College City, as a town, sprung into being when a school was built with the money from the sale of property left by the will of Andrew Pierce, who died on or about April 25, 1871. The settlement was located on a gravel ridge sixteen miles south of the town of Colusa, nine miles west of the Sacramento River, about five miles east of the line of the Southern Pacific Railroad, Arbuckle now being the nearest place.
Pierce was a shoemaker by trade, and in 1849 he came to California from Massachusetts, his birthplace. He engaged in ox-team freighting between Sacramento and Shasta, California. On one of his freighting trips, while he and his companions were seated around the campfire, they were surprised by an Indian attack and Peirce was shot in the back. His recovery was slow.
In 1851, while out cutting wild oats for hay, he and his wagon and horses were caught by a prairie fire. The blaze advances to rapidly that he was enveloped in flames. His face was horribly burned, and his hands were burned almost to a crisp. He bore the scars to his grave.
After this accident, he went to his home in the East, but returned again to California. In 1855 he settled on the edge of the tules in College City on the land granted to him by patent from President Andrew Johnson and began raising sheep. He gained a reputation selling purebred breeding rams. By being thrifty and frugal Peirce was able to enlarge his lands and flocks. He died at the age of forty-eight from consumption. His dwelling was a small, rough cabin to the back of Barney Beeman's according to Judge U. W. Brown's son. Barney has dug up bricks and sandstone slabs in his backyard. Also, he found an old well to the south of his house.