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Ousleys Bar is a bar on the south bank of the Yuba River opposite the mouth of the more northern of the two Yuba County creeks called Dry Creek. It was named for a Dr. Ousley (sometimes spelled Owsley) from Missouri, for whom Ousley Ditch (slightly upstream) was also named.1 A post office was established at Ousleys Bar from 1855 to 1865.

The History of Yuba County, California (Chapter XXV: Linda Township) by Thompson & West, 1879, described Ousleys Bar this way:

Just above Sand Flat is an old mining bar, now entirely covered with mining debris. Work was commenced here late in 1849, and quite a little mining town grew up which was named after Dr. Ousley, of Missouri, who mined and practiced medicine. In two or three years it was partially deserted, although in 1858, a little work was still being done here. When the Tri-Union ditch was constructed, it was extended to this place. There were no other settlements of any consequence in the township, except one made in 1850 near the river, where the Smartsville road leaves that stream. This place was called Yuba Dam, and is still the original of the old "Yuba Dam Story" so familiar to all.
John Rose, in 1850, laid out a field of seventy acres, on which John Day and another man raised a crop of barley that year, which they cut for hay before it ripened. John Brophy bought the upper mile of Rose's ranch in 1850, and opened a hotel. The seventy-acre field was sold by Rose to a man named Chick in the fall of 1850. In 1853, Brophy returned east to bring his family here, and the Simpson family occupied his place. When he returned the next year, the Simpsons moved to Yuba Dam. In 1855, a school house was built and called the Brophy school. It was attended by all the children in that vicinity. Riley Lane laid out the Lane road in 1857, and opened the hotel which he still keeps. He built a school house in 1858, which has since been torn down. Other hotels were opened along the lines of travel, and settlements were gradually made, until all the land became occupied. The Oregon division, C.P.R.R., has a station on the south side of the river, where they receive freight. It is called Yuba Station, and consists of a warehouse and side track.

The "Yuba Dam Story" referred to in the excerpt above is the following poem, composed by Bret Harte about the Yuba Dam, which was built in 1880 about nine miles upstream from Marysville and no longer exists today. The dam was 11,000 feet long (nearly two miles) and was used to re-confine the Yuba River to a narrower bed after the debris from hydraulic mining had caused it to spill out of its channel into a two-miles-wide, 20-feet deep flow. The Yuba Dam was built from brush, wire, and logs, and cost approximately $100,000. It has since been replaced by several newer dams farther upstream (including the Daguerra Point Dam, which is the closest one to the location of the former Yuba Dam).

Of Yuba Dam, the story's told,
It may be false, it may be true,
How Jones in search of placer gold
Chanced in the town while it was new.
He saw a man upon a fence,
The usual chills and fever type,
Who sat and watched the lizards play
And smoked a vilely smelling pipe.
"What place is this? My friend," said Jones,
"I think I've somehow lost my way,
"I left this morn the Billings Ranch,
"I seek the prospect, Break of Day."
Still puffing at his corncob pipe,
The native looked the stranger o'er,
Then, in a low and peevish voice,
Said "Yuba Dam"—just that, no more.
Astounded at the answer given,
Jones asked once more, in terms polite,
"Please tell me what this place is called,
"I did not get the answer right."
Taking his pipe from out his mouth,
The more tobacco in to cram,
The native said "I told you once,
"You must be deaf, it's Yuba Dam."
The fighting blood of Jones rose up.
He dropped his neck and seized the man,
"You goldarned bunch of bones," he said,
"I'll teach you to say 'You be dam'!"
The Native came down from the fence
And hit the earth an awful slam,
But while Jones rolled him in the dust,
He feebly muttered "Yuba Dam."
The contest o'er, his honor cleared,
But angry still, Jones took his way.
He saw a little girl at play
At a cottage near the road.
"My dear," said Jones, in sweetest tones,
"Please name the town in which you dwell.
"This two-bit piece I mean for you
"When your town's name you rightly tell."
The child looked up with bashful grace
And shyly eyed the stranger man,
One finger in her mouth,
And softly lisped, "Oo be Dam."
"Good God!" said Jones, "I'll ask no more.
"Helltown's the name the place should bear
"Where little children, sweet and mild,
"At inoffensive strangers swear!"


1. History of Yuba County, California (Chapter 25) by Thompson & West, 1879