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Rackerby is an unincorporated town in Yuba County. It is located southwest of Brownsville and northwest of Oregon House. It has a population of 283 (as of a 2009 estimate). Its elevation is 1,378 feet. The average annual rainfall is 62.5 inches and average annual snowfall is 15.8 inches. The average high temperature in July is 96.4°, and the average low temperature in January is 34.7°.

The native plant community of Rackerby is central oak woodland, with high concentrations of serpentine especially in the areas just north, northeast, east, and southeast of town.

Rackerby is in the 95972 zip code. Addresses in Rackerby are sometimes referred to as being in Brownsville, but on the Yuba-Sutter Wiki, we prefer listing the more specific location Rackerby.


The first Euro-Americans settled in the place now known as Rackerby in 1851. By the following year, the place had 1,000 residents. James H. Hanson and R. M. Johnson built a house there in 1856 in which they established the first post office, store, and hotel. The town was then called Hansonville, after Hanson. Hansonville had its own post office from 1856 to 1862.1

A later postmaster, Paulin Rouze, had the town renamed after himself; the Paulinville post office was established from 1866 to 1873. In 1873, the name of the town was changed back to Hansonville, and the Hansonville post office was re-established from 1873 to 1892.2

In 1892, postmaster William Martin Rackerby successfully petitioned to rename the town after himself, and the Rackerby post office has retained that name ever since. Nearby Hansonville Hill is still named after Hanson.3

The History of Yuba County, California (Chapter XXX: New York Township) by Thompson & West, 1879, described Hansonville this way:

This once flourishing town was situated on the Hansonville branch of the Honcut, twenty-eight miles from Marysville. It was first settled in 1851, by James H. Hanson, after whom the town was named. A number of miners commenced to work along the creek in the spring of 1851, and more soon followed. R. M. Johnson settled with Hanson, and together they built a house in which they kept the first store and hotel. William Denton and Harry Critcher both opened stores in 1851. In 1852, there were seven stores, eight hotels and a population of one thousand people. Every store had a bar. There was a bowling alley also.
Plenty of gambling was indulged in. William Mackayell was the first blacksmith in the town. In 1852, religious services were held in the bar-rooms and private houses, by Rev. Mr. Merchant. One day he was preaching back of a saloon, the gamblers having ceased operations in order to hear the sermon. One of them opened a faro game and won about fifty dollars, which he presented to the preacher at the conclusion of the services. The minister said he would take it as it had been in bad use long enough. From 1864 to 1876, the Methodists held regular services in the Hansonville school house. They are now held on the Butte county side of the Honcut. A Mr. Hill kept a private school in the town in 1853. The school house was built in 1864, at an expense of five hundred dollars. The last store in town was that of James Hanson, and was closed in 1860. A quartz ledge was found in 1851, and located by Russell, Craig & Co., and the Hansonville Mining Company. Russell, Craig & Co. built a stamp mill in 1851, which was abandoned two years later. The Hansonville Mining Company also built an eight-stamp water-power mill, at a cost of eighteen thousand dollars. It did not pay to work, as labor was eight dollars per day and the quartz worth only sixteen dollars per ton. The mill was washed away in the flood of 1852-53.
In 1858, a new company erected a twelve-stamp steam-power mill, at a cost of about twenty thousand dollars. It was worked but a short time. In 1864, it was sold and the machinery taken away. In 1871, an arrastra was made and used until 1874, when a small mill was built, which was run for two years. In June, 1878, the Yuba Consolidated Mining Company put in new machinery and again started the mill. In September, it was destroyed by fire, together with the hoisting works.
By January 1, 1879, the five stamps were again running. Besides these claims a number of pockets have been found that were quite rich. Most of the mining in this vicinity has been with the pan and sluice box. But little mining is being done now. David Beaver built a hotel at the top of the Hansonville grade in 1853. He sold it to Rice, who gave it up in 1864. A hotel was built by a man named Harrison in 1854, one and one-half miles above Hansonville. He sold it to Dunn, who afterwards abandoned it.


As of a July 2007 estimate4, residents' median age was 51 years, the oldest in the Yuba-Sutter area.

Of residents 25 or older, 74.9% had at least a high school degree, 9.6% had at least a bachelor's degree, and 7.6% had a graduate or professional degree.

Of residents 15 or older, 51.8% were married.

For employed residents, the average travel time to work was 41 minutes.

The 2008 median home price was $200,060.


Main Roads


Rackerby entry on Wikipedia Sperling's Best Places: Rackerby


1. Communities Around Forbestown
2. California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State by David L. Durham. Word Dancer Press, 1998
3. Communities Around Forbestown
4. Sperling's Best Places: Rackerby