The Golden Frontier
The Recollections of Herman Francis Reinhart
When we were at Minersville [in 1852] a man kept a store named George Rogers, and some packers from Oregon came there and stayed a few days till they sold out the load of their train; they had potatoes, onions and flour and bacon. Flour was worth $60 to $75 per hundred, potatoes and onions $65 to $70 a hundred lbs., beef thirty to forty cents per pound, bacon seventy-five to eighty cents a pound, apples a dollar and a quarter per pound, or six for $1.25. The packers' names were James Pool and [end of page 33] James Clugage, the last from Chicago, Illinois. I got well acquainted with both.
They told that there had been some new diggings discovered in Rogue River Valley just close to Jacksonville. A gulch called Rich Gulch had been discovered by their partner named [James] Skinner. He was the son of the then Indian Sup. Agent of Rogue River Indians, and they, Pool and Clugage, advised me to go there, as there had been two or three rich creeks struck at Jackson's Hill or Jackson's Creek on both forks, and there had been some miners with three or four pack animals come to Yreka for provision and [one] had paid in very nice coarse gold, some different from the Yreka gold, and when the merchant tried to find out where he got his gold, would not tell. But he got drunk and spent his money so freely and kept saying he could get plenty more where that came from, that some men concluded to watch him, and one night he struck out on the sly with his animals loaded with provisions and new tools. The men that had been watching him followed him with pack animals, and they had along tools and provisions. . . . The same night there were fifty or sixty men all followed right after each other and followed the man that they were after right into his camp and found that two or three others were mining on the sly. [They] went to work prospecting and found a rich creek and in a short time a thousand miners from California had overrun the whole country. (How[e] was one of the discoverers.)
After Bill Latham and I got tired of our bar claim, we sold out to a New Yorker named Pat Ford; he put in a ditch of water and sluices [end of page 34] and made good pay. Bill, he stayed, but a man came and told me there was a big rush at the Jackson Creek mines and that my brother Charley, with another of our boys that had cross the plains with us, named Eli[sha] Hammer, were keeping a bakery and boarding house at Jacksonville and doing well, and that he wanted me to come out there, for he had left a land claim in the Cow Creek Valley, South [Umpqua] River, and he wanted to go to see to it, and wanted me to come to Jacksonville.
I slept well that night and next morning started on my road to Jacksonville. When I got near the summit of Siskiyou Mountain I had a splendid view of the Mount Shasta. I met a party coming from Jacksonville. . . . [One of them] told me of a murder at Jacksonville [end of page 36] and of the hanging of the murderer by the vigilantes. I knew the man that was hanged; he had a claim next to mine on Humbug, above Minersville; his name was John Brown from Pike County, Illinois.
He had come out in 1849 or 1850, and his father and brother had gone home, back to Illinois, from the southern mines, and he . . . came north and worked on Humbug Creek in 1852 and 1852. . . . Brown was a gambler, and I heard that he used to go with the Indians a great deal before he went to Jacksonville. He was a good foot racer and rassler, very stout build, about 24 or 25 years old.
Dejarlais saw Brown hanged, and he says if he had a cool, fair and impartial trial he might have been cleared, but he was tried by excited miners who worked up a prejudice against the gambler, and Brown was called of that class, then very obnoxious to the miners who had lost money with them, and were mad at them for beating them out of their money. But if they had won it would be all right. But Brown was in a manner justified, for he had great provocation. I will here state the case as I heard it afterward in Jacksonville.
John Brown was considered a gambler and he ran with gamblers, but he was sick and could not work. The man he killed was a large, robust man, over six feet tall and weight over 200 lbs., [who] was drinking and blustering about in Jacksonville that he could outrun, throw down, or whip or out-jump anyone in town. Some men in fun called to Brown to come and run a foot race against the big Missourian. (Brown was quite fast on foot.) But Brown said he was not well enough to run. But the big Missourian thought that Brown was afraid of him, and he could bluff him because he was sick. So he commenced to dare him to run, and as Brown would not, and turned away from him, he said Brown was nothing but a horse-thieving son of a b---- and he could whip him or outrun or throw him down, and abused Brown to what he could lay his tongue to.
Brown left the crowd and went and got a navy revolver and put it in the bosom of his shirt and down under his belt, and he came back where the big Missourian was still blustering around cursing and swearing at everybody. Brown walked up to him and asked him to repeat his words that he called Brown. The big Missourian came toward Brown, and as he came he unbuckled his belt containing his pistol and knife and handed the belt to some friend of his, expecting that Brown had come back to fight him. He came to Brown and said, "You are a lying, gambling, horse-thieving son of a b----," and doubled up his fist to strike Brown when Brown had his hand in his bosom on his pistol, and drew his pistol and shot him through the heart, and he fell back and soon died. [end of page 37]
[beginning of page 39] Brown gave himself right up to the city marshal, and it caused great excitement. The miners were for lynching Brown right off; others formed a vigilance committee to try him next day. Some thought Brown had done right; some thought not. And what made it worse was that the wife and three children of the Missourian had come out and got there a short time after he was shot, and the miners all sympathized with the widow and her three children, and that her husband had been cruelly murdered by a gambler was adding to the crime against Brown. But he, Brown, still claimed he had done right, that if he had been well he would have fought him, but being weak and sick, he could not look over the names that the Missourian had called him and his mother, and if he had it to do again he would do the same every time. . . . But the friends of the killed man said he was drunk and should have been excusable for what he said.
So the next day the miners all met; they had a vigilance committee and a judge and jury elected by the miners to try Brown, and after a little while the jury found Brown guilty of murder and he was to be hung next day close to town. A guard of fifty men (vigilantes) guarded the jail, and next day he, Brown, was hauled in a wagon to the place of execution. His hands and feet were bound and several hundred horsemen armed with rifles and shotguns ranged along the wagon until they got to the gallows, hastily constructed, not far from Jacksonville. They were careful not to take his fetters off his feet and hands until they got on the gallows, for it was Brown's only hope that they would untie his feet and hands and he would have made a rush for the hills, and in the confusion he might have got away, for no doubt he could have outrun any man afoot on the ground, and they knew it, and kept him tied until they put the rope around his neck. They asked him if he had anything to say; he said only a few words--that he thought he had done right, and if it was to be done over would do the same; bid all friends goodbye and died game. The authorities at Jacksonville apprehended a rescue by the California friends of Brown, but they did not get the news until he was about hung, and it was too far to go to avenge the death by what few friends he had around Yreka or Humbug Creek.
From the summit of the Siskiyou Mountain I was nearly three days to Jacksonville [Reinhart was ill]; the last half-day I got quite unwell and I got overheated walking, and awful tired. So when I got to Jacksonville I was nearly down sick. My brother had gone down to Cow Creek Valley on the South Umpqua River to look out for his land claim in Douglas County; he heard someone had jumped it. Elisha Hammer, Charley's partner, asked me to stay till Charley should get back. Their baker had gone on a spree and left Hammer because he did not like him. So I took his place in the bakery, baking pies, until Charley came back, and then when they came to settle up their business Charley found that Hammer had been swindling and collecting money and not accounting for his collections. [end of page 39] He had collected some four or five hundred dollars from the stores retailing bread and pies, and he had a purse of $600 or $700 in gold dust. But he claimed that it belonged to a young man, that he was keeping it for him. So Charley bought out Hammer and he went to mining. Charley got a chance to sell out his bakery, boarding house and saloon to a man from Oregon named Pitney. In digging a well on their lot where their bakery was located, they found a good prospect, and many claims were taken up and worked drifting and tunneling--too deep to strip.
For a few days after Charley's selling out, we took walks up the two forks of Jackson Creek and saw some rich placer claims of Shively, Amos Blue and Newt Bramson, who had a rich creek claim on the left-hand fork. Blue and Bramson took out over $2500 in one day. One piece weighed $1800 and more, the largest ever taken out of the Southern Oregon mines. We were somewhat acquainted with Amos Blue and Newt Bramson in Oregon.
I liked the mines around Jacksonville and wanted to go to mining there, but Charley wanted me to go down and locate a land claim near his [on Cow Creek], if he could get his back. I went up and saw the rich gulch near Jacksonville where Skinner, Clugage and Pool first made the discovery of coarse gold. It was very shallow, and they used knives and spoons in the crevices and took out from $500 to $700 per day, nice bright coarse gold like drops of molded lead.
They got to work with rockers until they got water to work sluices and long toms. They took up great long claims and smuggled some between them, under fictitious names, until the miners got to cutting them [the claims] down and jumping some of them. But it being so shallow, [mining] was not very extensive and they soon skimmed off the best of the rich gulch.
There were some very rich discoveries at Sterling, Gold Hill, Applegate afterwards in that vicinity, and I would have liked to have stayed, but I allowed myself to be persuaded by Charley to go to and take up 160 acres donation claim. He said that on the south side of his one was vacant and just suited, as it was most all prairie and his part timber, and right along the river or creek. The valley was a beautiful valley some five or six miles from the mouth of Cow Creek up to a canyon. There were some ten or fifteen claims taken at that time. Timber [stood] along Cow Creek, and the mountains on each side were covered with pines, firs and cedar.
Charley bought four head of horses and saddles and we packed one with our blankets, clothes and some provisions, and Charley took along [end of page 40] the baker that had gone on a spree while Charley was gone to Oregon while in with Hammer; he was a good ship carpenter in Europe and Charley wanted him to build a house on his claim. He had been on a continued spree for some time, and we thought by taking him away from town we could break him of his fearful drinking. Charley let him have about three or four drinks a day to sober him off gradually, and it came near killing him, but in the end got all right again.
When Charley had gone down to Oregon a month or so before, the Indians along the road were quite bad and troublesome, and on Grave Creek the chief's son, named Warty, had robbed some travelers and stole some horses, and scared some men out of their provisions. When Charley got to Grave Creek, the same chief's son, Warty, came out to the road and spoke to Charley and sold Charley a double-barreled pistol. He bought it merely to humor the Indian; he gave him a blanket and some two or three dollars in money. It was loaded and Charley never fired it off on the trip--he had a shotgun along.
When we three left Jacksonville we traveled slow, for George Williams, the carpenter, could not ride fast, and he had been near the Delirious Tremors [sic] for some time. We stopped every eight or ten miles and let George have a drink of whiskey, where they had it for sale. We crossed Rogue River at Perkins' Ferry, some 16 miles from Jacksonville. [Perkins' Ferry was at the site of today's Grants Pass; Evans' Ferry on Evans Creek would be closer to 16 miles from Jacksonville.] There was some mining, a big bar eight or ten miles from Jacksonville on Rogue River, and there were a great many men mining on the bar: Capt. Jane, a Fancy, and her niece Tony [who] had got married at Yreka to a man named Burgess; and Dutch Louis and Nobles had gone from Humbug City to Yreka, and from there to Jacksonville, keeping a saloon, and Nobles and Louis had boarded awhile at Charley's bakery and then took up some farming land on Rogue River, near Big Bar, where they had some mining claims too. We found miners prospecting in gulches all around Jacksonville, and all the farming land had been taken up for homesteads in the last four or five months and were already held at high prices. At Evans' Ferry we found a hotel and saloon and quite a little village. We stopped first night at a creek called Jump-off Joe; the second day at Grave or Woodpile Creek; third day at noon at Hardy Elliff at the east side of the big canyon. We had dinner and fed the horses, and George was quite tired. So we started after noon to go through the canyon; we were to cross the creek 102 times in 12 or 14 miles, and it must have been a fearful drive to go through with oxen and heavy wagons. We found it hard enough with saddle horses, and George kept [end of page 41] falling back and did not keep up well. . . . We pushed on to get to Mr. Knott's hotel and sawmill at the north of the canyon, at the west side
of the mountains, at a little town called Canyonville. We got to Knott's just before sundown and got our horses taken care of, then ordered supper for the three of us. When it was ready George had not come yet. We concluded to eat and by that time he might come up, but when through, still no George, and it was getting dark. So I thought I would fire off a shot or two out of a pistol and see if he would not hear and answer, or that he would know we were not far off. Charley gave me the double-barreled pistol he had bought from Warty, the Grave Creek Indian chief's son. I stepped out from under the hotel porch to fire it off (there were several men sitting around under the porch) and I held up my hand to fire. It went off with a loud report, but it rebounded with quite a jar with a heavy load. I happened to look at the pistol and saw one of the barrels had burst and gone, so I held up the other and fired, with the same results as before. I looked and the other barrel was gone. The pieces had flown in all directions so as to miss everybody and had not even hurt my hand. We all came to the conclusion that Warty had loaded them very heavy and then had driven the top of the balls with some iron so as to wedge in the bullets that it might kill the person who fired it off. We were very lucky not to get hurt.
[beginning of page 58] Charley took a couple of horses and helped a man named Abel George to move his family and stock of cattle and horses to Rogue River Valley, 3 or 4 miles from Jacksonville. He came from the Willamette Valley and bought the place he was going to in 1851, and he had improved the place and next spring he was offered $6000 for the half-section (320 acres), but he would not sell. My brother got so much per day to help with his two horses.
It was a hard winter at Jacksonville and all the Southern Oregon mines, and many miners had to lay over their claims and go down to the Willamette Valley to winter, for the snow was too deep to work, and no provision to be bought at a living price. At Jacksonville flour got so scarce that it sold, in the winter of 1852, for one dollar and a half per pound. Potatoes 80 cents to a dollar a pound. Salt, none to be had. Appler and Kenney, a merchant, had a keg of very salty butter, too strong and old to eat. He rendered or melted the butter and the salt settled at the bottom; he sold [it] for three dollars per ounce to the miners, who had no flour and had to eat poor deer meat (caught in the deep snow) without bread, pepper or salt.
The hotel at Jacksonville sold meals for $1.50 to $2 per meal and kept a doorkeeper at the dining room door to collect in advance as they went in to eat, and those who had no money were clubbed away from the door. Lots of men had only had a square meal once or twice a week, and lived on lean deer meat straight the balance of the time. We in Cow Creek Valley had to live on beef alone for several weeks until flour, meal and potatoes could be had. We ate about 4 to 5 lbs. per day to each man. We would boil meat for "bread" and fry the fattest to eat with the lean (or "bread"). We paid from 10 to 12½ cts per lb. in the mines at Jacksonville, Althouse and Sailor Diggings. Good beef was from thirty to fifty cents per pound, but we had salt with our meat cheap. Charley, when he came back from Abel George's trip to Rogue River Valley, said he thought if they did not get provision there would be great suffering during the winter. . . .
We used to have lots of fun with the Iowa boys, and as the winter advanced there were a great many miners passed through our valley to the Willamette Valley to stay till spring and the waters got lower so that they could work some claims they had taken up on Althouse Creek and on the head of the Illinois River where there had been some new and rich diggings discovered by the Althouse brothers, and the Iowa boys stopping with us on our gulch thought they might take up some vacant claims, or buy cheaper than they could in the spring. So after a while they got ready and started, promising to write to us if there was anything favorable and we could come out there too. There were five of them, two Haskin brothers, Simmonds, Alex Fuller and Jeff Howell. George [end of page 58] Fetterman continued work with me, and as the weather got too cold to work, we would go and stay with Charley on our homestead claims.
One day while stopping with Charley, old William Riddle and his son-in-law Nichols and some others staying with Riddle came down to our house and said they had heard that someone had been traducing his two daughters as to how they had misbehaved on their trip crossing the plains and said they thought my brother Charley was the one that had traduced them. And if they should find further evidence, they were going to punish him some way. I asked my brother about it and he knew nothing about it. So I thought I knew what they were trying to do. Old Riddle was owing Charley some money for his yoke of cattle and work, and they got Nichols to jump his claim while he was keeping the bakery at Jacksonville the spring before, and now they wanted to scare him so he could not claim what Riddle owed him, and maybe get him to leave his claim again, so that the man who was wanting to marry Riddle's oldest daughter, the widow Chapman, could get Charley's claim. So I just got up and told the whole crowd to get out of the house, that they could not come around trying to bully me, and I made a break for my shotgun, and they concluded to get out. I was just mad enough to give the crowd a few shots for their cowardly way of trying to beat Charley out of his money and land claims.
We found that Ed Northcutt and his two brothers had been joking Nichols about Riddle's daughters, and in fun told him he had heard Charley speak of the girls, and when I saw the Northcutt brothers [probably E. J. Northcutt and his partners A. G. Walling and Mr. Bell] at their ranch in Democrat Gulch, near Althouse Creek, and told them, they said they only were joking Nichols, for they were all packing together and happened to camp close by Nichols.
