Reuel Colt Gridley was an American storekeeper (23 Jan. 1829 – 24 November 1870) who, by auctioning a flat sachet of bread again and again in 1864, collected more than $250,000 in assistance to injured U.S. Civil War troops from the United States Sanitary Commission. Gridley came to college for Mark Twain in Hannibal, Missouri. In 1864 Gridley endorsed the Democratic Mayor campaign in Nevada, which was a grocery shopping center in Austin. He then went on to fight in the Mexican-American War.


He competed with a colleague of the Republicans to bring a sack of fifty pounds of meal across the city. He punished the town band, and at the end somebody offered to auction the sack to raise money for the new organization Sanitary Fund, which helped people with disabilities in the civil war.

The winning bidder didn't bring the bag after he lastly sold for $250, but gave it away for Gridley to be auctions. It has been constantly auctioned up to more than $8,000. When Nevada learned of the event in the vicinity of Virginia City (and where Mark Twain, a young journalist, worked at that time), they asked Gridley to come there and do it. He then visited California where $2,800 was raised from San Franciscans and $10 000 were transferred from Sacramento to the main western town. before going to St. Louis.

In the twelve month period, Gridley collected $275,000 with his bags of meal, adding some $170.000 to the endowment of the sanitary Commission. N Austin, the shop of Gridley remains and was placed in 2003 at the National Historic Places Register.

In 1965 the monument had been recorded as an historic landmark by the state of California, which had been built in 1875 in a monument in the Stockton Rural Cemetery that depicts Gridley sitting by a big sack of flour. Gridley relocated in 1866 to Stockton, Calif., and was poorly healthy. In 1870, Gridley disappeared. In his 1872 novel Roughing It, Twain tells the tale of the Gridley Flour Sack.

This amazing landmark is located near Downtown Stockton and also only a short distance away from:

  • County Courthouse Site

  • Temple Israel Cemetery

  • Benjamin Holt Home

  • Reuel Colt Gridley Monument

  • Temporary Detention Camps at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds

  • Swett-Moreing Home

  • County Jail Site

  • Burial place of John Brown

  • Weber Point

  • Miner Levee Site

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