He settled in Missouri briefly and started a family, but left after a business deal with a friend went bad. He received news of his family from the wagon trains that were traveling west during the late 1840s.
He learned that his daughter was engaged to a man named Bartlett Vines. He sent the couple two mules as a wedding present which was quite valuable in Missouri at the time. He learned that his wife had remarried. Bartlett Vines and Frances Yount left to reunite with George Yount in Alta California.
In 1821, Mexico revolted against Spain and officially took control of Alta California. During Mexico’s tumultuous early years, it was decided that northern lands should be sold or granted to individuals whom had proven their allegiance to Mexico and would guard against potential Russian incursions from the north.
Yount arrived in Sonoma in 1835. He immediately was employed by General Vallejo. He was initially employed to use his skills a carpenter to construct a shingled home for Vallejo in the Kentucky Blockhouse style. Yount was baptized a Catholic and took an oath of allegiance to the Mexican Government.
The first time Yount saw the Napa Valley, he fell in love with the region’s natural beauty. He reportedly said, “In such a place I should love to clear the land and make my home. In such a place I should love to live and die.”
In 1836, Vallejo granted the 11,814 acre Caymus Rancho to George Yount. A few years later, Rancho La Jota was also granted to Yount.
The local Californios called him “Captain Buckskin” because he made his clothes himself. His house was a destination for mountain men and pioneers.
Yount shared the valley with the Wappo Indians, but relations were sometimes tense. In 1840, there was a major battle south of Rincon de Carneros between the Californios and Yount vs. the Wappo.
Although Native American grape varietals existed in Napa before Yount’s arrival, he was the first to make wine. He planted a small vineyard with the Mission varietal cuttings from Mariano Vallejo’s vineyard.
In 1855, Yount hired a surveyor to lay out the town that would eventually be named after him. In 1864, Elizabeth Yount, the daughter of Frances Yount and Bartlett Vines, married Thomas Rutherford. Yount gave the young couple 1,040 acres in the northern part of the Caymus Rancho in the current Rutherford AVA as a wedding present. After Yount’s death, the courts stepped in to sell the remaining portions of his property.
Judge Serranus Hastings bought a large portion of the original Caymus Rancho. Hastings was the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court as well as the founder of Hastings Law School. He later sold part of his property to Captain Gustave Niebaum and State Senator Seneca Ewer.