After working in the gulch until we got tired I came to the conclusion to go to Althouse Creek and take George Fetterman along and see if we could not prospect and take up some mining claims and leave Charley, my brother, to hold our two homesteads. So we were to take one horse, saddled, and tie on our blankets and some little jerked meat--we had no flour.
We found a fat calf near our cabin. It had strayed from the herd. I threw a rope around his neck, George knocked it down with an ax and Charley cut its throat. We skinned it and took its hide, head and offal and threw them into a deep prospect hole and threw some dirt on it. We cut it all up in strips that night and jerked or smoked it and dried it so as it would keep and we took a lot of it along with us. We took a pick, [end of page 59] shovel and pan, and a little ax, and would ride in turn, and we could make splendid headway. The streams were still high, and it took us some 5 or 6 days to get to the Northcutt ranch and store on Democrat Creek, 3 or 4 miles from Browntown on Althouse Creek. Charley and I were acquainted with the boys in Jacksonville and Umpqua Valley.
Ed said I had better try to bring my horse back from Althouse creek and he would keep him for $3 per month. We stayed all night at Northcutt's; next morning we went to Althouse Creek and looked around until afternoon. I took my horse to the ranch and bought 7 lbs. of flour at 80 cts. per lb. and went back to Althouse by way of the creek and noticed as I went along for favorable places to prospect. I found two places I liked the looks of, and when I got to where I had left George Fetterman and our camping outfit he told me he had some bank claim in view to try and he would get it if it suited us at $65. So we concluded to try it with a rocker next morning.
That night we got leave to stop in a miner's cabin with Dr. Pitts and Bob Dudrick, a gambler who was half Cherokee Indian. In Browntown at night George and I went to a large store, and a man named Barnes and a partner in whipsawing lumber wanted George and me to play them a four-hand game of euchre for a pound of coffee, or $1.50 worth, whatever we wished to get in goods or groceries per game.
I had but three or four dollars left, and George not a cent, but I was satisfied that Barnes and his partner played by signs, and I could post George to beat them by the signs I could teach him. So I took George and spoke to him awhile how to play, and we went in and played and we beat them four games in succession at their own game. They became confused and did not understand each other, which made it worse for them than if they had played on the square. So we took our goods and never lost a game.
Next morning we went to prospect the bank claim George wished to buy. We took a rocker and rocked out over sixty buckets of what we thought the best dirt, but it would not pay. I told George he might buy if he wished to, but I would not. I would go and prospect the two favorite places I saw down the creek as I came up the evening before. So George said he would go with me. We got to the first place I had picked, on the head of a low and part high bar. We crossed over to it and found two or three old prospect holes there, but I liked the low bar best, and I commenced. After getting down two or three feet, I washed out a pan of dirt and got a good prospect of coarse gold. The creek was [end of page 60] quite high, it being about the last of February or the first of March , the highest time for high water of the year. We kept bailing out the water and digging down to about three feet and a half. It was so good a prospect that I concluded to stake off our claims.
Just as I had passed out our last pan of dirt, a Chilean named Emmanuel and a partner of Barnes, the whipsawyer, came along and saw my prospect. I used to know him on Humbug Creek, California. He commenced to sink a prospect hole a short distance down the bar below ours. George took his claim fifty yards from our prospect hole up the bar, and I wanted to take most of his claim down the bar and mine just below his, but Emmanuel had commenced his not over sixty yards below ours, and George was satisfied to take his above and mine fifty yards from our hole down the bar, fronting the creek, and Emmanuel took three claims of 50 yds. apiece from my claim down for himself, Barnes and Braziel, their partner. I then dug down some lower in our hole and washed out the dirt. George dug and I panned out some four or five dollars in a short time and quit work for the evening. It was not over five hours from the time of starting to dig our hole till we had located our claims and quit for the evening.
So the next day I borrowed a rocker and started a larger hole near the other, and we made something over $12, and we were well satisfied with our claims. The second day we took a walk down the bar to see what it looked like at the lower end, and to my great surprise found two log cabins and some five men working the lower part of the bar and doing quite well. They had taken up five bar claims and five creek claims extending up the creek fronting on our bar claims. They had located their claims the fall or summer of 1852 and were making money. The men's names were Dusenberg, Beerup and Nat Childs, and two others whose names I do not now remember. The bar was named the Dusenberg Bar after the discoverer, Moses Dusenberg, who I found in later years used to live close to us in Lake County, Illinois. He had left his family on his farm and went to California in 1850, and rented his farm to a German family named Schertz, and one of the boys, John Schertz, went to California the same year, 1850. (I got acquainted with him in 1856 on Indian Creek, California, and in 1857 or 1858 worked with him as my partner on Sucker Creek, Josephine County, Oregon.)
The next partner of Dusenberg was Mr. [Daniel] Beerup. He was one of the men we saw at Lytton's in Iowa the winter of 1850, when he advised us to come to California. He had a son of about ten or eleven years old called Charley (a spoiled boy). Dusenberg was off in California, and I got a chance to stop and sleep nights in Beerup's cabin, while we were building a cabin on our own claim on the hillside back of the bar. We had a couple of boys helping us build our cabin; they had just come from the Willamette Valley. One's name was James Summers, the other William [end of page 61] Fountain (or Dancing Bill). They were prospecting for claims and helped us with the large logs in our cabin, and when completed stopped with us quite awhile.
About the fourth day of work on the claim, the weather being very cold, and the water was from the snow in the mountains and as cold as ice, we had only commenced cutting logs for our cabin, and our shoes were in pieces and we could not work long in the ice-cold water, for we had to bail out every time we commenced work and keep bailing while we were at work. On that day a pack train got into Browntown with boots and picks, shovels and axes and groceries. The day was cold and blustery, but we concluded about noon to go to work and see if we could not make enough to buy us a pair of boots each, at $16 a pair. . . .
So we went to work with our almost naked feet and bailed out the cold water, for the hole would fill up to the level of the creek when we quit work or quit bailing the water out. We worked until it got so cold to our feet that we could not stand it longer, and about two or three o'clock washed up and took our gold over to Barnes' cabin across the creek to weigh it, and found we had made $88 in beautiful, heavy, coarse gold, good work for two of us in two or three hours.
So we went up to Browntown, about a half mile above, and bought us each a pair of boots and warm new woolen socks, a sack of flour, a shovel, pick and ax, and some groceries, all for a few hours work. We were in the best of spirits, and we got Jim Summers and Bill Fountain to help us with the cabin and let the work on the claim wait till the high water ran down and we could work to better advantage.
One day we again went to work, it being about our 6th day's work in the claim. We worked the biggest part of the day in a crevice and at night weighed our day's work and found we had made $154, nice, coarse, bright gold. We kept our gold in a pan. I done the rocking and carrying the dirt in buckets; George Fetterman worked in the hole digging the dirt and shoveled it into my two buckets. Sometimes I would have to help bail out the hole, it came in so very fast in the crevice, which was very rich, and the water bothered us a great deal. We got from $8 to $20 to the bucket. One piece in the pan was as round as a bullet and must have weighed some $7 or $8. Emmanuel came and looked in the pan, and I think the round bullet was still there when George Fetterman had the pan and panned out some of the sand that was in the gold pan where we kept our day's work in--and that was the last I ever saw of the round, bullet-shaped piece of gold. George tried to lay the loss of it to Emmanuel, but he was a good, honest boy, and I afterward became satisfied that George Fetterman, my own partner, stole it. (He was already half-owner, and only stole the other half from me.)
After a few weeks my brother Charley came from the Umpqua Valley (Cow Creek), and he had been stopping at Mr. Yokum's ferry on [end of page 62] the South Umpqua, just below where Mr. [Samuel Bates] Briggs and sons had put in a bridge across the South Umpqua River, all the latter part of the winter and the commencement of spring. He said some stranger had come into the Cow Creek Valley and married Mr. William Riddle's oldest daughter, the widow Artinecia Chapman [Artinecia Riddle Chapman Merriman] and had jumped my claim (my homestead). My brother could not hold it for me, for I was gone, and they claimed it was abandoned by me. So he sold his own house and left his claim too. He said he did not care for his after mine was jumped, for mine was mostly prairie and his mostly timber. Together they would make a good half-section (320 acres) of land, a good farm, but one from the other separated was not so good. So he came back to Althouse Creek where I was.
My old neighbors and settlers in Cow Creek Valley wanted me to come back and they would run the man off that had jumped my claim. Many of them would like to have had the excuse for doing so, as they were down on him for getting the Widow Chapman from right under their nose, for several had been hanging around her too long for them to ask her and this stranger just came in and jumped my claim and the widow too. It made some of them quite wrathy, and they would like me to come back and claim my claim and they would have protected me in my rights and run him to hell, if necessary, to get even with him. But the settlers did not know that I was not of age (21) and could not have held it by law if I would wish to do so. But I would not then have left my mining claim on the Dusenberg Bar on Althouse Creek for the whole of the farms in the Umpqua Valley. At that time I thought I could make all the money I would want and go back to our old home in Lake County, Illinois.
So we let our land claims go, for I would not be of age until Dec. 31, 1853, which was about nine months more. So Charley looked around town (Browntown) and came to the conclusion that he wanted to start a bakery and saloon in Browntown. So he and I bought two bank claims, or mining claims, which made the two lots we wanted to build our bakery on for $80, and we hired some help and put up a large house and bakery, built a bake oven and two chimneys in the house and had them nearly completed and the house ready to open up the next week when Webfoot Brown [Henry H. Brown, later publisher of the Yreka Union], the storekeeper right across the street, came and claimed our lots as building lots and produced a contract he had made with a carpenter to build him a store on the lots. We contended we bought the lots and mining claims of the miners owning the ground, so the owners we bought of had to see about the title of the grounds, and they agreed to leave it to an arbitration of three men.
Now Brown had a man of family living and running his store and doing business for him named Grimes, from Iowa. And knowing as soon [end of page 63] as we started our bakery and saloon he would be damaged in his trade . . . he said we would have to move out [of] our buildings or pay him $250 for the lots our buildings occupied. Now our buildings and oven and chimneys and bakery could not be rebuilt for that amount, and we would be so much longer until we could open up, for now we could open in a few days more if we got our difficulties with Brown settled.
The miners got a man to arbitrate for them, and Brown got a man named Chapman, who was keeping a restaurant at the upper part of town, and his wife baked pies, and our starting up interfered with him, and another man kept [a] grocery store in the Round Tent, name of [George E.] Briggs; he was a personal friend of Brown's, and we had nothing to do about it. We left it to the miners to defend our title for us, but we could not recover any damage from them, and it was decided in Brown's favor. It was the grossest kind of injustice to us, for we bought and done our building in good faith and thought our lots all right, but [due to] the prejudice of the pie baker and the restaurant keeper, they decided against us to keep from injuring their business. So Brown gave us so many days to move our buildings or pay him $250 for the ground, which in the long run we found was the quickest and cheapest way to open up our business. The miners we could do nothing with, for they had nothing, but we owned the mining claims the buildings stood on and we had to do some work on them every three days to hold them from being jumped as mining claims. We went to a great deal of expense to build our houses, for we had to get our timbers on the hill and carry them on our backs and shoulders to the place. We had to buy our clapboards and siding, and our lumber cost us 25 cts. per foot, and it took more than 2000 feet for flooring, counters, shelves, doors, window frames and paneling around the sides and in our bakery.
Bill Fountain and Jim Summers and Abraham Nisley, myself and Charley were all busy when I could get off from the mining claim. When it was too wet to work we could work in the saloon, sewing lining and tacking up ceiling. Our lining was calico or curtain chintz, only 16 inches wide, and cost us 60 cts. per yard. Our six decanters cost us $10 apiece, common rib [pattern] such as now can be got for two or three dollars per dozen. Our tumblers were $1 apiece. Whiskey and brandy and wine from $6 to $10 per gallon. But then we had no license to pay and sold our liquors at 25 cts. per drink.
So we had to pay Henry (or Webfoot Brown, as they called him) $250, and we worked the harder to open our bakery and saloon as soon as possible. One day it looked like it would rain. We were all living in our cabin on the Dusenberg claim. I told George if we did not go to work in the claim I would go uptown and help Charley as much as I could so as [end of page 64] to open our saloon the sooner. (Charley had been wanting to take in George Fetterman into our bakery and saloon, but I opposed it, for I did not think he was honest.) So Charley and I, with two others helping Charley, went uptown and went to work sewing the lining for the ceiling, sometime after or about noon. I did not know but George was somewhere about town, when someone came up from the claim and told me George had gone to work. He had not said a word about it, but slipped down and went to work.
We had a place already stripped off [the overburden already removed, exposing the pay dirt]. I went down and asked him why he did not let me know that he was a-going to work. He said he thought I was busy and did not wish to disturb me. He kept what he made that day, which was not very honest in him, for I had helped strip the ground and that was the hardest part of the work. One Saturday afternoon we stripped off a small place about 4 by five feet, and on Sunday morning George proposed to go to work and clean up that small place. I did not want to give him another excuse to work by himself, so we went to work and cleaned it up in three or four hours, and we got $98 for breaking the Sabbath! The claim was very rich. If we had known more about mining, as we did in a few years after, we could have worked the same ground to a better advantage and made from $300 to $400 per day, but we would have sooner worked it out. . . .
My brother Charley on his way from the Umpqua Valley stopped overnight at Twogood's and Bates' on Grave Creek, keeping a hotel, [and] heard someone speak of two young fellows striking it quite rich the second or third day after coming on the creek, and he said it just struck him that it was us two, only he heard that they were both last year's emigrants (George only being one). . . .
We opened our bar and bakery the 10th of April, 1853, on Charley's birthday. We had two violinists to play for us. We paid them $4 a day apiece and board. One's name was Dick, or Richard, Jacobs, and the other James Cranston.
We kept open day and night and Sundays and took in from $80 to $200 per day of 24 hours. We sold drinks at 25 cts., cigars 25 cts., pies $1, or $8 per dozen to wholesalers or retail at $1. Cider 25 cts., cards $1.50 per deck. The day we opened our bakery, Brown's occupation as a bakery and saloon was gone. We did not take in George [Fetterman as a partner] until the 17th of April, and he could help me tend bar nights and Sundays, when he would not be at the claim to work. We hired two men to help George mine; their names were Bill Fountain and Ab Nisley. Every Saturday night George was to turn in to me the gold taken out [end of page 65] during the week and settle up our hired help and the expense of the claims. In a few weeks George failed to make his customary returns or pay in the proceeds of the claim, but I thought maybe they had not taken out much and he would carry it over to the next week.
One day a sleight-of-hand performer, or juggler, came to Browntown and gave some entertainments. One day he came to our saloon and weighed some nice gold dust. He said he had bought it. It weighed about $8 and was very nice and smooth. I asked him where he got it, that it looked like the Dusenberg Bar gold.
Charley Beerup, son of the old man in the claim below Barnes, happened to be there, and he said, yes, that it came out of our claim, that Belknap the performer was acquainted with George Fetterman and he came along by the claim. George had the gold in the pan, and Belknap begged him to sell him the gold and gave George a $5 gold piece for it. I did not say anything to George about it until the next Saturday when he gave in his amount dug for the two last week. He said he did not get much the week before, but said nothing about the gold he gave to Belknap until I saw he was inclined to steal it. I then asked him if he had not sold some gold to Belknap. He colored up and said yes, he had given John Belknap a few dollars in some specimens, and Belknap presented him with a $5 gold piece, but he thought that there was not over $2 worth, and that he need not give account of the small amount for he had got more than double the worth of it. I told him I had weighed the gold and there was over $8 of it. He was so surprised at the amount, but still did not propose to pay in the $5, so we let it go and concluded to watch him. But I was satisfied that he would steal, after his mean actions already mentioned.
We took in a great deal of money and we credited considerable to miners for pies, drinks and cigars, but our expenses were high, for flour was $60 to $75 a hundred, sugar 50 to 60 cts. per pound, butter 80 to 90 cts. per pound, cigars $80 to $120 per thousand, syrup $1 to $1.50 per qt., lemons $3 to $6 per dozen, eggs $1.50 to $2 dozen, salt, dried apples, and all in proportion. Beef forty to fifty cents per pound, lard fifty to eighty cents per pound. Labor $4 per day and board; our music $8 per night; cards, $4 to $16 per dozen; our whiskey and brandy and gin from $6 to $8 per gallon. French cordials and champagne, also port and claret and fancy drink were awful high, and had to be packed on mule trains form Portland, Oregon, and Scottsburg at the mouth of the Umpqua, and packing was worth from 12 to 30 [cts.] per pound for freight alone.
