Catheys Valley, California

Catheys Valley (formerly, Cathay and Cathey's Valley) is a census-designated place[3] in Mariposa County, California.[2] It lies in Catheys Valley 22 miles (35.2 km) northeast of Merced, and 8 miles (13 km) southwest of Mariposa,[4] at an elevation of 1325 feet (404 m).[2] As of the 2010 census, Catheys Valley had a population of 825. Catheys Valley was named after Andrew Cathey, a native of North Carolina, who settled in the valley around 1850.[2] The ZIP Code is 95306. The community is inside area code 209.

Catheys Valley
Catheys Valley
Location in California
Catheys Valley
Catheys Valley (the United States)
Coordinates: 37°25′57″N 120°05′53″W
Country United States
State California
Named forAndrew Cathey
  Total23.464 sq mi (60.770 km2)
  Land23.415 sq mi (60.644 km2)
  Water0.049 sq mi (0.126 km2)  0.21%
Elevation1,325 ft (404 m)
  Density35/sq mi (14/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
  Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)209
FIPS code06-12062
GNIS feature IDs254727, 2582968
U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Catheys Valley, California; U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Catheys Valley, California


Cathey's Valley was named after Andrew D. Cathey, born in 1804 in Buncombe, North Carolina. He married Mary Deaver in 1828. Andrew was an adventurous young man in his early life. He decided to leave North Carolina on an exploratory trip to California with the Rowland-Hammond-Wills families from Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia. Their wagons loaded with household goods, they blazed a trail southward finally settling in Benton, Arkansas.

When the Gold Rush began in 1849, many men left their families in search of gold. Andrew, his son Daniel, and son-in-law Benjamin Wills, traveled by river boat from Fort Smith Arkansas to New Orleans and then took a ship to the Isthmus of Panama. In Panama, they boarded another ship bound for San Francisco; from there they caught a stage overland to Indian Gulch, Mariposa County, California.

In 1851, Andrew returned to Arkansas for his family. The Cathey-Wills, Rowland, Hammond, families organized a wagon train to California. Some of the families were those who had come from North Carolina earlier, leaving the Hammonds to start from Collegeville, Arkansas.

Andrew Cathey was appointed Captain of the Cathey-Wills wagon train. About twenty families traveled in covered wagons pulled by oxen. Horses were used to drive the approximate thirty head of cattle. It is said that only one steer was lost on the entire trip, and it was believed stolen by the Indians.

A trip journal shows that they traveled to Fort Smith, Arkansas where they re-grouped and purchased supplies for the trip that began on April 2. They traveled the southern route through Ft. Bliss near El Paso, Fort Tucson, Arizona, then began following the Gila River, an alternative to the Santa Fe Trail. As the wagon train moved across the land, more people joined them. Special duties were assigned to everyone. When they reached the Rio Grande, the wagon beds had to be taken apart and all bolt holes were tightly plugged with wooden pegs. The cracks were caulked with what they had available. Together, they formed a ferry-like raft to transport their families, their livestock, and household goods across the river. The Geary's had started out with the Oatman family. The Oatman's had been warned the Indians were on the warpath. the Geary's joined with the Cathey wagon train and later they came upon the aftermath of the Oatman Wagon Train. Upon seeing the burned wagons and recognizing Mrs. Oatmans clothing, Mrs Geary she was overcome with grief. Although the Cathey's never encountered any hostility by the Indians.

The wagon party took only a very few days off to wash clothes and rest the oxen. It is said many of the women walked barefoot. One serious threat was when their water barrels began to get low, an order was given: no more water. People and animals were rationed only one or two sips when it was really needed. It had been days since they crossed a stream and mountains were still some distance away. After they had almost given up hope of finding water, one of the teamsmen suddenly noticed his oxen raised their heads and sniffed the air. In good judgment, the teamsman gave the oxen their reign. They immediately left the trail, and on top of a knoll, under a large rock was a basin full of fresh water!

