The town is named after George Gridley who was born in Cazenovia, New York, August 10, 1818. As a young child, he moved with his family to Galena, Illinois where he lived until adulthood. After his marriage to Helen Orcutt in 1846, he undertook the challenge to drive sheep and cattle across the plains to California. Even though he lost his entire herd, he himself made it safely to his destination which is the site of our present day city.
George found work in the stock animal trade and saved $10,000, with which he returned to Illinois and purchased three-thousand head of sheep and again made the drive back to California. Once more he suffered heavy losses yet managed to bring about six hundred head back and was able to establish a ranching business. All the land/property here was owned by the government and was considered “un-surveyed government land” however; George was able to make a permanent home here.
The establishment of the post office in 1862 was perhaps the beginning of our town. Mr. L. C. Stone was the postmaster as well as the depot and express agent. Mr. Stone was also a local businessman and merchant.
In 1869 the California & Oregon Railroad traded property with George Gridley for land in town for ranch land west of present-day Gridley. The City of Gridley was incorporated in 1905.