In May there was some mining discoveries on the creeks running into the Illinois River. Many miners went to prospect there. James Downer, who crossed the plains with us and lost his sack of clothes by the Indians on the Humboldt River, was at Browntown. He and his two partners, Robt. Shaw and John Whitt, put up a ball alley and saloon near us in Browntown and done a good business. Alex Fuller and the Haskin brothers [end of page 66] with Jeff Howell all located mining claims above Browntown on the main Althouse Creek. They used to come lots of times to our saloon.
When a new saloon was opened, drinks and cigars were free at first night. We had some five or six rooms private for gambling, and we had several tables around the room for banking games, and in another end of one hall, card tables for miners to play cards for drinks, cigars or pies and cakes. A quarter pie was 25 cts., a whole one a dollar. They played seven-up or all 40 euchre, poker, rounce, freeze-out, pedro, and all kinds of games in cards Spanish or American, and there would be lots of gold won and lost. We hardly ever had any trouble with drunkards; when they became noisy we got rid of them and refused them more drinks.
Like many others I felt like wanting to take a trip and prospect on Briggs Creek on the Illinois River. I had been up so much nights I wanted a change. I had been in the house steady since we had opened, and I left George and Charley to run the saloon and bakery. I was gone about seven or eight days and did not find anything to pay over common wages, so when I got home I fixed up our books and found some of the merchants had not paid up for the pies they had sold from us.
One, named Dunlap & Co., we thought owed us some $65. I took their bill and found they said they had a bill of goods we had charged to us of over a hundred dollars. I was surprised and asked for the items and they made it out--a lot of fancy bowie knives and silk sashes and silk handkerchiefs, some pocket knives and miner's belts. I knew of no such things and took the bill down to Charley and he did not know anything about them, so asked George Fetterman and he said he got them. I asked what he had done with them and he said they had been played off at freeze-out, poker and most had been lost and the balance was credited out on the books. I just went and settled the $95 we owed them instead of collecting the $65 due us as I thought.
[I then] went to all our customers and found we had run large bills while I was gone and Charley was too busy baking to be in the saloon much and had no idea how George was running the saloon. I had a settlement with our two men working in the claim on Dusenberg Bar, and they told me that they knew George was stealing from us when we first started our saloon and bakery. They had come up from the claim behind him and saw him pick out pieces of gold and put them into his pocket instead of bringing all of it to be weighed every night and put into the company purse of the mining claim. We had some words with George and accused him of it to his face and he did not dare deny it, so Charley and I came to the conclusion that he must buy or sell to us, for we did not mean to stand it longer. If he would not agree to a fair thing I would have him arrested and with the proof I could bring by Bill Fountain and Abraham Nisley he would stand a chance of being lynched by the [end of page 67] miners. So he came to the conclusion to sell out his interest to us, and we paid him some $250 in gold and divided up what cash there was on hand, and gave him some $250 in book accounts to collect for himself and got rid of him.
He afterward changed some $600 worth of gold dust for gold coin and went up the creek and bought into another mining claim. He was a notorious thief, and I will show later how he was caught at it and how he suffered for it.
Some boys sometime in June wanted me to go with them on a little prospecting expedition and Charley got someone to take his place baking and he tended the saloon. I was to be back in 8 or 10 days, and our party was composed of John Denny, Al Lee, Robert Tripp, myself and one or two others. We first went up the left-hand fork of Althouse Creek and prospected, not finding anything to pay. We went over the divide north and struck down on the right-hand fork of Sucker Creek; there was no one on this fork, but some 4 to 5 miles below on the main Sucker Creek there [were] some few men at work prospecting the banks.
We went down to the mouth of the right-hand fork where it came into the main creek and found a place where we could turn four or five hundred yards of the creek by cutting a shallow ditch through a low bar and letting the water from the ditch come out into the main Sucker Creek. So we worked three or four days hard to turn the creek and then we prospected the bed of the stream and found it very deep, and large boulders, and we did not get much of a prospect. So we concluded to go right opposite of the mouth of the right-hand fork, where there was a large bar on the main Sucker Creek, and a low bar favorable if there was any gold in the fork we had turned, and . . . sinking a hole there would be the same as prospecting both creeks, but we found it a difficult job.
We started our hole not expecting to go over 8 or 10 feet deep, but found so many large rocks we could not get out; we had to make it smaller as we went down, and we only got down in one corner about 18 feet and got some dirt and kept prospecting but we got nothing but fine gold and not enough dirt and too much rock. And the creeks were still too high to work to any advantage, and at last we concluded to lay our claims over until the water was lower. We had each taken up double claims, or one for discovery each [discoverers of a gold strike were allowed two claims], and we had been gone nearly two weeks from Althouse and I wanted to go home, and if my partners in the claims wished to work on, I would furnish my share of expenses and labor. But we all went back to Althouse awhile. Sucker Creek was a great deal larger stream than Althouse Creek, with only a high mountain between, but it was about four miles from Althouse Creek to the top, and [an] awful steep mountain at that. It took a man's breath to go up, and then down to Sucker Creek it was short but steep. It emptied into the Illinois below [end of page 68] Althouse Creek a few miles with some good ranches and farms after it got into the valley.
When I got back to Althouse I concluded not to prospect anymore just then. I had got tired of camping out and hard work. I liked keeping bar best. One of our violin players used to get on some pretty big highs, and we could not depend on him, so we hired a new one named Chester Eastman, a Californian. He was a splendid player, and he and Jim Cranston played well together. Dick Jacobs, the one that left, was a son-in-law of old General [Joel] Palmer, and he was Indian Superintendent on the Pacific coast. Dick got on a spree and left his wife to go to the mines. I will speak of him again that fall and again in 1861-65 . . . at Walla Walla, Washington Territory, where he had a large grocery store with his brother Cyrus.
In June 1853 old General Joseph Lane ran for Congress against Gen. [Alonzo A.] Skinner, who used to be Indian agent in Rogue River Valley in 1852. And they were both stumping Oregon. They both met at Althouse and had a red-hot time politically, and the miners got to drinking considerable. The speaking was in the ball alley saloon kept by Downer, Whitt and Shaw. The miners got to arguing, as well as the two aspirants for office, and some got overbearing, one in particular, a newcomer named Judge Young, from Arkansas.
He and some seven or eight old California miners had come to Althouse a week or two before from Trinity River, Northern California, and they had some fine Trinity gold with them. It was higher-colored and finer than the Althouse Creek dust, [so] that inexperienced merchants or saloonkeepers did not like to take it and change it for coin. Judge Young was a large, robust man of six feet and two or three inches, and somewhat overbearing in his opinions. Another man named Ben Sykes, a Boston engineer, got to arguing politics, and the lie passed. Sykes was as tall as Judge Young, but spare and muscular, and they two came to blows. The house was just as full of men as they could stand up, and when the fight commenced the crowd from the street rushed in. They, the fighters, could not stand up straight for the crowd. And no doubt friends on both sides tripped up the men, and some say even outsiders kicked them while down, so they could not get up. It was an awful rough and tumble fight, and after a long time it was stopped by one of the men. Judge Young became insensible, and Sykes was taken away from him. He was not much hurt, but Judge Young had one of his ears cut or bit off and his face fearfully bruised up. Some say he done it on the edge of the ball alley, others [end of page 69] that Sykes bit it off. During the fight old Joe Lane tried to stop it but could not, so got outside and came down to our bakery in his shirtsleeves with his plug hat in his hands, wiping the sweat and dust off his face with his handkerchief. He said it was the hottest damn place he ever saw and the roughest fight too. Someone brought down a piece of what looked like raw dirty meat, and it was the whole rim of Judge Young's ear; it was lying around the street for quite awhile.
Sykes had to skip, for someone was going to have him arrested for maiming Judge Young, and he kept away from Althouse Creek for awhile until it blew over. We had no city marshal, only a justice and constable, and there was no law or order at that time.
Althouse Creek proved to be a rich stream, and I knew Dr. Savage at Humbug Creek in California; he and his company took up some creek claims and was already working the bar claims, and they used to take out $700 to $1000 a day, and did not work to good advantage, it being deep diggings and hard to work, and the water kept them from work a great deal. There were several large nuggets taken out near his and on his claim. His bar was called Grass Flat, only half a mile above Browntown, and it was the place where there was a little town called Grass Flat. Justice of the Peace Charles Walker, a lame man, kept a little store there. He was a tailor by trade, from Wisconsin.
Our town, Browntown, had a population of about 800 to 1000, and some seven or eight saloons, three dry goods and clothing, two bakeries, four or five restaurants and hotels, seven or eight groceries, one bowling alley, two or three butcher shops, and three or four blacksmith shops. Two dance or fancy houses, music in ours and the dance houses, sometimes in the bowling alley.
About the 20th of June Charley though he had better take some men and go over to Sucker Creek, where some more discoveries had been made some three miles above the lower crossing, and a town had been laid off and was being built up quite fast. Our business on Althouse Creek had slacked up a little, and there was a prospect for a good town on Sucker Creek, so he took Jim Cranston and Chester Eastman, Bill Fountain, and some others, and they got out the timber and shingles and clapboards and built a saloon and bakery and got it opened by the Fourth of July 1853. They done a good business and James Cranston tended bar. When about completed Charley sold the half of it to a packer named Dupuy; he . . . ran a large pack train of mules and took goods into [end of page 70] Althouse and Sucker Creek. He stocked up the saloon in liquors, cigars, canned fruit, oysters, sugar, butter, flour, lard and everything, and some clothing. After running it as a saloon and bakery, Charley and Dupuy concluded to put in a bowling alley in connection with the saloon, so they got Bill Fountain and someone to furnish them in lumber for a double-alley, 98-ft.-long building, the alley 72 ft. long at 25 cts. per foot or $250 per thousand. They whipsawed it out of sugar pine logs, and then had to kiln-dry it so that it would not shrink after being laid. Mr. Lee, a carpenter who had been of our party when we had prospected the right-hand fork, in May, done the work laying the alleys. I and Charley owned one half together and Dupuy the other half. They commenced the bowling alley in August, but the lumber all had to be whipsawed out by hand and then kiln dried, then dressed, and the building got ready to lay the alleys in. With but one man to dress all the alleys alone [it] made slow work, then we had to send our order to San Francisco for the balls and tenpins; all took up time.
In the meantime I have some experience of mine to relate. There was a man named Dr. Black, an old Pennsylvanian; he had bought some creek claims just at the upper part of the town bar, but he could not work them, for the company just below him had the oldest claims and they put in a canvas flume to work their claims, and they put in a dam at the head of their claim and it backed up the water most all over the creek claim, so he would have to wait until they worked out their claim before he could commence.
He used to be around my saloon a great deal. He was a stubborn, conceited old codger, and tricky and dishonest, I afterward found. He used to play cards for drinks, and sometimes if he found anyone he thought he could beat, would play for money, but not for high stakes, say only fifty cents to a dollar per game. There was a little dark half-Mexican, half-Indian who used to play cards more tricky and sharper than Dr. Black, and he was considerable of a card sharp, and ran and associated more with the gamblers than miners. He was cooking for some men on Grass Flat; one of the men he worked for was named Dutcher, the constable. Jimmy, as we called the little half-breed, came to my saloon and played, but he and Dr. Black in playing always wrangled so much over their cards that I told them to quit playing together if they could not play quietly.
So one evening they sat down to play together (I had not noticed them--I was busy around the saloon) when my attention was drawn to them by their commencing to wrangle over their cards again, and a lot of outsiders not in the game were attracted by their quarrel. They both drew pistols but were afraid to shoot. The crowd kept aggravating them by shouting to them to shoot, and making all kinds of sport of them, until I got tired of it and went to put them out of the house. I got Jim the [end of page 71] half-breed to the door, and Dr. Black put his pistol to Jim's breast, but when he had raised his pistol the cap fell off and he did not know it until his pistol snapped. He turned to go back to get a cap; as he turned he ran against me; I was shoving him out. Jim was outside and fired past me, I being between both, and shot Dr. Black in the arm, breaking it above the elbow. Dr. Black fell; I caught him and laid him in a corner on some blankets until a doctor came and examined his arm and dressed it. He could not be moved to another house, so I had to give him a room and bed for several months until he got able to get around. Jim gave himself up to Squire Walker, the justice of the peace; that night he had an examination and was cleared. Both parties were armed and had their pistols drawn. It learned me a lesson, not to go between men about to shoot. For I was in the most danger, Jim shooting in from outside, and Dr. Black inside, me between trying to stop them, both afraid the other would shoot first and both excited--it was a wonder I did not get shot instead of Dr. Black.
That evening Dutcher the constable and I examined the pistol Dr. Black dropped, and I took out three large bullets [and] three charges of powder, and thinking that all the powder was about out, put on a cap and snapped it--and it went off, and more than a double load in, and it kicked awful! If the cap had not fallen off when Black raised it, no doubt the pistol would have exploded (and all of wished it had) and killed both, for they were mean hounds. . . .
Now I will have to go back a few months to tell of some exciting times we had on Althouse Creek and Browntown in the last of April or forepart of May. One day a miner came in from Trinity River, Klamath County, California. He was acquainted with the party that came with Judge Young (who had the fight with Sykes at the bowling alley when Joe Lane and Gen. Skinner were stumping together). This Trinity miner got drunk and went to all the saloons and gambled and lost some money and paid it out of his purse. He came to my saloon in the afternoon and played poker, and Charley Miller, a miner, won some from him. He wanted me to weigh out four ounces of his dust and give him the coin and silver for it, but I was not posted on the Trinity gold dust, and it was so much finer and darker than the Althouse gold, I refused to take his gold and mix with mine and it was no benefit to me to take their dust. So the men left my saloon and went up to the bowling alley of James Downer, John Whitt and Bob Shaw. They had some Spanish monte banking game going on in their saloon, and the Trinity miner commenced bucking at their game and he lost some and weighed the gold at the bar, for they knew the kind of dust. When he weighed out some $50 of his gold at my place for Charley Miller (for I would not buy it) I judged that he had some $300 or $400 in his purse.
While playing at monte a dealer named McCloud was dealing the game. [Also playing was] a boy named McCoy, lately from San [end of page 72] Francisco, where his father was night watchman or police, and the boy was on the night watch with him. The boy stole something and he had to leave and he came here. He was a hard case, but he was a splendid tenpin roller. He saw the drunken miner's sack of gold, and he and McCloud made up a plan to beat him or steal it from him, and McCoy and McCloud would both go down to Scottsburg, at the mouth of the Umpqua River on the coast, where there was a town just laid off, and they would build a ball alley and saloon with the money. That night the miner got very drunk and lay out all night in the street. In the morning he woke up in the street and found his purse of gold gone. He came to some men and told them that somebody had robbed him of $400 or $500, and the last he could remember he was in Downer, Whitt and Shaw's bowling alley and saloon playing at monte.
The miners thought that McCoy was around him a good deal and he might know something about it, so commenced looking for him and happened to see him just going up the mountain, just on the road to Sucker Creek, four miles north. They took after him and brought him to town and accused him of stealing the man's purse of gold. The miners, Judge Young and his partner, scared the boy into telling all kinds of stories and proposed to hang him or make him tell. The miners organized a vigilance committee and all was excitement. The boy, about 18 years old, was afraid they would hang him, but said he knew nothing of it, and he had left the drunken man at the McCloud monte bank playing monte and saw no more of him until then, and he commenced to tell he thought McCloud must have got the purse, that they had planned to take it, and if it was gone, he thought McCloud must have got it. So the vigilantes arrested McCloud. He said he knew nothing of it, that the man had left before he closed his bank, and that he had his purse with him the last he saw of him, and if it was gone, young McCoy must have taken it. They were both searched but nothing found.
All was red-hot with excitement. Jim Bean was constable for the vigilantes; Dupuy, our packer partner, Jack Driscoll, Judge Young, Constable Dutcher and Samuel Cowen and about thirty men well armed with rifles, shotguns and pistols were rushing around making speeches against the gamblers, and took McCloud and McCoy and tied them to trees and whipped them. Each thought the other had the purse and both denied knowing anything about it, so they put the prisoners into a log cabin (both had been whipped until they were bloody and scarred all over their backs in deep cuts from the cat o' nine tails and switches in the hands of the strongest men until they were tired whipping, and McCloud fainted with pain, begging to be shot) and they put [on] a strong guard, to see what the committee would do.
