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Frederick Augustus Hihn: His Political History (1869-1870)


Hihn was born in Germany; his family's surname was Hühn. He immigrated for the Gold Rush in 1849. He was naturalized as a U.S. Citizen only 13 years before his election to the California Legislature as an Assemblyman. He was one of three Independents to serve in the 18th Session (1869-1870).

In 1867, he was the third highest taxpayer (of 196) in Santa Cruz County. He had moved up from thirteenth place the previous year. Fifteen years later [1883] in was the top taxpayer.

An analysis of the Journal of the Assembly for the 18th Session during Hihn’s tenure shows that he introduced twenty-six Bills, of which nearly twenty-seven percent (26.92%) were adopted by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. Not a bad record for a “freshman Assemblyman.”

During that term he performed a prodigious amount of work, a few of the measures he originated and had charge of, being the following Acts of Legislature: A new charter for the city of Santa Cruz; a new financial system for the County of Santa Cruz; an Act concerning estray animals; an Act appointing of a commission to examine and survey Santa Cruz harbor for a breakwater; an Act concerning roads and highways; an Act authorizing a levy of district taxes for building schoolhouses; an Act authorizing supervisors of counties to grant wharf franchises;an Act providing for fees and salaries of State and township officers; and, an Act authorizing supervisors to aid in the construction of railroads in their respective counties.

One of the most important measures he originated was that to refund the State debt, under which Act about $4,000,000 of State bonds were successfully refunded at a saving of a large amount of interest to the State and its taxpayers.

This presentation draws upon the Hihn-Younger Archive, Special Collections, University Library, University of California at Santa Cruz, and the author's twenty years of acquisition, transcribing, indexing, and promoting the history of F. A. Hihn and his extended family.

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