raised over the years. The family grew their own barley and wheat, and harvested wild oat hay.
Chinese workers from Mormon Bar built the fence under the direction of a Chinese boss. Each worker had to complete a rod and a half of fence a day (24-3/4 ft.) to receive the day's wages of 25 cents. Morgan also agreed to feed the workers and bought a herd of hogs at about a cent and a half a pound to provide pork. The Chinese boss was paid at the rate of $1.75 a rod (16-1/2 ft.). He sat under an umbrella, and kept count of each foot of wall on his abacus. The total cost of the wall was $6,000. Most of the original wall is still standing. Although other parts of the ranch remain, one of Morgan Quick's greatest monuments is the rock wall.