They got the boy to write to his mother in San Francisco stating that he was to be hung for stealing a purse of gold, and he bid his mother [end of page 73] goodbye, that he was innocent and was sorry he had been a bad boy in San Francisco, but he would die innocent of the stealing. The guard got him to write to his mother that he would be hung right away, then took him to a tree close by and put a rope around his neck and over the limb of the tree and raised him up and let him down again and asked him to tell if that was all he had to write to his mother and father, that would be his last chance. So he finished the letter. They raised him up four or five times; the last time he was nearly strangled; when they let him down he fainted away. We got some water and brought him to. He said he knew nothing of the money, so the guard took him back to jail. The vigilantes then read the letter to his mother; a good many believed, some did not.
While they were arguing what to do Jim Bean let McCloud go, not knowing what to do with him. McCloud was making his home at Cochran's Ranch out at Democrat Gulch (the old Northcutt ranch)--he started to go out home and had [been] gone some ten or fifteen minutes when the vigilantes asked for McCloud. Jim Bean told them he had gone home, that he had let him go, not knowing whether they would want him anymore. Jack Driscoll ran to catch up with McCloud. Just beyond my bakery and saloon he met Captain Bob Williams coming in from Cochran's Ranch, where he lived. Driscoll asked if he had met McCloud. Williams said yes, that he had told McCloud to go out home. Driscoll said he was going to bring him back. Williams said he should not. Driscoll started, and Williams brought his rifle down on him and told him to come back. Driscoll ran back into Brown's butcher shop (adjoining my bakery) and grabbed up an ax and went for Bob Williams with it. Brown caught the ax and Williams struck at Driscoll with his bowie knife. Somebody had caught Williams' rifle, but the crowd rushed in and parted them, and the vigilantes sent out Dutcher the constable after McCloud the next morning and they tied him up again to a tree and whipped him some more, and McCoy too, until they did not know what to do. [Another version of McCloud's whipping here.]
Bob Williams came along the trail from the ranch and McCloud called to Williams for God's sake to shoot him and not let them whip him any more. The vigilantes then thought a man by the name of Elmer James Roades had been around with McCoy, McCloud and the monte banks when the drunken miner was playing, but Roades was present and told the crowd that he did not know anything of the lost gold, and if the crowd undertook to whip him he would die first, or if they did, he would kill everyone, if it took him ten years to do it. So that with the opposition to the vigilantes, and Roades' threats, kept him from being whipped. So McCloud and McCoy were told to leave the vicinity and Althouse Creek in 24 hours. Some few men that sympathized with McCoy gave him some money, and he left for parts unknown. McCloud went over to [end of page 74] Sucker Creek, about 4 or 5 miles over the mountains, and stayed awhile at our bakery and saloon, until he got well enough to travel (and he was innocent of the stealing).
When we started to build our bowling alley on Sucker Creek there were several hundred men at work close by, and by the time we got it completed there was quite a big excitement of the discoveries on Gold Beach at the mouth of Rogue River, and many left Althouse and Sucker Creek to go down on the coast beach to prospect there awhile. Jim Cranston, the fiddler, tended bar in Dupuy's place; he owned a half interest. Lee got the alley laid about the first of September; the balls and tenpins had been ordered at San Francisco a long time, but other orders were in ahead, so ours did not come to Althouse by a pack train until we had completed [construction] and were waiting for the 30 balls and 20 pins. When they came in . . . it took 3 of us all day to carry them on our backs to Sucker Creek up that awful 4-mile [trail,] uphill the whole four miles, and awful steep. We had to make a many a rest before we got to the top, and when we got over they commenced playing free until midnight, and we took in $80 between twelve at night and daylight. We got awful tired spelling each other setting up the tenpins. Several got tight, but the day we opened our alley there were not over 150 men left on Sucker Creek, and when we commenced building it there were three or four hundred and still rushing in from the surrounding country, with a good prospect for thousands of miners, but mining was mighty uncertain anyway.
Billy Clark, who used to be with us mining on Cow Creek, and lived with Yokum at the ferry at the South Umpqua River, came to Althouse the spring of 1853 and had been working for Charley and myself at both our places, stayed and helped to build the bowling alley, and after set up pins all fall and winter.
Our bakery, saloon and ball alley cost us at least $1800 and our bakery on Althouse Creek with saloon and mining claims, creek and banks, about $3000 to build and buy, and in the fall we would have taken $1500 for all in cash.
James Cranston in the fall concluded to go to California and Chester Eastman went with him, which left Charley without music, but times were too dull to pay for it, and our partner in the ball alley and saloon on Sucker Creek got a man named John Whitt to take charge of his half interest in place of James Cranston. Dupuy was one of the leading vigilantes in the McCoy-McCloud affair on Althouse, and he ran his pack train all fall and part of the winter to the different mines in Southern Oregon and Northern California and, when the winter set in rough, went into winter quarters down the Willamette Valley, where feed and grain was cheaper for his mule train.
(When I left off about George Fetterman, our old partner in mining and saloon and bakery, I had lost part of some notes of this book and did not get it in as I had it before, and then I found the lost part and now will [end of page 75] [add] some forgotten before.) . . . During June or July, a young man came to my saloon and asked me if I knew George Fetterman. I told him yes. Abraham Nisley, who had worked for George and us, was there. When he asked I had someone to attend to in the saloon, and left the young man with Nisley. He told him that George Fetterman was a partner of his in a bank claim a couple of miles above Browntown on the Althouse Creek, and that before George Fetterman had bought in with him. . . . when he was alone he could take out coarse gold, but since George was working with him they did not get any more, and he mistrusted George, as he got to handle all the gold when they washed up, while the young man worked digging and shoveling in the dirt, and cooked while George cleaned up the sluices and panned out the gold. The man had a part-crippled hand. So when I came out to where they were talking together, they told me about it and wanted to fix up some way of catching George at his stealing. So Ab Nisley proposed to take a piece of coarse gold that we all could identify, and weigh and put a private mark on it with a knife, and we put the weight down in our books, and marked up against the outside of the bakery where we should know the exact weight. Ab Nisley told him how Fetterman had stolen from us in the claim and saloon. In a few days the young man came to Ab and me and told us that one day he took the marked piece of gold and put some clay on it and put it in the riffle of the sluicebox to be sure it would not be lost, and when George washed up, sure enough the piece was gone. He waited a while before saying anything to George and when he saw that George would not show it, asked George what he had done with a piece of gold that he had himself put into the riffle of the sluices that day. George at first denied it, but when his partner proposed to search him, put his hand in his pocket and took it out and said he only done it for a joke. But the partner told him he did not relish his jokes and told him plainly he did not wish to work any more with a thief or man he could not trust. That he must either give or take, buy or sell out of the claim, and George agreed to sell for $200 his half, and he bought George out. George came down the creek and stayed till fall and winter at Democrat Gulch, and through some meanness had to leave there in the next spring, and I heard he went up the coast to Gold Beach and from there to Empire City north of the Coquille River, Oregon.
The young man in less than a week after buying out George struck it rich, and took out one piece of pure gold weighing over $600. He told me he was lucky that George was not in with him or he never would have seen the $600 piece, for George would have stole it before he could have got to see it. No doubt he was right, but I can imagine how George Fetterman felt when he heard of it, how he had missed it by his dishonesty, and it was a good punishment to his conscience if he had any. I doubt if he had. [end of page 76]
In the fall times became very dull with me on Althouse, and the same with Charley on Sucker Creek, there were so many miners went to the new discoveries on the Pacific coast beach at the mouth of Rogue River and at the mouth of Sixes River and below Point Blanco, six miles north of Port Orford, and at the mouth of the Coquille River or Empire City. The creek miners laid over their claims by recording them until they were workable next spring, when the water would permit of them being worked. (We laid over those we bought of Doctor Black by recording them the same way.) During the fall I played cards a great deal at our saloon for drinks and money. I would have to stay up all night with the poker games to wait on them with drinks, cigars and cards and refreshments such as cove oysters, sardines, lobsters, pies and cakes, and lunches, and I would have to make up the game when some would leave or all would have to quit the game and it would be to my interest to play to make money out of my goods. Some men would come in with their partners whom they had posted in signs to beat me and others, and I had a miner who could play with me, and we held well together and understood each other's play on the square as well as by signs if need be. His name was Duvall, and we won many games for drinks or cigars as well as money. Charley done the same on Sucker Creek; he opened up the alleys on the 16th of September and for about six weeks done very well, then it became an old thing, as all ball alleys become so in a small town where so few miners were left, and Charley got the Gold Beach fever and talked me into selling out one half of the ball alley (and we had bought out Dupuy a short time before). So we sold one half to John Whitt [end of page 77] (that had tended to Dupuy's half before) and leased him the other half until May, 1854.
Charley and I mined a little and kept the bakery and saloon on Althouse until March, 1854; then we laid over our claims (creek) till June. Then Charley proposed to sell our house and lumber. We had paid $250 per thousand feet, and we sold at $60 per thousand, left the house and bakery to rent, and the tools and claims in care of Dr. Watkins, of the firm of Briggs and Watkins, merchants at the Round Tent, Browntown (Althouse Creek, Browntown, Josephine County, Oregon, 1854). They were to see to the claims and represent us in holding them until we came back when the season for mining commenced.
We bought three horses (they were high in those days), put on our bar fixtures, lining, and some stock in trade, and our blankets and provisions on pack saddles and struck out for Crescent City, and then to go to Gold Beach. We heard that the mountains were impassable but thought that by the time we would get there that the trail would be opened. We left over a thousand dollars worth of accounts on miners for pies, cigars and drinks to be collected with Dr. Watkins and Briggs. We got to Waldo (or Sailor Diggings) and stayed overnight. Next day we go to Col. Gates and Lafayette Gates ranch in Illinois Valley, close to the foot of the mountains. Saw some men and they said the mountain was impassable to animals but men could go over on the crust of the snow. But there were six or eight pack trains going to open the trail next day. So we pushed on and went to a hotel on the mountains, as far as we could get for snow, and put our horses in the stable, at $1.50 per night each head, meals one dollar.
Instead of getting better it got worse, and we did not wish to turn back, expecting every day to get across, and more men came up from our side, and sometimes there would be twenty or thirty men of us with shovels shoveling snow from morning till night to dig a trail two or three feet wide and from three to fifteen feet deep. We were at Dr. Holton's hotel over three weeks and paid out $125. Got both our eyes sore and snow-blind. When at last a drove of beef cattle, some 300 head, were drove through, which broke the trail, and some pack trains followed, and some men with shovels. It took us four days from Dr. Holton's to go to Smith's River. When we got to Crescent City (Del Norte County, California) we were ragged and nearly blind with sore eyes from the sun and snow. [end of page 78]
We put up with an old friend named Trask, who kept the No. 8 Hotel. We bought us some carpenter's tools and provisions and nails, and started for Gold Beach again in two or three days.
The trails up the coast and beach were very bad. Some places we had to go on the beach where the tide and breakers would wash our horses nearly away; sometimes [we] would have to climb the hills out of reach of the breakers, and one of our horses fell off a high hill or cliff--we thought sure he was killed. The flour he was loaded with just rained in showers when he struck. He kept turning end over end six or eight times before he struck down on the beach. The last fall was all of twelve feet and he landed square on his back. He had on a pack saddle loaded with flour, sugar, coffee, sheeting, nails and tools. When we got down he lay as still as if dead, and we thought he was. We took his saddle and ropes off--his loading had come off in his tumbling and we lost 100 pounds of flour. As soon as we took his saddle off he turned and jumped up and neighed to the other horses and commenced to nibble grass. He was all right--only his back was bruised from the saddle when he struck on the rock on the beach. He was blind of one eye; that was the cause of his fall.
At Whaleshead, a so-called hotel, we heard very favorable news of the diggins and we hurried on till we got to the mouth of Rogue River and crossed on the ferry, and Prattsville, a small town, is but a half a mile away on Gold Beach. We found a great many old friends there from Althouse and Sucker Creek and Jacksonville and different parts of Oregon and California. Ike Warwick and Peter O'Regan kept a store and a stock ranch and had lots of cattle, and many miners were doing well. Seavey and Collins were running a very rich mining claim (they had a store on Althouse at Browntown, and so had Warwick and O'Regan). My brother and I were a sort of shy of mining, so concluded to go up the coast until we found a place and take up a ranch and keep a travelers' hotel and sell liquors and cigars and farm some and raise stock.
So after staying overnight at Prattsville, we started up the coast past Simmonds' Bend, a rich place found by old Simmonds (one of the Iowa boys or emigrants that came to me in the gulch on Cow Creek, Douglas County, Oregon). With the Haskins, Alex Fuller and Jeff Howell, he came here in 1853 and discovered rich diggins in this end of the beach, made money and sold out for a big price, and had gone back to Iowa in the last winter. The Bend was named after him. [end of page 79]
Our next place was a little town called Elizabethtown just above Simmonds' Bend. From there we next passed Euchre Creek (from a tribe of the Euchre Indians who had a village there). When the tide is up or in, the creek is very hard to ford. We next got to a house or hotel called the Three Sisters, so called after three large rocks in the sea that can be seen many miles off. The hotel was kept by John O'Brien, a Californian, and his partner, a prizefighter and boatman named Hugh O'Neil.
They got their goods from Port Orford in boats. A few weeks before we got there Hugh O'Neil and two others, one named King, got into the breakers with their boat, and King got drowned. O'Neil was a good swimmer and got an oar and would dive when the waves would come towards him. The boat was broke up and the goods all got lost. It happened at a place a short distance above Simmonds' Bend, or Elizabethtown; we saw the pieces of boat as we came along, before we got to Euchre Creek.
We went 1½ miles further and found a creek called Mussel Creek, after a small tribe of Indians; then three miles above the Three Sisters we got to a small creek and a nice bench of land right on the main trail from Gold Beach or Prattsville to Port Orford. The creek was heavy timbered, the further back the wider the timber land. It was yellow and red cedar, white and yellow pine and fir, some as fine as I ever saw; and the land lay in tables, some very rich spots. It was about a half mile down to the beach, very rocky and steep.
We built a house within twenty feet of the trail. We cut posts twelve feet long, five to eight inches through, put two feet in the ground and split out siding four feet long out of cedar or pine, nice, thin and straight; our roof of three-foot clapboards to eight inches lap. (This was in May 1854.)
While getting out boards and building timbers we had a tent and kept our goods in and would be gone half a day at a time. While gone, Indians would come to the tent with fish, mussels, elk meat or bear or deer or ducks' eggs or gulls' eggs to trade, and we never had a thing taken by them. I know as a general thing the whites would have taken things if they were placed in the same situation. The Indians were friendly and were well pleased for us to take up land and cultivate, and never offered to molest us. We did not have to pay any license to sell liquors or cigars and we had a large profit.
My nearest neighbors north was nearly three miles at the foot of the Humboldt Mountains. They were one Frenchman named Francis Richards, and his five partners were half-breed Indians. They spoke French, English and Jargon or Chinook. They had taken up a stock ranch, cultivated a small piece of land for a garden and kept public house and [end of page 80] hunted and killed bear, elk and deer, otter, beaver and all kinds of small game, and sold the meat and furs at Port Orford, nine miles from them and twelve miles from me. The half-breeds' names were Alex and Frank Purier [Puryear?], John and Peter [Pierre] Groslouis, and Antoine Murain [Murrain? Maran? Morais?]. Three of them, the former brothers, had some very rich gold claims near Empire City, Gold Beach, near the mouth of the Coquille River. They had made some twenty thousand dollars and went down to French Prairie in the Willamette Valley, Oregon, where their parents lived and where themselves were raised.
They left one brother each to work the claims, but the ones left kept getting drunk and gambled away all they took out of the claims and spreed on, and at last some white man named Dr. Bell swindled them out of the claims. So that when the three others came back from home and had spent and invested some at French Prairie, they found their claim being worked by others, and the two brothers they had left in charge of the claim nearly broke, having spent what little cash they got for the claims, and they had a note of $3000 from Dr. Bell, but he was not worth a cent, and he (the doctor) had sold it again and got killed. So the boys were discouraged and disgusted to be mistreated by the whites, for they would not credit them as they did when they had their rich claims making thousands of dollars a week out of their claim.
So they left the gold mines and came down here and took up the claims, and built them a large log house and hunted and caroused as long as their money lasted; then when they had no more whiskey and brandy themselves, would come to our place (called the Pacific Ranch) and patronize me. They were very free-hearted, and five or six would come and treat each other one after another, not stop for two hours. Some would not take a tablespoonful at a time, but all would have to drink or give offense. We have taken in as high as $12 to $18 in one afternoon from them. They did not get drunk or quarrel, but when they got broke and had no money with them they expected you to let them have it the same as if they had the money, and they would pay when they got the money.
