The community of Wyandotte has little left to mark the small village that once stood here. The Dunstone Memorial Hall is left, but even the Wyandotte school is long gone and children go to Oroville for school. Willian Dunstone, for whom the small community hall is named, is buried behind the iron gates of the Wyandotte Cemetery with many other early settlers.
Dunstone made his permanent home in Wyandotte in 1861. He was 33 years old, but had already made one round trip to California from Dubuque, Iowa to mined for gold when he was 24. Actually, he was born in England, so he journeyed far before he found the best place to live his long life of 79 years.
He arrived in need of some money so he postponed going gold-panning until he made some cash as a farm hand. He started mining near Wyandotte in 1854 and began helping the community off to a good start by becoming the superintendent of the Sunday school, which he remained for 50 years, just taking time off to go home to Iowa to be married in 1858. He and his wife came back to California to make a home and raise 3 children in Wyandotte.
The legend is that the community came to be called Wyandotte from a band of Kansas Wyandotte Indians. They soon departed when the white people came, but the name stuck.
Mr. Dunstone was well educated for his time and everyone liked and respected the young man. He was elected justice of the peace in 1869, and had the title Judge Dunstone. He held court in his home where he could handle all cases except major crimes. From his home courtroom, he sentenced people that were found guilty, married young couples and was asked to perform funeral services.
Added to his duties in 1880 was the job of Postmaster. One might say that William Dunstone became the grand old man of the community.
He once wrote, “If we would cultivate our manhood, we must not confine our attention to the development of muscle and mind. They are only the foundation. To be successful we must develop in our children the moral faculties and habits of industry.