After leaving Ft. Yuma, a Mrs. Warner, who had just buried a child en route in New Mexico, gave birth to another child. The family continued on to El Monte, in southern California. The Wills family broke away from the wagon train. The remaining wagon party traveled over the Tejon Pass, across the San Joaquin Valley to just below Millertown, where they crossed over the San Joaquin River. They proceeded north, crossing over Mariposa Creek and through the McDermott place, up Bear Creek, and on to Indian Gulch where they arrived on October 27, 1852. It was a long, arduous journey of living in tents and wagons for two years and enduring countless hardships. They sold milk from their herd to the miners.

Cathey's Valley Named After Andrew Cathey and his sons- In 1854, Andrew D. Cathey purchased a ranch from a Mr. Evans. Evans drove a hard bargain and Andrew finally agreed to pay him $1,500 for a quit-claim. This became Andrew and his wife Mary's first, new, real home. Her sons lived at home for about ten years before they all became larger independent landowners. Cathey's Valley now bears his name.

Andrew Cathey soon became very involved in civic and political activities. He enjoyed exhibiting his abundant produce in the Merced Fair. A few of his trees and vines are still standing, although very sparse after nearly 150 years.

Andrew and his wife, Mary, very devout Christians, helped build a church, school and cemetery on land they donated.

Recently a large mariposite stone monument was built by many donors and volunteer labor in memory and honor of the Andrew D Cathey family and history of Cathey's Valley. The monument is located at the Cathey's Valley Park. Visitors may read the early history plaque and see the 1879 one room school house. The school house was restored by the Cathey's Valley Historical Society.[5]

The first Catheys Valley post office opened in 1879, and closed in 1881.[4] The Cathay post office opened in 1882, closed in 1918, re-opened in 1919, and changed its name to Catheys Valley in 1964.[4]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP covers an area of 23.464 square miles (60.771 km2), virtually all land.


Catheys Valley is categorized as being within the 9a USDA hardiness zone, meaning temperatures can get as low as 20 to 25 °F.[6]

Climate data for Catheys Valley, CA (1,325 feet above sea level)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 75.0
Average high °F (°C) 55.0
Daily mean °F (°C) 46.0
Average low °F (°C) 37.0
Record low °F (°C) 13.0
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.61
Source: Weather Channel[7]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[8]

The 2010 United States Census[9] reported that Catheys Valley had a population of 825. The population density was 35.2 people per square mile (13.6/km²). The racial makeup of Catheys Valley was 730 (88.5%) White, 6 (0.7%) African American, 12 (1.5%) Native American, 12 (1.5%) Asian, 1 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 33 (4.0%) from other races, and 31 (3.8%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 80 persons (9.7%).

The Census reported that 825 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 316 households, out of which 93 (29.4%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 208 (65.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 22 (7.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 17 (5.4%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 16 (5.1%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 5 (1.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 54 households (17.1%) were made up of individuals and 17 (5.4%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61. There were 247 families (78.2% of all households); the average family size was 2.92.

The population was spread out with 184 people (22.3%) under the age of 18, 56 people (6.8%) aged 18 to 24, 146 people (17.7%) aged 25 to 44, 300 people (36.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 139 people (16.8%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 109.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 107.4 males.

There were 381 housing units at an average density of 16.2 per square mile (6.3/km²), of which 224 (70.9%) were owner-occupied, and 92 (29.1%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 16.7%. 544 people (65.9% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 281 people (34.1%) lived in rental housing units.


In the state legislature Catheys Valley is located in the 14th Senate District, represented by Republican Tom Berryhill, and in the 25th Assembly District, represented by Republican Kristin Olsen.

In the United States House of Representatives, Catheys Valley is in California's 4th congressional district, represented by Republican Tom McClintock.[10]

Notable people

Home of New England Patriots 2005 1st round Pick Logan Mankins


  1. "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files – Places – California". United States Census Bureau.
  2. "Catheys Valley". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  3. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Catheys Valley, California
  4. Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 756. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.
  5. "Cathey Family Chronicle by Betty Cathey McRee".
  6. "USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map". United States Department of Agriculture. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  7. "Catheys Valley, CA Monthly Weather Forecast". Weather Channel. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  8. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  9. "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Catheys Valley CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  10. "California's 4th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved October 2, 2014.

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