We used to buy our groceries at Port Orford when the steamers landed from San Francisco and Portland, Oregon. We sold meals, cigars, liquors and lunches. In spring, summer and fall it was the best trade and business, but in winter it was very lonesome, and not much travel.
After we got our house finished and I could get along all right by myself Charley went to Prattsville, Gold Beach, and started a bakery and saloon--opened it in August or September.
I had forgot to say in my account at Althouse Creek, in about April I got my first letter from my sister, Mrs. Orson Breed, from Chicago. I had [end of page 81] wrote from Yreka and Humbug Creek, California, for there was no mails in those days to the northern mines, and we all gave our names to the express to bring our letters to us. And I had left Yreka and Humbug and my letters had got there and no doubt were sent to the dead office or destroyed, being not called for. In Oregon at Cow Creek it was the same, and while at Althouse I give the express carrier an order to get them from Canyonville, so my first came in April and cost me $2.50, but I was so anxious to hear from home I would as soon give $20 for letters from home. . . . I did not get another letter, having left Althouse Creek and Sucker Creek, and our letters were lost again until I wrote from Port Orford, and then I got my second letter after Charley was putting up the bakery and saloon at Prattsville (Gold Beach). . . . My first letter cost $2.50 and my second came by U.S. Mail and cost nothing, but about a year apart.
After Charley had gone to Gold Beach I got quite lonesome. I used to go to Port Orford; it was a lively town of about a thousand inhabitants. There was a garrison and fort and some troops stationed there, and many stores and hotels and saloons, and there was lots of business done by miners from Cape Blanco and the mouth of Sixes River and Floras Creek had some very rich gold claims all along the beach for ten or twelve miles.
While I would be gone the Indians nor anyone would molest my house or garden. The last of July a man named Johnson (they called him Coarse Gold Johnson) made some discovery of gold on the south fork of the Coquille River. He was a great bragger, and while the excitement was up I went with a pack train of John Waddell's. It took us about five days from Port Orford, all mountains. We had a good look at [it] and camped close by Point Blanco. There was some very rich beach diggings just above and below Point Blanco, and a nice creek with some splendid ranches and farm land on it. The Point is the most western point of land on the United States coast, or continent, by the map.
In going to Johnson Creek the mountainsides were covered with blackberries, raspberries, dill salad and serviceberries, and many kinds I knew not. I never saw so many kinds of berries as there was along the coast and coast mountains.
We were disappointed in the diggings--everything had been exaggerated and but little gold, but I saw the biggest boulders and more of them and less [pay] dirt around them than any place I ever saw. We met lots of men coming back dissatisfied, but that is no sign, for the best diggings ever discovered were called humbugs by many. So we had to see for ourselves. Got in one day, looked around and left for home the next morning. [end of page 82]
There were many boatmen from Port Orford and San Francisco in the mines, and a rougher crowd would be hard to find. I got back to Port Orford and I got acquainted with Billy Shepherd, a minstrel performer on the road. He was a bartender for Spanish Mary, who kept a saloon in Port Orford and used to keep a fast saloon at Empire City. [The] Coquilles, the half-breed boys, my neighbors, used to spend all their money at Spanish Mary's. She had killed a white woman in San Francisco, and a mate of a steamer named Nollan got her away on the steamer secretly and she married him at Empire City. She always done a big business at Port Orford.
Then there used to be a merchant named Captain William H. Tichenor; he had been captain of the vessel called the Sea Gull, lost as reported by his carelessness (he being drunk). He was elected to represent our county; he was very smart. He was a Methodist preacher in Iowa, and used to stop with me a great deal on his way back and forth from Prattsville, Gold Beach. He was a hard case to drink and spree and gamble, and had a nice family at Port Orford, where he had a large general grocery store. He owned and built a nice sloop which he called the Nelly [Tichenor] after his daughter, and carried freight to the small ports and rivers along the coast.
When I was at Port Orford I stopped at the Pacific Hotel one night. A man from Dubuque, Iowa (where I had run a threshing machine) had a keno game and bank (the first I ever saw). I played at the game and won $12 or $13, when the landlord and his wife got to quarreling (their names were Edson), and it broke up the game. Then there was a shotgun raffled and I won that and sold it for $10 and played poker with some merchants and won about $20. One man was a butcher who used to be at Yreka, California and had an Indian boy living with him herding cattle. He was a Miluk and could speak good English. The butcher's name was Eddy of Eddy & Pratt.
Next day I bought about $15 worth of books and novels, and $8 worth of beads and handkerchiefs. I got all my fish, eggs and meat and some [end of page 83] money for the beads and handkerchiefs from the Indians. An Indian family lived about half a mile from me; he had got one of his legs crippled when he was a young boy; he had a son about 12 years old and he stayed with me a great deal. He said his father and some other Indians had at one time tried to take a steamer, and in the skirmish to board the steamer got some grape shot into his leg. The boy was quite smart and learned me a great deal of the Indian language, so that in seven or eight months I could talk quite well enough to be understood by them.
During the fall of 1854, Eddy & Pratt, the two butchers of Port Orford, gave me 40 head of cattle to ranch at a dollar a month per head. I used to take my gun and hunt and look to the cattle. I sometimes had Skeezy [short for Skeezicks/Skeezix--"scamp"], my Indian boy, with me. One day I missed one of the steers and hunted all day and could not find him. Next day I took the boy again and hunted and found a trail through the timber and tracked awhile, when all at once the boy ran on ahead and looked in a hole in the ground and then came back and told me he had found the ox. When I got to the hole, sure enough, he was in a hole about 8 by 4 feet and about 9 feet deep, and he stood in there and could not move.
I asked the boy how the hole got there, and he said the squaws dug the hole, carried the dirt away off, and then lay four strong sticks each two making a fork or crotch at each end, so that if anything fell in they would fall between the forks and would be held up so that they could not stand on their feet so as to jump out again. Then they lay some small sticks across the top, then bushes and leaves on top so that you could not tell the difference in solid ground.
These holes are dug right in the trail going through the thick woods on timber land, and elk and deer fall in, and the forks keep up their bodies so they cannot jump out, and the squaws and Indians look to their holes every few days, and if elk, bear or deer are in them, kill them there and take them out.
The boy asked me if I was mad because the steer was in the hole. I told him No, that I would soon get him out. Then he said the Indians would be mad because I would destroy the trap. I told him I could not help that.
So I went home and got a shovel and pick and some rope, took the boy with me, and I dug a trench from the top sloping towards the steer down to his fore feet, and made it wide enough for him to walk out. But the steer was too weak and had not eat or drunk for two or three days and could not get out himself. So I had to get behind him and push him out with the help of the boy, and by hard work got him out. He was so weak he could hardly walk, and would reel like a drunken man. But the trap was spoiled.
Another time I was walking on a trail and the first I knew the ground gave away with me and I went down. The crotches were rotten and broke [end of page 84] so that I did not get hurt. And once I found a young elk about a year old in the trap. He had been dead some time and was all decayed. The Indians had not found him in time to use it.
One day I had the chance to save an Indian's life. He was a good-looking young Indian, not over twenty years old, straight and over six feet tall. He came to my place on his way back from Port Orford and asked me if I would keep the Mussel Creek Indians from molesting him.
I asked him why. He said he was a Mikonotunne Indian, and lived high up on Rogue River, and the Mussel Creek Indians were their enemies and would kill him. Some three or four Mussel [Creek] Indians saw him when he came to my place. I told him to stay until morning, and I took him past the Mussel Creek village on the trail. The Mussel [Creek] Indians said I had no right to keep them from killing their enemy, but I told them that they should not, and I took him some three or four miles past Mussel Creek village. He had a rifle, and I had one, and a navy revolver. I told them I would protect him. So after a powwow a long time they let him by, and I kept watching so that they did not follow him for some time.
The same Indian showed his gratitude to me the next spring when I was up past the Mikonotunne village on Rogue River to see Francis Richards, the Frenchman (neighbor of mine) and a Canadian half-breed named Eneas, that had been a guide for General Fremont on his first trip across the Plains in 1847. Richards was high up the river, hunting, but the young Mikonotunne Indian knew me, made me go to his house and eat with them, and took me up the river to the chief and Eneas (who the same summer headed the Indian outbreak and killed so many settlers). [The outbreak was on the night of February 22-23, 1856.] He told his family and party how I had treated him, and they were very thankful to me and invited me to eat acorn soup with them.
The Indians around Mussel Creek and Euchre Creek said they would like to work for me mining if I would give them a horse apiece every six months. I knew of several places on the Klamath River, California, where I could get plenty ground that would pay two to three dollars a day to the hand, but would not pay white men to work for that, and I thought it would be a good investment for from five to ten young Indians, stout and able to dig and work at sluices. I would have to board them, and a horse for six months work I could buy for $20 apiece. So I told them I would go in the spring and look out a location, take up claims or ground, and come back after them.
There used to be a good many pack trains to stop on our creek close to our house, and one owned by Jim Johnson and John and Gus Upton stopped after they had a store at Prattsville, Gold Beach. Sometimes they [end of page 85] would get one of us to go to Port Orford with them, and stop at our ranch as they came back and camp all night. In the morning we could help them load or pack up and they would drive clear to Prattsville without unloading and save some hands and labor. Several others done the same, and they would pay us well for it. Samuel Nicholls, whose partner I used to know on Althouse Creek (Steve Taylor), got me to go with him about twice a week.
When Charley got his bakery and saloon furnished at Prattsville, he took in a partner, a carpenter named S. M. Charles, and I got a pack train of 8 or 9 head mules and horses of John Waddell, who lived at Ellensburg, below the mouth of Rogue River on the beach. He kept a boarding house and grocery, but he drank awful. I knew him on Althouse Creek. I got his train to run for him on shares a few trips he had to stay at home, and Charley went with me to Port Orford and bought his flour, sugar, liquors, cigars, lining, and canned fruit, sardines, oysters and everything for his bakery, and we loaded all the animals but one to ride in turn, for we had to cross a good many crossings of Brush Creek 5 to 8 miles from our place. We had a large silver water pitcher, and one of us had to carry it in our hands, so as not to bruise or dent it. It cost $16 and we put some paint stain dry in it to carry. We could drive the trainload from Port Orford to our Pacific Ranch (12 miles) in four or five hours, but the packs would sometimes get loose and we would have to catch them and repack them.
We had a long stretch of beach or sand to go over, some two or three miles, and some points of rock to go around, and the tide would come up near the horses, and as the breakers or waves ran back the horses or mules would get dizzy and follow the water out, and when the third big wave would come, [it would] catch the horses and throw some of them down, and their loading would get wet and too heavy for them to get up with it. We had to keep running from one to the other to keep them from getting washed out to sea. One horse got down by a breaker taking him in, and his loading, a large lot of bolts of sheeting on top of some other loading part spread out, got so wet and heavy that we both had to run to help him up. Charley in a hurry set his big silver water pitcher down to help the horse up, and the next breaker was coming in and we just did get the horse up and out of the reach of the third breaker, when Charley saw his pitcher about to be washed away. He ran in and got hold of the pitcher just as the wave struck him and soused him all over; he had all he could do to run out towards the shore to keep from being washed out to sea. The contents of the pitcher got all wet and spoiled the paint and stain with the salt water.
It was a fearful time; the men would get dizzy and walk out after the water recedes, not knowing they are going out, and all horses and mules are the same. I made several trips with that train until Waddell got so that he could run it himself. I got good pay for helping the packers, [end of page 86] and we lived higher and got in better flesh and health than ever I was or got after I left the coast. We had all the fresh fish we wanted; eggs from ducks (wild) or gulls, large and nice, and mussels, and with good ham, elk, deer, and bear meat, we could get up a good meal for anybody for one dollar. . . .
All along the coast sea otter were very plenty, and some old hunters made it a business to kill them and send their furs to San Francisco, or if they had many choice furs of fine prime otter skins, would send them to Paris, France, or St. Petersburg, Russia, where they got the highest price for them, from $50 to $500 apiece for extra ones, and the common price here was from $30 to $80 apiece. Some hunters made fortunes of it. They were very hard to kill, and after they were killed or wounded their companions or mates would carry them out to sea. If after they died they would wash in by the tide, someone else might pick them up, so the hunter would have to be on the lookout or lose them, for every morning by daylight the squaws would be out at low tide to get mussels off the rock, and if they found a dead otter or beaver or seal, would just put them in their basket and take them home, and the man that had killed or should have had them would know nothing about them.
The half-breeds, my neighbors, used to trade with the Indians and make money out of their furs. I used to go down on the high rock in front of my ranch and see lots of otter, beaver and seal, but could not get to shoot them. I had a nice view of the Pacific Ocean and steamers passing way out at sea on their way and to and from San Francisco, Portland, and Victoria, Vancouver's Island (British Columbia), and on a clear day it looked beautiful.
I could see plenty of whales (the small humpback whale) in whole schools of them, blowing and spouting a few miles out from shore, and lots of porpoises or sea-hogs tumbling over and over like an endless chain. Then sometimes the clouds out at sea would be dark and look like a high mountain and high hills, as if there was but a large river between, and sometimes when a storm was raging, and the breakers and waves strike the rock with the noise of a thousand cannons, and the water or spray would fly inland a quarter of a mile, and sometimes nearly to my house. But the house was at least 300 or 400 feet higher than the sea, and a half mile back from the beach.
In calm weather the Indians would go in their canoes to rocks out in the sea a mile or so, and have some of them keep the canoe off away from the rock (to keep the waves from throwing the canoe against the rock and breaking it or knocking a hole in it) and several would go on the rocks with sticks to keep the seagulls from striking them, and rob the nests of eggs. There would be wild ducks' and pelicans' eggs, and they would nearly fill their baskets or canoe at a trip and I would trade with them for the fresh eggs, all I would want, for beads or handkerchiefs; [end of page 87] and they would catch canoes full of rock bass and other good, fresh fish.
When I had nothing else to do in my garden, I would read a lot of novels I bought at Port Orford, but got awful lonesome sometimes and wished I had stayed in Chicago, or on our land in Lake County, Ill., and not spend the best part of the younger days of my life in that lonesome place, away from all female association. But it could not be helped. I had to make the best I could of it.
My Indian boy used to tell me that the Indians talked of killing all the whites sometime, for they had been mistreated by them. I laughed at him and told him the Indians would have to kill us in our sleep, as they were too cowardly to do so when we were awake. He said that was just the way they would do--when we were all asleep. I made all manner of fun of him about the Indian bravery, and told him that five or six well-armed white men could just take any of their villages and do as they pleased, for all the Indians could do, and that was just my honest belief, and all miners believed the same. And we would not give them credit for what damage they might do under favorable circumstances--where we all made a fatal error. For in a short time they just done as the boy said, caught us all asleep and killed some 36 settlers in one night--but I must not anticipate my record.
Sometime in November, I took an awful toothache for two or three days. I could hardly stand it that long, so I concluded to go to Prattsville, 18 miles, and get my tooth pulled. I started about 2 p.m., and by taking a trail below the Three Sisters would cut off five or six miles by going over what was called the Devil's Back, a rock the point of which ran out into the sea, and on one side nearly perpendicular, 120 feet high, and only some crevices to walk up in, but very dangerous. I was very feverish and nearly distracted with the toothache, and could hardly see. I mistook a place where some loose rock had slipped down for the trail, and after I got up about 50 or 60 feet I found the rock overhanging, and could go no further.
I concluded to turn back (I had on a poncho or sort of blanket cloak)--I went to throw my poncho down so I could turn, when the loose rock under my feet slipped away, and to keep from turning [and] butting my brains out on the rock, I held out my feet and rested my hands on both sides to steady me to slide and keep from turning, and down I went over sixty feet to the bottom. I thought I was gone, and when I struck in the sand at the bottom I was so badly scared that I could not stand up for some time. My hands were cut so that there were pieces cut out of the inside as large as quarter dollars and bled freely. After I got over my fright I walked around and came to the conclusion to go back to the Three Sisters Hotel and take the trail over the mountains and ten miles around. And it would be dark before I would get over to Euchre Creek. But my toothache did not stop. I had walked back toward [end of page 88] the Three Sisters a short distance and had become sort of cool and collected, and I knew that Indians went over the Devil's Back every day and carried heavy loads, and squaws with baskets full of mussels and children on top of the mussels went over every day, and that I could not have found the right crack or crevice to go up. So I went back and examined close and found the right trail, but it was fearful. After I got to the top I lay down and held onto the rock and grass--I was so dizzy I could not look down. . . .
