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From the Archives

Thomas Steele

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Born in Shropshire, England in 1842, Thomas Steele came to the U.S. with his parents in 1849. The Steeles settled in Wisconsin before coming to California around 1858, and they settled in the Alabama Township in southeast Sacramento County. The Amador (Ione) Branch Line of the Southern Pacific Railroad between Galt and Ione was built and passed through the Steele property in 1876. Steele opened a store and a small train depot next to the railroad line in 1878. Because of the local soil, the town was called Clay. The depot came to be called Clay Station. Steele became postmaster in 1878 and opened a blacksmith shop in 1879.