The Harkey House has been a prominent structure on C Street in Yuba City since it was built in 1874 by former Sutter County Sheriff William Pinckney Harkey.
Harkey was an Illinois transplant who moved to the Yuba-Sutter area with his wife, Clarinda, in 1854 and became successful running a pack of mules to deliver supplies to the foothills. He eventually purchased 2,000 acres of land in the Yuba-Sutter area, a portion of which housed Harkey Ranch in Sutter County.
Harkey became the sheriff of Sutter County in 1873 and served in the role for 17 years.
“He was so well respected in the community that people didn’t want him to retire when he tried the first time, so he stayed on a few more years,” said Lee Jones, the fourth and current owner of the Harkey House.
Jones, who purchased the house in 1971, said she and her husband, Bob, consider themselves stewards of the Harkey House and have carefully preserved as much of the original house as possible – from the marble fireplaces and chandeliers to the original shutters, screen door and the blown glass windows.
Jones said she was thrilled when a few items belonging to Harkey himself were gifted to the house by his great, great grandson, William, in 2019.
Among the items was an original sign from the Harkey Ranch, bells from Harkey’s mule train, Harkey’s shaver and the top of Harkey’s walking cane, engraved with his name.
Though more than a century old, all of the items are in pristine condition. The top of the walking handle, a little worn from use, even has Harkey’s thumb indent from years of leaning on it while he walked.
Jones said Williams Harkey found the items while cleaning out a family home and, after giving his family first dibs, decided these items should be returned to their original home here in Yuba City.