While I was lying down in fear of falling, and did not dare to stand up, I saw squaws come up to the steepest place with a heavy basket on their back with only a strap of deerhide across their foreheads, the basket full of fish or mussels and a baby lying across the basket with nothing to hold it on. Then the squaw would get to the top, stand and look around, and rest on her stick and look about on the very brink of the frightful precipice 120 to 140 feet high with all rock below, and seem as safe as if she stood on level ground, while it made me shiver and hold onto the grass and rock, not daring to look down for dizziness.
I heard several men say after they had crossed the same Devil's Hump (or Back) that it was worth a man's life to go over it; some said they would not try it again for thousands of dollars.
But I got to Prattsville quite late, but as soon as I got there I went right in to Dr. Holton's office, and he sat me down on the floor in a pair of saddle machines and yanked out that infernal tooth. I tell you I felt relieved, and then I went to Charley's and stayed all night. . . . [end of page 89]
About March 6th, 1855, Charley approved of my taking the trip to California to see about the claims to work the Indians on the Klamath River. So I took a good pony, my rifle and pistol and blankets, to prospect and take up or buy some good bar on the Klamath River. The snow was not off the Coast Range between Crescent City and Waldo, and when I got to Sailor Diggings I found the Siskiyou Mountains closed by snow, so that nothing could cross but on the snow crust. So I sold my horse to a Frenchman named Murain that lived and had mining claims at Elizabethtown, eight miles above Prattsville, Gold Beach. (He was packing here.) I stayed at Waldo with an old mining friend, a sailor named Pete Brown (he owed me a big whiskey and pie bill at Althouse Creek). I saw many old acquaintances from Althouse.
Now while I am on the subject, I forgot to state that our creek claims were jumped from Dr. Watkins, and he failed to let us know in time, and we thought our bank claims were not worthwhile to trouble about, so let the hide go with the tallow, as the saying is. But while I was at Waldo quite an excitement of discoveries of digging on Indian Creek had been made, but the snow kept the men at Waldo until they could get over the mountains, and Waldo was quite lively.
A saloon and bowling alley was kept by a man I knew, and a prizefighter named Maguire from San Francisco, who owned part with the partner named Mellon. They got up an exhibition of the manly art of self-defense, or sparring, every week, and quite a number of [end of page 90] shoulder-lifters ["shoulder-strikers," "thugs"] and gamblers took part. I found our neighbor of the Three Sisters, Hugh O'Neil, near my Pacific Ranch, was giving lessons and training others, and I will here tell how he came to leave Port Orford and the Three Sisters.
At the time of the Johnson Diggings excitement he had gone too, and then come back to Port Orford, where he had an interest in some boat in taking passengers and freight off the steamers, and he had some chums, very rough ones from San Francisco. One named Holmes had just got out of the Point San Quentin Penitentiary. The steamer brought notice to the merchants here to look out, for he was a notorious burglar and safe robber. Only the merchants knew it. He got in with Hugh O'Neil and they heard that some considerable money was deposited in a safe at the Pacific Hotel. So O'Neil went in the hotel and drew the attention of the proprietor and guests by giving some hints to the audience in boxing, with his back to the door in the office to keep anyone out of the dining room where the safe was. Holmes got in a window from the side of the building and opened the safe, but Spanish Mary was quarreling with Nollan outside on that side and saw Holmes go in the window, and Mary saw him and gave the alarm. The merchants had been watching and had removed the money already from the safe. The watchers rushed in and caught Holmes in the safe and put him in irons and whipped him and sent him back to San Francisco in irons. They tried Hugh O'Neil as an accomplice, but did not quite prove it on him, and were afraid to whip him.
So they (the vigilantes) notified him to leave Port Orford in 24 hours. So he went to the Three Sisters to his partner, John O'Brien, and made some arrangements with him and left for the mines, and here he was at Waldo! He was glad to see me, but did not want me to mention the Port Orford affair when the snow got so that we could go over it.
Before I go further, I got acquainted with Tom Magin [McGuinn?]. He had a nephew--he called him Aleck Williams--and he was in training to fight a little fellow named Shannon who was being trained by Hugh O'Neil. It was only a sham match to make money out of the miners, and give exhibitions and make money for the bar, but it made me know the parties in future. A little English boxer named Howard was quite [good] too in boxing with Harry Shannon. He built a bakery at Indian Creek, and I will speak of it further on.
I started from Waldo (and I had not collected any of our old accounts I had with me, not even Peter Brown) and got to Indian Creek all right and stopped at Squire Charles Walker's (that used to live in Althouse Creek, and had Jim the half-breed who shot Dr. Black tried before him). He and Hugh Heaps, a packer, kept a large grocery store. I saw many old Californians and Oregon friends.
There was an awful excitement--there had been one man killed, and [end of page 91] his murderer was hanged by the vigilantes and miners. I will relate the whole affair.
A man named John Pringle, or Squire John, or Yankee John, had a bowling alley and saloon. A man named Phillips, 26 years old, a miner, quite small, had a fuss with Pringle and sharpened his butcher knife on a grindstone and made threats he would kill Pringle or someone that day. In the evening after supper Phillips was at a store just opened by Pegleg Smith, second door from Pringle's [bowling] alley.
There were quite a lot of men in the store. Smith had a lot of new goods, just putting on shelves. A young Scotchman about six feet high and 23 or 24 years old and weight about 200 lbs., his name was McJanes--he was a fine peaceable man, sober and steady. He was joking with other men, and in fun took the pipe out of Phillips' mouth and put it in his own and commenced smoking it. Phillips asked him to give him back his pipe, but McJanes in a bantering way said he could not make him give it back, that he (Phillips) was too small. The first thing McJanes knew, Phillips drew his knife and stabbed him two or three times. The crowd did not know till McJanes said he was cut and fell. Phillips jumped out of the window and fell into a ditch of water and ran off. Some men outside saw him fall into the ditch and laughed at him, not knowing he had cut anyone.
As soon as the men in the store realized what had been done, they scattered out to catch Phillips. Some went up the creek and on to the trail (to Waldo over the mountains), and some went down the trail towards Happy Camp on the Klamath at the mouth of Indian Creek. But Phillips ran up the creek to the Dutch Boys' claim; they were Old John, Long John, Dutch John [Schertz] and Joe Grappy [Grappe?]. He told them he had cut a man and begged for them not to give him up. They heard someone coming and hid Phillips. Some men came and inquired, but they said they had not seen him. So they went on.
After they left, the boys told Phillips to strike for Happy Camp, down the creek or trail, but none of them knew how bad McJanes was cut, and Phillips did not himself. So he struck back down past town on the trail for Happy Camp, but only got one or two miles below town when in the dark he ran into a lot of men coming up the trail, and Old Kentuck, a big old miner, took him prisoner. They carried torches and brought him back to town, and a guard took him in charge.
McJanes had died immediately after being stabbed, and next morning all the miners of the creek came together and they chose a judge and jury and appointed counsel to defend the prisoner and one to prosecute, and he was tried and convicted of murder in the first degree, and old Judge Taylor, a miner who had been a minister in Iowa, sentenced him to be hung next day and he was. Phillips said he had nothing against McJanes, [he was] only vexed for aggravating him about the pipe and his smallness, [end of page 92] but he did feel like killing John Pringle. McJanes was well liked, peaceable and harmless, but he did like to joke, and we can see that a light joke was the cause of the sudden death of the two young men.
I liked Indian Creek City, and I spoke before of Howard, the English baker, who had just completed a bakery and store and was ready to open in a short time. He offered to sell me a half interest in the property for $300 and to go in company with him, but I had not come to buy property on Indian Creek, for I had but $25 or $30 left after selling my horse at Waldo for $50, and I had barely enough to go to the Klamath and back to Prattsville. . . .
The first night I stopped at Charles, or Squire, Walker's. They had a poker game, and three of the players were old acquaintances from Althouse Creek. They asked me to take a hand and make it up. There were John Myers, Lavollette [Lafollette?] Lindsey, a gambler named John L. Sands, a young butcher Jim ------, and myself, making it five-handed. We played awhile and I won about $75. Next day again and I was over $120 ahead.
That night I came to the conclusion if I could win the $300, I would buy the half of Howard's bakery. I had good luck and had over $175, and I got an ace full. There were three of us in. The butcher had dealt the cards but dropped out after the first raise. John L. Sands bet me $100 better on the last raise. I hesitated, but thought if I should win the bet I would have $350, fifty dollars ahead more than would buy the half of the bakery, and if I lost, I was not over the $10 out that I started with, and I was playing altogether on their money, and I took more chances than if I had been playing on my own money. I studied how the deal was, and the dealer (the butcher) was not capable of putting up, or stacking, a hand of cards. So I just took $100 and called the bet. Sands had four nines, and my ace full was beat, and I did not get the bakery. The game was straight poker and not draw, and our hands were uncommon big ones. But the cards had run uncommon high and we had bet them very high. They all four made common cause against me, for I was an outsider or stranger on the creek, and they did not want an outside party [to] beat them out of their money. They would keep trying to run me out by raising on every bet I made, so they could have the drop on me. And we played two aces, as good as a full hand in draw poker. For the hands run so much lower in straight poker. Sometimes I have thought that Sands, Myers and Lindsey rang in a cold deck of cards and steamboated me on the hand, but in after years (2 years) John L. Sands stayed with me a great deal and ran a monte bank in our saloon at the same Indian Creek City, where Charley and I kept the Eldorado Saloon and Bakery, and he always assured me it was on the square, [and I believed him] for it made no difference to tell me otherwise.
So next day after my game I started for Happy Camp, at the mouth of Indian Creek on the Klamath River, some 12 miles. I got to the hotel kept [end of page 93] by Henry Doolittle of Wisconsin. They did a good business and had a good stock of general goods and groceries in connection with their hotel and kept boarders too. I stayed overnight and inquired for the different bars on the river and heard Wingate and Humphrey's Bar, below Clear Creek, prospected well, were large, and could be bought cheap, but that it would be troublesome to get water on them as they were quite high up from the river.
I took some tools and provision and got a boy I had known down [in] Oregon (at Wm. Weaver's on the South Umpqua, and on Althouse Creek) to go prospecting with me on the bars in question. Found Wingate Bar would be best but would have to pay $300 for five claims of fifty yards each; it would last for years with ten or twelve Indians and could make $2 to $2.50 per day to the hand. And [we] could get sluices on the large bar right above Happy Camp. Some men got good prospects and were going to turn the Klamath River. I was there in time and took up a hundred yards running up the river off the bar and I got a good prospect.
One evening I went to the hotel and heard that the Indians above the mouth of Rogue River and Gold Beach--Joshuas, Tututnis, Mikonotunnes, Euchres and all the different tribes of Indians--had broke out, killed Captain Ben Wright (Sup. Indian Agent), cut his head off, and killed 32 ranch men and burnt up all their houses, drove off the stock and horses, and that Prattsville at Gold Beach was surrounded by the Indians and their supplies cut off; my ranch (the Pacific Ranch) and the Three Sisters, and all our neighbors and settlers were burnt up, and the Canadian half-breed Eneas and young Capt. Jack of the Tututnis led the Indians.
A family named Geisel, husband, wife and four children, lived at Elizabethtown (8 miles below my ranch) or ten from Prattsville. The Indians made the husband crawl into a burning log and killed and burned his three other boys; then took the wife and oldest daughter (about 15 or 16) prisoners with them. One company of soldiers had been sent to the rescue of the people of Prattsville and one company from Crescent City and some more from Rogue River Valley under command of Genl. [end of page 94] [A. J.] Smith (afterwards in the great Rebellion). He commanded both regulars and volunteers, and a regular Indian war had broken out in all Southern Oregon and Northern California.
So I thought I had saved my scalp by not being on my old Pacific Ranch. I sometimes think that Eneas would have warned me, for he did the half-breed boys, my neighbors, but being as I was white and they half-Indians might have made a difference, and I am glad I left and not took the chance to try them, or the Indians. For when they massacred the 32 whites, it was done simultaneously, three or four Indians to every house in the night, and not one escaped. My little Indian boy often told me that they would sometime kill all the whites and I told him they would have to do it while we were asleep, and it was just the way they done it. But it was the white men's own faults, for we were too careless and unguarded with them and they got the advantage and took the opportunity.
In about a week after I got the news, my brother came to me at Happy Camp. He was at Prattsville when the Indians killed the 32 white settlers. Ben Wright [was] but two miles up Rogue River from Prattsville. They came and knocked at his door in the night, called him out to speak to him, when young Tututni Jack (young chief) caught Ben Wright by the hair, others held him, and one cut his head off with an ax.
Charley told me how it all commenced. Two white men (I knew one, named John Clevenger) were prospecting some distance up Rogue River, some  miles above. The Indians killed both of them and the whites heard of it and raised a company of volunteers and fought the Indians. Then [Capt. A. J.] Smith went down the river with a company of regulars (and one company raised at Crescent City) to go up the beach to the mouth of Rogue River and to camp there until other volunteers from above would form a junction with them.
A small company had been raised at Prattsville, and the Crescent City Company, and the Prattsville company were camped three or four miles up Rogue River from Prattsville. One night there was a big ball or dance got up at Prattsville, and all the volunteers except a guard of four men went to the ball. Some few of the Crescent City volunteers were up the river scouting. Nearly one o'clock at night a squaw, well known at Prattsville, told another squaw, the wife of Jim Hunt, a white man, that Indians were going to kill all the whites in the country while they were asleep [end of page 95] that night. The squaw was around the miners a great deal and made Prattsville her home most of the time, and she liked the whites, and the Indians did not think she would dare to betray them. So after dark she had left the Tututni village (about 4 miles above) to let the whites know, and told James Hunt's wife first. Jim Hunt took the squaw and brought her to a store kept by Gus and John Upton and James Johnson, and they called in other merchants and citizens and they questioned the squaw. She kept telling the same story, but the men just laughed at the idea that the Indians would dare to do so, and they actually proposed to whip the squaw for telling such a lying story. But at last [they] let her go, and thought no more about it.
In the morning very early, about daybreak, one of the volunteer miners named Shaffer had been at the dance and started to go up to the camp, three or four miles up. When he got close to the camp, he saw everything so still around camp and no stir yet and no guards in sight. When he got to the tent, he saw all the four guards dead and scalped and lots of things gone. He just started and ran back to Prattsville with the news. He had to be careful so the Indians did not happen to see him. Everyone was astonished and confounded and raised men and arms and went right up and found Ben Wright had been killed. Then parties were sent out to settlers' houses, and it was found all were murdered and the houses burned and stock drove off, and the Indians had all united and were coming on to Prattsville. So the people all got together and forted up the town and kept guard out day and night.
John O'Brien, of the Three Sisters, heard of it--somehow they had not attacked his ranch, and he with five others got into a whaleboat he had and took their guns and escaped from the Three Sisters. They thought they were all safe and got in front of Prattsville to land on the beach where the Indians could not molest them, but somehow the boat broached to in the breakers and upset and all six men were drowned, O'Brien being with them. Capt. Bill Tichenor of Port Orford had a small sloop, the Nelly Tichenor, named after his daughter; he ran his sloop into the mouth of Rogue River and took off some of the merchants and others who wished to leave Prattsville.
One night the two Upton brothers, Mr. Pratt and my brother and Capt. Tichenor ran out with the tide without the Indians seeing them, and they all got safe to Crescent City. Then Charley came on to where I was. He had to leave his bakery and everything, even his clothes and bedding. Our house on the Pacific Ranch was burned up, and I had left our bar outfit, cooking utensils and lots of potatoes, cabbage, beets and everything in the house when I left, expecting to be back in three or four weeks [end of page 96] at the outside. Not a house was left standing from Prattsville to Port Orford (30 miles).
The Indian war continued all summer, fall and next spring before they were conquered and subjected [it lasted from early October 1855 to late May 1856], and all the miners on Rogue River, Galice Creek, Slate Creek, Illinois River [and] Applegate Creek had to go away and abandon their ranches and mining claims. The ball alley we had built on Sucker Creek was burned up by the Indians. So we came to the conclusion we had done well in saving our lives, and we would go back to Indian Creek City and buy claims and go to mining, because we could not go back to Prattsville or to our Pacific Ranch or Sucker Creek until the war was over.
