History of Danville

Danville, California

Danville, 1858

In our series of articles about the history of the San Ramon Valley, we have covered the history of the city of San Ramon. We highlighted the Harlan House that was built by settlers Joel and Minerva Harlan in 1858 and still stands today. And we explored the Indian tribes who used to inhabit this area. However, no discussion of San Ramon Valley history would be complete without the inclusion of Dan Inman.

history of danville.

Daniel Inman. Photo courtesy of the Museum of the San Ramon Valley.

Daniel Inman and his brother Andrew traveled from Illinois to California in 1849 during the Gold Rush. They quickly made their fortune. Dan moved in and out of the area. He found success with hydraulic mining in El Dorado County, but ultimately settled on a farm in the Danville area in 1858. He quickly took to farm life and a few years later married Josephine Jones. Together the couple moved to Livermore with Dan’s friend William Mendanhall in 1865.

Even though Dan’s later years were largely spent developing the city and government in Livermore, he was an integral part of Danville’s history and was involved in choosing the town’s name. What is now known as San Ramon was once known as Brevensville, named after a local blacksmith. Thinking along these lines, the name “Inmanville” was discussed, but quickly rejected by the Inman brothers. Ultimately Andrew Inman’s mother-in-law, Grandma Sarah Young, suggested the name of Danville after her hometown in Kentucky. The fact that the name also gave a nod to founder Dan Inman was an added bonus.

Dan and Josephine established themselves as leaders in Alameda County. They founded the Presbyterian Church in Livermore and Dan held a number of political roles over the years. They went on to have seven children. After Dan’s death in 1908 at the age of 81, both a school and a street were named after him.

This article is part of our series showcasing some of the important people, places and events that have shaped modern-day San Ramon Valley. Click here to read all the related articles.

If you are planning to move to the San Ramon Valley area, contact Villa Properties at (925) 519-0794 for help in finding your perfect home.