So we bought a claim on the town site of one of the Lindsey boys. It had paid well and there was a water ditch belonging to the claim (and the tree that Phillips was hung on was on the same claim). We bought another creek claim and worked nearly two months with four others, the two Lindseys and John and Bill Buck and myself. And at last [we] could not make it pay, gave it up and commenced building a bakery and saloon in town. It was on our claim the summer of 1855 that Charley had baked and cooked for Joe Fries. He was an old friend from Sucker Creek, a German and a United States deserter, I afterwards found. He ran a bakery and saloon and got married to a French fancy. Charley had cooked, baked and kept bar for him while I was mining some the fall we put up the Eldorado Saloon and Bakery. We done tolerable well but [had to give] too much credit among the miners. Before we opened up I took a trip up to Scott Bar on Scott River after some pictures for our saloon and a violin player. I engaged Chester Eastman, who had played for us on Althouse and Sucker Creek in 1853.
When I engaged him he was just playing for a large gambling saloon on French Bar at $7 per night, but the night I got there the city authorities had closed up the saloon and left Eastman out of a job. So he came to us at quite [a] low price, but we boarded him and gave him about $4 per day and night. We had taken in a third partner named Edward Ryan; his mother, a widow, lived at Grand Harbor, Michigan. He and Charley whipsawed and cut lumber for the saloon and for sale. My partner in the bar claim was Harry Stone, an old sailor; he worked hard all fall and ground-sluiced with a big head of water and ran off more dirt than I ever saw handled without a hydraulic, and got but little pay and had large expense fluming and repairing our ditch.
The winter of 1855 the Indians attacked and murdered a packer on the mountains between Indian Creek and Waldo (about 15 miles from us) and ran off the mules and horses. The other man got away. A [end of page 97] company was raised to go after the Indians in our town, and the balance of the citizens built a large log fort, so that if the Indians did come we could fort up, and we kept guard out and had the place, or fort, well provisioned, and got 25 new rifles.
The company was gone some eight or ten days and captured a lot of horses and mules, some of the train that had been robbed among them. They did not catch up to the Indians but caught up to the stock and some belonging to the Indians. The stock was sold, and after taking out the expense of provision the balance was turned over to the widow of the man the Indians had killed. They lived up on the Klamath River.
One day I woke up with a lame ankle and thought it was wrenched, but that day the pain got up higher and then shifted to the other knee and was pronounced to be inflammatory rheumatism. When I took down [to my bed] I weighed about 185 lbs. I could not eat a mouthful for 22 days. Then I gave $2.50 for a small can of strawberries, and I could eat a few at a time. I could not sleep or turn in bed and had to be turned, for I could not move. I begged for opium to put me to an everlasting sleep, but could get none. Everything that was thought of was used that anybody advised: brandy and pepper, cold ice water, wet sheets and everything, liniments of all kinds, also Mustang, till I got tired of it. Perry Davis's Pain Killer done me most good. I could not have anything touch me. My cover had to be propped up so [as] not to lie on me. I wanted to die, but could not. And I could not let a light go out at night. I was sick about seven months and in the coldest of winter, and I kept thinking the Indians would take the town and burn it up, and I was perfectly helpless to move. After I got so I could get around on crutches to get weighed, I weighed 127 lbs.
After I got well I went to ground sluicing, and felt better and could do a better day's work than before (so Harry Stone said) and kept working at our old bank claim.
After the Indian war was over, there was quite a rush again for Sucker Creek, where we had our bowling alley and bakery in 1853. The Indians had burned up all the towns and miners' cabins and our bowling alley and bakery in 1855, but now some miners had made some discoveries on the right-hand fork, where our party had prospected and worked in 1853, and now called Bowling Creek.
So I had got tired of my claim on Indian Creek, and I got Ed Ryan, Andrew Kelley and Samuel Hinks to go in with us to try Sucker Creek again. We struck across the mountains with our guns and two or three blankets; we thought we could get there next day, but we got lost and [end of page 98] we liked to have starved and nearly froze to death and came out thirty miles south of where we wanted to go. But we got to Sucker Creek at last and went to the new town at the forks of the creek at the mouth of Bowling Creek and about three miles above the old town (burned up) where our ball alley and bakery was. We took up four claims (bank) that were vacant and had been worked three years ago. Two of us mined and two of us whipsawed. Ed Ryan took to drinking, and it was hard to get along with him.
The spring following, Charley rented our Eldorado Saloon and Bakery on Indian Creek and came over to Sucker Creek again to us. He wanted to start a bakery, so I bought a lot in the new town right opposite the footbridge and main road up the creek and put up the frame of a house, but after we got that far concluded to build another bowling alley and bakery on a different lot, as it would take more ground for [a] ball alley and would have to be nearly a hundred feet long. So Charley took in a partner to whipsaw with him, and they took up some creek claims right in front of our bar claims, adjoining mine. My brother and Thomas Wilson (a Polander) whipsawed all winter and sold all they could and sawed the lumber for an alley and saloon and bakery.
I had left Ed Ryan, Kelley and Samuel Hinks and bought in with old Dutch John Schertz, one of the Dutch boys of Indian Creek. He had come to California in 1850--or 1849--I forget which, and was from our part of Lake County, Illinois. Charley and I knew his brothers, sister and mother, and we had threshed their grain with our machinery in 1850 on the Dusenberg farm, which the Schertz boys had rented. We found out this while we were on Indian Creek. We, John Schertz and I, had bank claims about a quarter of a mile below the mouth of Bowling Creek on the main Sucker [Creek], and they paid us well. Charley and Wilson lived in our cabin. Ryan did not like it because we would not keep him in company with us, but he drank so we could not. But went in with an Englishman named Thompson. (Ryan, Kelley and Thompson, and Fries and McPherson and some others, had once enlisted into the United States service at Buffalo, New York, in 1850 or '51. They all deserted from the Dalles on the Columbia River and had come to Althouse to mine.)
My brother and Wilson commenced the house in 1857 and opened up July 3rd with the bowling alley and bakery. We did not complete till fall. We had [a] double alley, 78 feet long; the saloon was 30 by 40 and the bakery on behind.
I will here again go back to Indian Creek when I was just getting so that I could sit up, and I was awful lonesome. There used to be some poker playing in our saloon, and Charley would play to make up the game when he could get away from waiting on me while I was sick. There was a man called Captain Gunn, a sea captain, whose family lived in Brooklyn, New York, and he drank considerable and would play poker. [end of page 99]
One day he asked another man whom we knew for three years on Althouse Creek and at Gold Beach--his name was Henry Wiggans--Gunn proposed to Henry Wiggans to go into a poker game and play partners and get in my brother Charley, and if I would play coax me to take a hand with them and skin us out of what money we might have. Wiggans had not any money or no doubt it would have suited him, for he was a skinner.
But anyway he did not go in with Capt. Gunn. He may have had his doubts about him being able to skin us, for he knew us some time and could judge. So Capt. Gunn went to Bill Burk, another sort of a card sharp, and together they made up the plan spoken of. When they proposed the game, they said they would rather play in a private room where everyone could not look on, and my room was the one best suited. They were going to play against Charley three-handed, and asked me if I did not feel well enough to take a hand and make it four-handed. (Now Henry Wiggans told me and Charley all about how he wanted him to play in with him, and we were prepared for Capt. Gunn and Wm. Burk.)
So when they proposed to me to play, I told them I would play a few hours, and if I got so I did not feel like playing anymore would quit the game. That it was company to me to look on, and I would not get lonesome, so I was urged into the game. We played pretty high, and Captain Gunn kept calling for drinks, thinking that would affect us, but we only took mild wines or cordials. After a short time I had about all the money Capt. Gunn had, some $75 or $80, and he handed me a gold specimen ring worth $32. I loaned him $30 for it. He kept playing and borrowing from me or Charley and never got any from Burk; in fact Burk had all he could do to hold his own.
After a while the Captain handed me a second specimen ring, and I let him have $15 on it, and a bet or two took that. He pulled a third fine ring off his hand and told me he did not like to pawn it--it had been presented to him by Jim Covington, a gambler I knew, and his initials were on it. I gave him $25 for it. He said he would redeem it next day when he could see some of his partners (miners). So I had the three rings for
$70. . . . And he kept borrowing and losing bets to me to the amount of $150. He gave me his note, and I saw that Bill Burk was nearly out of money . . . so I thought I had better quit the game while I had the money. . . . Capt. Gunn felt quite bad to think that he had lost $80 in money, $70 in rings, and a note for $150, at his own seeking "to skin us." Next morning he was still drinking, and he came and begged me to let him have his ring that he had got to remember Jim Covington by. He looked so pleading and reckless that I pitied him and gave him back the ring, but he was to give me the $25 that I had loaned him on it as soon as he could raise it. I held good hands and played in good luck, and Charley and I never have been drunk or under the influence of liquors, although we have handled [end of page 100] it and sold it many years.
In selling lumber of Sucker Creek, it was worth from $14 to $18 per hundred feet. In the winter of 1856-7, there was a tremendous excitement on Bowling Creek. Some six miles above town a company of three or four men, [James Dooling], Brown, Desmond and Jim Hope, took out thousands of dollars per day, and one piece weighed 85 ounces, or seven pounds and one ounce. It looked the shape of a large Irish potato, and the miners made it ten times worse than it was. Such exaggerated stories as were told would nearly drive men crazy. I and Wilson went up to look, too, and saw the big piece and lots of other gold.
But report had it over half a bushel of gold a day. So Wilson and I went up about a mile above this fabulous claim, up a gulch and struck into a hill between two gulches, and got a good prospect and took up three hill claims. The gulch claims in front of our hill claims were being worked and had been over a year. In the company was William Reinhart, Cal Cooper [and] Henry Wilson, and it went under the title of Reinhart, Wilson and Company. Now our three hill claims were Reinhart, Wilson and Company too.
The gulch claims were allowed by law 45 feet wide in the bed of the gulch and 50 yards to a claim. We claimed as hill claims 50 feet front running back without limit. I put in a few sluices, and I worked alone to hold our claim, for we had not water sufficient to wash, and my partner, Thomas Wilson, went down to our other claims. . . . I used to get from $4 to $20 per day when I could work. One piece weighed about $16, and all our gold was coarse.
Now when the Gulch Claim Company saw that I was getting good pay, they claimed the right to take their 45 feet all on our side of the gulch and take into our hill claims. And when I was not there, they commenced in our ground and were setting their sluices. I told them the law, but they would not listen. So Thomas Wilson came up and we two went up to our claims and found their sluices in our ground and they at work. Their cabin was but 50 yards off. We asked them to take their sluices and tools away, but they said they would not. So Wilson and I just picked up their sluices and tools and threw them down into the gulch. There were four of them and but two of us, and at first it looked like they would show fight, but they did not.
They blustered and at last said they would dispose of us by law. We told them to pitch in, and so they entered suit at Kerbyville, our county seat, and the papers were served on us--Reinhart, Wilson and Company vs. Reinhart, Wilson and Company. It was a puzzle to the lawyers which was which. They got the best lawyer in Kerbyville, but there happened that one day General Preston, one of the best lawyers on the Pacific Coast, came on Sucker Creek (he had mined on the creek in 1853), and I engaged him to defend our case. He knew the laws and was an old miner. [end of page 101]
We all ten went down to Kerbyville with our fourteen witnesses. They got the best of us in selecting the jury; they had six out of eight, but they hung. They thought they had us beat sure with their jury, but when they hung they became frightened of the next jury, which would have given us a verdict, and their lawyer, Sprague, found out, so they proposed to settle, and we did. They paid the cost and left us our claim as we had it. (We claimed that they must take 22½ feet each side of the center of the bed of the gulch.) Our lawyer only charged us ten dollars, and $25 should have been the fee, if we had continued the trial. But we had our expense to pay, so it cost us $60 or $70, but the others must have paid over $200. And we went home good friends again.
William Reinhart said to me that I had better friends in Kerbyville than he had, or that he thought I had. I had got acquainted with him over a year ago. He must have been a cousin on my father's side, whose father had come to Virginia or Pennsylvania about the time of the Revolution, and his family were living in Indiana. He was raised in the family of Daniel Weaver, one of his partners in the claim, whose name I had forgot. William Reinhart in 1857 or 1858 was elected county clerk, and he volunteered during the Indian war, and in 1861-2 he was [a] major in the regular service and commanded Fort Walla Walla (where we still were good friends.)
The water gave out in the claim, and I went down home, and every nine days I would have to go up and see how our claim got along, and work a little to hold it. One day four Italians came in from California and wanted to buy some claims. I told them that I had three hill claims to sell that they could have for $600 if taken soon. They said they would go and prospect them two or three days. They went up on a Wednesday and took their blankets and tools and some provision, and on Saturday night got back and showed me about $4 of fine gold which they said they got by working a day or two. They let on that they did not go much on the claims, but would give us $100 if it would pay $6 per day to the hand, and if not, nothing.
I mistrusted that they were not on the square, so told my brother not to appear to be anxious to sell, that they got more in the prospect and kept back the coarse gold. So that when they came again I told them that if they wanted to buy the claim that they must do so by Monday morning. My brother would start for Crescent City to buy liquors and cigars and balls and pins for our bowling alley, and that if they did not buy before he went that we would keep them and work them when the water came. And we would take $300 in cash down and the other $300 in six months if it paid $6 per day per hand.
On Monday morning before we had breakfast one of the Italians came and paid me $300 in gold coin and gave me a note for the other $300 with the said conditions. (And it was a foolish condition, for no matter how [end of page 102] much they might make out of the claim per day over the $6, we would have to take their word for it, and if they did not want to pay it they could claim that they had not made the $6 per day, and we could not prove they had.) So Charley started for Crescent City that day.
Some two months after, the Italians abandoned the claim, saying they could not make anything out of it. The next summer one of them named Parodi Bartholomew worked for us in our creek claim, for he had had a falling out with the three others and left them. He said when they all four went up to prospect the hill claim they dug out and washed out the dirt in the pan to see how it would average when worked with water and sluices. They worked about two hours and took out one piece of coarse rough gold and quartz, some over six ounces, or over $100. After getting out the quartz rock [they] weighed over four ounces of pure gold, and they must have got over a hundred dollars in that short time. They just quit work and done nothing and came down to buy the claims. [The claims should have] cost them $1000 [each]. But [they] were afraid if I saw the gold I would not sell to them at that price. (And that was lucky for me, for if I had got the gold they got in their prospecting, I would not have sold our claims for any price.) They worked for two months and never got back the amount they paid us, and we did not pity them one bit for their roguery. They deserved their punishment, loss of money and time.
In the fall of 1857 the Italians bought into my bank claim with John Schertz, and we hired a fourth man named Peter Kernan, an Irish young man. We made from $6 to $15 per day per hand. Wilson and my brother Charley found a good-paying hill claim away up the hill over 300 feet high, right across the creek from the town and our ball alley, which was called the Mayflower Saloon & Bakery & Bowling Alley. That fall and winter I used to be at the saloon a great deal when the weather was too bad to work. We had to put up a high aqueduct across the creek from the left-hand fork of Sucker [Creek] above the town, and when the ditch got opposite our claims, crossed on our aqueduct and flume and brought the water high up on our high bar close to our house, and we could use it for ground sluicing and . . . [the water] was clearer than the main stream. But on the town bar above us were some thirty or forty Chinamen, and the bar they worked was awful deep. They worked in three changes, eight hours each, night and day, and when some were at work others were smoking opium or asleep. The claim was from 18 to 25 feet deep. And no wonder that in 1853 we did not get good prospects, for we were prospecting this very claim and did not get down [but] 12 or 15 feet and so gave it up.
Now the Chinamen were called dirty, but they were too clean to suit us, for every day some of them would sit in rows on the edge of our water ditch and wash their feet and legs above their knees; they would slip up [end of page 103] their wide trouser legs up their bodies and bathe off and wash in water we sometimes used for cooking or drinking. They had an interest in the ditch and used part of the water, so we could not object to their cleanness. They were called very frugal in their meals and considered close to their provision as to cheapness, but these I knew once invited a lot of us storekeepers to a great dinner for the Americans, and they had a special table with the best of victuals, such as pies, cakes, roast pig, oysters in soup, or oyster pie, and all kinds of canned goods and fresh meats the market afforded in great profusion. And only us whites to the same table; they had their own table to themselves, and they waited on us as gentlemen; after eating they had wine and lemonade and nuts and oranges, figs and raisins and apples--in fact, as well got up as we could have done ourselves.
Charley and Wilson had bought a dozen hens and a rooster and raised some 200 or 300 chickens on our bar, on the meat and offal of a butcher's slaughterhouse. They sold their eggs at $2.50 to $3 per dozen, and chickens, young spring pullets at $1.50 apiece, and the Chinamen were [their] best customers, as they lived higher than I had any idea of. But they were sort of bound out to superiors, who had charge of them, as they were shipped out at the expense of their government, and they collected all their earnings until they had reimbursed themselves and then after that they were at liberty to work for themselves. If they died their bodies were temporarily buried and afterwards taken up and shipped back with a shipload to their homes in China. Their overseers are of a higher class, and some are overbearing and arbitrary with their employees, and sometimes hard feelings exist among them. I saw one of their higher class overseers died very suddenly; the Chinamen said he had smoked too much opium. No doubt. And it may have been foul play, for the young man was not well liked by them. But we took no stock in their doings and let them mind their own affairs.
One or two years before, we, a lot of miners, had run all the Chinamen off of Sucker Creek, and would not let them mine. But the county officers were making a good thing out of them collecting their licenses and $4 per month each head, and the sheriff brought back the Chinamen and told us the authorities would protect them, as each Chinaman had paid $50 apiece to the United States government at San Francisco when they landed, and the government would have to protect them. So we had to let them alone, and they bought a great many mining claims on Sucker Creek and paid some big prices, too.
The fall and winter of 1857 I used to play some cards, and [played] on the ball alley of ours to make up games. We got to playing tenpin pool on the alleys. You draw a ball the same as billiard table pool and then try to make it up to 31, which is "pool." We would put up a stake of 25 or 50 cents apiece, and the one [who] made pool got all but ¼ or ante, which was for [end of page 104] the use of alley and pin setters. When you got as close to 31 as you thought would be safe you would say, "I plant," and then your turn in roll would count on the next man to you, when you would endeavor to burst out. By chance sometimes you might make pool for him, not knowing what he had. If you bursted out, yourself or anyone could come in again with a new ball and the ante as many times as they please until someone made pool. Or when after planting no one makes pool, the nearest to 31 takes pot or the pool. Charley and I were quite good rollers and in practice but would have to play to make up the game. Sometimes Saturday nights and Sundays I would start a little monte bank with $75 or $100 with a partner named French Joe Denny, and we sometimes made some little winning. And I sometimes played poker and I usually came out winner.
I was the cause of two men making their fortunes. A boatman from New York (formerly) named James Daniels and his mining partner Gus Hill, a Prussian, had claims on Sucker Creek a mile below town. They paid well but were nearly worked out. Jim Daniels used to be on Althouse Creek in 1854. He had a prize fight with a man named ------. I got acquainted with him and Gus Hill at Happy Camp in 1855. They used to come to our saloon and play tenpins and pool and sometimes poker. They had studied up some signs at the game so [as] to play together so that one could pass a good hand, and his partner would keep it from being passed out. So one Saturday night they both proposed for me to go into a game of poker with them, and another miner named Pickett came into the game and make it four-handed.
In the play I got away with all of them, and Jim Daniels got mad and excited and could not understand his partner's private signs, and he was very overbearing to his partner, Gus Hill, and laid all the blame on him and kept quarreling with him till morning, when they went home mad at each other. I had won about $150. Gus Hill owed me $30 or $35 and told me he would pay me next Saturday night. On Monday morning I came uptown early to get some beef for breakfast when Charley called to me that Gus Hill had left some thirty-odd dollars for me and he had left Sunday for San Francisco, having sold out to James Daniels on account of the quarrel Saturday night.
In March, 1858, Jim Daniels got a letter from Gus Hill--he was at Fraser River, British Columbia--and for him to come right out, that he had struck it rich. It happened when Gus Hill got to San Francisco there was a great excitement of a rich discovery on Fraser River, and every steamer took from a thousand to 1800 passengers from California, and he, Gus Hill, being out of a claim, decided to go to Victoria and see. From there he found other friends he knew and they bought a small boat and provisioned her and [bought] tools and went up the river. A lot of roughs from San Francisco, who had been run off from California by the vigilantes, [end of page 105] followed close behind. One of the roughs' names was Ned McGowan, very notorious. Gus Hill saw a bar on his right-hand side of the river; he landed and commenced to prospect and got a big prospect and staked off three claims, when the boat containing Ned McGowan came ashore and took up the next five or six claims adjoining Gus Hill's. The bar was named after the discoverer, Hill's Bar, and turned out to be very rich. Jim Daniels went out there by steamer, right within a few miles of the bar to Fort Hope (an old Hudson's Bay fur company trading post where the steamers made their terminus landing from Victoria, Vancouver's Island).
When I came down Fraser River in October  I saw Jim Daniels just leaving Fort Hope for San Francisco. Gus Hill had left the day before. They had made eight or ten thousand dollars in less than eight months, and I the indirect cause of it!
The winter of 1857, Ed Ryan, our old partner, got killed by a saw log. He had been on a spree for three or four days. His partner, Bill Thompson, got tired and urged Ed Ryan to go to work at whipsawing that morning. Ed did not feel like working after his spree, got careless and cut a log or snag without taking the usual precaution to prop up the log at both ends, and when he cut a snag off the log started and rolled over him. It was over sixty feet long, two and a half or three feet through, and it mashed his breast and chest so inwardly that he just told Thompson that he was a dead man and died. When I heard of it I took a scare. For that morning I had a very narrow escape from a frightful death myself, and I will relate the circumstance.
I was mining in a tunnel and had put a blast in the bedrock. It was in the water and I had to work in a hurry before the water would wet my blast. In tamping, the fuse got a kink in it, and in pulling it straighter [I] must have pulled it out of the powder, but did not know it then. So when I touched it off, the fuse did not go. So I lit it again and still it did not burn. So I took the candle in my hand and held it under the fuse to make it burn. All at once there was a hiss and it blew my candle out of my hand and I ran. But there was no explosion. So I went back, but I was awfully frightened, for if the blast had gone off nothing could have saved me, for I was right over the blast.
And when I heard of Ed Ryan's death, I did not feel like working any more than day, but went and helped dig a grave on a high point and we carried him and buried him next day. His partner and others wrote to his mother in Michigan to let her know of her son's death. [end of page 106]
The following summer, Samuel Hinks, who was a partner of mine, Ryan's and Kelley's, was whipsawing with another young man. Sam took a handspike and raised the log for the other man to change the head block. Sam's handspike slipped and the young man was under the log and it came down on his head, killing him instantly. It happened near Kerbyville on the Illinois River. [end of page 107]
In February, 1858, John Schertz and I bought out the Italian out of one third of our bank claims and water privilege and aqueduct or flume across the creek, and the Italian and myself concluded to go to Fraser River in British Columbia, where the great rich discoveries were made the fall and winter past, and some on Thompson River near Shuswap Lake. My old neighbors, the half-breeds of Gold Beach next to our Pacific Ranch, had been working out there the year before. Charley was to work half of our claims with John Schertz and employ some Chinamen, and still carry on our ball alley, saloon and bakery with Wilson. If I should find anything in British Columbia, [I would] take up claims for all and [they would] sell out on Sucker Creek. . . .
We made our arrangements to start about May 8th, 1858. Charley went with us to Kerbyville, and another of the Italians, named Sidney Bartholomew, no relative of the other, only they had been partners together in the gulch claim they bought of us. I had whipsawed with him some of the winter of 1856 and '57. He was a large, rough ship carpenter--could speak French, German, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Italian and Swedish. He had learned his German in Russia in a German colony. From his looks you would not think he knew one language, instead of seven or eight. So he made three of us to travel. We were going to buy some animals at Kerbyville and strike through French Prairie to see the half-breeds, and on to the Dalles, Oregon, and join some company [end of page 108] from there to the interior of British Columbia. So we got to Kerbyville and the two Italians bought two mules and one horse and three riding saddles, one for each of us, and we could pack our blankets behind us.
At Kerbyville we found S. M. Charles, the carpenter, working at his trade; he had been a partner of my brother in the saloon at Gold Beach. He had worked for us a long time on our bowling alley and saloon and bakery on Sucker Creek, put up in 1857, for which we had paid him big wages, five dollars per day, and we considered him a great friend of ours. He came to us and wanted to sell me his new navy revolver, a very fine one, that he said he would not part with only to me, and that he had no especial use for it then and said he would take anything for it from me, for a keepsake.
I had some fine gold specimens that I had bought from the Italian (my partner) and I gave double weight of choice pieces of smooth, nice gold I have saved out of my claim. I sent twelve dollars in weight to Crescent City and had me a nice ring made and my name and date (1858) engraved inside, and I sent down two pieces of the same kind of gold and had a pin put on each with a fine linked gold chain to connect the two. The ring cost me $24 and the double pin I would not sell for $50. And I still had some of the specimens left. They were from the Jesus Maria mines in Calaveras County, California, and they were all as if in a molten state had been poured on some cedar branches, and the impress of the leaves was so natural.
So I gave S. M. Charles a fine specimen, weight about nine dollars, but costing me $18. Just the best shape for a watch seal for a gold watch chain; it was worth at least $20. Now S. M. Charles' pistol should have sold for from $27 to $30 with belt. (I needed a good pistol to carry on my horn of the saddle in a pair of canteens.) He seemed to be satisfied with the seal specimen; still he did not like to ask boot for the pistol.
So I through friendly feelings offered him a choice or selection of some other specimens. I had expected he would take one middling or medium piece, as I had some large and some small, but he surprised me by taking the largest of all, worth about $8. We (Charley and I) did not express ourselves, but [I] thought it looked very hoggish. . . .
So I bid my brother goodbye and left Kerbyville about noon the tenth of May, 1858. We crossed Rogue River at Vannoy's Ferry. We had for company a man named Thomas Mercer, a minister who lived at Seattle, Washington Territory; he had been in Illinois Valley to visit his [end of page 109, beginning of page 111] brother-in-law. He kept us company to Portland, Oregon. He afterwards went to Boston and some Eastern cities and shipped by government steamers for the government some 700 young ladies for school teachers and servants, to get married in Oregon and Washington Territory.
Our first day's ride was over forty miles. At Grave Creek Hotel I saw our old Chicago friend, Jimmy Twogood. He was a great stammerer and was well acquainted with Orson Breed and my sister Bertha, his wife, in Chicago. We knew him since 1852. He told me he had carried a letter for us from Orson Breed for several months, not knowing where we were, and had at last lost it.
We got to old Crescent City about ten o'clock one morning. [I] went on shore in a whaleboat and stopped at a hotel. [end of page 145]
. . . I looked around and found lots of old acquaintances in the city. Next morning I had the choice to walk with a lot of our company, about 75 miles in three days, or pay $15 and go through by stage in one, and part of the night. I came to the conclusion with Kroney and a couple of others to go by stage, even if it did nearly break me. I thought I might as well spend $15 or $20 more, after spending $700 in seven months time. So we got our tickets and in the morning started in the stage. (The last time I had gone over the Coast Mountains to Illinois Valley I was on horseback on my way to the Klamath River, California, to take up mining ground to work the Indians that broke out while I was gone in 1855.)
Now in 1858 everything looked peaceable, and the old settlers and some new ones had made considerable improvements, and Captain [M. M. Williams] and Lafayette Gates were still at the foot of the mountains in Illinois Valley and keeping public house. After a long ride we got to old Guthings' Hotel at Waldo, or Sailor Diggings, after night in time to get some supper. It was Saturday night, and I sent word by the stage driver that if my brother was at Kerbyville to tell him I was there, and would wait to hear from him.
So Sunday morning about nine o'clock here came my brother with two mules with saddles on, one for each of us. We were glad to see each other. I got four or five $20 gold pieces [from] him to pay the money I had borrowed from Kroney, the Prussian. I settled my hotel bill and bid our fellow travelers goodbye, they going back to Yreka. I strapped on our two mules the blankets and some clothes and my gun, and my [end of page 146] brother and myself rode to Kerbyville, about twelve miles, to where Charley was staying.
He was at present boarding at the Vining Hotel, kept by John Pringle, who used to keep the saloon and bowling alley on Indian Creek and was justice of the peace there. He was postmaster here, and Charley sometimes did some pastry cooking and baking for balls while at Kerbyville.
Kroney had taken the stage Monday morning for Yreka; some had gone to Althouse Creek, Oregon, sixteen or eighteen miles off. Charley told me all he had done with his mine and John Schertz' claim. After I left they hired two or three Chinamen, one in my place, the others between us. It did not continue to pay as good as when I was there. So they, Charley and John, concluded to try and sell out to a large Chinese company at a big price, and they salted the claim some, and the Chinamen working for us would see our cleaning up every night. At noon John Schertz would salt the sluiceboxes--he superintended the work, and Charley was not there much of the time because he and Thomas Wilson were still running the bowling alley and saloon. So the Chinamen that worked for us told the others about our claim paying well, so the Chinese came to buy, and did at last after a great deal of haggling about the price to be paid. They only got $1500, half down and the other to be paid as it came out of the claim, so much every week until the other half, $750, was paid. Charley and John said it was well sold if they never got the other half, which we never did, for after working awhile and getting work pay, the Chinamen let the claim fall back rather than pay the balance (the $750). So after deducting expenses and dividing, there was but two or three hundred dollars apiece, and Charley had sold out his half of the ball alley and saloon for four or five hundred dollars more, and that was in July . And he was expecting to hear from me for him to come to me, and at last he heard that I had been killed by the Indians.
He took a trip to Roseburg, Oregon, and while down there there was a ball and he got up the supper and all the cakes and pies. He stayed awhile among our old Cow Creek and Canyonville friends, where we used to live in 1852-53. Old William Riddle's girls had got married, so had Beckworth's, and Jess Roberts was keeping the hotel where old Knott kept in 1852, when we first came to the Umpqua Valley and Cow Creek. Briggs, who crossed the plains in our company, had built a toll bridge [end of page 147] across the Umpqua (South) below Canyonville, and old Yokum, with his three boys, had cut a trail and wagon road around a rocky point and put in a toll bridge one mile below Briggs'. Charley stayed among them awhile and had just a few weeks before [we] got back to Kerbyville. John Schertz, after selling out, was working at Capt. [M. M.] Williams' sawmill on the Illinois River, a few miles below Kerbyville. He came up to see me as soon as he heard of my getting back, and was awful glad to see me alive after hearing I had been killed by the Indians. I soon found out that Charley was doing considerable poker playing, and while I was there he generally lost. I do not know how he had been doing, but I knew he was playing to get back even what he had lost, and one night he must have lost considerable, for I do not think we had over $100 or $150 left, and he said we had better see what we could do before the winter set in.
So we took a ride up to Althouse Creek, where we had a bakery and some claims in 1853-54, and we had some money owing to us, but we could not collect any.
So next we went to Sucker and Bowling Creek, eight or ten miles further, and saw old friends, but many had left and gone to other diggings and it did not look at all natural, and we did not feel like commencing again there on our old claim, which had been abandoned by the Chinese and had been again sold, but did not pay.
So Charley and I concluded to go to the Dalles, Wasco County, Oregon. I told him it was a very lively place when I was there in June last, 1858, and he, Charley, could work at his trade in the winter, and if it did not suit we could go to Walla Walla City, or Valley, a lively fast place. There was a government post and forts at both the Dalles and Walla Walla, and there was winter quarters for six or eight companies of soldiers, and lots of miners wintered at both places in the cities. So we saw John Schertz; he said he would rather stay at the sawmill--he could get work all winter for $70 to $80 per month--until he could hear from us, and if favorable, would come to us. . . .
When we got ready to start for the Dalles, John Schertz brought a mule, a good one, to ride between us. He got it from Capt. Williams for $80 on his wages. We got a saddle and bridle and bid all friends goodbye. . . . We stopped at hotels along the road. We were well acquainted with about every hotel keeper on the road to Canyonville. At James Twogood's and Harkness, who kept the Grave Creek Hotel [Harkness had been killed in 1856], I heard that Mr. Twogood had carried a letter from Chicago for us over a year, but somehow had lost it. It must have been from my sister Emma Musgat, or the Breeds. We had not heard from home for four years at this time.
Our next noon stopping place was at Hardy Elliff's, at the south side of the canyon. He kept a good public house. He told us of some new gold discoveries on Coffee Creek, about thirty miles from Canyonville, [end of page 148] putting into the South Umpqua River from the west. And there were three or four hundred men up there prospecting, and all the claims were already taken up.
Doyce B. Nunis, ed., The Golden Frontier: The Recollections of Herman Francis Reinhart 1851-1869, written 1887, published 1962
Last revised October 17, 2016